The Nats are headed back to DC to take on the Cardinals tonight after a not-so-good road trip. The Nats beat the Marlins in Miami, taking 2 games out of 3, but the series in Atlanta was no good at all.
As many of you know, I was lucky enough to go on the field to watch BP and talk to some players (including an interview with Zach Walters) and watch yesterday’s game, but you’ll read about that later in a special post. I want to give everyone at the Marlins a BIG THANK YOU for giving me this great experience.
Let’s look into the near future- the Nationals are in Washington playing the team from the Show Me State, and the land of the Gateway Arch and toasted ravioli, the St. Louis Cardinals. Luckily for Nats fans, the Cardinals optioned Pete Kozma to Triple-A Memphis. The key to the Nationals victory to get on the board early. Here is my scouting report for the 4-game Nationals-Cardinals series.
What’s Going Well for the Redbirds- Pitching this year for the Cardinals, just like last year, has been phenomenal. With Adam Wainwright leading the staff, Michael Wacha and Shelby Miller making great 2-3 guys. Lance Lynn can be a bit unpredictable in the rotation, but with flamethrower Trevor Rosenthal and specialist Kevin Siegrist leading the ‘pen, the Cardinal pitching is absolutely fantastic.
What Isn’t Good About Them- This is really hard to say, but there are no flaws in Saint Louis’s lineup, pitching staff, or bench. You have to say, even the rookies and minor leaguers, Oscar “Minor League Guy” Taveras and Kolten Wong, are as strong as other teams such as the Nats, Cubs and Astros. Both Taveras and Wong will make great players one day, and when their prospects make it to the majors, watch out!
What Is The Key To The City- The key to the Nats winning is to jump out early and try to beat tough St. Louis pitching. Their hitting is also great, and Taylor Jordan and the other Nationals starters needs to get a good impression.
Here are my predictions for how the games will go:
I expect St. Louis to win 2 and Washington to win 2.
April 17, 7:05 PM EST, Adam Wainwright vs. Taylor Jordan (WAS wins)
April 18, 7:05 PM EST, Michael Wacha vs. Gio Gonzalez (STL wins)
April 19, 1:05 PM EST, Lance Lynn vs. Jordan Zimmermann (STL wins)
April 20, 1:35 PM EST, Shelby Miller vs. Stephen Strasburg (WAS wins)
I NEED HELP COMING UP WITH A HASHTAG AND IMAGE FOR THE GAME, SO HELP EVERYONE!
TWEET YOUR SUGGESTIONS TO ME @MATTSBATS.
I attended the Bethesda Big Train Celebrity Softball Classic for the 2nd year in a row on Saturday, April 12. It was a showdown between the athletes from pro sports teams such as the Washington Redskins, the Arizona Cardinals, the Maryland Terrapins, and the Washington Spirit, and the journalists who cover them from the Washington Post, 106.7 the Fan, Fox5 DC, and Redskins.com, for example. All of the money raised from the event goes to charity such as Lorenzo Alexander’s ACES fund, and a charity that builds and improve baseball fields for kids in the DC area. “What a turn out! The weather was great and we are raising money for a great cause, with proceeds benefitting the Big Train’s foundation that maintains and rebuilds baseball fields in the Washington, DC area ” said Big Train Asst. General Manager Bart Lambergman. It was so fun that I want to share some of my experiences from this game.
When we entered Shirley Povich Field at Cabin John Regional Park on Saturday night, I felt the spring breeze fly over me. It was a perfect night for baseball.
Before the game, I walked around the concourse where they had free food for fans from Buffalo Wild Wings and a bunch of activities. I saw an auction for autographed memorabilia by some of the Redskins players. They also had some inflatable games, like a pitching game where you can try to strike out Mike Trout. Because I was credentialed media for the game, the first thing I did was go on the field to interview players. I interviewed coach of the media team, Lorenzo Alexander, on the field. He has played in the Big Train Celebrity Classic in the past two years and said that he was going to try to play like his favorite Nationals player Bryce Harper. Here is a picture of me talking to Ryan Kerrigan.
