Archives for posts with tag: Turn

You never like it when you’re out and about and that one guy in your crew brings up the worst possible result when you’re having a good time.  And then his vision comes true.  Before the west coast swing (that involved Milwaukee, which is on the west shore of Lake Michigan- so there is some semblance of completion) manager Dusty Baker openly mentioned how dreadful a trip like this could be.  Really?  After taking two of three from the Cubs?  Fans chuckled-perhaps even compared him to Lou Holtz dreading Notre Dame-Navy games-as the Nats won their first two from San Diego.  Scherzer pitched well enough to win in the third game…and then the bottom dropped out.  A magnificent seven game losing streak where hitting was weak, pitching was porous, fielding was fickle and the ace had to be reshuffled to the bottom of the deck.  Thank goodness for Tanner Roark…

Adding Injury to Insult- Stephen Strasburg missed his Monday night showdown with Clayton Kershaw due to a strained back…and then six days later was placed on the disabled list.  In a month where pitching has been less than ideal (4.40 ERA), this was not a desired situation.  Avid eyes await his return…

Division Dissection- despite the recent slump, the Nats find themselves three games ahead of the New York Mets and Miami.  The Mets in signing Jose Reyes officially have hit the panic button regarding their inefficient offense-and they’ve been hitting it like a five-year old on an elevator.  The Marlins have won 7 of 10 and have become the “little engine that could” story of the early season…scraping to victories right and left.  Philadelphia and Atlanta remain on the outside looking in…while the Braves have quietly gone 17-21 after losing 28 of their first 39 games.  Traction…

Division to Digest- the Orioles’ five game winning streak gives them a bit of a cushion over Boston and Toronto.  The American League East boasts three of the top nine offenses in the majors while the O’s are the highest scoring team in June (the Blue Jays rank third).  The Orioles are getting this done thanks in part to the best offseason pickup in the AL- Mark Trumbo.  His 22 home runs has already matched his total from last year…and he looks to be on pace to surpass career highs in HR and RBI (34 & 100, set in 2013 while with the Los Angeles Angels).  They’re also winning thanks to a shut-down bullpen:  20-7 with a 2.91 ERA.  Very necessary when your starters are 25-23 with a 4.96 ERA (and that includes Chris Tillman’s 10-1 start). 

Last Week’s Heroes-  TANNER ROARK earns capital letters as he tossed seven strong innings Sunday to help snap the losing streak.  In two starts Roark was 1-1 with a 1.88 ERA, 12 strikeouts and 2 walks.  He also shined at the plate-going 2-5 with 2 walks.  Danny Espinosa tied for the team lead in most home runs and led the club in RBI.  Even if they were 1 and 4, that’s still more than expected for a guy batting eighth.  Wilson Ramos hit .409 in what’s becoming a ho-hum solidly stellar season for the catcher.

Last Week’s Humbled- Michael A. Taylor hit .143 with 8 strikeouts and no walks while committing an error that brought home the deciding run in their last game with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Ben Revere as a leadoff hitter went .111 with just one walk.  While Gio Gonzalez endures another rough outing (6 earned runs in 3 innings pitched), Max Scherzer continues to cough up home runs (he now leads the National League with 20).  With Strasburg on the shelf, this can’t happen…

Game to Watch- Wednesday Max Scherzer pitches against the Mets’ Steven Matz (I’m already hearing the Seinfeld “salsa-seltzer” bit) in the series finale.  Metz in his last visit to DC struck out 7 over 8 scoreless innings…prompting manager Dusty Baker to name-drop John Matlack in the postgame press conference. Hopefully this series wrap-up will be more Seinfeld than MASH…

Game to Watch II- Tuesday the Nats face the Mets’ Matt Harvey…who has had issues early and often this season.  While he’s yet to win this month, Harvey does boast a 2.88 ERA in June.  Facing him is TBA…thanks to Strasburg’s absence.  Instead of trotting out Yusmeiro Petit (after he pitched well last Monday in a spot start against LA) or a AAA bandaid (Austin Voth is 4-3 with a 2.99 ERA, AJ Cole is 6-4 with an ERA OF 4.35, Paolo Espino is 4-7 but with an ERA of 3.31 and a strikeout to walk ratio of 67-15), it’s prime prospect Lucas Giolito.  I WILL NOT be re-watching the TURN season finale…

