On June 21st, I had the pleasure of sitting down and interviewing Dave Jageler. You might know him from the Nationals radio broadcasts on 106.7 The Fan or player interviews at occasions such as NatsFest. He had a lot of interesting things to say and knows lots about the Nats, and is also a pretty funny guy. So without any further ado…
As Strasburg dealt like an ace on thursday, striking out twelve and giving up one run over 6.2 innings, the Nats finally backed him up with a win, adding on to Werth’s early inning home run with a Harper walk with the bases loaded, to load them up once again for Desmond, who immediately teed off and gave the Nationals their second grand slam in two nights. (Just some perspective, it took them nearly three months longer to get one grand slam in 2013.)
But last night’s game shouldn’t be why fans with Curly W’s on their caps should be excited. On Wednesday, they didn’t have the ace of the 2013 season, Zimmermann. They had some odd replica of him, who didn’t have his A-game – or his C-game, and was hit early, giving up five runs in less than three innings. The bullpen came in, dominated the Marlins to one run over the next seven innings, and slowly, but surely, the Nats chipped away. After Harper’s moonshot that was fair by about seven inches, singles and sacrifices brought the Nats to a tie game by the eighth inning. And sure enough, the comeback kids did it once again, loading up the bases so Werth could send a home run into the Marlins’ bullpen, a type of home run he last hit in that Game 4 of the NLDS.
Comebacks have begun to become a staple of this season. But as the Braves continue to plague the Nats, the question remains, will the Nationals be able to come back and win against the Braves?
The signals are mixed. They’ve been the rally boys in the first and third series of the year, but the Braves gave them trouble last time. We’ll wait and see, starting tonight, but it’s not an option to not bring this atmosphere to Turner Field… or there’s no division title in D.C.
This is a tale of two Tommy John surgeries.
Within fifteen days of each other, both Stephen Strasburg and Kris Medlen tore their UCL, requiring baseball’s most dreaded and talked about surgery – Tommy John. The two promising prospects returned in September 2011. This is where the stories differentiate.
In March of 2012, it was announced that no matter what, Stephen Strasburg would be shut down after pitching a certain amount of innings. Kris Medlen would start the season in the bullpen, and then become a starter in July.
Kris Medlen had a good start, but began his domination of the National League as a starter. He completely dominated the Nationals throughout the entire season, and for that matter, the National League. But Medlen’s start in the NL Wild Card game proved ineffective as the Braves lost the “infield fly” game.
Strasburg had a very good season also, not as dominant as Medlen, but really showing what he would be like in the future. However, as the shutdown loomed, he began to stop producing, and finished early. Strasburg did not play in the playoffs at all, as Rizzo knew it would be better for the overall future, even though the Nats lost in game five, and many people said the opposite, and that if Strasburg had pitched in the NLDS, it might’ve been a different story.
After both posted a good, but not as good follow up year, the two promising prospects entered this year’s Spring Training with high hopes for division titles and great seasons.
Both started this year’s spring training hot. However, one sunny March afternoon, after delivering a pitch, Medlen grimaced, and jogged off the mound. It was later announced he was likely to get a second Tommy John Surgery.
Six days later, Strasburg matched up against Josè Fernandez and the Marlins, giving up two hits over four innings, completely dominating them.
Even though it was a meaningless Spring Training Game, it showed what road Medlen could be on right now – and that two years later, it’s clear that Mike Rizzo made the right move.
I am self-admittedly a mess without baseball. So as the winter meetings end, we begin to reach the mid point of the offseason, with only 2 months until pitchers and catchers report, or roughly, at least. That’s kind of a long time. However, it doesn’t mean we can look at some teams this offseason that have stood out, in a good or bad way.
Top prospect from a great team? Check. Stealing a closer for not that much? Check. Great people and bench players? Check. Oakland has had a well rounded and not-too big offseason, which is exactly what a team in their position needs.
Boston Red Sox
Jacoby who? That’s what Ben Cherington is hoping he got right this offseason. Instead of re-signing the official spark plug and All-Star Jacoby Ellsbury, he went with the in house option – Jackie Bradley Jr. He (Jackie) has shown spots of talent, but not held a consistent spot on a Major League Roster. However, they made a few key additions themselves, signing A.J. Pierzynski and Edward Mujica while letting Jarrod Saltalamacchia go, who was good but never what the Red Sox expected him to be. They also re-signed official beard-man Mike Napoli.
What do you do when you don’t have that much to do? Fill in the blanks. While last year, Denard Span and Dan Haren were supposed to fix all the problems, they clubhouse guys like Mark DeRosa walk, and when he left, the Nats clubhouse kind of fell apart. Clubhouse man Nate McLouth will hopefully fix the problem Mark Derosa left, Doug Fister, a just overall great pitcher came for very little and one of the left handed relievers that were missing from last year’s flop season has come on, Jerry Blevins. The only two things they need to do now? Extend Ian Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann, and get Eric O’Flaherty.
San Fransisco Giants
It’s an even numbered year, and you know what that means… the Giants are going to be a contender. Okay, maybe not. But they have gotten another great starter in Tim Hudson, and another great clubhouse man the Nats let walk, Michael Morse, plus re-signing key players like Vogelsong and LIncecum.
