Opening Day at home, 42,000+ people, the day was gray, but serviceable. And – we all saw it. Upton signaling a touchdown while Desi is cruising around the bases. Then as Desi rounds third, Upton grabs the ball easily and tosses it into the infield. The 3B umpire signals, well, nothing. Gonzales is out, the headsets come on, rulebooks flip open….and Desi is sent to second on a ground rune double.
Now, the Nats lost this game for a number of reasons – and this is definitely one of them, but sending LaRoche home against one of the best arms in baseball? Desi getting picked off 2B trying to steal third with nobody out? Oh, and Harper looking like a plucked chicken getting caught off 1B in what looked like to me to be a clairvoyant play where the Braves suddenly “knew” he was going to try and steal?
The Nationals lost this game because of Matt Williams.
I know, I know – the padding should come to the bottom of the field, and the play in LF definitely shifted the momentum. Desi would not have been caught off 2B had the run stayed on the board. But Williams and his coaching staff were not playing the Nationals to the capabilities of the Braves. It was like….they had never seen film on them and assumed that they could make something happen – that the Braves would not execute fundamentals.
Look, I’m all for trying to snag the extra base when possible, to put pressure on the other team to execute. But 3x in a game – well, Williams did not see the signs that in a close game, you play it close, not get reckless. And the base running decisions they made were in my opinion, “overly aggressive”. The Braves are the division champs for a reason. Hopefully the new manager has a better understanding of what he’s up against now.
Let’s get them today. Go Nats!
Dapper Dan here to make another stab at getting this blog up and running. I know everyone is completely jonesing for some warm weather, shorts, flops and dreamy, steamy nights at the ballpark. This winter will end. :)
So – the new manager…that’s old news but I think everyone is happy with Matt so far – though I do agree that we’d’ve been cheering for Brad Ausmus to come out of the dugout just to wave at us from time to time…
Zimmy at 1B: well, IMHO this is an utter waste of time, but I don;t make the decisions, eh? Maybe having Zimmy come across the diamond will allow us Gnats to get better….shots…of him fielding grounders.
Danny and Anthony though. I think this is a tough call. Dapper Dan has to go with his namesake though and allow Danny one more trip to the well. Anthony would be powerful off the bench – mores than I think Espinosa would be. And I’d rather have that glove in there early to minimize errors while our starters are on the mound. You folks have any thoughts?
Bryce’s knee seems okay. Let’s hope this is truly his bustout year. Werth found his power stroke (mmmm baby) and watching Denard glide around CF is a treat. Desi is back for a couple years and Ramos is healthy and swinging a big stick right now. ALR will return to form. I promise!
I dunno – I’m happy with the starting 8 whether it’s Anthony or Danny. I’m just ready for this thing to get started. While last year was a little disappointing, they did finish over .500, and in 2008 we would have been all over that with both hands. And the division is, well, let’s say the Braves, Metropolitans, Pholdies and that team in Florida all have issues. “This is OUR time” as a famous Goonie said.
More soon from the desk of Dapper Dan. Hope to hear from you guys! Let’s GO NATS!
Greetings folks, and happy Flag Day!
Like our ballteam, I’ve been laying low…ducking the hype and expectation – letting others cook in the spotlight while getting stronger…making adjustments, getting used to the new folks in the clubhouse. Good thing the season is 162 games right?
Regression to the statistical mean is what it’s all about. Now that the boys are getting healthy, taken some time off I think we all are ready for them to step on the gas and reel off a nice little hot streak. They have picked up 2 1/2 games on the Braves while gathering some momentum.
Fear not! The Kids Are Alright. I don’t see a June Swoon coming as we head into summer. And be sure to get your tickets for Night Out! More soon. :-)
From April 2012 …
MLB 2012 Preseason Predictions
SI.com’s resident experts provide all of their picks for the 2012 season.
**signifies World Series champion
Can this really be?
Have our Washington Nationals actually done something that seemed so improbably fantastical 6 months ago?
Let’s dispel something right away. No team with 96 wins, and the best record in baseball, “back in” a division championship. The Nationals have weathered the crucible of division competition and come up the winner. And we have weathered all the growing pains associated with being ‘foundation fans’. I said long ago I’d give the Lerner family 5 years before I started questioning my baseball dollars. Looks like that was just about right.
