June 2014

Scouting Report- Washington Nationals vs. Colorado Rockies

rocktherockiesThe Nats road trip was not bad! The Nats finished 4-3 in that 7 game stint in the midwestern towns of Milwaukee and Chicago. The Nats’ bats took off in the first two in Milwaukee, with Adam LaRoche, Anthony Rendon, and Ryan Zimmerman producing some timely home runs to eventually win the games. The Brewers jumped on Stephen Strasburg in game 3, and then the hitters just couldn’t touch Chicago pitching in the first two games against the Cubs.

Then, I was lucky enough to go on the field for batting practice before the first game of Saturday’s double header in Chicago (I will explain all of that in a future post).  The Nats salvaged the road trip with a doubleheader sweep on Saturday, and for the first time in Nats history, there was no game on Sunday during the regular season. Now the Nats fly back to our Nation’s Capital, and they play a team who has had success against the Nats but is on a losing streak- the Colorado Rockies.

The Rockies also just came back from Milwaukee, and were haunted by the Brewers’ miracle men who just get the right hits at the right time.  The Rockies aren’t playing very well right now, so this could be a golden opportunity to gain ground on the Braves, who are playing the Mets. However, the Braves are 393-325 in their history against the Metropolitans, and if the Rockies’ squad turns it up against the Nats, the Braves may gain ground in first place. So Mets, can you please #BashTheBraves and #ChopTheChop?

I think the Nats will sweep Denver. Other than Tulo and Morneau, there is not too much star power in this Rockies lineup able to do serious damage.  Keep an eye on Bryce Harper on his return from the DL on his bobblehead night.  I hope he hits a tater on the return from the DL just like he did exactly 364 days ago. So lets go get a Curly “W” or 3!

June 30- Yohan Flande (0-0, 7.20 ERA) vs. Jordan Zimmermann (5-4, 2.95 ERA)

July 1- Christian Friedrich (0-2, 8.10 ERA) vs. Stephen Strasburg (6-6, 3.70 ERA)

July 2- Jeff Matzek (1-2, 4.24 ERA) vs. Doug Fister (6-2, 2.83 ERA)

#ROCKTHEROCKIES

#RALLYMATTSBATS (I’ll be there on Tuesday!)

 

Scouting Report- Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs

ClobberTheCubsThe Nats played extremely well against the Brewers. I got my prediction right for the first time since the San Diego series, and there was timely hitting in the first two games. I thought that the Nats would clobber the Crew in game 3, but Marco Estrada held the Nats’ bats to two hits and the Milwaukee bullpen paid the Nats back by holding them hitless.

The Nats now take the drive down to the Windy City to face the Cubs. In recent years, the Cubs have put up some competition against the Nats, but the Nats usually win. I think that will be the same this series.

The most interesting game for me will be the Saturday day game.  I AM GOING TO THAT GAME, and I expect them to win.  Saturday is a double-header, after the game that was originally scheduled for Sunday will be played on Saturday night instead.  The Nats are facing off in game 1 of the day-night doubleheader on Saturday against Dallas Beeler. Who?, you may ask.  Beeler is being called up from Triple-A Iowa for the 26-man roster for the doubleheader, when you can get one extra player.  The Nats are calling up Blake Treinen.

I think the Nats will win 3 out of 4. They will probably beat Travis Wood tonight, and lose to Jason Hammel on Friday.  I’m predicting that they beat Beeler in the first game of the doubleheader, and beat Samardjia again at night due to the lack of run support he gets.  Best news of all for Nats fans is that Wilson Ramos comes off the DL in time for Thursday’s game.  I hope that the Nats win, though the competition may be hard during the Nationals’ only visit to historic Wrigley Field on its 100th anniversary.

You are NOT going to want to miss some of the pictures and things I will be tweeting from my Wrigley Field experience.  I will be writing another post about my Chicago trip, which I am so excited for. 

Stay tuned on Twitter @MattsBats.

