What Went Right
- The Cubs got on the board early with a 1st inning homer by Anthony Rizzo. He ended the night with three hits.
- Two triples (one by Starlin Castro and one by Lil’ Darwin Barney) accounted for the Cubs second run.
- The benches and bullpens cleared after a shouting match between coaches Bo Porter and Jamie Quirk. It was a weird situation that was more entertaining than the actual game. The bad blood started again in the 6th, this time with more intensity. I didn’t see any punches thrown, but it was hard to tell for sure.
- My wife bought beer! The simple things make life worth living.
What Went Wrong
- Justin Germano. I know it’s shocking, but another Cubs starter got clobbered by the Nats. How many home runs did they hit in this series? It felt like 100.
- The bullpen poured a little more gas on the fire after Germano’s early departure. The last three innings took forever.
- The Cubs defense didn’t exactly shine. Two more errors brought the season total to 88. David DeJesus and Brett Jackson did make a couple nice plays in the OF, however.
- The lineup produced seven hits and one walk. Yes, one.
- After doubling in the 9th, Jackson made the last out on the bases. Ugh.
- I had to watch Luis Valbuena bat three times. If that’s not torture, I don’t know what is.
How ‘Bout Those Nats
Six months ago, the Washington Nationals were a trendy pick to make the postseason, but I wasn’t buying it. While I certainly agreed the Nats were on the rise, the team appeared to have too many holes. It’s a good thing I don’t make predictions for a living.
Even with the Strasburg shutdown, Davey Johnson and company (85-52) are in great shape for the stretch run. How are they doing it? We all know the big-name players, but let’s take a quick look at a few unsung heroes:
- Ian Desmond, SS—The on-base percentage is low, but you gotta love a SS who slugs .507. Desmond has racked up 21 homers and 26 doubles in 447 plate appearances coming into tonight’s game.
- The Bench—Roger Bernadina, Tyler Moore, and Chad Tracy (yes, that Chad Tracy) have been solid contributors in 450-ish combined plate appearances.
- Ross Detweiler—How about these numbers for a “5th starter:” 140 IP, 123 hits, 9 HR, 39 BB, 3.15 ERA.
- Craig Stammen—In 78.2 relief innings, Stammen sports an ERA of 2.52. Sean Burnett and Ryan Mattheus have been productive out of the pen as well.
How far can this team go? I’d sure feel better about their chances if Strasburg was in the playoff mix. However, a rotation of Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, Edwin Jackson, and Ross Detweiler doesn’t look to shabby. And who wouldn’t love to have Tyler Clippard on the back end?
For me it comes down to Washington’s offense. Can Ryan Zimmerman, Michael Morse, Adam LaRoche, Bryce Harper, and Jayson Werth carry the load in October? I’m betting against them, but I’d love to be wrong. This is a fun team to watch, even when Harper spikes his helmet, pimps a homer, talks smack, and generally acts like a kid, which is of course what he is (I don’t even want to think about all the stupid stuff I did at age 19).
Anyway, the future looks very bright in Washington, even if they get knocked out in the first round this year. Bring on the playoffs. And tell Bo Porter to keep his mouth shut.