Tuesday, October 30, 2012

2012-3 NBA Predictions

Just missing the playoffs: Milwaukee
Out in the first round: Atlanta, Boston, Brooklyn, Washington
Out in East semis: Indiana*, New York
East Finals: Miami* defeats Philadelphia*

Just missing the playoffs: Utah
Out in the first round: Dallas, Denver, Houston, Memphis
Out in West semis: LA Clippers, Oklahoma City*
West Finals: San Antonio* defeats LA Lakers*

* Division winner

2013 NBA Finals: Spurs over Heat 4-2

Monday, October 29, 2012

Random Thoughts

The San Francisco Giants won the World Series. I blame the Cincinnati Reds.

The one thing I vehemently disagree with Rocky Balboa about is my hatred of the zoo.

Why is Hurricane Sandy named after the greatest Jewish pitcher of all time? That's hurtful.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


It's been days of weeping and trying to find a building to jump off of, but I think I'm now able to recap the horror that was Game 5 of the NLDS. The Nats were up 6-0. Then, the lead was steadily cut. I felt powerless to stop it. But then the Nats scored an insurance run in the bottom of the 8th and everything seemed like it would work out. Then, disaster struck in the 9th. The rest is very sad history.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Memorable Performance

The crowd was nervous before the national cameras panned Nats Park. But once the light was switched on, the Nats fans were at full throat for much of the game. There wasn't much offense to cheer for. Ross Detwiler pitched a beauty. He relinquished one run in 6 innings and that run wouldn't have crossed the plate without an Ian Desmond error.

Adam LaRoche stroked a line drive over the center field wall in the bottom of the second. The Nats only had one other hit in the first eight innings of the game. For their part, the Cardinals only had three hits in nine innings. Davey Johnson pitched Jordan Zimmermann in the 7th  and he fanned all three batters he faced. Tyler Clippard struckout three of the four he faced in the 8th. Drew Storen had two Ks in the 9th.

Jayson Werth led off the bottom of the 9th in a 1-1 game against Lance Lynn. Werth battled hard, working the count full and fouling off a number of pitches. Lynn's 13th pitch to Werth was smoked over the left field wall. DC exploded in a display of joy and relief. The stadium buzzed for over ten minutes after the homerun. Shouts of ecstasy rang in the ears off all who witnessed the game.

The Nats won 2-1 to tie the series at 2. One game will decide the series tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Where are the Nats?

All year long the Nats have scrapped, fought, and picked up their fallen teammates. None of that has been apparent in the last two games of their NLDS with the Cardinals. Game 3 was much the same as Game 2, except the Nats showed even less determination and focus.

Peter Kozma crushed a three-run homer off Edwin Jackson in the second inning to give the Cardinals a 4-0 lead. It was more than enough. The Nats got baserunners, but none scored  Instead, with men on base, the Nats' bats wilted and died. A terrible call by Jim Joyce on a Danny Espinosa bunt single in the second, didn't help matters (Joyce has already shown us that he can't handle the big moment).

Jackson settled down by the third and coasted through the fifth when he was lifted. Craig Stammen and Christian Garcia each gave up a run in relief and Ryan Mattheus relinquished two. No Nats starting pitcher has seen the sixth inning. I don't remember another point in the season when the Nats had three consecutive games where each starting pitcher threw five innings or fewer. The bullpen has not picked up the starters.

On offense, it has been the Ian Desmond show. Ryan Zimmerman has also been consistent. But every other starter has faltered, either the entire series or when men are on base. The defense has been uncharacteristically poor as well (Kurt Suzuki and Ian Desmond excepted).

Winning this series is still with in reach. It only takes two home wins. But, for that to happen, the team needs to develop the old fight that has been prevalent all season long.

Monday, October 08, 2012


The Nats went up 1-0 in the top of the second. Jordan Zimmermann had a flawless inning in the bottom of the first and the Cardinals' Jaime Garcia looked quite shaky on the hill. Dreams of an easy series for the Nats danced in their supports' imaginations.

The bottom of the second changed the course of the series. Zimmermann gave up four consecutive hits which eventually resulted in four runs. He gave up another one in the form of an Alan Craig homer in the third. Davey Johnson had enough and took Zimmermann out. That opened the flood gates. Craig Stammen gave up another two runs in the fourth, giving the Cardinals a 7-1 lead.