June 26- 8:05 PM ET- Doug Fister (6-2, 2.65 ERA) vs. Travis Wood (7-6, 4.55 ERA)

June 27- 4:05 PM ET- Tanner Roark (7-4, 2.79 ERA) vs. Jason Hammel (6-5, 2.99 ERA)

June 28- 1:05 PM ET- Gio Gonzalez (4-4, 4.38 ERA) vs. Dallas Beeler (MLB Debut, 5-3 4.03 ERA at AAA Iowa)

June 28- 7:15 PM ET- Blake Treinen (0-3, 2.08 ERA) vs. Jeff Samardzija (2-6, 2.53 ERA)

#CLOBBERtheCUBS

#RALLYMATTSBATS

 

Scouting Report- Washington Nationals vs. Milwaukee Brewers

SkewerTheBrewersThe Nats had a life saving series this weekend against the Atlanta Braves. This is the first time they split or won a series against the Braves September 2013.  By winning 2 games in the series, they stay in first place in the NL East and the Braves are 1.5 games behind.

The Nationals had outstanding pitching on Thursday by Jordan Zimmermann, who held Atlanta to 2 runs in 7 strong innings, but received a tough loss 3-0; Saturday by Doug Fister who had 8 scoreless innings in a very important win 3-0; and on Sunday by Tanner Roark and the Nats bullpen. Tanner threw 5 1/3 1-run innings and then Craig Stammen pitched 1 2/3rds of perfect baseball – Chris Johnson got so frustrated that he was ejected after a check-swing appeal. Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano had 2 perfect innings combined, 3 K’s, and 1 Justin Upton ejection. The only pitcher who did not have a great game was Stephen Strasburg on Friday, but Anthony Rendon hit a 2-run home run in the bottom of the 9th off Craig Kimbrel to make the game very exciting.  The game went 13 inning, which means there were 2 Presidents Races.  Ultimately, the Nats lost that game.

The Nats pulled ahead in first place, but as the lucky braves go south and west to Houston, the Nats go to the land of cheese to face the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Brewers may be the surprise of the year. I predicted them to be in 4th in their division, but so far they are in 1st.  The last time they were close to being contenders was in 2011 when they lost to the eventual world series champion Cardinals in the NLCS.  The Brewers have also been tough for the Nats to beat in the past.  Last year, they tied the season series, where the home team lost the first two and salvaged the last game.  That was then and now the Brewers lead the Cardinals by 5.5 games and have the best record in the National League. When the Nats were in San Fran, the Giants had the best record in the National League, but our guys had no trouble against them.  Hopefully the Nats can be the same “NL Best” spoiler again.

That leads me to my conclusion. The Nats will probably lose tonight in Gio Gonzalez’s 2nd start since his return from the DL.  Jordan Zimmermann is always motivated by his home crowd, as Jordan is from Auburndale, WI, which is 2 hours 45 minutes from Miller Park. The Nats face an easy pitcher on Wednesday in Marco Estrada, and I think the Nats will take 2 out of 3 in America’s Dairyland.

After Milwaukee, the Nats drive down to Chicago, where I will be seeing them live at Wrigley Field.  Stay tuned on MattsBats.com and Twitter @MattsBats for updates from my Chicago adventure.

June 23-  8:10 PM ET- Gio Gonzalez (3-4, 4.85 ERA) vs. Matt Garza (4-4, 4.02 ERA) ESPN2

June 24- 8:10 PM ET-Jordan Zimmermann (5-4, 2.95 ERA) vs. Yovani Gallardo (5-4, 3.34 ERA)

June 25- 2:10 PM ET- Stephen Strasburg (6-5, 3.24 ERA) vs. Marco Estrada (6-4, 5.22 ERA)

#SkewerTheBrewers

Scouting Report- Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves

bash the bravesThe Nats are getting into a groove.  And, thanks to the Phillies and Cubs, the Nats regained sole possession of first place after sweeping the Houston Astros in 2 games. This was a big turning point, and now the Nats get ready for a huge 4 game set against big rivals the Atlanta Braves.

The Nats have been playing solid baseball lately. They took 2 out of 3 in San Diego with 2 shutouts, took 3 out of 4 to the Giants, who at the time had the best record in baseball, and swept the Astros.  Even though the Nats were swept in St. Louis, they were solidly in those games too.

