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Thursday

5

April 2012

29

COMMENTS

Nationals Series Preview

Written by , Posted in General

PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS AND SCOUTING REPORTS
Courtesy of MLB.com

ThursdaySteven Strasburg vs Ryan Dempster

This will be Strasburg’s first Opening Day assignment. He missed most of last season because he was recovering from Tommy John surgery. He had a 1.50 ERA in five September games. He is expected to pitch no more than 160 innings this season. This will be Dempster’s fourth Opening Day start, second with the Cubs. He’s hoping for a better start. He had a 9.58 ERA in six April outings in 2011. He lost the season opener in 2011 to the Pirates, giving up six runs in 6 2/3 innings.

SaturdayGio Gonzalez vs Matt Garza

Gonzalez was 16-12 with a 3.12 ERA and had 197 strikeouts in 202 innings last season. His 8.8 strikeouts per nine innings ranked third among all qualifying southpaws. His 31 wins over the past two seasons ranks fourth among lefties. Garza begins his second season with the Cubs. The right-hander is coming off his third straight 10-win season. Garza hopes to get a little more support. He left with the lead but did not factor in the decision seven times last season.

SundayJordan Zimmerman vs Jeff Samardzija

Unlike last year, Zimmermann will not be on an innings limit and is expected to pitch at least 200. He has lost twice and allowed 12 earned runs in 18 innings against the Cubs over the past three seasons. Samardzija has wanted to be a starter and won a spot in the rotation with a strong spring. The former Notre Dame wide receiver was exclusively a reliever last year, and last started in the big leagues in 2010, when he started three September games.

NOTES FROM THE ENEMY
Courtesy of Patrick Reddington of Federal Baseball

Who closes if Storen is not ready for Opening Day?: Bicep/tricep issues have limited 24-year-old Nats’ closer Drew Storen to just 2.0 IP this Spring after a heavy workload last year in a 43-save season. The Nationals were concerned enough to have Storen undergo an MRI, which revealed no structural damage, and they seem to think he’ll be fine, but there’s already talk about who will close if Storen is unavailable in the first few days/weeks of the season? The Nats signed 35-year-old Brad Lidge this winter, and though he’d be the logical/obvious choice, Davey Johnson seems to have a thing for 24-year-old flamethrower Henry Rodriguez. If the Nationals hand Rodriguez a lead late in one of these games it could get interesting. He has lights out stuff (a 100mph+ heater and a brutal knee-buckling slider) but he also led the league in wild pitches last year. That combination should make for some dramatic late innings.

Is Adam LaRoche the new “Glass Nick” Johnson?: Adam LaRoche tried to play with a slight tear of the labrum in his left shoulder last season in the first year of the 2-year/$16M deal he signed with the Nats and the results after 43 games (.546 OPS in 177 PA’s) were bad enough to convince him shut it down and have surgery for what was by that point a significant tear. His shoulder was getting there this Spring when he injured his foot running the bases. He’s had just 8 AB’s in major league games this Spring and he’s questionable for the start of his second year in D.C. LaRoche could leave a big hole in the Nats’ lineup if he’s limited by injuries again this year.

Jayson Werth Year Two?: Jayson Werth claims he was never comfortable at the plate in 2011. And he’s said that it started last Spring and lasted all season, though he chooses to no longer dwell on the past. He did have a pretty awful Spring last year (.245/.377/.367) in the first ST with Washington after signing a 7-year/$126M dollar deal, but the previous year he was even worse in Spring Training with the Phillies (.203/.299/.407) and went on to have a .296/.388/.532, +5.3 fWAR season. Werth has to improve on 2011’s .232/.330/.389, +2.5 fWAR season if the Nationals have any hope of making a run at their first postseason berth, and he’s hit well this Spring (.257/.316/.600) with three doubles and three HR’s in 35 at bats, so hopefully that’s a good sign of what lies ahead in year two.

  • Doug Bagley

    Happy Opening Day Everyone! Go Cubs Go

  • Doug Bagley

    Happy Opening Day Everyone! Go Cubs Go

  • Norm Bothwell

    Anyone else mostly looking forward to seeing Strasburg today?

    • Eddie Von White

       Not really – way too much media hype on the guy.

    • Jedi

      After 6 months of no regular season baseball, I’m mostly looking forward to seeing the Cubs.

  • BLPCB

    Baseball is finally here! Woohoo

    • Chuck

      If you have kids in USSSA baseball, baseball has been here for a week or so.  Months if you count practice.  I have a practice or game every day of the week these days.

  • Norm Bothwell

    Anyone else mostly looking forward to seeing Strasburg today?

    • Eddie Von White

       Not really – way too much media hype on the guy.

    • Jedi

      After 6 months of no regular season baseball, I’m mostly looking forward to seeing the Cubs.

  • AC0000000

    Baseball is finally here! Woohoo

    • Chuck

      If you have kids in USSSA baseball, baseball has been here for a week or so.  Months if you count practice.  I have a practice or game every day of the week these days.

  • I’m hoping we can pull even with the Cards today…go Cubs. 

  • I’m hoping we can pull even with the Cards today…go Cubs. 

  • DamDarDan

    As I STH living in Indianapolis, I’ve got plenty of tickets to sell at or near face value (with exception to Marquee Games).  If you are interested in any game(s) please lmk and I will let you know what is available.  I’ve already sold about 15% of the games, so there is a small chance that the game you are looking for is already gone.  I hold 4 Bleacher seats with VIP entry.  Thanks…  Go CUBBIES! 
    Damon317.691.3767 (text or call)damdardan@yahoo.com (email)

  • Doug S.

    Yay for opening day!!!!
    Dempster’s starting?????
    grrrrrrrrrr….
    I mean yay for opening day!!!!!!

    • Usually Maundy Thursday is a somber day for me but this year with the Cubs’ opener, I’ll make an exception. Go Cubs!!

  • Doug S.

    Yay for opening day!!!!
    Dempster’s starting?????
    grrrrrrrrrr….
    I mean yay for opening day!!!!!!

  • Usually Maundy Thursday is a somber day for me but this year with the Cubs’ opener, I’ll make an exception. Go Cubs!!

  • cap’n obvious

    Alf hitting cleanup tells me all I need to know about this season and Svuem…where’s that bottle of Bushmills?

  • cap’n obvious

    Alf hitting cleanup tells me all I need to know about this season and Svuem…where’s that bottle of Bushmills?

  • Seymour Butts

    Let the second guessing begin!
    I had to watch the last 4 innings on stick figure gameday, as I was in a meeting with a bunch of other muckety mucks. I say to myself. I says, “Self, why put Marmol in a tied game in the top of the ninth?” “he’s better used when the Cubs are up one so he can give up 2 runs and be done with it.”
    We have gone from being a Carlos laden team to a nearly Carlos free team in less than a year. We need to see that train hit it’s destination.

    • Jedi

      I bet you actually address yourself in a more derogatory tone.

      • Carlos Butts has a nice ring to it…

    • BLPCB

      But the fat Carloses are gone

  • Seymour Butts

    Let the second guessing begin!
    I had to watch the last 4 innings on stick figure gameday, as I was in a meeting with a bunch of other muckety mucks. I say to myself. I says, “Self, why put Marmol in a tied game in the top of the ninth?” “he’s better used when the Cubs are up one so he can give up 2 runs and be done with it.”
    We have gone from being a Carlos laden team to a nearly Carlos free team in less than a year. We need to see that train hit it’s destination.

    • Jedi

      I bet you actually address yourself in a more derogatory tone.

      • Carlos Butts has a nice ring to it…

    • AC0000000

      But the fat Carloses are gone