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DOG DAYS COMING UP

[August 9th] -- It's early in the Nationals' get-away game with the San Francisco Giants and I'm feeling a little blue regarding my team right now.

I have absolutely no problem when they play poorly, when they look more like the team that went 9-25 to start the season. Losing doesn't hurt when it's expected. I was an avid Redskins' fan during the 1970's - the Senators were gone, the Bullets were still in Baltimore and the Capitals had yet to be born. Blowouts were easy to accept. When the game was over at half-time, wins and losses became secondary to individual performances (I still hurt over a 24-23 loss to the New England Patriots thirty-five years later - a missed call on a Charley Taylor TD doomed the boys that day at Schaeffer Stadium).

So when the team loses bad, or often, their poor performance doesn't faze me. It's expected, after all. But the team never quits, and have several times this year played championship caliber baseball for a week or two at a time. And each time they do it, I begin to believe that the "real" team has finally stepped up to the plate. What usually happens, however, is that they revert to that bad fielding, poor pitching, atrocious hitting team that they can be. When guys like Tim Redding and Joel Hanrahan are pitching this well, there is at least a hope that they will remain solid starters for the rest of the year. What ends up happening, sadly, is that they don't. Tim Redding had his first "not so good" outing last night, and Hanrahan - thus far anyway - isn't looking particularly sharp. Without them, there is little hope to stay out of the cellar.

The only way the team can compete this year is for the 'AAAA' players to contribute. When they don't, long losing streaks drag the team down quickly. Right now, they are playing like the bad team they were in April. It doesn't seem as though the Giants have a worse record than the Nationals, does it?

And really, do we want them to be good, or at least not terribly bad, this year? True, a decent record might help attract some free agents this fall, but wouldn't we rather have a #5 or 6 pick in the amateur draft next year versus a 15 or 17? Or would we?

That said, I really just want to know how the team is going to play. I was prepared for a 100 loss season. But it's very hard for the team to flirt with respectability only to implode and take from us any real hope of ending the year on a high note. Before the team left for San Francisco, I was beginning to believe that a 74 win season wasn't out of the realm of possiblity.

Now? I just don't know.

More later.


Comments:
Dude, You gotta get a grip. They were one Cordero blown save away from 3 outta 4 during the most overhyped regular season series in history.

By my calculation they need to play only .447 the rest of the way to reach 74 wins. Very doable.
 
Like I said, I shouldn't be blogging when I'm feeling blue. You're right, things are looking good right now and they deserve all the praise we can give them.

I guess what you read was me trying to decide as to whether I want a good '07 season (and a lower draft pick) or a bad year and a high one. Had the Nationals played better over the past three years, we might have had a few more wins but wouldn't have had Zimmerman or Detweiler or Marrero.

See where I'm coming from?
 
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