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To swing or not to swing?

Aug 27, 2015, 12:49 AM EDT

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There is perhaps no bigger gamble in baseball than swinging at a 3-0 pitch. It’s the ultimate high-risk, high-reward play, at times producing game-changing hits at crucial moments while at other times stopping potential rallies dead in their tracks.

The Nationals, as a team, like to take that risk. They preach an aggressive approach at the plate, typically giving their hitters the green light to swing away on 3-0 counts, and they’ve enjoyed their share of success when doing it.

Entering Wednesday, Nationals hitters were 7-for-14 with two homers and a double when putting a 3-0 pitch into play. Only the Astros (8-for-16) have attempted it more times and/or produced more hits this season.

“We do it all the time,” manager Matt Williams said. “We do it with Jayson [Werth]. We do the same with Bryce [Harper]. We do it with just about everybody in our lineup. Pick a pitch and get one to hit.”

So when the situation arose at a critical juncture during Wednesday night’s 6-5 loss to the Padres — runners on the corners, one out, the Nationals trailing by a run — Williams didn’t think twice about giving Yunel Escobar the green light with a 3-0 count against left-hander Marc Rzepczynski.

And when Escobar got a pitch he liked — a sinker below the waist but over the heart of the plate — he took a hack, hoping to elevate the ball, drive it to the outfield somewhere and at worst drive in the tying run. Except he wound up pounding it into the ground, sending a chopper toward the left side of the infield, setting in motion a 5-4-3 double play turned by the Padres that brought every ounce of momentum the Nationals had been building throughout a furious rally to a screeching halt.

“I just thought it was the right situation,” Escobar said, via interpreter Octavio Martinez. “I felt I got a good pitch and was unable to do what I was trying to do.”

The double play came at the worst possible time for the Nationals, who had rallied from five runs down to get within a sacrifice fly of tying the game. Werth and Anthony Rendon had just drawn back-to-back walks, with Harper adding a 2-run single to center off Rzepczynski to bring Escobar to the plate. Ryan Zimmerman, who had launched a grand slam Tuesday night and driven in runs in each of his previous two at-bats Wednesday, stood in the on-deck circle.

“It’s a good situation for him,” Williams said. “He’s hitting [fifth] in our lineup. [It’s a good time] to pick a pitch and get it airborne. He just happened to get on top of that one.”

Escobar nearly beat the throw to first, but his headfirst slide — always a controversial move in that situation — left him about six inches short of the base when San Diego’s Yonder Alonso caught the ball.

“Definitely you want to try to get Zim up in that situation in the seventh, but it just didn’t roll that way,” Harper said. “Yuni’s been great for us all year. Just happens that way sometimes.”

It seems to happening that way a lot for the Nationals these days. Though they’ve played markedly better baseball over the last week, winning 5 of 8 and still sporting a chance to win three consecutive series Thursday night, they simply can’t keep up pace with the white-hot Mets. With a 9-4 victory in Philadelphia on Wednesday, New York won its sixth straight and extended its lead in the NL East to 6 1/2 games.

While the Mets demolish lesser competition — they’re 13-0 this month against the Marlins, Rockies and Phillies — the Nationals are left with zero margin for error. That made Wednesday’s loss all the tougher to swallow, because there were any number of missed opportunities that could have altered the outcome of this game.

Escobar was charged with a costly error in the top of the third when he mishandled a potential double-play grounder, then threw wildly to first. “Obviously I had trouble taking it out [of my glove], and there’s certain things I can’t control,” he said. “I wish I made the play, but that’s how baseball goes.”

Gio Gonzalez could’ve bailed out his third baseman but followed the error by allowing a 2-run double to Matt Kemp and then a 2-run homer to Justin Upton. Upton later homered again, this time off Doug Fister, an insurance run that proved huge by night’s end.

The Padres also scored a run in the top of the fourth when Zimmerman made an over-the-shoulder catch of a foul ball well down the first-base line and Austin Hedges tagged up from third to score. Perhaps Zimmerman, knowing he had no realistic shot at throwing out Hedges, could have purposely let the popup fall to the ground in foul territory. But in that moment, it didn’t happen.

