The last time the Giants saw the Washington Nationals, it was a battle of contenders. No, really. Both teams were a game over .500, and the Nationals were surprising the league with timely hitting and competent pitching. Whereas the Giants are always going to be around .500, kept in place by oppositely placed magnets of hitting suck and pitching triumph, the Nationals were on their way to their natural state, drawn by a magnet of general miserableness. The Nats are now 10 games under .500, and though the record is different, not much has changed since the Giants last saw this team.
Nope. Not much has changed for the Nationals. Same as it ever was.
The Nats’ bullpen is efficient enough, with more than a few good options in the late innings. The lineup has a very good middle of the order with Adam Dunn, Ryan Zimmerman, and Josh Willingham, but the rest of the lineup is mediocre. Livan Hernandez is having a pretty good season despite an ugly strikeout rate, but at this point, he’s almost like a knuckleballer. The regular standards of evaluation might not apply to a guy who throws this much dookie. A dumb team will trade for him at the deadline, hoping he can maintain an ERA under 4.00, so keep rooting for Madison Bumgarner to succeed.
But that’s about it. Same old Nationals
Hitter to watch
Ryan Zimmerman is a hitter and fielder on the rise! One of these days, he’ll put all of his tools to use and make an All-Star Game. He has a ways to go before he’s as deliciously versatile as Omar Infante, but don’t give up on this guy. He’ll come through. Rising star, I tell you..
Charlie Manuel is an idiot. An arrogant idiot who as a child was locked in a closet and beaten with wrench-filled pillowcases by a young third baseman, creating the psychic scars that led to him leaving Pablo Sandoval off the roster last year and Zimmerman off this year. Seriously, screw that guy.
Pitcher to watch
Let’s see...no one’s coming to mind. Well, there was that first-round pick from last year’s draft. He’s pretty exciting. Yes, Drew Storen is already in the majors, and though he’s having a little control wonkiness, he’s a talented pitcher worth watching. Actually, I was being sarcastic with the first sentence. There are a couple of other pitchers to watch. Tyler Walker is still one of my favorites, even if he was the living incarnation of heartburn. Tyler Clippard has more wins than Matt Cain, Barry Zito, and Jonathan Sanchez, which must mean he’s better. Maybe he can give a seminar in the offseason on how to win.
Oh, I don’t know. It’s the Nationals. With all due respect, they’re just a little boring. They could use a star player or two aside from Zimmerman to spice things up. I guess most teams could.
Also, there’s this:
#37 / Pitcher / Washington Nationals
Jul 20, 1988
#28 / Catcher / San Francisco Giants
Mar 27, 1987
So watch out for that, too.