Both the Nats and the Os won home-field advantage for initial round of the playoffs by winning more games than anyone else in their leagues in the regular season. But both went 0-2 for those 4 home games! And most of the baseball pundits predicted both would roll over their weaker opponents who were very lucky to even be in the playoffs.
Tom Boswell, as usual, comes through today with another excellent article. As he says, “Luck and breaks prey on minds at this time of year.” And some players and teams get hot while others don’t. And it’s also interesting that Las Vegas has been betting on the teams that have been losing this year! This shows us once again that Pete Rose was betting on the wrong sport.
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
With two four-baggers in his first two major league games Zach Walters is making a statement with his bat. His pinch-hit blast in the 8th inning last night (April 16—my birthday) was the icing on the cake of the fifth come-from-behind win for the Nats of the young 2014 season. And it was a no-doubter; hitting half way up the tall foul pole! Zach explained in the after-game interview with Dan Kolko that he and the pitcher he hit it off (Mike Dunn) played on the same team in high school 🙂
I think Zach has a good chance now of sticking on the 25-man roster for a while. It doesn’t hurt that he and Matt Williams have a history going back to when both were in the Arizona Diamondback’s system.
In the “Ex-Nats News Department” I watched local guy Steve Lombardozzi (from Columbia, Md) play with the Orioles yesterday. He got a base hit and has been starting at 2B a lot this year, due to Manny Machado’s injury. Steve is hitting .298 so far.