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Game # 5 vs. Nationals 6:05 CST

In tradition with the family plan, all that, all that


Livan Hernandez   Roy Oswalt
0 - 1, 4.50    1 - 0, 0.00

OK, which one doesn't belong?

National League Walk Leaders Coming into Saturday's games
Todd Helton, COL 11 5 7 .455 .818 1.485
Morgan Ensberg, HOU 10 2 6 .200 .200 .700
Scott Hatteberg, CIN 6 2 5 .333 .833 1.470
Carlos Lee, MIL 11 5 5 .455 1.091 1.716
Marcus Giles , ATL 19 6 5 .316 .421 .879
Conor Jackson, ARI 9 4 5 .444 .444 1.087
Jeremy Hermida, FLA 13 4 5 .308 .385 .885

In case you were having trouble answering, I went ahead and highlighted what I think is the correct answer. All the sabermetricians bemoan the quote unquote small sample size as if it were the Sidney Poitier coming to their statistical dinner. It makes them very uncomfortable.

I have no idea why they feel that way. I love the small sample size. All kinds of beautiful, weird, and impossible-to-sustain things can be seen under the Small Sample Size microscope.

Take the table above that illuminates the contrast between Ensberg's current ability to take a walk and inability do anything else offensively.

Do me a favor: if in June you see a guy in the top five in NL walks slugging .200, drop me a quick line if you could. Because it'd be time to stop the presses and rewrite the book. Now, however, it's nothing but a curiosity. I can't help calling attention to it in my own smarmy way, but I know it is significant of nothing. Ensberg's game has always flowed from his usually sharp discipline. When he gets in one of his funks where he has trouble determining location, it wrecks him, and he's good for absolutely nothing until he gets his eye back.

But Ensberg is obviously seeing the ball well, and I know that the hits--and the slugging numbers--shall return soon.

Speaking of stats, I'm pretty sure though not positive that after Carlos Lee's 3 total bases today in his four at bats, our own Lance Berkman now leads the NL in OPS at 1.654. Carlos drops to number two at 1.619 and his long lost brother Derrek is third at 1.611. I remain hopeful that Lance's early season numbers prove to be very significant.

Anyway, Roy Oz goes for victory number two in his 2006 Cy Young campaign tonight. As you may know, Roy is one of only five qualifying NL pitchers with a 0.00 ERA, and has pitched the most innings of those five. Eight innings might have seemed like a long outing on Opening Day, but of course he threw only the 91 pitches getting there. I'd imagine Roy might throw a few more pitches tonight, which if things go good could mean the complete game.

I think the harbingers for Roy's success tonight are very positive. He's coming off the dominant and economical start, in which he had some success with the adjustments he's made to the curve that bedeviled him at times last season, plus, the team he's facing has just not been very good at all against him historically.

Those Nationals who have faced Oswalt are a combined 19 for 107 against him with a .415 OPS. Vidro, however, has had some mild success against the wolverine from Weir*, hitting .357 in 14 at bats with a triple. Brian Schneider is 4 for 6 against Oswalt with a double.

For our part, Biggio has a .960 OPS lifetime against Hernandez, while Berkman and Wilson both are also over .900 OPS against Livan in 20 at bats. Ausmus is 7 for 22 with 2 doubles and a triple(!) against him. Lane, unfortunately, is 0 for 3 against the Nationals' workhorse.

*"Wolverine from Weir" I like that, if I do say so myself. Old-timey, kinda.