Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mission complete

The Nats' intentions of losing were very evident today with the most pathetic lineup in baseball history:

Seriously, Odalis Perez was our best hitter today. Pathetic. Our lineup today was an embarrassment to our franchise. I don't care what our record is...we should NEVER field a lineup this horrible. Manny should be beyond ashamed of himself.

Thanks to the awful lineup, we've clinched Stephen Strasburg. He better live up to expectations, because we seriously look like the worst franchise in all of baseball right now.

All of our coaches minus Randy St. Claire are gone. Glad to see Lenny out. I'm sure Corrales will retire. Good to see Bowden finally took the 'classy' road and notified them last night that their contracts wouldn't be renewed. Hopefully we'll see a similar decision regarding Bowden in the next few days. I want Rizzo before the World Series is over.

In other news, a big win for the Hokies last night at Nebraska. They tried (once again) to give it away late, but ended up on top for their fourth straight win, vaulting them back into the top 25 (#20 in the AP poll, #24 in the USA Today Coaches Poll).

Friday, September 26, 2008

25-man roster contest

Here's the deal: I'm going to post up my prediction of the Nats' Opening Day roster for next year. Then you do the same in the comments section (or email me at and I'll add them to the comments section). This prediction includes offseason acquisitions, callups AND injuries! All I need is a list of 25 players...I'm going to put up my predictions for a lineup/starting rotation but that is not needed. Make sure you post what you think the Nats WILL do, not what they SHOULD do. After a week or so, I'll tabulate everything and post it up and we'll give bragging rights to the winner.

Opening Day Lineup:
SS Cristian Guzman
LF Lastings Milledge
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Nick Johnson
CF Elijah Dukes
RF Austin Kearns
C Jesus Flores
2B Emilio Bonifacio

C Luke Montz
IF Leonard Davis
IF Alberto Gonzalez
IF/OF Willie Harris
IF/OF Kory Casto
OF Ryan Langerhans

Starting Rotation:
LHP Oliver Perez
LHP John Lannan
RHP Tim Redding
RHP Collin Balester
RHP Jordan Zimmermann

RHP Joel Hanrahan-CL
RHP Garrett Mock-SU
RHP Saul Rivera
RHP Jason Bergmann
RHP Steven Shell
LHP Mike Hinckley

Sorry it's boring, but the Nats add one player: LHP Oliver Perez. Even at that, I think the chances of signing Perez are 15% or less, but he at least makes sense due to age. They're not going to sign Tex or CC or Sheets. Maybe Dunn, but I doubt it.

EDIT-here's the spreadsheet.

2008 Recap: Undecided

Time to wrap up this mini-series. Today we'll be discussing what I'm exactly sure right off the bat was positive or negative. At the end of every different bit of analysis, I'll choose "Positive" or "Negative, because these aren't as cut-and-dried as the "What went right" and "What went wrong" parts of the recap were. These are meant to be semi-controversial and my opinion is not absolutely correct (just mostly correct), so feel free to debate in the comments.

1) Individual Performances
Jesus Flores is probably a surprise for most of you on the "Undecided" page. With Flores, you can basically arbitrarily pick any date in the season and his numbers will be good before that and bad after. The season just wore him out. He only ended up hitting .256/.296/.402...not bad, but not good enough for me to want to go out and buy a Flores jersey either. I'll declare Flores Positive, however, because his defense was solid and he excelled in high-leverage situations.
Ryan Zimmerman had an okay year. His injury was to blame for a lot of it, I'm sure. I was about to write Zim off as negative, just because he has regressed for two straight years. Then I looked at his month-by-month splits and see that he has hit .300/.355/.469 from May on. And since he returned from his shoulder issues, Zim has hit .304/.369/.452. Not perfect, but encouraging to see. Plus, he still plays awesome defense. Postive by a hair.
Wil Nieves had three straight 2-hit games in April and that won all of our hearts over. With Nieves, it's easy to go around expecting more than what you'll get: a .260/.300/.320 slash line and some good defense and some clubhouse tranquility. This year, Nieves outhit that slash line, going .264/.312/.345 in 08. When I was deciding who would fall under what category, I saw his numbers and went psh, BAD! But then I realized: I'll take that from my backup catcher any day. Positive.
Tim Redding was the tale of two halves. As you probably have seen somewhere else, he went 7-3 with a 3.85 ERA before the all-star break and 3-8 with a 6.82 ERA after. He's not a #1, we need to realize that, but if he's even going to be a 3 or 4, he needs to step it up in the second half. Negative.
Saul Rivera was originally put here because I think he's a completely neutral player. You know almost exactly what you're going to get (mid-to-high 3's ERA, lots of innings, decent amount of baserunners) and he delivers. Although his ERA numbers slipped for the second year in a row, I'll put him in Positive for now, mainly because I expect him to fall under "injured" next year and he deserves his due before that happens.
Collin Balester is a great prospect, but I'm not absolutely encouraged by his numbers this year. Sure, he's 23 and kept his ERA under 5 (and ended up better than Redding), but he almost had more runs allowed than K's. The first time around the lineup, opponents had a .510 OPS. The second time was .953. The third time was .980. He's got the stuff, let's see him put it together. Negative by a hair.
Jesus Colome-how the heck does he not end up in "what went wrong?" I'll tell you how-since his last BS or L (which happened June 30 and July 3, respectively), Colome has thrown 29 and 1/3 IP at a 2.45 ERA. But then look at his numbers a little closer: 12 BB/16 K in that span, 5 HR allowed...this IS the Colome of old, he was just getting lucky. NEGATIVE!

