Tag Archives: guest prognosticator

A series of Q&As with fans of teams opposing the Washington Nationals & Redskins. Mostly, it is a chance to look at the fandom associated with that team, as well as provide some insight on how they are playing and what to expect in the upcoming matchup.

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2016 Nats vs. SF Giants Q&A with my friend David

Another Q&A? Is it 2011 again?

David (not pictured), who grew up on another court in our Northern Virginia suburb, has been a guest prognosticator in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and 2014.

WFY: The San Francisco Giants are in the first place in the NL West and it’s an even numbered year, so everyone must be planning where to stand on Market Street in late October….wait, WTOP (rather than talk about the team in the city they broadcast from) mentioned they came out of the All-Star break 1-8. What in the name of Jeffrey Leonard is going on in China Basin?

DFS:I have no idea. Up until the All-Star Break, this season has been a lot of fun. It is simply amazing to me how well the team has been doing. They are platooning minor leaguers at three positions–2B, 3B and RF–and their bullpen is unreliable. And yet they are in first place and, at least for a time, had the league’s best record.

WFY: What’s the mood of the fanbase overall? Are they just brushing off the bad start to the second half?

DFS:I think that we’re seeing reversion to the mean. The minor leaguer back-ups are making base running mistakes, reliable defenders are making untimely, random errors, and the team has gone into a hitting slump–particularly Belt. But I think there is a general optimism that people can’t believe that this team has played so well and they can only get better when Hunter Pence and Joe Panik return and, to a lesser extent, Matt Duffy.

WFY: How are these Giants looking compared to the three championship teams of the decade?

DFS:Each of the World Series team were carried by a dominant pitcher. In 2010 it was Lincecum. In 2012 it was Cain. In 2014 it was Bumgarner. This team has both Bumgarner and Cueto pitching very well and at an All-Star level. That gives me confidence. What I worry about is the bullpen. The ’10, ’12 and ’14 teams got tremendous performances out of their bullpen. Affeldt for instance was amazing in multiple series. Romo was fantastic in the ’12 run. The Giants have a few guys (i.e., Santiago Casilla, Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez) that were on all of those team. 6+ years is a tall order for a reliever. There’s no question Casilla is breaking down. The Giants owned the peculiar statistic of having the league’s best record at the same time as leading the league in blown saves.

WFY: Daniel Murphy has carried the Nats with his bat this year, is anybody doing the same for the Giants? How does the rotation stack up compared to years past?

DFS:My answer above could be duped here. But the rotation is not that different from those championship teams. The Giants had the luxury of have a five-man rotation where the fifth man is at least at mildly above replacement level. That’s not true of a lot of teams. Bumgarner and Cueto are aces who I expect to win their starts. Samardjiza is a total wild-card. He’s had good starts and bad starts where he gets shelled. Getting better performances from him down the stretch will be key. Jake Peavy is like Tim Hudson in 2014. Everyone loves him and he’s a good guy. But he is going to tire at the end of the season and his starts tend to end in the 5th inning. Matt Cain is the most veteran member of the team. He’s the only Giant that overlapped with Barry Bonds. He has a heart of a champion and I love to watch him pitch. But sadly the bad outings keep stacking up along with the trips to the injured reserve.

WFY: Is there any other nickname people use for the Giants? I’m find it gets It gets pretty dry writing that every time. Perhaps we ought to use the Bochymen now and then.

DFS:The broadcasters will occasionally call them the G-Men. I worked with a fan who called them the Gyros (and no one else does). Nicknaming tends to be reserved for individual players to the point of being forced.

WFY: Speaking of Bochy, how long does the great big head have left?

DFS:I think he stays as long as he wants and I’m fine with that.

WFY: How is the local beer situation in AT&T Park? In DC, there has been a bit of a retreat with AmBev taking over pouring rights. Also, congratulations, it’s been AT&T Park longer than any other name and since you’ve arrived in town, I think. It’s also the longest streak for a San Francisco ballpark name since 1995. What do fans call it though?

