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The Case For Pessimism About Stephen Strasburg

This is a debate with Jim Meyerriecks at Federal Baseball. See his optimistic take on Strasburg here.

To call Stephen Strasburg something of an enigma among Washington Nationals fans is similar to calling Yankees fans entitled or Mets fans downtrodden. It’s just one of those truths that always feels right, even if you don’t have direct evidence to back it up. Since his dazzling debut, Strasburg feels like a player who, for whatever reason, hasn’t been quite able to live up to the promise.

This year, Strasburg has taken a massive step backwards. His 6.55 ERA is among the worst in all of baseball, and many of his peripheral numbers (such as K/9 and FIP) have taken a tumble. It’s gotten to the point where making a case for pessimism regarding Strasburg has become shockingly easy. Continue reading…

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Drew Storen, Johnny Cash, and Elite Closers

You can run on for a long time, run on for a long time. Run on for a long time, but sooner or later God’ll cut you down.

The most important part of any closer’s repertoire is not his fastball. It’s not his slider, nor his curveball or his changeup. It’s nothing he does on the mound. Instead, it’s what rings out across the park as the bullpen door swings open.

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Nats Blow Lead To Brewers, Fall To Second In NL East

Coming into Thursday night’s contest against the Milwaukee Brewers (23-38), the Washington Nationals (31-29) were hoping to take a cue from earlier in the season. Back in April, the Nationals went down 9-1 to the Atlanta Braves only to erase the deficit and flip the page from a mediocre April to a scorching May. Wednesday night’s less impressive but still important comeback win against the New York Yankees put the idea of a turned page firmly in the hearts and minds of Nats fans. With a patchwork lineup as yet another National went to the DL, the team turned to Tanner Roark to face off against Brewers number-two man Matt Garza in the attempt to start a winning streak.

Their luck would run out as Roark tired quickly and the Nationals offense couldn’t get going against the Brewers bullpen. The Nats dropped a 6-5 decision late.  Continue reading…

Caption: Mariano Rivera Jr. pitches for Iona in 2015. Credit: Iona Athletics

Federal Reserve: The Nationals 2015 Draft Class

Wednesday afternoon marked the conclusion of the 2015 MLB Draft. With 40 players selected, the Washington Nationals put together an interesting class. While it lacks a high-upside talent like Lucas Giolito or Erick Fedde, this crop of players could hold some promise.

It began on Monday with second-round selection Andrew Stevenson—a speedy outfielder with excellent defensive potential and an improving plate approach. Among the eight players drafted on Tuesday included third-round pick Rhett Wiseman, an outfielder out of Vanderbilt, and fourth-rounder Mariano Rivera, a right-handed starter from Iona College. Continue reading…

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Nats Sneak Past Yankees to Snap Skid

Although they gave us a scare, the Washington Nationals were finally able to pull out a win in extra innings on Wednesday afternoon. After what seemed like ages the Nats (31-28) were able to rally for a 5-4 win over the New York Yankees (33-26) in 11 innings. Two Nats who almost didn’t play were the heroes of the story, giving just enough offense to win the game.

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MLB Draft Day 2 Recap

After tabbing Andrew Stevenson with their first selection on Monday, the Washington Nationals made more headlines on the draft’s second day. Mariano Rivera Jr.—the son of baseball’s all-time saves leader and future Hall-of-Famer Mariano Rivera—was selected in the fourth round, one round after the Nationals chose Vanderbilt outfielder Rhett Wiseman.

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sad ian

Error Undoes Nats Late

Vince Lombardi once said “Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.” The Washington Nationals have learned the second part all too well, and are having a tough time kicking it.

An Ian Desmond error in the seventh opened the floodgates for the New York Yankees (33-25), who grabbed their opportunity and ran with it, topping the Nationals (30-28). The Nats have now lost nine of their past 11 games.

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Tale of Two Players: Espinosa vs. Escobar

At the beginning of spring training the Washington Nationals had a set lineup. The only questions that remained were which players would compose the bench. Before Opening Day arrived, however, several of the core position players had wound up on the disabled list, leaving the team struggling from day one. Fast forward to the present, and the Nationals have yet to field a full predicted lineup, yet are still hovering right around the top of the division thanks to a few unlikely candidates.

Below are the statistics of two Nationals players. See if you can tell who is who.

Player A: .257/.360/.459, 7 HR, 17 RBI, 28 R, 17.1 UZR/150, 1.6 WAR.

Player B: .350/.383/.397, 2 HR, 15 RBI, 28 R, -7.3 UZR/150, 0.9 WAR. Continue reading…