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June 2, 2011 / Nat Anacostia

Nats’ May in review

Except where noted, all statistics are for the month of May only.

Record:

11–17 (.393) for May – falling to 23–31 (.426) for the season.

Pythagorean Record:

14–14 (4.07 R/G – 4.21 RA/G). The Nats’ record in one-run games this month was 3-9.

MVP for May:

Danny Espinosa (.207/.305/.543, 28 G, 106 PA, 8 HR, 15 R, 18 RBI, 135 wRC+, 1.2 fWAR).  It seems kind of weird for the most valuable player to have hit .207 for the month. Based on hitting alone, Michael Morse (.403/.422/.774) would be the obvious choice, but considering Espinosa’s superior defense at second base and advantages in playing time and baserunning, I agree with fangraphs WAR that Espinosa was the most valuable player.

Most valuable starting pitcher:

Jordan Zimmermann (1-2, 3.23 ERA, 5 G, 30-2/3 IP, 8.8 K/9, 2.35 BB/9, 0.6 HR/9, 2.61 FIP, 3.38 xFIP, 5 of 5 quality starts). Despite the losing record, he’s really the only viable candidate this month.

Most valuable relief pitcher:

Todd Coffey (0–0, 0.61 ERA, 13 G, 14-2/3 IP, 9.8 SO/9, 0.6 BB/9, 0.6 HR/9, 0.61 WHIP, 1.85 FIP, 1.98 xFIP). He had better numbers than Drew Storen. My only qualm about naming him most valuable reliever is that he mostly pitched in low leverage situations. Maybe Jim Riggleman should change that.

Best start this month:

Tom Gorzelanny (May 2, 2–0 win over San Francisco at home, 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO, Game score of 80).

Worst start:

John Lannan (May 5, 7–3 loss at Philadelphia, 2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, Game score of 18).

Best shutdown:

Drew Storen (May 13, 6–5 loss to Florida at home). Storen entered in the top of the ninth of a 5 to 5 tie. He retired six batters in a row, three of them by strikeouts, before he was lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the tenth. Brian Broderick gave up the winning run to the Marlins in the top of the 11th, in his final appearance with the Nats. Storen’s win probability added was .264.

Worst meltdown:

Henry Rodriguez (May 24, 7–6 loss in Milwaukee). Rodriguez came in with one out in the bottom of the eighth with the Nats ahead 6–5. He gave up a single, a walk, struck out a batter, then gave up another single that scored two runs, before getting the third out on strikes (WPA of –.576).

Clutch hit:

Alex Cora (May 11,  7–3 win in Atlanta). Cora came to bat facing Craig Kimbrel with one out in the top of the ninth, the Nats behind 3 to 1, and the bases loaded. He hit a ground ball single that scored two runs to tie the game (WPA of .445). The Nats added four runs in the 11th (including one scored by Cora) to win the game.

Choke:

Wilson Ramos (May 13, 6–5 loss to Florida at home). With runners on first and second and no outs in the top of the eighth, the Nats behind 5 to 4, Ramos grounded into a double play (WPA of –.266). The Nats tied it on a double by Laynce Nix, but lost it in the 11th.

Likely to cool off:

Michael Morse – Batting average on balls in play of .442 during May. Todd Coffey won’t maintain a 0.61 WHIP.

Likely to warm up:

Wilson Ramos – Batting average on balls in play of .179 for May – he’ll improve.

Bryce Harper watch:

During May, in 29 games for the Class A Hagerstown Suns, Harper hit .330/.409/.536 with 5 home runs and 8 doubles.

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