Monday, April 26, 2010

Series #7: : The Artist formerly know as Les Expos

Well, I finished this last night...but forgot to publish it...sorry....


The Nationals are an interesting study right now.

First off, they are managed by the person that I consider to be the worst Cubs manager in the last 27 years...and the only reason I don't go further back than that is because I'm not old enough to know any better. 

Jim Riggleman is a bad manager.  Period.

 Dear GM's of the MLB...stop hiring this guy!

I am absolutely dumbfounded as to why two different teams in the last three years have given this guy a chance to be a bad manager again.

Ok...with that out of my system, we can focus a bit on the team itself...

First off, they signed Jason Marquis in the offseason.  Good news for the Nationals, he's hurt...or at least he claims he's hurt after he put up this line one week ago:  0.0 ip, 4 hits, 7 earned runs, 1 walk, 2 hit batsmen.  That's right, OGDJM didn't record a single out last Sunday in his start against the Brewers.  Believe it or not, the Brewers almost blew that game too.  Anyway, Marquis was put on the DL shortly after that wonderful performance...supposedly with elbow problems.  He might be back in a couple months.  So we won't get to see Jason this series.

Marquis isn't the only big name pitcher (hahahahaha!) that they are paying not to pitch for them right now...future Hall-of-Famer, Stephen Strasburg is still not up with the team.  Last year's #1 draft pick is currently in the minor leagues and is completely outmatching anyone that faces him down there.  He's going to be coming up to the big-leagues soon...hopefully sometime after they leave Chicago. :)

So who is on this Nationals team?  Um...well....

Livan Hernandez pitches for them...and Miguel Batista, who's been around and pitching poorly for almost 20  As far as starting pitchers, Hernandez is their ace, I suppose.  John Lannan, who's put in a lot of innings with this team for the last couple year, is a rather solid talent.  Craig Stammen also is starting for them.  Scott Olsen, who was once a prospect for the Marlins heads up the back of the rotation, with rookie Luis Atilano filling in for Marquis.

Hernandez is actually pitching fairly well so far this season.  Not counting Atilano, who's only pitched once, the rest of the starters all have ERAs over 5.50.

 Livan just keeps motoring a long...

The bullpen...well, it is anchored by Matt Capps.  Cubs fan might recall that the Cubs were trying to sign Capps this past offseason, but he liked the Nationals must be because of the racist fans here in Chicago.  Capps was the closer for the Pirates last year, and was one of about 3 players that wasn't traded by the Pirates during last season.  The previously mentioned Batista is also in the 'pen...good luck in recognizing any of the rest of the names out there.

This pitching staff is really awaiting the arrival of Strasburg.  They are near the bottom in baseball right now in ERA, strikeouts and hits allowed..

 He's coming soon, Nats fans.  Can he save this franchise?

The offense has some good players on it...Nyjer Morgan is one of the fastest guys in baseball...and he sits at the top of their batting order while playing center field. Adam Dunn is the big RBI guy in the middle of the order.  He has moved permanently to 1st base now.  Ryan Zimmerman has been battling some hamstring problems for most of the season so far, but he is one of the best all-around 3rd basemen in baseball...(just ignore A-Rod). Former Angel and Cardinal, Adam Kennedy has been filling in at third for Zimmerman, but is, for the most part, platooning with Cristian Guzman at second base.

Along with Morgan in the outfield, Marlin castoff, Josh Willingham handles left and and a whole mess of players take turns out in right field with Willy Harris, Willy Tavaris, and Justin Maxwell all getting time.

Behind the plate, well, Ivan Rodriguez is getting most of the playing time right now.  Pudge is still motoring along and is currently hitting over .400 for the season.  He's just playing out his final days before he can start his countdown to Cooperstown. 


The matchups this week:

Tomorrow:  The Orca goes up against John Lannan.  Not counting Lilly who's only had one start, believe it or not, Carlos Silva has been the Cubs best starter to this point of the season.  Lannan is 1-1 on the season, with an ERA just under 6.00.  Statistically he had a good season last year, but only had a 9-13 record.  He's faced the Cubs 3 times and has a 2-1 record with an ERA near 3.00.  He's not a high strikeout type of pitcher...which seems to be the type of pitcher that gives the Cubs fits.

Tuesday:  Sloth faces Livan Hernandez.  Sloth pretty much forced Zambrano into the bullpen (and thus forced Jeff Samardzija to Iowa).  He's been probably the best #5 pitcher in baseball so far this season.  Hernandez has numbers that quite impressive so far this season.  He is averaging 8 innings in his 3 starts so far.  And his ERA is 0.75.  He's handled the Cubs well over his career.

Wednesday:  Dempster pitches for the Cubs.  I haven't seen who will pitch for the Nationals...right now I'd guess they would give another start to Luis Atilano...this is Marquis's spot in the rotation and Atilano did replace him last week.


The Nationals have a respectable record to this point of the season, but their pitching isn't very good.  The roster has an interesting mix...old veterans like Hernandez, Rodriguez and Batista...some very good hitters like Dunn and Zimmerman...some young exciting players like Morgan and most of the pitching staff.

I don't think they are going to finish the season with a record over .500, but this is a much better team than the one that one was able to win 59 games last year.

But will Jim Riggleman screw this whole thing up?

 No Jason Marquis?  Too bad.