Crystal ball time: Who makes the playoffs?

Let the second half begin. The Nationals enter Act Two four games ahead of the Braves in the NL East. The Orioles are seven games behind the Yankees in the AL East. It would be beyond exciting to see both teams make the playoffs for the first time since baseball returned to Washington in 2005. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening. Absent the luxury of ... read more

What's Rizzo's plan for the second half?

The Nationals are wrapping up their strongest first half since 2005, when they went into the All Star break 19 games above .500. That year, the Nats finished in last place in the National League East with a .500 record. Many believe the 2012 Nats are different. They appear built for the long haul and a big reason is their strong starting pitching. But there ... read more

Thanks to young phenoms, hustle is back in baseball

There's a Charlie Hustle revival going on in the major leagues. Last weekend, we saw 19-year-old Bryce Harper visit Camden Yards and the very next series, we see 20-year-old Mike Trout. About a month ago, the Orioles visited Toronto, where they got a glimpse of 22-year-old Brett Lawrie. Throw in Kansas City's Eric Hosmer and there's suddenly a crop of young, exciting players infiltrating the ... read more

On to brighter battles of the Beltway variety

After watching Davey Johnson and Joe Maddon exchange blows Wednesday, I was considering this blog entry be a list of all of baseball's unwritten rules. Then, my friend Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times informed me that two books have already been written on the subject. There goes my dream. Luckily, I have another great idea. It involves a wooden round circle with spokes ... read more

Clippard: All-Star reliever turned perfect closer

When asked what Tyler Clippard's key to success is, Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty told me his changeup is going really good, but most off all, "He's all a@# and elbows coming at you." I think that means he's deceptive. And that just might be my favorite quote of the year. Clippard's mechanics are far from textbook, but according to McCatty, if it ain't broke ... read more

Old friends reunite on first-place battlefield

With the Mets in town and just five games separating first and last place in the NL East, the Nationals don't have to be reminded of the importance of every divisional series. Tuesday's 12-inning grind-it-out win proved Ian Desmond's proclamation, "We've packed our lunch." Amber Theoharis talks with Ian Desmond about the importance of the Mets series But the Mets are ready to work also. ... read more

Baseball drafts are funny things

The Orioles and Nationals will look to the future tonight as they harvest the best amateur talent in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. This time of year, amid all of the predictions, it's hard not to look back. For the rest of you baseball junkies who have nothing better to than to look back at previous draft orders like me, I highly recommend doing so. ... read more

Meeting with Rays with be a telltale series for Orioles

The Orioles came into the month of May like lions and went out like lambs. The old adage typically refers to the month of March in Maryland, but I'm trying to make a point here. Just as the mid-Atlantic springtime weather can be unpredictable, so have the Birds been in the last month. As we head into June and July, we'll find out if the ... read more