Livan Hernandez gave up five runs in the first inning last night as the Nationals lost to the Mets, 5-1. That got us to thinking about all the times Hernandez seems to have started out badly in games this year. And, sure enough, Hernandez seems to have a lot of trouble early in games. Hitters have an OPS of .904 in the first fifteen pitches of a game this year. But Livan improves dramatically from there: hitters have an OPS against him of .692 and .625 over the 16th-30th and 31st-45th pitches, respectively. The OPS against Hernandez doesn't rise above .750 until he gets to the 106th pitch. So, as Ned Ryerson said in "Groundhog Day," "watch that first step, it's a doozy!"
The other notable thing about last night's game--other than Tony Blanco's pathetic defense--was Ryan Zimmerman's 2-3 night against Tom Glavine (he was 3-4 overall). This guy is for real and, as we said about Rick Short yesterday, looks very comfortable at the plate against the league's top pitchers. The team is playing him at short, so maybe the Nationals can have a strong bat at that position next year. Through it all, though, Frank Robinson doesn't appear very enthused. Here's a quote from Les Carpenter's story:
"What is this? The daily Zimmerman report?" he asked sarcastically, then paused looking for his first one-liner of the day. "He's a first-ballot Hall of Famer," Robinson said.
As we said last week, Robinson doesn't have the right temperament for this team going forward.