Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Nats seem set to sputter out of the gate


Morse's injury is starting to really concern me. Photo Jacqueline Martin/AP via


Because it seems like half the team is nursing a strain or an injury or a cold.

You can’t get ready for a 162-game season if you’re not getting ABsMichael Morse has a grand total of 7 ABs this spring.  Adam LaRoche?  8 Abs.  Rick Ankiel?  6.  That’s a big chunk of the presumed starting lineup for this team.   Chien-Ming Wang probably will start the season on the DL as a precaution after straining a hamstring; good thing we havn’t traded John Lannan yet.  Now we hear that Drew Storen has a cold.  He’s only got 2 IP all spring!

Of course we’ve gotten plenty of at bats for Ian Desmond to show us that he’s learned little from his late season improvements; he’s hitting .200 for the spring.

On the bright side, the rest of the rotation seems to be doing ok.  You never want to over-analyze spring training stats; players may go out one inning and work entirely on spotting their change up on the outside corner, not caring what the hitters do to the ball.  If a hitter knows the same pitch is coming 4-5 times in a row, he’s gonna put a charge into it.  Of course, that being said Gio Gonzalez has looked exceptional this spring, flashing more speed than had been previously reported and is pitching to a 1.42 era clip.

And, the Nats do open up with two of the weaker teams in the league.  They could very well take 2 of 3 from both Chicago and the Mets to come home 4-2 no matter who is batting.

Are you worried  yet?

Written by Todd Boss

March 20th, 2012 at 6:46 pm

10 Responses to 'Nats seem set to sputter out of the gate'

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  1. Strep throat is hardly something to joke about. Nats fans would rather have him healthy than risk something more serious.


    20 Mar 12 at 8:18 pm

  2. Nope…not worried. If Morse isn’t in the lineup come April 1st or so, then I’ll start to worry.


    20 Mar 12 at 8:39 pm

  3. As a baseball fan I learned a long, long time ago not to get too excited or worried about spring training. After noting year after year of a lack of carryover, it finally dawned on me that there isn’t that much correlation between Grapefruit stats and “real” stats.

    So yes, my heart worries. But my brain tries to calm it down :)

    John C.

    20 Mar 12 at 10:46 pm

  4. Looks to be a lot of 1-0, 2-1 games this year. A lot of good pitching and only a few good hitters.

    Those compromising photos that Desmond has of Mike Rizzo are looking pretty powerful right now.

    Mark L

    21 Mar 12 at 8:35 am

  5. My fantasy league asked me (as the resident Nationals expert) whether the team was going to make the playoffs. I said, “depends on whether they get some more hitting.”

    With Lombardozzi looking good (well, at least he’s looking better than he did in September), you can say there’s an immediate like-for-like replacement for Desmond if he continues to hit .200 somewhat deep into the season. Desmond’s had quite enough professional at bats by this point to have a good understanding of where he is and where he’s going. And unfortunately I don’t think he’s going in the right direction.

    Todd Boss

    21 Mar 12 at 11:21 am

  6. Not worried about stats. Am worried about lack of preparation. I don’t think you can start a season with just a handful of ABs against major league pitchers and be successful. I think Morse, LaRoche and Ankiel are all set up to have very weak Aprils. Which is bad for this team, because we’re already offensively challenged.

    Todd Boss

    21 Mar 12 at 11:23 am

  7. Agreed, but I’m more worried about Morse than the other two. LaRoche starts most seasons notoriously slow anyway, so his ankle might not matter that much. And Ankiel just isn’t an offensive force, regardless of how he starts the season, so that shouldn’t matter much, either.

    But Morse worries me. A lot. He was already under pressure to repeat his break-out performance from last year, which means he might press too hard this season. And now he’s playing with a type of injury that tends to linger, and which can be made much worse if he presses. Bad combination.


    21 Mar 12 at 4:48 pm

  8. Todd Boss

    21 Mar 12 at 5:34 pm

  9. I’ve read that Morse is the type who stresses himself out and pushes himself too hard, and that last quote about pulling his own hair out seems to support that view. That sort of impatience is not conducive to healing a lingering injury. I’m more worried now. We need him in that lineup, but healthy.


    22 Mar 12 at 10:19 am

  10. If anything, its now worse than when I posted this earlier. Storen’s got elbow inflammation, Morse is getting shots, Bernadina left today’s game w/ an injury. Soon we’re going to have minor league free agents making this team.

    Todd Boss

    23 Mar 12 at 3:08 pm

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