Such is life for the Nationals right now. Every little mistake or missed opportunity looms large.

And none loomed larger Wednesday night than a double play on a 3-0 pitch at a critical moment.

“I can remember back to Jayson hitting a 3-0 grand slam last year,” Williams said. “I can remember a lot of success in those situations. So you have to take that with you when it doesn’t happen for you. But we can’t change the way we play. We must try to take advantage of those opportunities. You can look at it a million ways. I’m not gonna put the handcuffs on him 2-0, and I’m certainly not gonna do it 3-1. It’s an opportunity for him to pick a pitch to drive to get airborne. It didn’t happen tonight. We’re not gonna change the way we play. We do it all the time. And 3-0 swings are a big part of our game. We’ve had a lot of success doing it. It didn’t happen tonight.”

  1. Eugene in Oregon - Aug 27, 2015 at 1:07 AM

    My impression — it’s late and I’m tired and I’m not looking it up, so I may be wrong — is that Yunel Escobar generates an above average number of ground balls. I know a fair number get through for singles, but he still puts a lot of batted balls on the ground. Doesn’t seem to me like the player you give the green light to on 3-0 in that situation.

    • Steady Eddie - Aug 27, 2015 at 7:00 AM

      “In that situation” is indeed the key. Just saying “3-0 with a runner on third” just doesn’t honestly capture the essence of the situation (referring to MW, not MZ). You have a crucial rally moment in the seventh against a team with a very strong BP backend, against a LOOGY who had just walked the one guy he was brought in to get out, and with your veteran, most reliable clutch hitter on deck (who was overdue for a hit AND who had done the job with bases loaded twice in the previous 24 hours.

      • Guapo - Aug 27, 2015 at 10:01 AM

        Well stated. Everything pointed to making the reliever throw three strikes. I was sitting next to three MLB scouts last night. After the DP all just shook their heads in shock.

  2. alexva6 - Aug 27, 2015 at 7:07 AM

    another example of an individual try to do too much.

    the greatness of Harper’s season is in his realizing he is one member of the team. his controlled swing on the two run single was a thing of beauty.

  3. natsfan1a - Aug 27, 2015 at 7:40 AM

    Ugh. Went to bed early I was expecting an unhappy game results email. Didn’t expect them to have come up just short, though, as they had just one run when I retired. Did expect the Mets to win. I don’t know that I’ll watch the rest of the recording. May just hug my cat instead.

  4. npb99 - Aug 27, 2015 at 7:55 AM

    Saw this one in person. Typified the Nats’ season – too little, too late; sloppy play; erratic pitching; missed opportunities.
    This team just doesn’t deserve to make the playoffs. The Mets are to us this year what we were to the Braves in 2012.

  5. Doc - Aug 27, 2015 at 8:05 AM

    The bat is in the batter’s hands—where it should be.

    Like MW says, and the 7 for 14 stats prove it, it works a lot of the time. 7-14 is .500. A good average, by all accounts, is .300.

    • Hiram Hover - Aug 27, 2015 at 8:25 AM

      Yeah, .500 is pretty good.

      But batters reach base at an even higher rate by taking the 3-0 pitch. Nats have had 102 PA this year that ended on a 3-0 pitch–85 resulted in a walk.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 27, 2015 at 9:29 AM

        +1

      • bowdenball - Aug 27, 2015 at 9:39 AM

        +85

    • therealjohnc - Aug 27, 2015 at 3:01 PM

      That’s misleading, though – because all the times where they made outs on a pitch after the 3-0 pitch (that may have been the best pitch in the at bat to swing at) are not considered in your sample if you only count the at bats that ended on the 3-0 pitch.

  6. edbrinkman - Aug 27, 2015 at 8:21 AM

    Only about 165 days until pitchers and catchers report to Viera.

  7. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 27, 2015 at 8:35 AM

    My thoughts on this – I was screaming ‘DO. NOT. SWING…. DO. NOT. SWING.’ He did and the rest is history.

