Turns out, it wasn't just "B" named pitchers (though I will show some more.)
First of all, more Micah Bowie action.
"YAAARRRGHHHHH!"- picked up on MASN's field mics.
You've heard of the pulling down the lamp shade technique on the curve ball?
Well, Micah just snapped the damn thing off.
Now 2 more of the B's.
Pixelated. But still scary.
Now, one for the minor leagues.
Last but not least...
The Grizzly Mountain man. Grrrrrowl...
-Operation "Fry the Fish" was a brief success. Notice there wasn't a mention of how LONG the fish would be fried. They were flash fried. Now, we sit in the cellar with them.
-I was originally going to post about the wonder of Wily Mo's one legged homer, but I took too long, and now it's all been covered. I will say it was one of the more impressive feats I've seen by a player on a last place team, in a non-late inning situation. Enough qualifiers?
But seriously, it was awesome.
-MLB hates the Nationals' pitchers. Look below me for proof.
-How does this quote make you feeeeeeel?
"You still have to remind them that it's not over," Acta said. "As I said, this month, it could become a long month, and I don't want to go home thinking that yeah, we just won more than 40 like everybody thought. I want to have a little more satisfying ending. It's not going to be easy. We never said it was going to be easy."
Barry at the venerable Nationals Journal dropped this little nugget of despair. I feel that way too, but it's not my job to keep people motivated, and I don't get paid. So pop a happy pill, Manny.
-Jason Bergmann is inconsistent. Lannan is inexperienced. Hill is injury prone. Redding has been surprising, but player's are as good as their past stats indicate. Chico nibbles too much for his own good. Patterson...Patterson. Bascik will be gone next year. Or better be. Hanrahan, the jury is still out. The FA SP market this offseason is weak. Kyle Lohse, anybody? Be nervous.
Evidently having a last name that starts with a B means you must look completely ridiculous on Nats.com. It's something I've noticed all season but tonights awesome picture of Jason Bergmann spurred me to post these fine photos. These guys should take lessons from John Lannon and Tim Redding on how not to look like an idiot while throwing:
Today we have a special "treat". A reader submission. I proudly present to you, Willy Mo "Puttin on the ritz". Fantastic!!!
This post marks the 100th post for the Nationals Report. To be honest I never thought I'd live to see this day. Back when we were a wee little blog, fresh out of the womb, we were struggling for our piece of the Nats pie. And look at us now, we still don't have it!!! Wooooo! Are we bitter...no. We track the traffic on the site, we know you people read it, you're just too shy to leave comments for people that are such a big deal as me, K Swizzle and Das Hoff. Seriously though, we dont' bite. But back to the real reason we're here...
With the Nats win last night and another comical Florida loss, the Washington Nationals are in 4th place in the NLeast. Yes, I meant to leave out the space. If I recall correctly, many were picking the Marlins to be a sleeper team this year to make it deep into October. Where are the pundits now baby. Surprisingly, they're giving Manny Acta some love. On more than one occasion I've seen articles proclaiming that Acta should receive some manager of the year votes. Through my rose colored glasses, I'm going to pretend that they actually mean it, and not just that our team is a bunch of no talent ass-clowns (see: Michael Bolton). But say they are NTACs, they're still better than a lot of teams in the bigs.
What a better way to bring a team out of a hitting slump than to play a series against the Houston Astros in Minute Maid/Enron/The park with that retarded hill in CF.
I'm also convinced that we did not trade Emiliano Fruto for Willy Mo Pena. I'm pretty sure we traded for a cybernetic being from the future who's come back to kill Sarah Connor; and hit home runs. The being has been programmed to look at balls and beat out soft grounders and choppers. If only Skynet had programmed in some fielding abilities. Lets hope next year Bowden can find T-1000 and sign him too. Let's hope he can pitch.
Let's trace back, Vidro for Fruto and Chris Snelling and cash. Snelling for Langerhans. Langerhans DFA. Fruto for WMP.
