There are two major takeaways from the Nationals this week: 1. They are very good at playing baseball on the western half of the United States. And 2. They are very good at keeping things interesting off the field.
What to make of Michael A. Taylor? My esteemed colleague Joseph Seib echoed many analysts’ feelings in his piece on Taylor three weeks ago. Many have figured he would have come back to Earth by now. Buoyed by an unsustainable .400+ BABIP, a 35% K rate, and 5% walk rate most of the year, he seemed destined to revert back to his 0-fer nights with multiple strikeouts, and a Mendoza line batting average. But here he is, fresh off another solid offensive performance against the A’s, going 4-13, slugging .846 and striking out just twice. Everyone expects him to crash, but will he?
Fist-fighting for fun in San Fran, 51 runs in 27 innings in Oakland, and a tough series win against the second best team in the National League — that was a California vacation the Griswolds would be proud of. To go 7-2 on their last road trip, considering Bryce Harper was 2 for 21 with 11 Ks (when he wasn’t suspended), Joe Ross imploded, and Dusty Baker mailed it in, speaks to how good this team is.
On paper, Wednesday’s Nationals versus Dodgers tilt figured to be a game for the ages. Unlike other games that have looked impressive in theory only to fizzle out on the field, this one lived up to the hype.
As the Washington Nationals’ bullpen is no longer the baseball equivalent of the RMS Titanic, now seems like a fine time to look at the bullpen roles moving forward and if there are any glaring holes that Mike Rizzo needs to address. In today’s advanced statistics era, I would rather not have to discuss set roles for the reliever. With a highly traditional manager at the helm, however, it is unavoidable that that is how this pen will be designed. Starting with the highest leverage situations, let us begin.
The Nationals are on a mean streak, and that doesn’t even refer to their 7-1 roadtrip. All it took was Bryce Harper’s retaliation to Hunter Strickland being a giant baby for the Nationals to revv up their fire.
On Monday, June 5th, the most recent update for the All-Star Game ballot was released, and the results were more than pleasant. Though he trailed Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo after the first ballot update, Ryan Zimmerman surged past Rizzo to take the lead in voting. Nats fans rejoice with the knowledge that Cubs Nation can’t compete with the facts.
With the season a third of the way over and summer fast approaching, things couldn’t be going much better in the nation’s capital, at least as far as baseball is concerned. The Nationals are currently 36-20, good for a 11.5 game lead over the second place… (double-checks standings) Braves? The season is barely a third of the way over, and it looks like the Nats are well on their way to claiming the division title, their fourth in six years.
Despite all of their success, the Nationals still have a potential problem on the horizon, and that is their depth — or lack thereof. Although the Nationals have a commanding lead in their division, injuries happen, and the reserves will have to play well if the Nats hope to continue their hot start for the remainder of the season. Injuries and a lack of performance have already put the organizations depth to the test, and have produced varying results. With Jayson Werth on the DL, I thought it would be prudent to look at the Nationals current depth options, starting with the hitters, and see what they could bring to the team if called upon.
Bryce Harper sometimes punches people. Sometimes, he yells obscenities at people. And sometimes, my dear reader, he is choked for it. So, what other way is there to honor him than by fighting with your brother in public donning his jersey? I sure don’t know, and the Ryan brothers don’t seem to have an idea either.
Rob and Rex Ryan were seen at Margaritaville in Nashville in an altercation that looks exactly how you would think a fight between two white guys past 50 would look. As a mormon, a bar fight is the kind of fight Harper is least likely to get in, so Rex did him a solid and checked it off his bucket list for him.
— Cooper Stefaniak (@CooperStef) June 4, 2017
The twins coached for the Buffalo Bills until late December 2016 when they were fired before the team’s final game of the season for failing to make the playoff . Rex didn’t throw his hands on someone’s neck then, though, for some reason (@ Jonathan Papelbon).
In all, decent week for dudes in No. 34 Nationals jerseys who fought people.