Report Card: Davey Martinez; B-

The Nats have played over twenty games and we have a sufficient sample size to evaluate the new rookie skipper. The Nats find themselves in an unfamiliar spot as they sit in 4th place in the division with only a better record than the Marlins. Everyone expected the division to be better, but no one expected the Mets to get off to a historic 12-2 start, or even the Phillies and Braves to be this competitive. When a team like the Nationals – that is built to reach the World Series – starts off this bad, it’s easy to point the finger at the new skip but the story is much more complicated than that.

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Despite the rocky start, Davey Martinez deserves credit for seemingly changing the culture of this team overnight. Davey came in with the Joe Maddon school-of-thought and doing things differently, as evidenced by not only spring training but also the first few weeks of the season. We’ve seen the pitcher batting eighth on multiple occasions despite varied results. We’ve also seen Davey take two starters of the out of the lineup on the second day of the season to replace them with two hitters on the bench better suited for the pitching matchup, which resulted in two homers. Davey deserves credit for getting his bench guys involved early in the season so that they’re ready to step in when inevitable injuries hit. He is not afraid of doing things differently despite taking over an established winner.

Injuries to 3 of your top five hitters is difficult for any manager to handle. Davey has adjusted to the early injuries by leveraging the Nats speed and playing a more small-ball style. When you’re struggling to string together hits, every base becomes even more important. The Nats are currently the most aggressive team in baseball with the most attempted steals per game, and they have only one team ahead of them in terms of successful steals per game. Trea Turner also leads the national league in steals. Davey has successfully reformulated this team in response to the loss of several of his best hitters.

When it comes to the lineup we’ve seen tinkering here and there, but one constant has been Zimmerman in the cleanup spot despite his sluggish start. Zimmerman is currently hitting .174/.250/.400 with a WAR of 0. With numbers like that, the Nationals rank towards the bottom of the national league in terms of production from their cleanup spot. Despite this Davey has consistently supported his guy and Zimmerman rewarded him with two home runs and a triple against the Mets. Davey knows Zimmerman is critical to this team’s success, and has shown to stick with his guy even if the production is not there yet.

Overall, Davey Martinez has done some good things with this team early but the team’s record continues to hold him back. He can’t be blamed for a slew of injuries but the rookie manager is done a solid of job of steadying the ship.

Overall grade: B-

DTC: Caps Win 3 Straight; Wiz win playoff home opener

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The Washington Capitals have now won 3 straight! Starting the series down 0-2 to the Columbus Blue Jackets the Caps have flipped the momentum of the series based on a Nicklas Backstrom OT goal. FP, Joe and LP on an emergency Pod to discuss after a game 5 win. Has Coach Trotz played the right cards with in series adjustments? Should Holtby have started game 2? Would have made a difference? The DTC crew discusses in depth. During the second half of the Pod Joe, LP and FP discuss the Wizards game 3 win and what that means for the rest of the series? Whether the series begins to turn or not hinges on a huge game 4 in D.C. #Caps #ALLCAPS #DCFamily

Nats .500; Mets Overrated; Impact of Cold Weather on Bats

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Stevie, Reali, Mat (the Met), and Joe discuss the series that was between the Mets and Nats, the upcoming west coast road trip to face the Dodgers and Giants and the overall impact of the weather on baseball players… which Joe isn’t buying but Reali and Mat are selling (hard!). Stevie has taken an interest in James Comey and believes it isn’t time to panic, just readjust… many nuggets in this epsiode… listen and share!

MLB – 2018 Season Checkup

The beauty of sports is that no matter how hard you try, you cannot win anything on paper. As old as the adage is, it proves true every time.  That is why we love sports. That is why we love baseball.

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

Now, I will temper my enthusiasm and point to the fact that only 10% of the games have been played so far. There is no season longer than the baseball season, so things can and will change. However, that does not mean we cannot look around the league and have some fun with what has transpired so far.

National League – What is going on? 

Raise your hand if you had the Mets, Pirates, and Diamondbacks leading their respective divisions at any point in the season? OK, let us make it harder. Raise your hands if you had the Phillies or Braves with records above .500 ? Ok, one more. Raise your hands if you had the dominant Nationals, Cubs and Dodgers with records at or below .500. After the weekend series, the Nats had a .438 record and were seven games behind the Mets in the loss column. The Cubs were the best of the bunch at .500, 3.5 games back. The Dodgers, well they were in last place with a .357 record 5.5 games behind the Diamondbacks. Again, no one expects these teams to stay this bad, but truth be told, these fan bases have not been all too happy considering their respective championship aspirations.