WMP for Vidro.
I think we win.
I'm not a fan of this deal really, unless the player to be named later is some chump from Columbus (see Chris Booker). But he is going to be a K machine. And whilst he does have some pop in the bat, I don't think the end justifies the means. Especially when it means that Ryan Church will have lost his everyday role in left field. I believe Ryan is going to have a hard time splitting duties with Willy and both will end up struggling. I just don't get this move really, unless the coaching staff believes they can make Willy a more patient hitter. I will however wait to see how this turns out before passing my final judgment. Bowden has proved us all wrong before so we shall see.
Meanwhile, the Nationals have hit a run of poor form this home stand. The bats have gone eerily silent once again. Harking back to the first week of the season when we couldn't buy a run except for in junk time. I really hope that the coaching staff gets the boys in the cage and works out some of these problems, because its getting slightly frustrating. GRRRRRR!
Remember last week, before Shawn Hill came back and people were talking about demoting Matt Chico because of his inability to get ahead in the count or limit his walks? And the whole organization, or at least Acta, said no way?
I agree with this move absolutely. Chico has to fix his stuff if he wants to be long term in this league. 2 starts in AAA, and then back in Sept. when rosters expand. We'll see how it all goes.
For cash and a PTBNL according to ESPN. I'll get you a link when I can find it.
Update: Here we go.
Well, that was a pleasant night for Nationals fans, wasn't it? First, Redding pitches an absolute gem, with strong 'pen help from Ayala and Cordero. Then, late last night, the Nationals FO pulls a coup on the world, and sign a player who was thought to be unsignable.
What does this mean for the Nationals? In the sense of talent immediately, not a whole lot. Remember, Mcgreary is a high school senior pitcher. The Nats are paying for him to attend Stanford, so he has time get stronger and bigger. My belief is he'll either stink in the summer leagues and stay all 4 years, and then be plugged in AA, or he'll be lights out in summer ball, and leave early to start his ascension to the big show. Either way, organizational depth is paramount for a winning club.
From an organizational philosophy standpoint, this signing was absolutely huge. The "Plan" had its supporters and detractors immediately after it was announced that the Nats were playing for the future, and would cut the salary in meantime. I was in the camp that believed it was easy to play that card as an owner, and never come through. There are numerous examples throughout all levels of sport. The beginning of the season had our team looking like a mockery, and increased disdain for the Plan. But then, the 2007 draft happened. The Nationals had chosen Sean Black last year, another hard sign, who ended up going to Seton Hall, being a few hundred thousand dollars apart in the negotiations. After the Nats chose Mcgreary, I read he was a hard sign, but a 1st round talent. I immediatly worried we had replayed last year's strategy, of picking by name, and not thinking about whether something will come of it.
But Lerner, Bowden and Kasten weren't about to let that happen. The Nationals have already showed that they are going to establish their pitching with young arms developed in the system (as is the only cost effective way of doing do...Gil Meche...), and this pick furthers this organizational strength.
Does this mean all these pitchers will be wearing Nats uniforms? No. The smart money is against that happening. To win, you need to have a system overflowing with prospects to use in deals to acquire proven major league talent. Bowden said after the trade deadline that the Braves were the "Winners", not only because of who they acquired, but that they were able to deal from strength, with Saltalamachia's path blocked by all star McCann, two low level prospects who weren't going to play over Renteria or which ever FA will replace him in the future. Bowden wants to be able to do the same thing in a few years, and if we continue to have these kinds of drafts, we'll be in running for big names at the deadline in the future.
The future is bright for this team. The present is overcast, with brief breakthroughs, but I don't mind. We have the actual possibility of not being in last, as well as spoiling things for other teams (namely, the Mutts). I'd be content with that.
