“Monday, Monday ... can’t trust that day” - so sang the Mamas and the Papas forty-some years ago.
Monday for a lot of us is a day we dread; it’s the start of another work week, and Friday seems to be a long way off. I would suggest to you that this past Monday, June 1st, was just what the Nationals needed, a day off.
May is done, and with it the 8-20 record that followed April’s 5-16. I guess we can see the glass as half-full and realize the Nats won three games more this past month. Now, let’s see, if they win three more every month: 11 in June, 14 in July, 17 in August and 20 in September, that would equal 75. I’m sure we would all be pleased with that number after last year’s 59.
I know, how do we win 20 in September against the Padres, Marlins, Phillies, Mets, Dodgers and Braves? It’s not likely, but how about 17 again? That would equal 72 wins, and that would still be +13 over ‘08. It’s wishful thinking, to be sure, but maybe our young starters will have things figured out by then, and the bullpen won’t have to pitch so many innings, the defense gets better, and the offense keeps chugging along.
Remember, two years ago the Nats swept the Mets in the last week and contributed greatly to New York’s end-of-season collapse. So anything can happen in September.
Maybe New Yorkers haven’t forgiven us, because we’re starting to hear the comparisons, at least statistically, between the Nationals and the 1962 Mets, the laughable expansion team made up of young kids who didn’t know how to play at this level, and veterans on the last legs of their careers. That team went 40-120 (thank goodness for two rainouts!) and was stocked, for nostalgic reasons, with washed-up New York Giants and Yankees, and Brooklyn Dodgers.
Our Nats bear little resemblance to that squad. There were no young players like Zimmerman, Flores and Dukes, or young pitchers like Zimmermann, Lannan and Detwiler on that team. Their MVP was former Phillie Richie Ashburn, and they gave him a boat as his reward. It sank.
Our MVP will probably be Ryan Z, who should be headed to the All-Star Game.
I’m sure there are nights when Manny looks out onto that field after an error and mutters to himself the old Casey Stengel ‘62 Mets question, “Can anybody here play this game?”
Casey also said, “The key to managing is to keep the five guys who hate me away from the four who are undecided.” Manny doesn’t have that problem, as his players all like and respect him.
So, to the wise guy who keeps emailing me with comparisons every day between the ‘62 Mets and the ‘09 Nats: take me off your email list because I know this team is much better than that one, and I’m hitting the delete button.
I know the off day was only “Monday, Monday,” but maybe this week brightens our season as we enter a new month.