Nationals Rising; A+ Pitching; Sports Betting Win

Off the bat of Mark Reynolds… the Nationals win all four in Arizona, improve to 13 wins in their last 15 games, and are outscoring opponents nearly two to one (69-35). The Nationals are rising, the pitching is outstanding, and the panic that was has no subsided to a gentle “May-Calmness” that everyone DC can appreciate! The Capitals seem to be on a heater of their own but what the Nationals are doing day in and day out is excellent and most on the panel today agree they could go 8-2 or 9-1 over their next ten to further pad their stats! Join Stevie, Reali, Mat the Met, Doc, and Joe on a full-house roundtable discussing all things Nationals! .. and go C-A-P-S CAPS CAPS CAPS!

Capitals Win; Beat Pens in Overtime; Next Stop Tampa

The Capitals have done it! They went behind enemy lines and brought home one of the biggest victories in DC sports history beating the Pens in overtime sending them to the Eastern Conference Finals! What a game, what a series, what a win, and DC is going nuts! LP, FP, and Joe discuss it all. #ALLCAPS C-A-P-S CAPS CAPS CAPS!

Max By The Numbers

“It’s human nature to miss what’s under your nose… Till you remind a fool”
~Fresh Eyes, Andy Grammar

My apologies on the cheesy opening line but anytime you can incorporate an Andy Grammar lyric into a baseball article, you gotta go for it. Next week hopefully will be a Kanye reference (just kidding, but we do love free thought).

The truth is just as the lyric says, sometimes all of us take for granted something so close to us, something so great that we see so often. And that’s exactly where a lot of Nats fans might be right now with one, Maxwell M. Scherzer.

Every 5th day this guy gets on the bump is a sight to behold. The buzz in the stadium when Max is pitching is electric and the anticipation of seeing something special is palpable. And the numbers back it up.

Image result for max scherzer

In the month of April, Scherzer went a sterling 5-1 with a 1.62 ERA (7 ER/39.0 IP) and 57 strikeouts against just nine walks. Those numbers were good enough to earn him the National League Pitcher of the Month Award, announced last Wednesday.

Last month, Scherzer led the National League in strikeouts (57) and wins (5). He also ranked in the top five in the National League in strikeouts per 9.0 IP (2nd, 13.15), ERA (4th, 1.62), WHIP (4th, .082), opp. AVG (T4th, .165) and opp. OBP (5th, .227). He recorded four 10+ strikeout games, tied with Houston’s Gerrit Cole for the most in Major League Baseball during the first month.

In three starts from April 9 through April 20, Scherzer allowed just seven hits in 71 at-bats, yielding an opponent slash line of .099/.169/.183. He struck out 30 batters and issued just four walks during this stretch of games. On April 9 against Atlanta, he tossed his ninth career complete game (fifth career shutout) to end Washington’s five-game losing streak. On April 14, he struck out 11 batters in 7.0 innings of two-run ball as the Nationals topped the Colorado Rockies, snapping the club’s three-game losing streak.

With the Nats off to a somewhat rocky start, one shutters to think where this team would be without the consistent brilliance of Scherzer. But as we at DTC have been saying all season long, as long as Max is there every 5th day, this ball club will be in the hunt come October.

But speaking of October, I think I speak for all Nats fans when I say as great as Max has been, there is a still a long way to go to make up for that disastrous relief appearance against the Cubs in Game 5 of the NLDS last year. The thought of handing the best pitcher in the world a lead in a decisive game 5 at home in the top of the 5th and not winning that game still conjures up nightmares among those who were unlucky enough to witness it at the ballpark. But that was then, and this is now fresh season, fresh hopes, fresh dreams, fresh dominance, fresh eyes.

And speaking of all things fresh, Let’s go Caps! #ALLCAPS

Nationals Make a Change; #BeatPittsburgh; Panic or No-Panic?

