I am a very competitive person. I get very upset when my husband beats me at Scrabble® (which seldom happens, but when it does, my whole night is ruined!). I bask in the glory of a good double play or when a catcher tags a player out before he reaches home plate. I yell at the television when a pitcher is removed from a game prenaturely. It is because of my competitive nature that I am having a difficult time dealing with the Nationals’ two losses in Spring Training games over the weekend.
In Saturday’s game, the Nationals lost 3-1 to the Houston Astros, and yesterday they got their butts kicked 10-2 by the same team. After Saturday’s game, we were supposed to be consoled by the fact that “Boy Wonder” Bryce Harper got his first base hit of the spring; that did not work for me – I just wanted the Nats to win. Then after yesterday’s loss we were expected to revel in Stephen Strasburg’s pitching performance – sorry; two runs allowed on three hits over 2 2/3 innings is not wonderful, even if he did strike out three batters.
Despite being very competitive, I am also a natural optimist. So the “glass half full” side of me has to realize that it’s VERY early in the season, most of the regular players sit on the bench during some Spring Training games, and you don’t want your team peaking too early before the season has even started. OK, I guess I can live with that. For now.
The two guys I feel bad for after this weekend are pitchers Ross Dettwiler and Tom Gorzelanny. Both are vying for that fifth spot on the starting rotation, and both had lousy outings. In Saturday’s game, Dettwiler allowed 2 runs in 2 innings and suffered the loss, while Gorzelanny allowed SEVEN runs in one inning on Sunday’s game. I’m sure these two will have many more opportunities this month to showcase their talent; I hope they take advantage of that and perform better in their next few outings.
Another thorn on the Nationals’ side for quite a while now has been Ian Desmond at shortstop. The quandary is that Desmond commits a lot of errors (two in Sunday’s game), yet he and second baseman Danny Espinosa turn beautiful double plays. The Nationals don’t have many other options for a day-to-day shortstop – they have made it pretty clear that Desmond is their guy. But he needs to continue to work on his defense. And I know I’ve said this before, but Espinosa needs to stop striking out!
So we’ll have to see how the rest of Spring Training goes. The regulars will be getting more playing time as it gets closer to Opening Day, the minor-leaguers will enjoy their time in the spotlight, and competitive fans like me will be hoping for some wins. Stay tuned, and please leave me a comment to let me know how you are enjoying my column. Until next time!
About the Author
Written by Marien Hornyak
I was born and raised in Puerto Rico but have lived in the continental US for 22 years. I have a BS in Athletic Training and a MEd in Sport Management, where I did my thesis on "The History of Baseball Litigation." I am a wife, mother of 2, and self-proclaimed "Baseball Nerd." My favorite baseball players include Roberto Clemente, Kirby Puckett, and Iván Rodriguez.