As part of their ongoing series, Kevin Czerwinski at Minor League Baseball recently took a look at the Nationals Minor League system. The preseason predictions of minor league players of the year (Kory Casto and Collin Balester) both had tough seasons and Justin Maxwell and John Lannen rose above the fold to eventually claim the honor based on their actual performance. Maxwell looks particularly good and he made an impact when he got his cup of coffee. Lannan also should have a solid chance of making the roster in 2008.
You get a lot more in the review, including a recap of the 2007 draft. There’s a ton of great stuff to read.
Well, 2007 is almost in the books and while I didn’t quite get the hang of this blogging thing, I’ll just say, like Nationals fans that have some hope, wait until next year. This was team that many thought would give the 2003 Tigers a run for their money but at the end of the season, they’re not even last place and they’ll barely go over the 90 loss mark. Not that you can hang your hat on that, but it’s something Nationals fans can build on especially if you buy into the whole bottom up approach that the new ownership is spouting.
Ryan Zimmerman proved that he’s the future of this team and the guy to build around. Once again he topped 40 doubles and 20 homers and while his .267 batting average is down from last year, he should end the season with more extra base hits then had last year.
Dmitri Young was a pleasant surprise. When motivated, he’s been a good hitter. His .880 OPS was his best season since back he had a .909 back with the Tigers in 2003 and his 38 doubles are the second most he’s picked up in a season. The guy can rake, it’ll be interesting to see whether he can do it next year.
Even the pitching wasn’t that bad. Nobody has more then eight wins but the team’s ERA of 4.56 puts them in the second half of the league, but not anywhere close to the bottom.
Regardless, the Nationals closed the books on RFK today and next year, we’ll get a bright, shiny new stadium. We’ll also see if ownership opens up the pocket book a bit and gets us some help. I’ll be watching these last few games, but I’ll be more concerned about what happens this offseason.
Yes folks, the Nationals started the second half of the season with a series loss to the Marlins. No major surprise except for maybe how the one win went. The Marlins had their sort of ace Dontrelle Willis on the mound and the Nationals ended up with 14 runs by games end. Then of course they scored a total of five runs over the next two games.
It was fun seeing Dmitri Young in the All Star Game considering all of the problems he’s had the past couple of years. I talked to a <a href=”http://www.tigerblog.net”>Detroit Tigers</a> fan and the one thing he told me was, when Young put his mind to it, he could rake. He must be motivated this year because that .336 batting average is nothing short of phenomonal on a team where he has basically no protection. His power numbers are down from an over the fence stand point, but he also could end up with close to 50 doubles. Anyway, Young is definitely a guy who’s put himself on the map and now with the trading deadline close, you wonder if the Nationals will see what they can get for him.
With a 4.77 ERA, the Nationals pitching is probably not as good as it looks. Matt Chico is the only guy who’s gone the season without missing his spot in the rotation and it’s not because he’s the man, it’s because he’s the only one not go down. Jason Simontacci leads team with six wins but he has an ERA north of six. Chad Cordero has been solid as the closer but he’s another one who might find himself shipped off to greener pastures.
Not to compare this team with the 2003 Tigers, but you look at the handful of guys left on that team and you wonder, if the Nationals contend anytime the rest of this decade, how different the team will be. Are we rooting for guys who won’t even be here when the team is good? We probably are but for Nationals fans, it’s all we have.
Next up is three against the struggling Astros. Maybe we can sneak a series win here with the Astros coming off of a sweep at the hands of the Cubs. Mike Bacsik gets the start in the opener this afternoon.
Even after losing three straight to the Tigers (in a bad way), the Nationals sit just nine games back of the first place Mets. Are the Nationals all of a sudden contendors? It’s hard to tell because the top teams in the NL East are playing so bad, it’s hard to say how long it’s going to last. Still, at one point the Nats were just nine games below .500, and if you would have asked me if I’d take back at the beginning of the season at this point, I would have been all over it.
