Nats Enter “new” Territory

According to whom?  Well, how about yours truly and little Tommy Boswell?

The Nats 14-inning winner Wed. night made me a believer, and apparently I’m not the only one.  Boswell is the best BASEBALL analyst I have ever encountered.  And rather than writing a long article explaining why I finally do think the Nats have a chance to get to the World Series, I encourage readers to google his article in today’s Wash. Post.

For starters, Manager Matt used 26 players in that watershed game, and did NOT MAKE even ONE Mistake.  Some might quibble about bringing Soriano in for the 9th inning, or leaving him in a couple of batters too long, but he is the closer we are stuck with for better or worse.

Second, all the Nats are peaking at the right time in a long-tough season.  And all the new players are doing what they have been hired to do.  Even Strass!

Enjoy the rest of a great season!

YES, The Nasts can Beat the Good Teams!

They are 15-11 now against the National League’s pennant contenders.  They just won series against the Dodgers and Mariners.  Last night’s game was their absolute best of 2014.  Came from behind THREE times!  Adam LaRoach came off the trainer’s table in the 9th inning and proceeded to carry his team on his aching back!!

I won’t bother recounting all the twists and turns, but I wish the playoffs werre starting TODAY!  Readers very likely know most of the details, but I recommend Tom Boswell’s piece in the Wash. Post today, as well as Mark Zuckerman’s thing in Nats Insider.

As I left the restaurant with my 51/2 yr old grandson and his grandmother, Jason Werth was dropping the fly ball in the 9th inning.  For the next 21/2 hours I was glued to an FM radio in the grips of a game I will not forget!

Where Are the Nats as of Sept. 1?

The Nats look (to me) poised to get into October in pretty good shape.  But I would not bet the farm on them getting to the World Series:)

Manager Matt did a great job of managing last night (Sept. 1).  The best move of all was bringing Thornton in to rescue Storen.  He has been showing a tendency to switch pitchers quicker recently; GOOD!

The guys are looking (as a team) ready for the necessary Sept/Oct. “push.”  Span, Gio, Strass, Werth, Harper, Rendon, Cabrera, Lobaton and Ramos have been stepping up their production recently.  The good teams do that.

The team brought up 6 players for the “Sept. Call-up.”  The best of those moves was getting Barrett and Cedeno for the bullpen.  They had been trying to rest Barrett in Syracuse and they accomplished that.  Hopefully he is ready for what is ahead; he could very well be the additional “stopper” the Nats need.  Cedeno is another lefty weapon in their pen.  No team has enough of those.  I used to be one myself:)

Us fans need to hang onto being positive, no matter how hard that is!

Ranking the Nats Starting Pitchers (again)

Back in June I ranked the starterslike this:  Fister, Roark, Zimmermann, Strass, Gonzales.  Today I came across an article that took a different slant on this and ranked them this way FOR THE PLAYOFFS:  Zimmermann, Fister, Strasburg, Gonzales, Roark.  Very surprising!  Rather than re-create the article, here is where to find it: http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/92089982 and the author is Anthony Castrovince.  Easiest way to find it is to google the author and the date of the article: August 30.

I’ll give you a hint as to why he ranks Roark 5th; he has already reached his career maximum innings workload of 159 1/3 innings.  Castrovince makes a strong case that with a month to go before the playoffs, it is a serious stretch to expect Roark to maintain his impressive stuff and stamina into the playoffs.  Check it out.

Nats Infield Ranked Best in Baseball

Today MLB radio (‘Inside Pitch’ moderated by Jim Bowden and Casey Stern) ranked the Nats infield of LaRoche, Cabrera, Desmond and Rendon the game’s best.  Some might remember Bowden used to be the Nats GM a few years ago.   The Dodgers, Braves and Cardinals infields were also in the conversation.

Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees pitcher, is flying back to New York today after the team said he had “general arm discomfort.”   This could signal serious problems,  since Tanaka has been shut down for several weeks with an elbow injury that usually ends up with Tommy John surgery.  He began doing some throwing recently so presummably that is what has caused the team to take this action.

