The Nationals will wrap up a three-game homestand this afternoon against Braves right-hander Tim Hudson — the third right-handed pitcher in a row they’ve seen. Get used to it. The Nationals are not scheduled to face a left-handed pitcher until Sunday, April 10 against the Mets and Chris Capuano.
One thing the Nationals have excelled at in the season’s first two games is driving up opposing pitcher’s counts. They forced Derek Lowe to throw 105 pitches in 5 2/3 innings on Thursday and Tommy Hanson needed 68 pitches in just 3 2/3 on Saturday, so it’s something to keep an eye on again today against Hudson.
Here are the Nationals’ career numbers vs. Hudson. (A reminder, this is only the projected lineup.)
Ian Desmond: .235 AVG in 17 at-bats, 2 BB, .316 OBP, .235 SLG, 3 Ks
Jayson Werth: .350 AVG in 20 at-bats, 2 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB, .381 OBP, .600 SLG, 3 Ks
Ryan Zimmerman: .206 AVG in 34 at-bats, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 BB, .250 OBP, .235 SLG, 6 Ks
Adam LaRoche: .222 AVG in 9 at-bats, .222 OBP, .222 SLG, 1 K
Michael Morse: .400 AVG in 10 at-bats, 1 RBI, 1 BB, .455 OBP, .400 SLG, 1 K
Rick Ankiel: .500 AVG in 6 at-bats, 1 RBI, .500 OBP, .500 SLG
Danny Espinosa: 0-for-3 in 3 at-bats, 1 BB (intentional), .250 OBP
Ivan Rodriguez: .444 AVG in 36 at-bats, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 4 BB, .500 OBP, .694 SLG, 2 K
Jordan Zimmermann: .500 AVG in 2 at-bats (1-for-2)
Jerry Hairston Jr: .211 AVG in 19 at-bats, 1 2B, .211 OBP, .263 SLG, 2 Ks
Wilson Ramos: Never faced
— It should be a nicer (or at least sunnier) day at the ballpark today, so enjoy the game.
I’ll leave you with this somewhat prophetic quote from Jayson Werth about Rick Ankiel who, you’ll notice, has a .500 average in six at-bats against Hudson and hit both a two-run homer yesterday and a suicide squeeze.
“Look at the guy, he’s awesome,” Werth said “What other player other than Babe Ruth, that I can think of, played both ways — pitched and was a successful hitter? I can’t think of any other than those two.
“I think he’s one of the purest athletes in the game and he’s been through a lot. I was in St. Louis the game that he caught the ball, stumbled and ran face first into the wall and for people who have seen that play, to live through that experience says a lot, but to recover and still be a formidable player in the big leagues? I think that speaks a little bit to his athleticism and his overall talent.
“He is and will be a big part of our team this year.”
Ankiel escaped that 2009 wall collision without any serious injuries, though he was carted off the field with his head and neck immobilized.
“I thought that might be it,” he said after the incident. “When you don’t get a chance to put up your hands to protect yourself, I’m lucky to be walking today. Antyhing from here is a plus.”