2012 Post-season / 2012 Reds

Nationals to rest regulars

From ESPN.com:

Nationals manager Davey Johnson plans to rest his regular players if Washington clinches the NL East — and he doesn’t care one bit what anyone else thinks.

The Nationals entered Monday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers with a magic number of six for clinching the division title. The rest of Washington’s regular-season opponents are still in the chase for wild-card berths, including the St. Louis Cardinals.

And if other clubs hope the Nationals will put their best lineup on the field against the Cardinals?

“I’m resting my regulars. End of conversation,” Johnson said.

Should the Reds and Dusty do the same now that they’ve clinched?

Does this help the Reds in their pursuit of the #1 seed? Do they want the #1 seed?

Thoughts?

29 thoughts on “Nationals to rest regulars

  1. Regarding the playoff seed, I hope the Reds either gain the #1 seed or drop to the #3 seed for the NL playoffs. That is simply absurd but that’s the stupid system implemented for this year. There is no difference between the #2 & #3 seed after the first round and I believe starting play at home as a #3 seed for a 5 game NLDS playoff is a distinct advantage for the Reds. The real benefit of the #1 seed is the potential home field advantage for the Reds in the 7 game NLCS.

    Regarding resting the regulars, that is situational. I think Votto needs playing time rather than rest to continue to refine his hitting stroke. Certainly Rolen needs to take advantage of at least some rest opportunities and I would like to see him rest 2 of the 3 games in each remaining series. Luddy MUST get his groin back to full playing capability and if he needs two series off to do that, then let him sit until the final series with the Birds. I wouldn’t mind Bruce sitting at least one game of each series to try and get him blazing hot for the playoffs and I would like to see Phillips rest for 1 game of each remaining series to get him at full go for the playoffs. I would also limit every starter to 6 innings (except Leake) and a hard ceiling of 100 pitches for the remaining 9 games. Chapman needs an inning at least every 3 games and certainly no more than 2 consecutive days pitched until the end of the regular season.

    • The Nationals entered Monday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers with a magic number of six for clinching the division title.

      There are two wildcard contending teams that virtually everyone is mentioning with some degree of concern regarding meeting in the playoffs: The Birds and Braves. The Braves are in the NL east with the Nats and the Birds are in the NL Central with the Reds. The Reds have already clinched and are spectators regarding the other races. The Nats are still at least a series and probably close to a week away from clinching.

      Has anyone noticed that this Reds team is quite good?! :P

  2. I think the replacement officials designed the playoff schedule this year. It’s crazy that the team that worked the hardest during the regular season to get the better record is not guaranteed at least 2 home games. Reds finish 1st or 2nd and could come home 0-2 having to win all 3 at home to survive. Not cool. 3rd seed is the best spot. 2nd seed is worst spot. At least as a #1 seed the WC team you play has burned their #1 starter.

  3. I’m only a believer in resting those that need it, not those that could use it. “Could” is subjective. Guys like Rolen, Hannigan & Votto need some days off. The rest of the crew? Play ‘em. Play ‘em every day. I don’t believe in resting healthy players because it can throw off their routines and swings once the playoffs arrive. You don’t ho-hum through the last 2 weeks and just flip the switch. Can you? Sure. But it comes with risks. It could very well backfire on you in a 5 game series with the 1st 2 being away, I don’t want that. I’d rather have my healthy guys in the lineup every day and rest the Rolens, Hannigans & Vottos periodically. It’s not time to relax and watch the fireflies, it’s time to step it up in preparation. That means plate discipline and focus from your best players, amongst other things. If we attain the #1 seed, great, if not, still great. I’m more concerned with seeing the Reds displaying October urgency in late September. I don’t want to hang my head on the proverbial “switch” being turned on.

  4. Go for the #1. You avoid San Fran and Washington, the two most complete teams out there. (And yes, I know that Atlanta is no cupcake. And neither are the Cardinals if they are firing on all cylinders.) Plus, if you play the Wild Card winner, like said above, they have to burn pitching in the play-in game, which helps the #1.