DFS:The beer situation for craft beer people is bleak, but for the average Joe it’s good. The concession stations have all the macro brews. It isn’t like some ball parks where it is Bud and Bud Light only or Coors only. There are a few places where you can get pale ales, IPAs and the like. But I don’t want to drink that stuff at a ball game, so I don’t really pay attention.

Everyone calls it AT&T. A handful of people will occasionally say Pac Bell, but I think that like me intentionally called the Wizards the Bullets because I can.

WFY: Off the diamond, how are fans taking the Warriors losing a 3-1 to Cleveland in the NBA finals? Or is their ambivalence because they are “Golden State?” Aren’t they moving across the bay to a pier some time?

DFS:I read about the “Golden State” thing a few years ago and it was interesting. The owner of the Warriors in the 1970s was trying to extort a stadium out of San Francisco or Oakland. He threatened to leave the Bay Area. Part of that threat was that he scheduled half the upcoming season to be played in San Diego and changed the name to “Golden State”. I think the team ended up playing part of that year’s home games in San Diego. Then a stadium deal got work out and the team became a permanent fixture in Oakland, but they kept the name.

Losing to Cleveland was absolutely devastating to fans. There was a lot of jaded talk about how the league had it in for the Warriors by suspending Draymond Green. I got wrapped up in it a bit, but I’d never do the fanbase the disservice of referring to myself as a real fan. I have a ton of respect for Warrior fans. They have supported that team for years through lean times of bad players and worse management. They would sell out that arena when the team had no hope. And what is their reward? The recently successful team is going to move into a new building in San Francisco that will be super expensive and is not BART-friendly. I think it is awful. It parallels nicely with the end of RFK. Replacing a stadium filled with diverse fans that actually look like people that live in the community near the team who are deeply passionate with a bigger and charmless building occupied by rich people that come to the game late because someone else paid for the ticket.

WFY: Who takes the series and are these two teams headed to the playoffs?

DFS:The Nationals win this series. I’m optimistic that the Giants win the NL West this year. The sooner Pence and Panik get back the closer it will be.

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2016 Nats vs. Indians Q&A and prediction with Vince Guerrieri

Hey, what’s going on? I’ve been busy this spring and summer, so there hasn’t been much blogging of late. I’ve found a little time though and with the Washington Nationals headed to Cleveland, I have asked my former colleague Vince Guerrieri (not pictured) to answer some questions about his beloved Tribe. Some say he’s the best freelance writer in Ohio. He’s also a newspaper editor as well as the author of Ohio Sports Trivia and The Blue Streaks and Little Giants: More Than a Century of Sandusky and Fremont Ross Football.. Vince also contributed to Tim Russert’s Wisdom of Our Fathers. Someday, he’s going to write the definitive biography of Jim Trafficant as well, can’t wait.

WFY: The last time we talked baseball here, the Cleveland Indians were coming off of the Manny Acta Experience, 2.0. Terry Francona was in his first year and that team lost the play-in game I think. Now, the Tribe has the largest divisional lead in the American League. What’s working for this year’s team? Is there optimism from the fans?

VG: The Tribe did win a wild card in year one of the Francona era, and lost the wild card game at home. They’ve finished at .500 or better in both years since, and three straight years of that is quite an achievement in Cleveland baseball.

The short answer to what’s working? Everything. They’ve got a strong starting rotation, and the offense is scoring five runs a game — and that’s WITHOUT Silver Slugger Michael Brantley. And not only are people starting to buy in, the Cavs have tapped a vein of optimism.

WFY: Beyond baseball, Cleveland’s doing okay this summer — the prodigal son came home and won a title, but not just a title. A comeback over the best regular season team in NBA history. The first title since LBJ was president. You got to cover the Republican National Convention and nothing caught on fire. Great Lakes Oktoberfest is only a month or two, if not weeks away! How much fun has it been on the shores of Lake Erie this summer?