Am I happy that they have to start the playoffs on the road? Nope. Thanks for that Bud. They should be at home against the Giants/Braves/Dodgers/Cardinals. But they will be – soon enough. There’s no telling where it goes from here. If they fold like a tent in the wind people’ll say “Well. they surpassed all expectations this year”.
At this point, I have no reason to think they will not continue to surpass expectations.
Congratulations team G*Nats. We have exceeded all expectations too. So let’s cheer them on to nailing down the home field advantage, and ride this crazy train to it’s final destination.
Washington Nationals: 2012 Eastern Division Champions!
If you have a couple minutes, check out Tom Boswell’s article in the WaPo this morning. He details really well how exceptional our Nationals are this year – and how the rest of the baseball world better start taking more notice of us.
To say I’m thrilled at the now confirmed prospect of Nationals Post-season baseball is an understatement. And to my fellow G*Nats I again offer that through thick and thin, rain and snow, heat and cold – we’ve shown up and ‘taken our medicine’ for 7 years prior to the beginning of this season.
You never forget your first time, right?
So our mission now is to slap those Phillies around and crush any remaining hope they may have of making the dance. The next couple weeks are a good tuneup for what lies ahead. This team is confident, poised, has tremendous leadership and the best fans – who have themselves earned this spot in the baseball sun.
Congratulations to our Washington Nationals on their first step to what could be something extraordinary. They are the best team in baseball.
Now, I know I’ve been resistant to uttering the p-word. Just too many variables for me to give myself over to that – but we have a HUGE series against the Bravos this weekend. Not looking past the Metropolitans now, but in their house…Det, Jackson and Gio will take it to Chipper Jones and the only other viable team from the NL East.
I am however starting to consider what a Nattily-dressed Nats fan wears to a division series game.
Okay guys, we’re all a little relieved that the Nationals have righted the ship after their week-long skid that made everyone a little wigged out. But hey, it’s baseball….these things happen and better now than later in September, right?
So how about that – September baseball! First time since Davey Johnson managed the Orioles back in 1997 that I have a team I give a hoot about playing meaningful games this late in the year. Hopefully by 9/4 the Nationals will be sealing the deal on the most wins in their history, and ensure that this year is noteworthy on at least that level! I mean hey – if someone said to us we’d be finishing over .500 this year we’d’ve probably taken that to the bank and been happy. But the most wins in their history by the first week in September? Rock OUT!
So did you guys see the monster shot from Bryce in Miami? Talk about delicious. I wish I could have seen Guillen’s face as the ball smacked off the bat. And I’m glad Harper gets pissed at himself when he hits into a double play. More ballplayers should be that hard on themselves. Maybe not quite so demonstrative, but I’ll take it.
And how about Bryce passing Mickey Mantle on the latest made-for-TV statistic of most home runs by a teenager, born on the west coast on a Tuesday, with the moon in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars? Bet you don’t find that nugget in the Baseball Encyclopedia anywhere.
So yeah – it’s almost time to say goodbye to Stras for the year (yes, we kinda heard about that already Dan). But hey, we know he’ll be chomping at the bit to pitch next year and can you imagine what we’ll see when they turn this guy actually loose? I think we all agree Rizzo is making the best call possible for the player, and the team. No way he risks Stras breaking down on national TV and inviting THAT second guessing. It would ruin everything…Rizzo’s career, not to mention Strasburg’s, player’s faith in management’s decisions…and it would wreck Davey, McCatty…potential free agents wanting to come here, etc., etc.
Yeah – just sit him down. Let’s all say Goodnight Ladies to Stephen and look forward to seeing him next year.
I’m real curious if the pitchers can help Suzuki shut down the opponent’s running game. The pitching has been SO GOOD that we haven’t had to worry much about the swipes – but momentum is a tricky thing…just ask the Yankees when they led the Red Sox 3 games to 0 in the 2004 ALCS, leading by a run in the bottom of the 9th with Mariano Rivera on the mound – who then walked Kevin Millar, then allowed pinch runner Dave Roberts to swipe second who ultimately scored the tying run on Bill Mueller’s single. That whole series pivoted on that moment. Don’t let anyone kid you – stolen bases matter.
So let’s enjoy the last 10 games of this home stand, and see how we stack up against the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals…because perhaps, just perhaps we’ll be seeing them again in the p…..p…..pl…..p…. (sigh).
