January 2013

Clip, Store and Save

As pitcher Rafael Soriano was announced yesterday, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Mike Rizzo said Soriano would close for the Nats in 2013.

This is not good news for Drew Storen, who was the Nationals closer in 2011 and when he came back from surgery in July 2012. Rizzo said that Soriano was not brought in because of the heartbreaking way the Nats lost game five of the NLDS.  Still, I think Drew needs some cheering up.

So that sets up the 7th, 8th and 9th inning pitchers to be Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen and Rafael SorianoClip, Store and Save!

I hope Drew does a very good job in the 8th inning and that he gets some chances to close.  I know the Nationals like him too because they just gave him a $2.5 million deal.  That’s a lot of money!  I would totally take it.  I’d even take a million dollars.

Drew Storen is a nice guy.  Here is a picture of me and Dreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwww!

I heard he is going to be at NatsFest next weekend, and if I can meet him I will ask him to read MattsBats.com and to follow me on Twitter @MattsBats.  Maybe he will autograph my picture too.


More Morse as a Mariner

It was about 6:30 pm last night when we heard the news. After 4-5 months of nonsense about trading, Michael Morse was dealt to the Seattle Mariners in a 3-way deal with the Oakland A’s. The Oakland A’s traded former Nats prospect  A.J. Cole (who the Nats traded last year to Oakland for Gio Gonzalez to come to DC), Blake Treinen, and a Player to Be Named later. Oakland receives catcher John Jaso from the Mariners.

Morse comes to a Seattle outfield that already includes Michael Saunders, Franklin Gutierrez, Casper Wells, Eric Thames, Carlos Peguero, Raul Ibanez, and Jason Bay. So maybe Morse will not be an outfielder.  More likely, he’ll be a DH.  But it seems like Morse wants to be a position player, and people on Twitter have been saying that he should become a SS.

The trade is bad for the fans in DC who loved his energetic approach and the jokes he played off the field.  Morse was in charge of the shaving cream pie and Gatorade business after Nats wins. Fans also loved his walk up song, 80’s hit “Take On Me” by A-Ha. Fans sang it even after it was shut off by the Public Address system.  He was fun to have around and definitely contributed to the NATITUDE last year.  He had the only 2 grand slams of the season, and 1 of them he had to do the famous do-over that was one of baseball’s most memorable moments.

Bye bye Beast and good luck!

Adding Soriano, Nats Magic Number is Now 162

Free agent reliever Rafael Soriano signed a deal with the Nationals for 2 years, for $28 million dollars, with an option for 2015.  This is probably the 3rd or 4th biggest piece of news from the Nats during the offseason.  The other three were signings of Adam LaRoche and Dan Haren, and the trade for Denard Span.  This one was probably the least expected.

Bleacher Report says that Soriano will get the 2015 option if he gets 120 saves in the 2 seasons with DC.  I think this is probably going to happen.  But the big question is what happens to Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen, who had a lock on the 8th and 9th innings.  Is Soriano the new closer, or will he rotate with Storen?  Unfortunately, Clippard, who did a great job filling in as closer during most of the season while Drew was rehabbing, probably loses out on the opportunity to close for the Nats in 2013.  But you never know– this could be an A, B and C rotation where each will rotate between the set-up and closing roles in a deadly 7th, 8th, and 9th inning combination.
Good choice by the Nats!  Now what can we do to prevent Michael Bourn from resigning with the Braves.  I want him out of the NL East so the Nats can clinch NLCS on April 1.  MAGIC NUMBER IS 162.

Denard Span’s Stats for the Nats

Newly-announced Nats CF Denard Span has some stat secrets. He left Minnesota with a .284 career batting average. This means he gets a hit about every 2 or 3 at bats.  He also has a career 254 walks, which also puts him on base a lot.

But Span only has 23 home runs in his entire 5-year career (which is about only 4 or 5 a year). Since he became a major leaguer in 2008, Span has 2,354 at bats.  So this shows us that he doesn’t hit for power.  But in the Nats line-up, Span’s job is really just to get on base, and the big bats hitting behind him, like Werth, Harper, Zimmerman, LaRoche, Desmond, Espinosa and Ramos or Suzuki can drive him in.  If he can get in scoring position, it makes the job of the rest of the lineup so much easier. 

