Wooden's World of Baseball

Sunday, April 13, 2008

What a difference a year makes...


Three walkoffs in one week.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if they haven't surpassed last season's total, the Potomac Nationals are mighty close. Granted, while I'm excited about the wins, the sportswriter in me is inclined to point out that walkoffs are often a function of the loser than the winner.

Case in point:
  • On Tuesday, the Myrtle Beach starter, Tyler Hanson, held them to one hit over the first six innings. Chris Marrero connected for a three-run blast in the 8th and then the team rallied with two outs and nobody on to load the bases and scratch for a victory.
  • On Wednesday, a much wilder (5 BB) Deunte Heath held them scoreless over 5⅓ innings before Devin Ivany homered in the bottom of the 7th and Matt Rogelstad homered to lead off the 10th.
  • Last night, the Potomac Nationals were down 7-1 after six, with starter Steven Wright holding them down to 4 hits and striking out eight, before the P-Nats rallied for four in the 7th and two more in the 8th, benefiting from strong winds (at least 20mph, blowing in) and three errors before Marrero delivered the gamewinner in the 11th.

Still, it's not all naysaying here. There are reasons to be excited. Marrero has obviously shown why he's the organization's top hitting prospect, though the number of strikeouts is a cause for concern. Detwiler had difficulty putting hitters away last night, seemingly getting ahead 0-2 on every batter before eventually evening the count. And Jordan Zimmermann looked great on opening night, following Shawn Hill for a four-inning save with four innings pitched, two hits allowed, three walks and six strikeouts.

The bullpen has been outstanding in this first homestand, which concludes this afternoon. Discounting the Zimmermann "save" and Chad Cordero's "start," they've allowed 4 runs in 20⅓ innings and have been credited with three wins and a save, making all these late-inning heroics possible.

In terms of the position players, as previously noted, it's an older squad with six players 25 or older. I fully expect some shifting in about six weeks, preferably with OFs Edgardo Baez (22) and Marvin Lowrance (23) moving up. Only Marrero has a lock for slot and position (3rd in the order, playing 1st base), with manager Randy Knorr rotating the OFs and DH slot to keep veterans Dee Brown and Frank Diaz in the lineup consistently.

Ivany has been getting the lion's share of playing time behind the plate, but you have to think that that will change, especially once the catchers shift in the organization to send Flores down from DC. Likewise, I expect someone to get released when Leonard Davis comes off the DL, with either Seth Bynum or Jemel Spearman, the hero from the first walkoff, the most likely candidates. It's pretty obvious that once the crop of Dominican infielders start to mature, the infield is going to start getting a whole lot younger in a hurry.


Post a Comment

<< Home