The New Look Nats; fresh threads, flashy leather, and a philosophical shift in how to approach the game.
Goodbye big boppers. Hello speed, defense, pitching.
Speed doesn’t matter if you can’t get on base. Defense doesn’t matter if you don’t score any runs. Pitching is crucial if you play small ball. J-Zimm looked good today – lotsa first pitch strikes, pitching to contact, fastball was hitting 94. But the bullpen, as Borat would say, “not so much.”
Your new look Washington Nationals, 2. Stalwart division rival Atlanta Braves, 11.
Well they’ve changed alright. Five new opening day starters. Our bullpen, what we thought was a strength, pulled your classic meltdown this afternoon highlighted by a bizarre balk by rook Brian Broderick that longtime baseball guy Phil Wood said he had never seen in his life. Could it be AAA baseball in the District all over again?
OK, its three games into the season. Deep breaths. A larger sample size is needed. Nevertheless some significant concerns about this club reared their ugly head today. With all the talk of fundamentals today’s game was about as sloppy as you can get.
Desmond is psyched out and over anxious. The guy was hacking early and often and Hudson was toying with him. If you’re going to hit Werth second, you better have a guy who can get on base at least a third of the time.
The bullpen was an absolute mess. Let’s hope Riggleman is not pulling a Shanahan and letting his ego make decisions just because he fell in love with a few relievers in spring training. I saw Broderick in Viera. He impressed. But this is the big time and things are different.
Espinosa is not flawless with the glove. He made at least three mistakes that significantly impacted the game. Werth again disappointed on a fly ball that was catchable. Pudge looks like a double play machine.
But things aren’t all doom and gloom. This bears repeating; it is three games. Ramos needs at bats and apparently will split time with Rodriguez. Essentially three quality starts from Livan, Lannan and Jordan. I’ll take Ankiel and Morse over Milledge or Morgan any day.
Oh yeah, and where there’s a bad ball club there’s a cheap ticket. On a weekend when the blossoms were blooming and the thermometer flirted with 60 degrees tickets were plentiful and scalpers were desperate for a sale. For thirty bucks I couldn’t have asked for a better seat. I’ll take advantage this year before the New “New” Nats of 2012 drive ticket prices up to where someone of my financial status is banished to the outfield reserve. But hey, if Broderick is still hurling at least I’ll have a great chance at catching a home run.
Things are different. But they’re not better…yet.