Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Oh, Those Washington Nationals


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Image courtesy of Daylife via Reuters Pictures
Just like our friends the Tampa Bay Rays, I miss the days when the Washington Nationals used to be the perennial doormat of their division. After years of hoarding first round picks, the Nats are finally enjoying the fruits of their labour.

As I was liveblogging last night's Nationals/Blue Jays game, something became very evident to me; the Washington Nationals have put together a very good team.

Of all the teams in the Major Leagues playing over their heads right now (the Orioles, Dodgers, Pirates, for example), I think Washington is likely the most legitimate contender of the bunch. Their starting pitching is their crowning jewel, and their starting lineup isn't even firing on all cylinders yet.

The following are some of my disjointed thoughts from the game.

You Can't Stop Harper


When the Washington Nationals called up Bryce Harper a few weeks ago, it was one of necessity after Jayson Werth went on the disabled list. Now that Harper has played his way onto the team, I don't think there's any way he can play his way off of it.

Watching Bryce Harper play this well at just 19 years old really makes me re-evaluate how unproductive I was at that age. My idea of a feat of strength was somehow managing to drag myself to 8am class after $2 Corona night at Kokopelli's.

Brett Lawrie's Baserunning 101

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Either Brett Lawrie was auditioning for Riverdance, or he didn't quite pull of the stolen base quite the way he had hoped.

I can appreciate Brett Lawrie trying to make something happen on the basepaths, but this is just one of the numerous baserunning gaffes by Lawrie in recent memory. If Brett continues to run into outs, then John Farrell might have to put the red light up on Lawrie.

Then again, I keep forgetting that Brett Lawrie is basically still a rookie. In fact, I noticed that same aggressiveness in Bryce Harper on the basepaths that cost the Nationals an out last night, so maybe it's just an experience thing.

The Auspicious Alvarez

With the way Alvarez has been pitching as of late, he may have been overdue for a blowup sooner or later. However, I believe his repertoire could actually prove to be effective long term. In fact, Henderson Alvarez has kept the damage to a minimum for the most part.

It's very difficult to overlook the three home runs Alvarez surrendered, but aside from that he had an okay outing. Now if Henderson could just get that HR/9 somewhere around the 1 mark, he could really shine.

The one thing I really noticed last night during Henderson's starts was the movement on his pitches to left-handed hitters. This pitch has so much movement on it, that it looks like a whiffleball.

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It's just a shame that it missed just slightly off the plate and Jeff Mathis couldn't get a glove on it, because that was one nasty pitch.

Who Looked Worse?

There were some pretty ugly swings last night, but perhaps no two were worse than the strikeout swings by Ian Desmond and Rajai Davis. The Pitch F/X just goes to show how far those pitches were off the plate.

So who looked worse? Ian Desmond ...


Or Rajai Davis?

My vote goes to Rajai Davis, who seemingly swing at a pitch that was rolled up to the batter's box.

Get Lawrie a Seamstress, Stat

One of the side affects of playing the game full-tilt is that it will result in the occasional pair of split trousers. Or was this just Brett Lawrie's way of teasing his new underwear line - "Ripped" by Lawrie?

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