Series #11 Preview: Nats vs Tigers

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Winning a series
against both the Reds and Pirates, check. Not getting swept by the Braves and
actually splitting the most recent series with them, check. The Nats finally
finding a little bit of offense, check. Yes, things seem to be looking up for
the Nationals as they enter into a two game series against the Detroit Tigers.

The Tigers (19-11)
come to Nationals Park for the first time since the club moved in from RFK
Stadium. The Nationals hope that the change of scenery will mean a change in
outcome because the last series the two teams had in Washington ended with the
Tigers sweeping the Nats in 2007. The Tigers are playing some solid baseball.
They just swept the Astros (I know it is not a major feat because everyone is
doing it, but a sweep is a sweep) and have won nine of their last ten. Justin
Verlander will not make an appearance in the series, but the rest of the
Tiger’s rotation is still very dangerous.

The Nationals (17-15)
are coming off of a 4-3 road trip where six of their seven games could have
been wins and only one embarrassing outing on the last day of April against the
Braves. As of now, Jayson Werth is questionable for the first game of the
series with a strained left hamstring, but Tyler Moore has been filling in
well, including hitting his first homer of the season in the finale of the
Pirates series.

Lastly, since
returning from the disabled list, Ryan Zimmerman has a solid OBP. He has been
on base almost a third of the time and his eye at the plat has been good, where
he has amassed three walks in three games. While he has committed an error in
the short time since his return, he has managed to increase his fielding
percentage back to .909, which is an improvement over Anthony Rendon’s fielding
percentage of .885.  

Game 33: Wednesday,
May 8, Nationals Park 7:05pm, Anibal Sanchez, RHP (3-2, 1.82 ERA) vs. Jordan
Zimmermann
, RHP (5-1, 1.64 ERA)

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As much as I love
baseball, I rarely take note of much going on outside of the NL East. So, for
me the American League is kind of like the country of Qatar, I know it exists,
but I do not pay it much attention unless something major happens there. Well,
something major happened and it involved Anibal Sanchez on April 26, this
season when he set a franchise record of striking out 17 batters in one game
against the Braves, which I’ll admit made it a little sweeter. So far this year,
Sanchez has not given up a homerun in 39.2 IP.

The Nationals are
all too familiar with Sanchez due to his long stint with the Marlins before he
was traded to Detroit. To tell you the truth, the Nats are probably close to
wishing that Justin Verlander was pitching against them tonight because they
have had little luck against Sanchez in the past. In 19 games, Sanchez has a 1.97
ERA against the Nats dating back to 2006. He has only given up 7 homers to the
Nats in his career, while striking out 100 and averaging 7.6 K/9 innings.

Anibal is your
prototypical power pitcher and throws a Fastball (86-95 mph, 92 avg), Slider (78-87
mph, 84 avg), Changeup (82-88 mph, 85 avg), Sinker (87-95 mph, 91 avg) and Curveball
(75-82 mph, 79 avg). He has thrown more sliders and changeups since 2009 and
his curveball has a big 12/6 break. His fastball does not have a lot of
movement and he tends to get into trouble when his pitches start to creep up in
the zone because he starts to lose control of his pitch placement. His slider
is his moneymaker and causes the most whiffs of any pitch in his arsenal.

The
only other concern the Tigers have with Sanchez is that he gives up a good
amount of hits. Over his career he’s averaged just under nine hits given up per
9 IP (closer to 7 H/9 in 2013), but has managed a career ERA of 3.66 (3.69 FIP),
so teams have not been taking advantage of the hits they have gotten against
him. Ian Desmond and Wilson Ramos have had the most success against Sanchez in
the past. Desmond is sporting a .890 OPS and Ramos has a .928 OPS against him.

Current
Nationals vs. Anibal Sanchez:

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="PA" class="tooltip" tip="Plate Appearances
When available, we use actual plate appearances from play-by-play game accounts
Otherwise estimated using AB + BB + HBP + SF + SH,
which excludes catcher interferences.
When this color click for a summary of each PA.” align=”center”>PA

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="batting_avg" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="Hits/At Bats
For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played
Bold indicates highest BA using current stats
Gold means awarded title at end of year.” align=”center”>BA

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="onbase_perc" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="(H + BB + HBP)/(At Bats + BB + HBP + SF)
For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played” align=”center”>OBP

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="slugging_perc" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="Total Bases/At Bats or
(1B + 2*2B + 3*3B + 4*HR)/AB

For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played” align=”center”>SLG

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="onbase_plus_slugging" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="On-Base + Slugging Percentages
For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played” align=”center”>OPS

AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO
Ryan Zimmerman 48 42 10 1 0 1 2 5 6 .238 .333 .333 .667
Jayson Werth 31 30 5 2 0 1 1 1 19 .167 .194 .333 .527
Adam LaRoche 31 30 6 0 0 0 1 1 9 .200 .226 .200 .426
Ian Desmond 27 25 8 2 0 1 3 2 4 .320 .370 .520 .890
Roger Bernadina 23 20 2 0 0 0 0 3 8 .100 .217 .100 .317
Wilson Ramos 15 13 5 1 0 0 1 2 1 .385 .467 .462 .928
Danny Espinosa 15 13 1 0 0 0 0 1 6 .077 .200 .077 .277
Chad Tracy 9 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000
Bryce Harper 3 3 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 .333 .333 1.000 1.333
Denard Span 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Steve Lombardozzi 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Jordan Zimmermann 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Total 212 195 38 6 1 3 8 15 57 .195 .259 .282 .541
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/7/2013.

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Jordan Zimmermann
does three things this season: He wins games, eats up innings and gives up few
runs. With his continued dominance has come more press, and Jordan has done
nothing but respond positively to the increased attention. With both Stras and
Gio remaining inconsistent to start the season, the stellar innings Zimmermann
has been able to post in the early going have been a welcome and much needed
surprise. His most recent outing was an 8 IP, 2 hit scoreless gem against
Atlanta, extending his scoreless innings streak to 18.

Zimmermann has
never faced the Tigers before, but he has faced Omar Infante, Torii Hunter and
Anibal Sanchez in the past. However, only Infante has a meaningful amount of
at-bats against Zimmermann. Infante is batting a paltry .214 in 15 plate
appearances, but he does have one home run.

Current
Tigers vs. Jordan Zimmermann:

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="PA" class="tooltip" tip="Plate Appearances
When available, we use actual plate appearances from play-by-play game accounts
Otherwise estimated using AB + BB + HBP + SF + SH,
which excludes catcher interferences.
When this color click for a summary of each PA.” align=”center”>PA

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="batting_avg" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="Hits/At Bats
For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played
Bold indicates highest BA using current stats
Gold means awarded title at end of year.” align=”center”>BA

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="onbase_perc" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="(H + BB + HBP)/(At Bats + BB + HBP + SF)
For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played” align=”center”>OBP

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="slugging_perc" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="Total Bases/At Bats or
(1B + 2*2B + 3*3B + 4*HR)/AB

For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played” align=”center”>SLG

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="onbase_plus_slugging" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="On-Base + Slugging Percentages
For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played” align=”center”>OPS

AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO
Omar Infante 15 14 3 0 1 1 2 0 0 .214 .200 .571 .771
Torii Hunter 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Anibal Sanchez 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000
Total 20 19 3 0 1 1 2 0 3 .158 .150 .421 .571
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/7/2013.

Game 34: Thursday,
May 9, Nationals Park 4:05pm, Doug Fister, RHP (4-0, 2.48 ERA) vs. Dan Haren,
RHP (3-3, 5.01 ERA)

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Doug Fister is an
interesting story because all the scouting reports before the middle of the
2009 season had him at mediocre at best and most of the time did not list him
at all. His college career at Fresno State was mediocre, his early first couple
years in the minors was nothing to write home about and everyone said his
fastball was pedestrian. Then Fister figured something out. No one knows what
happened, but he became a pretty solid command pitcher and since then he has
been playing well.

Fister relies on
command and deception relying on a Two-Seam Fastball (86-92 mph, 88 avg), Changeup
(76-86 mph, 81 avg) and Curveball (69-77 mph, 73 avg) while mixing in a
Four-Seam Fastball (85-90 mph, 88 avg) and a Slider (82-88 mph, 86 avg). As I
mentioned earlier, his fastball is not very impressive, but he can put it
anywhere in the zone he wants. His curveball is good and has a 30 percent
swing-and miss rate. He does not strike a lot of guys out, but he gets a ton of
groundballs, which has been the one of the keys to his recent success. The
other thing that has helped him out a lot has been his incredibly low walk
rate. In 2010 he was 4th best in MLB in BB/9 and in 2011 he improved
his BB/9 and actually dropped one spot to 5th best in MLB. Fister
has not taken a loss so far this season and has a solid ERA, but he has been
plunking opposing batters like it is something to be proud of. In fact, this
season he leads MLB with nine hit batters with AJ Burnett and seven others
coming in a distant second with only 4 hit batters thus far.

Since he has
spent his entire career in the American League, first with the Mariners and now
with the Tigers he has only one appearance versus the Nationals over his
career. However, both Denard Span and Kurt Suzuki, both former AL stalwarts
have fared well against him in the past. Specifically, Span has a .350 BA
against him, with a 2B, 3B and 2 RBI’s in 21 PA’s. 