VG: Everyone loves everyone! I didn’t actually cover the RNC (the closest I came was just across the river for a Daily Show recording … and I had a couple Great Lakes Cream Ales), but it went about as well as could be hoped for. I thought the Cavs were dead and buried after Game 4 of the Finals, and I’ve never been happier to be wrong.

WFY: How is attendance at The Jake this year? It was down in 2013, has it rebounded?

VG: Well, renovations and additions took out about 10,000 seats from the ballpark’s peak, so small crowds don’t look as small as they used to. Attendance has picked up in the past two weeks (right around the time the team was setting a record with a 14-game winning streak), but the RNC put the Tribe on an almost two-week road trip. So we’ve got a division-leading team with a lot of home games coming up. We’ll see what happens.

WFY: Chief Wahoo is being phased out, right for a block, serifed C, correct? How is that going over? I am anti-cartoon in any form on a major league cap and believe the letter(s) of the city is the only appropriate insignia, so I’m on board.

VG: The problem is that the team seems to want it both ways. They’re not completely eliminating the Chief, but they are phasing it out. And nobody’s happy. The anti-Chief faction wants it completely gone, and there are still fans who cling to the Chief out of nostalgia or something.

WFY: We’ve got two, two-game series over the next few weeks. Who do you think takes these four games, DC or CLE? Any chance you’ll be in our nation’s capital for the second series? Maybe in 2019, I’ll make it out to Cleveland with the Nats.

VG: I will miss the games at Nats Park. I think the Tribe wins both at home and loses one or both in DC.

WFY: How far do you think the Tribe is going to go this year? What about the Nats?

VG: I think they’re both in good spots, leading mediocre divisions. If the Tribe clinches the division early enough and sets the postseason rotation (and maybe makes a deal before the deadline), then the sky’s the limit.

As for the Nats, well, it looks like they might run into the Giants, and it is an even-numbered year…

WFY: Okay, thanks Vince. I might have to start doing football Q&As again in the fall just to talk about the Browns.

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2015 Nats vs. Phillies Q&A and prediction with Kevin McGuire of Macho Row

The Washington Nationals dropped their first series of the year to the New York Mets at Nationals Park. Opening Day saw two Ian Desmond errors lead to 3 runs as Max Scherzer‘s strong debut and Bryce Harper’s home run being wasted. In the second game, the Nats won on the backs of the Zimmermen — Ryan Zimmerman hit a two-run homer and Jordan Zimmermann gave up only a run. On Thursday, DE6MOND struck again with another costly 2-out error costing the Nats 2 runs. Stephen Strasburg couldn’t overcome that or the damp, cold weather in a 6-3 loss to Matt Harvey. Three runs off the Mets bullpen made it feel closer than it was.

Moving on and to the city of brotherly love (based on what I heard on radio, by bus – perhaps deserved after this poor performance) the Nats look to right the ship against the Philadelphia Phillies who have (Southeast) Jerome Williams on the mound Friday night.

Really.

Helping us prepare for the Phillies series is another decorated guest prognosticator, Kevin McGuire of Macho Row and College Football Talk. This is the fifth time for him with the Phillies . He’s also talked about the Eagles when I was doing this feature in football season. That could come back someday, but we’ll see.

WFY: Let’s not waste any time – why does GM Ruben Amaro still have a job?

KMc: It is my belief the Phillies are a family-oriented type of franchise. Sometimes they have a hard time parting ways with their own kind, and Amaro has been a part of the Phillies franchise in one way or another for decades before becoming a part of the front office. He played here. His dad played here. They like Amaro and want to give him time to fix things. It is a fault of the franchise that probably held on to Ed Wade for a few years longer than they should have. But the pressure is starting to rise and there needs to be some sort of plan in motion seen this year, I think.