So we signed our top 20 draft picks. Atta boy Lerner's, way to splash the cash. That being said as excited I am that we signed McGeary, the deal is structured so that he won't be pitching for the Nationals any time soon. But its always nice to stockpile good arms, and evidently the kids smart too, going to Stanford and all. Glad to see the plan is moving forward. And if you believe Aaron Rowand's quote on nats.com yesterday, word has gotten around that the Nats farm system is getting back to the monster it was in Montreal.
What I was more excited about yesterday is that my predictions of a homestand sweep turned out to be unfounded. I am a bad person. I lost confidence in the team after blowing the lead Tuesday and thought that we would fold up like a lawn chair for the rest of the homestand. But they didn't listen to me and Tim Redding went out and came up trumps again, at the dish and on the bump. And though he got into a jam late in the game, the bullpen cam in and doused the fire (Ayala might be the best reliever no-one's ever heard of, he is nigh un-hittable)
So that brings us to tonight contest. I'm not really who I should be more worried for. The Nats have to face Cole Hamels, but the Phillies have to face Hanrahan. The middle of the lineup for Philly has looked pretty hapless so far in this series, its been the rest of the lineup that is killing us. Perhaps we're sandbaggin' it a little bit to those guys and really concentrating on the big guns. Either way, I dont' expect us to fully shut down the Phils tonight, but who can really. But I'm predicting another quality start from Hanrahan, 1 or 2 runs only, and another curly W in the books!
WE GOT HIM.
Now I'm a plan believer. Where do I sign? If I were a certain BPG poster, you'd be seeing fireworks. As it is, you'll see a post tomorrow.
Barry says we might have all jumped the gun on Mcgreary.
Thanks Nationals.com for using the jump to conclusions mat.
Man, that game killed all of the goodwill the Arizona win brought us.
And as expected Nats.com is reporting that Jack McGeary will be playing at Stanford this upcoming year.
Two players returning in one game...I'm going to wet myself!!! Tonight is the return of glass joe himself...Shawn Hill (btw he's thrown 4 scoreless at the time of posting and he's looking nasty). But pitching really isn't our problem this year, its offense. So I'm also glad to see its the return of:
That's right its photoshop fun time here at the Report again. I realize that I have substituted 6-pack abs, huge pecs, and whatever those washboardy things are beside them for lots of fat and man boobs, but at least I kept his goofy head. On a serious note, he's going to provide a much needed shot in the arm for the offense. No offense to Robert Fick, because he filled in admirably, but we signed D'Meat to a two year deal because of the offense he provides, and we need it if we're to finish the season on a high note.
In unrelated news, Josh Smoker (great name, although creepily close to John Rocker) signed a deal with the Nats today. Evidently he was just trying to put the squeeze on the Nats and had every intention of signing. So in the end he went for slot value and we added another talented arm to the system. The only prospect still worth talking about now is McGeary, and while I would have no problem paying him whatever price he names, I understand the Lerner's desire not to and Im not really holding out hopes that he's going to sign.
Ankiel and the Nats in '08!!!
It would appear, after watching the last few games, that Dmitri is essential to our offense. We have fallen off the map offensively since his delicious hamburgerstring strained itself. Granted, we went against Brandon Webb and his absolutely devastating sinker, but the boys have got to remember that they can hit. Manny should show them tape of the big innings they've had this year.
Another thing of note, John Lannon is better than Matt Chico. You heard it here, folks. Matt Chico is a 5 on this team, and in AA anywhere else. Lannon could be a 2 or 3 in a few years. We lucked out on this guy. Hard luck loser who deserved better than he got tonight.
Shawn Hill WILL be pitching Tuesday, so if you're in the neighborhood (which I will be), you should come to the game and see if he's still got it.
