The Boz Does It Again

Tom Boswell has produced another masterpiece in today’s Washington Post.  No way will I try to compete with his portrayal of the situation the Nationals are in.  And he did leave Nats fans with a glimmer of hope in which Jason Werth reveals how the Phillies were in dire straights in 2007-8.  Check it out for yourself:)

Can the Mets still choke?  Sure, but they are gaining on the third best team in the National League right now.

Nats Notes

A footnote regarding my last article:  Boz has a great article on Stephen Strassburg in today’s Wash. Post.

Harper has more HRs in the month of May than two TEAMS:  the Phillies and Braves!

Max Scherzer’s own batting average (.200) is higher than that of all the hitters he has faced thus far in 2015 (.199).  I don’t think many pitchers can say that; maybe only Bumgarner.

Last Minute Ticket to Paradise!

A friend called me about 3pm yesterday to say he had a spare ticket to the game last night.  Luckily I took it!  I watched maybe the best game I have seen ever at Nats Park.

The big one was RZimm’s walk-off homer.  But Spann made an incredible catch on a tailing line-drive in right center.  When I saw it live i was impressed, but when I watched the replay several times it dawned on me (and I’ve been playing outfield for many years) how difficult a catch I had witnessed.  He had to catch it back-handed as it tailed towards him.  If he had dived for it he would have missed it.

And then we got to see Wilmer Difo’s first ever big-league at bat—a sharp single.  he had just been called up from AA (not AAA!).  What impressed me more than the hit though, was how nervous he made the Yankees once they saw him dancing way off first-base:)

And then the Nats bull-pen out-pitched the Yankees pen (a VERY good one).  Closer Miller had not surrendered a run all year!

And then I learned RZimm has 10–count em—walk-off homers.  That has him in rare company (Stan Musial, Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, Jim Thome).  and Zimm is only 30.

Note:  I left out the following:  Drew Storen striking out A-Rod in a key 9th inning situation was lovely.  And then later learning that since August of 2013 Storen has the third best stats of any reliever in baseball!

 

The Much Maligned Bull-pen is Coming Together!

They lost the two most dependable relievers from last year:  Clip and Stammen, so the pen took much of April to sort out new roles.  Add to that the team’s bringing in 5 guys who had never thrown a pitch in the majors!

Last night, after Strass left the game after only 3 innings, the pen threw 6 shut-out innings.  Sammy Solis efficiently breezed through 3 innings while allowing only one batter to reach base.  Whatever pitch he throws seems to miss bats with regularity.

Thornton, Barrett and Treinen completed the game with no runners crossing home-plate.  Thornton does seem to be having some command issues, but has still been pretty effective.

Drew Storen, since August of 2013, has simply been the BEST relief pitcher in the National League!  See Boswell’s article in today’s POST.

 

The Marlins?

As MLK once said, “I have a dream.”  Well, I had one last night and it wasn’t pretty:)

The Marlins ended up winning the NL East!  By only 2 games, mind you, but what a shock.  Actually I’ve had the thought in the back of my head for a couple of weeks, but refused to acknowledge it.  What happened?  The Nats offense and bull-pen ended up being the problems I predicted. Take a look at the BP’s collective ERA today, March 30.  Look at how the offense has been performing.  Yes, It’s only spring training, I know.

I think I know where Bryce Harper’s ring will be, come October:)

BTW—Tom Boswell’s article in the POST today is another gem.

Oh-oh, KC is now favored to win game 7!

Don’t miss Tom Boswell’s article in today’s Washington Post.  It is all about sabermetric’s analysis of the Royals chances of winning the World Series up to the start of last night’s game.  For the past 32 World Series, the team that goes home for the last 2 games becomes almost unbeatable!  And ten of those teams were BEHIND 3 games to 2 when they returned home.  The winning percentage for the home teams in those final 2 games is .885.  For American League teams in this group (think Kansas City) that means even more because they get to use their designated hitter

Orioles Follow Nats Lead

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.

Now that They Have Won the Division………..

First, a brief mea culpa:  I haven’t posted anything for two weeks because I had a tournament to play in (yes, Baseball!)—— in “baseball heaven”—-Cooperstown, NY.  Nine games in five days; we came in second, same as last year.

And the Nats are still winning and having a great September.  The whole yeam seems to be peaking at just the right time.  Rendon would appear to be the 2014 team MVP and is fourth in the entire National League in WAR (wins above replacement).  Four Nats have more than 80 RBIs. Drew Storen, the new “closer,” has reeled off 8 straight saves.  Span is having a career year and should win a gold glove for his incredible play in center field.  Ryan Zimmerman may be back in the lineup tonight.  And the starting pitchers,………..now ALL FIVE are pitching like they need to do for the team to get to the World Series (WS).

On the air waves and the internet an increasing number of people are including the Nats in the discussions of who has a good chance of getting to the “Fall Classic.”  Here is a link to a good article picking the Nats and Angels to get there.  If the link doesn’t work, just google “Nats and Angels by Phil Rogers” dated Sept. 18.  Also, Tom Boswell did a Sept. 17 article on how good the Nats prospects are.

Now Matt Williams has the team pushing to gain the home field advantage for the playoffs by finishing the season with the best record in the National League. At this moment they are ahead of the LA Dodgers by 1.5 games for that prize!

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 Nats 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!