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Triple Play Podcast Episode 2 Of 2014: Empire State Of Mind: NYM + NYY + TOR Chat

 

The Triple Play Show will have 5 shows per month.  Each show will be about 1 hour

The Triple Play Show will have 2 shows per month. Each show will be about 1 hour. Chuck Booth will guest once a month for MLB  Reports Power Rankings,

By The Big Ticket Show ( AKA Triple Play Podcast on http://www.mlbreports.com)

Mike Silva (Radio Host 1240 AM WGBB, Long Island New York – 19 Minute Mark and a 31 Min segment) )

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New York, New York big city of dreams where not everything is as it seems, so we had Mike Silva (http://www.mikesilvamedia.com)of WGBB1240 AM break down the Mets and a bit of the Yankees + our new Mt .Flushmore segment. Read the rest of this entry

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Los Angeles Dodgers State Of The Union: 2014 Preview

Clayton Kershaw agreed to a 7 YRs/$215 MIL extension last week - that will run through the years of 2014 - 2020 with the LA Dodgers.   The deal is slated for an opt out clause after the 2018 season by Kershaw, when he will be only 30 years old.     This is the greatest single Annual Average Salary ALL - Time of $30.7 MIL per year, and is the 6th biggest contract ever in the history of the MLB.  Last year was his mos dominant to date, with a 16 - 9 record, an NL Leading 1.83 ERA and 232 SO.  The about to be 26 Year Old, also nailed down his 2nd NL Cy Young win in 3 years, and the other year he was the runner up in that time frame.  He may be the single most important player to any franchise in the National League.

Clayton Kershaw agreed to a 7 YRs/$215 MIL extension in the offseason – that will run through the years of 2014 – 2020 with the LA Dodgers. The deal is slated for an opt out clause after the 2018 season by Kershaw, when he will be only 30 years old. This is the greatest single Annual Average Salary ALL – Time of $30.7 MIL per annum, and is the 6th biggest contract ever in the history of the MLB. Last year was his most dominant to date, with a 16 – 9 record, an NL Leading 1.83 ERA and 232 SO. The about to be 26 Year Old, also nailed down his 2nd NL Cy Young win in 3 years, and the other year he was the runner up in that time frame. He may be the single most important player to any franchise in the National League.  Kershaw is the 3 time reigning NL ERA champ.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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The Dodgers are beginning year 2 of potentially a half-dozen years of dominance.  They have a team filled with ALL – Stars, superior Starting Pitching, and have deep pockets to seal the deal with necessary changes.

The NL West might be stronger this year with more competitive rosters from the D’Backs, Rockies and Giants, yet I still think the Dodger Blue will pulverize the competition, particularly in their own division.

Our Chief Writer Hunter Stokes wrote a great article on the Dodgers taking the 1st few series of the year not as seriously as the rest of the year here.

I fully agree with his stance, yet I don’t think it will make much of a difference.

Injuries aside this team is ready to take down the National League. Read the rest of this entry

The Washington Nationals State Of The Union Part 1: Fall 2013 Through Spring 2014

The Nationals failed to meet expectations as the Preseason favorites to lock down the World Series in 2013.  Heck, they didn't even qualify for the playoffs.  Whether it was injury, or complacency, the talent of this team didn't maximize their potential this year.  However, the club did go 24 - 12 in their last 36 Games Played, and made a late charge at the 2nd Wild Card Spot.  Most of the nucleus is coming back for the 2014 year.  Here are some priorities for the winter.

The Nationals failed to meet expectations as the Preseason favorites to lock down the World Series in 2013. Heck, they didn’t even qualify for the playoffs. Whether it was injury, or complacency, the talent of this team didn’t maximize their potential this year. However, the club did go 24 – 12 in their last 36 Games Played, and made a late charge at the 2nd Wild Card Spot in the Nationals League.  Most of the nucleus is coming back for the 2014 year. Here are some priorities for the winter.

