Archives for posts with tag: Calvin Coolidge

The Nationals were pushed off the precipice of playoff elimination Saturday evening when the New York Mets wrapped up their improbable run to a division title by routing Cincinnati 10-2.  Sadly the September slide for the Nats began a few weeks ago when they were swept at home by the Mets;  their postseason hopes were all but extinguished when they were broomed by Baltimore this past Thursday.  Here’s to an offseason of picking up the pieces…and wondering if what was once one huge window is now closing.

Broomed by Baltimore?  Yes, you read correctly.  The team that couldn’t score a run against Boston over the weekend came to DC and took three straight from the hometown team…rallying in the late innings both Tuesday and Wednesday.  Three winnable games where the team had trouble drawing 30,000 fans–and those that showed up wore orange and shouted “O’s!” during the Anthem.  

Last Week’s Hero– Calvin Coolidge was our 30th President.  He spoke little, thus the nickname “Silent Cal”.  Coolidge’s most famous quote, next to “the business of America is business” was “I do not choose to run for President in 1928”.  Somehow the man who chose not to run is running during the 4th inning of every home game.  As this year is Coolidge’s turn in the White House Christmas Tree Ornament rotation (they go in order of chief executive, meaning next year Herbert Hoover gets his due), the man of few words gets a racing mascot who actually looks more like President Harding (it’s okay if the Nats goofed–at least they spelled names right and didn’t shoot sausage sandwiches inside T-shirts).  Coolidge’s bobblehead night was supposed to be Monday–but the rainout meant that they also gave away renditions of the chief executive Thursday.  Technically not a two-termer (he succeeded Harding after his death), Silent Cal made us proud.

Last Week’s Humbled– plenty to choose from as Ian Desmond was the only regular hitting better than .235 and Stephen Strasburg was the lone pitcher with an ERA of under 5.40.  But Jonathan Papelbon takes the prize for being lit up like the dumpster fire this team has apparently become.  His plunking of Manny Machado stole the spotlight during the sweep by the Orioles before his dugout scuffle with Bryce Harper obscured Sunday’s late-inning collapse.  Also culpable: General Manager Mike Rizzo.  HIs trade for Papelbon at the deadline was the rock in the water that had ripple effects far beyond whatever his 9th inning shortcomings may have been with Drew Storen and Casey Janssen never the same in their new roles.  Manager Matt Williams gets his due because after the scuffle Papelbon went back in to pitch the 9th inning!  Granted, he allowed 2 runs over two thirds of an inning…so you could make the case he really didn’t pitch.  But either Williams thought that choking his star player wasn’t a bad thing or wasn’t aware of the situation.  Incompetence, ignorance or apathy?  That’s a fun trio to choose from.

Game to Watch– Jordan Zimmermann pitches Wednesday in Atlanta.  He deserved better here.  I still maintain he should’ve started Game 1 against San Francisco last year– and I won’t even talk about the decision to lift Zim in the 9th inning of Game 2.  He gets one more chance to match last year’s 14 wins…and it’d be nice to see him make his 178th start a better outing than his final one in DC.

Game to Miss– Monday’s matinee with Cincinnati may be sending Max Scherzer to the mound…but he also started Labor Day afternoon and was torched for 5 runs over 6 innings.  After the hot mess that was last week and this past weekend, do we really want to see another game from this team in DC?

The July 4th as well as 81-game benchmarks pass and the Nationals are in first place of the NL East.  Are we printing playoff tickets?  While there are those that will throw out the “63.8% of teams with a lead over 4 games on Independence Day…” postulate, it’s encouraging that this club bounced back from a rough series loss to Atlanta (IT WAS FOUL!  IT WAS FOUL!) to sweep the defending World Series champs.  And not just sweep but outscore the Giants 14-5.  Gems by Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann sandwiched Saturday’s hit parade that featured first inning fireworks from Michael Taylor (leadoff home run) and Bryce Harper (2-run HR with a patriotic bat).  Sadly like any picnic that features incredible hamburgers and fantastic hot dogs, there was seven layer dip that spoiled in the sun:  Stephen Strasburg heads back to the Disabled List with a strained oblique.  Rinse and repeat…

Dissecting the Division– the New York Mets begin this week 4 and a half games behind the Nats…and visit San Francisco before coming home for three games with Arizona.  Both teams are hovering around the .500 mark.  Atlanta’s 6 games off the pace– with the opportunity to make up ground.  The Braves final seven games before the All Star Break may be on the road…but they’re against last place teams Milwaukee and Colorado.  Miami and Philadelphia? Enjoy the sushi and cheesesteaks…

Division to Watch– just up I-95 the AL East is tighter than a Tom Jones jumpsuit.  Two games separate the top four teams (sorry, Boston) with the Orioles, Tampa Bay, New York Yankees and Toronto all showing possibilities and limitations on a nightly basis.  Can this rollercoaster race sustain itself over the dog days of summer?  It’s not unusual to have a race this close…

Last Week’s Hero– while Bryce Harper continues his monster season (1.137 OPS), Clint Robinson led the team with 2 HR and 4RBI.  His homer Friday night was the difference.  Robinson’s also walking (13-10 BB to K ratio over the last 30 games).  With at bats available in the absence of Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman, he’s made the most of his opportunities in the outfield and at first base.

Last Week’s Humbled– Calvin Coolidge is the new racing President?  Okay, I know he was the Chief Executive when the Senators won the World Series…but seriously.  His second most famous quote (after “the business of America is business”) was “I do not choose to run”.  Worse than the 300-pound William Howard Taft huffing and puffing in the outfield we now have a man known for saying little and running less.  Plus the mascot looks more like Coolidge’s predecessor, Warren G. Harding.  Nothing like the Teapot Dome Scandal to ruin the middle of the 4th inning…

Game to Watch– Saturday in Baltimore Jordan Zimmermann pitches against Miguel Gonzalez.  Two 7-5 pitchers who are both coming off solid starts.  A chance for whichever team won Friday night to lock up the series…so their fans can taunt the other team’s faithful all day Sunday.  Crab cakes with extra Old Bay.  Bring it, hon…

Game to Miss– By default, one of the games with Cincinnati.  Monday‘s matchup between  Doug Fister and Anthony DeSclafani is less than compelling…and there’s an interesting reading at Politics and Prose.  Harvard Professor James Wood discusses his recent work, “The Nearest Thing to Life”, which “explores the beauty and the power of the art of reading”.  Here’s your chance to be well-rounded, kids…