    That all said, if someone obviously needs rest, then I’d rest him.

  5. I’m not worried about the Giants. I’m worried about the West Coast. I don’t mind playing the Giants in the NLCS, but I wouldn’t want to play them in the NLDS.

  6. Rest only those players who legitimately need rest. Make a realistic effort win every game with whoever is playing.

    Don’t make a mockery of the game.

  7. My guess is that Dusty is a paid subscriber of the “play your best team if the other team is involved in the playoff hunt” adage. It’s more important than following the one of “bring X amount of starters on a road trip to spring training for the fans” that he always follows. I agree with what Ren said. Rolen and anyone feeling tender should rest, but otherwise, we’re only talking about a week or so here. It’s less about winning the games to me necessarily than keeping people tuned in. Take them out after 5 or 6 innings if he’d like.

  8. Fresh in Dusty’s mind is the 77 Dodgers. Dusty and one other guy (I believe it was Garvey) kept playing while the rest of the starters got a lot of rest. Come playoff time, Dusty and the other guy were the only ones who performed.

    So Dusty has a difficult problem. How do you keep guys rested and sharp at the same time?

    I don’t envy him that task.

  9. If you want to be the best team, you have to play the best teams and beat the best teams. Go for it. Go for the #1 seed. Don’t pussyfoot around, or it just might be another 3 and out playoff run. Treat the StL series as a playoff series and go for the jugular. Stomp those dirty birds into the ground. Go into the playoffs with Big Mo on your side.

  10. FYI, MLB.com has an personal article about Yonder Alonso and the trade. Of particular interest to me is the figure that shows Volquez at 1.2 WAR this season.

  11. I think one of the more important things to consider when resting players/dropping seeding position is looking at which teams are the hottest teams right now. I think it is going to be almost impossible to avoid the teams that are the hottest, which I believe means the Reds should balance resting players and seeding and hope that we get the easiest draw.

  12. @Jared: I agree with your list, and I would add Chapman and Frazier as people who could use as many days off as possible.

    I think resting tired/injured players, keeping everyone else sharp, and not worrying about our seed is the best plan. With the weird playoff schedule this year no seed seems to have an obvious advantage that would trump a well rested team.

  13. Looking at possible playoff opponents and where they rank statistically, it quickly becomes evident that the playoffs should be highly competitive. Offensively, MIL/StL/SF/ATL/CIN/WAS all rank in the top 8 for OPS. Suprisingly, Milwaukee is tops in OPS, while SF only has 95 HRs as a team (Reds have 169), dead last in the NL.
    Pitching wise, WAS/ATL/CIN are the cream of the crop, with the best starter and reliever WHIP (Milwaukee is 13th).
    Defensively, ATL/WAS/CIN all rank at or near the bottom for fielding %, but at the top for defensive efficiency rating. Weird.

    The conclusion I draw from all this is that my dream outcome would be that Washington has to play SanFran and loses, and the Brewers sneak in and beat the Braves in the play-in game, then face us. In reality, it’s probably better to face SanFran and hope Washington has a bruising 5 game series with either the Cards or Braves.

  14. @Sultan of Swaff: That is weird. I’m reading defensive efficiency vs errors as “how good your defense is” vs “how many mistakes they make.” Is that fair?

    You’d think they’d sway more or less together.

  15. I can see the same philosophy of rotating starters in and out he has tried to do all season will be more of a 4/3 split instead of a 5/2 or 6/1 in regular days/backup days.

    However, I can damn well guarantee that we will be firing on all cylinders for at least the last three games, especially if it means keeping the Cardinals out. Also one way to make sure everyone is start for the NLDS series is to give them 3-5 solid starts (one rotation) before the playoffs.

    I can see the team rolling out lineups with Didi, Phipps, Navo/Meso, Heisey, Paul, Cairo, Valdez against the Brew Crew and one or two Bucs games. But I would wholly expect to see Phillips, Cozart, Ludwick, Bruce, Stubbs, and Frazier start all of the last 4-5 and give Rolen, Votto, Hanigan, and Navarro ~2 games each.

