Mike MacDougal Continues to Collect Saves, Baffle Physicists

Matt KellerContributor IIJuly 26, 2009

NEW YORK - JUNE 18:  Mike MacDougal #54  of the Washington Nationals celebrates a 3-0 win against the New York Yankees on June 18, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx Borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

We all know that the Nationals are bad. They're '03 Tigers bad.

Now, by no means should we expect them to have an effective bullpen. However, at the very rear of the run down D.C. bound bus full of retreads and unpolished youngsters we find a surprisingly successful Mike MacDougal, Nationals closer du-jour. He's a perfect 6/6 in save opportunities, but that shouldn't be possible with a BB/9 of 8.14, while only striking out just over four batters per nine innings.

This man has walked 22 men in 24 innings, with 24 hits to his record with only 11 strikeouts. Now, this man has a fairly dominating two seam fastball, with pretty stupid movement on it. But if there is one thing that has been shown from his career in the bigs, it's that he's incapable of throwing strikes with any consistency, and hitters have seemingly taken note as batters are swinging at only 57% percent of offerings that actually find their way into the strike zone, compared to a 65.7% MLB average, and when it's out of the zone, batters only remove the lumber from their shoulder 20% of the time, 5% below league average. Hell, batters are only swinging at 37% of his pitches being thrown in general, which is about 8% below average. I think this is one part that's helping him 'succeed' at the moment. Batters are being patient to a fault with Mac, and are kind of helping him out. 

When the batters decide to brush off the cobwebs, they're not making much in the way of solid contact. A 16.5% line drive rate, and they're pounding the ball into the dirt with a ground ball clip of 60%, and all of this really points to one thing: MacDougal's fastball really is dominating. 

Keep on doing what you're doing Mike. That heater is electric and God help you if they ever figure it out.