Back by popular demand, the September Awareness Guide is here! In the month since we last did this, the Washington Nationals still have an enormous division lead and thus are still not exactly appointment television. With that in mind, there are a few things to follow the last four weeks around baseball besides updates on Bryce Harper’s physical, and mental, health.
Tag Archives: Washington Nationals
Over the bases and through the steps, to the clubhouse Zimmy goes.
The Ryan Zimmerman Renaissance is the gift that keeps on giving. Homers, extra base hits, infield singles, a renewed spring in his step–all products of this great age in Zim-history. Zimmerman scoring from first on a Howie Kendrick double is another product. The beeline he made for the clubhouse after touching home might be better though.
Bryce Harper got his hair done in Miami, posted a picture of it on his Instagram story, and the entire internet has decided this means another year without a Nats NLCS appearance. And I mean, maybe they’re not wrong.
The Nationals are cruising to their fourth division title in six years. Most importantly, they have played well with an MLB-high 12 men on the disabled list. On the night Jayson Werth and Max Scherzer came off the disabled list, they clown-pounded the white-hot Marlins. They followed that up by completing the sweep with Vintage Strasmas: Stephen Strasburg pitching a complete-game shutout in which he also homered. Trea Turner is back and running all over the bases. This team is getting healthy, and game one against the Marlins is a reminder of what this lineup can do when healthy. Regular season success is nice, but the playoffs is what matters. Thomas Boswell put it so eloquently, as emblazoned on the walls of the Hall of Fame:
“Baseball is really two sports — the summer game and the autumn game. One is the leisurely pastime of our national mythology. The other is not so gentle.”
By the time you read this article, it’ll be September. As we all know, that means rosters expand and anyone on the 40-man roster is eligible to be called up. Chief among the certain recalls will be Pedro Severino, the catching prospect who the Nationals are fond of, at least to the extent that they wouldn’t trade him straight-up for White Sox closer David Robertson. The next few minutes of your life will not be spent reading about why Severino is the next Buster Posey, or even why he should be starting games: neither is really true. Pedro has found some success at the Major League level which I will discuss in a minute, but his inability to get on base consistently or hit for much power at any level is why he has not been banging down Matt Wieter’s door this season. Instead, this is a condemnation of one of baseball’s worst hitters in 2017: Jose Lobaton.
When talking about the National League Cy Young award, the talking heads only seem to talk about two names: Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw. And while those are good names to discuss, that’s not the name they should be talking about. Right in the middle of the talks should be Gio Gonzalez.
With the injuries continuing to worry Nationals fans even as the division lead is steady at over a dozen games, there are questions as to whether Washington needs some more reinforcements. The bullpen has suddenly become elite but with serious questions as to Ryan Madson’s health the rest of year, the right addition could be fruitful. The starting pitching has as much top-end talent as any team in baseball, but injury questions are a big enough worry that another major league arm could ease pressure. The lineup, filled with replacements, have performed magnificently in the absence of stars like Adam Eaton, Jayson Werth, Trea Turner, and Bryce Harper, but with so many players playing at what seems to be peak performance, a reverse to average could decimate production.
On June 29th, after Trea Turner unsuccessfully tried to turn away from a 96 mph 2-1 fastball up and in from Pedro Strop of the Cubs, a lot of things happened: First, Turner walked slowly to first on a hit by pitch, the Nationals scored three runs that inning and took the lead, and the (then) horrific bullpen coughed up that lead in the top of the 9th. The other thing that happened was Turner’s right wrist was broken, sidelining him for what appears to be an approximately 8-week stint on the disabled list (Turner is currently rehabbing in AAA Syracuse).