By David Huzzard (Nationals Correspondent via Citizens of Natstown.com – view website here): 

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1. Find a Manager

There are moves that can be made without a new manager in place, but this is the most important thing the Nationals have to do this off-season. Not having the leader of the team will make all the other moves more difficult.

Players want to know who they are playing for and the manager is going to have a lot of input into what free agents the Nationals go after for the bench and bullpen, which happen to be their two biggest needs personnel-wise.

It is also important to get the new manager in place early so that he has an entire off-season to communicate with the players already in the majors and to familiarize himself with the system and the minor leaguers that could help during the season.

For all of the Rosters, Depth Charts, State of the Unions and Salaries that we do, please visit our dedicated page link here.

Jordan Zimmermann Interview

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Add Another Season Of Misery For The City Of Washington: 80 Years + 3 Franchises Have Disappointed

The Nationals are just the latest in a string of failures the city of Washington has seen.  It has been 80 years since an MLB club from the District has seen World Series Baseball, and now they will have to wait another season.  Despite being the Preseason favorite to make the Fall Classic, Washington has missed the playoffs outright,

The Nationals are just the latest in a string of failures the city of Washington has seen. It has been 80 years since an MLB club from the District has seen World Series Baseball, and now they will have to wait another season. Despite being the Preseason favorite to make the Fall Classic, Washington has missed the playoffs outright in 2013.

By James O’Hara (Nationals Correspondent via Citizens of Natstown.com – view website here): 

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On Oct. 1, 1971 in the last game played by the Washington Senators at RFK Stadium, fans began tearing apart the stadium and field to claim souvenirs. Much like the current Washington Nationals are tearing apart Washington, D.C.

A lot is made of the Chicago Cubs (not winning a World Series since 1909 – or playing in one since 1945) and Boston Red Sox decades long pursuit of World Series titles and the pressure from it – before knocking the monkey from their back in 2004.

But that cannot compare to the pressure of being in town without baseball for 33 years – and having not played in the World Series at all since the Joe Cronin led 1933 squad lost.

From 1971 – 2004, Thirty-three World Series champions were crowned without a team from Washington, D.C. even entering the fight.

It is almost fitting in a way that the Montreal Expos moved to Washington, as you are talking about 1 of 2 teams in the MLB currently, that have never played (other is Seattle)  in a World Series before. The Expos/Nats club is now completed its 46th season in the MLB.

It is almost fitting in a way that the Montreal Expos moved to Washington, as you are talking about 1 of 2 teams in the MLB currently, that have never played (other is Seattle) in a World Series before. The Expos/Nats club have now completed their 45th season in the Majors without showing up in the “Fall Classic”.

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Knorr Skippers Nats To A Win Behind Ian Krol, Lights A Fire Under The Club – Winning 4 of 5

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Monday, July.29th/2013

The Nationals don’t have the best history when it comes to their win loss record, but the 2012 season brought on a lot of “what could have been” from fans in the area hungry for a championship. In 2011, Davey Johnson took the manager’s role after Jim Riggleman decided to (as it is now rightfully dubbed) pull a Riggleman and walk out on the team because of his dispute with Mike Rizzo regarding a contract extension. Since then, Davey Johnson has been loved by the D.C. fanbase and players alike because of his honest criticisms and confidence in players.

The Nationals don’t have the best history when it comes to their win loss record, but the 2012 season brought on a lot of “what could have been” from fans in the area hungry for a championship. In 2011, Davey Johnson took the manager’s role after Jim Riggleman decided to (as it is now rightfully dubbed) pull a Riggleman and walk out on the team because of his dispute with Mike Rizzo regarding a contract extension. Since then, Davey Johnson has been loved by the D.C. fanbase and players alike because of his honest criticisms and confidence in players.

By Matthew Davila (Nationals Correspondent via Citizens of Natstown.com – view website here): 

In 2011,Davey Johnson was a welcome breath of fresh air.

Jim Riggleman was just kind of there, a place holder manager, but at the time there was no reason to fire him.

