Monday, April 26, 2010

Nats Travel to Play Inside the Brick Walls of Ivy

I hope to have a funny, and hopefully inappropriate Harry Caray reference for the series soon, but until then, use this to hold you over (complete with Portuguese subtitles, thanks YouTube).

After the extremely disappointing base running and stealing display over the last few games, Jim Riggleman has decided to put some good speed on the bookends of the lineup for his Nats today in Game 20 and for the first in a 3 game series vs. the Cubbies:

1. Nyjer Morgan, 8
2. Adam Kennedy, 5
3. Cristian Guzman, 4
4. Adam Dunn, 3
5. Hammer, 7
6. Pudge, 2
7. Ian Desmond, 6
8. Willy Taveras, 9
9. John Lannan, 1

Lannan is coming in to try and get a win after two consecutive no decisions, and Pudge is trying to keep up the best batting average in all of baseball hitting at the bottom of the batting order. Meanwhile, Nyjer Morgan looks to stay cocky and keep trying to steal more bases. While that statement probably sounds smug and like I'm mad at T. Plush, that couldn't be further from the truth. Nyjer's sheer presence on-base messes with pitchers, and if he all of a sudden gets cold on base and stops even attempting a steal, he becomes far less effective. So I say, Run, Nyjer, Run.

Lannan is going to have to pitch better than the 2-0 Carlos Silva and his almost-as-good-as-Livan 0.95 ERA. But there is plenty left to be desired in the people surrounding the Cubs. While it's early in the season, the Nationals are tied for 2nd in the NL East with a 10-9 record, while the Cubs are in 2nd in the NL Central with a less happy 9-10 record. If the Nats can keep moving with this above .500 baseball throughout this brief roadtrip, it would be a huge win for the clubhouse and for the fans that pay close attention. As May arrives, summer will be knocking and the sports fans in DC will be less caught up in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Caps, and they will be more interested in the next sports season: baseball.

There's been a lot of concern about the low attendance considering the Nats' relative competence thus far in 2010. As I said, the Caps have taken over this city, and until they are knocked out or win Lord Stanley's Cup, the sports fans of this city will be caught up in that story. And once the NFL draft coverage is clubbed to death (I mean, it is the NFL, so give ESPN another 6 weeks or so to cover the draft stories), baseball will be the only sport people care about. If the Nationals are still flirting with .500 around that time, expect people to take notice. Fans and national media alike.

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