For anyone paying attention last night. Rick Ankiel made his return to the bigs last night. Instead of hitting the net behind home plate a few more times, he came back as a field player. And quite an impact he made. For those of you who thought he was dead, he switched to playing OF after having asploded his mind in the playoffs throwing wild pitch after wild pitch, going back to the minors, fixing his mechanics, coming back to the bigs, and throwing even more wild pitches. I personally laughed a few years ago when I heard the news that he was leaving the mound behind. Well look who's laughing now. I posted a few weeks back lauding his power from the outfield. And after last nights debut, dropping a 3-spot bomb, it appears that his power could transfer to the majors nicely. Now if I only knew a team that was looking for an OFer with power this off-season...Bowden, seriously, get on it. I think he's the perfect fit for our club. He's not going to be terribly expensive, as he hasn't really made a name for himself in the bigs as an OFer. He's not a player 2 years out of high school who has never seen big league pitching (he hit as a pitcher for the cards). And his story is locker room gold. When someone is in a prolonged slump, Rick can always say "you think your slump is bad, I threw 5 wild pitches in a single inning...in the playoffs...and then I threw two more in an inning later in the series" And for him to battle all the way back to the majors at a new position is just phenomenal. With him and meat hook in the locker room, the Nats would have no problem keeping the right climate in the atmosphere. I know it won't happen, but he is at the top of my wish list this winter. Perhaps if I was Nats320 he would listen...probably not.
Anyways, I was just catching up on my Nats news as I've been out of town and have only been reading game summaries on my cell phone. I ran across the latest Nats notes article on Nats.com and they presented the fact that the Nationals starting staff has the lowest ERA in the bigs over the past 36 games. While us Nats fans have been paying attention and know that our staff is doing a great job under the circumstances, watch any national show where they mention the Nats, and all they say is how young and untalented our team is. They pay no regard to reality in that the Yankees (sorry Jon) have paid huge dollars for supposedly talented starters and yet their ERA is almost identical to the Nats. I bet if you have any national pundit a choice between Kei Igawa and any starter on the Nats, they wouldn't even think twice...Kei Igawa and his 6.79 ERA. Seriously, we get no love, except for Acta. People do give us the backhanded compliment that he's doing so much with this bunch of losers. Its wedding time...peace
Mike Bascik is immortalized. Bonds drove a 3-2 fastball over the right field wall, made one man substantially more rich, and made history. Bascik, a baseball historian, and a baseball player has secured his historic immortality. But, he may have not secured his job.
Shawn Hill is on his way back next week, and someone has to go to make room. The Nationals cannot afford to take any bullpen help away. It won't be Redding, who is pitching up to his former potential for once (remaining to be seen if it can be sustained). It won't be Chico for obvious reasons. I doubt it will be Lannan, who is the obvious future for the Nationals, not as a star, but certainly as a starter. Hanrahan has also impressed his coaches, but he is a possibility to be sent back down.
The roster moves this team makes in the next few weeks as former starters return from injury will show the mindset of this team. Will they let the youngster continue to get their feet wet? Will they let Simontacci continue to be mediocre? We shall soon see.
My take is that Bascik has been "good". He isn't a power pitcher. He doesn't have an awesome out pitch. He can no longer be considered a prospect. But he competes. I believe pitchers like him are not what the Nationals need to be competing, but are acceptible in the interim while the Nats sort themselves out. Let him throw in AAA for the rest of the year, give the young ones a few starts, and then let him go at the end of the year. A fan has to think about the interests of the team, and try not to get too firmly attached to any one player, despite his affability and pleasant demeanor. Mike was a good fit for this team this year, and competed. But I don't want to see him in a Nats uniform next year.
He may soon be on the waiver wire, but I suspect he'll land somewhere. And even if he doesn't, he'll always have last night's historic event, and the baseball buff that he is, that will be more than his talents even would have given him.
It's a long season. There will be highs, and there will be lows. When you're the Nationals, you're supposed to have more lows than highs. If you've been watching this homestand, the Nationals are confounding expectations.
You've got a team with unproven pitching, players left for dead on the FA scrap heap weeks before Spring Training opened, and a crew of players that most contending teams wouldn't be interested, with few exceptions.