2) Mid-season trades
Rauch for Bonifacio
Ayala for Hernandez
Nunez for Gonzalez
It's nice to trade for middle infielders, but none of these guys are really that special. Gonzalez and Hernandez are proven no-hit all-glove guys and Bonifacio will probably be categorized as that in a few years. Rauch was our #1 tradable commodity and all we got for him was Bonifacio? I gave the Nats the benefit of the doubt at the time, but that's another Bowden Fail in my book. Ayala needed a change of scenery, so I can't really argue with that. And I doubt Nunez ever is a major leaguer. So we have a big lose in the Rauch deal and mini-wins in the other two. Still a lose overall, but it's close.

I don't really have anything else that falls under "undecided"...I'll come up with my 25 man roster now and post it and then you're all encouraged to do the same.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

2008 Recap: What went wrong

There's quite a bit to say on what went wrong this year. My top "tags" here at DC Sports Plus tell the story...out of individual players, Matt Chico (11) tied for most entries with Milledge and Dukes, Kearns had 9 tags, Failipe and Lo Duca had 8, and Johnny Waddles had 4. I dedicated a lot of time on my blog to hating on players and the management. While that may not be the most constructive activity, it does tell you a little bit about how the season went.

So, without further ado, what went wrong in 2008:

1) Individual Performances
Austin Kearns was supposed to be a cog in our lineup this year. Turned out he was a clog. A .217/.311/.313 slash line is never good out of a guy you're looking for to knock in runs, but it is especially horrible for a player who spends 259 of their 357 total plate appearances in the cleanup and 5th spots of the batting order. Hopefully we'll look back on it and blame injury, as this was the first season Kearns ever had an OPS+ under 100 (minus a 64 game 2004 season where it was 92).
Aaron Boone appeared to be set for a steady season. Turns out he really only had a good May, hitting .290/.351/.580 in 77 plate appearances. From June through now, he has only hit .221/.264/.313 in 141 plate appearances. Methinks we'll go for a younger, cheaper (and better) option next year, even though Daddy Boone works in the front office.
Kory Casto still has yet to prove he can hit ML pitching. Out of all of his splits, Casto has one consistency: poor performance. Whether it be versus lefties or righties, home or away, first or second half, during any month or as a starter or a sub, Casto simply hasn't been good. Okay, there was ONE split (yes, just ONE) that gives me hope Casto will be a good future 4th OF/good bat off of the bench: a .271/.321/.417 slash line in "high leverage" situations. While I do not know what constitutes a "high leverage" situation, it certainly sounds good.
Pete Orr never should have been on the team, I'm sorry. He had a good rookie year in 2005 (.300/.331/.387) that was all thanks to a .349 BABIP. 3 years of poor performance should be enough to show, despite a good rookie year, he is NOT a ML quality hitter. Luckily, we get to endure the poor hitting and good fielding of Emilio Bonifacio, Anderson Hernandez and Alberto Gonzalez for the next few years, so Orr won't be back.
Roger Bernadina looked good in the minors this year (.323/.398/.474 in 266 AA at bats, .351/.404/.513 in 191 AAA at bats, 31/42 SB) but awful in the majors (.191/.276/.221 in 68 at bats, 4/7 SB). His glove is legit, but just like a ton of Nationals, he has to hit if he wants to stick on this team. They have way too many 4th OF and utility infielders who can't hit. Time to find some that can hit but can't field (Rick Short anyone?).
Wily Mo Pena was terrible. We're talking new Green Day bad. Pena sported a .205/.243/.267 slash line to go with 2 HR and a 10:48 BB:K ratio. 10 RBI in 195 at bats is not good for a slugger, let me tell you. And to top it all off, he looked lost in left field. But, barring a miraculous release, Pena will be on the squad next year.
Emilio Bonifacio was supposed to be our future leadoff guy. He looked awesome at first (.375/.375/.594 in his first 7 games and 32 at bats in a Nats uniform) but has been pretty bad since then (.216/.276/.295 in 31 games and 132 plate appearances). He is sick with the glove, though, and is probably the fastest baseball player I've ever seen, so there is obviously still a ton of upside in the 23-year-old.
Johnny Estrada was an awful, awful, beyond awful FA signing. There is no good in Fatstrada, as he is a horrible player, doesn't hustle and is universally disliked by fans and teammates. Eatstrada 'hit' .170/.200/.200 in 53 at bats for the Nats this year and that was more than enough. And he refused to accept his crappiness and suck it up in AAA. Thank goodness, because Bowden might have given him a September call-up.
