Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Washington Nationals, a .500 ball club?

For the first time in nearly 5 seasons, the Washington Nationals are a consistent .500 baseball team. With their win tonight against the Colorado Rockies, the Nats succeeded in yet another comeback win with a decent outing by the starter, John Lannan (4 ER on 11 hits in 6 innings). While this isn't the best line in the world, it helped lead the Nats to another Curly W and push them a game above .500 (8-7). While Tyler Clippard (3-0) got the win for his 2 innings of scoreless, one-hit work, the Nationals have been a remarkable 8-0 when starters have gone 5 innings or more and 0-7 when the starter has failed to go 5 innings. An accident? I think not.

The Washington Nationals made huge strides in the off season to become a better all-around ball club. Here are just a few:
  • Livan Hernandez: a machine in his own right, after two starts, an ERA of 0.00. One of them a complete game shut out. Statistically it doesn't get better in the NL right now for a starter.
  • Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez: The "what the hell were you thinking" signing of the off-season. Everyone thought Pudge was washed up. Well, tell that to him, he's shown new life in 2010.
  • Jason Marquis: I'm sure I wasn't the only one who was relieved to see Marquis put on the DL tonight. He was a great off-season acquisition. An All-Star pitcher, Marquis has had a rough start to 2010, but his move to the DL may show that he's been pitching hurt, and he can recover. If that's how he was pitching healthy, we'd be in real trouble. Once he comes back, he'll have to show he's worth the $7.5 million the Nats are paying him. If he doesn't, he's going to get kicked to the curb, and fast, once Stephen "Jesus" Strasburg gets called up.
  • Matt Capps: The interesting closer selection that everyone ragged on for being too fat for a closer is now 7 for 7 in save opportunities.
Mike Rizzo and company knew what their weaknesses were, and went to fill the gaps as best they could. The Nats are now above .500 for the first time since late 2005 and for the first time since their move to Nationals Park. Yet, this team is still only drawing crowds of BARELY over 11,000. In a 41,888 seat stadium, it's hard hard to imagine that number being far above the season tickets sold. A sad display, indeed.

Here's hoping that this team can keep winning so the Nats can experience what the Washington Capitals have experienced in the last few seasons. The Caps went from filling half the seats at the Verizon Center to a sell out every game and a real following in the city. Maybe a winning season is just what the Nats need to get some butts in the seats and some excitement about baseball in DC for the first time since 2005.


  1. the majority of DC fans are old and love football and nascar, or young and yuppie...they will show up when its fashionable...hence the caps right now. I think if the nats are still there come summer, they can...CAPITALize on the sports fever created by the frozen dc team and become the hotspot. hopefully that leads to bigger crowds. they have a head start with the red porch...

  2. I have complete faith in Rizzo and company to have a Caps-like turn around. The Marquis signing was very solid and I am sure that he will return to form.