But the team the Nats has struggled the most against is the Braves, a team they have gone 1-5 on this year.  Remember, though, that key offensive piece Ryan Zimmerman was hurt during their last series in the Peach State.  The Braves have been in a downswing and were last swept by the Phillies.  After their latest loss, Braves catcher Ryan Doumit said “We didn’t play our best this series, but we seem to crank it up a notch against the Nationals, and I expect us to do so. ” These words spoke might put a shudder in to Nats fans, but Mike Minor and Ervin Santana have been just stinking it up the past few starts. They will both start this series.

I am predicting the Nats will edge out 3 out of 4.  Julio Teheran is facing Doug Fister on Saturday Night FOX baseball, and that’s the one I think the Nats will lose.  I’m guessing JZ beats Gavin Floyd tonight, Stras beats Minor in almost every category, and Roark has pitched quality baseball lately. He’ll face Ervin Santana.  So with my fingers crossed and no jinxes, my prediction is that the Nats can (gulp) very well (gulp) take this series.

June 19- 7:05 PM MASN- Gavin Floyd (1-2, 2.98 ERA) vs. Jordan Zimmermann (5-3, 2.98 ERA)

June 20- 7:05 PM MASN- Mike Minor (2-4, 4.42 ERA) vs. Stephen Strasburg (6-5, 3.06 ERA)

June 21- 7:15 PM FOX- Julio Teheran (6-4, 2.31 ERA) vs. Doug Fister (5-2, 3.08 ERA)

June 22- 1:35 PM MASN- Ervin Santana (5-4, 4.12 ERA) vs. Tanner Roark (6-4, 2.85 ERA)

 

#BASHtheBRAVES

#RALLYMATTSBATS

(I’ll be at Nationals Park on Sunday.  The only game the Nats beat ATL this year was one I saw them play.)

 

 

 

 

Scouting Report- Washington Nationals vs. Houston Astros

BlastTheAstrosI did not like the way the Nats played against St. Louis. Game 1 was a tough loss, but I thought “Ah, who cares. We’ll get them tomorrow when Stras pitches.” But the next day we were outpitched by Shelby Miller.  The third game didn’t go our way either, but when I saw Jayson Werth up with the bases loaded in the 9th inning  I thought maybe we had a chance.  But no luck.

The Nats are back home tonight, facing off against the Astros, whom they swept in a quick two games earlier this season.  However, the Houston Astros have been very good lately and look like a different team then the one we faced before. They have been led by rookie outfielder George Springer and 8-3 starter Dallas Keuchel – both have been top notch throughout the season. The Astros are overshadowed by the crowded AL West division, featuring the A’s, Rangers, Angels, and the Mariners who are playing very, very good baseball right now, even better than the Astros.

Luckily, Gio Gonzalez is coming back on Wednesday to face a hopefully easier opponent in Scott Feldman.

The Nats are slipping, and they have a sub .500 record against the AL West this year, 5-6. I believe in a tough match-up between Keuchel and Roark.  My prediction is the ‘Stros prevail in game 1, but Gio will get a win in his return to the rotation on Wednesday, as I predict.  So a split series going into the very important Braves series this weekend.

June 17- Dallas Keuchel (8-3, 2.38 ERA) vs. Tanner Roark (5-4, 2.92 ERA)

June 18- Scott Feldman (3-4, 3.98 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (3-4, 4.62 ERA)

#BLASTtheASTROS

Up in the Booth: How Does A Baseball Radio Broadcast Happen?

Imagine you are sitting in your living room in, say, Arlington, VA.  Your hometown Nationals are on the road, but you want to listen to Dave Jageler and Charlie Slowes call the game on the radio.  As you turn on the radio, maybe you wonder, “How is it possible to hear Charlie and Dave, and all the sounds of the ballpark, when they are so far away and I’m just sitting at home?”

I recently was able to find out all about how the game gets broadcasted and delivered to your radio, and all the hard work that goes into calling a game. I recently traveled to Pittsburgh and was lucky enough to peek into the radio broadcast booth at PNC Park before the Nationals-Pirates game.  I was able to ask a few questions to Dave Jageler and Jack Hicks, who everyone knows as “The Jack of all Things.”  Charlie Slowes was there too, but was mainly on the air doing the live pre-game show.

