After what seems like an
eternity, the Nats are finally home after their 10-game three-city west coast
road trip in which MLB thoughtfully did not include an off-day until the return
trip home. The Nats ended the trip 4-6 and even though they battled Cy Young
winning pitchers, injuries and most of all themselves, it was a somewhat
disappointing result as they could have easily been 6-4, if not better. I could
go into much more detail but we covered this pretty extensively on the Podcast
last night and that’s a much more complete conversation. Check it out if you haven’t
It’s hard to believe that it’s
Memorial Day weekend and the Nats are facing the Phillies for the first time
this year, while having already faced the Marlins, Braves and Reds twice. The
Phils roll into the Nation’s Capital with a 23-24 record having a disappointing
start to the year accompanied by a troubling injury to Roy Halladay and less
than stellar production from Cole Hamels. Even with those two issues, the
starting pitching had been middle of the road with the rotation ranking 17th
in WAR, and 15th in ERA/FIP. The bullpen is a whole other kind of
awful, ranking 26th in ERA and WAR while ranking 29th in
FIP. The offense hasn’t been doing the team any favors either, ranking 26th
in MLB in OPS with a combined .690.
Game 48: Friday, May
24, Nationals Park, 7:05pm, Kyle
Kendrick RHP (4-2, 2.82 ERA) vs. Jordan
Zimmermann RHP (7-2, 1.62 ERA)
Dave said it best
this morning that the only thing that could possibly explain Kyle Kendrick’s
season so far is that he stole Roy Halladay’s soul. But really, Kendrick has
been the Phillies best starter behind Cliff Lee, sporting a shiny 2.82 ERA
(3.72 FIP) along with his 4-2 record in ten starts. In his most recent start,
against Cincinnati, Kendrick went six innings giving up four runs on eight hits
and four walks. It was the first time this season that he’d given up more than
two runs in a start since he opened the season against Kansas City.
on a Sinker (86-93, 90avg) 60% of the time while mixing in a Changeup (79-86,
83 avg) and a Cutter (84-89, 87 avg). He also has a Slider (78-80, 79 avg) that
he threw 4.5% of the time in 2012 but has only thrown it nine times thus far in
In 19 career
appearances (17 starts) against the Nats, Kendrick is 4-5 with a 4.68 ERA and a
1.375 WHIP. Current Nats should be salivating to see him on the mound with how
many have performed against him previously. Just to name a few, Zim has
compiled a .984 OPS against Kendrick over 37 PA’s while Desmond and Harper sit at
1.328 and 1.571 over 24 and 14 PA’s respectively.
Nationals vs. Kyle Kendrick:
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Every time Jordan
Zimmermann comes up in my Series Previews, it’s a really easy job. The man has
been the epitome of consistency this season. In his last outing was a tough
luck loser at San Diego, but created some of that tough luck himself with a
baserunning mistake that negated a runner in scoring position and had the
throwing error that led to the game deciding, unearned, second run.
numbers against Philadelphia are not great. In six career starts he’s 1-4 with
a 5.06 ERA and a 1.656 WHIP. Of current Phillies only Howard and Rollins have
more than a game-worth of PA’s, and both have historical OPS’ of .919 and .808 respectively
against Jordan. It will be interesting to see how these batters fare against a
Jordan Zimmermann that is clearly better than he has ever been right now.
Phillies vs. Jordan Zimmermann:
Game 49: Saturday, May 25, Nationals Park, 7:15pm, Jonathan Pettibone RHP (3-0, 3.00 ERA) vs. Dan Haren RHP (4-5, 5.54 ERA)
Drafted out of high school in the third round of the 2008 draft, Jonathan Pettibone was never a Baseball America top prospect and began the 2013 season as the Phillies’ #4 prospect. In six minor league seasons he went 33-31 with a 3.44 ERA, 1.226 WHIP, 6.4 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9. In six starts this season he has yet to allow more than three earned runs, but has also only made it through the 7th completely once. His most recent start saw him go 5.1 IP vs Pittsburgh allowing two runs, both solo shots, on six hits with six strikeouts and no walks.
Pettibone leans heavily on his Four-Seam Fastball (86-93, 90 avg) and peppers in a Changeup (79-87, 83 avg), Slider (81-89, 86 avg) and occasionally a Two-Seam Fastball (84-93, 90 avg). He is a true rookie and has not faced the Nats or a current National to this point in his career.
In the five games before the outing in San Diego, Dan Haren looked much better than he had early in the season. Over that stretch averaging 6.2 IP with a 3.38 ERA, a 3.8 K:BB and a OPS against of .625. The game in San Diego wasn’t great but could very well just be a blip attributed to some back pain. We should know pretty quickly after first pitch which Haren the Nats have gotten that evening.
Haren only has four career starts against Philadelphia and is 0-3 with a 6.14 ERA and a 1.409 WHIP. He hasn’t fared much better against current Phillies either. Former Ranger Michael Young has seen him the most with 61 PA’s and holds a .775 OPS. Rollins and Howard have OPS’s of .800 and .833 in 10 and 6 PA’s respectively.
Current Phillies vs. Dan Haren:
Game 50: Sunday, May 26, Nationals Park, 1:35pm, Cole Hamels LHP (1-7, 4.45 ERA) vs. Stephen Strasburg RHP (2-5, 2.66 ERA)
Cole Hamels had a rough start to the season and while he has had stretches of success he hasn’t entirely looked himself. The most notable issue is the uptick in walks this year, his walk rate sits at 3.45 while his career number is 2.3. In his most recent outing he took the loss but threw a stellar six innings; giving up two runs on seven hits, while striking out ten and walking none.
Hamels is a four pitch guy who relies on his Fastball (87-96, 92 avg) 50% of the time and splits the remainder of his pitches between a Changeup (79-86, 83 avg), a Cutter (83-92, 88 avg) and a rare Curveball (72-79, 76 avg).
The Nats have seen Hamels 24 times thus far in his career and he has performed remarkably well; going 13-5 with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.093 WHIP. Current Nationals have combined for a .742 OPS against him. The standouts being LaRoche with a 1.210 OPS in 27 PA’s, Bryce Harper with a .928 OPS in 15 PA’s and Denard Span with a 1.071 OPS in 8 PA’s.
Current Nationals vs. Cole Hamels:
With Detwiler ailing from a back issue the Nats will use the off day to keep at least a portion of the rotation on regular rest, pushing Stephen Strasburg back to the mound. Another starter who hadn’t looked himself for most of the season, that story changed when he set foot on the field in Petco Park and continued on to his most recent start against San Francisco. The Nats ended up losing in extras but Stras threw seven solid innings holding the Giants to one run on five hits while striking out seven and walking three.
In three career starts against the Phillies Stras is 0-1 with a 6.28 ERA and a 1.047 WHIP. Not many current Phillies have actually faced Strasburg for more than a game, the lone exception being Jimmy Rollins who is 1-8 with a homerun against Stras; good for a .625 OPS.
Current Phillies vs. Stephen Strasburg:
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