    • jd - Aug 27, 2015 at 9:05 AM

      In this case I agree with you on several levels:

      1) The Padres middle relievers were in the process of giving the game back to the Nats.
      2) The Pads already made 2 pitching changes in the inning so they were probably sticking with the lefty.
      3) We had a bunch of righties coming up.
      4) We were still behind in the game, if it was tied it wouldn’t be such a bad move.
      5) You had to tie the game right there, this would likely keep Benoit and Kimbrel out of the game.

      In short, I think it was a bad gamble. saying you do it all the time means that you aren’t thinking the situation through on each occasion as you should be.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 27, 2015 at 9:19 AM

        It was real simple for me. He hasn’t proven that he can throw you a strike, until he does, don’t swing.

  8. Nats Fan Zee - Aug 27, 2015 at 8:38 AM

    “We do it all the time,” manager Matt Williams said. “We do it with Jayson [Werth]. We do the same with Bryce [Harper]. We do it with just about everybody in our lineup. Pick a pitch and get one to hit.”

    So I guess none of the scouts in MLB have picked up on it?

  9. Another_Sam - Aug 27, 2015 at 8:40 AM

    It’s fun to micro-analyze one at bat or one pitch. But while one pitch might be used to characterize a season of frustration it can’t by itself determine a season’s outcome.

    I’m okay with a .300 hitter doing whatever he thinks is best. Most of the time, that is.

    And in my view the only difference between Matt and the revered Davy is that Davy gave better interviews. Haha.

  10. wearenationals - Aug 27, 2015 at 8:46 AM

    Nice going Nats and the other MiLB teams in Virginia…

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/nationals–several-minor-league-teams-honor-virgina-shooting-victims-003342381.html

    “In moments like these, there’s not a lot we can genuinely offer other than kindness and comfort. It’s an offer worth making, too, because even simple gestures that cost us nothing can give those grieving a reason to smile. “

  11. peewilly - Aug 27, 2015 at 8:48 AM

    The reason you swing at a 3-0 pitch is that you’re counting on getting a fastball down the middle. Escobar got one and just didn’t put a good swing on it. I don’t fault his decision, just wish he wasn’t in dead pull mode.

    • therealjohnc - Aug 27, 2015 at 3:03 PM

      Yeah, the idea on the 3-0 pitch is to pick not just a pitch, but a certain pitch in a certain spot. If it’s there, BOOMTOWN. But if the spot you pick is outer half (where the pitch was) you do NOT try to pull the ball, you just line it to RF.

  12. oldtownatsfan - Aug 27, 2015 at 9:01 AM

    Hard for me to understand why we needed to be hyper-aggressive in a situation where a fly ball to most parts of the outfield ties the game.

    Harder for me to understand what Yunel was thinking going headfirst into first base. In addition to the potential for injury, is there anyone who still believes this is a faster way to get to first than running straight through the bag? I used to hear the line about selling a bang-bang play to the ump by going in headfirst, but that doesn’t hold up anymore with replay.

    • jd - Aug 27, 2015 at 9:08 AM

      I agree, bad gamble. heck I think a squeeze would have been an OK choice in that situation. Tie the game 1st then get aggressive. Head 1st slide to 1st is ludicrous. I didn’t see the play but if he was out by inches he quite likely would have been safe if he ran through the bag at top speed.

  13. coop202 - Aug 27, 2015 at 9:09 AM

    Great example of a charmed season vs what we’ve had. Bad luck babip continues. I’ll be in the ship after its down, but man losses like this one sting for a day. Onto tonight

    • coop202 - Aug 27, 2015 at 9:10 AM

      Also I fault Escobar more for missing the fly ball and then botching the easy out on Melvin than I do the 3-0 swing.

  14. joemktg - Aug 27, 2015 at 9:21 AM

    Who has a greater propensity to hit into a DP: Escobar or Zim? I hope that was factored into the decision.

    I doubt it.

  15. nats106 - Aug 27, 2015 at 9:27 AM

    All these comments just confirm the obvious. As painfully slow as baseball is to watch and develop (which is the beauty of it) it just moves too quickly during game time for MW.

    EdBrinkman is more right than anyone else here when he said there are about 165 days until pitchers and catchers report, which will be like a gallon of Listerine to get the bad taste of the 2015 season out of my mouth.