If you ever wanted to know about how a baseball radio broadcast happens, I think you will find this post very interesting.

IMG_2657

View from PNC Park press box.

What does it look like in the radio booth?

The radio booth is actually a pretty small room but with a huge open window that looks at the field from behind home plate.  Dave and Charlie sit at a table with their scorebooks and other papers.  Dave has an iPad and Charlie has a laptop.  Dave was sitting on the left and Charlies was sitting on the right.  There was a small TV in the middle that shows the TV broadcast.  The Jack of All Things, Jack Hicks, sat on an elevated table behind Charlie and Dave with some sound equipment.

They don’t speak into a microphone like you sometimes see in movies. Instead, Charlie and Dave both wear headsets with a built-in mic.

What kind of work do they have to do prepare for a game?

They usually come to the ballpark 3-4 hours early. One of them will usually interview Matt Williams a couple of hours before the game for the Manager’s Report. They record it and then play it on the air before the game.

Then they will go upstairs to the booth and fill out the scorecard. There are also game note hand out sheets in the press box to pick up.  Even though Dave and Charlie use the Bob Carpenter score book, in the press box they have a scorecard printed up with the lineups already filled out.

The also watch BP from the field before the game sometimes.

About 30 minutes until game time, they will start the pregame show, or as they call it, “Nationals On Deck.” Actually, most of the pregame show is recorded.

 

How do they get all the sounds of the stadium?

There are microphones on the field. One is behind the home on-deck circle and one is behind the visitor on-deck circle.  You can hear the players talking or dropping their bat sometimes if you listen closely.  There is also a microphone on the wall behind home plate so that you can hear the sound of the ball hitting the bat.  There is also a microphone outside the press box to get the sounds of the fans in the stadium.

It is Jack’s job to take all the sounds and put them together.  He let me wear a headset so I could listen to just the on-deck circle sounds, but in the broadcast he mixes all the sounds together at different volumes so it feels like you are at the ballpark.

(I didn’t ask if it was a real bell or a sound effect when Charlie and Dave spell a player’s name).

How do they time the commercial breaks so that they never miss a pitch?

The MLB rule is that the breaks between innings are 1 minute and 50 seconds, and the umpires actually have stopwatches that they are supposed to use.  (On nationally televised games, the inning breaks are longer).  However, they usually don’t start the stopwatch the second the last out is recorded, and usually a pitcher works a little slow to warm up.  The commercial break on the radio usually takes 2 minutes and 5 seconds, so there is usually more than enough time for a commercial and a little bit of talking before calling the next pitch of the inning.  (The TV commercials are actually a little shorter, so they always get back in time).  However, some pitchers who work fast, like Doug Fister, may throw his pitch before the radio broadcast gets back.  It is rare, but sometimes the radio announcers miss a pitch, or have to get back real quick and say “first pitch was a strike.”  “If you miss the call, you just hope that it wasn’t a home run,” Jageler said.  This rarely ever happens, but I can recall a time on May 17 when Dave and Charlie went back on the air just as Gio Gonzalez was starting to deliver the ball to the Mets. I know that they were a second late to getting back on the air because we were at the game and listening to it on the radio at the same time!

 

How do they always know what pitch was thrown?

Do you think Dave and Charlie can really see what kind of pitch was thrown from all the way up in the broadcast booth?  Nationals Park has the highest broadcast booth in all of major league baseball, and the stadium I visited them in, PNC Park, is #2.  There’s no way they can tell the pitches from that high.  But they they do do a lot of research before the game on each pitcher so that they know what kind of pitch they throw.  They know that Stephen Strasburg can throw a fastball in the low/mid-90s, and his change-up is in the high 80s.  So just by looking at the speed on the radar gun shown on the scoreboard, they pretty much can tell what was thrown.

Even if they can’t tell for some reason, both Charlie and Dave use MLB At Bat Gameday, which has a pitch tracker that shows the speed, the type of pitch (based on the break) and where it was in the strike zone.  There is a little bit of a delay in receiving the information from MLB, but if it is an important or controversial pitch then having that information is important for explaining it to people. As Dave told me last year, even if he totally guessed about what pitch was thrown, nobody would know because they are listening on the radio and can’t see the pitch either.

