Game #25 Max Scherzer has the role of stopper; Afternoon baseball!

Photo by LouAnn Solis Greene for TalkNats

Baseball has a way of spreading the luck, but skill will always set the great ones apart from the others. Over a large enough sample size the luck is supposed to even out, and in the first two dozen games this season, the luck has not seemed to bounce the Nationals way. There are reasons why the great hitters carry higher BABIP than the mediocre hitters over long careers, and the main factor is the line drive percentage. Hitting coach Kevin Long will tell you that groundballs have a .220 batting average versus hard-contact line drives at .647. When you top a groundball up the middle, your batting average is even lower and probably because the pitcher, shortstop and 2nd baseman are all in a position to field it. While exit velo is a wonderful indicator of balls hit in the air, the key is the BABIP factor and defensive positioning can always thwart hard hit balls.

Bryce Harper clearly is one of the great ones, but after facing 5 lefty starting pitchers in the last 6 games, Bryce has struggled mightily. His batting average against right-handed pitching is a strong .311 but against lefty pitchers, Bryce is struggling to a .172 batting average and overall he is only hitting .200 with runners-in-scoring-position.

By the way, for those who have been tracking their favorite Nationals’ players, Michael Taylor on the BBRef WAR is now listed as the Nationals most valuable position player ahead of Bryce Harper. Taylor is a +0.7 to Harper’s +0.6. On FanGraphs, your most valuable Nats are Harper, Adam Eaton, Turner, Anthony Rendon, Taylor, and Pedro Severino. Ryan Zimmerman has fallen back into the abyss on FanGraphs at a -0.1 WAR after he had moved to a positive WAR on Saturday. What have you done for me lately? Anyway, MAT has some bragging rights and can debate the virtues of BBRef WAR vs. FanGraphs WAR.

Today the Nationals send Max Scherzer to the mound to put an end to this 4-game losing streak. He will face Jeff Samardzija who is right-handed and Dave Martinez will pencil in a line-up featuring more left-handed batters and stacking 3 batters who will bat lefty in the #2 to #4 in the line-up.

Washington Nationals vs. San Francisco Giants
Stadium: AT&T Park, San Francisco, California
1st Pitch:  3:45 pm EDT
TV: MASN; MLB App out-of-market
Nats Radio: 106.7 The Fan and via the MLB app

Line-ups subject to change without notice:

  1. Trea Turner SS
  2. Wilmer Difo 2B
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. Matt Adams 1B
  5. Michael Taylor CF
  6. Andrew Stevenson LF
  7. Adrian Sanchez 3B
  8. Pedro Severino C
  9. Max Scherzer RHP
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