    We should see the 2016 schedule in a couple of weeks.

  16. bowdenball - Aug 27, 2015 at 9:32 AM

    Matt Williams’ defense of the decision here is wrong and stupid and needs to be called out by the media and fans.

    Sure, you let Harper and Werth do it. And yes, that often works out well. But not only is every 3-0 situation different, but Harper and Werth are not Escobar for a number of reasons. The most prominent and obvious difference is this one- Harper and Werth don’t hit a ton of ground balls, and Escobar his ground balls all the time.

    You don’t need a stathead to tell you that if you watch the games, but since I’m already here: only 35% of Harper’s batted balls this season are ground balls. Werth checks in at 37%. Escobar? A whopping 55%. That is a MASSIVE difference not just in the likelihood of an inning-ending double play but also of the likelihood of a sacrifice fly, which are the two things you NEED to be considering in a one run game with runners on first and third and one out late.

    To remove two of the key variables- the hitters’ tendencies and the game situation- and defend the decision with something as stupid as “we let Harper and Werth do it too!” either insults the intelligence of the audience or betrays mind-boggling incompetence on Williams’ part. Usually I’d assume its the former, but having seen some of his other indefensible moves this season- for example not double-switching with Espinosa or Turner for Desmond when he brought in Fister just last night- I’m starting to think it’s might be mind-boggling incompetence.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 27, 2015 at 9:41 AM

      MIND FRICKIN MELD…. my comment on another site…

      “Sorry MW – you will not get away with saying something as stupid as ‘we do it all the time… harper does it… jayson does it.’

      Harp and Jayson are not Escobar, who HITS WAY MORE GROUND BALLS THAN THEM – CHECK THE STATS AND YOU WILL SEE…

      Had a runner on 3rd and 1 out, needed a sac fly in that situation, so you lay off all low pitches as they are ground balls…

      But another poor outing from Gio and Fister and ill played defense does it again…’

    • nats106 - Aug 27, 2015 at 9:44 AM

      + Double Play.

      And thanks for the stathead resident status. It is sorely needed to really drive home the point that I think everyone see now.

      Even after Tuesday’s win, we were exiting ahead of the crowd and Ray Knight was prepping for post game analysis. I yelled Knight for Manager 2016. He just smiled and waved. Wishful thinking……

    • peewilly - Aug 27, 2015 at 9:48 AM

      So Escobar also had a 55% chance of hitting a double-play ground ball on a 3-1 count, no? Or 3-2? The key bit of information is he swung at a good pitch to hit. It’s not like he swung at ball four and should have been standing on first. It was a sound decision, betting on getting a fastball down the middle. He just didn’t execute.

      • Hiram Hover - Aug 27, 2015 at 10:00 AM

        The key bit of information is he swung at a good pitch to hit.

        I don’t agree that was a great pitch to swing at. Yes, it’s in the zone, but it’s a sinker down and away. That is not a great pitch to try to elevate, esp for a GB prone batter.

        Maybe the next pitch is in the zone but even harder to elevate. Maybe it’s a ball. We’ll never know. But Esco had a couple of bites of the apple left to find out.

      • bowdenball - Aug 27, 2015 at 10:11 AM

        No, that’s not at all true. First, it’s a 55% chance of a ground ball, not a double play. But you also are ignoring a number of factors- most prominently the strong possibility that he could have taken a 3-1 or 3-2 pitch and drawn a walk. A walk would have loaded the bases for Zimmerman- a very hot bat who is also remarkably good at hitting sacrifice flies. It also would have moved the go-ahead run to scoring position and would have put you in position to the tie game with another walk to either Zimmerman or Desmond (assuming no double play).