Ryan Zimmerman is establishing himself as the corner (no pun) of the franchise. He leads the team in homeruns (12), runs (41) and RBIs (42). On top of that, he already has nine fielding runs above average after having just eight last year so he’s getting it done in the field as well. His OBP needs some work (just .304) but that’s more a reflection of his mediocre batting average (.250) then anything else.
Dmitri Young has also been a pleasant surprise. He’s hitting .336/.394/.513 and while his defense is something to be desired, he been a run producer on a team that lacks them. Not too shabby for a non-roster invitee. You wonder what we’d get for him in a trade.
The pitching is downright horrible though. The team’s 4.79 ERA is one of the worse in baseball and the lack of experience showed in this last series against the Tigers where it was one beating after another. Still, these guys like Matt Chico might play a role on the team if we’re ever good so this experience is nice to have now when it doesn’t matter.
Things don’t get any easier because the Nationals now play three against a tough Indians team. Micah Bowie, who’s been a nice surprise, will throw against Fausto Carmonaa. I like our chances in this one and it’d be nice to end this skid.
My apologies for the lack of writing. Although it’s not that I didn’t want to, we were just having some network problems. Anyway, things are fixed and it’s just in time because the Nationals had a number of firsts in their series against the Marlins this weekend. It was their first series win, their first sweep and also their first three game winning streak. So just like that, the Nationals go from nine wins to twelve and at least for the moment, they’re no longer the worst team in baseball (thank you Royals). I really hope this plan the front office has is going to work because this is going to be one long season.
It’s bad when you’re hitting star and homerun leader has just four dingers. Austin Kearns has put together a nice season so far though. His OBP is down a bit from what you’d expect from him but you also have to realize that he’s not getting much protection. At this point, if he can just put together a full season for the second straight year, it’d be a nice accomplishment. We’ve got Kearns locked up through 2010 (when you count the option) and this is a guy who, while he might not be the team leader, is one of those guys you like to have around because he can make things happen.
Next up is four against the Braves though, which isn’t going to be pretty. I’d be happy if the Nats could walk away with a split but we’ll see.
And in case you missed it, Ken Rosenthal has put together a very nice four part series on the state of the Nationals franchise. Yeah, it’s not pretty but the team will make money next year because of the new digs but it sure would be nice to get back to winning.
You have to love baseball. A few more hits and this very could have been a Nationals sweep. Instead, it’s a series loss and it it weren’t for a three run homer in the first inning of Friday’s game by Austin Kearns, this could have definitely been three straight losses.
Matt Chico had a very nice start in Friday’s game and he was the primary beneficiary of Austin Kearns three run homer. He gave up just two runs on nine hits and a walk with three strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. The win improves Chico’s record to 2-2 on the season.
It went downhill from there. On Saturday, Chad Cordero gave up a run in the ninth to send the game into extra frames and then Saul Rivera gave up three in the twelth as the Nationals lost it 6-2. A great start by Jerome Williams (six shutout innings) was wasted.
Then, this afternoon, the Nationals couldn’t manage a single run. Jason Bergmann was robbed of a win because of the lack of run support and his only blemish was a solo homerun by Carlos Beltran. This kind of performance gives the term get away day a whole new meaning.
And it doesn’t get any easier as the Nationals hit the road for the west coast. The first stop on their road trip is San Diego with three against the Padres.
I guess we should get used to this when your team is the worst in baseball. For the fifth time this season, the Nationals have lost a series. They’ve split some, but they have yet to win one. And this week was no exception with a series loss to the all of a sudden hot Phillies.
In Tuesday’s game, the Nationals pen gave up three runs in the bottom of the eighth to lose it 6-3. Micah Bowie took the loss all three relievers used gave up runs and a solid start by Jason Bergmann was wasted. Austin Kearns was the hitting star. He went two for four and he scored two of the Nationals three runs.
