I’m in a celebratory mood this morning. The Nationals rolled off another win last night, and in the process, put another curly w in the box score for Jordan Zimmermann. Baseball is a funny, funny game. Zimm goes winless between late May and late June and now sees superlative pitching being rewarded in his last two starts, with the Nats offense knocking in 20 runs combined. And of course, it’s our nation’s Independence Day, and while I still have time to write without IRS compulsion, what better way to celebrate than with June’s MESPY (Matt’s Excellence in Self-Promotion Yada Yada) Awards:
AL MVP: Mike Trout. Robinson Cano had a monster June, but on the day we celebrate standing up to the big bully on the block (alliteration!), I’m not going to shirk away from my disdain for the Evil Empire. So it goes to Trout, who actually edged Cano out in WAR (Wins Above Replacement), 2.2 to 2.0. And Trout did this at the tender age of 20. Wow.
AL CY Young: Hiroki Kuroda. Dang. Well, the British did give us the Beatles.
AL Rookie of the Month: Trout. I hate to be a Benedict Arnold on such a hallowed day, but what I said in May’s MESPYs hasn’t changed. Trout has been baseball’s best rookie and at this pace, could be in the running for the AL’s best player by season’s end.
NL MVP: R.A. Dickey. Andrew McCutchen and Joey Votto both deserve kudos for tremendous months, but Dickey taking home the award just goes to show you how dominate he was during June. He posted the second best WAR in baseball (2.1), a sub-one ERA (.93), a .60 WHIP, struck out 55 batters while only walking 8, and went 5-0. Oh, and he did this throwing a knuckleball.
NY CY Young: Dickey. If only I had a Forever Lazy this would be the perfect day.
NL Rookie of the Month: Andrelton Simmons. Bryce, I still want to be your accountant. But while you hit a bit of a soft patch in June, the Braves shortstop batted .333, showed slick fielding skills (alliteration!), and posted a nice 1.6 WAR. I’m going to take a long walk off a short bridge now.
Nationals’ MVP: Ian Desmond. He crushed another one out last night off of Tim Lincecum, which was just more of the same for the Nats’ All-Star shortstop. I’d like to think this is all because of my talk with Ian at Spring Training two years ago. Oh, but he didn’t do so well last year. I see. My silence is golden.
Nationals’ CY Young: Stephen Strasburg. A 2.25 xFIP (Expected Fielding Independent Pitching) points to his 3.09 June ERA being unlucky. But a 13.37 k/9 and six quality starts demonstrate that even without luck, Strasburg is simply dominant.
Nationals’ Rookie of the Month: Tyler Moore. I can see why I got into auditing and not public relations. That depressing thought aside, in 68 fewer plate appearances, Moore had the same number of home runs as Bryce Harper (4), same number of RBIs (11), batted a robust .425, and topped Harper in WAR 1.0 to 0.6. I hate myself.
And that’s all folks!
If you had told me a little more than two hours ago that the Nationals would take down the Giants tonight, I would suggest that you had been hanging out with Ryan Mallett recently. If you had told me the Giants would be the team on the wrong end of a shutout, then I would have concluded that Janoris Jenkins slipped into your party as well. With Tim Lincecum toeing the rubber for the defending World Champs, and the Nationals proclivity for the strikeout, by all appearances it was going to be a tough night.
Indeed it was. For the Giants.
In 96 pitches, for one night, Jason Marquis outclassed the two-time Cy Young award winner, thoroughly stifling the Giants bats. Allowing only five hits and no walks, while tossing in an impressive seven strikeouts for the ground ball machine, the Nationals got all of the offense they needed with a two run homer from Laynce Nix in the bottom of the second. For good measure, Marquis brought the lumber too, driving in the third and final run in the bottom of the fifth, plating Ian Desmond with a single. All in all, a great night for the Washington Nationals.
Game 25 Natties
Game ball(s): Jason Marquis did it all tonight. Masterful pitching and even drove in one off The Franchise.
Goat(s): Any time you can beat Tiny Tim, there are no goats. God bless every one of those Nats!
Bryce Harper is a ways off: Ian Desmond. Who knew Manny was on to something. Having a kid does spark the bat.
Current Record: 12-13