Tag Archives: Felipe Lopez

Nationals Beast (and least) of the Week

This is tough. The Nationals have been playing some pretty bad abysmal baseball lately. But there must be one person who gets the Beast of the Week honor, and we give this week’s award to…

Elijah Dukes, OF. The man who has been so troubled off the field has found lots more trouble on the field this year, batting below the Mendoza line. But Dukes seems to be prospering in the two-hole (give credit to Manny Acta here). For the week, Elijah hit .286, .375, .571 with 5 RBI and a home run (a game-winner Thursday night against St. Louis). He certainly has a lot of upside, and any offensive production from the replacement right-fielder will be a huge boost to the team with the worst combined batting average in the majors (.231).

Runners-Up: Jesus Flores, Cristian Guzman, Saul Rivera

The Nationals least of the week is…

Jason Bergmann, RHP. We thought that Bergmann had turned the corner after a terrible start to the season, but he reverted to his old self Friday night against the Giants, giving up 5 earned runs on 10 hits in just 3 innings of work, walking 2 and striking out none. That’s a WHIP of 4.00 and an ERA of 15.00. On a team that’s not hitting, he has to be better than that.

Runners-down: Wily Mo Peña, Felipe Lopez, Luis Ayala


Nationals Beast (and least) of the Week

The Nationals Beast of the Week is…

RHP Joel Hanrahan. Joel had a phenomenal spring but suffered a rough start to the season. He’s been pitching very well of late, and had a great week for the Nationals, pitching 5.2 innings in 3 games, surrendering just one run on 3 hits, striking out 6 and walking one. His ERA for the week was 1.59, his WHIP was 0.71. Very impressive numbers for a pitcher who barely made the team in April.

Runners-Up: Lastings Milledge, Ryan Zimmerman, Luis Ayala

And the Nationals Least of the Week is…

2B Felipe Lopez. Look, it was a great story when Felipe won back his starting job at second base. But since then, he’s been extremely mediocre, to say the least. The former All Star hit .174 for the week, striking out 5 times. His OBP, extremely important for a leadoff man, was an awful .269. He doesn’t only deserve to be moved down in the lineup, he deserves to lose his starting job when Ronnie Belliard comes back from the DL.

Runners-down: Jesus Colome, Matt Chico, Dmitri Young


As a former Mota-Hater, I truly enjoyed watching Guillermo Mota blow today’s game for Milwaukee against the Washington Nationals. Mota came in for the bottom of the ninth with a 6-6 score to force extra innings in Washington. With baserunners on first and third with one out and Felipe Lopez up at the plate, Mota bounced a wild pitch allowing Elijah Dukes to score from third. I’d feel bad for the Brewers because of their awful bullpen but come on, when you sign Mota and Eric Gagne (among other mediocre relievers), you should know what you’re going to get.

-Jonathan Kraft

Postgame: Nationals 1-Mets 0

What a great pitchers’ dual today, between two very unlikely hurlers. Mike Pelfrey had a no-hitter going for 6.2, and pitched a gem (7.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO, 100 P). Jason Bergmann pitched out of his mind in his first start back with the parent club after a stint at Triple-A Columbus (7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 SO, 103 P), combining with Luis Ayala (who picked up his 11th hold of the year) and Jon Rauch (who picked up his 9th save) to shut out the lifeless Mets offense.

Aaron Boone broke through for the Nationals in the seventh, and was promptly thrown out by Ramon Castro in a bid to steal second base. Jesus Flores subsequently hit his way on base and was driven home by Felipe Lopez.

The Mets looked to rally in the ninth, but were shut down on two great defensive plays. After Carlos Beltran singled to start off the inning, Ryan Church fouled a ball out to left. Willie Harris ran the ball down and made a spectacular catch for the first out. Next up was Carlos Delgado, who lined a ball directly to Rauch, who lined the ball back to third where he caught Beltran (who was running) for the last out.

David Wright and Jose Reyes combined to go 1-8 today. Some serious problems are afoot for the Mets, who are headed to the Bronx tomorrow to face as Johan Santana squares off with Darrell Rasner in the Subway Series. If there was ever a time for the stopper, it is now. Shawn Hill and the Nationals head to Baltimore to face Garrett Olsen and the red-hot Orioles in the Battle of the Beltway tomorrow night.

Nationals Beast (and least) of the Week

Tough choice here, but 1B Nick Johnson barely beats Ryan Zimmerman for the Beast of the Week honors. Nick hit .333 for the week, with a home run and 4 RBIs. He walked 8 times, striking out only 3, for a phenomenal OBP of .565. Nick’s bat will be crucial in the Nats lineup, as the failure to drive home Felipe Lopez and Cristian Guzman has been a significant problem thus far.