What you also have is a team with impressive chemistry, and an inspiring attitude. At the risk of sounding like Nats320, this team is something we should be proud of. They aren't the Redskins, spending millions on every available free agent and perennially disappointing their legions of fans. Every game, these Nats give it their all. You don't hear about players complaining about playing time, or having issues with each other. You see a unified front of youthful fun and complete effort. "Problem guys" with other clubs change their stripes here, and become leaders.
This team isn't going to win the division. They won't win the Wild Card. But if they keep this up, they won't be in last place. They won't be the laughing stock of the jokers on Baseball Tonight (this show is in this shitcan since they got rid of HR, but that's another post).
A sweep of the World Series champs is followed up by a road trip to the west coast, and the Barry Bonds show. Will one of our pitchers give up the long ball? Maybe. Does it matter? Not at all. Pitch to Bonds, and get him out. My personal opinion on Bonds appears to be out of the mainstream, but this is great exposure for our team. Go on national TV and play ball the way they've been playing, and make the commentators begrudgingly admit their jump to incorrect conclusions.
We'll keep watching. With the effort this team is putting out, we kind of owe it to them.
0.5 games out of not last place.
As an aside, DC United looks great this afternoon. If anybody who reads this hasn't been to a match, I'd highly recommend it.
I'd be talking about tonight's game, BUT I CAN'T SEE IT!!!!
Star Trek on DC11...ch 20 blacked out. Cmon, cable guys. It shouldn't be this hard.
UPDATE: Issue resolved, it only took 4 innings. POWER TO THE PEOPLE!
Oh, Comcast. THEY DON'T BLACK OUT GAMES BECAUSE NO ONE GOES TO THEM....DURRRRRR.
Update Parte Dos: Uh. Who are these guys? 12-1. In the 7th. With 3 hrs. With 2 of them of the upper deck variety. And the Cardinals are sending in Aaron Miles. What is going on?
is under way, and looking good tonight. As we stand this minute, the Astros are up 3-1 on the Fish, and the Nats have the big MO over the Cards, with Redding turning in an awesome performance (suck on that doubters! (Kyle)). We'll see as it finishes, but our Nats are looking very very good.
I don't know about you, but everytime we beat a team with proven sluggers by more than one run, I feel really good. Griffey. Dunn. Phillips (kind of). A rookie pitcher making his second start after shooting through our entire minor league system in one half season shut them all down.
Don't get me wrong. The Reds are not a good team, and they don't have a great probability of becoming good in the near future. But like I said, we're a team of pretty much nobodies, at least on the national stage, and we scrap.
We didn't address the trade deadline, mostly because there wasn't a lot to write about. Kvetch about non deals all you like, Jimbo's letting it ride. After a day of thinking about it, I'm still not sure how I feel. There are two distinct camps on this subject.
1) Relievers like Chad and Jon don't come around all the time, and we control their salaries for 2-3 years, and are just the kind of players we'll need once we get steady SP's and a better offense.
2) Relievers like Chad and Jon are a dime a dozen. We need hitting prospects, no matter how far from the bigs they are. In a reliever hungry trading climate, Jimbo shouldn't have had a problem getting some potential hitters with those two chips. That and Chad is going to give me a heart attack soon.
I'm probably leaning more towards 2, but I see merit in Camp 1. For the sake of being a sports blogger, I need to be definitive. So, ROAR JIMBO. YOU SCREWED UP.
Good game tonight, Kearns showed flashes of what he needs to be in order to be a part of the long term solution. Lannan didn't dazzle, but did fairly well. Some mental errors, but as long as we get the sweep, I'll forget about them.
This blogs unofficial goal is to not finish last in the NL East. We already lost our talisman, GUZMANIA2K7, and we want some fried fish in September. So, from now on, we want you to watch the standings, and to watch the Fish flounder (ha). FRY THE FISH.
I have the perfect off-season signing
Rick Ankiel...lock it up...take it to the bank
He's slugging .574 for the Cardinals AAA team with 31 HR in 96 games, we should make him pitch and then on his off days, play the OF like he does for the Redbirds. Seriously, its a good idea!