One thing that the Major League Baseball advertising department would like you to believe would be that you can’t predict baseball. And while that’s been a slogan for many a campaign, it’s a mainly false statement. Baseball, for the most part, is a very predictable game. The best hitters only make something happen one third of the time. And there are only so many possible outcomes for every situation. Groundout, flyout, strikeout or hit. But the times where you see something amazing, crazy or just odd, are the times where the phrase comes to your mind. Maybe it’s an unassisted triple play. Maybe it’s when the pitcher hits a home run, or when catcher legs out a bases-clearing triple. However, the one thing you can never consistently predict is how successful a player will be next year, next month, week or even game. So when Stephen Strasburg was controversially shut down as an effect of his previous Tommy John Surgery in 2012, right before the Nationals were poised to make a deep run into October, and right after he had a career year, the baseball world was unhappy. People questioned if he’d ever have a year this good again. People wondered if it was the right decision for him mentally and physically. Everybody from government officials to columnists to football players weighed in. The verdict typically seemed to be to let him pitch. Mike Rizzo stuck to his plan. Two years later, on the brink of another postseason, how does that decision look now?
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…
No Nationals fan even blinks an eye when it’s mentioned a player has gone to the D.L. this year. After seeing names like Harper, Zimmerman, Gonzalez and Span fall out for fifteen days or more, it’s just not a surprise. However, this latest trip to the D.L. by a player, despite his lack of star-power, may be more important than Harper or Zimmerman.
This was the team that made D.C. dream. We cheered with them, cried with them, and sung “Take on Me” with them. 2012 was an incredible year for the Nationals.
Sources say the Washington Nationals have signed Rafael Soriano to a 2 year, 28 million dollar contract. Don’t be surprised if next year’s slogan is World Series or bust.
This is just another signing for the Nats, like Denard Span, Dan Haren and others. But this is the biggest yet. Soriano is a great fit for the Nats, but it also shows that the Nats aren’t settling for “Good enough”. While last year was an incredible year for DC baseball, boasting baseball’s best record and a NL East division championship, this year looks even better.
Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Ian Desmond, Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan Zimmermann,, Gio Gonzalez, Ross Detwiler and more will have playoff experience, and look like a recipe for success.
Here’s another reason they look pretty darn good – 4 or 5 of their bench players could be starting on almost any other team, like Tyler Moore, Chad Tracy, Steve Lombardozzi and Roger Bernadina.
Also, injuries won’t be haunting them. Strasburg will be pitching an entire season, and presumably the playoffs, Zimmerman’s rest and surgery will mean he is ready to go, plus other players.
Also, Atlanta, New York, Philadelphia and Miami do not look good at all this year, at all. The Nats’ young talent and veteran powers should make it extremely easy to propel them to another NL East division title.
But here’s the biggest thing this year: Everyone on the Nats knows they can do it. There is no doubt in any of their minds about this season. It isn’t a “Trial” – it’s real. They have the swagger and the team now.
So do I think the Nats are going to win the World Series?
That’s a clown question bro.
Who would’ve thought the standings would look like this? I saw the NL east coming, but with the other two, you got me there.
Right now, the Nationals are in the lead of the NL East and have won exactly 60% of their games so far – 27, to be exact. That, I saw coming, and if you really want to know, please just read past posts. But the Dodgers having a best-in-baseball record of 30 and 15? That I didn’t see coming, but I feel pretty stupid not for doing that.
At the end of last year, 2/3 of the team was batting higher than .277 – which is good. The combined era of the team’s pitching rotation was 3.38, which is great. And considering they retained most of these players, is extremely good. So, there goes the D-Backs’ hold of the NL West, or really, the Giants and Diamondbacks’.
With the Rangers, they’ve been dukes in baseball for a while. But with the way Josh Hamilton is playing, they’ve become kings and are officially the team to beat.
So, now you’re probably asking yourself, “Why is he telling me all this?”
Here’s why – because it used to be different. Oh, once upon a time, teams like the Phillies, Red Sox and Yankees ruled baseball, and nobody could stop them, no matter how hard they try.
But now there are new kings in baseball, and I think they could be here – to stay.
3 teams just were handed losses today – some of them one of their first, one of them their fifth. Does the pain actually help? Maybe.
The Tigers were undefeated in 5 games before today. Justin Verlander was pitching, which seems like a pretty secure win to most teams. And it was a good game for him, at least until the top of the ninth. After giving up a run and getting two batters on board, it was time to leave. Unfortunately, Tigers relief couldn’t close it out, and they lost to the Rays. Which may be just what the doctor ordered for the Destroyers from Detroit. Why, you ask? Simple. A team that good, needs a good reality check about 79 times a year. Being good isn’t enough for teams in this league, you have to be better. And it proves – the Red Sox weren’t taking that reality check last summer, and collapsed at the end because they decided they didn’t need to keep working.
Now, for the Mets, since they were (past tense) undefeated and then lost two games to the Nationals, that’s a serious reality check. In the division they reside in, good isn’t good enough. Great isn’t good enough. Now, while this goes for every division, it really matters in the NL East. In all likelihood, there will be three NL East teams in the playoffs, and the Mets are a bit of a long shot. A loss makes them realize they are, still, the Mets. Which means they don’t have a leadoff batter. Or power hitter. Or shortstop. So, if anything, those losses were a reminder – if they want to finish even scarcely close to a playoff spot, they have to work harder than any other team in that division, even though they may not be the best.
The Red Sox have just been handed their fifth loss. In May, that’s incredible. In April – that’s horrible. The one game they win, is against Toronto, which is a fourth place in the division team. Not the best win, but they’ll take it. Losing to the Tigers doesn’t worry me, the Tigers are good. Losing two of three to the Jays, that does worry me. The Red Sox need to get back up and prove they aren’t knocked down with one punch, because at the end of last year, it seemed like it. The Red Sox need to wake up, and realize that last year was a dream turned nightmare. Getting back up and getting a playoff spot is a must for them. But trying so hard, they haven’t done much. They have to outlast the competition, and play very hard – until the end of October, because they forgot to do that, and guess what happened….