Two fan bases holding their breath, hoping their team’s hot starts continue are the Mets and Pirates. The Mets find themselves 10 games over 500 (12-2), with the best Staff ERA and Bullpen ERA. Mickey Callaway has pushed all the right buttons. The dream staff of Syndergaard, DeGrom, Matz, Harvey, and Wheeler has finally gone through one successful rotation. The Mets have won with timely hitting and better pitching. They are healthy, and that means they are scary.  The Mets all-time franchise best start has bought themselves a small cushion to land on when they begin to lose some games, but just for kicks, if they play 500 ball the rest of the way, they will finish with 86 wins, and in the hunt for a wild card. That’s not a bad start!

The Pirates were not supposed to be good. They unloaded former MVP Andrew McCuttcheon to the Giants and ace Gerritt Cole to the Astros (the rich get richer. Fans were writing petitions to remove the ownership.  Yet, here they are, winning ballgames in a very complete manner. The Pirates schedule has not been a complete walkthrough with series against the Cubs, and Twins and the surprisingly above .500 Phillies. They have also played the Marlins and Tigers who don’t scare anyone. It will be interesting to see where they are next month.

All hail The Sho-Hei Kid

Baseball can sometimes be a little tired with all the “get off my lawn” commentary from all the old guys who have played the game.  The problem that many people point to with baseball is that it doesn’t ever adapt or change. “That’s how you play the game” Or “Respect the game” are antiquated phrases that former players and analysts spew and it is tired. You know what isn’t tired? Watching Shohei Otani. The kid is good!  Really good! What makes it better, everyone wanted him to fail. “You can’t pitch and hit in this league!” “It can’t be done!” “Pick one!” After a rough spring, many thought he would fall flat. Instead, check these numbers out; As a starter He is 2 -0 with a 2.08 ERA, 18 K .46 WHIP in 13 Innings. Those are very strong top of the rotation numbers. It gets better! Check out his bat! In 8 games, He is hitting .367 with a .424 OBP and a .767 SlG %. That’s a 1.191 OPS!!! Not to mention 3 HR, 5 XBH, 11 RBI. You what baseball needs, Pitchers who can play every day and hit. The last one who could really do both, Babe Ruth! I’m not saying he will be Babe Ruth, but I will tune in every time he is in the game. He is that good.

The Angels, are must watch baseball. They have the best player in baseball in Mike Trout, who has started off HOT. They have Shohei. They have the great Albert Pujols (downward trend be darned) chasing 3000 hits (2,988 to date) and climbing up the all-time home run list (617)  They have a stacked lineup with a healthy Ian Kinsler, Justin Upton and others. They lead all of baseball in Runs Scored, Home Runs, Batting Average, Slugging % and OPS.  Buy tickets and go watch this team, when they come to your town.

Other Things to Watch

Bryce Harper – The Nats may not be clicking, but Bryce is mashing. His at-bats are must see TV. If the rest of the team doesn’t hit, he may be walking at a Bondsian mark.

Stanton Struggles – It is April and it is cold, and Giancarlo Stanton has not been hitting. After an exciting opening day homer, the Yankees fan base has already booed their prize acquisition. Expect him to turn things around by mid-May. Judge, Stanton, Sanchez and the Yankees will bomb.

Boston Strong – The Sox, after their bullpen erupted in the first game of the season have only lost one other game since. They are hitting well (2nd behind the Angels in most major stats) and their starting pitching has been dominant.  This team is really good!

The Champs just doing their thing – Don’t forget about the Astros. Their lineup hasn’t come around yet, but their pitching is showing once again how good this team can be. They will get hot. We can’t wait to watch the Angels vs. Astros play 19 times this year.

Throughout the season, we will continue to track these and other developing stories. After a record setting 2017 in Home Runs, they are down this year. Is the weather to blame? Will chicks no longer dig the long ball? Tune in here every month to find out.

 

 

 

DC Trifecta; Raptors Crush Wizards; Wiz Down 0-2

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The Wizards didn’t show up for game two and the fans are feeling the pain throughout DC tonight. The DC Trifecta was in play but with the Wizards losing the triple win was out of the question shortly after 930p. LP, Joe, and Canada discuss the Wiz/Raptors series and break down what went wrong for DC and what went well for Toronto. Can the Wiz get right and force the series beyond four games? … maybe, but highly unlikely given their game two performance! Plus, what surprised you more… Pacers beating Cavs or D.Wade pretending that age is just a number? The NBA Playoffs are awesome, join the boys and discuss! (Photo Credit: WaPo)