There were concerns at times over Jim Riggleman “losing the clubhouse,” but that is standard the-team-isn’t-playing-great jargon. When Riggleman walked out, things changed greatly.

Davey Johnson made it his mission to get a slumping Jayson Werth going and to figure out why it was that Ian Desmond, who had flashed power in the past, wasn’t able to put any baseballs into the seats.

Davey Johnson was not afraid to point out when a pitcher wasn’t doing his job, either.

Things Haven’t Been As Rosy In 2013 For Davey Johnson

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How All Of The Nats Players Were Acquired: (Trade, Signed, Drafted, Waiver Wire) + Analysis

How All Of The Washington Nationals Players Were Acquired:

Strasburg and Harper are the franchises future.  Through drafting and smart trades, the club is now considered one of the best talented clubs in the MLB as of now.  Despite dealing with several injuries this current 2013 season - the future is definitely bright in DC

Strasburg and Harper are the franchises future. Through drafting and smart trades, the club is now considered one of the best talented clubs in the MLB as of now. Despite dealing with several injuries this current 2013 season – the future is definitely bright in DC.  The club has strong pitching in the Major Leagues – with some help coming  for more years to come.  They have potential ALL – Stars in almost every position.  Lets see how all of the players were acquired.

Tuesday July.23/2013

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

At the MLB Reports, we intend to show you the Roster Tree for the Washington Nationals – and how they assembled their current roster for hitting and Pitching.  It will work in a six degrees of separation like format.

Once we figure out the origin of how many trades going back in time it takes to see where the tree started, it will be time to dissect how the team fared on the deals.

If a player has never left the organization at all, the tree will be easy – as it will just be the year they were drafted or signed.

The Rise of the Nationals

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Triple Play Podcast Episode #14: Empire State Of Mind: NYY + NYM Chat

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Sunday, June.23, 2013

The Triple Play Show will have 5 shows per month.  Each show will be about 1 hour

The Triple Play Show will have 5 shows per month. Each show will be about 1 hour. Chuck Booth will guest once a month for MLB Power Rankings,

By The Big Ticket Show ( AKA Triple Play Podcast on http://www.mlbreports.com)

Guests in this Podcast – James Acevedo (MLB Reports 2 And A Hook Podcast Host – 42 Minute Mark and a 15 Minute Segment) 

Mike Silva (Radio Host 1240 AM WGBB, Long Island New York – 14 Minute Mark and a 27 Min segment)

New York, New York big city of dreams where not everything is as it seems, so we had Mike Silva of WGBB1240 AM and James Acevedo of the Bench Warmers and 2 and a Hook podcasts come on and break down the Mets and Yankees.Mt Rushmore, BetHubb.com best bets and Blue Jays talk too. Another Home Run show! Read the rest of this entry

Washington Nationals Organization: Payroll, Depth Charts + Rosters, (MLB + MiLB)

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Friday, June.21/2013

The Nationals were everyone's Preseason favorite to get to the 2013 World Series.  A litany of injuries, with a few slumps from some key Veterans - have caused them to only be hovering around .500.  They still have a chance to rundown the Atlanta Braves in the NL East if they can put together the kind of winning baseball they put forth during the 2012 campaign.  Even if it doesn't come to fruition this year, the club looks solid in the coming years.  Only a World Series Championship will forever cement their legacy as a great club.

The Nationals were everyone’s Preseason favorite to get to the 2013 World Series. A litany of injuries, with a few slumps from some key Veterans – have caused them to only be hovering around .500. They still have a chance to rundown the Atlanta Braves in the NL East if they can put together the kind of winning baseball they put forth during the 2012 campaign. Even if it doesn’t come to fruition this year, the club looks solid in the coming years. Only a World Series Championship will forever cement their legacy as a great club.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): and welcome Jeff Kleiner (Salary, Roster and Depth Chart Expert for the MLB) – visit his website  here  

You guys are all in for a treat.  Jeff Kleiner recently contacted me about a partnership merge for the website.  He has developed a site (prosportsrosters.com) that covers all organizational affiliates in the Minors for all of the Major League Baseball Clubs.  We are going to combine efforts to bring you the best look at salaries, current 25 Man Player Rosters and Depth Charts for all 30 teams. 

