Friday, May 15, 2009

Survey says...

I could post mountains of spreadsheet data as evidence, but the Nationals bullpen issues can be explained succinctly. Their right-handed pitchers have been cloned from mediocrity.

Hanrahan's velocity is down into the 93-94 range, which gives the Nationals several decent right arms in the bullpen, with Mock, Wells, and even Kensing. Forget about Tavarez. He is essentially finished as a pitcher. The problem with those four guys is that they all throw in that low 90s range, they all have similar release points and stuff, and none can really intimidate right-handed batters. Hanrahan had it last year, but he's a little off. Opponents know they can keep their righty bats in the lineup because the Nats do not have a shutdown guy. Beimel can break the lefties, and Villone has a history of being downright filthy on lefties, but until the Nats can mix up their right-handed options, opponents will continue to tee off in the later innings. Steve Shell doesn't change the equation, even though he is more of a 3/4 delivery because he doesn't throw 90+, and Saul Rivera, while a good change of pace guy in the past, has been awful this year.

I cannot believe I am writing this, but Mike MacDougal, if his arm is healthy and his fastball is sitting at 96, might be exactly what they need.

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