Rob Mackowiak was not a bad signing. While Estrada and Lo Duca looked to be on the decline after poor 2007 seasons, Mackowiak had a decent 2007 campaign, with a slash line of .263/.337/.386 (hurt a lot by his poor showing after being dealt from the White Sox to San Diego, where bats go to die). But Mackowiak became Mackowiakkkkkk, striking out 17 times in 53 at bats (against 7 hits). It wasn't heartbreaking for me to see the Nats cut the guy with the .132/.254/.208 line loose.
Paul Lo Duca was probably the worst signing because he cost us the most money. Out of the terrible trio of himself, Mackowiakkkk and Fatstrada, Lo Duca put up the 'best' numbers at .230/.301/.281. He allowed 13 of 15 potential base stealers to convert their thievery and played a great left field and first base! Thanks for the memories, Paulie.
Felipe Lopez hit .234/.305/.314 for us. Now he's hitting .355/.396/.493 for the Cardinals. He's getting their hopes up just like he got our hopes up in 2006. I was not disappointed to see him go, as I thought he would rebound from his awful 2007 campaign.
Jason Bergmann was not bad per se, he just wasn't good. I was kinda hoping he would going to improve on his decent 2007 campaign, but he regressed, going from a 4.45 ERA to 5.18 and from a 1.223 WHIP to a 1.449. Bergmann was not good as a starter or a reliever this year. I don't really know what to do with him, because he has the potential to be awesome. But then again, hasn't everyone in the major leagues had the potential to be awesome at some point?
Shawn Hill pitched 12 games through pain (I know, I was surprised he made it to 12 also). We got to experience pain watching these games, as he had a 5.83 ERA and averaged just over 5 IP per start. Make him into a reliever NOW!
Matt Chico may or may not have pitched hurt, but he was awful nonetheless. I don't deny the fact that the man can eat innings, but at a 6.19 ERA he's the best we can do? I doubt it.
Charlie Manning proved why he is a 28-year-old rookie: he's not that good. He has a 5.27 ERA, but also just gives up way too many homers (1.76 HR/9) and walks (6.8 BB/9) to be an effective major league pitcher.
Brian Sanches was an experiment that failed. He was bad for the Phillies last year (and the year before) but was lights out in AAA, so why not give him a shot, right? 7.36 ERA. That's why not. Still, sadly, he'll get an invitation to big-league camp by someone next year.
Marco Estrada furthered an already well-tested theory that Estradas and Nationals don't mix. The young righty threw only 1o and 2/3 innings but gave up 9 runs. Hopefully he'll be able to turn it around in the future.
Michael O'Connor: because if the experiment fails the first time, it's JimBow's perrogative to re-try it! 13 ER, 11 BB, 4 K in 9 IP. Yuck.
Shairon Martis had quite a year in AAA, but the 21-year-old is just not ready for the big leagues (can you believe that? A 21-year old isn't ready for the big leagues?).
Levale Speigner somehow found a way to raise his career ERA from 8.78 to 9.19 in only 8 innings. Can we dump him? Pretty pretty please?
Ray King sucked it up in 6 and 1/3 innings. I barely remembered he was even on the team. Another early roster casualty. Maybe he should have stuck to In-N-Out burgers.

2) Injuries
I'm going to be frank here: the Nats were probably the most poorly managed team in recent history when it comes to injuries. We had guys out for more than a week before being put on the DL, only to see them out for an extended period of time (Zimmerman, Gonzalez, Boone, Da Meat Hook, Johnson, Cordero, etc.). I'm not blaming the injuries, but rahter the manner in which the front office handled them.

3) Awful roster management
We lost Josh Whitesell on waivers to the Diamondbacks to make room for a Rule V draftee that didn't even stick with the team. I called it a bad move at the time over at NFA. It's even worse now, as Whitesell had a .993 OPS this year in AAA to go with 110 RBI...and we were stuck with Aaron Boone, Ronnie Belliard and Kory Casto at 1B for way too long. I don't even want to get into most of this, as I've been harping on it all year long in my "If I were GM of the Nationals" posts. A lot of this goes with my previous point of injuries as well.

4) The Chad Cordero situation
This was an absolute embarrassment to the entire franchise. Jim Bowden (once again) proved he was an idiot by publicly saying Cordero would be non-tendered before he told Cordero himself. When Screech's Best Friend shows his talons, you know there's a huge issue.

