Episode 30 – (Wizards, Nationals, Food Game)

If you want “old school” Serone & Simpson, this is the episode for you. With the Nats and Wizards being the only ones with real importance at this time, we got into MAJOR discussions of many foods that we wish were part of our daily diets. Even though this is a sports podcast, we still enjoy the food conversations almost as much as we like eating the food itself…

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Wizards Draft Lottery – (25:00)
  • Ryan Zimmerman Comments/Nats Talk – (38:50)
  • “This or That” Food Game/Food Tangents – (1:04:00)

Music By: Kenneth Thomas (www.DJKennethThomas.com)

Supporters: We Organize “Professional Organizing Services” ~ Parrando’s Tex-Mex Grill

The Art of “Small Ball”

If you are a Nationals fan, you have to notice something different about this years team. Yes, Bryce Harper is not here. But if you look at this club more in depth, you can see it is not “just a new cast in this 2019 play.”

SportingCharts.com defines “Small Ball” as: An offensive baseball strategy that favors situational hitting and base running tactics over pure hitting in an effort to make efficient use of scoring opportunities in any given situation.

Personally, this is my favorite strategy in all of sports. I am a more strategic type of coach rather than a “set the lineup and release the hounds” type. As a Nationals fan, this is the first glimpse since the start of the Bryce era that we have had to follow the “small ball” model over the model of “get some guys on and let Harp crush a 450 foot mammoth shot to the upper deck.” In 2019, our lineup is focused more on batting average hitting rather than home run hitters.  Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, Howie Kendrick, Juan Soto, Victor Robles, Adam Eaton and company aren’t going to go out there and be the new Ken Griffey Jr. hitting over .300 with 30-40 homers every year. My gripe is more so with Davey Martinez than the players, but I do acknowledge that it isn’t all him and that the players have to execute as well.

With that in mind, “small ball” has to be executed with precision and accuracy. This is one reason, of the many, why I think Davey Martinez is getting criticized every day. To master this art, you have to set the tone in the clubhouse first and foremost. While Ben and I were coaching some rising High School players, everyday I emphasized two words: Responsibility and Accountability.

  • Be RESPONSIBLE for your job and what you need to do on the field.
  • Be ACCOUNTABLE for your mistakes.

Those two things are, what I think, most important in not only baseball, but any team game that deals with multiple pieces on the field at once (i.e. Football, Basketball, Soccer etc.). My biggest critique is the lack of energy and passion that has been set in the Nationals locker room thus far. There isn’t any fire on the bench to get guys amped up. We see errors, bad at-bats, and countless mistakes being made that you learn in Babe Ruth leagues. Not being able to lay a bunt down, striking out when you need to put the ball in play,  and bobbling routine grounders happens to professionals, but it seems like it happens more often than not with this ball club. We are 26th in Major League Baseball with 27 errors on the season. We have 12 in our last 10 games. There just isn’t any energy getting this team right or rejuvenating the passion on a nightly basis. We always have to understand that it’s a game and games are supposed to be fun, yet this team looks to be miserable at this point. The culture starts from the top and Martinez’ best friend type approach is starting to wear thin with each loss.

Strasburg speaking about the Nationals struggles

Next up, you have to manage each game with more strategy than just analytics. The “eye test” is so underrated in sports. You have a high baseball intelligence? Use it. For instance, you see Jeremy Hellickson out there with nine strikeouts in the 5th inning and a low pitch count, don’t take him out for a “lefty/lefty match up.” You have Brian Dozier get on base with Wilmer Difo batting (.232) up next, you bunt Dozier over getting him in scoring position allowing him to have a higher chance of scoring on a base hit. Most fans and on lookers would prefer you make a baseball decision rather than look at a booklet that says Difo has hit changeup’s well lately. We all want the same thing and that is to score runs. With a depleted lineup, you need to score a few runs and let your horses in the rotation bring it home. Putting excess pressure on Scherzer, Strasburg, and Corbin to always “great” and not just “solid,” is something you never want.

Davey Martinez

Lastly, you have to move runners “station to station” by singles and doubles, not home runs. You may get a long ball here and there, but when runners get on, you have to get base hits to move them around. Washington is in the bottom third of teams in the stats LOB (Left on Base) and Team RISP Average (Runners in Scoring Position). We are currently leaving over seven runners on base per game, while only hitting .246 with RISP. With that, you have to look at how you’re setting your lineup. Two guys that are performing horribly with runners in scoring position are Ryan Zimmerman (2 for 21 – .095) & Brian Dozier (2 for 17 – . 118). Notably, both of them are more known for power numbers instead of hitting for average and on-base percentage. Dozier has hit an average of 29.6 Home Runs per season dating back to 2014 with a career .323 OBP. Zimmerman has had five seasons with 25+ Home Runs and career .343 OBP. They are not made for small ball. Let’s look at their replacements stats.