        I also think you missed my point- I wasn’t actually criticizing the decision to let Escobar swing. I wasn’t a huge fan of the decision and I thought lower outside quarter of the plate was a terrible pitch to pull, but it was at least kind of a close call. I was criticizing Williams’ defense, which either insults the intelligence of the audience or shows that he’s making decisions without considering very important information. If he knew about Escobar’s ground ball tendencies and took the situation into account and he still thought it was the right move, so be it, but I see nothing in his quote that recognizes either of those key variables. It’s just “this is what we do!” That’s total garbage. Would you apply the same logic in a tie game in the bottom of the 9th with nobody out and Denard Span up? Of course not, you’d take the hitters’ abilities and the game situation into account and realize that trying to get a guy with speed but very little power on first with nobody out is the way to go. Every hitter is different, every situation is different, and a manager that only bothers to consider those variables in the most obvious situations is a terrible manager.

      • jd - Aug 27, 2015 at 10:49 AM

        bowdenball,

        The explanation was typically stupid but I also think the decision to give Esco the green light was bad and I don’t think it’s close.

        I read an interview last year with the Red Sox bench coach (Lovulo) and he said that they use analysis to determine a course of action for every situation because statistics help you determine which decision is more likely to succeed. It clearly doesn’t mean that each move will work only that it’s more likely to work than a corresponding move. I don’t advocate running a program to tell you what to do on every pitch but to ignore helpful data is foolhardy in my opinion.

      • bowdenball - Aug 27, 2015 at 10:56 AM

        Yeah, “close call” was generous. I was mostly just trying to differentiate between the decision to swing- which I agree was clearly the wrong one but I recognize that I don’t know everything and reasonable people can disagree- and the logic that apparently went into it, which was indisputably flimsy and stupid.

    • Guapo - Aug 27, 2015 at 9:53 AM

      Not every 3-0 situation is the same.

      In this case the Padres reliever was had a ton of pressure on him to throw strikes with the bases juiced, and it wasn’t like he was missing close. He was all over the place.

      There are times to swing 3-0. This was not one of them. Horrible decisions by Williams and Escobar. Bad baseball. I’d expect to see Espinosa tonight at second, Rendon to 3rd.

      • nats106 - Aug 27, 2015 at 9:55 AM

        Why did we change managers overnight? Do you really think Rendon will be playing his natural position?

        Do you really think Espinosa will get his due and be rewarded for his efforts?

        What makes you think tonight will be any different than the prior 125? If that lineup does take place it’s more a matter of “needed a day off” and then back to business as usual.

      • jd - Aug 27, 2015 at 10:09 AM

        Guapo,

        It’s not on Esco. it’s 100% on MW.

      • Guapo - Aug 27, 2015 at 10:31 AM

        Huh, I didn’t realize Wiliams inserted himself in to pinch hit. Unless is was a 3-0 hit and run, swinging was Escobar’s option, not a command. Both are on the hook for this one. On balance though this season, Escobar has been a net positive contributor to the team. Williams….probably has hurt more than helped.

      • jd - Aug 27, 2015 at 10:42 AM

        Guapo,

        That’s easy. You don’t give the hitter a green light in that situation. That’s what they pay the manager for.

    • jd - Aug 27, 2015 at 10:07 AM

      I see a lot of comments to the effect that this wasn’t the only reason the Nats lost, others including Gio pitching crap and Fister throwing grenades are valid but to be honest, the games was there to be taken in the 7th. The Pads were on their 3rd pitcher of the inning, a lefty specialist facing a lineup of righties after giving up a big hit to the lefty he was brought in to face. I feel like the Nats simply had to let the Pads hand them the game but instead they bailed them out with a boneheaded decision to allow a ground ball hitting machine to swing at a 3-0 pitch against a ground ball hitting pitcher.

      I understand that Esco may have gotten the same results on a 3 -1 or 3 – 2 pitch but he also may have walked, got a better pitch to hit, Harper may have stolen 2nd, we may have executed a squeeze etc. all better percentage moves or outcomes than the actual move chosen.

      • therealjohnc - Aug 27, 2015 at 3:06 PM

        Gio wasn’t impressive, but he didn’t get a lot of help, either. Escobar was pretty awful at 3b. In addition to the error that opened the barn door, there were three ground balls that pretty much went right by him and he and Ramos got their signals crossed on a foul popup that dropped.

    • langleyclub - Aug 27, 2015 at 10:18 AM

      Also, Harper and Werth will take a walk, meaning if you give them a green light and they don’t get their pitch; they don’t feel compelled to swing simply because of they are getting the green light. Escobar is more of free swinger.