WFY: The Phillies contending days are a distant memory, their two pennants and second world championship even farther. Does getting to watch some fan favorites like Ryan Howard and Chase Utley from the Phillies mini epoch make the decline a little easier to handle than watching a bunch of no-names losing 90 games a year? Not that we have any concerns about that in the nation’s capital where we don’t have all that hardware yet…

KMc: It depends. Chase Utley is treated like a god here. Ryan Howard, not so much. People have long been wanting to ship Howard out of town, so there is no solace there by the general fan. Years from now though, when those players are gone and we have more time to reflect on just how good things were here for that stretch, they will all be welcomed back like heroes, even Howard.

WFY: How did the Phillies look in their first series, against the Boston Red Sox? How did the Sox look; the Nats play them next week? Why does it seem like the Phillies always open with interleague?

KMc: The Phillies were routed in the season opener, 8-0. Cole Hamels gave up four solo home runs and reliever Jake Diekmann served up a grand slam to Hanley Ramirez in the ninth inning. Hamels was not sharp, but look at his career numbers in his season debut and it was really par for the course (he’ll be fine, he always has a rough season debut though for whatever reason). The offense was non-existent, and that figures to be the story of the season in Philadelphia. The top of the order failed to get a hit (Utley reached on an error), and there is not a real threat anywhere in the lineup. The Red Sox are going to mash some hits and score some runs this season. It can be a dangerous lineup, and if they can add another good starter in the rotation they should contend (Hamels trade talks are still out there).

This is the second season of season-long interleague play (which I am no fan of, by the way), and for the second straight year the Phillies opened against an AL team. Last year they opened in Texas and had their home opener against the Royals. This year Boston was in town. I’m not sure if there is anything to it, or if it is just a coincidence.

WFY: Who is left to pitch for the Phillies with Roy Halladay retired and Cliff Lee out indefinitely?

KMc: After Hamels, the Phillies will go with free agent pick-up Aaron Harang for however long he may last. David Buchanan me his major league debut last season and remains not he roster. Right now he is the third pitcher in the rotation. He is followed by Jerome Williams, who wears a pink glove and was added through waivers last season. If Cliff Lee returns this year (I doubt he will), he’ll complete the five-man rotation. But of Lee does not come back, I’m not really sure where this team goes for a fifth starter (Kyle Kendrick is now with the Rockies). The hope is Chad Billingsley is healthy enough to join the rotation soon. He was signed on a one-year deal with a injury history, so the Phillies are crossing their fingers on this one.

WFY: Dominic Brown was seen as a promising prospect for a few years – how is he doing now?

KMc: Well, right now he is on the disabled list to start the season. And you are right, he was once seen as a promising prospect, but so far he has yet to really show why on a consistent enough basis. Brown has been poor in the outfield and his offense is not quite what it was supposed to be at this point in his development and career. Brown is the one prospect Amaro held on to while moving players and prospects over the years, which does not help the situation either. After making his big league debut five years ago and getting a full-time role four years ago, the Phillies needed more out of him by now.

WFY: Do the Phillies have any other prospects starting to come up to the majors?

KMc: There are a few down the line worth watching. Shortstop J.P. Crawford is projected to be the next franchise shortstop once he is ready, but he was only in single A ball last year so he is still a couple years away. Last year’s top draft pick was on pitcher Aaron Nola out of LSU. He was placed right into double A and could be seen this summer, especially if things are unstable in the rotation. The other player that could be seen is Maikel Franco, who plays third and first base. The Phillies will likely end up using him at first base with Cody Asche covering third base. Of course, Ryan Howard is still at first…

WFY: How is Ryne Sandberg doing as a manager?

KMc: I am honestly not really sure. I almost feel inclined to give him a pass to a certain degree given what he has to work with in the clubhouse, but we are now 1.5 seasons in with Sandberg as manager and there are some things that were supposed to be fixed that have not played out as advertised. Fundamentals is still an issue with some, and that was supposed to be the big difference with Ryne as manager. We’ll see what happens this season. There is no doubt he knows his baseball, but there needs to be some positive development on the field this season.