First, Matt Adams is Zim’s replacement. Though his OBP isn’t that impressive, Adams proves himself with RISP (5 for 18 – . 278 – 11 RBI’s). For Dozier, Howie Kendrick is first man up. He is the prototypical small ball player. Kendrick is hitting (12 for 33 – .364 – 13 RBI’s) with runners on any base and (6 for 16 – .375 – .419 OBP) with RISP. Not to mention he gets on base at a .382 overall OBP which is top two on our team. Those numbers are considerably better and should show Martinez and coaches that to execute this strategy every night, you need to play the guys that fit the system more than ones that are getting paid more or have name recognition.

Howie Kendrick 2

To recap, this is what I believe Washington needs to do in order to succeed with this new squad:

  1. Set the tone in the clubhouse.
  2. Have a good balance of “eye test” and analytics.
  3. Produce a lineup that is more built for the type of baseball you play.

I was all for the Davey hire before the 2018 season. But the failure in the win column and lack of strategy almost every night has put my panic meter at a steep incline.

Episode 29 – (Redskins Draft, Capitals, Nationals)

After being under the weather last week, it is good to be back behind the mics yet again to recap the Redskins Draft, the Capitals disappointing 1st Round Exit, and what is the Washington Nationals debacle. Plus we get into some movie theater talk and pizza….

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Washington Redskins Draft Rundown – (21:00)
  • Washington Capitals Exit Reactions – (45:30)
  • Washington Nationals Debacle  – (1:07:00)
  • Grinds My Gears – (1:33:40)

Music By: Kenneth Thomas (www.DJKennethThomas.com)

Supporters: We Organize “Professional Organizing Services” ~ Parrando’s Tex-Mex Grill

Ranking the Top 10 Most Important Nationals

In certain sports there are players more important than others for the success of the franchise. Take Quarterback for example. You have the ball each and every down on offense to which you are more important than say the second tight end or the slot receiver. In baseball, you have superstars but role players will sometimes make or break your team when those superstars aren’t on their game. When it comes to this specific “Harper-less” Nationals club, it is something we have yet to see in over seven years of having that star on our team. These are my Top 10 rankings of importance of this 2019 Washington Nationals Active Roster.

  1. Max Scherzer – (Starting Pitcher)

    Multiple Cy Young awards (at least one in each league), leadership, durability, endurance, and most of all the confidence we all have with him on the bump is why this guy is my number one. He is a beast on the mound and no matter if he has a few bad outings or not, he is still the best pitcher in baseball. We are witnessing greatness, be thankful. MaxScherzer1

  2. Anthony Rendon – (3rd Base)

    The next great one is in our midst. Yes, we know he does not have that flair or flash that someone like Harper has, but he may have the most all-around game in this organization. Batting .371 this season and having an on-base percentage of over .450, he is in the Top 10 for each category. Dating back to the start of the 2017 season, he has a combined .309 batting average and a .409 on-base percentage. Can you ask for anything more? Oh wait, he is also one of the best fielding 3rd basemen in ALL of baseball. Three words: PAY THE MAN!anthony-rendon-usat-nationals

  3. Juan Soto/Victor Robles – (LF/CF)

    Combined at the third spot are our young guns in the outfield. These two were the main reason we let Harper go eat cheese steaks with all of those boo birds in Philly. Juan Soto came on the scene last year with little warning. He was on fire from the start and did not let up one bit coming up one spot short of Rookie of the Year. Robles on the other hand got hurt in the minors so we saw a lot less of him last year. Yet, we have heard his name around the majors and the Nationals organization for multiple years. The sight of having these two in the outfield for the foreseeable future gave Mike Rizzo and the organization confidence in not paying for the service of one Bryce Harper. They have had some struggles this year but think about it this way. When we were their age, we were in some bar somewhere not thinking of the exam we had coming up the following Friday. They are in the Major Leagues being leaned on by thousands. Give ’em some time!

