A homestand of one win and six losses isn’t usually something to remember, but this last week at Nationals Park was memorable and might have implications for our ballclub for years to come.
Before the Nationals even played a game on the stand, Stephen Strasburg was signed and immediately became a part of Nats’ history before he even arrived in town, much less threw a professional pitch.
I think many of us were expecting the worst as the negotiations went right down to the last two minutes, and the exhilaration we felt at Mike Rizzo and Stan Kasten getting the deal done was thus even sweeter.
Thursday, Mike’s promotion to full-time GM was another great step forward, a reward for his great work so far and a show of faith by Stan and the Lerners that Mike will continue to build a winning team. The faces of our front office people at the press conference were all smiles. Obviously, Mike is very popular with his staff and they couldn’t hide their pleasure at the news.
We finally got to meet Strasburg on Friday, and I was impressed by his unassuming nature and desire to “do what I did at San Diego State - win ball games.” Our fans at the stadium for that celebration reacted well to that statement, and there was a palpable sense of excitement with an eye to the future - hopefully, the near future.
Saturday, I ran into dozens of smiling fans at the season ticket holder picnic, and I came away with the sense that our loyal supporters are in the best mood they have been in for quite some time. You wouldn’t have guessed that the Nats had lost four straight at that point.
On that topic, our starters have to “start” pitching deeper into games. In going 1-6 against the contending Rockies and Brewers, our young guys only pitched 31 1/3 innings, an average of between 4 and 5 innings per start.
Craig Stammen went 5.1 and 6.1 and JD martin went 6.2, but as a group, there needs to be more outs and zeroes on the board. Those factors made it a rough week for the bullpen as well.
Now the Nats head into the hornets nests known as Wrigley Field and Busch Stadium, so the starters will have to elevate their games on this trip.
Here’s to a great week off the field and now to a great future between those lines!