Brian Broderick.jpg

Well, now that was as
short-lived as a Lindsay Lohan (oh excuse me, Lindsay) rehab stint. For two
games, one could claim the Nationals were playing good defense and the bullpen
was rock solid. Not so much anymore after yesterday’s 11-2 implosion against
the Braves.

Although the
Nationals never really threatened much offensively against Tim Hudson, you
could easily argue that going into the top of the seventh only down 3-1, the
Nationals were still in the game. Then Nationals starting pitcher Jordan
Zimmermann left the game and the Lindsay groupies took over. Eight runs and two
innings later, the game, once close, turned to a rout.

That Brian Broderick
(who was making his major league debut) and Chad Gaudin (who has appeared
generally miserable in over 200 games) were less than stellar hardly shocks the
system. But for the Nationals to have a reliable bullpen this year beyond
Burnett, Clippard, and Storen (who should find his way there quickly), the team
can’t have Todd Coffey and their second left-hander Doug Slaten pitching like
they did yesterday.

With a career xFIP*
of 3.93, I don’t worry too much about Coffey. But with a career xFIP of 4.74, I
think Slaten’s 3.10 ERA last year was a bit lucky. If that’s true, the
Nationals may be playing with only one reliable lefty out of their bullpen, a
position that will cost them games down the road. 

Game 3 Natties

Game Ball: Tim Hudson. Dominated for seven
innings, as the Nationals could only stand at the plate and eek out soft ground
balls and harmless pop ups. 

Goat: The Nationals bullpen. Coffey, Slaten,
Broderick, and Gaudin turned a relatively close game into a rout. Unless you
have a bookie problem, that’s not supposed to happen.

Bryce Harper is a ways off: Jordan Zimmermann. Kept a solid
performance together for six innings without his best stuff.

Current Record: 1-2

*xFIP: Expected
Fielding Independent Pitching. It measures what a pitcher’s ERA should have
looked like over a give time period, assuming that performance on balls in
play, timing, and home run rate were league average.

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