    Soto Robles

  4. Stephen Strasburg  –  (Starting Pitcher)

    This rank may differ for some people but to me it is a no brainer. I am a Strasburg homer. I was at his debut and get pumped for each and every one of his starts. He is a monster on the mound and watching him buckle professionals at the knees or paint the black on a consistent basis is astounding to watch. Now yes, he does have injury concerns but if he was replaceable or not a big deal, why would we concern so much on his injury history? He may not be the prodigy we all thought he was but I will take starts like we just saw on Easter Sunday over any regular journeyman starter. Strasburg

  5. Yan Gomes/Kurt Suzuki  – (Catcher Platoon)

    This may come as a shock but do you know how important a catcher is to a baseball team? Just like the center position in football, the catcher touches the ball in 95% of the ballgame. Catching foul tips, people stealing, calling pitches, framing borderline pitches etc. The things a catcher does on a daily basis is a running list. I ranked these two additions to the squad this high because of the level of difficulty in the position and the performance they give. Our struggles over the years with Wieters was known. The Buffalo you say? Try having him run down the first baseline without pulling a hamstring or laboring to even get to the bag. I will take this platoon over anything we have had in the last five years. Suzuki has been one of my favorites for years. He always has a smile on and frames pitches with the best of them. Plus, with his limited time playing, he is leading the team hitting with runners on base going (6 for 15) with a .400 batting average and .444 on-base percentage. With Gomes primarily in the American League this is my first good look at his game and I am liking the presence he brings behind the dish. Nationals Baseball

  6. Patrick Corbin/Sean Doolittle  – (Starting Pitcher/Closer)

    Combining these two is kind of a cop-out but they equal the same importance. Having a third starter is pretty much on point with having a quality closer. 90% of your season series’ are three games. The playoffs, if you get there, is made for 3-4 man rotations. If you have a Max Scherzer you can throw him on short rest so that means you can go with a three-man rotation come playoff time. At this time in the season with a handful of starts from our main guys, Patrick Corbin has been most impressive. With opposing batters hitting less than .200 on him and a below 2.36 ERA, you CANNOT ask of anything more of your newest pitching acquisition. Of qualified pitchers, Corbin ranks in the Top 11 in the MLB of WHIP (Walks + Hits / IP) and ERA. Doolittle on the other hand has been needed A LOT more than he should be at this point. Yet, even with his over usage, he has a 0.90 ERA. Imagine if the Nats could get to the 9th inning only using him for save situations. Wouldn’t that be a site! Patrick Corbin

  7. Adam Eaton  –  (RF)

    Adam Eaton was a great addition for this squad a few years ago. Even though injuries have somewhat plagued him since he has been here, he has produced when he has played. Since the start of the 2017 season, he has a combined .302 batting average and a .407 on-base percentage. He has helped the young core in the outfield with leading by example and showing how a class act should be in the Major Leagues. Eaton provides a good bat at the top of the lineup and a good clubhouse presence for one of the youngest rosters in the league. Adam Eaton

  8. Howie Kendrick  –  (Utility IF/OF)

    If you think Howie Kendrick is replaceable, you’re sadly mistaken. People overlook Howie because he does not play everyday. You need to understand the importance of Mr. Kendrick as some people probably call him. He doesn’t hit moon shots like Harper or hit as consistent as Rendon, but my god having a career .291 hitter coming off the bench that has experience playing both infield and outfield is a rare commodity. Grabbing him back in 2017 is a move I will always applaud Rizzo for completing. He has constantly come up clutch for us in big spots. Focus in on this year for instance. He is getting on base 46% of the time, hitting .387 overall, and has a .467 batting average in the teams 10 wins. Along with that .467 average, he has four extra-base hits including all of his homers this season. Tell me some reasons he isn’t valuable to our team, I’ll wait….Kendrick

  9. Trea Turner  –  (Starting Shortstop)

    He is a tad low on my list because we have yet to see enough of him to evaluate his true potential. He has had less than 100 games in two of his first three seasons, and last year was really his breakout year in what was a down year for the organization as a whole. We’ve heard the potential on the base paths, the cannon from shortstop, and the above average hitting potential he has, but we won’t get the full taste of his potential until a larger sample size is commenced. Once he comes back from the finger injury, we will get to see what Trea Turner has in store. Trea Turner

