Nationals Time by Bob Ryan

From an ancient proverb comes  these words….”There is a time to be born, and a time to die;  A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away… well, it certainly was the Nationals time to “get”…..they overcame many obstacles…many deficits…severe odds….with some familiar names…some on the way up….some already there….and some sliding down the downside of their career. Some of the remarkable parts of this exciting World Series….  

…..the Nationals repeatedly overcame deficits… They overcame a two-run, eighth-inning deficit to beat the Milwaukee Brewers in the wild-card game. Erased a 3-1, 8th-inning deficit in Game 5 of the NL Division Series with home runs from budding stars–Rendon and Soto – before Howie Kendrick finished off the highly favored, 106-win,  LA Dodgers with a grand slam. The “destiny” Nats kept it up… Washington overcame a 2-0 deficit to win Game 1 in Houston. They scored six 7th-inning runs to break open a tie Game 2. Then,  in a must-win Game 6, trailed 2-1 after 4 innings before scoring 6 times in the final five innings to force Wednesday’s Game 7.  Game 7 itself, trailing 2-0 to a seemingly invincible Zach Greineke…suddenly Rondon’s HR….another runner….and Greineke was removed (too quick for my taste…you pay him $34m to be in the game at crunch time)…and Kendricks’ 2 run HR off of a good pitch that he took the other way….and it tailed into the Foul Pole screen …the Nats led instantly, Washington was on top…never to slip… for the remainder of game 7.

…The Astros held Washington to just 1 run in each of the 3 games in Washington. This was the first time that the visiting team…during the middle 3 games of the Series, allowed 1 run or fewer in all three contests

….Game 7 of the World Series was the 210th game this year for the Astros, including 30 exhibition games during the spring, the 162-game regular season and 18 postseason games. Washington played 208 games,  29 in the spring and 17 games in postseason.

…the time already seems to have passed for the Nats…Rondon has become a free agent, Strasburg opts out of his $100m/4 yr contract,  Ryan Zimmermann’s option wasn’t picked up; Matt Adams released….ahhh…the short time of celebrating the championship

…Some Players performed far above normal expectations in the Series….

….Stephen Strasburg, whos 8 2/3 innings win of game Game 6 forced game 7 is the FIRST OVERALL #1 pick of the draft to win a World Series MVP with a team that drafted him. Strasburg had also won game 2 and completed the entire post-season with a shining 5-0 record and a dazzling 1.96 ERA.

…Gerrit Cole was totally dominating…and pushed his Free Agency value skyward like a rocket takeoff…Cole stands in rarified air in terms of dominance. Sunday marked his fourth start this October with at least seven innings, seven strikeouts and one or fewer runs allowed — the second most in a single postseason behind Curt Schilling’s five such outings in 2001….then Cole piled up an 8-0 record .. Including his 2 road starts in the postseason, with a 0.89 ERA (a scant 6 earned runs across 61 innings) over his past nine starts away from Minute Maid Park. Cole’s strikeouts totals were eye-popping ! He struck out 9 Nationals on Sunday, raising his total in this postseason to 47. That’s tied with Randy Johnson (2001), Josh Beckett (’03) and Cliff Lee (’10) for the second-most strikeouts in a single postseason, trailing only Curt Schilling’s 56 for the D-backs in ’01. Further, Cole’s strikeout of Adam Eaton in the fourth inning marked his 368th strikeout of 2019, passing Nolan Ryan in 1974 for the 5th-highest single-year total (regular and postseason combined) in modern history. Johnson holds the all-time mark with 419 K’s in 2001. Despite these incredible numbers, Cole’s post-game remark after being asked for his thoughts on the game, “I’m not an employee of the team” any longer seemed bitter about his treatment and anxious to jump into FA waters. Now, in reflection, “I was upset, and my tone did not come off quite the way I wanted it to,” Cole told the Houston Chronicle. “One win away. We had the lead with eight outs to go. It’s just a tough pill to swallow.” It DOES have to be tough…immediately after losing the WS…that writers are right in your face with personal, tough questions…it seems we all’d talk before we think. But, in a short time….he’s gone from Houston.

But, there were “other” times for athletes this week…

…Already, the Cardinals time is being spent promoting their top prospect…Dylan Carlson. He just turned 21 in October…this switch hitter batted .281 @ Springfield (AA) and .361 @ Memphis (AAA). We fans have been down this trail previously…remember Alex Reyes’ was 4-1 in late 2016…he was going to be our next “ace”….well…now the forecast on him by Baseball Reference for 2020 is a 2-2 record….prospects are just prospects until they actually DO IT in the MLB.

