A Washington Nationals Blog

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Season Tickets!!!!



The fact that I was finally able to get my season tickets from the nice people at Fedex, who while


requiring my signature and making me drive to Rockville to get them at least managed to be a major improvement over the clusterfuck that was DHL last year. And with my tickets in hand (even though I had my Opening Day seats a couple weeks ago), it is making me consider the status of the fans for this season.




Where are they all? Yes the Nats are supposed to be bad this year. I don't think that there is cause for the 100+ losses that some have been predicting, but I DO agree that there is little hope for an 82+ win season. That being said, it is still baseball, in DC, and the first opening day in the District since anyone except maybe Boswell can remember. So then why are there still 15K seats available?




The Answer: SPREAD THE WORD!! Like the holy gospel that it is the Good News of opening day (which does fall close to another particularly important holiday), those that are Nationals fans must proselytize to the unbelievers. And in this quest for conversions there is no greater power than tickets to OPENING DAY. There are few, if any that can resist the true and blessed experience of playing hooky on a Monday to drink beer in the early afternoon, eat sub-par food, and watch some baseball. This is the Holy Trinity that will lead to the survival of the franchise. The Lerners are the owners and the city has the ability to support a team. But in order for this to work, for the franchise to be successful, and for us to have a team 10, 20, 50 years from now, we need to establish that this IS a baseball town. That means that people need to do what they do every time it thinks about snowing within 50 miles of RFK: skip work without any remorse. And when you do, go bask in the warmth of the best thing in the world, mid-day baseball.




So for anyone who is actually reading this post, remember this one last point. This point in the season, especially Opening Day is not about winning or losing so much as about the EXPERIENCE. By June, July, or maybe even May, this site will be complaining about the numbers and the pitching and the total lack of a center fielder who can hit a double while the shortstop is asleep, but that is for later, NOW is about the possibility of being 1.000 after next Monday and the POSSIBILITY of a winning season. It is about the giant American Flag on the field, the extra fanfare, booing Cheney and everything else that can and does make baseball in DC great. But there is one thing that is needed to make it all work, ALL THE SEATS IN RFK FULL. So please, bring a friend to the ballpark on April 2 and make Opening Day in DC the tradition that it needs to be.






Thursday, March 22, 2007

More of the Rotation Name Game

OK, there were more cuts and more to talk about after yesterday's game against Atlanta. First, Belliard and Fick both got their contracts purchased by the Nationals. This isn't a huge surprise. Fick isn't great, but he can play almost anywhere with some level of competency and hits from the left. This means he will almost ALWAYS find work somewhere. Acta seems smitten with Belliard, so he was all but given a spot on the roster. To make room, Restovich and Castro got outrighted. This should have happened and isn't that big of a deal. Restovich looked awful at the plate and Castro just doesn't have the tools to be in the Bigs. This means that the last big question is the rotation. It looks/sounds like Hill and Chico have pretty much been given a spot in the lineup. That means that 3 of the 5 spots have been filled. Jason Simontacchi was also considered to be a lock, but he is struggling with a muscle strain. This means that two spots, not just one still remain open. For the sake of argument, lets say Simontacchi misses his next start and won't be ready for Opening Day. I don't think it likely, but lets just say. So who is available for those 2 last magic spots?

Tim Redding
OK, Redding is a re-tread. Fine, has experience, needs a shot. Had a couple of bad starts but could have had a chance to make up for it. That chance was last night. He blew it. 3 ER in 3 innings. His ERA for Spring Training is over 11 and it's not due to one really bad start. Its because of a lot of really bad starts. He should and will be gone, even if Simontacchi isn't ready to play.

Jerome Williams
Williams has pitched alright. He isn't a re-tread, he isn't a rookie. He is a could-have-been. And he has pitched fairly well this spring. 5.40 ERA, 4 BB and 5 Ks. This is over 8.1 innings. Like I said, not great, but at least OK. He could be a decent #5 guy if Simontacchi isn't able to start the season. Plus, he is young enough at 25 to still be worth something if he turns out to be serviceable in the middle of the season. I make him my #4 guy.

Joel Hanrahan
He has a worse ERA than Redding (12.71), but has only thrown for a little over 5 innings. If I remember right, Joel got rocked once in a really short start, and then has thrown well a couple of other times. I don't think that he has shown what is needed, but he is on the bubble. I would out him as a #6 guy that you may see in if he has a glowing start.

Jason Bergmann
First, I don't really like Jason Bergmann. No particular reason, I just really didn't like him last season. I cringed when he took the mound. But that said, he has pitched better than the rest of the possibilities for the rotation. But most of this is out of the 'pen, not in starts. I think that you may see him spot start and work out of the bullpen. If Simontacchi looks to be out for a short period and the Nats have already decided to carry Bergmann out of the bullpen, you might see him get a couple of starts. I think he may deserve it. As crappy as Redding was yesterday, Bergmann looked good. He got hit hard at the end, but pitched a few solid innings. I think he deserves a shot, but since he has options available, he might not be up to start with.