Game to Miss- Thursday the Nats exhale with a series opener against NL East cellar-dwelling Cincinnati.  Gio Gonzalez has lost six straight decisions while Brandon Finnegan has lost two consecutive starts.  I will be re-watching the TURN season finale…

These are the series this team would have lost last year.  Two thirds of their way through a nine game divisional gauntlet, the 2016 Nationals remain in front of the NL East pack after taking two of three from the Mets and two of three from the Marlins.  The load doesn’t lighten up with three more games against the Mets and four against a St. Louis team still smarting from a sweep earlier this year against the Nats.

Dissecting the Division- the Nats lead the Mets by 1.5 games, the Phillies by 2, and Miami by 4.5 entering this week.  Atlanta decided that a 9-28 start was the perfect time to re-boot, and Fredi Gonzalez says goodbye two and a half years removed from a playoff appearance.  That and a dispersion of talent that would make Richard Gere’s character in Pretty Woman (before he fell for Julia Roberts) proud.  Since then, the Braves have won 3 of 6.  I’d joking say “Break up the Braves” but they still have the look of a once-good band that only has one remaining original member touring with them.

Division to Watch- just up I-95 the Preakness was run this past weekend at Pimlico.  But there’s another intriguing race involving Baltimore as the Orioles and Boston are tied for first in the AL East.  Fans of a certain age will recognize this Red Sox team…they lead the majors in runs scored but have a pitching staff filled with tires ready to blow at any moment.  We only need Bill Lee to come out of retirement to join the back end of the rotation to make it complete.

Last Week’s Heroes- remember in elementary school when a teacher would move two kids’ desks apart and their work would improve dramatically?  Manager Dusty Baker dropped Anthony Rendon from second to sixth in the order last week… and the third baseman responded by hitting .500 with 7 RBI.  The guy he was following in the order, Ben Revere, came out of his early season slumber by hitting .348 with 4 runs scored.  Hopefully Mr. Baker will keep Anthony and Ben’s desks apart during class but still let them sit together at lunch.

Last Week’s Humbled- Danny Espinosa (.158 with 9 strikeouts) remains a liability in the #8 spot.  With a lineup where the prime offensive positions (first base and left field) aren’t producing (27th and 26th in OPS respectively), you need every little bit from every spot at this time.  The shadow of Trea Turner in AAA Syracuse (.317 with 35 runs scored and 14 stolen bases) looms large.

Game to Watch- Saturday evening Gio Gonzalez pitches against St. Louis.  The lefthander is off to a 3-1 start with a 1.86 ERA…enjoying a career rebirth under new manager Dusty Baker.  The Cardinals counter with Adam Wainwright-who’s off to an atypical start in 2016 (4-3 but with an ERA of 5.92).  Can he shake his early-season struggles?

Game to Miss- Thursday Joe Ross (3-4, 2.70 ERA) pitches against the Cardinals’ Mike Leake (3-3, 4.07).  Unfortunately on a staff where one pitcher (Scherzer) is tying major league records, another is still unbeaten (Strasburg), a third has cool hair to match his hot start (Gio) and a fourth is sneaky good (Tanner Roark), Joe Ross is the Gummo Marx.  Plus, after nine straight games against division foes, it’s okay if you catch up on TURN and The Americans that you’ve DVRd, TiVoed or simply recorded on Betamax.

Just one year ago I lamented one rather underwhelming TV seasonThe Office was put out of its misery– and it was misery, make no mistake about it.  How I Met Your Mother found a way to stretch its eighth season into a ninth by having 24 episodes deal with one weekend (hey, 24 got there first– and did it a whole lot better).  Dallas even tried to soldier on minus the one Four Star General we all tuned in to watch.  Would things get even worse before they got better?

