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Who Are These Nats?
Greetings from The Booth!
The Booth is warming up nicely, as 80-degree temps have settled into the Shenandoah Valley, and April is now in our rear-view mirror.
On the SU sports scene, seasons have ended for some programs, but Shenandoah University Baseball is chugging right along with high hopes of lots more baseball to be played. The number-15 ranked Hornets just completed the regular season at 26-8 and are looking toward the ODAC Tournament this weekend, and hopefully more post-season baseball after that in late May.
On to the MLB, and the Washington Nationals, who as of this writing are 12-12 and on top of the NL East. The Nats have literally gone from worst-to-first in about a week in baseball’s craziest division. And, they’ve done it with smoke and mirrors, playing without MVP candidate Juan Soto and their war horse pitcher, Stephen Strasburg.
You definitely need a program to follow the Nats this year, and some old favorites have also contributed. Newcomers Josh Harrison and Yadiel Hernandez have been on fire offensively, while Kyle Schwarber has already launched 2 tape-measure walk-off home runs. Josh Bell looks like he is coming out of his slump, and how about Trea Turner? The Nats’ shortstop, not known for being a slugger, leads the team with 6 homers, while Ryan Zimmerman, who has found the fountain of youth after opting out of 2020, has 4.
As for the pitching, the Nationals’ bullpen, usually the team’s achilles heel, is one of the best in the league, with newcomer Brad Hand 2-0, and 3-for-3 in save opportunities. Max Scherzer seems to have found his groove, throwing an old-school complete-game 5-hitter in his last outing, before rushing off to be with his wife for the birth of their third child. Eric Fedde and Joe Ross have been solid starters, and Patrick Corbin is getting his mojo back after a shaky start. Meanwhile, Jon Lester returned recently with a scoreless start.
Kudos to GM Mike Rizzo, who was anything but quiet during the offseason, and so far has assembled the pieces of a Washington team that can only get better when Soto and Strasburg rejoin the team. Until then, the Nats can certainly hang around in a tight division where no one is going to run away and hide.
Buckle in for what has already been a bumpy 2021 that will hopefully (to paraphrase manager Davey Martinez)take us to another beautiful place. Oh, and don’t forget to grab a program for the ride…
Until the next visit from The Booth…GO NATS…GO HORNETS!