5 Nats Takeaways
Greetings From The Booth!
It’s great to be back in the Booth after a week vacation at beautiful Deep Creek Lake (Md.), where life was easy. Except for my adventure at DCL State Park. One of the highlights of my week was hoofing it over to the park, which was about a mile and change from the lake house. The trails are beautiful, but very rocky in places. One of my hikes was on the steep 4.5 mile Indian Turnip Trail, where I also decided to do some trail running. 3 falls later I looked like I’d been in a losing battle with a bear or asphalt, much to the dismay of several hikers I met coming the other way. I finished the loop, bloodied and battered, but none the worse for wear.
On to sports (or lack of). The elephant in the room for a while has been the state of fall sports in general, and at Shenandoah University specifically. Sadly, but not unexpectedly, the announcement was made this week by the university that athletic competition would be suspended until January 1, 2021. Obviously, fall sports like football are affected, although a plan is being formulated to possibly play football and the other fall sports in the spring of next year. That’s a discussion for a different day. Suffice it to say, after 20 years of doing play-by-play for Hornets football, it will be a strange Autumn, indeed…
But at least for now, we have baseball, and it begins tonight (Thursday) as the Nationals open defense of their World Series title against the New York Yankees. If you like great pitching matchups, it doesn’t get any better than Max Scherzer against new Yank Gerrit Cole. Before those two take the hill, Dr. Anthony Fauci will throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park, and the Nats will unveil their championship banner. Now all we need are fans…
Here are my five takeaways for the upcoming Nats season, and the keys to a repeat of 2019:
“The Big Three”: The Nats have one of the best starting rotations in baseball in Scherzer, Strasburg, and Corbin, and in a 60-game season they will need to be their best right out of the gate. In a much-improved NL East, the Big Three is a huge advantage for the Nationals.
“Replacing Rendon:” I’m not sure you can replace Anthony Rendon, who has gone on to the Angels, but the Nats are hoping that youngster Carter Kieboom (love that last name) can provide some production at the hot corner. He struggled last year at the major league level, and will need to hit better that 2019’s .128. Newcomers Eric Thames and Starlin Castro were nice offseason acquisitions.
“No Soto Slump:” The so-called “Childish Bambino” has become a bonafide superstar at the tender age of 21. With Rendon gone from the 3-spot in the lineup, it will be interesting to see if Soto can have a repeat of his stellar 2019 season.
“No Bad Start:” In a short season, anything like last year’s 19-31 start will spell disaster for the Nats. ‘Nuff said.
“Bullpen:” Kudos to GM Mike Rizzo for addressing what has been a real problem for the Nationals in recent years. Will Harris joins the Nats’ pen this year, and even though he gave up the big Game 7 homer to Howie Kendrick in last year’s World Series, Harris brings a 1.50 ERA to Washington from Houston. Sean Doolittle and Daniel Hudson will be heavily relied on, as wins in a 60-game slate are more precious.
Enjoy the game tonight, and until next visit from the Booth, GO NATS, and GO HORNETS!