Know Your Foe #28: Rockies Get Road Rematch With Nationals

WASHINGTON - MAY 04: Ian Desmond #6 of the Washington Nationals celebrates with teammates after a 6-3 victory against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on May 4, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Nearly 2 weeks ago, the Washington Nationals came into Coors Field, sitting proudly in 1st place of the NL East division, and represented one of the youngest and toughest competitors in Major League Baseball.

Game 1 of the series was the only one really worth mentioning, as the Rockies inexplicably beat Stephen Strasburg en route to a 4-2 victory in the Monday opener. Jeff Francis got the win, effectively holding Washington bats to 2 runs and 5 hits while striking out 5.

The rest of the series was pretty poor, as the Rockies lost 5-12 and 5-11. It happens when one of the worst teams in baseball plays one of the best.

Since that point, the Nats have gone 6-2 and the Rockies have gone 3-6, and the Nationals are still sitting in 1st and are among the best competition in MLB. Again, it's not that surprising, but the Rockies have shown some decent fight these past 10 games, but they still kind of stink. And that's OK. While nobody likes to watch their team lose, it's a rebuild. It happens.

Meanwhile, there's a new sheriff in Washington.


Ian Desmond

#20 / Short Stop / Washington Nationals

6-2

210

R

R

Sep 20, 1985


G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2012 - Ian Desmond 78 330 43 92 24 2 14 47 15 68 8 4 .279 .309 .491



Desmond's season line may not be that impressive, but he's played as an above-average bat for the Nationals, and is quietly rising in the ranks of "SS you don't want to take for granted". While the Rockies still have the sluggingest-SS in MLB in their organization in Troy Tulowitzki, Desmond is starting to make some noise in this respect.

Out of MLB SS with 200 or more PA this season, Houston's Jed Lowrie leads SS with a .213 ISO (SLG-AVG) and a season line of .255/.341/.468, 14HR, 35 RBI, good for a 122 wRC+. Lowrie's plus fielding has garnered him a 2.5 fWAR on the 2012 campaign.

Third on that list is Tulo, who had just managed to start to get on a hot streak before his injury, and his 1.6 fWAR is being supplied by average fielding (technically a smidge below) and a .287/.360/.486 batting line with 8 HR and 27 RBI (117 wRC+).

But sandwiched between the two, and really, he's more of a 1a as far as this ISO ranking goes, clubbing a .212 ISO and also playing plus SS defense. .279/.309/.491 with 14 bombs and 43 RBI (114 wRC+) plays at SS in nearly every organization, and the Nationals are definitely getting some mileage out of their SS. He is leading NL SS in fWAR (2.7, 2nd overall to Texas' Elvis Andrus at 2.8 fWAR), and he's doing all of this with a .313 BABIP and a 20% K rate, and he's hitting over 18% line drives. Dude's having a solid season.

More on Desmond, Pitching Matchups, and stats and stuff after the jump.

Colorado is catching Desmond at just the wrong time as well. Over the past 2 weeks, Desmond has led the team (30+ PA) in SLG (.706) and fWAR (0.9), and is 2nd in wOBA and wRC+ to Tyler Moore (186 wRC+), and 2nd in AVG to Michael Morse (.370 AVG). Very appropriate that Desmond has been this hot these past 2 weeks, given that the Nationals are the best hitting team in baseball over that span (136 wRC+).

The reason this timing is so frustrating is purely because the Rockies' pitching has begin to get into a bit of a groove. Jeff Francis and Christian Friedrich have become the Colorado version of a "decent 1-2 punch", Drew Pomeranz had a promising debut, Jeremy Guthrie even had a solid outing, and as a result, Jim Tracy has loosened the leash a bit on the 75-pitch count - Not much, mind you, but somewhat. To celebrate this improvement, the Nationals are throwing a 3-day party for Colorado pitching that will pretty much consist of the Nats beating the hell out of Colorado pitchers with their bats.

But who knows? This is the kind of series that tends to happen to the Rockies: need to pick up some momentum, lose to a near-last-place team, make us all look like fools. Then again, the Nationals are much better right now than the Rockies have ever been, outside of September of 2007 and June of 2009, so maybe that doesn't apply.

(For what it's worth, the 2nd half of the 3rd poll option was cut off. It reads as follows:

3. I have no evidence to support this pick, but my gut says that this team can violate all concepts of probability. Truly, a state of baseball zen have I reached that I might still be able to promote the Rockies as a team that could sweep the Nationals. Truly have I lost all shame or self-consciousness toward my given baseball team and I now see with the eyes of the universe. Rockies take 3 from Washington in Washington.

I thought it was funnier.)