5) Lack of trust in the coaches/management
Fire Jim Bowden
Lenny Harris
Stan Kasten
The Lerners
Plus the latest example: "Team in Crisis"
The only people in the organization trusted by anyone outside of the organization are Manny Acta and Mike Rizzo.

6) Rooting for the team to lose
As you may (or may not) have noticed, I haven't voiced my opinion on the Strasburg deal on the blog. I've mentioned him once, basically saying he's an obvious pick if he's on the board. To be honest, I would love to draft Strasburg. But I will under no circumstance root against my team.Strasburg is NOT going to save the Nationals by himself. He can't pitch all 162 games. Even if he wins 20 games, he is still only one player. At this point, I still won't root against my team. It is a little different to not mind losing, but I will never cheer for my team to lose. When 47% of your fanbase is rooting for your team to lose, it's beyond pathetic.
I think the "to win, you have to lose" mantra is stupid and incorrect. If you have nitwits running the team, that may be the case (like in our case). To win, you have to spend money, period. Not necessarily on big-name free agents, though. You have to spend it on the draft, on international FA's, on scouting, to pay your players and to pay your rent.

But, for those of you who are keeping score...the Nats have a little bit less than a 47% chance of snagging the #1 overall pick next year.

7) Jim Bowden
One word: ugh. I'll just leave it to FJB for all of the reasons to hate on Bowden (Smileygate, Aaron Crow epic fail, awful FA signings, losing Whitesell for nothing, general suckiness, being a jerk, etc.).

My bottom 5 of 2008:
1) No trust in management
2) 'Fans' rooting for the Nats to lose
3) Chad Cordero situation
4) Awful performance on the field in general
5) Johnny "Waddles" Fatstrada/Eatstrada

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

2008 Recap: Intro and what went right

I'm going to run a mini-series over the next few days on the 2008 season (and I'll throw in the past offseason as well, so basically it's the last year): What went right, what went wrong and what is still undecided. I'd also like to do something fun-at the end of the series I'll post my prediction for the opening day 25 man roster, including offseason acquisitions, callups, etc. I'd like for all other bloggers of the Natmosphere (and anyone else, for that matter) to do that. I'll tabulate everything and post it up and we'll give bragging rights to the winner. So look for that on Friday. (edit: I just spammed all of your comments with this notice...and then realized that I spelled "offseason" wrong. Ridicule is accepted and expected, for I missed the little red line under it).

Tonight I'll go over what went right. I'll try to stick to major things and group them together.

1) Individual Performances
The Nats had a few breakout seasons and pleasant surprises this year.
Cristian Guzman stayed (mostly) healthy and set career highs in hits, doubles, total bases, batting average and on base percentage. He also set a career low in strikeouts and is within 1 HR of his career high and 5 RBI away from his career high there.
Willie Harris was one of our best sluggers this year, tying for third on the team in HR. He almost doubled his career total of HR this year, with 13 (had 7 in 7 seasons before this year). He (obviously) set a career high in total bases and slugging percentage, played stellar defense and lessened the gap between BB and K as well.
Ronnie Belliard was probably picked by a ton of people to have a down year in 2008, as none of Bowden's retreads who were resigned ever really duplicated their success (see Hook, Da Meat). Belliard hit well above his career averages across the board, with a .287/.372/.473 slash line. Injuries and less effective defense were minor problems, but Belliard's 96 games have been just about as good as 96 from any other National this year.
Lastings Milledge wasn't perfect in his first whole year, but .271/.335/.408 is a good slash line for a 23-year-old. And his defense started improving as the year went on...he still better be in left field next year, though.
Elijah Dukes stayed out of real trouble this year and deserves the team MVP by all leaps and bounds. The Duke of Dinger hit .271/.393/.491, leading the team in OBP and SLG. He showed impressive plate discipline, immense power potential and gave us the best defense on the team, regardless of position. If he can stay healthy (and out of trouble), we have a true franchise player in Dukes. The Elijah Dukes bandwagon starts here!
Ryan Langerhans dug himself out of the great hole that was 2007. His batting average was still suspect at .234, but a .379 OBP and .402 SLG combined with a better BB/K ratio, some timely pinch-hits and awesome defense leads me to believe Ryan will be a National on Opening Day 2009.
Dmitri Young and Nick Johnson hit very well when they were healthy, combining for a .255/.397/.452 slash line. Strangely, Johnson's batting average was awful and Da Meat Hook suffered a bit of a power outage, but both can hit on the ML level still. Both are worth their weight in gold if they can stay healthy....but we all know they can't.
John Lannan followed up a good 2007 with another good 2008. He threw 177 innings with a 3.86 ERA and provided the Nats with quality starts (6+ IP, 3 or less earned runs allowed) in 21 of his 30 starts. I'll take that any day from a rookie! What I was most impressed with was his drastic change in his BB:K ratio (from 17:10 last year to 69:112 this year).
Odalis Perez was one of two FA signings (the other being Wee Willie) that didn't go horribly wrong (note: not including minor league FA's, so Shell doesn't count). Odalis threw 156 innings with a respectable 4.27 ERA. He escaped major injury (although he missed a few starts in June) and had 14 quality starts out of 29 (but keep in mind he had an unusually large amount of games, 9, in which he threw less than 6 innings but gave up 3 or fewer earned runs).
Joel Hanrahan blossomed into a passable reliever this year. He doesn't have a wow-level ERA
(3.95), but sports a 9.93 K/9 on the year. Interestingly enough, Hanrahan's BB numbers have improved drastically since becoming closer (4.85 BB/9 before July 22-Rauch trade date, 3.6 BB/9 after), but his H/9 (7.13 before July 22 and 9.36 after, HR/9 (0.76 before July 22 and 1.44 after) and WHIP (1.33 before July 22 and 1.44 now) have gotten worse. His ERA and K/9 numbers have been almost identical. Still, a lot better than a 6+ ERA last year.
Steven Shell was awesome this year. Kid had a 2.20 ERA in 49 IP. He's the man. Guaranteed a spot on my 25 man.
Garrett Mock as a reliever was a good thing this year. He had a 2.31 ERA in 23 and 2/3 innings in relief. He only allowed 5.4 H/9 and had 10.4 K/9 out of the pen. His walk numbers (strangely, 5.4 BB/9) were the only part I wasn't impressed with. Guaranteed a spot on my 25 man.
Mike Hinckley found his niche as a reliever this year and has straight dominated ML hitting. 11 and 2/3 shutout innings to start his career. 5.4 H/9 (oddly the same as Mock), 1.54 BB/9, 6.17 K/9, 4:1 K:BB ratio. Nice work, Hincks. Another guaranteed spot in my book, barring an awful spring training.