I also said hi to Lindsay Murphy, the FOX5 sports anchor, and 106.7 radio host Grant Paulsen as they warmed up.
The game was full of excitement. It was especially exciting for me because I went upstairs to the press box to watch the game, which was REALLY fun. I sat next to the PA announcer and the man who makes the sound effects.
As soon as the game started, Lorenzo Alexander and Redskins long snapper Nick Sundberg each smacked big flies over of the fence in the same inning. It was a slugfest from then on. The guys were hitting homers every inning. Sundberg actually did a feat that no one will probably ever do again. The long snapper hit the long ball 5 times in 6 at bats. Somebody call the Guinness World Records! He said after the game, “It was a great night. I was super happy to come out here for the charities involved and to be able to hit some home runs against the media.” He said he always bat clean up when he played baseball as a kid, and that’s why he was so effective in this game.
Unlike past year, the media kept the game close. The athletes would pull one run ahead and the media would tie it up the next inning. It went that way for he rest of the game, but in the 7th inning the athletes pulled ahead 13-7.
The media team came back, and Kevin Shafer of 106.7 The Fan radio actually hit a grand slam and came close to winning a Corvette. One of the game’s sponsors, MemberCar, put a bunch of fancy cars on the warning track and promised that if anyone hit a ball in the car they could keep it. Well, Shafer hit a long ball over the softball field boundaries all the way to the baseball field walls and HIT the yellow Corvette, making a big dent. I asked him about his grand slam after the game and if he won the car. Shafer said, “Here’s what he told me: he said that if I hit a ball in the Corvette, I get to keep the car. But it hit on top of it, so he’s not giving it to me. That’s depressing. I thought it went in the car.” So it looks like Shafer isn’t getting the Corvette to keep.
In the end, the athletes came away with another victory, winning 18-13.
The Celebrity game was so fun! If you haven’t been to a game, the Bethesda Big Train plays in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League in the summer. The team is made up of some of the best college baseball players in the country, including a bunch who have gone to the major leagues. Make sure to check out a game this summer! Go to www.BigTrain.org to learn more about them.
The series in Atlanta this weekend wasn’t very good. The Nationals got swept and Gio got clobbered on Sunday. That isn’t what you want to see in a series against your big rivals, or even against your smallest rivals.
I also don’t like to see Ryan Zimmernan go down for 4-6 weeks with a broken thumb, especially after he was VERY close to going on the DL last week for his shoulder but had a solid week this one. The Face of the Franchise shouldn’t be going down this early in the season.
After being beaten by the Braves, the Nationals are lucky to not to have to face them again until June 19.
So let’s talk about the games this week. The Nationals are playing in a popular state that is split into 2 time zones, about 4 big cities, sunny beaches, and spots for kids and adults alike to either high-five Mickey Mouse or put a parrot on your shoulder. The Miami Heat of the NBA are really good, but the rest of the Miami teams are not. Look at last season: Miami Dolphins (7-9), Florida Panthers (15-27), and most importantly,the Miami Marlins (62-100).
Miami baseball fans are crazy about Jose Fernandez, last year’s Rookie of the Year. Marlins Park fills up the days he pitches. The Nationals will play a three game series in Miami this week, facing Brad Hand today, Tom Koehler on Tuesday, and the series ends in a game I will be going to, which is Tanner Roark vs. Jose Fernandez. The Marlins’ pitching will possibly be a danger this week. But when the starters run out of gas, their weakness comes into play. The bullpen of Miami has only Steve Cishek at the rear of the ‘pen to show for, and the rest aren’t that good. For example, Mike Dunn gave up Danny Espinosa and Bryce Harper monster bombs on 8/4/12 and gave up a solo, go-ahead shot to Chase Utley yesterday. Arquimedes Caminero gave up a grand salami to Ian Desmond on Wednesday last week, and Carlos Marmol gave up a grand slam to Jayson Werth the day before. Dan Jennings earned the loss this Saturday vs. Philadelphia.