So let’s see how he does in that department.  Span is fast, with.  90 steals in his career.  He was only caught stealing 28 times in 118 tries.

I don’t know much about him defensively.  Is the Werth-Span-Harper outfield better than Werth-Harper-Morse?  It’s hard to say.  I’m glad Harper is moving to a corner, and Span can cover more ground than Morse.  But having Morse in the lineup, when he was locked-in, was great for the Nats the past 2 seasons.  In 2013, the Nats outfield spells “WSH” which is a good sign.

Check out Span’s full stats from MLB. 

The Best Game In Ravens History

 On a cold, frigid night in Denver, CO, where it was 9 degrees and felt like -2 degrees, Peyton Manning and the Broncos fought the harsh weather and Joe Flacco and the Ravens. The Ravens ended up winning in overtime, and now face the San Francisco 49ers (who defeated the Green Bay Packers) on the road to the Super Bowl. If Baltimore beats the 49ers, then all of Maryland has something to cheer about in football, from Saint Mary’s county in the south to Garrett County far west.

The Ravens were the underdog in this contest, but they kept it extremely close during the game.  Whenever one team would score, the other would always come right back and tie it up.  Things looked bad late in the 4th quarter when the Broncos scored a touchdown and pulled ahead 35-28.  But with about 30 seconds left in regulation, Ravens QB Joe Flacco launched a hail mary down field that was picked out of the sky by wide receiver Jacoby Jones.  The fans of the Broncos turned as blue as the sky because of Baltimore’s game tying TD.

The game went into overtime and then double overtime.  The first team to score would win. Baltimore’s shot at winning game on the foot of kicker Justin Tucker (who illegally took field goal practice on the field between overtime periods).  He kicked a 47 yard field goal and won the game for the Ravens 38-35.

After the Seahawks defeated the Redskins last week, DC fans like me turned to the Ravens.  Maryland is now a contender to play in the Super Bowl for the first time since 1999. Good luck Ravens!

But still I’m most excited for the start of baseball season.  79 days til Opening Day and exactly 30 days until Nationals pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training!

Matt’s Bats Twitter Wishlist

I have been writing my blog almost every day since July, and I’ve been on Twitter only for about a month.  So far, thousands of people have seen my website and I have 34 followers on Twitter.  But I want more!

Here is my “Follow Friday” Twitter wish list:

10. @teddy26nats Racing President Teddy
(He was a loveable loser)
9. @IanDesmond20 Ian Desmond
(He is great with the fans and always signs autographs before the game)

8. @thisisdspan Denard Span
(He was the Nationals’ #1 choice to play CF and I’d like to get to know him better) 
7. @Pudge_Rodriguez Ivan Rodrriguez
(He was my brother’s favorite player on the Nats.)
6. @CharlieSlowes Charlie Slowes
(The Voice of the Nationals who gave us this EPIC call)

5. @FightinHydrant  F.P. Santangelo
(He gives great commentary and he’s also really funny.  “There goes the no-hitter!”)
4. @stras37 Stephen Strasburg
(When he got hurt and couldn’t pitch, he was very patient and worked hard to get well soon)
3. @Nationals Washington Nationals
(They’re the official Twitter of my favorite baseball team)
2. @GioGonzalez47 Gio Gonzalez
(He works hard but always seems to be having fun) 
1. @Bharper3407 Bryce Harper
 (He’s a role model for being so young and accomplishing so much)
There are actually lots of people I admire who I would love to follow me, but these are just a few.  Maybe I can get them to follow me today! 

MattsBats is Going to Spring Training

MattsBats is going to Spring Training in Florida over Spring Break.  While we are not going to Viera, we will see the Nationals play three games against the Mets, Marlins and Cardinals (Boooooooooo!) in Jupiter and Port St. Lucie.  We are going in late March and we will see the team in some of their last training games before coming back to DC for Opening Day.

