Podcast! 2015 Nats Season Preview with @NoahFrankWTOP

EDIT: I fixed the audio so it is properly mixed.

Noah Frank joins our show to talk about where the Nats are right now and how they look for 2015. On the show: the 25 man roster, the rash of injuries suffered by the team, how good is the Nationals rotation, is this bullpen sustainable, Strasburg, Harper, a little Matt Williams, an NL East preview, a rest of the MLB preview, and plenty more. Enjoy!

Spring Training Question #2: Can Matt Williams Grow As A Manager?

Matt Williams managing the NLDS.

Look, I get it. Managing is tough. When the team wins, most folks usually congratulate the players and when they lose, most folks usually blame the manager- and that’s usually the fair thing to do. Players can streak or slump, but managers always have the ability to move those players around accordingly. Imagine if for every decision you made at work there were 40,000 people in your office silently (and not so silently) deciding how they would have done your job better. Worse are the hundreds of thousands more at home doing the same thing, and by tomorrow every hack with a Macbook is going to write up how they you screwed up even if the team did win and why you should be fired.*

(*I am one of those hacks).

I say this so that you know that when I do pick at Matt Williams managing in this post, I am fully aware that this is the easy thing to do. That I would not be a good manager myself, that I know I don’t know better than he does, and that I am fully aware that my opinion here does not reflect the opinion of the majority, or maybe even plurality, of other Nats fans. But these are things I am compelled to write because I believe them to be true. So, here we go…

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Friday Round Up: #DCisReady

The 1895 Washington Senators 43-85 in the National League. via Cool Old Photos (Click for link) but H/T to @GhostsofDC

The 1895 Washington Senators 43-85 in the National League. via Cool Old Photos (Click for link) but H/T to @GhostsofDC

The Walking Dread: With any luck, this tweet from Chelsea Janes bodes well for the Nationals walking wounded:

-or, lightly running, as the case may be. But too bad, I wrote all of this out before I saw this tweet, so I’m going to continue with my “how ugly could this get?” post.
The worst news first: Anthony Rendon went from sitting out for a few days to having no timetable. That’s really scary.  CL strains (of any kind) can get ugly quick, even if they are mild. As HarperGordeck from Natsbaseball blog points out, the prospect of Kevin Frandsen at third for a month, or longer, is laughably scary.

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Nats 2014 Mid-Season Review Part I: The Standings and Pitching Are Better Than You Think

The Washington Nationals have played precisely half of the games they are scheduled to play in the 2014 campaign. Since we, as a species, tend to like the easily divisible, I present unto you the longstanding tradition of a “mid season” review of the Washington Nationals – 2014 edition.

Standings: The Washington Nationals (43-38) are currently tied atop the NL East with a half game behind the Atlanta Braves (44-38) 5 games above .500. (They were tied after 81 game each, Atlanta’s just played one more already). This is certainly a step up from last year when Washington (41-40) trailed Atlanta (47-34) by 6 games. It also isn’t nearly as good as Washington (48-33) leading Atlanta (42-39) by 6 games.

Indeed, while both teams are maybe playing not quite as well as they had expected, it might be the first time Nats and Braves fans are seeing the “race” they were supposed to the last few years. There is no doubt that the 2013 Nats stumbled out of the gate and the Braves managed to stay hot (enough) all year, much the way the 2012 Nats blew it out of the box and never looked back. This year, neither team has run away with the division.

Atlanta owns the season series thus far (3-7), which only highlights their struggles against teams in the other 71 games. The problem for the Braves is that the Nationals are getting healthier (about to, finally, field their Opening Day line up since the middle of the game on Opening Day), and the Braves, really, are not.  Nine of those last 80 games for the Braves are against Washington, The other 71 are not.

The Marlins (4.0 GB), Mets (6.0 GB) and Phillies (7.0 GB) don’t appear to be in this race for the long haul.

Starting Pitching: Continue reading

New Podcast: S3E2: Tanner Roark: MacGyver of Pitching

Frank is joined by Stuart Wallace (@TClippardsSpecs) of District Sports Page to discuss the current state of the Nationals, including Denard Span’s resurgance, Doug Fister’s dominance, the hills of Las Vegas, Why injuries happen to pitchers, Belgian vs. IPA beers and just how the hell does Tanner Roark do what he does!?!

Nationals (Almost) Quarterly Report

Quick Reminder: District Sports page has added their EndNF post, and you should go read it. You’ll also want to read our Get to Know NF post, The Nats Blog’s follow up post, a post from Patrick Reddington on Federal Baseball, and Matt’s Bats post as well.

With just over 20% of the games done, and the Nats on the road to the West Coast, I figured it was a good time to do a little spot checking as to how the Nats are doing so far this year. On the surface, they’re tied for first place with a record of 19-15, so that seems good. Still, there are bumps and problems and the team isn’t perfect, so any nervous fan can find something to nitpick about. Indeed. Let’s start with this little stunner. The Nats record through 34 games the last three years:

2012: 21-13 (When they won the NL East)
2013: 19-15 (When they missed the playoffs entirely)
2014: 19-15

Whoa, we need a sarcastic tweet to sum up how to feel about the fact the Nats are doing no better than last year’s “dog” of a team:

Yep. It’s true. Pack your bags kids, this show is over!

Of course it isn’t. Let’s just take a little deeper look here. How about Runs Scored vs. Runs Allowed?
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Get To Know A Nat 2014: Tanner Roark (Not Roark)

@aNatsFan gets Roark on the mound.

@aNatsFan gets Roark on the mound.

NAME: Tanner B. Roark
 October 5, 2 1986
Nicknames: I would suggest Johnny B. Good cuz he has that unknown middle initial.  Also, there is the question of the pronunciation of his last name.
Twitter: None that I’ve found, but his sports agents at MCA Agency basically favorite anything good you say about him.
From:  Wilmington, IL
Position: Currently 4th Starter (but that may change)  Hand: Righty
With the Nats Since: Traded from Texas in 2010 as part of deal for Christian Guzman. Debut August 6, 2013

Just Who Is This Guy: Interesting question. When he first appeared on the scene he was Tanner Roark (pronounced like “Rourke.”) A few weeks into his fairly impressive debut, Roark let it be known that his name was actually Roark (pronounced Row-ark). Haven’t really found a concrete story about why he finally told folks how to say his name (I remember something about his grandma) but that’s my enduring impression of just who this guy is.

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