It is sad that Ryan Zimmerman is out of the lineup, but Nationals fans should be happy to see call-up Zach Walters get some at-bats. As I wrote on Twitter yesterday:
Great @Zwalters02 called up in time for Miami road trip. Last time in Miami he broke up Fernandez’s no hitter. I’ll be there for the rematch
— Matt’s Bats (@MattsBats) April 13, 2014
I think the Nats will take 2 out of 3, with Jose Fernandez beating Roark on Wednesday, which sadly is the game I will be at. I still have hope, though! Look for me on the MASN HD broadcast.
Nice homestand for the Nationals! They swept the Marlins. On Wednesday, it was a come-from-behind win off a Jayson Werth grand slam. On Thursday, they won it on another Werth home run, a Desmond grand slam, and Strasburg’s 12 Ks. Starting the season 7-2 and winning 4 out of 6 on the homestand is really good!
The only problem is, though, that the team we lost 2 out of 3 against, the Atlanta Braves, host Washington in a 3 game weekend series in the Peach State. The Nats post Tanner Roark to square off with Julio Teheran on Friday; Taylor Jordan to face off with Alex Wood on Saturday, a rematch of last Sunday’s 2-1 defeat of Atlanta; and Gio Gonzalez to face Aaron Harang on the Sunday game. The Sunday game caps off the series in Atlanta and the Nats go to the sunny beaches in Miami.
The Nationals faced Teheran and Wood in the series last weekend, but in these games the Braves have Teheran and Wood back-to-back. This is an advantage for the Nationals Nats because the Nats have already seen Teheran and Wood a week before. On the other hand, the Braves did not face either Gonzalez or Roark on the last go-around, so they will be seeing their stuff for the first time this year.
Of course, Atlanta hitting is pretty good. But the Nats got through ATL last time without giving up many runs. The Nats pitching needs to be on its game to face the tough Braves hitting, and the bullpen has had a lot of work in the past days. We need our starters to go deep in the games and the offense to put up a lot of runs before having to face Craig Kimbrel.
Last time the Nats lost 2-1. The goal is to win the series, not even sweep. Coming off the sweep of Mets and Marlins, the Nats could be fine winning even 1 of 3.
But if the Nats pitching is solid and the offense produces great hits, the Nats could take 2 out of 3.
The Nationals just came off a tough weekend series loss to the Atlanta Braves at home. The Braves took the home opener 2-1 on a sac fly by Jason Heyward, after a controversial call on whether a ball hit by Ian Desmond down the left field line wall was an inside-the-park home run or a ground rule double. The Nats lost game two 6-2, despite Adam LaRoche’s giant home run into the third deck. The Nats, however, turned in a much-needed win against the Braves to cap off the series on Sunday, a 2-1 win behind Ian Desmond’s home run to break the tie.
But behind all of the Nats-Braves rivalry, the first place team in the NL East is neither of them. It is, instead, the Miami Marlins. The Marlins put together multiple wins vs. the Colorado Rockies, taking 3 out of 4 and the San Diego Padres, who lost 2 out of 3 to Miami. As the Nats get ready to play the Fish, here are a few things the Nats need to do to end up winning the series and possibly stealing the 1st place position.
After the Marlins series at home this week, the Nats go to Atlanta on Friday for a re-match against the Braves, and then head to Miami on Monday for 3 games. I will be attending the game at Marlins Park on Wed., April 16.
What is Going Well for the Marlins: Most people might think pitching is a weakness, but this year it has been pretty good. The Marlins have NL Rookie of the Year and ace pitcher Jose Fernandez. Fernandez helped them get by the Padres and the Rockies, who at some times, can be a challenging team. In addition to Fernandez, the Marlins have a solid closer in Steve Cishek, as well as Henderson Alvarez, who threw a no-no on the last game of the year last year. The three of them provide quality pitching on the Marlins’ OK pitching staff. Other positives are outfielders Giancarlo Stanton, who has some major bat power, and Marcell Ozuna, who has a cannon for an arm.