      With that said, too myopic to blame the loss on Escobar’s 7th inning at bat.

      Gio and the Nats’ defense need to be better. It would’ve been great to win the game 7-6, but the Padres are mediocre, at best, offensive team. 5 runs should’ve been enough to win this game. Injuries have hurt, but this team, even with all their parts in place, is flawed. The defense is poor (particularly when Escobar plays 3rd and Rendon plays 2nd and Werth plays in LF); the Nats have the 4th most errors in the NL. They are 26th out of 30 among all MLB teams in defensive efficiency ratio (a metric that evaluate overall team defense). The only worse teams in DER are Phillies, Rockies, White Sox and Red Sox — they all suck and/or performed below expectations. The best team in DER is Kansas City — probably the best team in baseball. This team was never going to win as constructed; and they can’t go into next year thinking that Escobar will play 3rd and Rendon will play 2nd (or thinking that Werth can play everyday in LF). Rizzo preaches a philosophy about winning with athletes that can excel at all facets of the game, but that is not the team currently in place.

      Partially, but not entirely, because of the defense, the pitching staff has been mediocre to bad, particularly since the all-star break. In the 2nd half of the season only the Rockies, Phillies, Marlins and Braves have surrendered more runs than the Nats. The team ERA is 4.24 since the break. The Mets ERA since the break is 3.50. Simply stated, they have been the all-around better team – by far.

      It’s easy to go back to every loss and say “Well, if we had just gotten a hit here or there or if MW had used the bullpen differently, we would’ve won”, but the real story on team is told by looking at the accumulated performance. As constructed the 2015 Nats are a slightly above average team with major problem on defense, too many right-handed hitters and too many injury prone players. Would love to see a .750 finish to catch and pass the Mets, but that verges on the impossible. Bummer.

      • alexva6 - Aug 27, 2015 at 11:39 AM

        “This team was never going to win as constructed”

        you do realize Escobar was obtained to play 2nd and only shifted to 3rd because Rendon got hurt?

        you do realize Werth was learning LF this year, a process derailed by his injuries?

        you do realize that Desmond is responsible for over 30% of the errors, we’re you calling for his ouster at the beginning of the year?

        the season has been a disappointment but saying they had no chance is a stretch.

        plus your comment released the Kraken again

    • JayB - Aug 27, 2015 at 11:09 AM

      ding ding….nice to see you are finally seeing the light

  17. scnatsfan - Aug 27, 2015 at 9:57 AM

    In many ways that one at bat represented the whole season. With the Mets suddenly invincible the Fat Lady hasn’t sung but she is clearly in the building. We keep hoping until she sings her first note.

  18. peewilly - Aug 27, 2015 at 10:14 AM

    There’s valid arguments on both sides. My point is Escobar got a good pitch to hit, regardless of the count. Don’t know if this will show as an image or a link but here is the graph of Escobar’s at-bat.

    • Hiram Hover - Aug 27, 2015 at 10:34 AM

      You keep repeating that this was a good pitch to hit but haven’t explained why. I’d be curious to hear that.

      Keep in mind, it’s a sinker down and away. And more generally, this is a GB hitter (2d on the team, and top 6% among MLB hitters since 2013) facing a GB pitcher (top 7% among MLB relievers).

      I just don’t get how that screams: “Elevate Me!”

      • Section 222 - Aug 27, 2015 at 12:04 PM

        HH, I take your point that not every strike is a good pitch to hit. But while this pitch isn’t center cut, it’s not on the black either. I haven’t looked at the Brooks plot for the pitch that Zim hit for his grandslam on Tuesday, but I’ll bet it resembles this one.

    • sec112 - Aug 27, 2015 at 10:46 AM

      3-0 if you get a green light (and in these circumstances, when what the team needs, possibly to save its season, is a single run – not a big hit, I would NOT – and frankly I doubt many managers would – give a green light, particularly to Escobar), you are looking for The Perfect Pitch to hit. Not just a strike, but a hanging sinker or a straight fastball up in the zone over the middle or inside of the plate. This was not that pitch, nor was it close to that pitch. I am not an LOD poster and tend to be positive and to acknowledge the complexity of the decisions being made by the manager and players. But that was a truly horrible decision by both the manager and the player, lacking any indication of recognition of the circumstances or the players involved.

