Thanks to the rain delay, the Nationals rotation has been pushed back one day. The direct quote from WaPo is, “Yes, this means Jordan Zimmermann’s debut, previously scheduled for Sunday, will now occur on Monday.” This mostly irrelevent piece of information is slowly working me into a rage as I have tickets for the Sunday game. I really wanted to go to this guy’s MLB debut, but such is life. And it’s supposed to rain Monday as well, so who knows when we’ll ACTUALLY get to see him. Maybe Cabrera will pitch a perfect game on Sunday. Or maybe I’ll try some of those beers that I haven’t tasted yet.
The one thing everyone in that Operations Management class I took in grad school remembers is the word “bottleneck.” It’s from a book, The Goal, about the theory of constraints. It’s not important the details, only that bottlenecks are, as the name suggests, the constraints to your business improving. The Nats have had a bottleneck in the outfield, and their immediate solution to that was to send Lastings Milledge down to AAA Syracuse.
While I am disappointed because I believe that Lastings has a bright future, I believe this move made alot of sense. Right now, there is little evidence that he can play CF full time for a contending team. His routes have been terrible, and for all his athleticism, he’s not there yet. The main reason that Bonifacio hit an inside the park HR and a tirple was that he hit it towards Milledge. With other CFer, those are flyouts. Meanwhile, thanks to the bottlenecks, he isn’t able to get ABs every game, and his offense isn’t looking great either. He needs daily ABs, and not only will this improve his production, it will allow the organization see if he has the bat to be a corner outfielder. While he is down there, I suspect he will get to working on defense as well.
The Nationals get a much-needed break today, no game. Perhaps they can use this day to put the last week of baseball behind them. More likely, many of them will sit and wonder how they have managed to go winless in 7 games. Adam Dunn’s attitude is something I agree with whole-heartedly. Every team slumps during the season, this one just happens to be at the beginning of the season. But there is still cause for concern. Here’s my take on the performances so far.
This has been awful. Daniel Cabrera has made the best start so far, the closest to an actual quality start, although he didn’t get there, going 5 innings yesterday, giving up 1 ER (and 3 more unearned) with 2K and 2 BB. Not great, but certainly serviceable. And when DCab has been your best starter, you worry. Lannan and Olsen have been awful so far. The only reason I’m not running around like my head is on fire is that I know that neither of those pitchers are awful. They may not be staff aces, but they combined for 38 quality starts last year. This level of dropoff doesn’t happen. It’s a bad spell for them, my only question is, when will they come out of it? At least the Double N is scheduled to pitch on Sunday! Read the rest of this entry »
The more I think about, the more I realize that the most important thing in this season for the Nats isn’t going to happen at the major league level. Assuming that they do take Strasburg (and maybe it’s a big assumption, but I’m going with it) the thing that I am going to most concerned with is not in DC. I’m not getting myself worked up over the record right now, or the starting pitching. Olsen and Lannan are 0 for 4 in terms of quality starts, while they combined for 39 of them last year. So I think they’ll come around into being something decent. I was never thrilled with Cabrera, and except for one inning his start wasn’t bad. Martis hasn’t pitched enough to disappoint me. Read the rest of this entry »
From the land of things could always be worse, at least the Nats aren’t sending out Carl Pavano to the mound. You know, the man who played in 26 games in 4 years for the Yankees, with an ERA of 5.00. He started a game yesterday for the Indians, and after giving up 5 runs in the first inning, he couldn’t get a single out in the second, but still managed to give up 4 runs. In total, he had 1 IP, 9 ER, 6 H, 2 HR, 3 BB, 1 K, and has an ERA of 81.00. Almost makes Daniel Cabrera look good. Almost.
From the world of things may get better
You want to hit it? Go ahead. I’m not there yet. After 3 games the Nats are 0-3. What is amazing to me right now is how impatient the fans are. Go look at some message boards. Not that people need to be content, but I just don’t get how you can still be a fan of this team if you aren’t patient enough to not go crazy after 3 games. I mean, wouldn’t those people have dropped off already? I guess not, somehow, these paradoxical fans are still around. As for the team itself, the offense doesn’t look awful but there have been some no-shows that are important. Guzman, Johnson and Dunn are hitting nicely, but for the future, you want to see Milledge and Zimmerman hitting.
Everyone’s talking about it, so we might as well address it: Emilio Bonifacio is the greatest player in the history of baseball. The Nats, as you recall, used to own the rights to Bonifacio, acquired from the Diamondbacks for Jon Rauch. They could have used him any way they saw fit. What they chose to do with this latter-day Honus Wagner was trade him for pennies on the dollar, using him as one of the key pieces for getting Josh Willingham and Scott Olsen. And what did the former National do when he finally had a chance to take it to his old team? He demolished them, going 4 for 5 with 4 R, 3 SB and an inside the park HR. What regrets we must have that he is no longer on the team!
The ubiquitious Nationals Journal on the washingtonpost.com has asked for predictions on the season. Many of them are the predictions I wanted to make, but hadn’t yet put forth on this page. So I’ll just follow his suggestions, and get these in just in time before the season starts.
1. 2009 win total – 78
2. Attendance at Nationals Park (81 dates; last year’s was 2.32 million) – 2.41 million
3. All-star representative(s) - Adam Dunn
4. Adam Dunn’s home run total – 39
5. Date of Stephen Strasburg’s major league debut - April 6, 2010
It’s finally here – the first day of the season for everyone except the Phillies and the Braves. After a long Spring Training that included the WBC, it’s time to play games that really really count. The Nats get it started against the Marlins, and you’ve gotta assume these 2 teams will be battling it out for 4th place by the end of the season. What may be most interesting to alot of fans is the RFer for the Nats. Austin Kearns will be starting over Elijah Dukes. The main reason for this is that Dukes has an abysmal spring, while Kearns hit very well. Whether Kearns can carry on his good numbers for the remainder of the season, or even the start of the season, remains to be seen.