A Season On The Brink
Greetings from The Booth!
Well, as we’ve said many times before…Death, Taxes, and Shenandoah University Baseball. For the sixth consecutive year, Kevin Anderson’s squad will play in the NCAA D-3 Tournament after successfully defending it’s ODAC title last weekend. The Hornets beat Randolph Macon 5-4 in a nailbiter to once again punch their ticket to “The Show.”
SU stumbled out of the gate a bit this year but caught fire at the right time and is playing it’s best baseball of the season heading into Friday’s game against Kean. Should they make it out of the 4-team regional this weekend, they would play in a “Super Regional”, and then hopefully to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where the D3 World Series will be played for the first time.
Hornet Baseball is truly an under-appreciated area dynasty. 3 ODAC Championships, 10 NCAA appearances , and 2 trips to the D3 World Series. All done without having it’s own facility. SU Football calls Shentel Stadium Home, Hornet Basketball plays in it’s shiny new Wilkins Center, while Baseball plays it’s home games in what essentially is a city park. While there’s nothing wrong with Bridgeforth Field, it’s not home.
Let’s right this wrong, please?
On to the Washington Nationals, who are 17-25, a whopping 7 games behind Philadelphia in the NL East, and we’re only in mid-May. The season so far has been an unqualified disaster. Injuries, an anemic offense, and a dumpster fire of a bullpen have all converged into a perfect storm that has all but shipwrecked a promising campaign.
The seat is now red hot for manager Davey Martinez, whose every move seems to backfire. It was Martinez who told the fan base that fundamentals would be a priority in Spring training. Instead, the 2019 Nats have trouble doing the so-called “little things” that lead to winning baseball.
Case in point: Tuesday in the first inning against the New York Mets, Washington shortstop Wilmer Difo failed to make an accurate throw to first base on what would have been an inning-ending double play. Instead of being in the dugout, starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson had to throw extra pitches, and got himself in a bases-loaded jam. Former National Wilson Ramos launched a grand-slam into the left field stands for a 4-0 Mets lead. Any life in Nats Park was sucked out before the game was an inning old. And it all started with a seemingly “little thing.”
The season is now at a dangerous crossroads for the Washington Nationals. A diminishing fan base is calling for heads to roll. The Nats cannot fall too much farther back in the standings, or this season will be over before Memorial Day. Every night we’re told that the team is going to turn things around and win lots of games, yet the Nationals have not won back-to-back games since mid-April.
I’m not sure the fix is as simple as a managerial change. To fire Davey now is to admit the season is a lost cause. And who would the Nats get at this point? The Lerners don’t pay managers very well, so unless that changes, it’s unrealistic to think that Joe Girardi is going to take the wheel. And Dusty Baker ain’t coming back.
But if you believe that the numbers don’t lie, I’ve got one number for you: 98-105. That is the Nationals’ record under Martinez in his season and change.
Decisions like firing a manager are tough decisions to make, and are made by baseball people a lot smarter and better paid than me. But clearly there is something amiss about this Nationals team. And doing nothing is probably not the answer. Buckle up, these next few weeks could be a bumpy ride.
Until next visit from the Booth, GO NATS, and GOOD LUCK HORNETS!