Archives for posts with tag: Taylor Swift

Talk about coming back with a bang.  The Nationals returned from the All Star break by facing the Los Angeles Dodgers in a duel of division leaders, and in a potential playoff preview (the two teams would face off in the NLDS if the regular season ended today) to boot.  But it was the visitors who hung two stellar starts on the Nats…as Clayton Kershaw (14 strikeouts over 8 scoreless innings) and Zach Greinke (11K’s over 8 shutout frames) mowed down the home team in the DC heat with a little heat of their own.  Not the way one wants to come off the midseason hiatus.  Especially with the second place New York Mets and wildcard leader Pittsburgh on the horizon.  The trip to Miami can’t come soon enough…

She Wears Short Skirts– Max Scherzer wasn’t pitching on the mound Friday, but he may be onto something when he jokingly tweeted that the ballpark amazingly had electrical issues in the first event following Taylor Swift’s concert.  I mean– what is the track record of this songstress?  “You Belong With Me” is the blueprint for passive-aggressively stealing another girl’s boyfriend.  And Swift’s reliance of singing about ex-boyfriends is akin to “Three’s Company” episodes being about misunderstandings– we get it.  Does this make Scherzer a hater?

Getting the Blues from Dodger Pitching– now that was a one-two punch.  Back to back uppercuts.  The one-two combo that many expected when the Nationals inked Max Scherzer.  Sadly Stephen Strasburg has yet to find the form that led the NL in strikeouts last year, but Jordan Zimmermann has posted a 1.92 ERA over his last five starts.  Will we see Scherzer and Zimmermann against Kershaw and Greinke during the August 10-12 series out west?

Digssecting the Division– the New York Mets after their 18-inning victory over St. Louis move within 2 games of the Nats.  The pesky fly that just won’t go away comes to DC this week for a three game series.  They couldn’t actually leave the district with the division lead, could they?  Many didn’t expect the Mets to be in the mix this late in the season.  Atlanta shifts from contender to pretender after losing 7 of their last 10…while Miami and Philadelphia look forward to the upcoming NFL season.  Knowing the recent fun the Dolphins and Eagles have provided, perhaps they shouldn’t.

Division to Watch– the Dodgers are the team to beat in the NL West…and second place San Francisco is the perfect foil.  There’s enough dislike between the longtime rivals to fuel any fire…and the combination of the Dodgers cruising to division last year only to see the Giants get hot in the postseason and take the World Series only turns things up a tiny bit.  The Giants have also taken 9 of 12 games against LA this year…with Madison Bumgarner not only getting the better of Clayton Kershaw twice but also homering off the reigning Cy Young winner.  It’s a shame they play only seven times between now and the end of the regular season.  Who cares if the rest of the West quintet is seriously off-key?

Last Week’s Hero– Yunel Escobar had the best OPS (1.154) of the regulars over the weekend…and the fact that he stepped into the leadoff position underscores his value.  Just like one wonders where the outfield would be minus Michael A. Taylor’s ability to patrol left and center this year, last winter’s pickup of Escobar has helped salvage what could have been a very rough season for the infield.

Last Week’s Humbled– Doug Fister won 16 games last season.  Unfortunately, he’s had one rough 2015.  Saturday Fister coughed up 4 runs over 5 innings…and he’s 0-2 with a 4.67 ERA over his last three starts.  In his last six outings, Fister’s allowed 4 or more runs four times.

Game to Watch– with the caveat that every Max Scherzer start is an automatic watch, I’m intrigued by Tuesday’s tilt with the New York Mets.  ESPN.COM has Joe Ross pitching for the Nationals against Jacob de Grom (9-6, 2.14 ERA).  Ross’s improvement over his first three major league starts last month sets the bar high for this week…can the kid continue to deliver?

