Friday, August 31, 2012

Nats' Bats the Key in Pennant Chase. Their Strasburg-less Pitching Will Be Fine

The Nats are now 2-0 since I quit sniffing glue and taking amphetamines . And although the mentality on how this team does moving forward into September and (hopefully) October, seems to be to dwell on the shutdown of Stephen Strasburg (see Ken Rosenthal's columns over the last week), you must look no further than what happens to this team when their bats go limp.

The Nats pitching- with or without Stephen Strasburg, is going to be fine. As I've documented before, their rotation with him out of the lineup, is still pretty gosh darn good- second only to San Francisco in the National League. So its not Stephen Strasburg's ass on the pine that will keep this team from  running deep into October; its their bats that will prevent that.

Take a look at the 5 game losing streak last week that had the majority of the DMV at the top of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge ready to do their best Tony Scott impression. Besides some awful play in the field, and base running blunders that you'd expect to see at the T-ball level, the Nats simply weren't hitting.

In not a single one of those 5 losses did the Nats post double digit hits. And over the course of those 5 games they scored a combined 6 runs.

6 runs.... over 5 games!!! Are you kidding me?!?!

Hey Ken Rosenthal, and Stephen A., and Meathead Rob Dibble, and career underachiever and Atlanta Braves apologist Leo Mazzone..... I don't care if Cy Effing Young is on the mound. You're not going to win baseball games when your offense averages 1.2 runs per game.

And its not as if the Nats pitchers didn't show up during that 5 game span. They got boat raced in one game. (9-0 vs. Miami), which by the way,  the before mentioned Stephen Strasburg started. The other four games they yielded 5,4,4, and 4 runs. Not exactly getting shelled.

The Nats' losses in games they've played since the All Star break are even more telling.

The Nats' have an impressive 30-17 record since that break. In those 17 losses, the Nats have been shut out 5 times. 8 different times they scored 2 runs or less. So in 13 of their 17 losses since the All Star break, the Nats have scored 2 or fewer runs. You can't pin that on pitching.

In fact, of the 17 losses post All  Star break,  the Nats have only lost one game in which they scored more than 5 runs (July 20th, versus the Braves, when the Nats blew a 9-0 lead, eventually losing 11-10 in extras).

If the Nats bats are alive, like they have been over the past two nights since breaking the losing streak (8-4 win at Miami, 14 total hits....8-1 last night versus St. Louis, 13 total hits), this team can make a run, and even win it all. Not having Strasburg in mid to late September and beyond does suck, but that decision was made 5 months ago. So get over it.

Their rotation of JZ, Gio, Detweiler, and even E Jax (did you see him dealing last night?) will be fine. Its the production of guys named Werth, R. Zimmerman, LaRoche, Harper, Morse, and Desmond, that will make or break this team over the next 7 weeks.

Follow this blog on twitter @Sportsyack @JudgePatrick

Jayson Werth's favorite song, and apparently MASN's Bob Carpenter's favorite band

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"Looks Like I Picked The Wrong Week...."

Its supposed to be a happy time in Nats Town. Up until a week ago, the Nastys had the best record in baseball, and they had created a take for granted mentality for kool aid drinkers like myself. Yeah, I was already chalking up the NL East title and planning my October Nats post season parties.

Fast forward one week, and we've seen their GM and manager duke it out in the clubhouse following a miserable weekend in Philly, their bats are as lively as Hugh Hefner's unmedicated joint, and they're now on the wrong side of a 5 game losing streak, following last night's ass thumping at the hands of Fidel Castro's favorite team.

But no worries here. Just yet, anyway.

The Nats have 34 games left, 21 of which are at home, and of their 10 series remaining, 6 are against teams with losing records. The Nats still have the best pitching staff in baseball, and in the ebb and flow of a 162 season, losing and winning streaks happen. As brutal as this 5 game skid seems, I would remind all of the short term memory and jaded DC sports fans, to look at what the Nats did the first two weeks of August.

