In the Orioles 9th inning yesterday Buck Showalter came out to the mound to talk with his pitcher and the infielders. In the words of Ryan Flaherty (O’s third-baseman) what he said was “short and sweet.” Here it is: “We’re going to walk this batter, and the next guy is going to hit into a DP, and then we’re gonna go home.” Maybe the fact that Buck had never won a post-season series in three previous tries had taught him something.
Ned Yost, the manager of the K.C. Royals (who also won a three-game sweep), has been roundly criticized for ineptitude for such sins as starting Vargas on the mound in their game one. But with our 20/20 hindsight I’ve had a hard time finding fault with the way he he’s managed thus far in the post season.
I think we will see a couple of lineup changes when the Nats take on the giants today. For one, Ryan Zimmerman will likely be somewhere, most likely 1B. Jose Lobaton could be the starting catcher. Those are the only changes I’d make if I were managing.
I encourage readers to enjoy the great articles in today’s Washington Post sports section
This is the time in Spring Training (ST) for reckless prognosticators (like me for example) to just throw caution to the wind and do the impossible: predict who (when I know it’s too early for a sane person to make any predictions:) will make the 25 man roster as position player subs. First, a little math: assuming the Nats carry 12 pitchers (5 starters and a 7-man bullpen) and 8 starters at the 8 positions in the field besides the pitcher, that leaves 5 bench-warmers.
So here we go:
1. Jose Lobaton, catcher. This is a given since the team made it clear when they traded for him that they expected Jose to be the backup to Ramos. Every team has to carry a backup catcher. The Nats will have plenty more of these at Syracuse and Harrisburg, should something happen to upset the plans. Note: Jose is not impressing anyone yet with his lack of hitting!
2. Jamey Carroll, infielder extraordinaire. He reminds me of myself, low on talent and size, but a 100% “gamer.” He does all the little things very well. Also, Matt Williams knows him well (from their days together with the Diamondbacks) and clearly likes him a lot, just look at the playing time he’s getting!
3. Jeff Kobernus, OF AND (!) INF. Like Jamey except he is even more versatile in that he can hold the fort in both the infield AND the outfield. He has been hitting consistently since day one of ST.
4. Zack Walters, infielder. He played well last September and has shown me he is ready for prime time this Spring. Note: there have been several other youngsters who have shown great talent this ST but Zach (like Ryan Zimmerman several years ago) is the most “ready” of them all, with an OBP (on-base-percentage) well north of .500 at this point!
5. Nate McLouth, outfielder. Nate had a helluva comeback year with the Orioles last year. He can hit, play OF and run the bases much better than average. He would possibly be the best 4th outfielder in baseball.
Who does this leave on the outside looking in? Tyler Moore and The Danny. The Nats have been very patiently giving both many chances to make the team, but I say time has run out for both. Neither one is looking good with the bat.