Nats Undone by Faulty Replay Calls

Last night two replay calls went against the Nats.  Both were correctly called by the onfield CREW CHIEF at 1B, Gary Cedarstrom, and then overturned by questionable analysis of the video replays.  For a call to be overturned the videos must have convincing evidence that the original call was faulty.  In NEITHER case was the evidence convincing!  I saw the replays, as did FP and Carp.  All 3 of us were shocked at both overturned calls!  If the first replay had gone the Nats way, the Phillies would not have been allowed to contest the second one, and the Nats would have won the game!

Huge bummer.

 

Read My Lips!

I have said this several times in several posts:  Stephen Strassburg should not start a game in the playoffs.  Why?  Because he cannot command his fastball consistently.  If you don’t believe me, then take a gander at Tom Boswell’s article on the subject in today’s Post.  Anyone who watched Strass pitch yesterday should understand what I’m talking about.

Fastball commands determines the effectiveness of all a starting pitcher’s repertoire of pitches.  Strass has had this inconsistency his whole life; I watched him pitch in college.  He gets hammered when he can’t spot his fastball, over, over and over again.

OK, one more time for Nats fans:  Strass should not be used as a starter in the playoffs.  Fister, Roark and Zimmerman should be the starters.

 

Mo’ne Davis–A Comment:)

As the still very proud father of two former baseball players, one a girl and the other a boy, I feel compelled (for numerous reasons!) to say something about Mo’ne Davis.  First, I wish her and her  parents all the best, I’ve been “there.”  I have watched her play baseball in the Little League World Series.  She and her teammates did very well for themselves and I can see the team coaches have done a great job.  I could see she was tired the other night, and knowing how much “media-pressure” she has been subjected to recently, I felt A LOT of compassion for her.  Most of all I wish Sports Illustrated had NOT put her on its cover—that has always portended a rough future for the athlete (just ask Bryce Harper!).

I hope Mo’ne does well in high school, both athletically and academically.  And I hope she actually does achieve her dream of playing basketball at UConn:)  I have many relatives up in Connecticut and all of them (as well as yours truly) are rabid UConn fans!

Sally Jenkins has written a good article in the 8/23 Washington Post on ‘The Mo’ne Story.’

Yes, this blog is focused on the Wash. Nationals, but I wanted to include the above:)

Soriano Comes Through in the Clutch!

MLB: Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals

Raphael Soriano came on in the 9th inning last night (8/20) to a tie game, after a few days well-earned rest.  He pitched a 1,2,3 inning looking rested and his slider was back!  He had good control again and the slider was beaking down as sharply as I’ve ever seen it.  He obviously had worked on it since his recent troubles.

He came in again tonight.  Pitched almost as well as he did last night, though his slider was not as good.  They won again in a walk-off so Sori was the winning pitcher again!

I would not use him in more than two consecutive games.

Get Ready for the Babe Ruth Tap Dance

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Manager Matt long ago challenged the team to win 10 in a row. If they do he promised to do a Ruth impersonation:) I’m looking forward to seeing this happen today, but first Gio has to pitch like he wants to win. THAT MEANS HE HAS TO DO WHAT GOOD PLAYERS DO——quiet their mind and body and focus on making good pitches (and NOTHING else)!

I have to eat my words on Asdrubal Cabrera, since coming to the Nats he has shown me he can step up his game to where his new team is right now—-trying to get to the World Series. With his becoming a free agent at the end of this season, Rizzo will have to figure out how to make him an offer he can’t refuse, going forward. He and Desi have blended beautifully as they cover the middle infield, making some of the best DPs I have ever seen.

Stephen Strassburg did what the team needed on Tuesday August 19, he went deep into the game, pitching 8 innings and giving the Nats a gift. I hope he learned from the experience. If I were managing the Nats, that game might have me considering giving him a start in the post-season. My inclination would still be to just use the “big three”—-Fister, Roark, JZimm as the playoff starters.