Real baseball is not played on paper or computers

It is officially spring today with the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere although baseball enthusiasts celebrate spring the day their teams report to Spring Training. Hope springs eternal, and Washington Nationals fans will hope that this year will exceed expectations. Projections rarely meet reality for sports teams on their final record. In the end, you find some players exceeded their expectations while others fell short. There are a myriad of factors during a long season that affect the results, and yes, there is an element of luck, and health, and you take the good with the bad. It is part of the ups and downs during a baseball season which is a 6 month marathon that ends days after the autumnal equinox. Baseball spreads over all seasons as Spring Training technically begins during the winter.

This is why they say you don’t play sports on paper. But in the off-season, you scout using your senses sending that information to your brain, and in modern baseball you cross-check the scouting with analytics. Nothing is a perfect science when it does not work out or on the other side some players exceed the expectations. Most player acquisitions are judged in hindsight — the way most critics judge with clarity as if they knew the whole time. Foresight is what the best managers have, but it’s not foolproof. Along with what does not show up on the stats sheet are the intangibles of the game. Continue reading

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Game #25 Nats travel back to Disney for the last time — ever!

Photo by Steve Mears of Disney’s baseball complex

This will be the Nationals last trip to the Disney baseball complex because after this season the Atlanta Braves will be moving to their new home in Sarasota. When the Nationals were in Viera, the trip to Disney was actually their closest drive about an hour and 20 minutes away. From West Palm Beach, the roundtrip is a 326 mile bus drive, and a lengthy 2 1/2 hours each way from FITTEAM to Champion Field.  Today’s starting pitcher for the Nats, Anibal Sanchez, could have asked to pitch on the minors side but instead chose to make the trek to start this game. All players taking the bus is set to leave at 7:00 AM from the FITTEAM complex in West Palm Beach. Continue reading

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Who grabs the #Nats last bench spot: Adrian Sanchez, Spencer Kieboom or Jake Noll?

Photo by @Midgem for TalkNats

Chances are Howie Kendrick and Michael A. Taylor will both begin the 2019 season on the 10-Day Injury List as they rehab their way back to join the team. Because we are now less than 10 days until the season begins, there is probably not enough time to get ready for Opening Day on March 28th for that duo. Taylor’s injury all but guarantees that Victor Robles will be the team’s starting centerfielder, and all indications are Andrew Stevenson will be the Nats’ fourth outfielder making the bench Kurt Suzuki C, Matt Adams 1B/LF, Wilmer Difo, IF/OF, Andrew Stevenson OF, and ____________ .  Continue reading

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Game #23/Game #24 Split-Squad games Patrick Corbin and Joe Ross get the starts today!

MLB Network graphic

With the day-off on Wednesday, it is hard to say what the rotation will look like on Thursday to Sunday to complete the Grapefruit League schedule before the Nationals return to D.C. for next Monday’s exhibition game against the Yankees. Today is Patrick Corbin’s spot in the rotation at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on the Nats home field and Joe Ross will travel up the hour bus ride for a split-squad game in Port St. Lucie against the Mets. Ross has been pitching out of the bullpen recently with one-inning stints so we will see how long the Nats allow him to pitch today. The Mets were scheduled to start Kyle Dowdy today, but we are also seeing reports of Jeurys Familia starting.

Corbin will face the Miami Marlins who have the same amount of wins (13) as the Nationals have so far in this Spring Training. The Marlins have played one more game so far than the Nats have. Continue reading

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Who will be the #Nats fourth outfielder?

Michael A. Taylor robs a home run in 2017. (Photo by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats)

This is a question that should be easy to answer. It would have been easy to answer, if only Michael A. Taylor‘s left cleat hadn’t caught in the Fort Myers outfield turf during a game against the Minnesota Twins last week. Taylor will instead miss Opening Day and likely several weeks of the regular season as he recovers from a sprained knee and hip. Continue reading

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Game #22 Stephen Strasburg takes on the Mets!

Photo courtesy of Kelly Collis for TalkNats

The Grapefruit League schedule ends in a week from today as the Nationals will fly back to D.C. at the conclusion of next Sunday’s split-squad games. Stephen Strasburg gets this St. Paddy’s start and will get one more start before he leaves Florida. The Nats have a few question marks remaining before they head north. Continue reading

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The British are coming…to a ballpark near you!

America’s pastime is not uniquely American. Baseball is played throughout the world, and boasts passionate fans in numerous countries. Despite this global popularity, baseball has not grown much in Europe. MLB is hoping to change that with its London Series, which will see the Red Sox and Yankees take on each other in a 2-game matchup across the pond at the end of June. Those games are sold-out, and MLB is already discussing teams to feature next year ( the AP reported MLB is considering either a Cubs/Cardinals series or  Mets/Nationals), so there is definitely buzz in the UK for the event. Joey Mellows, a 34-year-old teacher from Portsmith, a city 60 miles southwest of London, is looking to capitalize on that buzz to help grow the game in his native England. Continue reading

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Game #21 Scherzer has a meeting with the Cardinals!

Photo by Lynn G for TalkNats

We are getting closer to Opening Day, and Max Scherzer is pitching in this game then he will make one more start before Opening Day. The rotation order seems to be set along with the starting 8, but there are now serious questions about the bench after Michael Taylor‘s knee/hip strain plus Howie Kendrick has not returned to play in games.  Continue reading

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Trea Turner had over two dozen Cobras at the park!

Trea Turner with his Park Vista High School coach Larry Greenstein

When Trea Turner attended Park Vista High School, he wore jersey #3 and was skinnier than he is now. He had a quick bat and quicker feet, and a heart of gold back in 2011 at PVHS. Not much has changed with Trea besides the MLB success and the size of his muscles and his bank account. Being a star player does have its perks as Turner needed about 35 tickets to accommodate all of the players and coaches from his old High School and the Washington Nationals made that happen. The PVHS Cobras still have many familiar faces including Trea’s high school head coach Larry Greenstein. The Cobra players received the red carpet treatment with a behind the scenes tour and time on the field with Trea. Days like that go a long way for these kids to see what is possible. Continue reading

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Game #20 First Trip to Port St. Lucie to play the Mets!

Photo by Steve Mears for TalkNats

The Washington Nationals make their first trip to First Data Field this season to face the NY Mets. In today’s game, it’s Jeremy Hellickson against the left-handed Steven Matz. The bus is set to leave the FITTEAM complex at 8:30AM for the trip 55 miles north to St. Lucie County. Who goes on this trip will be interesting. Unfortunately, Michael A. Taylor won’t be one of them as he hurt his left knee yesterday when his leg hit the turf. Based on the way the Nationals give information, we should not expect any definitive news on Taylor until tomorrow — but who knows what manager Dave Martinez will disclose today. Our very own PB69 had his own sourced information on Taylor’s knee based on the doctor’s examination that it was “not too bad” and while that is good news when you talk about a knee, we know what bone bruises or a Grade I strain can do to a player. Maybe it is as benign as a kneecap bruise. We will see. Continue reading

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