Sixteen days until opening day, and the Nats have looked pretty good so far this spring. While Bryce Harper has received much of the press surrounding the team this spring, their steady play and winning record have not garnered as much attention. There is more optimism surrounding this team than any I can recall since their initial spring of 2005.
I do think there are a good number of supporters who drank a lot of the Kool-Aid this year; that is to say they have been impressed with the team’s spring performance so far but seem to have forgotten that the Nats went 0 for 2 this offseason when trying to land a couple of top-flight starters to the mix. I do believe that starting pitching will remain their weakest point this season. Livan and Jordan Zimmermann have looked great so far this spring, but we need to keep in mind that JZimm has all of 4 wins in his major league career and that we can’t expect Livan to duplicate his impressive season from a year ago. I do expect Marquis to bounce back nicely since he appears to be healthy. No one knows which John Lannan will show up this year, but we all hope it’s the one who may be primed for a breakout season. On the offensive side, I love that Morse has had a great spring and seized the LF job. I’ve been impressed by him ever since we acquired him. I really hope Espinosa matures quickly as a major league hitter, and I’m hopeful that Ian Desmond is able to cut down on his errors so that we don’t lose his bat in the lineup. Center field could be a mess for awhile until someone separates themselves. Let’s hope it happens sooner rather than later. I’m just trying to be optimistic but also realistic. Go Nats!
Posted in Opening Day, Spring Training, Starting Rotation, Uncategorized, Washington Nationals
Tagged Danny Espinosa, Ian Desmond, Jason Marquis, John Lannan, Jordan Zimmermann, Livan Hernandez, Michael Morse, Nationals, Spring Training, Washington Nationals, Washington Nationals Blog
It’s a great day to be a Nats Fan…4 games over .500, Bernadina possibly finding his groove, Strasburg pitching a no-hitter through 6. Gotta love it. I realized that I hadn’t written a post in while when I read today that Jason Marquis is going to have surgery to repair bone chips in his elbow. The I thought, hey, I called that out in my last post 3 weeks ago. I’m still kind of amazed they let him waste 3 weeks trying to cure it with rest. As Rizzo was quoted as saying, “It didn’t work, so it set us back for about three weeks.” C’mon Mike, you’re better than that. I’m sure he’s mad at himself for letting Marquis convince him he could work through it.
Back to Strasburg, if they keep him pitching every 5th day, that would potentially have him starting on July 6 at home vs the Reds. Expect a sellout at the ballpark.
I have to say I’m as pleased as anyone that the Nats are at .500 after 16 games and have been flirting with a winning record lately. We’ve got a lot of hot bats, and if we can just get more stability in our starting pitching, we’d be in really solid shape. Speaking of which, I’m going to say it here first that Marquis’ season may be a wash. He claimed he was having some mechanical problems, then the team says he has bone chips in his elbow, and that it’s hard to pitch with bone chips in the elbow. But now they’re saying he won’t need surgery? Either he’s not really hurt and they’re taking him away for while to work on his mechanics, or else he’s legitimately hurt and needs surgery. We already went through this with Stammen, where he pitched through bone chips last season and had negative results. He got them removed in the off-season, and to date he appears much improved. Marquis already said his arm stiffened up from it last week. A cortisone shot and rest and rehab does not cure bone chips. It’s not the same thing as a muscle strain. Let’s get them taken out and get him back healthy in 6-8 weeks.
Well, we’re 2 weeks from Opening Day, and the starting rotation is all but set. Lannan has looked great and will be on the mound Opening Day. Marquis has not looked sharp, but folks are optimistic that he’ll regain his form with a few more outings. Olsen has also been penciled in, which is a concern because he’s coming off injuries and his velocity, never high to begin with, is off. It appears that Mock and Livo will round out the rotation. While Mock has had great control this Spring, he still comes into the season as an unproven commodity at the major league level. Hernandez will likely be an innings-eater as usual, but can he keep his era under 5? He got a late start this spring, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for a guy who, when healthy, consistently pitches 200-inning seasons. Prediction here is that the top 2 guys will solidly anchor the rotation, and that Olsen will be given a long leash to prove that he is healthy and effective. If Mock is ineffective early and/or Livo’s arm tired midway through the season, look for Martin or Stammen to come in and get another crack. One of them will likely already be on the opening day roster as a long reliever.
Posted in Opening Day, Spring Training, Starting Rotation
Tagged Craig Stammen, Garrett Mock, J.D. Martin, Jason Marquis, John Lannan, Livan Hernandez, Nationals, Scott Olsen, Spring Training