2) The team's willingness to cut dead weight
The signings of Johnny Estrada, Paul Lo Duca, Ray King and Rob Mackowiak were all awful. I'm proud of the Nats for swallowing their pride and cutting these losers loose. It also gives me hope that this will set a precedent in the future-and that we might not see Wily Mo in a Nats uniform next year.

3) The farm system looked a lot better this year
We had breakout seasons by Jordan Zimmermann, Leonard Davis, Michael Burgess (29 OF ASSISTS?!?), Adrian Alaniz and Luke Montz. We had 17 all-stars and a better than .500 record across the board in the minors for the first time since the team has relocated.

4) We had another good draft (minus the Crow debacle)
I'm happy with Hood, Espinosa, Hicks, Nieto, Demny, Killian, Ramirez and Curran. The Crow dealio sucked, but I would say the Nats were far above average through rounds 2-15.

5) Mike Rizzo looks better and better as a future GM
This post by Steven over at FireJimBowden gives me immense confidence in Mike Rizzo's abilities as a talent evaluator as well as a public figure. Make this Kasten and Rizzo's team NOW!

6) We made good trades last offseason
Pulling Dukes for Glenn Gibson and Milledge for Ryan Church and Brian Schneider were both good deals in retrospect. Church can't stay healthy, Schneider is not as good as his 2008 numbers indicate and Gibson was beyond terrible this year. Milledge wasn't amazing, but I think we'll look back on that deal in 2 years and it will be a wash at the absolute worst. And Dukes is a beast.

My top 5 of 2008:
1) Elijah Dukes' breakout year
2) Mike Rizzo's emergence as a great future GM
3) Vast improvement in the minor leagues
4) Willie Harris' breakout year
5) Bright futures in the bullpen (Hanrahan, Shell, Mock, Hinckley)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Quick Read

Alright, it's not a quick quick read, but check it out: the Washington Times' article entitled "Nationals 'miserable' on, off field: Team in Crisis."

Some key quotes:
In the case of the Nationals, the problems appear to run far deeper, as the once-vaunted "Plan" hailed by team president Stan Kasten has been taken over by team owner Ted Lerner and his family, who wield an unusual level of day-to-day control over every team decision ranging from scouting to marketing.

"Clearly, every decision of any significance is made ultimately by Ted," a city official familiar with the Lerners' baseball operation said. "The decision-making and the whole approach starts at the top and remains at the top. And I don't think anything is going to change significantly as long as Ted is running the team."

Workers describe a challenging, often tedious environment in which every decision and every dollar spent is scrutinized by Ted Lerner; his son, Mark; or sons-in-law, Ed Cohen and Bob Tanenbaum.

Lengthy purchase orders are needed for basic office supplies, for instance, and the use of courier services is discouraged. Pay raises and expense reimbursements are delayed for months. Employees of the Nationals and Major League Baseball alike were astonished when the club did not send anyone to either the sport's scouting school or industry meetings - events attended by every other franchise.

Or as one disgruntled team employee put it: "Everyone wants out, and it's entirely because of the Lerners."