WFY: Given the Phillies decline, was their season series victory over the Nats last year any more satisfying? I owe somebody a half-smoke. What is the perception of the Nats from the Phillies fanbase?

KMc: I’m not sure how much satisfaction most Phillies fans took in anything that happened last season, including a season-series victory over the Nationals. But hey, I’ll take it I guess. I think most Phillies fans recognize the Nationals as the top threat in the division right now, and perhaps that is starting to add some fuel to a regional rivalry, but that won’t really take form up here until the Phillies have something to play for. The Jayson Werth stuff is getting old at this point, I think at least, but there is always Bryce Harper. I think he is perceived as a punk, but he’s a punk we’d all love to have on our team.

WFY: How is the local/regional beer selection at Citizens Bank Park?

KMc: When it comes to this topic I like to defer to Lee Porter, a local food blogger who does a masterful job mapping out the beer selections throughout Citizens Bank Park on his website. One thing he has already noticed for this season is there will be more mega cans of the more common beers available this season, which may or may not be a reason why some of the previously offered local brews have been cut from the menu. There is still a good selection of local breweries in the stadium, so it may not be a big deal for most, and there are some new options available.

One thing that should also be noted for some higher brow readers, the Phillies have a new deal in place with Chadds Ford Winery and now serve various wine selections in the stadium. Mixed drinks are also more available at certain locations as well. Some are going to need it.

WFY: Is that sign still blocking the skyline in center field? Have their been any significant upgrades to the ballpark since I went there 10 years ago?

KMc: I have good news for you! After a decade of that darn useless sign obstructing your view of Center City, the Phillies are kinda sorta making it less of a distraction. While the sign is still in the parking lot, the height of the sign has been reduced, reportedly going from 157 feet high to 115 feet. It is supposed to be used for its initial purpose of being a message board as well. I’ll have to go to a game though to see just how much of a difference this has made. I’ll be there Sunday for the Phillies-Nationals afternoon game. I’ll report back if you are interested.

WFY: Since it’s 2015, who is the best #15 in Phillies history?

KMc: This one is easy. Dick Allen, who wore the uniform number from the dreadful season of 1964 through 1969, and again in 1975 when he returned to the team. The number was also worn by guys like Rick Schu, Steve Jeltz and Dave Hollins and was most recently worn by John Mayberry Jr. Simply said, there is no competition here for Dick Allen, who should probably be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

WFY: How do you see this series shaping up? What about the Nats-Phillies season series?

KMc: I expect many disappointing series from the Phillies this season, including this weekend at home against the NL East favorite Nationals. I think the Nationals are going to be very good this season (we’ll see what happens in the postseason), and I think they have a relatively easy time taking the season series from the Phillies this summer. Cole Hamels will be back on the mound so I think the Phillies can take one game in the set, but it will not come easily. It should be a beautiful weekend for baseball in Philadelphia though.

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2015 Nats vs. Mets Q&A with Eric McErlain

Opening Day is Monday! That means I resume my annual Washington Nationals Q&As with opposition fans. Leading off is Eric McErlain (not pictured) – the NY Mets are his favorite squadron; we took a relaxed attitude and talked about the baseball match.

This is Eric’s 5th visit as a Mets guest prognosticator: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and Jets in 2011.

WFY: Though it may not have been apparent to all Washington Nationals fans, the 2014 New York Mets improved significantly. Bullpen meltdowns helped the Nats to a 15-4 record against the Amazins – a split and it would have been a winning season in Queens. How have the Mets addressed that weakness? Beside bringing in Jerry Blevins of course. Hint to Terry Colins he’s a LOOGY. That’s it. Matt Williams doesn’t know that.

