Once again I have some tickets available for Nats’ games, some to join with me and some I cannot use.
According to the Washington Post:
The Washington Nationals radically altered the baseball landscape Sunday night, ending a winter of relative inactivity by agreeing to a seven-year contract with free agent pitcher Max Scherzer, according to a person with direct knowledge of the talks.
I shoulda listened to my father, the chess player.
He tried to teach me to take my time when my opponent made a move that perhaps seemed weak, foolish, or one I didn’t understand. He warned not to jump too quickly in my next move and to beware of what further moves my opponent might have in mind.
For the most part, I’ve followed that advice, at least with reference to MillersTime.
Thanks to the suggestion of a long time baseball fan and a MillersTime reader (and with some adjustments on my part), I’m creating a new Baseball Contest, this one limited to just one question.
Contest: List three impacts you predict the trade of Tyler Clippard for Yunel Escobar will have for the Nats and/or for the Athletics.
Prize: Two seats in Section 117, Row G or H (three or four rows behind the Visitors’ dugout and between home and third base) for a Nats’ game next year.
“Tue ere maricon” – “You are a faggot” – Just a joke? Some of his best friends are gay!
I read last night as the story was developing about the Nats trading Tyler Clippard for Yunel Escobar.
I understand that baseball is a business.
I understand there are problems with the Nats at second base.
I understand that Ian Desmond has only one year left on his contract and could go elsewhere. I understand Escobar could play second base this year and move to shortstop next year if that’s necessary.
I understand Escobar’s hitting has averaged .276 over his career, (tho only .258 in 2014) and he has averaged 145 games a season over that career.
I understand Escobar “has a team-friendly contract that will pay him $5 million in 2015 and $7 million in 2016…(and) the Nationals hold a $7 million club option for 2017.”
I understand the trade “saves the Nationals somewhere between $3 million and $4 million, depending on Clippard’s arbitration process.
I understand that this is Tyler Clippard’s last year of arbitration before being eligible for free agency and that there are “”young arms behind him” in the Nats’ organization.
2014 MillersTime Baseball Contest #3: What will the Washington Nationals’ record be this year? Tie Breakers: Will they make the playoffs, and how far will they go?
Six contestants were close — Ed Scholl, Peter Shimm, Tiffany Lopez, Nick Nyhart, Steve Begleiter, and Nelson Romerez — missing the Nats’ regular season record by one game. Not bad.
However, four contestants got the season record, 96-66, exactly: Dan Fischer, Elizabeth Tilis, Nick Fels, and Bill Trost.
Dan said they’d lose in the NLCS. Elizabeth said they’d lose in the 1st round. Nick said they’d lose in the World Series. Bill said the Nats would lose to the Dodgers.
So, Elizabeth Tilis (that’s a ‘familiar’ name, someone, no doubt, who benefited from good parenting) wins and gets two tickets to a 2015 Nats’ game of her choice.
For the other two contests, we will have to await the conclusion of the World Series.
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Meanwhile, two more terrific articles to draw to your attention, particularly for those of you whose teams are no longer in the WS chase. MillersTime readers tipped me off to these articles:
The Dead Ball Century: Why Is Baseball Always Dying? – by Brian Curtis, Grantland/The Triangle, Oct. 7, 2014 (Thanx MWK)
Managers Are Playing Less Small Ball Than Ever – by Ross Benes, Deadspin/Regressing, Oct. 6, 2015 (Thanx BT)
Why did they lose three out of four games to the Giants after having the most wins in the National League in 2014?
It wasn’t their pitching. (Nat’s ERA – 1.23, Giants – 1.60)
It wasn’t their fielding. (Each team made one costly miscue -Nats’ Fielding Pct. – .993, Giants – .994)
It wasn’t the managing (Despite what you read or think about Game 2 & 4).
Is it me or has this October baseball already given us some of the most wonderful baseball in a long time?
KC vs Oakland – Wild Card game: Royals score in the bottom of the 9th to tie and down by one in the 12th, score two to win. Fans can hardly believe it.
KC vs LAA – First two ALDS games: Royals score one in the 11th and hold on to win the first game away. Then, in the third extra inning game in a row, the Royals score three in the top of the 11th to beat the Angels again, this time 4-1. KC fans believe it it. Angels’ fans stunned. K-C up 2-0.
O’s vs Tigers – Other first two ALDs games: Baltimore scores eight in the 8th, and the power hitting Tigers lose the first one 12-3. Camden goes wild. Then, in the second game, the O’s are down 6-3 in the 8th and score four in that inning to win 7-6. Fans go nuts, again. O’s up 2-0.
Giants vs Pirates – Wild Card game: Giants get a grand slam in the fourth (first ever by a shortstop) and four-hit the Pirates to win surprisingly easily, 8-0.
Dodgers vs Cards – First two NLDS game: Probable 2014 Cy Young & MVP winner Clayton Kershaw gives up eight runs in 6 2/3 innings, and the Cards win it 10-9 in the bottom of the 9th. Second game, Dodgers eke out a 3-2 victory, after some terrific pitching, thanks to a home run by Kemp. Series tied 1-1.