Despite the fact that Two Broke Girls remains a program people watch, 2014 is looking up.  First to clear the air about addition by subtraction:  I watched 41 minutes of Dallas this spring.  I’m over it.  I can’t buy John Ross as somebody who can master his “ABC’s”… let alone scheme on any level.  The “sensitive Christopher storyline” has Bobby’s son growing a beard and dating a single mom.  Kind of like what happened to Steve Sanders on 90120 with the Hillary Swank character, except instead of adding facial hair Ian Ziering simply started to lose hair.  Drunk Sue Ellen was shocking in 1978…not so now.  Even the burning Southfork was 30 years after the fact.  Where’s Ray Krebs when you need him?

 

Mad Men– this is “technically” the final season.  Even though they’re producing 8 this year followed by 8 more next year.  What’s going to stop shows from eventually producing 13 “one episode” seasons down the road?  Don Draper’s in a free-fall this May…with his wife in Hollywood, his work life on heavily measured life support (reporting to rookie of the year Lou) and his children being played by two of the worst actors ever (Kiernan Shipka excepted)  Instead of Bob Benson (from accounts!) cursing in Spanish, we’re cursing any and all Bobby Draper storylines.  I’m glad he traded a sandwich for gumdrops.  I’m thankful they’ve kept Gene on the sidelines for the most part.  And I’m surprised they haven’t turned Glen into the lead singer from the Turtles (they’re dead ringers).  It’s interesting how the firm is divided against itself– California/New York, Roger Sterling/Jim Cutler, Peggy/her underlings, Dawn/Stacy.  With the glacial pace this show proceeds, will there be any resolution of any of these conflicts anytime soon?  Tune in next year…but later this season.

 

The Americans– at least Sterling Cooper & Partners is one office.  Each front here is fractured (FBI, Russian Embassy, the Jennings, Stan’s family, the handlers) and somehow makes progress despite itself.  I credit the wigs.  Philip and Elizabeth are having issues managing their kids (nothing like sneaking into a neighbor’s house to play Intellivision–only to fall asleep), marriages (Martha’s this close to going over the edge in one direction or another) and methods (from Philip changing the bait for Yousaf to Elizabeth having to let her Nicaraguan protégé die).  Thank goodness Stan is being worked over by Nina and Oleg…while the gay Navy SEAL is going rogue.  It’s a credit to the writers and actors that a show with protagonists trying to bring down the U.S. hasn’t turned people off yet.

 

Turn– while the cover for these spies isn’t a travel agency in 1776 (it’s cabbage farming)…intrigue and information gathering while the other side is looking the other way isn’t that different.  Instead of the hero looking to steal stealth weaponry secrets for the USSR, the good guy in AMC’s new show is trying to get one over on the Redcoats.  There’s the unsure of himself lead who winds up being pulled into the greater cause.  There’s the forbidden love of his life he’s now working with to beat the British…along with intergenerational conflict.  There’s even a comically evil British Captain who smacks of the Ski Patrol/Cobra Kai/Alpha Beta type…only with an accent that makes you want to punch him.  The question is much like The Americans– how beholden to specific facts of history will this show be?

 

24– Jack’s back…if only in limited form.  Will the seconds count off twice as quickly?  Is there a metric hour that I didn’t know about?  After a less than awesome Season 8 that wrapped up four years ago…he’s in London this time (mixed reviews for foreign 24’s:  while Songala was cool in the movie 24: Redemption and the Season 5/6 car commercial in China was decent, Season 3’s Mexican storyline was fraught with overacting).  And Benjamin Bratt’s chasing him while his ex (Audrey’s no longer catatonic!) is married to Tate Donovan who works for her father the President (I buy James Heller as our chief executive a lot more than Wayne Palmer).  Chloe’s back with a bit of a gothic look (hopefully her personality remains the same–meaning socially incompetent) while there’s a new crisis (isn’t there always?).  There will be shooting, shouting and ridiculous plot holes.  I’m hoping this is more like Seasons 1, 2, 4 &5 than 3, 6 & 8.  WE’RE WASTING TIME!