Jeff is going to provide the documents in form of spreadsheets and I am going to accompany the posts with deep analysis of what the numbers tell us from my perspective.  If you can’t wait for all of my assessments for each club, go and visit Jeff’s website over at http://www.prosportsrosters.com.

In Speaking with Jeff, he is one of the more passionate fans I have come across towards the game of baseball.  He spends enough time in updating his MLB Facts for it to be a Full-Time Job.  So after the usual Video Clip and READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY button, you will find some serious &*!@?!#!

Jeff updates this page below on a daily basis.  After you click on it….Bookmark it.  There is a 3 year salary forecast and stats not listed here on this page.  Jeff updates these pages daily and these changes include any Roster moves!

For a Full 3 year Salary Outlook plus last years Stats for every player in the Nationals Organization clickhere

From Last To First – The Rise Of The Nats

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Anthony Rendon: The Nats New Second Baseman Is Proving A New MLB Thought Process About Fielding

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Friday, June.07/2013

There is some concern over Rendon's defensive stylings at second. He did make two errors in three games, but minor league errors can be deceiving. Error in general can be deceptive but minor league fields are not taken care of in the same way as major league fields and often times do not play true. It is also unknown how far he ranged to get to the balls that he made errors on or anything else about how they happened. What is known is that before he was recalled the Nats called AAA manager, Tony Beasley, and asked him if Rendon had the footwork to handle second base. The answer was yes.

There is some concern over Rendon’s defensive stylings at second. He did make two errors in three games, but minor league errors can be deceiving. Errors in general can be deceptive but minor league fields are not taken care of in the same way as major league fields and often times do not play true. It is also unknown how far he ranged to get to the balls that he made errors on or anything else about how they happened. What is known is that before he was recalled the Nats called AAA manager, Tony Beasley, and asked him if Rendon had the footwork to handle second base. The answer was yes.

By David Huzzard (of the Citizens Of Natstown Website, please visit here for an awesome Nats Website)

There is a scene in the movie Moneyball where manager Art Howe refuses to play Scott Hatteberg at first base because he has a first baseman in Carlos Pena and Hatteberg is not a first baseman.

Anthony  Rendon is not a second baseman and the Nats have a natural second baseman in Steve  Lombardozzi .

The chances that the Nats situation goes the way of the A’s situation is unlikely as Rizzo and Davey have often been in step when it comes to moves.

There have been some recent signs that maybe Davey isn’t too keen on the new guys.

Anthony Rendon Spring Training HR:

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Triple Play Podcast Ep #8 – Bucs And Nats Time In The Around The Horn Feature

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Monday, May  13th, 2013

The Triple Play Show will have 5 shows per month.  Each show will be about 1 hour

The Triple Play Show will have 5 shows per month. Each show will be about 1 hour.

By The Big Ticket Show ( AKA Triple Play Podcast on http://www.mlbreports.com)

Guests in this Podcast – MLB Reports Nationals Correspondent David Huzzard of Citizensofnatstown.com ( and MLB Reports Pirates Correspondent Brad Cuprik

On a Mother’s day edition of the triple play podcast we heed the advice of our mother’s and turn the lemon of our original guest being unable to join us into the lemonade of Bard Cuprik of mlbreports.com  (Check out his latest Roster Tree piece – where he goes through the 6 degrees of separation of a how each pitcher arrived in a Bucs uniform here ) – and David Huzzard of the Citizens of Natstown podcast (and Writer) dissects the pitching and the Nationals start to the 2013 Season. Read the rest of this entry

Game 1 Recap Of The Nats Big Opening Day Win – A Glimpse Of Things To Come

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Tuesday, Apr.02/2013

Just as impressive as Harper taking on higher expectation in 2013 is Stephen Strasburg being unleashed on the world for a full season for the first time and starting off with an 80 pitch performance of seven shutout innings.Strasburg didn't even have his best command falling behind 1-0 on 13 of the 23 batters he faced. Strasburg finished the day with only three Strikeouts and no walks giving up only three hits, but this wasn't the dominate swing and miss Strasburg.