  16. For me right now no matter whom plays whom, I still see the Nationals as the best in the National league. Even with no SS, their pitching is still very strong, they have home field advantage and one of the best managers in baseball.

  17. I hope that a lot of starters get rest in this home series, just to give St. Louis fans something to complain about. It’s getting hard to imagine the Birds not making it in at this point, so it’ll probably end up no harm done anyway.

  18. The home field advantage in the NLCS is worth something – four games, the first two games at home.

    Having the best record in baseball is also an accomplishment worth pursuing. I’d keep playing the healthy players on a pretty regular schedule.

    • The home field advantage in the NLCS is worth something – four games, the first two games at home.

      Having the best record in baseball is also an accomplishment worth pursuing. I’d keep playing the healthy players on a pretty regular schedule.

      100% agree with this. Keeping the players on a relatively normal routine with occasional rest should be the strategy from here on out. If a player looks tired, rest him, otherwise, let them get their approach ready for the postseason. I feel it is SO important to be playing very good baseball heading into the postseason.

      Then add the bonus of playing a wild card team after they have a played a game or two(tiebreaker, probably not but you never know) and it makes so much sense to go for the best record. The Nationals do have the tiebreaker so we don’t have a ton of room for error.

  19. @Jared: That big ballpark in San Diego has certainly helped him out instead of pitching in a bandbox. Good for him for having a respectable season though.

  20. Interesting Dilemma and a very nice one to have. I would prefer to err on the side of resting anyone and everyone who could use it. As long as starters are in often enough to stay sharp.I don’t think that makes the Reds non-competitive. I seem to remember just the other day when the “Louisville Bats” lineup did quite well. Better than the season average in runs scored, if I am not mistaken. Of course, “past results are no guarantee of future performance”, but the bench is not bad now with the Sept. adds. So I would be think a patchwork lineup might acquit themselves pretty well.

  21. It’s not like the Reds are going to end up playing the Astros or Cubs in the 1st round. Whether it be the Nationals, Braves, Cardinals, or Giants, it won’t be an easy series. Each opponent has a better strength and a worse weakness.

    Plain and simple, the Reds have to come to play when it’s playoff time. Attempting to decide your opponent would look dumb when they sweep you.

    • Attempting to decide your opponent would look dumb when they sweep you.

      +1000

      BTW, strong lineup tonight…

      Phillips
      Cozart
      Votto
      Frazier
      Bruce
      Heisey
      Stubbs
      Navarro
      Cueto

  22. I think Dusty being out for and extended period of time is gonna be the unknown veriable here. I believe you rest guys the same way you did this last month or so…We have 3 good series against division rivals left..No better way to get playoff ready than beating up on these guys.

  23. About Dave Johnson resting his regulars and not caring what others think, that’s nothing new. At the end of the 1999 season he was in a different situation, managing the Dodgers, who were out of it, and playing the Astros, who were fighting with the Reds and Mets over two remaining playoff spots.

    The Dodgers beat the Astros Friday nite, with Gary Sheffield driving in 5 runs or so. The Astros pitcher the next day, Jose Lima, was absolutely owned by Sheffield. Johnson allowed Sheffield to skip the final 2 games of the season.

    Kevin Brown was scheduled to pitch Sunday’s game. He was at 18 wins, just missing his 19th win in his previous start. When the chance to win 20 was gone, Brown wanted to go home. Davey told him fine. The Dodgers didn’t even have a major league replacement for Brown, as the guy in their rotation who would have replaced him was away at a funeral. So for that critical game (for the Reds and Mets), the Dodgers pitched a AAA guy making I believe his major league debut as a starter. He gave up a lot of runs in the first inning and the game was over.

    When Johnson was asked by a reporter whether the absence of Sheffield and Brown had anything to do with bad feelings he might have about the Mets and Reds. Johnson became furious and suggested they go outside to settle matters.

    BTW I like Dave Johnson, he’s a very good manager. But not in that case.

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