Swimmer Katie Ledecky visited Nationals Park last night for the Washington Nationals home game since she returned from her 5 medal (4 gold) performance at the Rio Olympics. The Bethesda-native threw out the ceremonial first pitch with Bryce Harper standing by her side, holding her medals.
Happy Opening Day, every one! We survived another long offseason.
The Washington Nationals threw away 2015 and Bruce Harper’s magnificent season in late 2013 when they hired Matt Williams to succeed Davey Johnson as manager. Now, they hope hiring one of Williams’s mentors will reverse the trend. Dusty Baker has a reputation of poor pitching management, but also being a strong clubhouse manager. After last season, the former seems more important.
Stephen Strasburg is in his walk year and seems to have put it together in the second half of 2015 – if he’s healthy he probably wins more than Opening Day starter Max Scherzer who seems likely to regress a bit in his second NL season. It’s an enviable top two, but looming in the East is a powerful, young New York Mets rotation with a pennant on the resumes.
The biggest issue for that Nats and every one of course is health. Last year the optimum lineup played TWICE in 162 games. Leadoff man Denard Span is gone with Ben Revere. If Anthony Rendon can stay healthy and play like he did in 2014, that should be a solid top of the lineup for Harper and Ryan Zimmerman I’d he can avoid chronic injury.
I like the Nats to improve over next year overall just by the addition by subtraction of Matty. I’m saying 90-72. I don’t know if that’ll be enough to win the division, but they will be a factor.
Zimmerman was about the only joy we had as Nats fans for several seasons it seems and I think the a high percentage of DC fans have dreamed of him hitting a game-winning homer to win the pennant/World Series, etc. He’s OUR guy – he grew up with the franchise. I want him to succeed more than anybody else in Washington uniform, any sport. Is it too much to ask for a little divine providence?
There’s one problem though – check out the years Zimmerman has hit walkoffs:
There are two years missing there, two pretty notable years:
To date, those are the only two years that the Nats have made the playoffs, winning the division both times.
From xkcd 552: Correlation
Oh and Bryce Harper thinks he has a bone-bruise and the Nats are 2.5 back of the New York Mets with a finale in L.A. against Clayton Kershaw followed by road trips to San Francisco and Colorado.