Tag Archives: Danny Espinosa

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Nats #COLDT8KES: 22 games in

I don’t blog about (anything) the Washington Nationals as much as I used to and this week or two was a good example. I have a new desk in my condo though, so perhaps further inspiration is coming. Here are some thoughts running through my head.

A – The Scarlett letter. The Nats are 12-10 overall, but a pathetic 2-9 against teams that wear the letter “A” on their caps, the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Angeles of Anaheim Anaheim Angles. They don’t have to play a team with an A until May 8 when head to Oakland to play the Athletics, so get ready for .900 ball until then! Then they play the Arizona Diamondbacks, who sometimes where an “A” right after the Oakland trip. Overall, they have 21 games left with teams that potentially wear an A cap. #fancystats

MattsTown - Washington Nationals - Matt WilliamsMATT WILLIAMS sounds better in pre-game radio previews than he manages at this point. Better than the post-game interviews too (BRYCE HARPER BUNTING WITH TWO STRIKES IS OKAY?!). Like a lot better before the game starts. We have a term for umpires who think the game is about them, so what’s the Ump Show equivalent? Manager Show seems to long, Skipper Show is not much better. Maybe #SkipShow is what we need to use for when managers that just have to constantly remind everyone they are managing a team. It’s early though, Jayson Werth even said so! (Nats Enquirer)

ANTHONY RENDON was probably not too upset about Bryce Harper not touching first base the other day, since it obscured the brutal error he made that cost a game. Speaking of errors…

IAN DESMOND is in a bad place right now. At least he homered in the 9th of Monday night’s loss. That’s a Ryan Zimmerman trademark, good to see somebody pick up the late solo home down several runs while Zimmerman heals.

DANNY ESPINOSA seems to have learned from his dreadful 2013 or more likely healed.

TYLER CLIPPARD is having a Desmond like stretch on the mound. I’ve been expecting his arm to fall off for a few years now, so that time may be here and that makes me sad.

WHY DO THE BARVES HATE FREEDOM?

BALTIMORE ORIOLES BILLBOARDS near the D.C. border aren’t a really a problem, but I understand why some fans think that they are — I suppose they are a problem because why weren’t the Nats advertising on them? The real problem is any reporting on them neglects to mention the Orioles franchise voting against D.C. baseball and of course the MASN situation. The animosity Nats fans have for the Orioles is earned and not petty inter-city tribalism. The D.C. MSM needs to do a better job reporting on that aspect, but probably never will.

ENOUGH OF “TAKE ON ME” It’s time to put 2012 in the rearview. While there is no tangible correlation between holding onto to memorable, but doomed seasons too long doesn’t always work out. Carlton Fisk’s Game 6 homer as a great moment for Boston Red Sox fans, but the Cincinnati Reds won that World Series and it was almost 30 years until the Red Sox could say the same. Nats fans, like me, were probably too nostalgic for 2005 for too long, Senators fans for ’69 and so on. Let’s save #natitude for special occasions too and not every good thing that happens.

CHARLIE SLOWES AND DAVE JAGELER ought to dial back the homer stuff a wee bit. Their constant griping about the umps drops them to an A-. Still great having them back.

THE BEER MAP! Cheers to Charlie at The Nationals Review for putting together the beer map again.

RIP CONNIE MARRERO – He was awesome, learn more.

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I remembered to submit my DC-IBWA 2014 Nats predictions

Every year, the DC Internet Baseball Writers Association sends out questionaires for the Natmosphere about the state of the Washington Nationals. Some years I get to them, some years I don’t. This year, I got to it. Fire away:

1) Who will lead the Nats in home runs in 2014? – Bryce Harper
2) Who will lead the Nats in RBI? – Bryce Harper
3) Who will lead the Nats in stolen bases? – Denard Span
4) Who will lead the staff in wins? – Stephen Strasburg
5) How many games will Ryan Zimmerman play first base? – 11
6) Who starts more games: Ross Detwiler, Taylor Jordan, Tanner Roark, Ross Ohlendorf? – Taylor Roark
7) Who will get more at bats for the Nats this season: Danny Espinosa or Jamey Carroll? – Danny Espinosa
8) Which minor leaguer are you most interested in keeping tabs on this season? – Lucas Giolito
9) Who will reach majors first: Sammy Solis, A.J. Cole, Lucas Giolito or Matt Purke? – Matt Purke
10) How many all-stars will the Nats have? Who? – 3 – Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Wilson Ramos
11) Total wins and what place in the division? 92, 1st

Essay: What should be the single most important development for the Nats this season?

The Nationals single biggest development should be playing smarter. The talent is there, as we saw in 2012, but last season they had a tendency towards defensive lapses that extended innings and wore down pitchers. Another part of playing smarter is not playing with serious injuries. Harper played hurt for the bulk of the season and Espinosa played his way out of the majors. In the outfield at least, an improved bench should make it easier for manager Matt Williams to give Jayson Werth, Span and Harper some days off with Nate McLouth as the fourth outfielder, so nagging injuries may bee mitigated somewhat. In the infield, Espinosa is a big question mark as the utility man coming off of injuries to both arms.

Strasburg also faces a big year at the top of the rotation after an “off” year in 2013. A recent Post article suggests he had an epiphany about his approach. Strasburg has always come off as intelligent, but very sensitive at the same time. If he has overcome his perfectionist tendencies and self-flagellation, he could dominate with more regularity. Simply put, a focused Strasburg, more comfortable with being an ace and all that entails could be devastating to NL hitters.

