I didn’t want to write this piece.
No one did.
The Washington Capitals are gearing up for the playoffs, and apparently, so is Adam Eaton. Adam posted this well-staged picture to Instagram on Wednesday afternoon. B-man, as Adam calls his son, is clearly ready for the Caps to get past the second round this year.
If you’re reading this, you’re surely aware that the Nationals’ bullpen has been very bad this year. To put it empirically, Nats relievers have allowed 18 runs in 20 1/3 innings this year, or a 7.98 ERA. That’s awful!
162-0 is an impossible dream, and more recently an annoying twitter campaign for every fan after Opening Day. It was, however, nice to keep the dream alive for an extra game this year. The Nationals will have to settle for 161-1 after dropping the final game of their opening series to the Marlins 4-3 in extra innings on Thursday night.
Mad Max is back. After a stress fracture in his throwing hand slowed him down, the reigning Cy Young winner will finally take the mound for the Nationals in 2017. He didn’t pitch Opening Day for the Nationals in DC, but he will pitch Opening Day in Philadelphia. As fun as it would be to see Max mowing down batters in DC on the first day of the season, it might be even more fun to see him shutting down the Phillies in their home ball park.
Gio Gonzalez had a roller coaster of a 2016 season, and it ended with his worst stats ever as a National. He ended with a 4.57 ERA, by far his worst during his tenure in DC. As a result, Gio found himself on the trade block during the offseason as the Nationals searched for upgrades in the bullpen and at catcher. In the end, Gonzalez stayed put in DC and he will try and turn things around in 2017 as he takes the mound for the first time this season.
The inaugural episode of “Between Innings with Dan Kolko” released Tuesday via Kolko’s Twitter account. The new podcast, featuring Kolko and MASN producer John, is recorded at Chad’s in Friendship Heights, a restaurant amidst a transition to a Nats-centric destination— a transition all ex-Orioles fans sympathize with.
Coming off of a disappointing 2015 spent shuttling between the bullpen and the starting rotation, it felt like Tanner Roark was the forgotten man in the Nationals’ 2016 rotation. All Roark went on to do was post the sixth-lowest ERA in baseball among qualified starting pitchers. Not bad for a guy who throws in the low 90s and was never a top prospect.