During a 10 game west coast roadie, that culminated with a 3 game series in Frisco against the West leading Giants, the Nats went a disgusting 8-2, including taking 2 out of 3 from the before mentioned G-Men. So put that into perspective, people.

Their lead in the East is still 4 games. And I have faith in this team with or without Strasburg. I'm going to enjoy the ride of a relevant DC baseball team, playing relevant games in September, regardless of what the end game is. I just hope that the end game happens sometime in mid to late October.

BT Sports Radio (Episode 3)

Myself, Rich Turpin, and Jabby Burns recorded our 3rd episode of BT Sports Radio Tuesday night, and we had the pleasure of talking with both NBC 4's Dan Hellie AND Redskin great, and recent retiree Clinton Portis. Please give it a listen, and we welcome all feedback.

Folllow this blog on twitter @Sportsyack @JudgePatrick

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

BT Sports Radio: The Debut Show

Sportsyack Mike joined Baltimore's Jabby Burns and Rich Turpin, aka Rich from Centreville, for the debut show of BT (Big Time) Sports Radio. The devil's threesome recorded LIVE Tuesday night from the bowels of the Dawghouse Radio Studio in Chantilly, with Super Producer Tom C. Block running the board.

During the 1st hour of the show, Hooters' girls Kirsten and Selena stopped by to provide wings and burgers. The guys also welcomed 1/4 of the The Sports Junkies, when Jason "Lurch" Bishop called in, and somehow managed to drop the F Bomb and reference his coke can. The second hour included the Golf Channel's and Morning Drive host Gary Williams, who called in to recap the PGA Championship. The guys concluded their debut with a handful of news and entertainment stories, peppered with Yack's awful one liners.

Please listen, provide feedback, and tune in every Tuesday night, LIVE, from 7-9PM.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Nats Pitching Staff Less Strasburg: Still Pretty Good, Bridge Jumpers

Everyone is weighing in now, and in some cases panicking, as the Strasburg innings deadline gets closer and closer. ESPN has the innings countdown running, Stephen A. Smith has offered his medical opinion, and women and children throughout the DMV are being moved to underground bunkers, in preparation for the oncoming disaster.

For starters, I don't think Stephen A. nor his sidedick Skip Bayless, could name two other starters in the Nats rotation. Their puppeteer act of creating fake arguments is laughable at best, and it's the most scripted and non-genuine piece of television on the Mother Ship, next to Chris Berman's annual "Back-back-back-back-back!" charade during Major League Baseball's Home Run Derby. (Filed under ESPN sucks)

So in an attempt to keep it real, YO... I'd like to show you what the Nats rotation looks like without Strasburg in it, relative to the National League teams they (as of 8/14/2012) could possibly face in the post season. (These are the top 3 pitchers on their respective teams, relative to ERA and innings pitched)

Nats (NL East Leaders)
Zimmerman 2.35
Detweiler    3.18
Gonzalez     3.29
AVG          2.94

Reds (NL Central Leaders)
Cueto        2.45
Latos         3.81
Arroyo      3.95
AVG         3.40

Giants (NL West Leaders- tied w/ Dodgers)
Vogelsong  2.72
Cain           2.99
Bumgarner  3.08
AVG          2.93

Dodgers (NL West Leaders-tied w/ Giants)
Kershaw    2.88
Capuano    3.11
Harang       3.76
AVG         3.25

Braves (NL 1st Wildcard)
Hudson     3.77
Hanson     4.29
Minor       4.93
AVG        4.32

Pirates (NL 2nd Wildcard)
Burnett     3.32
McDonald 3.77
Correia    4.49
AVG       3.86

In summary, the Nats top 3 pitchers, less Stephen Strasburg, are still better or as good as the other NL teams they most likely will face come October. Technically, they are .01 percentage points behind the Giants. However, the Nats have beat the G-men all 4 times they've played this year, including the 14-2 boat race last night on the Left coast.

