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A Turnaround (Of Sorts) For the Nationals

nats_WNice outing from David Hernandez tonight, going 6 2/3 giving up just two runs. The strikeouts finally showed up, too. Six of them to just one walk. I’ll take that from him any time. Actually, I’d take that from anybody on the staff right now.

Still not sure what the future holds for Hernandez, but he’s doing yeoman’s work out there for the most part.

Speaking of the future, there’s an interesting contrast to the goings-on in Birdland taking place about forty minutes down the I-95 corridor.

The Washington Nationals are on a serious roll.

They’re losing fairly badly tonight down in Atlanta (6-1 in the bottom of the fifth as I type), but they’re riding high on a somewhat astounding eight-game winning streak. Arguably even more impressive is that they’re 12-4 since July 25.

I know this because I read this excellent piece by Chico Harlan at the Washington Post. In it he talks about their turnaround and how it was sparked, in part, by a little bit of ass kicking on the part of new manager Jim Riggleman. He also talks about how they’ve dramatically cut down on their errors and improved their defense overall.

The reason I bring it up is not to suggest that the Nats have somehow become a juggernaut. But they are a team in a very similar situation to the Orioles, albeit probably a year or two behind. So to see them playing with renewed spirit, doing the little things that matter and doing them at the right times, gives me pause.

Simply put, there’s no reason that the Orioles shouldn’t be capable of the same thing. So why don’t we see evidence of it? Why does the thought of even a five-game winning streak — let alone a run of 12-4 — seem so outlandish?

It ties back into the discussion yesterday about “quitting” and what it means, and whether it applies to the Orioles.

I don’t know what’s happening, and I’m not in position to say they’ve “quit”. I’m not in the clubhouse, so I don’t know what they’re feeling. (Although as a side note I can say with a reasonable degree of certainty that Adam Jones most certainly has not given up.)

What I can say is that something needs to be done. All my optimism and all my hope and all of my “this is a down payment on next year” talk don’t do a whole lot to obscure the present nightly reality. Losing more games than they win is going to happen. Losing as a chronic condition can’t be allowed to.

Someone needs to step up, and it needs to happen before next year.

57 comments to A Turnaround (Of Sorts) For the Nationals

  • ryan97ou

    markakis caught stealing 2nd and huff k’s with roberts on third.

    nice to see us back to our normal routine, i was starting to feel uncomfortable.

  • ryan97ou

    hahaha…lead off triple against CLAHHHH in the 9th

    this is becoming comical.

    bad news bears anyone?

  • ryan97ou

    annnnd a single to drive in their 6th run of the day.

  • ryan97ou

    and that’s allll folks.

    the a’s take the series…in typical non-run producing, HR-giving, error-induced run scoring fashion.

    see what happens when Huff and scott actually hit the ball? BOOM we get 3 runs, then they decided to go back into their hole. here’s to hoping a (much needed) day off helps with amnesia.

  • Greg

    Here’s to watching the Ravens whomp the Skins tomorrow. I’ve got tickets, anyone else going?

  • neal s

    @Kevin B – This comment got held in the filter for some reason – very sorry about that. That’s the unfortunate downside of switching back to the “anti-spam word” system. The other way worked better, but it was a drag on the server.

    Speaking of, how is everyone with site performance right now? You’ll notice that I took away the “endorsements” sidebar. I liked it, but it was another thing that slowed down loading. I would love to bring it, or something like it, back if I can.

    Fill me in if anything is bugging you, or if there’s anything you’d like to see or not see. I can’t necessarily do everything, but I definitely need the feedback.

  • @neal s – No problem. I think the anti-spam word may have displayed in all caps, and so I hedged my bet and typed it in that way. In the future, I’ll probably go lower case no matter what. Otherwise, site’s been fine. It was slow-loading earlier this week (maybe yesterday morning?), but that seemed to be a blip.