What Isn’t Going Well for the Marlins: The infield. Miami has 7 infielders on their roster, but the only names people may recognize are Adeiny Hechavarria and Garret Jones. The others may not be well known but they are veterans that have played for many MLB teams. 2B Donovan Solano is the brother of Nats catcher Jhonatan Solano, but the elder Solano plays in Syracuse as of now. Casey McGehee is a veteran 1B who was a Yankee in 2009 when they won the World Series, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia has a very long last name (the longest in MLB history) and a World Series ring from Boston last year. Still, this is not a powerhouse infield either offensively or defensively.
What The Nats Need To Do To Win: The Nats need to play like a team. The only real dangers on the Marlins are Fernandez (who is not pitching in this series) and Giancarlo Stanton (who is tough to face, but remember when Rafael Soriano struck him out looking on a pitch right down the middle on Opening Day 2013). So with the exceptions of Fernandez and Stanton, the Nats like they should be able to take the Marlins, maybe even sweep.
For Marlins fans, this is an important series to see how the team really is. They went 5-2 last week for the best record in the NL East, but they played the Rockies and Padres and the Marlins got home field advantage. Let’s see how they do facing a tough team on the road.
The Nats started the 2014 Opening Series with a sweep against the Mets. They come home to Washington for the home opener, with games against the Atlanta Braves on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in games 4 through 6 (which also happen to be on April 4-6).
Even though they are an NL East team, the Mets are not a big threat to the Nationals. The Atlanta Braves that are the Nats’ biggest rivals. The Braves gave the Nationals a lot of trouble last year and won the Division. Here is my scouting report of the Braves’ strengths, weaknesses in, and what the Nationals need to do to win.
What’s Going Well for the Braves? The Braves took 2 out of 3 in the Opening Series from the Brewers. One of their strengths this year, as opposed to the Nats, is catching. Nats starting catcher, Wilson Ramos, was injured Opening Day and will be out for at least a month. This is where the Braves have an advantage. Although former starter Brian McCann was traded to the Yankees, Evan Gattis provides a big bat in their lineup and plays some solid defense. (I have Evan Gattis as a bench player on my fantasy baseball team). The Braves also picked up former Twins backstop Ryan Doumit, who can also play 1B and OF, which is also what Gattis does. If the Braves have an injury in their outfield, Gattis could do the catching while Doumit plays LF, or the other way around.
What Are Some Shaky Things? The Braves’ lost most of of their key guys in their rotation, as Tim Hudson was shipped to San Francisco, and Brandon Beachy, Gavin Floyd, Cody Gearrin, Kris Medlen, Mike Minor, and Jonny Venters landed on the Disabled List. Julio Teheran, who intentionally hit Bryce Harper last year, got the Opening Day nod and a loss. They picked up Ervin Santana at the last minute. But on Friday, David Hale is scheduled to take the mound.
The Nats’ pitching is much better. Even though the Braves are expected to face the back of the Nationals’ rotation, they skipped Jordan Zimmermann’s start on April 3, so he may make an appearance this weekend. Who gets the call for the Home Opener? Right now the Nationals’ website says “TBD.” Maybe Ross Detwiler (even though he pitched on Thursday) or another surprise.
What do the Nats need to do to sweep Atlanta? :) As usual, the Nats need to be aware of Evan Gattis (“El Oso Blanco”), Freddie Freeman, Justin Upton, and Craig Kimbrel. The Nationals have the back of the rotation on for this series, and the Braves middle of the lineup can be a horror. B.J. Upton is off to a slow start this year, and Andrelton Simmons (who I also have as a bench player in fantasy baseball) hasn’t made too much noise yet. The Braves are a good team and a big rival, so don’t expect a sweep. But taking 2 out of 3 would be great, and, really, just being competitive would be much better than last year.
One of my friends, William Melvin, is originally from Atlanta and is a Braves fan. I asked him what he thinks of his team this year. “I think the Braves will end up in 2nd place in the NL East. I think the Nationals are out to win, and the Braves are not as confident.” If a Braves fan is picking the Nats to win, that sounds good!