Runners-Up: Ryan Zimmerman, John Lannan

The least of the week for the Nationals is LHP Mike O’Connor. Having been moved into the rotation to take the place of ineffective starter Matt Chico, O’Connor needed to establish consistency at the back end of the starting five. He failed, going just 3.1, giving up 9 runs, all earned, on 6 hits, walking 6 and striking out just one. His WHIP increases to 2.44 on the season. His ERA climbs to 13.00. Ouch.

Runners-Up: Lastings Milledge, Felipe Lopez, Luis Ayala

Should the Nats hit the FA Market?

Thomas Boswell thinks so. In today’s Washington Post, Boswell argues that the Nats have to keep up with the rest of the division by signing free agents this offseason, mentioning Orlando Hudson, Rafael Furcal, C.C. Sabathia, and Ben Sheets as possible targets.

Well first of all, scratch Sabathia right off that list, because there’s no way the Nats are getting anywhere close to C.C.

The article brings up a good point (even if Boswell is a bit delusional). The Nationals are at somewhat of a crossroads here. There is talent on this current team, but Jim Bowden’s “dream” lineup of players like Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez is more of a nightmare at this point. Sure, the Nationals are winning games right now, but if you told NL Beast that it was the starting pitching, not the core offense of Ryan Zimmerman, Nick Johnson, and Lastings Milledge that was most responsible, we’d be shocked.

It’s clear at this point that Stan Kasten‘s philosophy is to wait for the farm system to develop and then compete. There some great players coming up in the future, including Ross Detweiler, Chris Marrero, and Colin Balester, but there is no way this team is going to compete in the near future without signing free agents.

NL Beast is sick of the excuse that the Nationals don’t have the money to compete in the free agent market (Forbes ranked the Nationals as the 13th most profitable team in baseball).

With Felipe Lopez, Cristian Guzman, Wily Mo Peña, and Odalis Perez all becoming free agents after this year, it’s very possible that the starting nine will look very different next year. Or, if history has told us anything, maybe not.

Should Jose Reyes be bumped from the leadoff spot?

As I’ve written time and time again, Jose Reyes is the number one catalyst for the Mets offense. When Jose gets on base, he 1) often represents a run in scoring position (which is great unless Luis Castillo is batting next) and 2) disrupts pitchers by serving as one of the league’s most dangerous stolen base threats. The Mets’ most serious offensive problem this year, even more important than Carlos Delgado‘s lack of production, is Reyes’ failure to get on base. Here are some stats comparing Reyes to the NL East’s other leadoff hitters as ranked by On Base Percentage:

1. Hanley Ramirez: .322 BA, .591 OBP, .591 SLG, 9 SB, 19 RBI

2. Felipe Lopez: .281 BA, .349 OBP, .344 SLG, 4 SB, 12 RBI

3. Kelly Johnson: .268 BA, .333 OBP, .433 SLG, 3 SB, 10 RBI

4. Jose Reyes: .263 BA, .326 OBP, .449 SLG, 10 SB, 12 RBI

I didn’t include the Phillies because Jimmy Rollins has been injured for so much of the year. The point here is that, compared to the rest of the division, Reyes is not getting on base. And that lack of excitement on the bases is making it easy for pitchers to get around the rest of the Mets order (which is 20th in the MLB for OPS, 23rd for RBIs, 25th for HR, and 26th for BA).

But if Reyes is out, who to replace him with? How about David Wright? David’s OBP of .394 is far superior to Jose’s, and would be tied for 4th in baseball with Nate McLouth. David walks far more (23) than Jose (12), and is also a base-stealing threat. A hitter who hits well, has a great eyes and steals a lot of bases? Sounds like a leadoff hitter to me. But putting the team’s best player in the leadoff position, that would be crazy, right?  Just ask the Florida Marlins (Hanley Ramirez). Or the Orioles (Brian Roberts). Or Seattle (Ichiro). Here’s how the batting order could look, should this change ever happen: Wright, Reyes, Church, Beltran, Alou, Delgado, Schneider, Castillo. I’m not advocating making this a permanent switch; a couple weeks batting second could do wonders for Reyes. Another candidate for the leadoff spot could be Carlos Beltran, who leads the Mets in walks, and, like Wright, is also a threat on the bases. Beltran is not hitting, which could make a switch very desirable as well. If that were to happen, look for a possible batting order like this: Beltran, Reyes, Wright, Church, Alou, Delgado, Schneider, Castillo.

Out of the box? Maybe a little bit. But look at Detroit, where manager Jim Leyland just decided to totally revamp the batting order to try and get some chemistry going in his lineup. That is the kind of smart managing that wins games. Saying “Reyes will get it together” and hoping for the best does not. Would Willie ever consider this kind of switch? Don’t count on it.

-Jonathan Kraft