We're Not Dead Yet
The title refers to this blog, not the Nationals, unfortunately. The 2006 season is very much dead, and I didn't want to wait until October to do the autopsy. Apparently we had the best OBP of any team for July, and we've been enjoying the offensive exploits of our new cornerstone LF all year, so a defective pitching staff clearly killed this patient. I went looking through the Hardball Times Win Shares database to see where it all went wrong.
Below is a list of pitchers from 2005 that had non-zero pitching Win Shares for the Nats, the first number listed. The next number is their pitching Win Shares (for the Nats) for 2006. For guys who went to other teams I tried to fill in a new guy for 2006 who is comparable. The color scheme is Red means lost pitching value, Green means gained pitching value and Yellow means a wash.
Loaiza____12.6/0 (Ortiz 4.5)
Carrasco__9.8/0 (Astacio 0.3)
Ayala_____7.2/0 (Bray 1.4)
Ohka______3.7/0 (O'Connor 3.1)
Bergmann__2.0/0 (Bowie 1.3)
Rasner____0.3/0 (Hill 1.3)
Conclusions: Basically the workhorses of our starting staff last year completely deserted us this year -- Patterson to injury, Livan to suckiness, and Loaiza to the A's, replaced meekly by Ortiz. Chief's value is down but mostly due to opportunity, I guess, and by the end of the year will probably be close to a wash. We never replaced Carrasco and Ayala. Rauch and Armas improved, but only slightly, and the green at the bottom is a bit misleading, as all of those numbers are so small to be immaterial.
It is probably impossible for a team to essentially lose its starting rotation and expect to win. Perhaps that will make some feel better.