Please stayed tuned on MattsBats.com and and especially on Twitter (@MattsBats) for pictures and updates from Florida in March.  My plan is to send tweets to players asking them if I can interview interview them for my blog.  If you know any players or coaches or journalists who I can interview, send me a Tweet or an email at Matt[@]mattsbats.com!

No One Elected to Hall of Fame!!??

Yesterday, sportswriters from all over the US and Canada voted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame election. In a surprise, NO ONE received enough votes to be inducted.  Craig Biggio got the most votes, but his 62.8 votes meant that no one is going to Cooperstown in 2013.

Sadly, OF Dale Murphy was in his last year of eligibility and will not be able to return to the 2014 ballot.

This is only the sixth time that nobody on the ballot got inducted in to the hall of fame. For more info click here.



Free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche had been on the market for a long time. That all changed yesterday.  LaRoche resigned with the Nationals.

At about 5:15 pm last night, my my mom picked me up from an after-school activity and showed me the tweet by @Nationals announcing LaRoche’s comeback. The tweet was maybe 7-8 words, but it said a lot. Adam LaRoche was a Nat!! I screamed “Yes! Yes!” for the next 5 minutes.

As excited as I am, that means there probably isn’t room on the team for Michael Morse.  Morse is a fan favorite because of his Beast Mode attitude, and his famous “Cobra Samurai” pose, and his “Take On Me” walk-up song that the fans love to sing along with.  Morse is excellent offensively (he hit the only 2 grand slams for the Nats in all of 2012) and he could probably make a good DH for an American League team in a trade.

But here’s another idea– he may still have a role on the Nats.  Every month, the Nats will face off against an American League team.  When they play on the road at an AL team, they will need to fill the DH role.  Due to his big bat, Morse is a natural fit for the Nats in this role, and he also is a good utility man for the Nationals to keep around.  (He can play OF, 1B and has played middle infield too).  His contract is not too expensive.  Maybe if the Nats need to open a roster spot, the better move is to trade Tyler Moore or Roger Bernadina (who already gave up his #2 jersey to Denard Span).  But in all likelihood, the Nats will trade Morse who lots of teams want, and they should be able to get some good pitching talent.

So good news for the Nats in LaRoche, and bad news for fans in what we expect to happen to Morse.

Game 5 All Over Again

The Washington Redskins surrendered to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Wild Card game. The Redskins scored 2 touchdowns in the first quarter but the Seahawks chipped away at the lead during the other 3 quarters exactly like the Saint Louis Cardinals did in NLDS Game 5 against the Nats.  Let’s call this “TOGTSNBM”(The Other Game that Should Not be Mentioned).

Also, the Skins’ star quarterback Robert Griffin III got hurt with 4 minutes to go. Griffin, a rookie, was the Redskins’ equivalent of Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals’ superstar rookie hurler.  Like RGIII, who suffered a knee injury several weeks ago in the regular season, Stras was injured during his rookie season and had to sit out the rest of his first year.  Stras underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011 to repair his injured arm.  Last season was his first season back and Mike Rizzo shut Strasburg late last season to allow him to properly heal and to prevent doing further damage.  There was a lot of discussion on whether that was the right move, since the Nats surprisingly were sitting at the top of the Division (and all of MLB) by September and about to make their first trip to the postseason.  Rizz stuck to his guns and Stras’ season was over by mid-September.

Should Mike Shanahan and the Redskins front office have shut down RGIII down too?  Should he have been pulled from the game earlier after he seemed to tweak his knee?  My opinion is that RGIII should have been pulled from the game sooner before he suffered a greater injury in the 4th Quarter.  RGIII was not playing like he did last week against the Cowboys and now he may have a harder recovery. 

People all over Washington have been cursed with their sports teams’ playoff berth by losing the first series or game. As in the post On Last Night…And 2012, I said that the loss would haunt Washington all winter. This will double, maybe triple haunt sports fans all over Washington. But next year the Redskins will have the taste in their mouths just like the Nationals, and hopefully it will fill them with energy to win, win, win!  The Seattle Seahawks will face more “birds”- the Atlanta Falcons, next Sunday.  And in better news, OPENING DAY IS ONLY 85 DAYS AWAY!!!