EMc: I have to dispute the premise of your question. Yes, the Mets bullpen was a real problem vs. the Nats last season, but overall the team was 6th in the National League in ERA and 3rd in strikeouts. I think much of your evaluation is colored by the experience early in the season when Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth were holding down the fort, and to be frank, letting the Indians over the walls. Later, as Josh Edgin, Jeurys Familia, Vic Back and Jenry Mejia started playing larger roles, the situation really stabilized.

Things looked a little tenuous as Edgin was lost for the year to Tommy John surgery, but Sandy Alderson addressed the need for lefthanded help in the bullpen by acquiring Blevins and Alex Torres last week. Bobby Parnell, the former closer who is returning to the team after missing nearly an entire season, ought to return to the team in mid-April. Rafael Montero, who just missed snagging the job as the 5th starter with a great Spring, will also be in the pen from the start of the season. This looks like a strength, not a weakness heading into 2015.

One of my favorite stats is one you can find on every season summary page in Baseball Reference: Pythagorean W-L. Last year, the Mets finished 79-83 while outscoring the opposition by 11 runs. According to Pythagorean W-L, the team should have been 82-80. I think a lot of observers believe that even with a lineup constrained by Fred Wilpon’s financial difficulties, the Mets aren’t that far away from being a winning team. I think they’re right.

WFY: An improving team should get help with the return of Matt Harvey from his Tommy John surgery. What is the Mets plan for him? How does the overall rotation appear now? Other than noted Bryce Harper observer, Zack Wheeler, who is out with his own Tommy John, right?

EMc: Alderson is keeping his cards close to his vest when it comes to an innings limit on Harvey. He’s said the team isn’t counting on him pitching 210-225 innings, but he also said that the limit wasn’t as low as the 160 Stephen Strasburg was held to when he returned from the same surgery. We’ll just have to watch and see. What I do know is I saw Harvey pitch nearly six scoreless innings vs. the Yankees in Spring Training and he looked like he hadn’t missed a beat. He’s out for blood and I think the Mets will have to tread very lightly in order to not alienate their young star.

As for the entire rotation, the order at this point – in order to maximize the revenue potential in Harvey’s starts at home – is Colon, deGrom, Harvey, Niese and Gee. The Mets shopped Gee in the offseason, and if he gets off to a hot start, they may move him and slide Montero into the 5th position.

WFY: Given the Nats predilection for hitting homers in Citi Field last year, seemingly half of which would have been outs in previous seasons, I was surprised to see the Mets moving the fences in again. Do you agree with the Mets that the advantage to the offense greater than the disadvantage to pitching?

EMc:
That appears to be the calculus. Wright needed help and so did Curtis Granderson. When Citifield opened, I liked the fact that it played big. So did Shea Stadium (even Mike Piazza’s power numbers dropped when he joined the Mets), and the Mets took advantage of that through their time there by developing great pitching. That appears to be happening again, and I guess Alderson is counting on the great young arms to keep the ball in the park. As for the bats, the Mets led the Grapefruit League in just about every offensive category. Things may have turned.

WFY: Did the Mets make any significant free agent acquisitions?

EMc: The major offseason acquisition for the Mets was David Wright’s buddy, Michael Cuddyer. He’ll play left field and spell Lucas Duda at first against some lefthanders. When Cuddyer moves to first, ex-Phillies outfielder John Mayberry, Jr. will get the call in left. Both have had excellent Springs. A lot of fans were clamoring for a new shortstop, but Wilmer Flores has the job and it’s his to lose. His spring has been more than respectable at the plate, but his glove …

WFY: Noah Syndergaard and his lunch are back in the minors – has he been a disappointment or is it too soon to say? I think I ask about Travis d’Arnuad every year too.

EMc: It’s too early to say and thanks to the amount of pitching in the system, the Mets don’t need to rush him to the majors. As for d’Arnaud, he rebounded nicely after being sent down last season. He’s the only starter who has had a disappointing Spring. But if he falters, remember that the Mets have Kevin Plawecki stashed at Las Vegas. He looks like the real deal too.