And then Giants vs Nats – Other first two NLDS games. Aging Peavy out pitches the young Strasberg, and the Giants beat the Nats 3-2 in Washington. Then, with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, after getting 20 out in a row, Nats’ pitcher Jordan Zimmerman (his previous game a no-hitter) walks a batter and is pulled. The Giants then get two hits off closer Drew Storen (remember him from two years ago not being able to hold a two-run lead in the playoffs?) to tie the game 1-1 in the bottom of the 9th. Eventually (after nine more innings), the Giants win it with a home run in the 18th inning (longest game, time wise, in playoff history). Giants up 2-0.
Ten games. Seven decided by one run. Four in extra innings. One in the 18th inning. One in the bottom of the 9th. And even the three that were not close we’re surprising victories.
And we’re only part way into the Division Series playoffs.
Maybe it’s just that my beloved Red Sox are not in it, and so I can watch and listen differently.
And another observation: So many good articles about these games, some written within the hour that a game finished.
Check out this morning’s NYTimes‘ Tyler Kepner’s In October: Exceptions Rule, Most of the Time (“Nobody knows anything…”).
Or Washington Post’s Thomas Boswell’s, Washington Nationals Discover How Tough the SF Giants Can Be in October, which begins with “Losing to the San Francisco Giants in October is like being beaten to death with wet noodles.” And it just gets better.
Or how about Boswell’s post this morning, Could Jordan Zimmerman Have Made History in Game 2? We’ll Never Know ?
You’ve probably seen other good ones (pass them on to all of us in the Comment section), but the best ones seem to take what happens and push our thinking further.
Last night I was looking through the submissions for the 2014 MillersTime Baseball Contests (I really need to get a life) and came across these predictions, sent in on Feb. 25, 2014 by someone named Chris Eacho:
#1 – Red Sox in last at the AS break and trade 4 of their opening day starters at the deadline.
#2 – Orioles 103-59, World Series Champs
#3 – Nationals 92-70, lose to Os in WS
#4 – Yankees 66-95, Red Sox 65-96, series split 8-8. 19th game is rained out and not made up
#5 – Chris Davis .287, 119 RBI, 43 HR
#6 – Orioles over Nats in 6 games; Chris Tillman MVP with 2 complete game shutouts
Actually, I think I know the individual who submitted these outrageous and amazingly prescient (lucky?) predictions. He’s an Orioles’ fan (obviously), a Sox and Yankee hater, and belongs to the millennial generation (I think). I hope he’s wrong about the WS, but he seems to know something the rest of us don’t.
(Not shown: Multiple Red Sox tickets to win the 2014 Pennant & World Series.)
The Facts: The Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles secured playoff positions last night in their respective MLB Divisions (NL East and AL East). Thus both have a shot at winning the 2014 World Series. I have been a Nats’ fan (a distant second, of course, to being a Red Sox fan) since they arrived in DC. I have rooted against the O’s for years, except when they play the Yankees. I hold two Las Vegas $10 bets. One for the Nats (payoff $110) and one for the O’s (payoff $260).
The Dilemma: Whom do I cheer for to win the World Series?
(Note: I also hold three $10 tickets for the Nats to win the 2014 Pennant. Total payoff for the three tickets, $145.)
The Facts: On my Orioles’ WS ticket, I have written the name “Nelson” in the upper right hand corner of the ticket. Nelson is a friend who roots for the O’s and rubs it in when they beat the Sox. Nelson does not know I bought this ticket with him in mind.
The Dilemma: Do I inform Nelson I have the ticket, and do I give it to him?
The Facts: I also bought a bunch (I’m embarrassed to say how many) of Sox tickets for them to win the 2014 Pennant and World Series. (If either the Nats’ or the O’s win the World Series, I can recoup the cost of most of my foolish Sox bets.)
The Dilemma: What do I do with all my useless Sox 2014 tickets.
Now that we know the mighty Sox will not be 162-0 this season…
And now that 60 of you have responded to my incessant nagging to get in your 2014 MillersTime Baseball predictions (one-third of you doing so in the final 24 hours)…
We can proceed with the best six months (seven for some of us) of the year.
I’m listing below Washington Nationals’ games for which I invite friends, foes, fans and faux fans to join me for a game at no cost, save perhaps buying me a bag of peanuts and being captive to my baseball natterings for three hours.
These are just the games for April and May. Later, I’ll list some summer and September games.
As the 2013 MLB season winds down, or, for some of us, winds up, there are already three winners to announce for this year’s MillersTime Baseball Contests.
Contest #4 – Will Nats make the playoffs? If yes, how far will they go? If no, why not?
More than 90% of you said the Nats would make the playoffs, and some of you thought they’d make it to the World Series or even be the winner of the WS. Most seemed to believe the Nats would pick up right where they left off last year (98-64). With four games remaining, they are 84-74 and have been eliminated from the Wild Card.
