Browsing all articles from March, 2011
Mar
28

Washington Nations 2011 Season Preview

Can you believe baseball season is here? If you’re a Washington Nationals fan, you should be excited. It’s a season full of possibilities for the team entering their seventh season.

Authors Note: I am an Atlanta Braves fan. I grew up a Braves fan and a team coming to DC did not change my baseball loyalties. But I do love watching the Nationals play and I cheer for the team when they’re not playing Atlanta. My coverage of the Nats will be pro-Nats.

It was a big offseason for the Nationals organization that both pleased and upset fans. Fans were upset with the trade of left fielder Josh Willingham to Oakland for pitchers Henry Rodriguez and outfielder Corey Brown. Also, fans had hoped the Nats could resign first baseman Adam Dunn, who instead signed as a free agent with the Chicago White Sox. Losing Willingham and Dunn was a huge hit to the Nationals. In 114 games last season Willingham had 16 home runs, third on the team, and 56 RBIs, while Dunn lead the team in homers and RBIs with 38 and 103 respectively.

But general manager Mike Rizzo was able to fill those holes by going out and getting right fielder Jayson Werth and first baseman Adam LaRoche. Werth’s numbers from last year don’t match Adam Dunn’s (27 HR, 85 RBI) but LaRoche’s make up the difference (25 HR, 100 RBI).

I want to address the most common complaint I’ve heard this offseason, and that is the Jayson Werth deal. I understand why DC sports fan are always negative of high profile, big contract, free agent signings, especially when the player is obviously being overpaid. The names of Juwan Howard and countless Redskins from the past eleven years bring up painful memories. And yes, Jayson Werth was overpaid. But this is baseball and signing Werth does more than help the team. It sends a message to the fans that the Lerners’ are committed to the making the Washington Nationals a winning team and are willing to spend the money to bring in players (which you HAVE to do in baseball).

Losing Dunn and Willingham upset some fans. But, bringing in Werth and LaRoche, as well as picking up center fielder Rick Ankiel, show the ownership’s willingness to win. Not only were the Nats able to land Werth but they were very publicly in the running for pitcher Cliff Lee. The Jayson Werth signing is more then just getting a big named player in DC. It’s a statement signing.

Now, the Nationals still have a lot of unanswered questions going into the 2011 season. Along with the loss of pure firepower there are other questions concerning the batting lineup. After trading center fielder Nyjer Morgan to Milwaaukee the Nats don’t have a true leadoff batter. But, the Nats biggest question is still pitching.

With pitcher Stephen Strasburg on the disabled list for, probably, the whole season, the Nationals rotation is shaky at best.While both Livan Hernandez and John Lannan have experience and have won games for the Nats over the last three seasons, both pitchers are getting up in age and are wildly inconsistent. Jordan Zimmerman is a young pitcher who showed promise last year, but again, was inconsistent. Jason Marquis is a veteran but is only a .500% win pct. and 4.5 ERA pitcher. Tom Gorzelanny put up solid numbers…in the minor leagues. The team brought in Chien-Ming Wang last year but injuries have prohibited him from making a real impact on this team.

Starting pitching isn’t the only concern, the bullpen has its own issues. Before Spring Training I would have said that if the Nats starters could get through six or seven innings, they’d be in good shape handing the pitching duties over to the relievers. I would have said that Doug Slaten, Tyler Clippard, and Drew Storen would be able to hold leads and win games for the Nationals. But Spring Training has painted a different picture. Both Clippard, your setup pitcher, and Storen, the closer, struggled in Spring Training games. The lack of a real closer going into the season hurts the team. Manager Jim Riggleman has already said they’re going to use a closer by committee approach.

Despite the questions concerning the Nationals pitching, fans should be excited. Ownership has shown a commitment to winning by signing Werth. The Nationals have more fire power this year offensively and on the mound, with the promise of Strasburg and catcher/outfielder Bryce Harper being on the team next year. The future is bright for the Nationals. Will they win the World Series this year? Not a chance. But they will be fun to watch.

Mar
25

Episode 47.5 – The NFL Lockout and Redskins Draft Discussion

Jake makes his podcast debut! Mark and Jake discuss the NFL Labor Dispute and Redskins draft. Please excuse the lower sound quality we had a bad Skype connection. Make sure to subscribe and rate us on iTunes! Or subscribe to our podcast feed! If you enjoy our show please tell your friends!

Topics

  • NFL Owners and NFLPA let the CBA expire, NFL under lockout, hearing scheduled for April 6
  • Are the Owners or the Players in the wrong here?
  • New NFL rule changes include instant replay and kickoffs
  • Who will the Skins draft at 10th overall?
  • What are the Skins biggest draft needs?
  • Can the Skins successfully transition to a 3-4 this offseaon?
Mar
10

Episode 47 – The Washington Sportsjam 2010 Year in Review Show

Bryan and Mark talk Caps, The Super Bowl, and Skins and then Matt joins for Wizards talk. They also recap the most popular articles on the blog. Stick around for outtakes and bloopers after the outro music.

Topics

Caps

  • Ovechkin and Green named to All-Star Team
  • Flurry of Caps Peronnel Moves at Deadline

Super Bowl

  • Game Recap
  • Analysis
  • Super Bowl MVP
  • LVP for losing team

Redskins

  • Redskins sue City Paper
  • Chris Hanburger elected to the Hall of Fame
  • Portis and other Redskins released

Wizards

  • Wiz finally win a road game
  • Midseason review

Make sure to vote and rate us on iTunes ! If you listen to the show regularly make your life easier and subscribe to the feed! Tell your friends about our show if you enjoy it!

Mar
3

Washington Capitals Post Trade Deadline

So the 2010-2011 NHL trade deadline has come and gone. The Washington Capitals performed a flurry of moves to strengthen the roster. For starters they picked up left winger Marco Sturm off waivers. They also acquired defenseman Dennis Wideman from the Florida Panthers for a third round draft pick in the 2011 draft and prospect Jake Hauswirth. To finish the trading day General Manager George McPhee went out and picked up center Jason Arnott from the New Jersey Devils for center David Steckel and a second round pick in 2012.

Capitals fans have been asking for a second line center all year. While the twitter feeds in DC are unhappy about Steckel being shipped out, Arnott does solidify the center position on the Capitals second line.

You have to give George McPhee credit for making the moves the team need to help them going forward without giving up the future to get it. Missing a third round pick this year is not going to hurt the Caps who are full of young talent. Jake Hauswirth wasn’t a household name and not one of the top prospects in the Capitals organization. Letting David Steckel go is not going to hurt the Caps as much as fans think it will. He was key at winning face-offs on the penalty kill, and in general, but adding Arnott to the second line will help redistribute talent to the third and fourth lines.

Dennis Wideman gives the Capitals another strong defensive presence. With defensemen Mike Green and Tom Poti still dealing with injury Wideman is another defender who can step in and quarterback the power play from the blue line with defenseman John Carlson. Also, Wideman is under contract for next year.

George McPhee went out and made the moves necessary to help push this team forward as the playoffs approach without having to give up key pieces of the team. I believe the Capitals are a better team then they were before the deadline.