      All that said, there are numerous other things the team needed to do (and has needed to do) better. Very disappointing.

  19. thewerthwhisperer - Aug 27, 2015 at 10:53 AM

    I was there.
    I said to my companion, “he shouldn’t be swinging, but he will be”
    Count is 3-0
    Everyone is up and screaming
    Sinkerball pitcher.
    Pitcher has to come in on 3-1 just as he has to on 3-0.
    The rest is history, mystery, and Doug Fister-y.

    Not Escobar’s night – the fielding error loomed just as large.
    Gio is Gio, The Meltdown Lefty, gotta get at least one out on that play.

    Nice to dissect all this in hindsight, but if I knew from the stands that he has to take 3-0, does that make me the next manager of the Nats?

    Did BJ Upton go back to his given name Melvin because of his awful stats? Hit the ball hard last night, on the fateful grounder to Esco, and a near home run to left (or was that Tuesday night?)

  20. micksback1 - Aug 27, 2015 at 10:53 AM

    No sir not in that situation for 3 factual reasons:

    1) Padre pitcher had ZERO location and was on the ropes falling down

    2) Escobar not only leads the Nats in DP balls he is in the top 10 in the NL (I am not knocking Escobar at all, he has been great, I am knocking Williams for not factoring this in and once again failing to put his players in situations where they can be successful.

    3) Look who Nats had on deck with bases loaded and only one out and is seeing the ball very well!!
    Hello MW!!!!

    This what good managers have to know. This is not second guessing, I was watching the game with my wife and son(and my son who said at even 2-0. “You have to take, this pitcher has no LOCATION at all, make him prove he can throw a strike”

  21. zmunchkin - Aug 27, 2015 at 11:29 AM

    A classic example of misusing historical data. Yunel was at bat, not the team. So the fact that the team was 7-14 is irrelevant.

    According to the gameday data that I have downloaded, there have been 38 PAs this year by the Nats where the count was 3-0 and the PA ended on the fourth pitch. Of those, 24 were walks, leaving the 14 PAs in the 7-14 that MW refereneced. Here is the detail for those 14 PAs:

    Jayson 2-3
    Desmond 1-4 with two walks
    Lobaton 1-1 with two walks
    Danny 1-1 with a walk
    Ramos 2-2

    Uggla has one such PA and made an out.
    Bryce had 8 (more than anyone else) and made two outs and walked six times..

    Bottom line is that there is nothing in the data to suggest letting Yunel swing is a good idea. Almost 66% of the time you walk on the next pitch.

    And yes, I excluded intentional walks.

  22. JayB - Aug 27, 2015 at 11:38 AM

    MW is a major league dope….with a no fun attitude and I am better than you point of view….all bad combos for the job

    • alexva6 - Aug 27, 2015 at 11:41 AM

      on this we do not disagree

    • nats106 - Aug 27, 2015 at 11:51 AM

      I agree with JayB. and if he was a minor league manager, he’d probably be a minor league dope. However, one of Murphy’s law says you rise to your level of incompetence, so maybe he wouldn’t be a minor league dope.

      Alexva6, I’m glad you disagree, because there should be disagreement. It would an unprovocative board at best if there wasn’t a range of opinions.

  23. swvanatsfan - Aug 27, 2015 at 11:44 AM

    We do it all the time,” manager Matt Williams said. “We’re not going to change the way we play”

    Accurately sums up what is wring with this team. No wonder Ian hasn’t felt the need or pressure to change his approach at the plate. No wonder the team has played the vast majority of the without a sense of real urgency and finds itself 6 1/2 games back at the end of August. It is who they are and it is how they approach and play every game. It wouldn’t matter if this team had 161 games left to play…in the end the results would be the same as long as this attitude prevails

  24. Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 27, 2015 at 11:45 AM

    FP had already explained it, talking about Gio. The game starts to move fast, and people make poor decisions under those circumstances.

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ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

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