  10. Matt Adams  –  (1B/OF)

    Big City! I have been favoring Matt Adams to start over Ryan Zimmerman for two seasons now. He has a far bigger impact, in my opinion, than Zimmerman. Since the start of the 2018 season, Adams has a batting average of .275 with runners on base and .351 with runners in scoring position. Comparing his stats to Zimmerman, he is 41 points higher with runners on and 128 points higher with runners in scoring position. He won’t be a clean-up type hitter but can come through in some bigger spots that Zimmerman has failed to do in recent years. But I think the biggest thing is the bat off the bench. It is very difficult to find someone to come off the bench with Home Run potential. With Kendrick taking the cake with the “hit in a pinch” bat off the bench, Adams is your big bopper. He is not the best overall baseball player but comes through when you need him. Matt Adams

Washington Redskins 2019 Draft Preview (Guest: Steve Johnson)

Steve Johnson from “Let’s Talk Redskins” on the Full Press Coverage Network joins the show to help preview the Washington Redskins 2019 Draft! We discuss Josh Rosen, Position Needs, and more!

Follow “Let’s Talk Skins:”

  • Twitter: @LetsTalkSkins & @FPC_Redskins
  • Host of Redskins Talk Show for Full Press Coverage Network
  • Website: FullPressCoverage.com/Redskins

Episode 28 – (Capitals, Nationals)

What will Ben’s “Native American” name be? Is there a better way to eat Hot Dogs that isn’t all bread? We answer those and more with the Capitals up one game on the Carolina Hurricanes, and the Nationals failing to take control of the National League East….Take a listen!

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • More “Dances with Wolves” Talk – (22:00)
  • Capitals Up 3-2 on Carolina – (24:10)
  • Nationals .500 on the Season – (40:15)

Music By: Kenneth Thomas (www.DJKennethThomas.com)

Supporters: We Organize “Professional Organizing Services” ~ Parrando’s Tex-Mex Grill

“Mr. National” – Ryan Zimmerman

I know, I know. “Another rant from Mike about Ryan Zimmerman.” If no one will care to talk about the issue then I will speak my peace until someone besides Ben and I starts to take notice.

Zim is in the last year of his contract and it could not come any sooner. Television crews and some broadcasters out there put out some of these egregious stats such as; “When it is over 60 degrees with the Colorado Rockies in town, Ian Desmond strikes out over two times per game.” Now they have never said that specific thing, but this is very similar.

Around Opening Day, MASN put out this graphic that really “irked” me to say the least. It had the title “Mr. National” for the one guy people lean on every year to take us to the promise land….RYAN ZIMMERMAN? It had a very dumb stat that included his season averages for seasons he had over 500 at-bats (7 Total Seasons – Only 1 since 2013). Of course, they are all inflated. Problem is, if you discount this season and his rookie season, it totals 13 seasons. That leaves out six total seasons of baseball. This is a ploy to show everyone that he is so important to our organization rather than being a COMPLETE liability.

With that, I decided to do a little information seeking on my own. Below will be two stats on each line. First will be the last five seasons combined, and second will be four of the last five discounting his career year in 2017. Here are some stats of the last five seasons he has been a National (incl. 2015-2019).

Ryan Zimmerman Season Averages (2015 – 2019)

  • Batting Average:  .248   –   (.234)
  • On Base Percentage:  .319  –   (.309)
  • Home Runs:  16.2   –   (11.25)
  • Runs Batted In:  57.2   –   (44.5)
  • Extra Base Hits:   36.6   –   (28.5)
  • Runners in Scoring Position:  (122 for 471) = .234   –   (75 for 320 = .214)
  • Runners On Base:  (210 for 799) = .263   –   (126 for 544 = .227)

I always look at the positives for my team. But when there is a legit GLARING hole in our lineup or in our teams outlook, I am not going to stand around acting like it is “no big deal.”

RonBurgandy

Mike Rizzo has assembled this team to be a World Series contender for the last 7+ years and we have nothing to show for it whatsoever. I know Ryan Zimmerman was a bright spot for us when he was drafted back in 2005 (our first season). But you have to look at the recency effect and how he has produced for this team in big spots. Everyone looks at his 11 walk-off homers, his two Silver-Slugger Awards (2009,2010), one Gold-Glove (2009), and his career 2017 season. But what they don’t see are the season’s he did most of those in, where we didn’t even crack 70 wins. You have to produce when your team needs you. Plain and Simple. With this team making the playoffs four of the last seven seasons, poised to make it this year, changes have to be made. Legacy only goes so far when your play is mediocre at best. I just wish people would start to look towards our future rather than our lackluster past.

