Times like these challenge us to look on the bright side of things and find ways to continue to keep the faith as we go forward. Traditionally, our local media has said, "Look at the tough schedule! They'll get better when they play easier teams." or "We have all of these reinforcements coming to our pitching rotation!". While it's nice to keep focusing on the future, the present has been a more watchable product that has made me as proud to be a Nats Fan as any time that I've been in DC. Why?
1) We are playing divisional opponents tougher than we have in recent years. Currently we are 12-11 within the NL East. We have shown other teams in the NL East that we are not pushovers and will be fighting hard to move up within the division.
2) Our 3-4-5 hitters are one of the best in baseball. Dunn has been hitting for more average than power lately, but has moved his OPS above his career numbers. Zimmerman has become a man to be feared. Looked at fangraphs today and saw that he was fourth in WAR and the highest player in WAR for the entire NL. And Hammer has outperformed expectations and proven credible lineup insurance capped by his stellar walkoff wins as The Hammer of Thor and Lord of the Silver Elvis.
3) Our bullpen is a credible and competent force. Storen and Clippard have been excellent so far. Capps has been better than expected, his recent bad luck notwithstanding. After watching the likes of Saul Rivera, Kip Friggin' Wells, GasCanrahan, and Wild Thing MacDougal play key roles in the bullpen. It's been a real joy to see us have a competent bullpen.
4) We appear to have added a new position regular in Ian Desmond to this point. For me, I want to see us add at least one long term cost controlled piece each year and watch the kids in the minors make progress. Ian Desmond has shown that when he gets comfortable enough in making simple plays, his range will make him a plus defender. Even now I relish every time I don't have to say "Past a diving Guzman." His bat needs more patience, but he has shown an ability to produce in the clutch that many of the more heralded in pricier players of yesteryear that has been missing.
5) There is real buzz about our team in the media and the beginnings of real community off the field. Many of us here at Federal Baseball are early adopters, first refugees from sad sack organizations such as the Mets and Angelos, now committed fans who have seen things through the toughest times and have guarded optimism that we can move forward.Like all those who have withstood low moments, the pain of the past two years has created a bond of brotherhood and sisterhood for all those who have survived and enjoyed the ballpark regardless.
As we head into this homestand of hope and hype, I offer this space as a zone of "Happy Thoughts." Worked last time for the Orioles series.
Yeah, and I've got a gentlemen's wager with a Red Reporter on us winning tonight as a show of support for our squad. So I better be positive. Or I'm just a masochist.
Anyways, I believe! Go Nats!!!!