What Is Wrong With The Washington Nationals...?
Saturday afternoon's 8-2 DC loss to the New York Mets in Citi Field put the Washington Nationals at 3-13 so far in the '09 MLB season. The road loss, Washington's 18th straight road loss (eight of which are from this season, with the Nationals still winless away from home since September 7, 2008 in Atlanta) puts the Washington Nationals 8.0 games behind the NL East's first-place Florida Marlins on April 25th.
The three errors the Washington Nationals committed today, one each by outfielder Elijah Dukes, infielder Nick Johnson and catcher Wil Nieves, gave the Washington Nationals the second most errors in the majors, at 18, behind (rather improbably), only the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals, who've committed 19 of their own. Which Washington National do you think has the most errors? Think about it for a moment?...It's Alberto Gonzalez, who has booted 5 in the last six games, while filling in at short for the injured Cristian Guzman. Second on the Nationals in errors? Ryan Zimmerman, who has 3 this season. The Nationals .971 fielding percentage...Dead last in the league...
First things first, Elijah?
Mr. Dukes, You are by far my favorite Washington National, but if I ever catch you with your glasses on your hat while you're losing the ball in the sun again...and I know it's the first day game any of the Nationals have played in the NY Mets' new home, but come on, the glasses on the hat as you lose one in the sun act is a gag so old it's got whiskers on it...if for no other reason than that we, as fans, have to listen to opposing team's announcers giggle like school children as they watch the slo-mo replay...(Or as the Mets did today, watching it with "circus" music played over a highlight reel of all the Nationals' errors. Classy. How about a montage of highlights from the Mets' epic '07 collapse set to "Meet the Mets" next time they come to DC, MASN?)
Washington Post writer Chico Harlan got "Reactions from the latest loss" in his latest Nationals Journal post and DC Manager Manny Acta openly stated that, as quoted by Mr. Harlan, "That first error (Dukes E8) just took the air out of us. It was just, we were out of the inning right there and it cost us three." And when asked what he thought happened to Dukes on the error, the DC Manager responded, "Go ask him. He's out there (in the clubhouse)." In a note by Mr. Harlan, he reports that, "Dukes declined comment with several bleep-words mixed in."
Asked what he thought the Nationals' problem was defensively, Mr. Acta told Mr. Harlan, "I can't pinpoint it, because we work hard at it, it's very disappointing." Inevitably, there are whispers about any Manager whose team gets out to a 3-13 start. In an April 19th post at MLB.com's Bill Ladson's blog, "The Rocket" reports that DC GM Mike Rizzo stated clearly, "I support Manny Acta and so does the organization. He is our manager and a good manager. I think he has handled the young ballclub right." So what is the problem? Or problems, more accurately...
- The Leadoff Spot - It's going to be Cristian Guzman in the leadoff spot as soon as he returns, with Nick "Two-Spot" Johnson staying put and Anderson Hernandez dropping to eighth in the order, because that's all Washington can do. Guzman's not a leadoff batter, that's why Lastings Milledge started the season, there, but as we've seen, "Two-Spot" is perfect right where he is, and Guzman doesn't fit anywhere else in the order.
- "Winter League" - Anderson Hernandez is hitting .216 with a .326 OBP, 8 hits in 37 at bats, none for extra bases, 6 walks, 9 K's. Ronnie Belliard, who's been injured, is 2 for 15, for a .133 AVG, with 2 singles. Alberto Gonzalez is hitting .243 AVG, with a .300 OBP, 2 2B, 1 HR and 3 RBI's. Maybe it's time the infielders get a wakeup call similar to the bullpen's...
- Firing On All Pistons - First the pitching was atrocious, but the Nationals hit the...heck, out of the ball the first few weeks. Now, in the last five games, the Nationals have dropped four one-run games where the hitting just didn't come through, bases loaded failures, poor bunting by the pitchers, runners stranded...the two wins in the last five, by Jordan Zimmermann and Shairon Martis were both one-run wins, with the young starters going above and beyond to gain 2 of DC's 3 '09 wins. When will it ALL come together?
- The Big Walky - Is this all he does? - So far, Dunn's hitting .302, with a silly .479 OBP, 3 2B, 4 HR's, 12 RBI's, 11 K's and 18 walks. Last season, at the end of April, in 26 games, Dunn had 3 2B, 4 HR's, 10 RBI's, 23 BB, and 21 K's with a .232 AVG and a .396 OBP...In '07, 24 G, 4 2B, 6 HR, 12 RBI's, 14 BB, 32 K's, .261 AVG, .363 OBP. Huh...I guess this is actually a more productive Adam Dunn than the one they paid for...Everyone happy with their Dunn-K? (ed. note - "Guess this isn't really something wrong, but with his poor D, I guess I expected to be more impressed with his offense...")
- I'll Just Get No. 5 Out Of The Way Quickly - The next reliever to walk in a run goes to Syracuse. I like the new bullpen, or it would have a more prominent place on the list.
- I'll leave that up to you...The Federal Baseball.com Reader...What do you think is wrong with the Washington Nationals?
Nationals now 3-13.