Rain Delay? Bah.

Last night was supposed to be a defining game in the NLDS – Cubs and Nationals, head to head. If the Cubs win, they go on and the Nats once again lose in the first round of the playoffs. If the Curly Dubs win, they fight once more in a crucial must-win game five. It was supposed to be a matchup between former Cy Young award winner Jake Arrieta (14-10, ERA of 3.53 according to BRef) and Tanner Roark (13-11, ERA of 4.67). Even with Arrieta on a skid, it still seems like a less than favorable matchup for Washington. This rainout, then, might be a Godsend, right? One more day, and who would be subbed out on full rest? Why, it’s actual legitimate ace Stephen Strasburg (15-4, ERA of 2.52). And yet, he’s not available.

Dusty Baker says that Stras is “under the weather”, that he has a cold or a stomach virus or something like that. That dude better be either barfing every other minute or living his life on the crapper because if I were a Nats fan, I’d be livid. This is your last chance! This is ACTUAL go or go home, and once again, the man that your team considers one of their biggest, most important stars is not around for the postseason. Dusty says that Stras would probably be available for Game Five. Dusty, there might not be a Game Five!

Now, I know that other people involved in the matter, such as pitching coach Mike Maddux, various trainers, and other Nats teammates, are saying that Stras would definitely not be able to do it, but this is his Jordan Game Six moment. You know what I mean? Max Scherzer is on short rest yet marched into Dusty’s office and offered him his services. His arm might be a noodle afterwards, but that man wants to win.

I just don’t understand, I guess. I defer to SomeGuy, our resident Nats fan, for his thoughts.

24 thoughts on “Rain Delay? Bah.

  1. I have no idea what the Nats are doing.

    After yesterday’s postponement, it seemed a foregone conclusion that Strasburg would start today. When Dusty announced he wasn’t starting, the twitterati immediately called for Dusty’s head, because the announcement was done in a ham-handed fashion, with Dusty initially saying that Stras had thrown a bullpen on Tuesday, and him being such a creature of habit, that meant that he’d be ready Thursday (for Game 5).

    Of course, why you let Strasburg throw a bullpen on the morning of an elimination game, when it might be an all hands on deck situation, seemed curious at best, and managerial malpractice at worst.

    Then the story started leaking out that Strasburg was sick, and Dusty got the day of his bullpen wrong, that it was actually Monday that he threw the ‘pen, and Stras had been seen playing catch in the outfield on Tuesday (something not done on a bullpen day) and then Bob Nightengale at USA Today tweeted out this:

    So fans went from “Fire Dusty1, he’s a fucking idiot!” to “Trade Strasburg! He’s letting his team down when they need him most!” with some even saying “Fire Dusty and Trade Strasburg!”.

    Some have rushed to Strasburg’s defense, claiming he’s a gamer who always pushes himself physically well past his limits, and so therefore he must by dying; I think they have him confused with Scherzer in that regard, as I’ve always viewed Strasburg as a very talented pitcher but, in the words of one Tony Kornheiser, an orchid went it comes to strength of constitution.

    Whatever’s going on, the messaging has been botched, and badly so. Assuming the Nats win today (no guarantee, obviously, but indulge me the fantasy that they remember how to hit), it’ll be interesting to see if Strasburg is well enough to take the ball tomorrow, and who, if anyone, has anything in the tank to follow him when necessary.

    Note that Dusty’s contract expires at the end of the season, and no extension has been agreed upon, although all parties claim they want one. 


    1. A rainout in October seems like a good time to haul forth your members – of your hot stove leagues, I mean – and give your fantasy teams a dry run for the forthcoming meteorological siege., much the way down here we haul our generators out to the driveway in early June and give the cords a tug or two to make sure the oil’s up in the cylinder.

      And speaking of the hot stove, I would like to introduce you to a good friend I made recently. As you know I recently returned from a week in der Vaterland where it was already getting cold and wet. Northern Europe is like that, with a climate suggesting another volcano blew up somewhere along the ring of fire and its ash is blocking out the sun again.

      My boon companion for the trip, on the flights in both directions (ten and a half hours going, eleven and a half coming back into a headwind) and for reading succor at bedtime was one Wallis R. Sanborn via his heirloom manuscript The Klondike Stampede as it Appeared to One of the Thousands of Cheechacos who Participated in the Mad Rush of 1898-1899. Wallis’ grandson, Wallis R. Sanborn III, is another boon companion of mine and a professor of English and other cultural excrescences like film and mass media at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. The manuscript had been passed down from Sanborn to Sanborn for three generations until the current Wallis iteration edited it, included a bunch of his grandpa’s sketches and memorabilia (the old man, a trained engineer, was a skilled draftsman) and published the book a few weeks ago:

      This is a period and a subject which has interested me since I watched John Wayne, Ernie Kovacs, Steward Granger and Capucine go at it in North to Alaska when I was a kid. Wallis I, though, is no blowhard roisterer; he is an eloquent, good humored and meticulous chronicler of a period whose challenges and spiritual rewards grandly exceeded my knowledge or insights about the time and the place. Wallis IIl has done a wonderful job of shaping his grandfather’s “for future generations” bequest into some truly marvelous reading.

      Among the many items detailed in this book, beyond the detailed accounts of how to dig for, wash in a handmade sluice box, and pick out “color,” as they called it, were some of the homier aspects of surviving in a really hostile environment (even moreso than the Palmetto Expressway in a heavy downpour). Like what? Well, like how to build raw furniture to furnish a cabin in the wilderness, not to mention how to build the cab itsel (all of this fascinating to read), or how to haul tons of supplies over a mountain pass when your sled dogs are flipping you orf for having the temerity to ask them to do it.