Current
Nationals vs. Doug Fister:

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="PA" class="tooltip" tip="Plate Appearances
When available, we use actual plate appearances from play-by-play game accounts
Otherwise estimated using AB + BB + HBP + SF + SH,
which excludes catcher interferences.
When this color click for a summary of each PA.” align=”center”>PA

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="batting_avg" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="Hits/At Bats
For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played
Bold indicates highest BA using current stats
Gold means awarded title at end of year.” align=”center”>BA

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="onbase_perc" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="(H + BB + HBP)/(At Bats + BB + HBP + SF)
For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played” align=”center”>OBP

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="slugging_perc" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="Total Bases/At Bats or
(1B + 2*2B + 3*3B + 4*HR)/AB

For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played” align=”center”>SLG

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="onbase_plus_slugging" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="On-Base + Slugging Percentages
For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played” align=”center”>OPS

AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO
Kurt Suzuki 23 23 6 1 1 0 2 0 2 .261 .261 .391 .652
Denard Span 21 20 7 1 1 0 2 1 3 .350 .381 .500 .881
Jayson Werth 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .500 .667 .500 1.167
Ryan Zimmerman 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .333 .333 .667
Roger Bernadina 3 3 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 .333 .333 .333 .667
Ian Desmond 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .333 .000 .333
Wilson Ramos 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Danny Espinosa 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Total 62 59 16 2 2 0 5 2 7 .271 .306 .373 .679
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/7/2013.

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Dan Haren has
looked like the Dan Haren of old in his last two starts. His ERA has been
creeping lower and the time he has spent on the mound has increased. His most
encouraging outing was his last outing when he went for a full eight innings
against the pesky Braves, where he gave up only four hits and one earned run.

Since 2005, Haren
has appeared in 10 games against the Tigers. In those 10 appearances he has a
3.63 ERA and a 4-4 record. Haren has faced every Tiger position player with the
exception of Matt Tuiasosopo throughout his career. As one could expect, he has
had varying degrees of success against their lineup. The lineup has a .278 BA
against Haren, with Torii Hunter, Omar Infante, Prince Fielder and Victor
Martinez all sporting impressive OPS against him. However, the Tiger’s golden
boy, Miguel Cabrera probably wishes Dan breaks his arm during pregame warm-ups
because he has been awful against him. Cabrera is only 3-for-16 when facing
Haren and has struck out in three of those plate appearances. 

Current Tigers
vs. Dan Haren:

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="PA" class="tooltip" tip="Plate Appearances
When available, we use actual plate appearances from play-by-play game accounts
Otherwise estimated using AB + BB + HBP + SF + SH,
which excludes catcher interferences.
When this color click for a summary of each PA.” align=”center”>PA

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="batting_avg" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="Hits/At Bats
For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played
Bold indicates highest BA using current stats
Gold means awarded title at end of year.” align=”center”>BA

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="onbase_perc" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="(H + BB + HBP)/(At Bats + BB + HBP + SF)
For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played” align=”center”>OBP

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="slugging_perc" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="Total Bases/At Bats or
(1B + 2*2B + 3*3B + 4*HR)/AB

For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played” align=”center”>SLG

<th onclick="" onmouseout="" onmouseover="" style="background-color: #ddd; border: 1px solid #aaa; padding: 2px;" data-stat="onbase_plus_slugging" class="tooltip hide_non_quals" tip="On-Base + Slugging Percentages
For recent years, leaders need 3.1 PA
per team game played” align=”center”>OPS

AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO
Victor Martinez 28 25 9 2 0 1 4 3 5 .360 .429 .560 .989
Jhonny Peralta 26 25 6 0 0 0 2 1 6 .240 .269 .240 .509
Miguel Cabrera 16 16 3 0 0 1 2 0 3 .188 .188 .375 .563
Omar Infante 15 15 7 1 0 0 0 0 4 .467 .467 .533 1.000
Torii Hunter 12 10 3 1 0 1 2 1 3 .300 .364 .700 1.064
Andy Dirks 9 9 2 1 0 0 1 0 2 .222 .222 .333 .556
Alex Avila 8 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 .000 .000 .000 .000
Austin Jackson 7 7 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 .143 .143 .429 .571
Prince Fielder 6 5 3 1 0 0 1 1 0 .600 .667 .800 1.467
Brayan Pena 6 6 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .333 .500 .833
Don Kelly 6 5 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 .200 .333 .200 .533
Ramon Santiago 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Total 141 133 37 7 1 3 12 7 29 .278 .314 .414 .728
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/7/2013.

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