These numbers are a testament to the job Mike Rizzo and the entire Nationals organization has done building depth with their arms. And these numbers should also serve notice to ESPN and other novices, that there is more to the Nats rotation than Stephen Strasburg. And come September when Rizzo gives him the hook, the Nats aren't just going to roll over an die.


BT Sports Radio debuts tonight on the network. Sportsyack, Rich Turpin,  and Jabby Burns, will be shooting the stuff  LIVE,  from 7-9PM tonight. Please tune in. The stream on the site if VERY user friendly.

Follow us on twitter @Sportsyack @JudgePatrick

Monday, August 13, 2012

Rory, Tiger, and Good Mike/Bad Mike

That was impressive, Mr. Wozniacki.
Talk about a guy who appeared to be working effortlessly, and while doing so, was giving the big "F-You" to all the "girlfriend is ruining his game" chatter. Rors just went Tiger 1997 Masters, Tiger 2000 US Open, and oh yeah, Rory 2011 US Open- on the rest of the field this weekend.

It truly was a display that Mr. McIlroy put on. And it goes to show you how gosh darn good that kid can be when he's got his A game. Mr. Woods, on the other hand, continued to disappoint when his day planner turned from  Friday to Saturday.

He failed once again to shoot a round under par on the weekend (0-8 in that attempt in this year's Majors), and will inevitably get the "is he back?"/"Will he win again?" chatter on shows like PTI.

I will say that Tiger's weekends at Majors this year were obviously less than stellar. You need to look no further than at the stat mentioned in the prior paragraph. But spare me the "is he back?" talk. The guy has won 3 times this year, he's #1 on this year's money list, he's made the cuts in all 4 majors, including a T-11 this weekend and a T-3 at the Open Championship last month.

But I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for the 1997 or 2000 Tiger to come back; it ain't happening. But the almost 37 year old Tiger, who- oh by the way, has 14 Majors on his resume, is still pretty god damn good. And to critique him on a different level than the way Phil or Rickie or Luke is critiqued is absurd and ignorant, and it shows a lack of knowledge for the game, and a lack of appreciation for what Tiger did over the last 15 years.

Good Mike/Bad Mike
RG3 looked fine in his pre-season debut, and more importantly he came out of that game healthy. But that's not what I want to talk about today. I'd like to discuss the man who brought him here, and what he's done thus far in DC.

Good Mike:
The Albert Situation
I'd like to start by complimenting Mike on how he handled Albert Haynesworth. This subject can be debated ad nauseam, but the fact is that Shanahan did not bring Fat Albert here; Vinny Cerrato and the prior admin did. And I know Shanahan's tactics for trying to get that Fat F to play were military-esque, but personally, I liked them. Shanahan was trying to establish a pecking order, with him being King Rat, and the message was not just to Haynesworth, but to the entire team. Now the Skins problems and subsequent record in Shanahan's first year, were not a result of this. Their lack of talent at multiple positions was. And I believe the "Shanahan split the locker room" argument, can go straight out the window, when prior and after Haynesworth's release, nobody within that locker room was there standing up for that lazy ass.

Good Mike also focused on the draft, and the importance of young players. His 2011 campaign was the first time a Redskin team had selections in the first 7 rounds since 1995. And by all accounts (thru one season), he hit on Ryan Kerrigan, picked up what looks to be great value in a 4th rounder in Roy Helu, yet injuries have forced us to wait on promising young players like Leonard Hankerson and Jarvis Jenkins. But overall, Shanahan has done well to make the team younger. 8 of Shanahan's 12 draft picks made the 53 man roster last season, and per The Washington Times' Rich Campbell, the average age has dropped almost a year and a half since the Zorn Era- from 28.02 years to 26.62.

Bad Mike:
* The Donovan McNubb trade
It single handedly, if Shanny does not make the post season by his 5th season and is subsequently shown the door, will define Shanahan's era here in Washington. A second and fourth rounder is what the Redskins gave up for McNubb. And what followed was an absolute disaster that doesn't need to be rehashed.

* Decimated Offensive Line
I've been screaming about this for 6 months, to anyone that would listen to me. And now that its come to light again, everyone has woke up from their RG3 hangover, to the reality of what the Offensive line is again; not very good.

