@ Washington Nationals
Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009, 7:05 PM EDT
Kenshin Kawakami vs Shairon Martis
Mostly cloudy,rain. Game time temperature around 65.
That Didn't Take Long: Saul Rivera Back in Washington Nationals Bullpen
Complete Coverage >
(ed. note - "In lieu of the usual GameThread material, since I was up til the wee hours after last night's rain-soaked win, I thought you might enjoy this NL East roundtable put together by Matthew Cerrone of Matthew Cerrone's MetsBlog.com, which asked a writer representing each of the NL East's teams, "Right now, what is the biggest concern as a fan, regarding your favorite team?"):
- Craig Strain from FishStripes.com (Marlins)
- Martin Gandy from Talking Chop.com (Braves)
- Jason Weitzel from Beer Leaguer.typepad.com (Phillies)
- Ed Chigliak from Federal Baseball.com (Nationals)
- Matthew Cerrone from MetsBlog.com (Mets)
Craig Strain, Marlins, from Fish Stripes: I would say the biggest concern is that, so far, all of the starters in their third start didn’t have command of their pitches and didn’t go very deep in those games. This is causing the Marlins to over use the bullpen. While I don’t think this will be a long-term problem, it is raising a concern in the short run.
Martin Gandy, Braves, Talking Chop: If I had to boil it down to one, it would be injuries; but that’s followed closely by inconsistency. There have been no major injuries to the Braves this year, but there have been a boat-load of nagging injuries that just won’t go away.
Jason Weitzel, Phillies, Beer Leaguer: Biggest concern is the pitching, which has the second-highest ERA in baseball (6.87), even worse than the Yankees, thanks in no small part to 26 home runs surrendered in 11 games…The bullpen, which paced them during the first week, fell apart last week. The season is only a handful of games old, but you could already argue that the bullpen will be worse than last year, which just about everyone assumed it would be. Last season the Phils were 79-0 when leading after eight, and Brad Lidge was a perfect… Lidge blew his first save in 47-consecutive regular-season chances Saturday. Obviously, nobody’s perfect, but Lidge, who’s given up three homers already, doesn’t look the same as last season. He’s missing his fastball. Staff wide, however, there are signs of recovery. Their K/BB ratio is sound, their BABIP is high and the rotation had a better turn the second time around.
Ed Chigliak, Nationals, Federal Baseball: Having just suffered three straight losses to the Marlins, in which the Nationals led going into the ninth, the bullpen was the biggest concern… Now it’s how the new bullpen will perform? The Nationals sent three relievers packing Sunday, rebooting the pen two weeks in.
Matthew Cerrone, Mets, MetsBlog.com: I agree with the readers of my site, in that RISP has me most concerned. The silver lining, as Jerry Manuel has pointed out, is that this means they have runners on base, and this is fair. The thing is, the team is losing most of its games by one or two runs, so when they strand 10 per game, it’s hard not to fret about. I trust this will turn around, I just think the offense is out of sync. However, I do feel better knowing Weitzel (Phillies) wrote the most in the above responses.
Q: What do you, the Federal Baseball.com reader, think is the Nationals' biggest concern two weeks in? Think you've spotted the other NL East's teams' weaknesses?
(ed. note - "Thanks, Matthew, for setting this up.")
DC Starting Lineup...(courtesy of Washington Post writer Chico Harlan's Nationals Journal post entitled, "Tonight's Lineups"..."):
- A-Hands - 2B
- Nick "Two-Spot" Johnson - 1B
- THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!!! - 3B
- The Big Walky - LF
- Elijah "Super" Dukes - CF
- AK - RF
- WWJD? - C
- Alberto "The General" Gonzalez - SS
- Shairon "Mr. WBC" Martis - SP
Check the NatCast if you're heading to Nationals Park...(ed. note - "There are rumors of late game showers...")