I was glad to see the Nats make a tough decision as the NL East competition heats up. Sending the veteran Doug Fister to the bull-pen showed in favor of keeping Joe Ross in the starting rotation is a clear sign the front office is serious about the run for the playoffs. Starting Danny Espinosa at SS the other day was a similar indication. And the move to start Robinson at first base yesterday worked well as did sending Ryan Zimmerman in the pinch-hit late in the game!
Baseball is a very fickle game, but yesterday “the gods” were smiling on the Nats:)
Yep, it is happening like it did last year. Today at 4pm UVa plays UMd in the NCAA playoffs. Virginia was victorious last year, and they went all the way to the final game in Omaha. Both teams have had up-and-down seasons, but appear to be peaking at the right time now. Starting pitchers are Mike Shawaryn (13-2) for Maryland and Connor Jones (6-2) for Virginia.
I would have to say Maryland appears likely to go farther than UVa this year. Both knocked off higher rated teams recently to get to today’s game. And Virginia lost some of their best players from last year. The best of three tournament will begin today on the U.Va. home field.
I’m still savoring the just-completed series with the Cubbies! I would not be surprised if both teams meet in October; the Cubs have improved A LOT and they are a fun team to watch, with so many young studs:) Kris Bryant grew up playing with Bryce Harper as a kid in Las Vegas and it was fun watching the 2 of them hugging in the outfield before one game and bantering back and forth during the games. Each game was a nail-biter and I think only 11 runs (total for BOTH teams) were scored in the entire series!
We got to see what a gem Mike Rizzo found in Casey Jansen. He pitches like a combination of Scherzer and Fister (in-your-face aggression, only high 80s speed and good control). And the spectacular way he fielded Dexter Fowler’s surprise bunt and threw him out at 1B was jaw-dropping. He may make us do the unthinkable and forget Tyler Clippard!
The Nats bullpen (I’ve said this before) is jelling and Mgr Matt Williams (and “Cat” too) deserves a lot of the credit for learning how to use every one of the guys from Treinen to Storen.
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.