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Monday, May 13th, 2013
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
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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.
Bryce Harper 2 HR Performance On Opening Day – MLB Reports does not own anything from this video:
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
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:
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.***
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