As you all know, I have interviewed many kids who are doing great things in baseball, like MLB Official Youth Reporter Meggie Zahneis and the first youth MLBlogs pro blogger Matt Nadel. During the offseason, I met with another kid blogger, Haley Smilow, right after she was featured in the New York Times. Haley has joined “Matt’s Bats” and “Baseball With Matt” as the third official youth pro blogger for MLBlogs. He has also written for SI Kids. Her goal is to make it to all 30 MLB ballparks with her family, and she has already been to a lot of them and interviewed a lot of players. Here’s my interview with Haley, and, as always, if you know any kids—or adults!—doing interesting things in baseball who would be willing to give an interview, contact me!
Matt’s Bats – How did you get featured in The New York Times?
Haley Smilow –I actually started writing in a different magazine and more and more people found me. My dad spoke with the editor of The Riverdale Press a local newspaper in the Bronx and they agreed to publish my interview with Justin Turner formerly of the Mets and they also want to do a feature about me. The New York Times picked up on that article and they tracked me down. The reporter from the Times spent two days with my family and then they put me in the Times.
MB – How did you get to be an SI Kids reporter?
HS – Every year SI Kids selects 8 kids to be reporters for SIKids.com and I applied. There were many stages after the application, until finally they notified me that I had been selected as a kids reporter for 2013 /2014. It’s not easy because there are only eight kids who get the chance and luckily they picked me.
MB – Is it cool? What do you do as a kid reporter?
HS – As a kid reporter, I write a blog about five paragraphs each month about different sports. Sometimes I get to go to events because of SI Kids. I went to the 2013 All Star Game for SI Kids and interviewed a bunch of players. That wouldn’t have been possible without that connection.
MB – I’ve always wanted to go to the All Star Game. I also see that you have done lots of player interviews at the ballparks you visit. How do you get first class access to ballparks?
HS – They give me a credential and then me and my dad ask where we can go because we don’t want to break any of their boundaries. The player takes us around wherever he wants to sit and that’s pretty much where we do it. Most times it’s in the dugout because that’s the easiest place for them since I do it after or before batting practice. How do I get into the press box? Normally, with my credential it says “Allow in the Press Box.” Except the press box is not a fun place for fans like us because you just have to sit there and practically do nothing. You can’t root for anyone! I don’t really like the press box so we usually find other seats.
MB – How did you get inspired to write your blog? When did you start?
HS – We got an email from MLB Advanced Media and they asked me if I wanted to write a blog. And I said “Sure!”
MB – Who have you interviewed?
HS – I have interviewed about 22 baseball players from different teams, during spring training and during the regular season. Bigger interviews are Andrew McCutchen and Ricky Weeks. Some of my favorites are AJ Pierzynski, Kris Medlen, Garret Jones, Jose Altuve, and David Price.
MB – Who do you want to interview?
HS – Anybody who is willing. I’d like to interview Derek Jeter. My dad has said Mariano Rivera. But anyone who would be willing take the time and sit down with me. Just getting to do an interview is something special because most kids our age don’t get this shot.
MB– When did you get interested in baseball?
HS – In 2009 or 2010. My uncle has season tickets to the Yankees, but he doesn’t go sometimes and he gives us the tickets. We went more and more and we fell in love with the game and the Yankees. In 2010 my brother was watching a Royals game on TV and he decided he wanted to go there in the summer. My parents said no. But even still, the next summer we were in Kansas City watching the Yankees versus the Royals. My love of baseball just followed. I like getting to talk to the players. I even like the “sounds and smell” of baseball, which is when I step on that field and I think “this is so nice.” But I like the smell of fried food more than the smell of the grass.
MB – Mine started around the same time except I went to a game with my dad and some guy who we did not know offered us his tickets in the front row. We went from the last row of the upper deck to the first row. And I got a ball. It was one of the best days of my life.
HS – In Minnesota, my dad yelled to Derek Jeter “have a great game!” Derek Jeter then gave his batting practice bat to my little brother. When you’re a true fan like us, you know how to deal with some of the players instead of just yelling for an autograph. We have learned that although it’s a game, it’s their job. We still try to get balls and try to collect one from every stadium.