      Sanborn also includes – bless him – menus of the things they were able to cook and eat. Yes, there were moose and rabbit stew and bear steaks, but also references to “johnnycakes” (rough cornmeal pancakes fried in bacon) and…ready for this one?…oatmeal with lima beans. I made the johnnycakes yesterday from a basic recipe I found (using coarse cornmeal to preserve authenticity) and ate them with honey and Canadian bacon. They have now joined our standard household breakfast regimen. As for the latter, I wasn’t sure whether Wallis meant oatmeal with a side of lima beans or oatmeal mixed with lima beans so, naturally, this morning I tried it mixed you know what? It’s good that way! And all this when “shopping” meant a twelve mile walk in each direction through snow or over frozen rivers or lakes to the nearest trading post or general store.

      Okay, baseball returns today (please someone, puh-leeeze take a knee for the National Musical Trainwreck!) but I really recommend this book highly. Weenter is icumen in – it dropped into the upper seventies here last night – and this is just the thing with which to curl up by the fire.


      1. Sounds interesting, if it is readily in print, OG. I have been reading in a rather esoteric fashion about the Old West recently. Last two were on the Anasazi (PC term – Ancestral Puebloans) but I wouldn’t mind one a little recent.

        And maybe a little less bleak than Annie Proulx dishes up.

        On other topics, I am still pretty easygoing about the ALCS opponent. It’s either the Yanks and Astros are at home, or Cleveland with Kluber out of sequence. Each has its recommendations, but I expect either team to be a tough fight.


    2. More fuel for the Strasburg as Hothouse Flower crowd:

      Strasburg, we have long known, is not John Wayne. But this episode only exacerbates his reputation as a finicky diva who must have every last detail in perfect position in order to pitch well. This is a time of year when management and teammates want you to say, “You couldn’t drag me off that mound.” Strasburg, it appears, said he would give the Nats what he had — and they looked at each other, considered the character they’re dealing with, and said, “No thanks.”



        1. Well, Svrluga is probably the most well-informed beat writer who covers that Nats, so the above is not a good look for Stras, and could point to some dissension within the clubhouse. Of course, Stras (and Scherzer) could sue the offense for non-support right now, and with the added pressure of never having won an LDS, while I’m pretty sure it’s not like the “25 guys, 25 cabs” Red Sox of a generation (or two) ago, there’s gotta be at least some tension right now.

          The Nats have to hit, or they’re not going to win anything. The offense carried them through July, bashing their way to leads that even the pre-KMD bullpen couldn’t choke away very often; maybe all this sturm and drang over the pitching staff will serve as a wakeup call to the bats to just say “Boys, we’re gonna have to do this ourselves” and they can go out and hang 10 on Arrieta today.

          Or they could go out meekly today, replace Werth in left with Eaton, find roster pieces for the 5th starter, the bench (gonna miss Adam Lind), and middle relief, and try again next year in what should still be a pretty weak division.


          Liked by 1 person

        2. It can be easy to ruffle Jake’s feathers if just one Nat gets hot against him. Is Bryce suffering from go big or go home disease? I mean, is he trying TOO hard to get big hits and failing to connect because of it? Not every hit needs to be a homer. Daniel Murphy knows this, but he’s been cold lately, too. And yeah, Max and Stras and even Gio should sue for alienation because the bats leave him stranded.

          I know it was crazy to see Rizz go nuts over a bloop, but….that fire is what the Nats need. Rizz is usually a pretty easy going fella, so to see him get HYPED hardcore was great for me to see.


        3. Regarding Bryce, despite the bomb he hit Saturday night, he’s still not right, I don’t think; it’s not his health, it’s just his timing. We’re seeing too much “Bad Bryce”, where he pulls off pitches against lefties, instead of “Good Bryce” who goes the other way on outside pitches. He looked a bit better in game 3, but he’s still only at about 35 PAs since coming back from the DL, so he may not really lock in for the duration.

          That said, the fact that Trea Turner hasn’t gotten on base in front of Bryce all series hasn’t helped matters. I love Trea’s game, and I want to see him play SS for my team for many years, but he’s been floundering so far this series.


        1. The Mets crapped the bed. The Feesh were mismanaged to death. The Braves are currently in year 10 of a 1,000 year rebuild. The Phillies are just neglected after Ruin Tomorrow Jr’s rampage. Nats win the division by default.


        2. The Nats were 97-65 overall this year, a .599 winning percentage.

          They went 47-29 (.618) against the NL East, and 50-36 (.581) against the rest of the world.

          .581 is a 94 win pace over 162 games.

          Yes, the schedule imbalance helped, but perhaps not as much as you might think, Scouts.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. No one is saying the Nats suck, but when the rest of your division is a joke, you’re gonna win regardless.


        4. Someguy has a point, prof. The AL West is 10 pounds of crap in a five pound sack. But the Astros are genuinely good.


        5. They win by default because they are an actual team in a divsion where cohesiveness is hard to come by. I wonder, though, if they played in a better division, if they could be just that much better. As it stands now it looks like they are gonna force the Cubs to a game 5.


  2. News flash:

    The Red Sox fired their manager John Farrel. Their president of baseball operations is Dave Dombroski who will be leading the search for Farrel’s replacement. The last manager hired by Dombroski was Beautiful Brad who is rumored to be in the running. Meanwhile it is thought that the Tigers are considering former Twins luminaries Ron Gardenhire and Mike Redmond to replace Beautiful Brad.

    Spartan, Histro are you laughing or crying? I’m definitely laughing.


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