Mike Shanahan, who in Denver made a living out of protecting John Elway and turning guys like Terrell Davis and Semper Fi's Mike Anderson into 1,500+ yards/year rushers, has completely abandoned the O-line in DC. The numbers or should I say nubbers, don't lie. Shanahan's O-lines in his two years here, have given up the 9th most and 4th most sacks in the entire NFL. That sucks. And I realize their FA cap penalty didn't allow them to go out and sign a Carl Nicks type, but I still contend its their Achilles heal, and one of the main reasons RG3's rookie year will be a long one.

Speaking of RG3....
My last point on Bad Mike could actually end up being a Good Mike.
The Redskins now have RG3 and the town- myself included, is very excited about the prospect of him leading this team for years to come. And as I mentioned, the small sample from the 1st Pre-Season game was nice, but hold the phone for a second......

Number one, the decision to trade for the pick to get RG3 was as much a knee jerk reaction, as it was a decision made out of necessity. The "We have to get a franchise QB now" argument is BS. And when I say that, I'm not stating that you don't need a top notch QB to win in the league; you do. I'm saying that the Redskins didn't necessarily have to make the move this past April, especially in light of all their needs at other positions.

Yes, the Redskins do need and have needed a franchise QB. But honestly, how much of the move to trade all those picks, can be traced back to the brain fart of a decision that Bad Mike, Bruce, and The Danny made, that Easter night in 2010? Or how much of it was a result of Bad Mike trying to save his own McNubb egg on his face, and two years, essentially down the drain? I think quite a bit. And that's the knee jerk aspect of going out and getting RG3.

Put more simply, since arriving here in DC, Bad Mike has traded two #1s, two #2s, and a #4 for two Quarterbacks. That means, technically, Bad Mike has traded 5 Top draft picks, and still doesn't have a proven QB.

And technically, like Lavar Arrington stated today (Wow, am I referencing something LA said today? Yes I am...)- Shanahan and Redskin Nation better hope Griffin works out. McNubb and his two picks are long gone, and this poor kid, who Shanahan and Allen mortgaged the future for, is going to be thrown to the wolves, behind a line that is already up shit's creek without a paddle, two weeks into August.

Redskins fans better hope and pray that RG3 can survive his rookie campaign, as Shanahan puts together make shift lines for the 3rd consecutive year. And if RG3 is upright by season's end, and Shanny spends the 2012 off season and 2013 Draft building protection around him, the RG3 trade could turn out Good, Mike.

**Other News**
Please tune in tomorrow night (Tuesday) for the debut of BT Sports Radio. Myself, Rich Turpin, and Jabby Burns- from 7-9PM EST on the Eyes Radio Network. You can listen to the program on the very user friendly site:

Follow us on twitter @Sportsyack @JudgePatrick

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sportsyack's First Hole at Pebble Beach

I just celebrated a birthday, we'll say, and Mrs. Yack thought it would be a good idea to do so on the left coast with stops in Vegas and in Monterey, Ca, where I was privileged enough to tee it up at Pebble Beach.

Here are some video posts from the 1st hole of my round, a 377 yard, dog leg right Par 4. They include shot advice from my caddy for the day, Scotty.

Last minute advice from Scotty. I'm trying to be cool, but I'm pretty nervous.

My first tee jitters prevail, as I  pull my shot left- just short of the bunker, and about 7 paces from the OB fence.

My approach, from the rough left of the fairway. I'm left with about 145 yards, but I have a descent lie.

My third shot ended up just shy of pin high, about 25 feet from the hole on the fringe.

Finally, I'm left with a delicate little 4.5 foot putt to clean up my par.

Other News:
Beginning Tuesday, August 14th, Sportsyack will be joining the network, along with Rich Turpin and Jabby Burns, on a live weekly sports talk show, from 7-9pm, EST. Updates will follow leading up to the debut show.

Follow us on twitter @Sportsyack @JudgePatrick

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