Levale Speinger
Speinger is a Rule 5 guy, which means that he (like catcher Jesus Flores) has to stay on the club's major league roster or we lose him. And it stands to reason that if you got him in the first place, you want to keep him. Plus, in 8.2 innings, Speinger is yet to give up a run. This means that I give him the best shot at being the #5 guy for the rotation as a stop-gap from the bullpen if Simontacchi isn't ready.

So, if Simontacchi is out, then the rotation will likely look like this:
Patterson
Hill
Chico
Williams
Speinger (out of the bullpen)

Questions, comments, anyone that I missed are always welcome.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Rotation

Just a quick update....Here is my prediction for the rotation. (A little late, so not really a genius guess)
Patterson
Hill
Simontacchi
Chico
Williams

Who is missing from the list? Early favorite Mr. Redding who has currently given up 3 runs 2 ER in his first innning of work against the Bravas. Consider this the last time you will see Redding in a Nats uniform. I'll write something about the minor league pick-up of the week (Pedro) tommorrow. Now, GO WATCH THE GAME!!! (its on MASN).

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Tony Womack bobblehead day has now been postponed indefinately.....


The Nationals have seen the light and cut 112 year old infielder Tony Womack. So begins the great purge. Fear not Mr. Womack soon other has-beens and never-wases will join you on the scrap heap of Viera 2007.
In releasing T-Wo, the Nats also sent a number of others to the minors. I could list all the names, or you could follow the link. But of note in the list Tony Blanco and Melvin Dorta, both of whom have been on again, off again choices for off the bench infielders. They have now effectively been replaced. This means that, even at this still somewhat early date, Ronnie Belliard is going to be the off the bench middle infielder. So if you don't like Agent .000 (I just love that one), or J-Lo's husband up the middle, I hope that you like Belliard, because that is who you are going to see.
Remember kids, the Nats-Astros rematch will be live today at 1pm on MASN, and it looks like it will be replayed at 7pm. If somebody knows that for sure, let me know and I'll update.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Nats 2, 'stros 5

Ok, this is just a quick little analysis post. First, for the good things that happened. Hill looks like he might actually be able to show up and make a couple of good innings of pitching (like at least 3) and if he does this at least one more time looks like a lock for the rotation based solely on the numbers. The other good, D'Angelo "E6" Jimenez managed to overcome his nickname (thanks to Barry Svrugla) and not commit an error today! Couple that with a 2-3 showing at the plate and this is a positive impact for the day, Hooray!! Ok, enough of beating up on the scrubs that got invited to camp...at least the position players.

From the pitching line....Saul Rivera is the reason we lost. I'm sorry to be blunt, but he gave up 2 homers in one inning and the result was an L. Better luck next time Saul. Also, Nook "Powerhouse" Logan went 2-3 to raise his average to an almost Guzman-esque .200. If this keeps up then he may yet avoid the curse of center field. Which brings up a point that will be tomorrows post...pick a name for the curse of being named the presumed Nationals center fielder heading into Spring Training.

Thank you also to Basil at Federal Baseball for the mention in the ever-growing list of newcomers to the Natosphere!

Can anyone out there throw a decent change?

Or maybe even a curve, slider, oh, who cares, I'll take a BP fastball that you can throw for a strike. If this is you, please contact Jim Bowden at:
Space Coast Stadium
5800 Stadium Parkway
Viera, FL 32940

But seriously, the collapse of the Dirty 3-Dozen that are trying to fill the holes in the Nationals rotation is something of concern. Concern enough in fact that not only have the likes of Ball Wonk, Anacostia, and Curly W reported on it, but Boswell, one the great supporters of "The Plan" has started to comment that maybe it would have been a good idea to find somebody who could pitch to fill at least a couple of gaps in the rotation.

For the Nats, the hopes are really hanging on two things: that some wash-up will remember how to pitch (Tim Redding and Jerome Williams, I'm looking in your direction) or that some of the younger arms will be able to hold together for the season.
I'm honestly thinking that the younger arms is the way to go in the long term. This means that even if your starting 5 on Opening Day includes some vets, by June you are going to see the kids running the show after we have had a couple of blown out arms and a bunch of 13.85 ERAs.

So even if the starting 5 include some re-treads, be forewarned: You will see NO pitchers over the age of 30 in the starting rotation after July 1, 2007.

On a totally unrelated note, Frank Robinson has taken a job with the Bud "The Body" Selig's office in some unknown capacity. I saw this on si.com, but couldn't find the article now, so no link for you.

Also, Thanks to Banks of the Anacostia for adding me to the link list!