about last night as a fan of Washington-area sports teams, if you were so inclined. The only thing missing was the girlfriend walking out, saying how like your truck, you are too old and broken down for her anymore.
As it was, the following was plenty enough:
- Despite one of Edwin Jackson’s best efforts on the mound all season, the Nationals were shut out 2-0 by the Bernie Madoff Mets.
- Edwin and the Nats were done in by the .219 hitting Ike Davis, who launched a two-run home run in the top of the seventh to supply all the runs the Madoff Mets would need. Sure, Davis has been playing better since the All-Star break, but still, a real kick in the teeth.
- The atrocious Mets bullpen, headlined by Frank Francisco, he of the 6.06! ERA and 1.78! WHIP, actually locked down Jonathon Nieses’s shutout. I guess that’s why they are the Amazin’ Mets!
- The Washington Redskins lost more than just the second game of the preseason to the Chicago Bears, also losing starting linebacker and pass rushing extraordinaire Brian Orakpo and starting safety Brandon Meriweather to injuries. This is when I pause for six hours to pray at my private Redskins good karma altar.
- And come to think of it, the Redskins defense looked like an old and broken down truck which Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall walked out and over on.
Game ball(s): Niese. Credit where credit is due. The Nationals had precious few opportunities to plate runs last night and when they did, Niese flipped on the dominant switch.
Goat(s): Whoever in the Redskins front office or on their coaching staff that thought Cedric Griffin could still cover. Brandon Marshall was probably having warm flashbacks to his final days in Denver, when he last had so much fun working someone over.
Bryce Harper is still only 19: Jackson. I feel like I’ve said this a number of times about Edwin this season, but he deserved a better fate than for a L to be hung around his neck.
Current Record: 74-46
It’s raining cats and dogs* this afternoon in Tallahassee, so what better excuse to stay indoors and bang out another edition of Quick Hits.
- Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports is reporting that the Nationals are exploring pitching options to potentially replace Stephen Strasburg, with Ryan Dempster among the names being mentioned. And, according to Rosenthal, the Nats are also looking for an everyday catcher, with Ramon Hernandez of the Colorado Rockies being considered. Let’s start with the latter possibility first. If it’s Ramon Hernandez the Nats are looking at, put me down in the “move along” column. I know Jesus Flores has had his struggles at the plate (.621 OPS) and I’m guessing Washington isn’t inclined to roll more with the rookie Jhonatan Solano. But Hernandez, even with the help of the thin rocky mountain air, has a slightly lowers OPS (.620) and fielding metrics indicate that Flores is the superior defender to Hernandez. You might rightly point out that Hernandez has been banged up this season with a wrist injury, which has masked his offensive superiority. It’s true that Hernandez’s career .747 OPS is better than Flores’ .682 mark. However, did I mention that Hernandez is coming off a wrist injury that typically saps offensive output? Move along.
- Since this is “Quick Hits”, I figured I should bump the whole Stephen Strasburg shutdown watch to a second bullet. And actually, the topic probably deserves a whole column. But that wouldn’t necessarily be quick, now would it? Stop wasting words smarty pants. By almost all media accounts, it is just a matter of when and not if the Nats will shut down Strasburg this season. Whether it is at 160 innings or some other point, it appears that at least publicly, Nats management is saying that health will come before everything else and Strasburg will be told his season is over before the season is actually over. Now, I don’t know what will actually happen come September, with the possibility of a World Series run on Washington’s horizon. It is very easy to say in mid-July that you will put down one of your bayonets when the other side comes charging in September for fear of breaking it. But for the life of me, I still cannot understand baseball’s obsession with protecting pitchers with artificial innings limits and pitch counts, the value of which is based on dubious or non-existent evidence. For all the limits and restrictions put in place by teams the last 20 or 30 years, has there been an appreciable decline in pitching injuries? Maybe shutting Strasburg down is the right thing to do to ensure that he is there to take the mound for the next 10-12 years. But wasn’t management saying the very same thing in 2010 when he wasn’t allowed to throw more than 100 pitches in a game? How did that work out?
- One final thing on the whole Strasburg shutdown. If the Nats do decide to park him in September, I’m not sure they are, or should be, in the position to mortgage even more of their farm system on getting someone like Dempster, who isn’t controlled beyond this season. GM Mike Rizzo has been adamant that any moves made would be done with an eye towards upgrading for the long-haul, and not just this season. I hope he sticks with this philosophy, because if they want to make a move that gives the team the greatest possibility of winning this season, it would be to find a way to keep Strasburg pitching while not further depleting their farm.
- Finally, in addition to being a rabid Nats fan, I’m even a more die-hard Washington Redskins fan. I know. Counseling helps some. And so it is that even the Redskins can find a way to screw up the start of RG III’s career: Griffin III again misses Redskins rookie camp. Thank you Nats for winning. It eases some of the pain.
*Cooley the dog would like to note for the record that it is not literally raining dogs, though he is intrigued at the possibility of a rain shower of cats. Manna from heaven.