New York Mets
Unfortunately, a 40 year old veteran does not replace the next big thing in pitching. With Matt Harvey out for next season, Bartolo Colon was brought in to be the front(?!) of the staff. While they stole a great center fielder from their cross-town rivals, this just wasn’t the year to do it. Another two years until the Mets contend for the NL East, minimum.
I know what you’re thinking. Cano. Hart. Yeah, that’s not really enough. Let’s look back at history. 2012 Miami Marlins: Fail. 2012 Los Angeles Angels: Flop. 2013 Toronto Blue Jays: No chance. 2013 Los Angeles Angels: Still a flop. You can’t buy a championship with big name free agents. You just can’t.
Completely Boneheaded GMs
Chicago White Sox
This just did not make sense. After signing Abreu, he trades for Adam Eaton and signs Felipe Paulino – after he unloaded Rios, Peavey and Matt Thornton. So in other words, you are admitting the strategy stunk, and now you’re trying it again. Rebuild. Take a year.
This is not a team that will contend. They just aren’t good enough. Yet they went out and got Dexter Fowdler and Scott Feldman. I can’t emphasize this enough – until you are a legit contender to finish above .500, you just don’t go for outside talent and use your homegrown talent.
Pretty much exactly what I wrote for the Astros, except replace Fowdler and Feldman for Saltalamacchia, Furcal and Garrett Jones.
Vince Lombardi once said “The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.” Which is pretty much the story of these two team’s seasons so far.
Both teams made major additions to their team. The Marlins have gotten Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle, and the Angels get Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson. Plus, they both have more than two aces, so they can’t go wrong, right? Wrong. Both have gotten out to bad starts, proving that quote something to live by.
Even though both have great talent, they simply aren’t executing it in the right way. The Angels are trying to make everything centered around Albert, and expecting CJ to do incredibly. Which is the wrong expectation, meaning the other players aren’t worked hard enough, meaning the others lack plus Albert and CJ are under too much pressure.
The Marlins, on the other hand, are expecting too much from other players. Mark Buehrle’s ERA is closer to four than it is to 3, Jose Reyes is batting .238 – they need more pressure on them.
This just proves that getting talent isn’t enough – you have to have chemistry, and execute it in the right way.
WOO-HOO! It’s finally here! (No, not the Mayan apocalypse – think about the context).
Yes, after 5 whole months of waiting, we have been reunited with our national pastime. Now, technically, it opened on March 29th in Japan, but it’s not opening day for me until you can smell the hot dogs from a mile away.
I was fortunate enough to see the Red Sox play the Nats, and let me tell you it was loads of fun, even though I was so confused since I was cheering and booing on every play. Thank goodness I’m going to NORMAL opening day for the Nats (well, the home opener) so I’m not so confused. That game really showed how these teams could both go far this year for me.
So, anyways, today was, in america, opening day. Where to start, where to start? (This is the first regular season post for Sports According to Will ever!!!!)
First of all, the mighty, marvelous, Marlins. Didn’t exactly seem like it last night or today so far – in fact, they seem like the opposite. After a 4-1 loss to the Cardinals, and losing 2-0 to the Reds through the sixth inning today, they aren’t giving their beautiful ballpark a beautiful start. Though it’s only opening day, I just want to say I’m not surprised. (Read all my articles about Miami to find out why I say this, because I don’t feel like repeating myself today.) Are the Marlins just choking a bit, or is this a sign? I have to say this is a slump. The Marlins may be choking under the pressure of their new ballpark.
Next, the Nats beating the Cubbies. Wo. Stephen Strasburg pitched very well, and only gave up one run and five hits through 7. But the other hero of this game, an unsung one, was Ian Desmond. Now for all of you who aren’t Nats fans, which is a lot of my readers, Ian Desmond wasn’t very good last year. He, in terms had a stinky year. (But let’s not forget – can YOU hit a 95 MPH fastball?). But this could be a turning point for him. 3 hits, and an RBI on opening day may be a signal for him. Plus, pitchers Tyler Clippard and Brad Lidge both did their parts. (I have more articles about the Nats in the archives), but the Nats should be a wild card this year if all goes well and if Atlanta is as old as they look. (More on that later). This is obviously a sign, that the Nats could be in the playoffs if they play their cards right.
Third, the Red Sox seemed to have recapped last season in a game. Coming so close – and then being beat out. What happened was Jose Valverde BLEW A SAVE for his beloved Tigers, and the Red Sox tied it up. But, like last year, the pitching choked at the last minute and they lost. Now, I’m not saying that’s going to happen again this year, but I think it’s a good wake up call for the Red Sox that things aren’t going to be easy. I think this is just a slump. I believe that if discipline and ego stay at a good level, the Red Sox could take a wild card or maybe even snag a division title.
Lastly, the Mets beat the Braves. Whoop-dee-doo. I know. Such a big deal, right? Yeah, that’s actually a pretty big deal for the NL. If the Braves are getting older and losing to the Mets, it could open up a wild card spot and make things even more competitive in the NL – not as if they aren’t. Plus, it’s a sign – the Braves are getting kind of old. The Braves could be in the mix, but they lack the young talent that many other NL teams have to make the playoffs, so I do think this is a sign, because Atlanta is seeming old, and acting like it.
This is just my opinion, but there is one sign that I’m pretty sure about – this season’s gonna be awesome!