…Maybe, it is Mike Matheny’s time?  He was hired as KC manager. During this Cardinal “time”, I felt he wasn’t prepared to be a MLB manager since he had absolutely NO experience as  a manager other than coaching High School. Now….he does…6.5 years. His remarks sounded like he’d grown…”I must communicate better”, “I must listen better”, yada-yada-yada. But.. WILL he improve on his teaching of running the bases, of handling the bullpen (no more Seth Maness acts) or of Fielding…3 woeful areas during his tenure.  Now….all that being said….basically, there are 2 types of managers hired…. those hired to compete for the title…and those hired to “baby-sit” the doormats. 

…Too much time on hill? Will Harris (Astros reliever) who couldn’t wrap the game up for Houston was probably overused. That appearance was his 80th of the 2019 season & post season…and he was coming on back-back days. I would say that the “time” of any 34 year old pitcher performing with that much work under his belt for the season and so little rest would face steep odds of succeeding

Then….there are some that the time just isn’t right!

…The Detroit Tigers “time” just wasn’t right. They had the pitchers…but not at the right time. Look at their 2014 Starting rotation—Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello, David Price, Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez.  What’s happened to those guys…Justin Verlander – 2017 World Series champ; Rick Porcello – 2018 WS champ; David Price- 2018 WS champ; Max Scherzer – 2019 WS champ; Anibal Sanchez – 2019 World Series champ

…it is time for MSHSAA to look @ the HS playoff system for Missouri. The first 9 weeks of the season are used to seed district teams. That part seems solid. However, why let all 8 teams get into the STATE tournament level. I’d like to see only the top 4 teams of each district advance into the MO HS playoff system. Football is the most difficult sport…in my opinion…to upset another team. As it is now, 1 plays 8, 2 v 7, 3 v 6 and 4 v5 in week  10 of the season, which is week 1 of District play.  Soooo….I’m suggesting to let the #5 team play #6 and #7 v #8 for their 10th game of the year (those games would be competitive) while #1-4 seeded teams compete in District(which is the first level of the STATE tournament)….  Currently, the sad, horribly one-sided scores this weekend doesn’t make the losers …or the winners…  happy. I mean…how many football teams seeded 5, 6, 7, or 8 EVER made it to the STATE Championship game anyway? Further, it’d shorten the season by a game so the season wouldn’t have to start around the brutally hot days of Aug 20ish.

…Sooo. ..it seems…in time, some things do run in cycles …

Urban Meyer’s career looks as if it’ll be resurrected again. After coaching 10 straight years with the final 6 years @ Florida…Meyer resigned due to migraines after 2010 season. A year later, he returned to take the Ohio state position. He coached there 7 years, went 83-9 then.. again, resigned due to health reasons… Well…after 1 year, the coaching bug must have bitten him again… rumors are circulating again about another return. Could it be ND or USC?

…well….my time is up….hopefully, you’ll respond, to any part of the blog…in time    

Comments

  1. Couple comments says:

    The World Series was more entertaining than I expected. Some great pitching performances! I’m sure the Nats were underdogs, but again, in a short series anything can happen. Ironic that Strasburg is the series MVP. I remember mgmt holding him out of series vs the Cardinals a few years back, monitoring his innings pitched. GM Mike Rizzo took a lot of heat for that decision back them. After the many issues Davey Martinez dealt with, good to see him succeed! Lots of Nats Free Agents to deal with. Rendon & Strasburg should command all their $ & attention. Wonder outcome “ if” Zack Greinke would have pitched another inning in Game 7?
    Hoping the Cards don’t “ sit” on the fact they won the Division… outfield ,3rd base & another starter & bullpen arm. Hot Stove will be interesting! Lastly, congrats to Kolten Wong for winning his 1 st Gold Glove JP1

    I do not think Urban will get to ND. He was an assistant once and offered the head job once and he went to Florida. Not sure the ND job will be open to begin with. I have season tickets Nd an early to the floor. Best friend played for Ara in 73 and he is on a bunch of committees. You never know Though Bob. Thanks DB

  2. Stephen M. McMullen says:

    I wish Matheny the very best. Yes, he has some good experience now, and he won’t have to work under Mozeliak, who, by the way, was extended along with The GM and Schildt. I await your comments next week on their extensions….

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