Tagged: Washington Post

Nationals’ top trade deadline concern is improving middle infield depth

At least that’s the word from a source to the Washington Post.  Although I gave up rumor mongering after it turned out that a band of wild monkeys was not the Y2K revolution vanguard, I have to say that among the various whispers about possible deadline acquisitions for the Nats (starting pitcher, catcher, etc.), this one I cannot only see happening, I can feel my head nod in approval.  At least with the concept.  Let’s not go crazy and give up Anthony Rendon for Nick Punto.  But losing Ian Desmond, who had been the team’s hitting MVP, to a torn oblique, does leave the Nationals one bump and bruise away from a real serious problem up the middle.  The prospect of Desmond being out until the end of August (if not longer; oblique injuries are notoriously slow to heal) is already quite a challenge.  The Nats would be prudent to try to make sure they don’t turn a challenge into a near impossibility.

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Collapse.  Last night around 8:30, I thought that word would best describe my head hitting the pillow as I fell into a deep slumber, reaping the fruits of several consecutive nights of poor sleep.  On the heels of a Ryan Zimmerman three-run home run that put the Nats up 6-0 against the Braves, it never crossed my mind that come the morning, that word would have a wholly different meaning.

Alas, before the sun peaked above the horizon, a check of the box scores revealed the word’s new meaning, a description of Washington throwing away a NINE! run lead to Atlanta in an eventual brutal 11-10 extra inning loss.  For once, my lazy gene paid off, shielding me from what has to be one of the worst losses in National’s franchise history.  And I’m drawing that conclusion from the Washington Post and a box score.  I shudder to think what I would be feeling if the Sandman hadn’t called me.

Game ball(s):  The Atlanta Braves hitters.  Yep, each and every one of them.  You don’t rally from nine runs down, even with the opposition bullpen imploding, without showing a tenacity for winning that is worthy of a game ball.  Make that eight game balls.

Goat(s):  Davey Johnson.  While there were a lot of pigs making a mess in the pen, I will allow Davey’s own words to claim the award: ”Arguably the worst game I’ve ever managed in my life,” said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. ”I’ve never lost a nine-run lead when it was my part of the game to handle the pitching and it’ll be hard for me to sleep. I had a worse night than the guys did.”

Bryce Harper is still only 19:  The only consolation I see right now is that in less than five hours, the Nats face off again against the Braves, in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.  That’s the magic of baseball.  Tomorrow usually offers the chance at quick redemption.

Current Record:  53-38

Roger That

So Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post tweeted yesterday that it sounded to him that Davey Johnson was going to give Roger Bernadina an extended shot at laying claim to left field.   I don’t know how this latest chance will go for Roger, but at least we can say that the man is a good listener.

Just hours removed from Davey’s proclamation, Bernadina posted the type of game which has raised Nats fans hopes before, going 2 for 5, with a homer, three RBI and a stolen base in Washington’s 7-3 victory over Cincinnati.  And the best thing is that the Nationals got out of the gates quickly, posting all seven of their runs in the first four innings.  Though the Reds would threaten multiple times to get back into the game, they came up short when it mattered most, going 3 for 14 with runners in scoring position.

Game ball(s):  Two homers in two nights plus the added sparkles against the Reds nets it for Bernadina.

Goat(s):  Mike Leake of the Reds had a brutal start and the Reds couldn’t hit with men in scoring position.  But I’m curious as to the fall-out from Bryce Harper’s Bam-Bam moment.  I’m guessing it is just the case of a very competitive player having a bit of misfortune in taking out his frustrations at the end of a tough night.  Still, Harper is only 19 so it is always worth watching how he handles adversity, which will be most telling of his maturation as a big leaguer.

Bryce Harper is still only 19:  Danny Espinosa.  I’ve been tough on Danny, and for good reason.  So it was nice to see him launch one out of Great American Ball Park.  Maybe that bandbox is just the place to get his bat going. 

Current Record: 20-12