Wednesday, March 14, 2007
The Ongoing Evolution
With just two weeks remaining in Spring Training 2007, there is one definite, For Sure, about Our Washington Nationals this upcoming season. The Starting Rotation is still very much in doubt. And, as the days pass leading up to Opening Day, April 2nd at RFK Stadium, General Manager Jim Bowden's Comment to me during our chat this past January was DEAD ON true.
"Our pitcher that starts game four of this season, my not even be in Big League Camp right now--neither might be the guy pitching Game five (of the 2007 season)," said Bowden. "THAT'S THE TRUTH!!. Its going to be an evolution."
John Patterson will be that Opening Day Starter against The Florida Marlins, barring injury. Shawn Hill has set himself up nicely for the number 2 spot. Although, after reading Mark Zuckerman's comments in The Washington Times about Hill going to bed at night staring at his right forearm which is giving him some discomfort, you have to start worrying. We all went down this same path last year with Patterson. And, Number 22 missed virtually the entire 2006 season.
After those two, NO ONE STANDS OUT, NOT ONE!! I am not going to rehash all the possibilities, ups and down of each and every pitcher in camp. But, I am 100% sure, come July 31st, the entire Nats Pitching Staff will be, at least, 60% different than the one The African Queen and I cheer for in early April.
Its time to strap ourselves in, and buckle up. The first few months of the 2007 Washington Baseball Season, could be a very wild ride. I have faith in our Bullpen, its a true strong point. But, I am not positive the starters can hand over the ball to those relievers, with the game still in doubt, on many nights.
We may well need to score 5 runs per game, to be competitive (and no, I am not convinced yet that Nook Logan can provide a decent stick at the plate). The Nationals do have some offense. They are going to have to be creative though, to generate some runs. I am not sure about our power at the plate. Washington will not be winning many games on the Three Run Homer. But, The Nats do have guys that can flat out run. If those speedsters can just find a way to get on base, a good gap hit at RFK will score them easily. That's how we are going to win in 2007. Manufacturing runs and surviving our starting pitching, handing the ball over to The Bullpen--the game plan.
At least until Mid-Season, when everything is going to change, once again. Bowden's going to be wheeling and dealing like no other. All those veteran free agents signed over this past winter, having decent years for Washington, will be gone--traded for some younger serviceable talent. That's the moment Our Washington Nationals will take another step up in their ever changing ways.
In all my years following baseball, I can't recall (off the top of my head), any team quite like Our Washington Nationals, the 2007 Version. What you see now, you may well not see later next month, and DEFINITELY NOT by the end of the season. A Team and Franchise evolving right before my eyes.
I find it all fascinating and interesting. I really do.
UPDATE: Barry Svrluga reports that Luis Ayala will INDEED begin the season on the Disabled List. Not at all surprising. Makes the 25 Man Roster Cutdown even more interesting now. Levale Speigner's opportunity to stay, and not be sent back to Minnesota per the Rule V Draft, just got better also.