Game to Miss–  Thursday the Nats begin a four game series in Pittsburgh… and the least appealing pitching matchup has Doug Fister (3-5, 4.30 ERA) against Francisco Liriano (5-6, 2.98 ERA).  Perfect time to check out the bridges that span the three rivers…

Burgundy and Gold Nation doesn’t have a lot to be thankful for this November.  Their quarterback of the future doesn’t seem to be in the plans of their coach of the present.  A defense already with a coordinator on the hot seat loses a new player every week.  Each loss is another indictment on how this team is not well constructed…and the team’s recent history puts everything in play.  It’s not inconceivable they’d fire their coach after one season or trade away their first round quarterback after three seasons as a starter because they’ve done both.  In the interim, there are now five more games to play to set the stage for 2015.  Sunday’s 17-13 loss to San Francisco had a Thanksgiving feel…the offense was repeatedly stuffed and the special teams looked like turkeys.  Did anyone bring yams?

 

RG3VER– the face of the franchise completed 11 of 19 passes for 106 yards and no interceptions…but Griffin was sacked 5 times for 29 yards, meaning the Skins gained just 77 net yards passing.  Three of those sacks came on third down…as the offense feels as threatening as it did in the first year of Gibbs II when one felt the opponents would get their 17 of 20 and then put the game on deep freeze.  At least he didn’t throw any teammates under the bus.

 

Alfred the Centurion– Mr. Morris ran for 125 yards and a touchdown– the first time he reached triple digits all season.  It’s as if Zack had left the cast during the College Years season and then came back for the Wedding in Vegas movie like Lark Voorhies did.  I almost didn’t recognize him…

 

DeSean and Garcon– the dynamic duo combined for 5 catches and 73 yards…aren’t we used to one or the other posting those numbers on his own?  This year the Lamborghini(Garcon) has often been left in the garage…but it’s nice to know that there’s room in there for the Ferrari (Jackson). This is going to sit well…as wide receivers are very understanding and even-tempered.

 

Third and Oh No– the Skins moved the chains on 2 of 13 attempts.  RG3 completed 3 of 7 passes (1 conversion) while getting sacked 3 times;  he ran twice for eight yards (both times coming up short of moving the marker) while Alfred Morris scored a 1 yard touchdown on his lone third down carry (3rd and goal from the 1).  Yardage breakdown:  1-1 on third and short, 1-4 on third and medium (4-6 yards needed) and 0-8 on third and long.  Again, poor execution on first and second down gave the team 5 third downs where they needed 10 yards or more.

 

Here’s to You, Mr. Robinson– when London Fletcher announced his retirement, there was concern that this team would not find the right man to monitor the middle.  Those concerns were overblown as Keenan Robinson once again paces the defense with 8 tackles (7 solo).  The D needs more pieces like Robinson to turn around what’s been a less than ideal fall.

 

Flying Flags– seven penalties for 53 yards might not sound horrible, but five of those infractions came in the fourth quarter.  Three of the seven came on offense (illegal formation, hold, false start) while one came on defense (Ryan Clark’s unnecessary roughness) and three more were on special teams (Akeem Davis with two–a false start and an illegal block).  The illegal block gave the Skins a 1st and 10 from the 8-yard line as opposed to the 28 on their final possession…and Morgan Moses’ false start pushed the ball back to 4-yard line two plays before Griffin’s game-ending fumble.

 

Cobra Kai– one week after going 0-for-2, the Johnny Lawrence of kickers shook it off (apologies to Taylor Swift)– and Sunday he booted both attempts (27 and 36 yards).  Tress Way continues to justify his offseason pickup by averaging 47 yards per kick…

 

Dissecting the Division–Philadelphia’s win keeps the Eagles ahead of Dallas thanks to a better division record;  both would make the playoffs at 8-3 (Eagles get the #3 seed while the Cowboys would be seeded 5th and face the NFC South winner-nice gift for not winning the East).  The NY Giants 5th straight loss keeps the division cellar in play for Big Blue and the Redskins (G-Men own 3rd thanks to their week four win at Fed Ex Field).

 

True North– the AFC North owns a 27-15-1 composite record, two and a half games better than the NFC West (27-17).  The NFC East?  22-22 (good enough for 6th out of 8 divisions) while drawing the AFC South (15-29) as a crossover opponent.  I’m sure they wish they had the NFC South (13-30-1) as their intraconference crossover…as 4-7 Atlanta leads the division with 2-9 Tampa Bay in striking distance of the lead.