How do they know so many interesting facts about other games, historical milestones and players on the other team?

Using At Bat and the other information they keep in notebooks, they will fill out some stats about the players in the score book before the game starts.  For example, they will note if the batter has a hitting streak or what damage they have done in the past game or against that specified pitcher.  Then, when he comes up to bat, they have something interesting to say.

During the game, they look at MLB At Bat app or Gameday so they have the stats and the out of town scores. That means you have a lot of the same information they have so if you want to pretend you are calling a game, you can do it yourself.

MLB also creates papers with all different kinds of interesting stats like how each player bats against different pitchers and things like that. They both have computers where they check their Twitter and the internet too.

How does the broadcast get to all the listeners?  Is there a delay?

You hear the call almost at the exact same time that the action is happening live.  There is only a very small delay, and the delay is shorter than the TV broadcast delay. The Jack of All Things is in charge of sending the broadcast back to the WJFK studio in Washington using something called an ISDN line.  It is a machine that gets plugged into the wall of the broadcast booth and the sounds get sent directly to WJFK from there.  It goes as fast as a phone call from the broadcast booth to the radio tower, and you really don’t have a delay when you’re talking on the phone to someone even if they are all the way on the other side of the country. There is a new type of machine that is very small called an Access that they use as a backup but maybe one day it will be how they deliver the sound to the radio station instead of the ISDN.

From the station it gets bounced to radio towers of different stations. The Nats games are broadcast on lots of radio stations in DC (WJFK, WFED), Virginia (WKAV, WFTR, WBRG, WMVA, WXGI, WZEZ), Maryland (WCMD, WWFD, WJDY, WKHI), North Carolina (WWNB), and West Virginia (WRNR). They all get the same broadcast at just about the same time and you hear it almost exactly as soon as they say it.  The broadcast also gets sent to MLB and bounced to the satellite for national broadcasts.  So if you listen on your iPad or computer to the national broadcast, then it gets delayed a little bit.

* * *

The next time you turn on the radio to listen to a game in your car, or while you are at the beach, you now know a lot more about how the broadcast gets to you.  Please make sure you read this Matt’s Bats Chat with Dave Jageler to get to know more about him personally.

 

 

 

Scouting Report- Washington Nationals at Saint Louis Cardinals

callfrom TexasI was very excited and surprised as the Nats beat San Francisco 3 out of 4. I thought it would be the other way around!  The Nats played all-around great baseball during the series, and things just slipped in game 4 in a 7-1 loss. This 3 out of 4 game win was a great result against the team with the best record in Major League baseball.

The tough road trip continues, but is turned down a maybe notch as the Nats stop in St. Louis on the way home to conclude the 10 game road trip.  The St. Louis Cardinals are always a tough opponent for the Nationals, but they are probably an easier team to beat than the Giants.  When they get home on Tuesday, they play a weaker team in the Astros, but the Astros have actually been doing much better recently.

The Nats head in to STL winning 10 out of their last 13. However, a key offensive piece, Wilson Ramos, was placed on the 15-day DL on Wednesday. Sandy Leon was recalled, and he will be taking turns with Jose Lobaton behind the plate.

The Nats look like a ballclub who can take this series, but the Cardinals are hard to beat. St. Louis had a 30 inning streak from Saturday to Wednesday afternoon giving up no runs to their opponents.  They demolished the Rays in the first two games of that 3 game set. They also shut out the Blue Jays in the 2nd and 3rd games of the series north of the border, and the Blue Jays are a good team.

My prediction: the Nats will take games 1 and 2, I believe, and I think Jaime Garcia will juuuuust outmach Doug Fister on Sunday. I’m sorry to say, dads, but just like the moms, I predict your special day will be capped off with a Nats loss.