Christian Garcia pitched an inning and two thirds fairly effectively. Mike Gonzalez gave up a Carlos Beltran homer (one of two he hit) in the 6th, which followed consecutive homers by Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche.

That was how the game worked out. Whenever the Nats exhibited any sprinkle of magic, the Cards swatted them down like Brian Urlacher in that Xfinity commercial. With two on in the top of the seventh and no outs, Zimmerman flew out to left scoring Jayson Werth. But Bryce Harper was thrown out trying to advance to third after Matt Holliday performed a bizarre throw. Harper was trying to get to third with fewer than two outs, a shrewd play that backfired badly.

With the score 8-4, St. Louis put the game away for good with four in the eighth. The final score was 12-4, trying the series at one. But the Cardinals did not dominate as much as the score suggests. Pete Kozma grabbed two extra bases with aggressive base running. John Jay added another. Both Jayson Werth and Michael Morse bobbled balls in the outfield. Danny Espinosa committed an error. All of these plays were responsible for St. Louis runs.

Harper's base running blunder may have taken away a run. John Jay made a stellar running catch and crashed into the wall on a ball smacked by Espinosa, which, perhaps, could have saved at least a run. The Nats simply didn't show their customary focus. The one exception has been Ian Desmond who has had a coming out party thus far in the postseason.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Moore Clutch Hitting

Gio Gonzalez scuffled during the first postseason game a Washington baseball team has played in during the past 78 years. He only gave up one hit in five innings, but his outing featured a hellish second inning. After an Adam LaRoche walk, Ian Desmond single, Kurt Suzuki knocked in LaRoche to make a 1-0 Nats lead. Gonzalez then walked four and threw a wild pitch resulting in two runs for the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cardinals never really got good wood on Gio's stuff, but he missed his spots badly. Home plate umpire Paul Emmel's inconsistent strike zone didn't help matters. Emmel had an embarrassingly poor game behind the plate. On several occasions, back to back pitches hit the same spot yet were called differently.

The Nats piled up six hits against Adam Wainwright, but failed to threaten following the second inning. In the seventh, Craig Stammen was working his second inning. A LaRoche error on a bad hop and two hits later, the bases were load with no outs. Ryan Mattheus forced a grounder to short by clean up hitter Alan Craig. Then, Yadier Molina grounded into a double play.

The Nats turned the momentum into runs int he top of the 8th. Michael Morse reached on a bad hop and Desmond got another hit. Danny Espinosa inexplicably bunted and Kurt Suzuki struck out. The Cardinals went with lefty Marc Rzepczynski to face pinch hitter Chad Tracy. Tracy was lifted and rookie Tyler Moore sent in. Moore slapped a single to right, scoring Morse and Desmond.

Tyler Clippard pitched a scoreless 8th and Drew Storen got the save int he 9th. The Nats stole one on the road and lead the series 1-0 thanks to the 3-2 victory.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

2012 MLB Playoff Predictions

I've waited until after the wild card games to make my predictions as to not give those games any legitimacy.

Detroit 3-1 Oakland
New York 3-1 Baltimore

Detroit 4-1 New York

Washington 3-2 St. Louis
Cincinnati 3-1 San Francisco

Washington 4-0 Cincinnati

World Series
Washington 4-1 Detroit

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Teddy Wins

For the first time in history, Teddy defeated his Mount Rushmore brethren and captured his first race victory. It capped an incredible season for the Nats, who ended the season with baseball's best record, 98-64.

From Gio Gonzalez's coming up party, the rookies Bryce Harper, Steve Lombardozzi, and Tyler Moore were better than advertised, and Ian Desmond and Adam LaRoche were legitimate top ten MVP guys. And that leaves out Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan Zimmermann, and Stephen Strasburg, who all had great seasons.

All of the comebacks and clutch moments have been an omen for something special. So was Roger Berndina's amazing catch in Houston. But nothing has been a clearer sign than Teddy's win.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Nats are NL East Champs!

As the Pirates beat the Braves, the Nats clinched the NL East for the first time in team history. It's such a meaningful accomplishment. I'm reminded of all the former Nats that have graced the uniform since 2005. I think of all the heartbreaking losses. I think of the teams that even I didn't have enough optimism to believe they would compete.

It's truly a special moment, one that brought me to tears. But it's only another step towards the ultimate goal.