What Haley said about being a professional around the game of baseball is really true. It is not just people playing for fun, people make their jobs around baseball. The players like to interact with their fans, but they still need to take BP, stretch, and get ready for the game. Ian Desmond is one of the few players I know of who always makes time for autographs for fans before games, which is why he is so loved in Washington. For me, it really is difficult to be a fan and a blogger at the same time. I am not a professional journalist who can’t root for the Nats, but I am also not like the average 4th grader who can go to games and just ask for autographs the whole time. I try to be a mix of both. Here is an example. At Nats Fest this year, we bought autograph vouchers and I waited on line to get autographs, but when I went up to the table, one of the players said “Hi Matt” and was a little surprised that I was on line and wanted an autograph. Since I am just a kid and not really a professional journalist, I was able to interview Justin Verlander and then instantly ask for his autograph because I am such a fan and he is a really good player. But could you imagine Ken Rosenthal doing that? I love writing Matt’s Bats and getting to meet the players, and I think I am still going to ask for pictures and autographs as long as I can until it becomes awkward.
Opening Day is TODAY! The Mets are hosting the Nationals in our first NL East match-up of 2014. Let’s take a little look at the Mets team and see what they have going well, what is going wrong, and what the Nats need to do to win this series. Here’s the MattsBats.com Opening Day Scouting Report for Nationals @ Mets.
What’s Going Well - Overall, the Mets had an okay Spring Training, with a 14-16 record in the Grapefruit League. They start regular season play with a decent infield formed by familiar faces like David Wright, Ruben Tejada, Daniel Murphy, and Ike Davis/Lucas Duda. It will be interesting to see how new Met Curtis Granderson adjusts to playing for the other New York team. Granderson only bat .157 this spring, but he hit 3 homers, which is alot for spring training.
I talked to Mets fan and kid blogger Niko Goutakolis, who writes Pepper: a MLB Blog. Niko thinks the Mets got stronger from last year by adding Granderson, Chris Young and Jose Valverde. He also reminds us to “look out for Daniel Murphy. He’s a constant 300 hitter, and is a true veteran.”
What’s Going Wrong – Pitching. With Matt Harvey out recovering from Tommy John surgery, the Mets’ starting pitching rotation looks pretty weak this year. The only pitcher in Mets history to throw a no-hitter, Johan Santana, will now be wearing an Orioles uniform. The Mets starting rotation is Gee, Colon, Wheeler, Niese, and Mejia. No really ace on the staff. Niko sees it differently, saying “I expect an amazing season from [Zack] Wheeler and hope that we can get a couple starts from [Matt] Harvey in September if we are in the hunt.” I think there is little chance that the Mets will be in the playoff hunt, and even Niko expects them to finish at just about .500. I think Matt Harvey should take all the time he needs and maybe rehab in some minor league games if he is able to later this season.
What do the Nats Need to do to Win? Post better numbers against Dillon Gee, the Mets’ Opening Day starter. The Nationals hit .228 off Gee with a .300 On Base Percentage last year. That is not very good. Bryce Harper, however, hit .375 off Gee last year, while some of the veterans, like Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond posted only .174 and .219 averages, respectively. To even things up, the Mets hit only .200 off Strasburg, .186 off Gio, and .251 off Zimmermann last year. Pitching is the Nationals’ strength, especially when you compare the Nats bullpen to the Mets relievers.
ENJOY OPENING DAY! And let’s get ready to PLAY BALL and:
(I know what you are thinking, but it means to “Make the Mets Upset”)
Baseball fans have been eagerly awaiting the start of the baseball season. Opening Day is Monday, and my favorite team, the Nationals, will play the Mets at Citi Field. Stephen Strasburg will get the start against Dillon Gee.
To celebrate Opening Day, here are my 50 favorite things (not in any order) about the start of the baseball season. Keep reading, because at the end I make my season predictions.
