Saturday, July 14, 2007
Could Washington Finish Out Of Last Place?
They were "The Surprise Team" of 2006. A group of mostly youngsters that far exceeded expectations. Through some daft trading of Quality Veteran Talent--The Florida Marlins were competitive all last year. And their Manager, Joe Girardi, was rightfully named Manager of The Year.
Now, one year later--with basically the very same team in tact--this team from South Florida is struggling mightily. Girardi gone, due to an inability to get along with his Owner, Jeffrey Loria. One of their TOP PITCHERS, Anibel Sanchez--he of a No Hitter last season--now out for the year. All Star Dontrelle Willis more hittable than he's ever been.
Heading into tonight's game two, of a three game series, with Our Washington Nationals--is it possible that Washington could actually pass Florida in the standings by year's end? Unlike last season, The Marlins of 2007 do not appear to be a cohesive group. Instead of being about team play--they, more and more--look like a team of individuals wanting what's best for themselves. Something, that can't be said about Our Washington Nationals.
Despite their losing start--Washington has a Cohesive Clubhouse. No Rancor. And, a willingness to battle their opponents to the final out. I guess Our Manager Manny Acta can be thanked for that optimism. Our Team, with the patched up Starting Pitching. A Patched Up Infield. And, a Merry-Go-Round of players all taking their turns starting in Centerfield, enjoys playing together. In fact-- Our Nats beat just about every one's expectations during the first half of this season. If 36-52 is exceeding yourself?
So, is it possible that a cohesive team, like Our Washington Nationals--one with far less talent than the sum of their parts; push past a far more talented team (The Florida Marlins) that is competing well below the sum of their parts?
Yeah, I believe so. Average Talent, can always beat better talent. Sometimes even superior talent, when that better skill level does not care. Even with the very distinct possibility that Our Washington Nationals may, once again, go through a complete makeover by July 31st--for about the 4th time this season--their hope sure seems alot brighter than the Fading Stars of The Florida Marlins.
Really, its hard for me to believe that The Marlins, who have one of the most adept infields in the game--are struggling. They have fine expertise at all four positions. Mike Jacobs an exciting young slugging first baseman. Dan Uggla, Hanley Ramirez and Miguel Cabrera solid hitters--All Stars, all three. Although Cabrera could lose some weight and practice more on his fielding at third. Better yet, send him to rightfield.
Josh Willingham is a solid, power hitting leftfielder. And, Florida has many more talented young pitchers rising through their system. It just appears, they have no direction. Thanks to an Owner in Jeffrey Loria--that can't get past his New Stadium Dispute Issues. And, continues to alienate his fan base in South Florida.
Our Washington Nationals currently sit 4 1/2 games behind The Marlins in last place in the Eastern Division of The National League. That distance doesn't seem insurmountable. Could Washington Do It?--Even with changes, once again, on the horizon. Raising the stakes higher--Would Management WANT TO FINISH ahead of ANYBODY this 2007 Season? Especially, if this year is all about Building The Franchise, Finding Usable Parts, all the while Receiving A Top Draft Pick in 2008.
I find the dilemma interesting. So, Could Our Washington Nationals Finish Out of Last Place?
Would they want to?