All posts by Chris Mottram

The Nationals Are Horrible

What would make William Ladson, who has covered the Nationals franchise since 2002, tweet that during Monday’s Nats-Red Sox game? Well, how about this:

Or maybe THIS from the SAME INNING:

Or maybe it was Ian Desmond’s fifth error in seven games (thankfully not pictured).

Can we just hit reset on this season?

Making Sense Of The Max Scherzer Deal

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When your team hands out the second largest contract for a pitcher in history, as they did when they signed Max Scherzer to a $210 million deal today, it takes some time to wrap your head around it. Especially when your team already has the best rotation in baseball. And especially especially when what your team desperately needs is more offense.

So, what to make of all this? After consulting Twitter and reading the Internet, here’s my best attempt at figuring it all out.

1) Max Scherzer is Jordan Zimmermann’s replacement

The Nationals knew that Zimmermann only has one more season in Washington. He’s a free agent after this year, and all signs point to him leaving town. Specifically, the two sides being unable to reach a long-term deal before last season, instead settling for a two-year band-aid. So, they signed his replacement a year early to a deal that is likely similar to what ZNN will get on the open market. (And this is to say nothing of the fact that Doug Fister is also a free agent after this season.)

2) Trading Jordan Zimmermann is the ideal scenario

Now that Scherzer has been signed, their best case is to trade Zimmermann and get a bat in return. He’s gone anyway, might as well get something for him. And that sounds great, but that two-year deal he signed is backloaded. The Nats would need to find a trading partner willing to take on the $16.5 million ZNN is owed in 2015 with no guarantee of being able to secure him beyond that.

Continue reading Making Sense Of The Max Scherzer Deal

Misery Loves Company: Field Trip To A Redskins Bar In Charlotte

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I found out this is a Redskins bar by mistake. The first time we went, it was a new place in Plaza-Midwood, our favorite neighborhood in Charlotte. We met friends there on a summer evening for beers and tater tots and at some point during the night it was brought to my attention that this is a place for Washington fans to gather, watch games, and be sad together. The only other Redskins bar I knew of in town had recently closed down. Awesome, I thought, can’t wait to come back during the season for a game, I thought.

That was over three years ago.

My next time back was yesterday to watch a 1-5 Redskins team take on the 2-4 Titans. Not the ideal scenario for my first game day experience at this bar, but I have a baby now. If I’m going to wait around for the ideal scenario to go out for a game, or to do most anything, really, I’m going to be waiting forever. It’s an establishment with football on the flat screens and cold beer behind the bar. It’ll do just fine.

My wife and I, toting our son Wyatt asleep in his carrier, arrive just after kickoff to meet our friend Michael, who walked from his nearby apartment to squat on a table for us in the “Redskins Room.” The Room is filled to capacity with people wearing burgundy and gold, which made us wonder what this place looks like when Washington has a winning record. (Although it’s only been open long enough to experience one such season, so the sample size is small.) The crowd of about 30 is an almost perfectly even mix of black and white, male and female.

Continue reading Misery Loves Company: Field Trip To A Redskins Bar In Charlotte

Redskins-Jaguars Winners & Losers

Handing out labels following every Washington game. This time, a 41-10 win over Jacksonville.

WINNERS

Kirk Cousins. Made sports talk radio callers the happiest people in the D.C. area this morning. Completed 66 percent of his passes for 250 yards and a pair of TDs with no turnovers. This happened against the Jaguars. This Sunday against Philly will be an actual test.

Ryan Kerrigan. Four sacks, generally unstoppable all day.

The Running Game. Morris/Redd/Helu combined for 128 yards and three touchdowns with Griffin and Andre Roberts throwing in another 41 yards. As a team, they averaged 4.5 yards per carry with 191 total on the ground.

Jason Hatcher. Seemed to be in the backfield all game, had 1.5 sacks of his own.

Chris Baker. Played great at his natural nose tackle position, danced even better after the game.

Continue reading Redskins-Jaguars Winners & Losers

Poking The Name-Defender Hornets Nest

On Thursday, we published our NFL season preview over at SB Nation. It’s neat, you should check it out. So neat, in fact, that I decided to tweet about it. And with that tweet, I decided to point out that we didn’t use “Redskins,” a word we haven’t used on SB Nation for a couple of months now.

This went over very well with the name defenders, who are a calm, rational bunch. Here, without comment, is just a sample of the responses I got in my timeline:

#Redsknis

Redskins-Browns Winners & Losers

Handing out labels after Skins games, this time a 24-23 preseason THRILLER against Cleveland.

Cleveland Browns v Washington Redskins

WINNERS

Ryan Kerrigan. Recorded a sack on the first play from scrimmage, added another later in the game on Johnny Manziel, which led to Brian Orakpo doing this.

Ryan Grant. He continues his impressive camp/preseason with four catches and a touchdown. Looking more and more like a lock to make the roster.

DeSean Jackson. A couple catches for 34 yards, including one in which he turned a four-yard gain into an 11-yard first down reception. I’m so excited to watch him this season.

Andre Roberts. Two catches, including the 49-yard over-the-shoulder reception on a perfectly placed bomb from RGIII.

Bashaud Breeland. Seems like a fairly bad man.

Evan Royster. Nice 24-yard catch-and-run, followed up with a two-yard touchdown carry. Both will help his hopes of making the team.

Continue reading Redskins-Browns Winners & Losers

Manny Machado Has An Arm He’d Like To Show Off

On Wednesday night, Manny Machado did this to Albert Pujols:

It was an amazing play, and one we’ve come to expect from Manny. But just to prove it was no fluke, he did it again last night. And again, it was against Albert Pujols:

Both were incredible, and both throws came from about 10 feet into foul territory:

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But what really made the second one special was Manny doing this:

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There’s a man running to first base with no outs in a tie game in the 11th inning, and Manny Machado, about half a football field away from first base, is gonna take a moment to check out the baseball, gather himself, get his grip right, and then throw the runner out. I can’t wait to watch him do this for the next 15 years.

(GIF via @cjzero)

Bryce Harper Will Try Anything At This Point

Bryce Harper’s new “stack and jack” batting stance has been working. Since changing to it on July 18, he was 7-for-13 with one of his three home runs of the season coming into last night’s game. But then he decided to add a new wrinkle to it — some sort of batter’s box shuffle.

I have no idea what this is; I have never seen anyone do this.

It didn’t work, and resulted in one of Harper’s three strikeouts in an 0-for-4 day. Still, his production since the break has been promising. Hopefully it continues, because with Zimmerman now out* for the foreseeable future, the Nats desperately need the post-break Bryce, not the .244/.316/.366 pre-break version.

*Related: Yesterday’s game brought back RFK memories, with Hairston, Lobaton, and Espinosa in the starting lineup.