1. Um, baseball begins!!!
2. The beginning of MASN HD broadcasts so I can watch real, live games, not Nats Classics
3. The family DVR will stop recording all my parents’ shows
4. Lots of new food options to try at Nationals Park
5. The sounds of baseball
6. It looks like Wilson Ramos, Bryce Harper, Danny Espinosa and Stephen Strasburg are all no longer hurt
7. The high pop fly getting lost in the starry night of DC
8. Listening to DC Washington (who has a pretty awesome name) sing the Star Spangled Banner
9. Hopefully going to Blogger Day this year
10. Welcoming Fister, McLouth, Lobaton, Frandsen, Barrett, Blevins to the team
11. Waving your caps for the troops in the 3rd inning
12. Quick Pitch is on MLB Network. It is my main score source for games I can’t stay up to watch
13. 6-4-3 doubleplays!
14. Scoring the games
15. Inside Pitches
16. Vamos El Bufalo!
17. Kids Run The Bases
18. Starting up the rivalry with the Atlanta Braves again
19. I am traveling to see the Nats on the road in three ballparks this year
20. Now that I’m older I get to stay up later to watch more of the night games
21. We’re season ticket holders again!
22. Playing in an easy Division
23. Playing “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)” by Fall Out Boy instead of “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC to start the game
24. I can’t wait to see what they do at TheNationalsArchive.com this year
25. Sometimes missing school for games
26. Pups in the Park is always fun to watch on TV (or maybe actually to go to)
27. Seven bobbleheads to collect this year
28. Lots of new things to write about on MattsBats.com (sometimes it’s very hard thinking of topics for posts during the offseason)
29. Seeing how instant replay actually works
30. We play the Mets on Opening Day and for the first series, so we should start the season with a sweep
31. Spring and summer officially begin
32. We actually play games that count
33. Proving that the Nationals have the best rotation in the MLB
34. Seeing Ryan Zimmerman play some games at first base
35. Reading articles by Adam Kilgore, James Wagner, Mark Zuckerman, and Bill Ladson
36. “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack”
37. Bob and FP on TV, and Charlie and Dave on the radio
38. Ryan will hit homers to Zim-bomb-we
39. More posts and podcasts from my favorites like Nationals101, Red Porch Report, The Nats Blog and Citizens of Natstown
40. The Nationals outfield spells “WSH” (Werth-Span-Harper)
41. Talk of the season: Will the Nats return to the Postseason?
42. Lots and lots of cheering Nats fans at each game
43. The only time I can bug my parents for a soda and actually get it
44. I might get my 1,000th Twitter follower
45. Nats Dogs
46. The possibility of MLB announcing the 2017 All-Star Game is coming to DC
47. Analyzing stats
48. Getting the chance to meet more Matt’s Bats readers and Twitter followers at “tweet-ups”
49. Baseball almost every day until at least September and hopefully October
50. Charlie Slowes saying, “Bang! Zoom! Go the fireworks! Another Curly W is in the books!”
What are your favorite things about the start of the baseball season? Leave a comment or tweet me at @MattsBats.
So are you ready for my Wild Card, Postseason, and World Series predictions?
Here are my picks for October:
West- Texas Rangers
Central- Detroit Tigers
East- Boston Red Sox
WC1- New York Yankees
WC2- Oakland A’s
*But the Tampa Bay Rays are contenders too!
Pennant- Detroit Tigers
West- Los Angeles Dodgers
Central- St. Louis Cardinals
East- Washington Nationals
WC1- Atlanta Braves
WC2- Cincinnati Reds
Pennant- Washington Nationals
World Series: Who I have in the World Series is a rematch of the teams in Saturday’s exhibition game at Nationals Park—the Detroit Tigers versus the Washington Nationals. This World Series would feature some of the best hitters in the league (Miguel Cabrera vs. Bryce Harper) and the best pitching rotations in baseball (Verlander/Scherzer/Sanchez/Porcello vs. Strasburg/Gonzalez/Zimmermann/Fister). But the team who has the advantage is willing to take their first title back to their city since 1924, the Nationals! It will, however, be very close.
My prediction: Nationals beat Tigers in 7 games