Expected Matchups (again, these are probably wrong, just knowing me):

Friday, July 6, 2012 5:05 PM MT

Drew Pomeranz vs Stephen Strasburg

Saturday, July 7, 2012 2:05 PM MT

Jeff Francis vs Gio Gonzalez

Sunday, July 8, 2012 11:35 AM MT

Jeremy Guthrie vs Jordan Zimmerman


Batting

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
Tom Gorzelanny 24 4 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 .500 .500 .500
Jhonatan Solano 9 28 4 11 3 0 2 6 1 2 1 0 .393 .414 .714
Stephen Strasburg 16 24 3 9 4 0 1 3 1 6 0 0 .375 .423 .667
Tyler Moore 27 63 10 20 3 0 4 12 8 19 3 0 .317 .394 .556
Michael Morse 29 118 17 34 6 0 4 16 5 27 0 0 .288 .312 .441
Jordan Zimmermann 16 28 3 8 2 0 1 3 2 4 0 0 .286 .333 .464
Bryce Harper 59 232 41 65 14 4 8 23 26 51 8 3 .280 .354 .478
Ian Desmond 78 330 43 92 24 2 14 47 15 68 8 4 .279 .309 .491
Jayson Werth 27 98 10 27 5 1 3 12 14 21 3 0 .276 .372 .439
Chad Tracy 32 49 5 13 3 0 3 12 4 10 0 0 .265 .327 .510
Wilson Ramos 25 83 11 22 2 0 3 10 12 19 0 0 .265 .354 .398
Steve Lombardozzi 60 175 21 45 11 0 1 8 12 19 2 1 .257 .323 .337
Adam LaRoche 73 262 33 66 19 1 15 52 38 76 1 1 .252 .339 .504
Roger Bernadina 60 109 9 27 9 0 2 13 13 31 6 1 .248 .331 .385
Jesus Flores 48 163 13 40 10 1 3 13 9 34 1 2 .245 .286 .374
Ryan Zimmerman 65 266 40 65 15 0 7 38 23 50 3 1 .244 .306 .380
Danny Espinosa 78 288 40 68 19 1 6 23 27 89 14 3 .236 .314 .372
Rick Ankiel 64 157 15 36 10 2 5 15 12 58 1 3 .229 .284 .414
Edwin Jackson 18 28 2 5 0 0 0 0 0 12 0 0 .179 .179 .179
Xavier Nady 40 102 6 16 3 0 3 6 7 24 1 0 .157 .211 .275
Mark DeRosa 18 44 4 5 2 0 0 3 10 7 0 0 .114 .273 .159
Gio Gonzalez 16 28 1 3 1 0 0 2 1 13 0 0 .107 .133 .143
Ross Detwiler 17 17 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 5 0 0 .059 .111 .059
Carlos Maldonado 4 9 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 4 0 0 .000 .182 .000
Chien-Ming Wang 7 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 .000 .200 .000
Corey Brown 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Brett Carroll 5 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Sandy Leon 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Ryan Mattheus 27 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Craig Stammen 31 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Tyler Clippard 35 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Brad Lidge 11 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Henry Rodriguez 25 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Sean Burnett 36 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 .000 1.000 .000
Ryan Perry 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Mike Gonzalez 16 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000

Pitching

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
Craig Stammen 3-1 31 0 0 0 0 1 44.2 35 8 7 2 17 45 1.41 1.16
Sean Burnett 1-1 36 0 0 0 2 1 30.2 23 5 5 2 7 31 1.47 .98
Mike Gonzalez 0-0 16 0 0 0 0 0 11.0 10 2 2 0 6 10 1.64 1.45
Tyler Clippard 1-2 35 0 0 0 13 1 34.1 16 8 7 0 15 39 1.83 .90
Ryan Mattheus 2-1 27 0 0 0 0 0 27.2 25 7 6 1 9 18 1.95 1.23
Jordan Zimmermann 5-6 16 16 0 0 0 0 103.1 99 35 31 11 20 72 2.70 1.15
Stephen Strasburg 9-3 16 16 0 0 0 0 93.0 73 32 29 6 27 122 2.81 1.08
Gio Gonzalez 11-3 16 16 0 0 0 0 95.2 68 33 32 4 39 112 3.01 1.12
Ross Detwiler 4-3 17 11 0 0 0 0 73.2 63 32 27 7 24 50 3.30 1.18
Tom Gorzelanny 2-1 24 0 0 0 1 0 40.1 37 17 16 4 16 32 3.57 1.31
Edwin Jackson 5-4 18 16 1 0 0 0 101.1 85 44 42 11 30 76 3.73 1.13
Henry Rodriguez 1-3 25 0 0 0 9 3 21.1 13 13 12 3 14 24 5.06 1.27
Chien-Ming Wang 2-3 7 4 0 0 0 0 23.2 37 20 20 4 14 12 7.61 2.15
Brad Lidge 0-1 11 0 0 0 2 2 9.1 12 10 10 1 11 10 9.64 2.46
Ryan Perry 1-0 7 0 0 0 0 0 8.0 12 9 9 2 2 3 10.13 1.75


Washington Nationals Injuries

Probable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Stephen Strasburg other-excused 07/03/2012

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Drew Storen elbow 03/26/2012
Jayson Werth wrist 05/07/2012


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