Lastly, I believe that Williams approach to defense and hiring of a “defensive coordinator” could help address defensive lapses. Not necessarily because shifts in and of themselves can anticipate where batted balls are going, but also keeping the fielders a little more focused. The question will be whether this will help overcome the learning curve that Williams will face as a rookie manager. Thus far, the tone he is setting for the team is refreshing after Davey Johnson’s casual approach in 2013.

I’ll be surprised if the Nats win 98 games like they did in 2012 — I think that was the peak year in the regular season at least, but I don’t see the Braves winning 96 again either. I believe the Braves will challenge to for the NL East title and probably make the play-in game. After that, it’s all about matchups in the playoffs, so, who knows?

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Nats have 100 games to close 7 game deficit

The Washington Nationals swept a doubleheader on Sunday to take the 3 game series with the Minnesota Twins (take that Calvin Griffith!) and get themselves back to .500. One hundred games remain in the 2013 regular season and the 31-31 Nats probably need to win more than 60 of them to reach the playoffs and perhaps more than 63 to catch the Atlanta Braves. They start tonight in Denver with three games with the Colorado Rockies, a team the Nats have struggled against historically. Last year they went 3-4. This year they have Dan Haren, a call-up and Gio Gonzalez as probables for the Denver trip which doesn’t bode well. Curve balls don’t curve as much in the Mile High air and that hurts Gio. Haren is Haren and a call-up is always unknown.

The Post has a good outline of what awaits: The Nationals’ road ahead

The winning percentage of the Braves’ remaining opponents is .454, easier than the .467 winning percentage of the Nationals’ remaining opponents.

Thomas Boswell writes “who knows” what will happen. Getting back Stephen Strasburg, Ross Detwiler and Bryce Harper will go a long way, the question is when. The Nats have not said anything about Harper’s visit to Dr. James Andrews and yesterday evening, that had me concerned. Harper tweeted out though:

I felt better after that, but still no word from the Nats. So, ya, “I have a bad feeing about this.”

The Nats are significantly better with Harper in the lineup than without. MLB Injury News has a take on the situation:
Nationals’ Bryce Harper could return by the end of June . Also, perhaps there are shortcomings to an ironworker mentality for baseball players.

Other recent moves including ending the Henry Rodriguez experiment (remember he part of the Josh Willingham trade1 and speaking of, Willingham is Morse-ian in left2), getting rid of Zach Duke and getting Danny Espinosa out of the lineup via the DL with a trip to the minors likely. That’s a lot of dead wood gone. Anthony Rendon is learning second base on the job, but he can hit and could very quickly make Espinosa obsolete.

Two games are 8:40 p.m. DC time and the finale is a 3:10 p.m. start on Thursday. Friday, the Nats are in Cleveland and I should have a guest prognosticator Q&A on Thursday afternoon/evening.

So, is this the week that either George Will or Charles Krauthammer writes a Nats column? They do at least once a season.

1Willingham was traded for H-Rod and Corey Brown, currently at AAA Syracuse (who looks like a better option than most Nats 4th outfielders)

2Morse is hurting in Seattle

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Lost weekend for Nats as Braves sweep them

Oh man, tough, tough weekend for the Washington Nationals. They got swept by the Atlanta Braves, who are off to a very strong start and already hold a 4 game lead in the division. It is a long season. Especially when you are reminded more of 2008 than 2012. It isn’t time to panic, but the team has some stuff to work through. Also, Danny Espinosa needs to shut up (Hardball Talk). So does Stephen Strasburg. If your team gets swept, you aren’t the better team. It has been proven. Now go, get better (The Post) and return the favor at the end of the month and be the better team again.

Also, can you imagine if Bryce Harper had said what Espinosa said?

The heartbreak of the series though – Wilson Ramos is on the DL with a bad hamstring. Kurt Suzuki will get the bulk of the catching responsibilities for at least 15 days with Jhonatan Solano who had to wait 20 minutes due to the “rule prohibiting teams from having more than 25 active players in the clubhouse at once.” Just what a guy who woke up at 4 a.m. and flew in from Syracuse needs. Hey, I work up at 4 a.m. today! I wasn’t in Syracuse though.

FRIDAY

Stopper Ross Detwiler was done in by the bullpen again. Detwiler left after 7 innings with a 4-1 lead. He’s been the best D.C. starter thus far out of the 5th spot in the rotation. Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen and Craig Stammen blew it, as did Ryan Zimmerman, who made a critical throwing error in the ninth while playing in his 1000th game.

SATURDAY

Another Zimmerman error proves to be the difference as the third baseman extends the inning for the Braves, who capitalized with a Evan Gattis homer. Strasburg was okay, striking out seven and giving up no earned runs.

SUNDAY

Gio Gonzalez, fresh off of his visit to see D.C. United (2-0 loss to Red Bull NY) stunk up the joint, giving up 7 earned runs.

Now, the Nats get a little of what they need — a series with the Marlins. They probably don’t need a trip to Miami though, I’d be happier if they were going some place less exciting.

140 CHARACTERS OR LESS

IN SCORES OF OTHER GAMES

The Nats bullpen nearly did in the Caps, who also had a big lead on Saturday night.

Also, the New York Yankees triple play on Friday night against the Baltimore Orioles was sweet. More like OrioLOLes, amirite?

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