In addition to discontent among the Nationals' rank-and-file employees, there is tension at the very top. Sources both inside and outside the organization said Kasten has not been provided the level of organizational control he desires or was promised when he joined the Lerner family's bid for the team.

"Stan hasn't been able to do the things he wants to do," a source close to the team said. "They're not letting him do the things he was brought here to do."

Sources said Kasten has become increasingly frustrated, and some suggested he could step down as president, though most said his departure was unlikely.

Unfortunately, I don't really have the time to post much of an opinion on this (as I have to leave for work momentarily), but this doesn't look good. I think it goes to show us that successful businessmen cannot run successful sports teams, though.

Leave comments if you care to discuss. Also feel free to check out Steven's opinion and check Nationals Fanboy Looser's comments throughout the day.

Fantasy Football Update

Okay, it's not really an update. I never did tell you about my teams, and for good reason.

I'll just come out and say it-I'm a fantasy football addict. I don't spend any money on the game, nor do I spend a whole lot of time on it, but I do have 5 teams. The main reason I didn't want to update it until now was because I wanted to make sure all of my teams are respectable. And they most definitely are, in my opinion. After a debacle in week 1, I wasn't so sure, but my teams went from a combined 1-4 in week 1 to a combined 10-5, losing only 1 of my 10 matchups over the last 2 weeks.

Week 1 was awful, as I said before. You never want to lose 4 of 5 fantasy matchups, but especially not 3 losses by 10 or fewer points. Having Tom Brady on two teams didn't hurt quite as badly as I thought (not that I would have cared anyways, because I hate Tom Brady).

My most important team, the Orange Iguanas, is the one I'll feature throughout the year (just updating records for my other teams, at least until playoff time). The Iggies compete in a keeper league, so I came into the season with the likes of Carson Palmer, Adrian Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald before the draft (and if I could have kept anyone from my team last year, you would have seen Brandon Jacobs, Marshawn Lynch, Reggie Bush, Calvin Johnson, T.J. Houshmenzadeh...boy that team was stacked). A 2-point loss in week one was painful, but I was lucky to only lose by that much, as my opponent, the Pioneers, started Tommy Brady. I left Baltimore's defense on the bench and that proved to be the difference, as starting Minnesota proved to be a negative-8 point swing.

Strong performances across the board helped me to a 60-39 victory over the Fallen Angels in week 2, anchored by Kurt Warner's 300+ yard 3 TD game. All of my skill position players had huge days that could have been even better if they scored TD's (269 combined rushing yards and 442 receiving yards between Larry Fitzgerald, Greg Jennings, Dwayne Bowe, Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson but no touchdowns). If I had lost this game due to a lack of scoring out of these 5, I would have been incredibly angry.

I got lucky in week 3, beating the South Park Cows 59-56. I was happy with Fitzgerald (10 points) and the Vikings defense (19 points), but disappointed with many other team members (9 combined points for Peterson, Johnson and Jennings). But the Cows' recievers only scored a total of 2 points and Vernon Davis and Kevin Smith put up goose eggs.

After 3 weeks, I stand 2-1, behind only the 3-0 T-Birds for first place in the North division of the VA/NJ Keeper. I face the T-Birds in weeks 4 and 8. Week 8 is a very bad bye week for me (as I lose Greg Jennings, Adrian Peterson, Chester Taylor and the Vikings defense). Both matchups avoid his best players' bye weeks, as the only players I miss in both weeks combined are Ricky Williams, Ryan Longwell, Jay Cutler, Seattle defense and Kevin Boss.

Here is my roster:

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A moral dilemma

I was getting frustrated by my Hokies today, as they were down 17-3 in the third quarter and didn't look like they could make anything happen. So I went to do my laundry (go figure). While I was in the laundry room, they scored back-to-back touchdowns and since then have added a field goal to make the score 20-17 Tech.

I am a generally superstitious person. My dilemma: should I spend the last 10 minutes of the game in the laundry room?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Would you rather...

I don't have a whole lot of time to make a big post right now (virus is still on computer), but I wanted to ask a question: would you rather be a fan of a team who was supposed to be good but disappoints (i.e. the Braves this year) or a team who wasn't supposed to be good and proved those assumptions right (i.e. the Nats this year)?

Would you rather
Root for a bad team that was supposed to be good
Root for a bad team that was supposed to be bad
Doesn't matter, it sucks to root for a bad team no matter what free polls

Discuss in comments.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hopefully Manny's just trying to light a fire under Bonifacio

Chico from the Post reports that there could be a position battle between Bonifacio and Anderson Hernandez next spring. I don't like it. I can understand the basic reasoning-Hernandez HAS outplayed Bonifacio lately. But it's a ridiculously small sample size. Sure, Hernandez is hitting .340/.417/.358 right 53 at bats!! He hit .203/.262/.307 this year in 479 at bats!! I say it's still Emilio's starting job to lose, but I can see the Nats continuing to spell him with Hernandez when we're facing lefties.

