I’m gone for the rest of the week, so I won’t be able to write until Monday. Today, I think, is by far the best chance the Nats have to win a game in this Yankees series. Wang has been awful, and another awful game probably means he’s going to be replaced by Hughes in the rotation. Even when you’re going good, you really can’t ever have enough starting pitching. Meanwhile, they put out their best starter, John Lannan, who now has an ERA of 3.51. Way better than league average, that’s an ERA+ of 124. It ranks him 17th in the NL. Not bad. His ERA after game 2 of the season sits at 2.65. He’s going well, about the only part of the team that can say that right now except…
The starting pitching has actually looked good since it’s been Lannan and the rookies. Hard to believe, since they never win, but it’s true. The Nationals Journal at the WaPo talked about it today:
And here are the starters’ numbers during that time:
27 GS, 154-1/3 IP (or an average of more than 5-2/3 IP per game), 4.84 ERA, 63 BB, 94 K, .253 Opp AVG
And since June 1 (under McCatty as pitching coach):
13 GS, 78 IP (6 IP per game), 3.46 ERA, 33 BB, 39 K, .227 Opp AVG
The young starters are looking better and better. I don’t believe it’s due to the change in pitching coaches, I think it’s just due to them getting more starts under their belts. The 3.46 ERA is great (a quality start is 6 IP, 3 ER: a 4.50 ERA) but even the 4.84 is remarkable considering how they looked early this year. It’s promising for the future, even if the future doesn’t occur in this particular decade. More on that later…
I fully expect Acta to be gone when I get back. I think they’re waiting until the Yankee Stadium slaughter is over before they stick someone new in there. They play Toronto and Boston next, but it’s at home. Maybe management thinks some extra fans will come out to see the new guy. If Manny is gone, I’ll send out a heartfelt thanks for his tenure now. If not, well, heh, good to see you still there. I remain somewhat indifferent on his ability to affect the ballgame. I’m neither calling for his head nor saying it’s unconscionable to keep him. I just don’t agree with allowing him to twist in the wind for so long.
Back to the Future
What I was saying before about this decade versus the next, I’m starting on a new positive philosophy about the Nats. 2010 is the start of a new decade, and THAT will be the decade of the Nationals. Strasburg and a maturing starting staff – their pitching could look very good very quick. They could sign this Harper kid, too. A few moves to shore up the defense and the bullpen, and they could win more than 16 games in their first 62 next year. And it would only look better after that.
I thought I’d call it something clever like the Roaring 20s. So I looked up the 1910s on Wikipedia hoping to find a basis for my clever nickname. There was no nickname for the nineteen-teens. It said “The 1910s represented the culmination of European militarism… conservative lifestyles… the legacy of military alliances… assassination… World War I.” Eeesh. Not the nicest grab for nickname. But the year 1910 was also an important year for DC baseball. It was Walter Johnson’s first winning season.
Maybe 100 years later, DC baseball will begin to see some superstar pitchers emerge. I’m not saying Straburg needs to be the Big Train, but perhaps the combo of him and the other guys will be a bunch of little trains. Call them the DC Metro system. Or something more clever than that. Call the decade something after pitchers. How about the Hurling Teens? No, that sounds like a band name. The Fastball 10s? The Blazing Teens? The 10-Ks? Ok, this clearly isn’t working. Regardless, you heard it here first – 2010s – the decade of the Nats!