The Nationals have made a change and the DTC Nats Crew… all of us… are discussing it prior to first pitch! Stevie, Reali, Doc, Mat, and Joe break it all down and debate where it is time to panic or not as a Nationals fan and if #BeatPittsburgh can happen on both the baseball field in DC and the ice a few hours north. The pitching has been solid, the hitting not so much, injuries are a problem but not an excuse, and overall a city that is recovering from a Wizards loss needs a Caps win, and needs to see the Nationals play better overall to keep us all sane. So much in this 20min podcast… listen and share! Go Nats! …and #BeatPittsburgh!!

Who Are These Nationals? … (and please #BeatPittsburgh)

April is in the book and the first month (plus a couple of days in March) is in the books and there are lots of exciting stuff happening around baseball. From Shoehi Ohtani’s fast start at the plate to Ozzie Albies turning into a more powerful version of Daniel Murphy to Mike Trout….being Mike Trout as usual, baseball has enjoyed a great first month and seen an influx of exciting young talent. Of the expected super teams, the hometown Nats, Dodgers, Yankees, Indians, and Astros, only the latter two sit in first place at the end of the month.

I’ll start closer to home here in D.C. and talk about the NL East (previously known as the NL Least) and how 3 teams are over .500 and within 2.5 games of first place, and none of which are the Nats. Instead, the previous owners of the division are 3 games under .500 and down 1/3 of their lineup after the first month. While the Mets are playing well, the 2 biggest surprises in baseball have to be the Phillies and Braves. Thought of as still a year or two away, both teams have already banked 16 wins and look poised to contend deep into the season. A previously anemic Braves offense instead has the en fuego Ozzie Albies, rookie phenom Ronald Acuna, and superstar Freddie Freeman batting 1-2-3 and averaging 5.6 runs per game in the first month. If their pitching catches up to their offense, look out. This could be a scary team and battle all year long for both the division crown and a wild card berth. The Phillies on the other hand, have weathered an early storm of bizarre managerial decisions by Gabe Kapler and have been winning games on the strength of their strong bullpen and improved starting pitching led by offseason acquisition Jake Arrieta. Odubel Herrera leading the NL in hitting and Maikel Franco finally hitting well also doesn’t hurt. With the Mets also playing well thus far and their starters continuing to remain somewhat healthy, the Nats can no longer cakewalk over the rest of the division and must soon awaken from their early season doldrums if they want to win a third straight division crown.

Elsewhere around baseball, my favorite story has been the dominance of little-known Milwaukee Brewers reliever Josh Hader. Last night, Hader came on in the seventh and proceeded to strike out 8 of the nine batters he faced (he walked the other) and record an eight out save. On the season, Hader has faced 62 batters and struck out an incredible 39 of them in just 18 innings. At this current pace, he’s on track to strike out an unfathomable 211 batters (only 16 starters reached 200+ strikeouts last year) and pitch almost 100 innings. While he probably come close to either of those numbers, it’s still such a fun story.

Your AL and NL leaders in RBIs at the end of April are none other than Didi Gregorius and Javier Baez, just like everyone predicted at the beginning of the season. Sean Manaea leads the AL in wins and ERA and threw the first no-hitter of the season, because of course he did. As mentioned, Ozzie Albies is tied for the NL lead in home runs with 9 in 116 at-bats after hitting only 6 in almost twice as many at-bats last season. Manny Machado is leading the AL in hitting and is second in home runs, yet Baltimore is already a million (approximately) games behind in the AL East and will soon offer up Machado’s services to the highest bidder. No matter where he ends up, Machado is going to get PAID this offseason after his successful transition to shortstop this season. With Kershaw struggling by his standards, Max Scherzer has continued his ascension as the clear best starter in baseball as he leads the majors in wins, is second in strikeouts, and in the top 5 in ERA….At least some things have stayed the same.

There are so many incredible things happening around baseball that it’s hard to cover in one column, but month in, this is shaping up to be one of the most exciting seasons in recent memory. Now if only the Nationals can start to consistently playing good baseball….a fun season so far will get even more exciting.

Oh.. and #BeatPittsburgh!