Day 17 in Viera: The Nats are 3-0
Hello again gang. This is John Dever again, and for one day only I am stepping in for Mark Lerner, who likely will return to the blogosphere tomorrow.
I have the honor of being the baseball PR Director for your Nationals. I hope to keep in touch with you for much of this spring, perhaps once a week now that Mark in on the ground here in Viera. As always, I will be utilizing the keen eyes and ears of my PR brethren, Mike Gazda and Bill Gluvna. They are great to work with and they know what they are talking about, whether it be this team or the game of baseball in general.
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty…
*Obviously, with our 3-0 start in mind, optimism is abound. That’s patently obvious, but it feel really GOOD.
*What a difference a year makes. Remember, last year the Nationals dropped their first 11 Grapefruit League contests? As great as the 3-0 start is, what is even more impressive is just how well the team has actually played. The games have been played with precision, have been quick and seemingly everything done on the field has a positive purpose. Our chuckers have walked just 3 batters in 3 games. That, my friends, is unheard of in late February/early March. Last spring, the Nationals opened the Grapefruit League slate with split squad action on March 4. Nationals pitchers issued 8 walks and 25 runs in those 2 games. Yea, I like this year better…
*One of Mike Rizzo’s mantras is that competition is good for everyone, including the team. Well, 3 games in, that thought is being reaffirmed, especially in left field, where Rick Ankiel, Roger Bernadina and Michael Morse are vying for Jim Riggleman’s affections. The 3 LF amigos are a combined 10-for-19 with 4 home runs and 9 RBI. In fact, the LF trio has combined on 4 of Washington’s 5 home runs to date. All 3 gentlemen look comfortable at the plate, so let’s look for more of the same type of production in the coming week…
*This weekend’s 2 contests—Sat. at NYY and Sun. vs. ATL—will offer stiff tests for Rick Eckstein’s battalion of bats. Why? Washington will be opposed by C.C. Sabathia and Tommy Hanson. Not-so subtle reminder that you can watch Sunday’s action on MASN as your Nationals host the Braves from Space Coast Stadium. Ross Detwiler will get the starting nod. He will throw the first pitch at 1:05 p.m.
*Let’s play the name game. The following is a list of actual first names of Nationals players, but these same guys “go” by other names. Follow?
Example would be Edwin was Duke Snider’s actual first name. Or Larry is Chipper Jones’ first name. So, let’s ramp up the Nationals fun below:
1B Robert (Michael) Aubrey
OF Rogearvin (Roger) Bernadina
RHP Justin (Todd) Coffey
INF Jose (Alex) Cora
RHP Eisler (Livan) Hernandez
1B David (Adam) LaRoche
RHP John (J.D.) Martin…middle name: Dale
RHP Olise (Cla) Meredith…middle name: Claibourne
*A few defensive nuggets… Chris Marrero made a few nice scoops, and in the process showed some solid footwork around the bag, in Tue.’s home opener vs. NYM… this is a strong statement, but Yunesky Maya is a Grade A fielder… his skills are akin to those of his big brother (not literally) Livan Hernandez… both our Cuban starters act almost insulted a batter would have the audacity to drive a grounder up-the-middle for a single… that is fun to watch.
*BTW, best of luck Cla Meredith, who had Tommy John surgery yesterday. A resident of Richmond, VA, Cla was excited at the prospect of pitching for his hometown team. He won’t pitch this season, so that hope will have to be shelved for now. That said, I would not bet against Cla Meredith…
Thanks for your time and interest in the Nationals. Let’s be in touch again soon.