Just as impressive as Harper 2 HRs yesterdayn- was Strasburg’s being unleashed on the world for a full season.  His start featured an 80 pitch performance over 7 shutout IP. Strasburg didn’t even have his best command – falling behind 1-0 on 13 of the 23 batters he faced. He finished the day with only three Strikeouts, but no walks and giving up only 3 hits.

By David Huzzard (Nationals Correspondent via Citizens of Natstown.com – view website here): 

Seeing Stephen Strasburg picked to win the Cy Young should come as no surprise to anyone. He did finish 2012 tied with Gio Gonzalez for the best FIP in the majors at 2.82 – and led all starters with a staggering 11.13 K/9. There are arguments that can be made that when Stephen Strasburg is firing on all cylinders –  he is the best pitcher in the NL and among the best on the planet.

The same argument cannot be made for Bryce Harper as an Outfielder. Based on stats last year,  he finished seventh in the NL in fWAR and tied for eighth in wOBA with Jay Bruce and Garrett Jones.

No one is picking Jay Bruce or Garrett Jones for their MVP. In all of the NL Bryce Harper‘s .352 wOBA ranked sixteenth.

Bryce Harper 2 HR Performance On Opening Day – MLB Reports does not own anything from this video:

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Nick Swisher to Washington: The Nationals Are Looking to Add a Key Free Agent Bat to Their Lineup

Tuesday November 13th, 2012

Kyle Holland:  On Saturday, the Nationals announced that they were re-signing manager Davey Johnson for the 2013 season. With the Nats clearing up the managerial situation it leaves the rest of their offseason for signing free agents. One free agent they will start with is outfielder/first baseman Nick Swisher.

Swisher would be a great fit in a Washington uniform. He just recently rejected the Yankees offer of $13.3 million for one more year in New York. With Adam LaRoche declining his qualifying offer from the Nationals, they could let him walk and sign Swisher. Swisher has been known to play first base along with his usual outfield, so he could be a great replacement for LaRoche. Added versatility is always a bonus in today’s game. Read the rest of this entry

2012 American League and National League Manager of the Year Predictions

Tuesday November 13th, 2012

Jake Dal Porto: While the baseball world has shifted the focus to the hot stove rumors, the main yearly awards are starting to be announced. This year, the manager of the year is very intriguing with several surprise teams making their mark on a memorable MLB season.
Here’s who should win and who will win in both leagues:

National League Manager of the Year Finalists: Dusty Baker, Bruce Bochy, Davey Johnson

Who Should Win: Davey Johnson

Johnson transformed the Nationals into a middle of the pack team to baseball’s best team record wise in the span of a year. That alone, is an impressive feat, but his case goes on. Read the rest of this entry

The Blue Jays Won The John Farrell Trade With The Red Sox

Tuesday November 6th, 2012

Jake Dal Porto: OK, maybe it’s not big deal that the Boston Red Sox pulled a fast one on the Toronto Blue Jays, in a trade where they acquired ex-Blue Jays’ manager John Farrell. This whole conundrum is minor in terms of the impact it will make on both teams. But the Jays could have done a lot better in terms of the talent they received back, to say the least.

According to multiple reports, the Red Sox craved John Farrell deeply. So with that in mind, you would have to think that they would have gone above and beyond to snatch him from Toronto. Yet, they did not need to use maximum effort to obtain him, trading just Mike Aviles in compensation.

