Greetings Nats fans!
Well, since my last post, the Nats have won 8 straight games, 13 of their last 15. They’ve taken 3 of 4 from San Diego to finish their 11 game, 3 city road trip 6-5, came home on a 3 game win streak, swept the Cardinals to turn that streak to 6 straight, and take the first two from the Baltimore Orioles to extend that streak 8 games. They are currently in the midst of a 17-7 month of June, which is far and away their best month so far, with April being second best, where they went 12-13.
Then, the Seattle Mariners came to town.
The Nationals looked as though they had forgotten that they had been in a game where they were trying to extend their win streak to 9 games just two days before the Mariners came to town. Doug Fister was filthy, and Livo, well…he wasn’t. 5 runs, 4 earned, in 4 full made this Nats fan shut off his GameDay Audio in disgust. However, once Fister was taken out by Eric Wedge and his Goose Gossage mustache, the Nats offense said, “Hey, we can hit!” The Nats bullpen also came on and chucked zeros on the board, and it was 5-1 going into the bottom of the 9th. The scored 2 runs off of Mariners Closer Brandon League until Mike Morse’s combacker hit League in his leg, and was removed for David Pauley. Men on 1st and 2nd for Wilson Ramos, and he hits a walk-off 3 run shot to send Nats fans home happy and Eric Wedge’s mustache home sad. Yes, Eric Wedge’s mustache has emotions, deal with it. The Nats would go on to win the middle game 2-1, and were set to go for the sweep on June 23rd. They would win in the bottom of the 9th, 1-0, on Laynce Nix’s walk off sac fly.
Then, the post game stuff happened.
I remember it like it was 3 days ago. Actually, it was exactly 3 days ago. Anyway, Jim Riggleman resigned after that game, putting a wee bit of a damper on what should have been a celebration of a great team win, and proving once again that these Nats never say die. But, instead, I spent my time watching a Mike Rizzo press conference where Mike Rizzo looked like he wanted to throw things and hurt puppies, then watch Jim Riggleman explain himself. Am I happy Jim resigned? Yes and No. I don’t necessarily see this guy as the manager that leads the Nats when they really become competitive, but then again, the team has improved under him, he brings back accountability, and he’s not a guy that throws his players under the bus. I don’t blame him for leaving, but I don’t blame Rizzo for not wanting to talk about his option just yet. It was 75 games in, number 1, and there is no reason for him to pick up the option in June because there is so much baseball left, you literally don’t know what the team is going to do in July, August, or September. If this were August, then Rizzo should have given Jim some sort of barometer as to if they would just activate his option or if they would extend him another year on top of the option. This exit ensures Jim that even if he is a lock for a managerial job, that team’s GM is going to have a hard time convincing the owner that hiring him is a good idea.
Now, when I first heard Riggs resigned, my own lil GM brain starts to pump. I knew they would assign McLaren as interim interim manager, and I thought that there was enough season left to hire someone to manage the team, plus it shows that they’re not packing it in and saying “we’ll get em next year!” So, I thought, you got Davey Johnson up next to Rizzo, Bobby Valentine is out there, so is Lou Piniella. I figured Bobby V would make the most sense because he’s out there and has been in rumors for every open managers job since he started to work for ESPN. I didn’t think Davey Johnson would take the job cuz he hasn’t managed since 2000, and then I remembered Lou Piniella left the Cubs last year because of family issues. When I heard that Davey Johnson was interested and took the job, I was very happy. He’s an established, winning manager with 3 rings, 2 as a player and 1 on the bench as a manager. He’s probably the most qualified manager the Nats have had since Frank Robinson, no wait, yeah he is, not probably. Does this put the Nats over the top and make them a playoff team? Probably not, there’s plenty of season left and we don’t know what that will bring, but it certainly shows us as fans that the organization does not consider Riggleman’s resignation as a means to pack it in. I like the hire, and I’m excited to see what he does, and how the team plays under him.
On another note, I’m still trying to figure out what Ian Desmond’s value to this team is. He does almost nothing, day in and day out. He strikes out when you need a hit of some sort, he makes very inopportune errors a lot of the time. I don’t really think he stays in the lineup this season if he continues to play the way he is, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they brought up that Lombardozzi kid, or maybe they move Espi to Shortstop.
All in all, this is a pretty crazy time to be a Nats fan. Not all for good reasons, but let’s hope they keep winning and stay in the news for positive reasons.