Matt Gallati (“they will be plagued by injuries and thus lose more often than they win.”), Larry Longenecker (“Davey Johnson will eventually upset people by speaking his mind…”) and David Price (“…they won’t even be close…”) all thought they wouldn’t make the playoffs and seemed to understand that 2013 would be different for them than 2012.
But Randy Candea wins this contest with this prediction for 2013: “Nats (88-74) will finish behind Atlanta and not make the playoffs due to sophomore jinx. Unlike last year, they won’t win the close games.” He gets two tickets to a Nationals’ game of his choice in 2014.
Contest #5 – Predict the Sox-Yankee Split of the 19 games they play against each other. Since Jere Smith failed to take the opportunity to appeal my decision, Meg Gage wins the two tickets to Fenway in 2014. (See this earlier post for more details on the results of this contest.)
Contest #7 – Worst Prediction.
Actually this one was not one of the six original 2013 contests. In a moment of anxiety about how the Sox were doing, I distracted myself by going through everyone’s predictions and decided to add a category of the Worst Prediction for 2013. I found 15 predictions that were pretty wide of the mark and let you folks choose which one was the worst. (See all the 15 in this earlier post.)
Elizabeth Hedlund ‘won’ (got the most votes from you) with her prediction that “Stephen Strasburg wins 30 games, first since Denny McLain in 1986.” And because contestant Tracy Capullo encouraged Elizabeth to join the contests, these two Red Sox fans get to go to a Nats’ game of their choice in 2014.
Contest #3. Which League wins the All-Star game, what will the score be, and who will be the MVP?
I announced the winner of this contest earlier. Tim Malieckal and I will go to Minneapolis next summer.
Finally, there are still three contests to be decided: Best overall prediction (#1), Best Team Prediction (#2), and World Series Contestants and winner. We’ll have to wait until the end of October to see who wins these.
More tickets available. Baseball and a talk. Let me know if you’re interested.
Baseball – Tho the Nats are struggling mightily, what’s better than a summer evening at the park? Final games available at no cost to you, other than perhaps buying me some peanuts and having to listen to my baseball natterings:
Wednesday, August. 7 at 7:05 vs Braves
Tuesday, August 13 at 7:05 vs Giants
Friday, September 13 at 7:05 vs Phillies
Sunday, September 15 at 1:35 vs Phillies
Tuesday, September 17 at 7:05 vs Braves
Wednesday, September 18 at 7:05 vs Braves
Sixth & I – Lee Child
If you know the name Jack Reacher and have read lots of Lee Child’s books, then you might want to join me Tuesday, September 10 to see and hear Child’s talk about his newest book, Never Go Back.
For those of you who haven’t had the good fortune to read any of Child’s thrillers, he’s a British writer named Jim Grant (Lee Child is his pen name). His 16 or 17 books all (?) featuring the ‘detective’ Jack Reacher are some of the best escapist books I know. Grant/Child’s books have won numerous awards, beginning with his first one, Killing Floor, which won a best first novel award in 1997, and on to his 2012 A Wanted Man which won a National Book Award for Thriller/Crime Novel of the Year.
First to let me know via email (Samesty84@gmail.com) or by leaving a note in the Comment section of this post, gets the ticket(s).
Preseason predictions were for the Nats to win their Division. The only National League team with better Las Vegas odds to win the World Series were the Dodgers
So, what’s going on?
Expectations too high for the Nats?
Harper out for a month?
Strasburg not winning?
Failure to win close games like they did last year?
Yours truly, who earlier thought the Nats would not win 98 games and might not even make the playoffs again, has looked at the first half of the season, and here’s what the numbers show.
The Nats’ record at the half way mark of the season is primarily due to poor hitting. They are 13th of 15 teams in the NL, scoring only 295 runs. Only the Marlins (259 runs) and the Dodgers (294) have scored fewer runs. The team BA is .236, and other than Rendon, no position players is hitting close to .300.
Their pitching hasn’t been all that bad. They are 5th in the NL with an ERA of 3.54 and have done about as well as any other team converting 23/31 save opportunities.
And their fielding hasn’t helped at all. They are dead last in the NL and have made 59 errors (only the Dodgers have made more, 60). The Nats have given up 31 unearned runs compared to the Braves 20.
To be a bit more specific, if we look at Runs Scored vs Runs Given Up, The Braves are + 68, the Nats -20, and the Phillies -46.
And, unlike what I predicted, their weak showing has not been particularly a result of losing close games. They are 24-24 in games won or lost by two or less runs (16-13 in one run games). Last year at this time, they were 21-23 in games decided by two or less runs (15-10 in one run games).
Their Division is a tougher, as everyone expected, with the Braves starting off in spectacular fashion, tho they haven’t maintained the pace they had in April (.645).
Certainly not having Harper for the month of June has hurt the Nats, but perhaps not as seriously as some might think. In April and May, when the young phenom was playing, the Nats were 28-27. Without him in June, they were 13-13.
Yes. The season is only half over, but if the Nats don’t start scoring a lot more runs than they give up, all those ‘fans’ who thought a WS playoff was a near certainty, are going to (continue) to be disappointed.