Aviles isn’t an entirely blank asset. He complied a .663 OPS in 2012, including a career-high 13 home runs and 60 runs batted in. On the same note, he is far from a star, which is precisely why the Blue Jays should have set their sights a tad higher. If Boston really wanted Farrell at the helm, they would have probably been willing to exchange a player (or players) with higher ceilings. Or more simply, a player with room to grow, instead of a veteran whose best years are most likely behind him, a la Aviles. Read the rest of this entry

Time For the Nationals to Shut Down Jordan Zimmermann: Why Stop at Strasburg?

Friday September 14th, 2012

Jonathan Hacohen:  Before fans of the Nationals start to write any angry comments in respect of this article, please do me one favor.  Stop. Read the article in its entirety and then pass judgement. That’s the least I can ask from each of you.

Now that being said, I have a bone to pick with the Nationals. While I love the game with a passion, I also need to separate the fan in me from the writer. When it comes to the topic of Stephen Strasburg, I honestly have a hard time doing that. Shutting down Stephen Strasburg to me is like ripping up the winning lottery ticket. You just don’t do it. Too many stars have aligned this season for the Nationals, to have the season put into possible jeopardy due to a decision that could have been avoided. Putting it bluntly- Stephen Strasburg should be pitching right now. To the end of the season. And throughout the playoffs. You just don’t take out your ace when you don’t need to.

I have talked with colleagues, players, fans…everyone and anyone who has an opinion on the subject. Believe me, there are many of them. If I had to take an informal poll of say 200 people with knowledge on the game, about 195 are against the move. Plain and simple. In my eyes, it seems that everyone sees the logic to keep him pitching (including Strasburg himself), except GM Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson. Even Johnson I am not that sure about. How often do you criticize your boss? Exactly. Read the rest of this entry

Washington Nationals Heading to the Playoffs: Is Jayson Werth the Answer?

Saturday August 11th, 2012


Jake Dal Porto: The 2012 season has been full of surprising teams. From the Orioles to the Pirates, new teams that have always had the potential to be contenders appear to be taking the next step foward. However, no team has taken that vast step quite like the Washington Nationals. Led by a starting rotation that leads the National League in ERA (3.23), and opponents’ batting averages (.232), the Nationals have put together a magical season. Even though Washington’s offense hasn’t be as stellar as their pitching staff, a healthy lineup might change that. More importantly, a healthy Jayson Werth.

Jayson Werth, who was signed as a free agent by the Nationals prior to the 2011 campaign, has been a disappointed thus far. In his first year as a National he posted a 2.5 WAR. In three straight years with the Phillies before becoming a free agent, he posted WAR averages of plus five. Per FanGraphs, his 2011 season was worth about $11.5 million, compared to his actual salary $13 million. That $13 million will be the lowest mark of his contract, as his annual salary will steadily be on the rise over the next few years, eventually making the leap to the big $20 million plateau. However, the pressure will continue to amount if his production continues to slip. If he wants to prove his worth, there’s no better time for him to do so than now, when the Nats boast the best record in the National League and crave a veteran presence such as Werth. Read the rest of this entry

The Washington Nationals Franchise 2005-2012: (Part 4 of The Expos/Nats Series)

Friday, July.20/2012

Note from Chuck Booth:  I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history. 2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4.  The Team’s Payroll going into in 2013 and 5. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.)  To follow all of the updates, be sure to check my author page with a list of all archived articles here.

Stephen Strasburg is the new face of the Washington Nationals. Will Bryce Harper and he be able to bring a World Series to Washington?

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- At the beginning of 2005, MLB returned to Washington for the first time since 1971.  So how was this time going to be any different from the first two times in DC?  The Minnesota Twins first moved from the old Washington in 1961 and the Texas Rangers moved in 1971 from Washington a decade later.  The Washington Nationals (or Senators in the early 20’s where the won a World Series in 1924.  The first and only WS the city of Washington has seen) had hall of fame players such as: Goose Goslin, Sam Rice and Joe Cronin to accompany the great Walter Johnston.  By the time the team moved to Minnesota before the start of the 1961 season, the club had young phenoms Harmon Killebrew and Bob Allison seen as their nucleus of a young Washington team before moving.

