Good afternoon/evening from Nationals Park, where the Nationals start a five-game homestand with two games against the New York Mets. Just a couple notes from manager Jim Riggleman’s press conference:
--Riggleman said he wouldn’t used the word “concerned” when it comes to reliever Tyler Clippard’s recent performances. He said Clippard’s fastball command will sometimes waver because of his convoluted delivery, but isn’t worried about Clippard in the long-term..
--He said Nyjer Morgan, who’s struggled recently at the plate and most of the season against left-handers, wouldn’t sit more against lefties, because then Roger Bernadina, who also has trouble with lefties, would have to play there. “I want him to play 140 games, 145 games this year,” Riggleman said. “If it’s against a left-hander, that’s the way it’ll work out. He was really making some progress against left-handed pitching, and he’s struggled a little bit here lately. The bunt will probably have to be a weapon against him against left-handers. We’ll find days for him, period, but it can be tough to do that.”
--The Nationals scored just 10 runs in their last five games, all losses, but Riggleman said their inability to produce with runners in scoring position is a universal frustration around the game. “Every press conference like we’re having right now, people are saying that. I think every club feels like, ‘We’re not driving in runs,’” he said. “I don’t have any numbers to back it up, but I’d guess we’re probably just like everybody else. We just played the Cardinals. I was talking to some people over there, and they were like, ‘We just can’t drive in a run.’ That’s a good ballclub over there...At the end of the year, everybody’s probably going to be about the same getting them in...You have some ups and downs, and we’ve just got to get it turned around.” The best way I can come up with to measure it is FanGraphs’ clutch stat, which measures how teams do in high-leverage situations vs. low-leverage situations. The Nationals are 11th in the National League in the category.
Dinner now, live thread in a little bit.