On a personal note, I think the way the Nats are playing will disappoint Team Rookie Mistakes in our fantasy league.  We have Cardinals pitchers Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal.  Even though it would hurt our fantasy stats, I am hoping Miller gets the loss on Saturday to Strasburg, and that Rosenthal doesn’t have a chance to notch any saves.  Any way, Miller vs. Strasburg will be a pitching duel.  I hope that guys like Ian Desmond and Adam LaRoche, who we also have on our fantasy team, keep playing well and rack up the hitting stats to improve our spot in the standings. The Nats need to make the most out of every game, because in 5 days the Nats play a 4 game set against the current 2nd place Atlanta Braves.  This may be a battle for 1st place in the NL East.  Either team has the chance to gain some distance on the other, which makes next weekend’s series the most crucial series yet in 2014.

Finally, I want to thank everybody who has followed me on Twitter since December 2012. Today I got my 1,000th follower! This is my reaction when I saw what happened and read some of the tweets from today.

 

 

Friday June 13 – Jordan Zimmermann (5-2, 3.17 ERA) vs. Lance Lynn (Mr. “Swing And A Long Drive, Deep Left Field, Going Going Gone!” from Game 4 of 2012 NLDS) (6-4, 3.49 ERA)

Saturday June 14-  (Flag Day) Stephen Strasburg (6-4, 2.99 ERA) vs. Shelby Miller (7-5, 3.59 ERA)

Sunday June 15 (Fathers Day) Doug Fister (5-1, 2.68 ERA) vs. Jaime Garcia (2-0, 4.26 ERA)

#DECKTHECARDS

Scouting Report- Washington Nationals at San Francisco Giants

StepOnTheGiANTSFinally!  For the first time this year, I got my series preview right!

I correctly guessed the Nats beating the San Diego Padres in the 1st game, losing in the 2nd game, and winning in the 3rd. The pitching, led by super starters Tanner Roark and Jordan Zimmermann, was phenomenal, but Rafael Soriano had some struggles in game 2 which ended up in a 3-4 loss because of a Cameron Maybin walk-off single.

The Nationals are now tied for first in the NL East with the Braves with a record of 32-29.  Now the Nats are facing a little test. OK, maybe A BIG TEST!

The San Francisco Giants, led by their speedy sluggers in the outfield,  have been really good this year. In fact, they have been the best this year.  They have an MLB-leading record of 42-21.

They have been really hot, but hopefully the Giants will cool down with this series against the Nationals.

They are mostly getting offense from former National Michael Morse.  Some of the best memories for Nats fans was in 2012 when Morse used “Take On Me” for his walk-up song and the whole stadium sang along.  For me, those are like the best memories of being a Nats fan.  Sadly, Morse brought his “Take On Me” tradition across the country and now all the fans at AT&T Park get to have the fun of singing “I’ll be gone in a day or twoooooooo!”

Morse was not really a big factor with the Mariners or the Orioles last year, but it seems like when the Nats stopped playing “Take On Me” in the 7th inning stretch a few weeks ago, he started to heat up. Maybe he will be so excited to see his old friends from DC that he will lose his concentration and strike out a lot.

The Giants also have a nutso record this year, winning exactly two times as many games as they have lost.  They are on pace to win more than 100 games.  This basically grants them a series victory. I’m sad to say that I predict that the Nats will lose 3 out of the 4 games, Strasburg getting a win tonight against Vogelsong. The Nats once beat Vogelsong 14-2 in a game Stras started.

Madison Bumgarner versus Doug Fister is a game I would love to see, but it starts way too late at night.  And as good as Tanner Roark is, I think Matt Cain, who threw a perfect game in 2012, is even better.  I am hoping for Blake Treinen to get his first Curly W, but the Giants have not yet announced their pitcher.

I know the Giants are phenomenal, but it is soon going to get frustrating how good this team by the bay actually is.  If the Nats can split the series 2-2 or even pull out a 3 out of 4 win, that would be fantastic and a good sign.  But my prediction is that it will tip the other way: 3-4 Giants.

