Weekly Review (6/18)

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Here at Curly W Live, we will be conducting a weekly review every Tuesday of all the storylines from the week that was. If you’re new to the site or have just been too busy to stay current with all the day-to-day action, this is your way to get caught up on everything going on with the team.

The Nationals enjoyed a rare mid-homestand off day, as they prepared for their final six games of Interleague Play for the 2012 season. With the break in the action, we took the time to fill you in on some of the top signees out of this year’s First-Year Player Draft. As Washington prepared to host the Rays in the opener of a three-game set on Tuesday, we reflected upon the striking similarities between this year’s Nationals club and Tampa Bay’s 2008 edition. Once the dust had settled from a 5-4 Nationals loss on Tuesday, the team rebounded with an athletic performance that led to a 3-2 victory on Wednesday. The Nationals then went out and won the battle of rookies named Moore, taking the series with a 5-2 triumph on Thursday.

From there, Washington traveled to the Beltway to the north for a rematch with the Orioles. The Nats couldn’t get much going against Jason Hammel on Friday night, falling 2-1 in the series opener. They rebounded behind Edwin Jackson, who took a perfect game into the fifth inning, in a 3-1 victory on Saturday to set up a second consecutive series to be decided by a pivotal rubber game. After leading 1-0 much of the way, the Nationals were unable to get the ball to Tyler Clippard for the ninth, as the Orioles rallied in the eighth for their second 2-1 victory of the series.

Mon: OFF

Tue vs. TAM: L, 4-5

Wed vs. TAM: W, 3-2

Thu vs. TAM: W, 5-2

Fri @ BAL: L, 1-2

Sat @ BAL: W, 3-1

Sun @ BAL: L, 1-2

Weekly Record: 3-3

1 Comment

As long as Rick Ekstein remains as the Nationals hitting coach the Nationals will have no chance to to win a championship in baseball. For the 3rd straight year the overall team batting average for the Nationals remains near the bottom of MLB rankings. For some reason Mike Rizzo evaluates Ekstein’s performance as a coach differently than he evaluates the rest the rest of the staff and players which should be on quantifiable results. What happened when the Nationals played the Dodgers and the Yankees is only a preview, a bitter foretaste of what is to come in the future. Those teams had starting and bullpen pitching and solid defenses to match the Nationals. The critical difference was that Nationals hitting and offense never compares favorably with the opposition. And yet our players with comparable skills never seem to get the help that they need to adjust their approach or swings when hitting glitches crop up (as they inevitably will throughout a season). We are now well into the third year of Ekstein’s ineptitude and yet Rizzo shields him from reporter’s prying questions, refuses to take calls from fans on his own Wednesday call in show about Ekstein and has Phil Wood act as an apologist and protector when any fan calls in with criticism of Ekstein on his show. What is so special about this rather mediocre commodity that Rizzo seems compelled to insure his employment when there are a number of much more effective and qualified coaches in this regard that could actually improve this situation? Can it be that Rizzo somehow feels that the variables of hitting are so many and complex that hitting cannot be improved. It would seem that Charlie Lau and Ted Williams would have long since disproved that hypothesis. One way or another it remains an absolute mystery as to why Ekstein remains such an invaluable commodity for Rizzo.
It might be interesting to compare the overall team batting averages under Eksteins tutelage (if it can be called that) to the overall team batting averages when Frank Robinson was managing the ballclub when he had a whole lot less talent to work with than does Ekstein at present.

Harold G. Pavel
Springfield, Virginia

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