Posts Tagged ‘Washington Nationals’
Seriously, I just can’t get pumped for the damn Nats. Reminds me too much of a buggy, derogatory nickname some Padres fans had for our team.
Don’t blow it up, Philadelphia. This rivalry could be great! You know, if you just stop sucking so much. It’s not like we can count on the Dodgers holding it together all season…
I’ve been taken to task from a former player for wanting players to push themselves into the risk of injury for the sake of sports…and I get it. And I get why Strasburg is going to get shut down. He’s not just young, he’s coming off Tommy John surgery.
But…playoffs. If you’re not playing for playoffs, what are you playing for? Aren’t there ways to preserve a young arm while allowing one of the team’s best players to play in the playoffs?
Frankly, I don’t think there’s any way that Strasburg misses the playoff. The ownership and management will waffle and change their minds at the last minute. But if you’re going to protect a young player’s arm, it’d be a lot smarter to have a plan now, like a low pitch count towards the end of the season to pace him, rather than say “180 and you’re done…unless we choose that you’re not.” That helps nobody.
It’s always fun to look at the Nationals, even the league-leading Nationals, and think of them as the bumbling Expos. But not when they’re gambling with a player’s health through bull-headed stubbornness rather than adapting to new situations (like actually making the playoffs).
Did you know that ESPN just recently renewed their contract to continue covering baseball?
No, it’s not just a deal to expand beyond the final 10 minutes or so of Sportscenter…
ESPN’s been rightly criticized this year of caring more about football and football rumors than it does baseball. Hell, anytime you turn on the TV, it’s all about Tim Tebow or the 278th report from Jets training camp or so on… It wouldn’t be so bad if the coverage didn’t feel like the TMZ sports division half the time.
Baseball’s got a few good pennant races going on (at least, as long as the Dodgers don’t completely blow it the final month), and some unexpected teams making the playoffs. But that doesn’t seem to be enough for ESPN. If the Yankees and Red Sox aren’t batting, I guess those Connecticut-based producers just aren’t interested.
Meanwhile, ESPN’s fees doubled, which means if you’re wondering who’s really paying for the Dodgers new players….
So who would you rather face?
The Nationals are the team that’s stumbling. Since sitting Strasburg, they haven’t been able to win as consistently as they had the beginning of the year. On the other hand, the rotation wasn’t just Strasburg. Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmerman have been having career years. Ross Detwiler and Edwin Jackson have been moved up in a playoff rotation, but in a short series that isn’t as important.
Stumbling or not, the Nationals also have a potent offense, although none has been overwhelming on their own. Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond and Adam LaRoche supply a dizzying amount of power, and while Bryce Harper isn’t exactly Mike Trout, he demands a lot of attention. And Jayson Werth does have the potential to break out…though he also has the potential to do what Pat Burrell did in the playoffs.
Meanwhile, the stereotypical Reds are no longer a pitching-weak and hitting-strong team. Johnny Cueto has been every bit the ace that Gonzalez has, and while the rest of the rotation hasn’t had a strong #2 the way Zimmerman has been in Washington, Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo and recent no-hitter-thrower Homer Bailey are a deep rotation. Add to it that Cincinnati’s bullpen has been the best in the league, including one of the most intimidating closers in baseball Aroldis Chapman.
However, when it comes to hitting, the Reds are no longer the Machine they were. Joey Votto is one of the league’s best hitters, but he home run power has dropped. There’s some power in Jay Bruce and Ryan Ludwick, but they aren’t as consistent hitters. There are other hitters, like Brandon Phillips and the talented Drew Stubbs, but all have had flaws and consistency issues. This is a lineup that can slump against a good set of pitchers.
There’s not really a clearcut ‘better’ team for the Giants to face. Both teams are dangerous, neither have obvious weaknesses, and both of them got a lot of wins against the Giants this season. Either one will be difficult to win a series against.
So, what does it come down to, for me, as far as who I want to face?
That’s a Mat Latos signature from when he was with the San Diego Padres. Seriously, screw that guy. I’d love for the Giants to be the team who ends his playoff hopes. Give him a real reason to hate the Giants.
Do it to beat Mat.