June 9- Stephen Strasburg (5-4, 3.10 ERA) vs. Ryan Vogelsong (4-2, 3.39 ERA)

June 10- Doug Fister (4-1, 3.19 ERA) vs. Madison Bumgarner (8-3, 2.68 ERA)

June 11- Tanner Roark (4-4, 3.91 ERA) vs. Matt Cain (1-3, 3.52 ERA)

June 12- Blake Treinen (0-2, 1.78 ERA) vs. To Be Determined (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

 

#StepOnTheGIANTS

 

Scouting Report- Washington Nationals vs. San Diego Padres

ParenLosPadresThe Nationals swept the series against the Phillies!  Or I should say they #PhlattenedThePhillies.  The Nats score 19 runs compared to the Phillies 6 points the entire series. Ian Desmond, Anthony Rendon (2), and Adam LaRoche all homered this series.

The Nats are taking a West Coast and Midwest road trip now, starting in a city where things are usually nice and scenic, San Diego.  The San Diego Padres play in arguably the most beautiful city on the planet. Beaches, palm trees, #steak, you name it, San Diego’s got it.

Except their sports teams are not that good. The San Diego Chargers of football got out in the first round of the playoffs in the NFL, and the Padres are stinking it up. Not in the cellar of the division thanks to the D-Backs struggles to start the year, the Padres, at 27-33, are the worst 4th place team in baseball.  I am looking forward to visiting San Diego and Petco Park later this summer.

How will the Nats do against the Padres?  In late April, the Padres split a series with the Nats in late April.  Nate McLouth hit his 1st and only Nat homer against them on JZ Bobblehead day.

Ryan Zimmerman, now returned from the DL and playing Left Field, is hitting .312 with 6 homers and 20 RBIs vs. San Diego. He is a monster vs. San Diego, but bigger Padre killer Stephen Strasburg will only watch from the dugout in his hometown, as Roark, Treinen, and Zimmermann are taking the mound against the Padres. Zimmermann likes to face star 3B Chase Headley, as he has K’d Chase 5 times.

The Nats are on a surge, and now is a good time for them to gain some ground on the Marlins and Braves against a weak team like the Padres.  I predict the Nats will probably win 2 out of 3 against this struggling team.

June 6- 10:10 PM – Tanner Roark (3-4, 3.25 ERA) vs. Tyson Ross (6-4, 2.85 ERA)

June 7- 10:10 PM- Blake Treinen (0-2, 1.40 ERA) vs. Andrew Cashner (2-5, 2.35 ERA)

June 8- 4:10 PM- Jordan Zimmermann (4-2, 3.59 ERA) vs. Eric Stults (2-6, 5.03 ERA)

#ParenLosPadres (#StopThePadres en espanol)

Scouting Report- Philadelphia Phillies

4d15c-phlattenthephilliesThe Nats-Rangers series was a big surprise to me. The Nats offense finally clicked off of Colby Lewis on Friday and on Saturday Nick Tepesch was gone after 2 innings, having already given up 2 homers and 3 runs. Even on Sunday against Yu Darvish, even though there were alot of strikeouts, the Nats made good contact and even some flyouts that may have scared some Texas fans. But I think the Nats took everyone by surprise in a 2 out of 3 game series win.

The Phils haven’t been doing so well lately. They dropped a lot of games over an 11 game homestand, and they got no-hit by Josh Beckett, who was only 2-3 at the time. Even though the Phillies have been stinking, the Nats need to watch out because they did not play well against the Phillies in May. The Nats came in to Philadelphia on May 2, just coming off a sweep of the Astros. Game 1 was fine, but the Nats got crushed in game 2 and lost 1-0 in game 3. The series was tough. The Phillies are a team that the Nats beat easy in 2013, so the Nats had a bad series loss. The Nats look like a team that can beat the Phillies, but I don’t want to jinx anything. Hopefully the Nats can win, but there is a slight possibility they won’t.

Good news!  Ryan Zimmerman is back in the lineup. He will start in left field against David Buchanan tonight. Zim hopefully will get some hits, maybe guiding the Nats to a needed win to bring the Nats to .500.

June 3- David Buchanan (1-1, 3.86 ERA) vs. Jordan Zimmermann (3-2, 4.07 ERA)

June 4- A.J. Burnett (3-4, 3.79 ERA) vs. Stephen Strasburg (4-4, 3.15 ERA)

June 5- Kyle Kendrick (1-5, 4.21 ERA) vs. To Be Determined (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

#PhlattenThePhillies