Let’s get to 82, then look over the fence. Have a great weekend!
Believe it or not folks…I still cannot make myself say it. While things still do look very good for our Nats, baseball history is fraught with spectacular collapses in September. I mean, I’m talking epic. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m ponying up with the likely outcome being October baseball…but “The opera ain’t over till the fat lady sings.” Cases in point:
2009 Detroit Tigers
Jim Leyland’s 2009 Tigers were about to capture their first division crown since 1987, up by seven games after the first week of September. They went 11-16 for the rest of the month and, to make matters worse, dropped a gut-wrenching 12-inning, one-game tie-breaker to the Twins. Instead of a division title, the Tigers became the first team since 1901 to blow a three-game lead in their last four games.
2008 New York Mets
The 2008 Mets, led by manager Willie Randolph, held a 3.5-game lead in the NL East, and with only 17 games to go, New York looked like a sure thing. However, the Metropolitans won just seven of the remaining contests to blow the division lead. What’s worse is the Mets had also choked the previous year becoming the first team ever to blow a 3.5-game lead in consecutive Septembers, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
2007 New York Mets
The 2007 Mets had a commanding seven-game lead with 17 to go. They proceeded to lose 12 of those games, including one in which Tom Glavine got shellacked and didn’t complete the first inning. The stunning collapse saw the Mets slog through a 1-6 homestand against the Nationals, Cardinals and Marlins.
1995 California Angels
The 1995 Angels were threatening to run away and hide by building an 11-game margin by August. They were led by center fielder Jim Edmonds, who hit .290, smashed 33 homers and drove in 107 runs. However, the Angels reeled off nine straight loses in late August that carried into September and followed that up by losing nine straight again, beginning on the Sept. 13. They won their last five games to force a one-game playoff with Seattle.
1987 Toronto Blue Jays
The 1987 Toronto Blue Jays were down to their last seven games, holding a 3.5-game margin over the Detroit Tigers. However, Sparky Anderson’s boys slipped right by the Jays as the Jays lost every remaining game, including a season-ending three-game series against the Tigers. Detroit won each of the three games by a lone run margin.
1978 Boston Red Sox
The 1978 Boston Red Sox had the Yankees by 14 games in mid-July, but the ‘Sox proceeded to drop two of three to both the A’s and Orioles to open the month of September. They were then swept in a four-game series against the Yankees and, after winning the first game of the next series against Baltimore, the Red Sox wound up losing five straight that included two more losses to the Bronx Bombers.
The Red Sox reeled off eight straight wins to finish in a dead heat with New York, forcing a one-game playoff, which New York won 5-4 on a three-run homer from Bucky Dent and a solo blast from Reggie Jackson.
1969 Chicago Cubs
Leo Durocher’s 1969 Cubs led the Mets by 9.5 games by mid-August, but Gil Hodges’ team became known that year as “The Miracle Mets.” The Cubs lost eight straight in early September, including a three-game sweep by the Pirates (who finished third that year) and a two-game sweep by both the Mets and Phillies.
The Cubs dropped 17 of their last 25 to allow the Mets to claim the division crown in the first year of divisional alignment.
1964 Philadelphia Phillies
The 1964 Phillies held a commanding 6.5-game lead over the Reds and Cards, both tied for second, and there were just 12 game left to play. The Phillies lost 10 straight of the remaining 12 to allow the Cardinals to slip past and win the NL crown by one game.
1962 Los Angeles Dodgers
Walter Alston’s 1962 Dodgers, led by fireballer Don Drysdale’s 25-9 record, dropped 10 of their final 13 (including the last four straight), losing a four-game lead over the Giants and forcing a three-game playoff against the Giants. The Giants won, led by Willie Mays who slammed 49 homers to pace the NL that year.
1951 Brooklyn Dodgers
The 1951 Dodgers lost another lead to the Giants. Both teams were in New York in those days. In mid-August, the Dodgers were up by 13.5 games. The Giants weren’t to be denied, however, winning 16 straight before the month was out.
In September, the Giants reeled off another eight wins in a row. Brooklyn went 15-15 for the month, finishing tied with the Giants and forcing a three-game playoff. The Giants, behind Bobby Thomson’s famous “shot heard ’round the world” off Ralph Branca, won the NL pennant.