Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sunday Smorgasbord 8-19

  • From the "Gee, What a Surprise File", Nats first baseman, Nick Johnson will not play at all this season. This makes the recent contract extension given to Dmitri Young even better. Personally I think the Nats would be well advised to find a first baseman as talented as Johnson but one with better durability at a minimum and a fast healer in a perfect world. The long awaited acquisition of Wily Mo Pena fills a dire need of a power hitter who can come off the bench. Whether it is Pena or Ryan Church in that role makes no difference because the Nats lack of power hitters to pinch hit late in games has been a problem recently. Pena might be the one better suited to that role because he isn't as defensively sound as Church is. Though I do give Pena credit, he at least waves at the ball as it goes by him in the outfield.
  • The sad part about the Mets sweeping the Nats this weekend is the way last night's game went down. The Mets clearly have more talent and shouldn't need to have questionable calls made in their favor in order to win a game. Not a single close call went the Nats way when more than a couple should have. Maybe these are growing pains and maybe they aren't but it is frustrating to see hard work go unrewarded. (Though it could simply be that MLB needs a New York team in the playoffs...) Now at 55-69, the Nats are 15.5 games back of the New York Mets in the NL East with an elimination number of 24. The Nats are 11.5 behind San Diego for the Wild Card with an elimination number from the playoffs of 28. The Nats are a game back of Florida for fourth in the NL East and there are six teams in MLB with worse records.
  • Now Redskins fans have a real reason to panic. Forget the meaningless 12-10 loss to the Steelers, the knee injury suffered by Jason Campbell and elbow injury suffered by Marcus Washington last night are real causes for concern. While Campbell is officially listed as day-to-day it means his preseason is over. Campbell isn't Clinton Portis, he needs the preseason to take charge of the team and establish chemistry with his receivers. If you ever wonder why teams hardly play their starters in the preseason, this is exactly why and this is the third time in the four years under Joe Gibbs that the Redskins have lost a key offensive player in the preseason. Campbell isn't down for the count yet, but I wouldn't be surprised in the least to see this knee injury linger on into the regular season.
  • However, not having any preseason games does not make you immune to season ending injuries. Maryland knows that after losing redshirt freshman Alex Wujciak for the season this week because of a knee injury. Head Coach Ralph Friedgen had publicly declared him too good for the Terps to not to play him somewhere. While that problem is solved and the Terps don't have to figure out how to get him on the field, it creates depth problems. For the Title IX crusaders who love to attack Football's 85 scholarship limit, here's a kid who will occupy a slot for another season, will not even see the practice field now, and the Terps cannot go out and sign somebody to come in right away to replace him.
  • After flaming out in the SuperLiga, D.C. United rebounded strongly on the road and got another much needed 2-0 win over Columbus. United is now tied with New York for second place with 33 points, but D.C. has a game in hand. They trail New England for first place in the Eastern Conference and first overall by three points. However, D.C. United has a whopping three games in hand on the Revolution. D.C. should be able to win at least one of those three games.
  • This week D.C. United will host the New York Red Bulls at RFK on Wednesday night to try to break that second place tie. United then heads to Toronto to play FC Toronto on Saturday night. The Nats hit the road and should see their fortunes improve as they start a four game series in Houston tomorrow night against the Astros. The Astros are only one game ahead of the Nats. The Nats then head to Colorado for a weekend series against the Rockies.
  • As always, please send all comments, questions, corrections, suggestions, criticisms, and odds of winning the 2008 World Series to "capsnut" over at gmail dot com.

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