Monday, May 2, 2011

Keys to a Nats Series Win Against Giants

After an emotional Sunday night in the Nation's Capital, where President Obama announced that United States' forces had killed Osama bin Laden, it will be back to baseball tonight for the Nats and the Giants to finish up the wrap around, 4-game series in DC.

After issuing two star Giants' pitchers losses this weekend (Lincecum and Cain), Tom Gorzelanny looks to get a win over Madison Bumgarner. Here are a few keys for the Nationals to get a series win:
  • Offense, offense, offense: Without Ryan Zimmerman until at least mid-June, the Nats offense will continue to be lethargic. In the last 2 weeks, the Nats have scored more than 4-runs just twice. Jayson Werth looks to be breaking free, though, going 3-for-4 on Sunday, and raising his average slowly, but surely. Shockingly, Laynce Nix has been an offensive staple for the Nats offense as well, and he'll need to continue to be so in Zimmerman's absence.
  • Veterans: The keys to the Nats success are almost entirely dependent on veterans for the time being, including Monday's contest against the Giants. Hairston, Cora, Werth, Nix, LaRoche, Rodriguez, and Ankiel are all going to be key players. Their average age? 33. That will make or break the team in the games to come.
  • Starting Pitching: The Nats starting pitching has been nothing short of stellar this season, especially considering what most expected of them. They're the only rotation left in baseball to have all starters go at least 5 innings (27 games and counting), and they'll need to continue on that roll. Tom Gorzelanny has had a back and forth start to the season, but he'll need to be outstanding against the young Madison Bumgarner. Despite Bumgarner's struggles to start the year (0-4; 6.17 ERA), he's got great stuff that could really shut down the Nats' struggling bats. Besides Clippard and Storen, the bullpen has been been shaky all season, and Gorzelanny will need to go as far as he can.
  • A Stable Closer: Drew Storen sure looks to be establishing himself as the closer, and he'll need to stay strong in the wake of Sean Burnett's struggles. It was good to see Burnett come in and get a quick out on Sunday's contest, but the out was a well hit ball up the middle. They got the out on good defense more than good pitching. Burnett has to stop getting lucky and start throwing better pitches to help out his fellow relievers. There aren't too many quality colleagues to rely on. Until there are, here's hoping we can give Storen the ball in the 9th with a lead a bit more often.
What say you, CapBallers? What are some other keys to a Nats series win.

1 comment:

  1. My optimistic side says that, in Zimmerman's absence, players are starting to step up. Desmond and Espinosa are displaying the makings of outstanding major leaguers. Nix, Ankiel, Cora, etc. are doing exactly what they're meant to do: Keep the ship stable in a pinch. The starting pitching is an encouraging blend of young talent and veteran wisdom. The team is coming together and will be even better when Zim returns.

    My pessimistic side says this is not unlike 2005, when the Nats inexplicably played beyond any and all expectations, and romped to a 50-31 first half. They came back to earth, and so will this team. Morse isn't hitting, LaRoche isn't hitting well enough to bat cleanup, and Nix can't hit forever. Where will the runs come without Zimmerman? They won't come.