On a side note-I'd like to apologize for the lack of posts lately. I'm working to remove some malware from my computer. Some times the only process I'm running on my computer is anti-virus. Other times it's just too slow to do anything (that's why this post is not 100% developed...don't worry, I know). I'll continue to read and comment on everyone else's blogs, just don't expect a whole lot on my part for the next few days.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Big Win

We needed this one today. Not a whole lot on the topic (I've got some celebratin' to do!), but it's nice to see how much respect Georgia Tech players have for Virginia Tech fans:

Defensive tackle Darryl Richard: “The biggest thing about it is the respect that the fans have for playing the game of football. A lot of people, fan-wise, they think screaming is what it’s all about. But at Virginia Tech, they know when to scream. They know how to scream. They’re so involved in the game. They understand, on third down, when their defense is on the field, to make noise. They get involved in the kicking game. When it’s time to punt, you see all those hands waving, talking about blocking that kick. That atmosphere, they get it. That’s the best way to put it. … [The noise] is mind-numbing. You’d better know your stuff, because you can’t really hear. … If you really love this game, that’s the place for it.”

As always, I was not particularly pleased by the actions of a few Virginia Tech fans (they were from Jersey, though, so what do you expect from people who root for the likes of the Mets, Yankees, Giants, Flyers, Rangers, Jets, etc.), but most Georgia Tech fans I talked to after the game were pleased with the hospitality of Blacksburg. It's all about Hokie Respect.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A couple of quick reads

Check out MLBTR's "Offseason Outlook" on the Nats. Key quote: "Big-name free agents in general would be a mistake. Last year the Nationals pursued Torii Hunter and Andruw Jones; neither would've been a good signing for them. Hopefully Jim Bowden won't become too obsessed with Adam Dunn this winter (assuming Bowden keeps his job). Dunn doesn't fit on this team. They're in the beginning of a long rebuilding process."

Ken Davidoff has a nice little feature on Tim Redding today.

Not a whole lot to say today. From what I've seen, the Dukes deal has been way overblown by the blogosphere and the New York media. He needs to grow up, but things like what happened last night do not matter in the grand scheme of things. Let him play the game.

In Remembrance

Monday, September 8, 2008

Mailbag answers

Time to answer another mailbag!

Is Ryan Zimmerman a .290 hitter and a 30-homer, 100-RBI guy or am I expecting too much?
-- Tony L., Amelia, Va.

Yes, no and yes. He already has a 110 RBI season, so that should be self-explanatory. In his rookie year, he hit .287. I see him topping out at a 20-25 HR average (maybe getting 35 or 40 in a fluke year). But I see him as a .295/.355/.500, 45 2B, 20 HR, 105 RBI guy in the future.

Do you think the play at the plate involving Phillies second baseman Chase Utley and Nationals catcher Jesus Flores was a dirty play?
-- Brendan W., Montclair, Va.

The play doesn't have to be intentionally dirty to be a dirty play. Yes, it was dirty.

The fact that you compared Adam Dunn to Dave Kingman is, frankly, way off the mark. Try looking at on-base percentage instead of average. Dunn is a beast. He would be able to play first base just fine.
-- Jon, N., D.C.

I agree. Poor comparison, Ladson. Dunn would be a good addition to this team that desperately needs power.

Will Larry Broadway be getting a September callup? Don't you think it's about time the Nationals' front office gave him a chance on the big stage?
-- Dyer T., Sanches, N.M.

No. He's not worth a 40-man spot and hasn't proved he deserves a chance in the majors. A .266/.354/.410 AAA line at 27 is not that impressive.

With Shawn Hill out for the season, is it possible we might see him move to the bullpen next season and beyond?
-- Mike H., Washington D.C.

I've been pining for this for a while. If we want Hill for any extended period of time, it will be out of the pen.

Given all of the injuries this season, and the youth of this team, I think Acta has done a masterful job keeping the players on an even keel. There have been no explosive temper tantrums that I know of and the team seems to remain positive on the field.
-- John B., Burke, Va.

He's done a good job, yes. I don't know what has happened behind the scenes with Dukes, but he hasn't had a major breakdown. I attribute the lack of insanity to Acta.

Why haven't the Nationals given Willie Harris a full-time position? He is doing a great job offensively and defensively.
-- Carrick H., Falls Church, Va.

He's a supersub and will get almost as many at bats as a starter. It works for him and it works for us, why change it?

How about Emilio Bonifacio? Do you think he will be a legit leadoff hitter in the future for the Nats?
-- Patrick, Fairfax, Va.

I hate to label him already, but the infield version of Endy Chavez is here.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Weekends are wonderful

There's just something about waking up on a Sunday morning, eating a waffle with strawberries and whipped cream and watching football all day. And while I don't have any rooting interest for the two games on TV for me right now (Miami vs. New York Jets and St. Louis vs Philly), they're still fun to watch. The storylines are great: Favre's first game with the Jets, Philly fans being jerks, etc.