Yesterday, things got a bit uglier. John Patterson dropped to 0-4 in a blowout loss and he gave up six runs on eight hits and three walks with three strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. Ronnie Belliard went two for four while both Dmitri Young and Austin Kearns both scored and drove in one in the 9-3 loss.
Then this afternoon, the Nationals got some pitching. Shawn Hill picked up his second win and he gave up just two runs on four hits and two walks with three strikeouts in eight innings. Kearns had two hits and he scored a run while Young hit a solo homerun in the 4-2 win. Ryan Church singled and drove in two runs.
Next up is the Mets at home. Maybe we’ll just have to wait until next week to pick up that series win.
Well, we knew the pitching wasn’t going to be good and so far it hasn’t. This weekend, the Nationals needed six runs and fourteen inning just to take one game in their series against the Marlins. The other two games were downright ugly and the end result is a major league tying worst six wins.
Friday’s game was the win and even that one was scary. The Nationals jumped out to a 5-0 lead and eventually gave up each of those runs and the game went into extra frames. Then in the fourteenth, Chris Snelling lined one off of the second baseman’s glove and Ryan Church scampered home for the game winner. Austin Kearns and Ronnie Belliard each finished with three hits and Belliard had three RBIs in the 6-5 win. Shawn Hill had a solid start and he gave up two runs in six innings and Jesus Colome picked up the win with a shutout inning of relief.
It went downhill from there. Matt Chico was roughed up for five runs and he walked seven in 4 2/3 innings. Ryan Wagner was also bombed in a 1 2/3 inning relief appearance and he gave up four runs. Ryan Zimmerman finished with two hits, a run and an RBI in the 9-3 loss.
Jerome Williams was even worse today. He gave up ten runs on nine hits and four walks in six innings and he dropped to 0-4. Ryan Zimmerman provided most of the offense with a grand slam and Jesus Flores drove in two runs in the 12-6 loss.
The Nationals get a day off tomorrow and then it’s three against the Phillies. Jason Bergmann will get the start in the opener and our best chance will probably be on Wednesday when John Patterson takes on Jon Lieber.
It was the battle for last place and the Nationals won one and lost one against the surprisingly bad Phillies. I mean, I know the Nationals were supposed to be bad but the Phillies just haven’t gotten it done much this year.
In the game yesterday, the Nationals blew a three run lead only to win it in the thirteenth inning. Felipe Lopez drove in the winning run on a sac. fly. Brian Schneider also had a nice game. He went two for six with a homerun and three RBIs. Austin Kearns had three hits and Levale Spagner picked up the win. He was the eighth pitcher used and seven relievers combined to hold the Phillies to just one run in 6 2/3 innings.
This afternoon’s game didn’t go as well and it wasn’t even as close as the 4-2 score would indicate because the Nats scored both in the ninth. Dmitri Young and Robert Fick both drove in runs in the ninth and John Patterson was hit hard and he took the loss. He gave up three runs on seven hits and four walks with one strikeout in just four innings of work.
Next up is a trip to Miami to take on the Marlins. I’m not getting my hopes up, but the good thing is, we don’t have to see Dontrelle Willis.
It didn’t take the Nationals very long, but they lost their tenth game last night. Jerome Williams was hit hard and he dropped to 0-3 on the season. He gave up four runs on seven hits and two walks with four strikeouts in five innings of work. Felipe Lopez had two hits and an RBI and he continues to hit the ball well and Chris Snelling went two for three with an RBI and two runs in the 6-4 loss.
There was a win in this series though as Matt Chico finally put together a solid start. He gave up just one run on four hits and five walks in five innings of work and it’s his first major league win. Dmitri Young had a nice game with the stick n the 5-1 win. He went three for four with two RBIs and a run. Felipe Lopez finished with three hits in that gave and he had five total in the two game seires.
Next up is two agaist the Phillies in a surprising battle of the bottom feeders. Yeah, I know it’s not too surprising that the Nats are near the bottom of the standings but the Phillies were supposed to contend for a division title.
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