Washington’s second go around (in the American League this time) lasted from 1961-1971.  The Washington fans were granted an AL Expansion team by MLB-to hold ontotheir anti-trust exemption status.  The Los Angeles Angels were their expansion cousins.  These AL Washington teams were awful and only were saved by Frank Howard and his 6 foot 7 frame smashing home runs for the years of 1965-1971 as their first baseman/outfielder.  The team only managed one winning season in a decade and that was under the managerial guide of Ted Williams.  Bob Short had acquired the team with 9.4 Million Dollars that was all borrowed after the previous owner had died in 1967.  Short promptly named himself the General Manager.  Finances caught up to him and he eventually traded away some of the best talent before selling the club to the city of Arlington after the 1971 season.  Washington would be without baseball for 33 years until the Expos moved back into RFK Stadium and changed their name to the Nationals in 2005.

For Part 1 of the Article Series, The Expos  Hitters: click here

For Part 2 of the Article Series, The Expos Pitchers: click here

For Part 3 of the Article Series, The Demise of the Montreal Expos: click here

For Part 5 of the Article Series, 2005-2012 Nats Best 25 Man Roster click here

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Strasburg-mania Back With a Vengeance

September 6, 2011


 

Rob Bland (Baseball Writer- MLB reports):  The day so many people (namely the entire Washington Nationals organization) have been waiting for is finally upon us.  Stephen Strasburg, ultra phenom, who I covered his rehab here last week at the Reports, started against the LA Dodgers.  The hype that was produced was incredible, with every major US sporting website having a headline dedicated to Strasburg-mania. The twitter hashtag #MerryStrasmus has been coined and millions of people are tuning in to watch his first start since Tommy John Surgery.

Strasburg is a big, strong kid who is known for his tremendous work ethic.  It comes as no surprise that he was able to begin pitching less than a year after getting the surgery.

The weather today in Washington DC was wet and dreary, so manager Davey Johnson was close to pulling the plug on the start if the game was even delayed.  The Nationals wanted to make sure Strasburg had enough time to warm up and be ready to pitch in the game.  When the tarps were taken off the field around 6:45pm, Strasburg was in the middle of his warm-ups.

Dee Gordon led off the game with a double, but after that, Strasburg didn’t see any trouble the rest of the way.  Matt Kemp grounded out softly in between fly balls by James Loney and Juan Rivera in the first inning.  The second inning was vintage Strasburg, as he threw 3 fastballs between 95 and 97 mph with run and sink, then threw a change-up at 90 mph that Andre Ethier swung over for strike three.  Aaron Miles was then disposed of with a  99 mph heater, and Rod Barajas hit a lazy fly ball to center field.

The fourth inning saw Strasburg get two more strikeouts and give up a single to Rivera.  Gordon and Rivera’s hits ended up being the only two base runners against Strasburg.  His outing ended in the 5th inning after a fly out, ground out and foul out.

Strasburg was dominant. His 4-seam fastball was  95-99 mph throughout his 56 pitch outing, 40 of which were strikes.  His 2-seam fastball had great late life, sinking late and inducing ground balls. Only 6 breaking balls were thrown, and although they were pretty sharp and late breaking, it was clearly his 3rd best pitch.  Breaking balls are usually the last pitch to come around after Tommy John surgery, because pitchers don’t start throwing it until later in their rehab.

Strasburg’s final line reads as follows:

5IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 4K.

My pre-game prediction was:

5IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 9K.

Aside from the strikeouts, I was pretty close.  Strasburg is such a rare talent, that a rainy and cold Tuesday night game against a non-contender such as the Dodgers drew over 5,000 more fans than their average season attendance.

Strasburg-mania really hit Washington on a cold, damp Tuesday night.  If he continues to pitch like this, the Nationals could be close to contending in 2012, but more likely in 2013 when Bryce Harper could be in the field on an everyday basis.



 

 

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Rob Bland.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Rob on Twitter.***

 

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

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