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July 3, 2011 / Nat Anacostia

Nats’ June in review

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

Record:

17–10 (.630) for June – ending the month at 40–41 (.494) for the season.

Pythagorean Record:

16–11 (3.78 R/G – 3.11 RA/G). The Nats’ record in one-run games this month was 8-3.

MVP for June:

Jordan Zimmermann (3-1, 0.85 ERA, 6 G, 42-1/3 IP, 5.7 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, 0.2 HR/9, 2.61 FIP, 3.61 xFIP, 6 of 6 quality starts, 2.1 rWAR, 1.2 fWAR).

Most valuable position player:

Danny Espinosa (.274/.345/.472, 27 G, 119 PA, 5 HR, 13 R, 15 RBI, 129 wRC+, 1.2 fWAR).  As was the case in May, there’s strong competition from Michael Morse (.299/.375/.607, 170 wRC+, 1.2 fWAR), but as was the case last month, I’ll give the nod to Danny’s defense, baserunning, and clutch hitting.

Most valuable relief pitcher:

Tyler Clippard (1–0, 1.84 ERA, 12 G, 14-2/3 IP, 12.9 SO/9, 2.45 BB/9, 1.8 HR/9, 0.61 WHIP, 3.56 FIP, 2.55 xFIP, 8 shutdowns, 1 meltdown).

Best start this month:

Liván Hernández (June 15, 10–0 win over St. Louis at home, 9 inning complete game shutout, 3 H, 0 BB, 6 SO, Game score of 87).  As measured by the game score metric, Livo’s masterpiece was the best start by a Nats pitcher in the last five years.

Worst start:

Yunesky Maya (June 14, 8–6 win over St. Louis at home, 4-2/3 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO, 2 HR, Game score of 22). Although Maya was battered in his last start before being sent back down to Syracuse, the Nats’ bats and bullpen were still able to salvage a win.

Best shutdown:

Tyler Clippard (June 5, 9–4 win over Diamondbacks in Arizona). Clip came into the game after Jason Marquis had been ejected for hitting Justin Upton with a pitch. It was the bottom of the sixth, the Nats held a 1–0 lead, and there were runners on first and second with one out. Clippard proceeded to retire seven batters in a row, six of them by strikeouts, before giving up a one-run home run to Kelly Johnson and leaving with a 4–1 lead and two outs in the bottom of the eighth (WPA of .269).

Worst meltdown:

Drew Storen (June 5, 9–4 win over Diamondbacks in Arizona). Yes, it’s the same game! Storen relieved Clippard in the bottom of the eighth with a 4–1 lead, two outs, and the bases empty. He got the final out, but then came back in the bottom of the ninth and couldn’t get anyone out. After giving up two singles and two walks, he was pulled with the bases loaded, no outs, and a score of 4–2 (WPA of –.457). Todd Coffey allowed a sacrifice fly and Sean Burnett allowed the tying run to score on a fielder’s choice before getting the third out and sending the game to extra innings. The Nats came back with a big 11th inning that culminated with a Morse grand slam.

Clutch hit:

Wilson Ramos (June 21,  6–5 win over Seattle at home). They don’t get more clutch than this one. Bottom of the ninth, two outs, runners on first and second, the Nats down 5–3, and Ramos belted a walk-off homer (WPA of .913).

Choke:

Wilson Ramos (June 28, 11–5 loss to the Angels in Anaheim). With the bases loaded and one out in the top of the seventh, the Nats trailing 6 to 5, Ramos grounded into a double play (WPA of –.289).

Likely to cool off:

Jordan Zimmermann – While he’s been legitimately outstanding, his batting average on balls in play of .253 and 0.21 HR/9 during June suggest he’s also been a bit lucky.

Likely to warm up:

Jayson Werth – Batting average on balls in play of .185 for June won’t persist.

Bryce Harper watch:

Bothered by a thumb injury, in 19 games for the Class A Hagerstown Suns, Bryce Harper hit .258/.402/.439 with 3 home runs.

This date will live in Nationals infamy:

June 23 – With the Nats moving above .500 for the first time in six years, winning their 11th of 12 games with a walk-off sacrifice fly, manager Jim Riggleman stunned the baseball community with his announcement that he was “too old to be disrepected.” Mike Rizzo respectfully accepted his resignation.

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