WFY: What needs to happen for the Mets to reach the playoffs?

EMc: Take the Nats out of the equation last season, and the Mets are 75-68. They cannot go 4-15 vs. the Nats again and expect to make the playoffs. Go .500 vs. the Nats, and they’ve got a fighting chance to make it.

WFY: Since it’s ’15, who is the best #15 in Mets history?

EMc: Carlos Beltran without question. Others who wore that number include original Met Al Jackson, George Foster, Ron Darling and d’Arnaud. But my favorite #15 of all time is the catcher who guided the pitching staff to the World Series twice (1969 & 1973) in five years, Jerry Grote. I’d kill to buy his jersey – which would be #15 with no nameplate on the back – but you can’t buy it. Hey, Mitchell & Ness, I’m looking at you!

WFY: What do you make of the Mets not being majority fanbase anywhere, even their own zip code, according to The Times Facebook likes based fanmaps?

EMc: The Mets have been forgettable during the era of social media while the Yankees have been consistent winners with a lineup that boasted the most popular player in all of baseball, Derek Jeter. If the Mets string together a couple of good seasons, we’ll see that map turn. It’s nothing more than that. With Jeter gone and Harvey on the rise, look for some of those zips to flip in coming years.

WFY: Since the Mets keep doing things to their uniforms, I’m going to keep asking about them. Will you miss the all-white uniforms? I was never a fan, though I understand the appeal of not having pinstripes. Does the alternate cap with gray on it need to find a way into you possession?

EMc:
No and no. I’m a traditionalist with the Mets uniform. I’ve never liked the deviations much, with the possible exception of the mid-80s road blues that replaced New York with Mets across the chest. I own an R.A. Dickey All-Star Game jersey, and have a strong attachment to the original road uniform. For me, that road uniform screams 1973 and beating the Cubs in Chicago to clinch the NL East.

WFY: Do you feel like a Nationals-Mets rivalry is likely or even possible? Is there lingering bitterness from 2007 when a fairly bad Nats team kept beating the Mets in September?

EMc: It’s not a rivalry when you take 14 of 19 from a team. That being said, Collins has identified the failures vs. the Nats last season as something to be corrected. So call me in September. If the Mets keep it close, the series in DC from September 7-9 could be interesting. As for bitterness, take your pick: 1973, 1998, 2000, 2007 or 2008. Those never go away.

WFY: Off topic, I’ve noticed you’ve been mentioning the other blue and orange from Long Island, the New York Islanders more of late on social media. Have you gone back to your roots in hockey after so many years following and blogging about the Caps? How is their move to Brooklyn going over on the Island?

EMc:
I’ve watched a lot of hockey this season, Caps and Islanders. If the teams play on the same night, I’ll watch the best matchup. It’s the last season in Nassau Coliseum, and the fans, many of whom I grew up with, are doing their best to send the team out in style. It would be impossible not to watch given the time when I grew up. If the teams meet in the playoffs, I have to admit I’ll be very conflicted. That being said, if it happens, Caps in six.

WFY: Last year, you mentioned that the Mets are historically awesome on Opening Day, while the Nats are not. That didn’t matter in Flushing last year though as the Nats came back to win 9-7. Now with Opening Day in DC (where it belongs) can Bartolo Colon outduel Max Scherzer and get the boys from Flushing on their way to a series win? I think his slop will mess the Nats up, so I’m saying Mets take the first series, but the Nats take the season series.

EMc: I’m writing off Opening Day, where I think the Nats will win and win big. Colon always has the potential to get shelled, and I think this is the game. As for the rest of the series, I think the Mets sneak out a win with Harvey on the mound Thursday. I see the season series going 11-8 for the Nats. As for the rest of the season, I see the Mets winning 86 games and missing out on the Wild Card to the Marlins. As for the Nats, it almost seems like a division title and a 100-win season would be a disappointment, but the truth is that nothing less than winning it all will be a disaster. I say they do it.

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