Yesterday was a great day for me as well, as the Hokies finally got their first win (does a win against Furman count, though?). And then ECU wrecked West Virginia. Now losing to the Pirates doesn't look so bad...and it's always great to see WVU lose. One of the more random events of my life occured yesterday when Subway's Jared Fogle was introduced on the 20-yard-line during the 1st quarter of the Tech game. As some of you may know, I worked at Subway during high Jared is pretty much the bane of my existance. Still, it's cool to see a random "celebrity" supporting the Hokies.

I know most of my readers are used to seeing me blog about the Nats, but I can't watch games at school, so it's pretty much impossible to say much that hasn't already been said by other blogs. I'll still try to keep up with the Nats, though. After watching last night's highlights, I wasn't sure I was watching the same team. 5 homers? Boy, Dukes and Zim have been hitting the tar out of the ball. Harris' career year continues. They better keep him around for next year. It's nice to see Langerhans get some redemption against his former team, too.

I'm not too surprised Bergmann has been bounced from the rotation. I love Bergy and I hate him at the same time. He's either going to shut down the other team completely or get destroyed (and lately, it's been the latter). I have a feeling he'll be in the rotation next year nonetheless (just a feeling, but I doubt Martis will be in the rotation next year to start the year, Zimmermann maybe), but I like Bergmann out of the pen. Also good to see in the same article that Mock has a 2.35 ERA as a reliever. He and Hanrahan both have great stuff and with the two of them, we might have a decent back of the bullpen in a year or two. If Mock can develop into a nice setup man (sorry, Saul, but you're better in the 7th), I like our pen.

One last bit-On Mondays, I'll be posting stuff about my Fantasy Football teams. I know many of you won't care so much, but I'm just looking for things I'll be able to update throughout the winter when things are slow on the baseball front. I've got 5 teams, so there is going to be a lot of opportunities for material there.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Video of the Day

Chris Cooley's fantasy draft. Hilarious. Features Cooley, Jason Campbell, Santana Moss, Mike Sellers, Reed Doughty, Shawn Suisham, Fred Davis, Fred Smoot, Colt Brennan and a team comprised of Jason Campbell's girlfriend, Mercedes and Cooley's wife, Christy. I'm going to post up my own fantasy teams in a few days, but this is a good start.

Wednesday Wrapup

Just a few things:

Hokies QB Tyrod Taylor will play on Saturday. Not that it really matters against Furman, but he'll get into game rhythm with his receivers (well....with Greg Boone) and hopefully be ready for Georgia Tech in 10 days. Thank God.

The Nats are lowering season ticket prices significantly. I still bet they will sell 20% fewer season tickets next year at least (unless they go big in FA...I'll wait for your laughter to cease).

Chico shows his Pittsburgh Penguins fanboy side in his chat today. BOOO CROSBY! YAYYY OVECHKIN!

Don't think I ever passed this link along. Go and rate your favorite team's players defensively when you get a chance.

Not a whole lot else going on. Hopefully Odalis sends Utley a message tonight. Regardless of whether or not he intended to hurt Flores, he did. I view baseball as an eye-for-an-eye sport. Utley needs to get chin music tonight.

New objective for the season

You stay classy, Chase Utley.

Monday, September 1, 2008

A little bit of self-promotion

I'm proud to say I've been given a "Kick Ass Blogger Award" thanks to the Scholastic Scribe.

Kick Ass Blogger Award

Once a "Kick Ass Blogger" is awarded, said blogger gets to award 5 "Kick Ass Blogger" awards. So without further ado, step up and claim your prizes:

Nationals Farm Authority is by far the Most Valuable Blog of the Natsmosphere. I don't think I really have to go into detail, but Brian Oliver is pretty much my hero.

Fire Jim Bowden is probably the Most Improved Blog. I'll admit, I was skeptical at first, Steven, but posts like this, this and this make me sure that FJB isn't just going to be a temporary blog that will stop when Bowden is canned. Keep it going, Steven, you're doing some great work.

Nationals Fanboy Looser is probably my favorite all-around blog. Mike Harris brings communications experience (or at least I think he does) and combines it with his far-reaching sports knowledge for a very enjoyable read.

I really like Hendo's Hutch because Hendo and I seem to be on the same page a lot. Hendo rarely lets his emotions get the best of them and provides great insights.

Last, but certainly not least is The Nationals Enquirer. I appreciate the Enquirer so much more now that I'm away from school because it gives a ton of information on every game. And there's some pretty funny stuff there, too.

There are a ton of other great blogs out there (Japers' Rink, Get Rich Quickly, Nationals Journal, (the former) Capitol Punishment just to name a few) but these are the 5 that I automatically read every morning.