 

GO NATS!

The Roar of the Crowd

Tiger Woods Wins the 2019 Masters Tournament at Augusta National!

Who would have thought those words would have been said ever again? I am a HUGE Tiger fan. I remember sitting on my best friends couch as we grew up dozing off from holes 5-8, and then waking up for the late Sunday charge of Tiger in his victory red polo. It was something remarkable to watch. Professional golfers choking left and right. Plunking trees, dunking cannonballs into the water, three putting late, or even having to pull a Kevin Na and take forever hitting your golf ball just trying to compose yourself with the presence of greatness in your midst.

Everyone knows the whole saga that started back in November of 2009. We won’t enter into that realm because it was a decade ago. But, the one thing I will address is the sole fact that even though he was a “god” so to speak, to many people, that does not excuse him for his actions. I told my mom the other day, who is a above average sports fan, that “no one has forgotten what he had done in his personal life, but they have most likely forgiven him for his struggles.”

A man on top of the world with money, fame, stardom etc., comes tumbling down a never ending hill. When have we EVER seen someone of his caliber crash and burn in that magnitude? I think most of us can agree after his downfall, we saw the pain he went through to try and come back to golf. This includes, four total back surgeries, recording his worst ever score as a professional (85) in 2015, pain medication problems with an arrest on an alleged DUI etc. Too many things to count in a 10 year span. But this is going to be a positive outlook on what just transpired in Georgia this past weekend.

Seeing Tiger in contention is one thing. But seeing him in the final pairing on a Sunday in Golf’s “Super Bowl” was a completely different viewpoint. Making a charge on any other day than Sunday is fun to watch. But making a charge on Sunday, the final round, counting down the holes, is nerve racking. You can compare Sunday golf at a major championship to Game 7’s in almost any playoff of the four major sports. You have one single day, one game (or round) to make your move and claim the hardware.

Fast forward to his back nine holes. He started off the back nine scoring bogey and moving two back of Francesco Molinari of Italy. Meanwhile, no one really understands that at that point, there were seven golfers within three shots of the lead. With Molinari’s consistency, I was a bit worried at this point. On 11, Tiger found his shot in the trees but got a break with a nice angle to the green and made par. Still two back of Molinari.

Then this is where it got interesting. Molinari started to falter when he splashed his tee shot at the Par 3. At this point in the tournament with a two shot lead and seven holes to play, you can’t open the door for others. Everyone else has to make the move, so seeing Molinari go for the pin instead of playing it safe for the par, was baffling to me. Woods saw this, made par and tied for the lead. (Check out Francesco’s shot below)

Xander Schauffele made his move in the middle of the back nine tying Tiger and Francesco through 13 & 14. Then the Italian started to sink once more at the 15th hitting a tree branch, dunking the ball again losing more ground. Tiger birdied the Par 5 taking the outright lead with three holes to play. With Schauffele not going away, Tiger needed that inner focus we were used to seeing crossing into the millennium. And on the 16th tee box, we got re-introduced to the “old” Tiger Woods.

With a birdie at 16, that all but put the nail in the coffin for Tigers return to greatness. You have to believe that this will probably not be the Tiger of old, where he runs away with tournaments. But, golf just became relevant again with him in the mix. Watch out sports fans…..He’s Back!

Episode 27 – (Capitals, Nationals, Tiger)

The Capitals are up by two on the Carolina Hurricanes, the Nationals bullpen continues to struggle, Ryan Zimmerman is more of a liability than a car with no steering wheel, Serone’s boy Tiger Woods wins “The Masters,” and we once again get carried away talking about food and the good things in life…

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Capitals Up 2-0 on Carolina – (19:00)
  • Nationals .500 on the Season – (43:15)
  • Tiger Woods Wins “The Masters” – (1:29:15)
  • Food is the Best – (1:35:45)

Music By: Kenneth Thomas (www.DJKennethThomas.com)

Supporters: We Organize “Professional Organizing Services” ~ Parrando’s Tex-Mex Grill

Episode 26 – (Skins, Wiz, Caps, Nats)

As we forget to start the show and reminisce on our shows history, we eventually get into some thoughts on Josh Rosen possibly to the Redskins, the Wizards draft position, Capitals series vs. Carolina, and the “Pig Pen” Nationals Bullpen that has stunk up the joint for most of the eight games so far…

Podcast Available: iTunes PodcastGoogle Podcast & Google Play Music

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Josh Rosen to Redskins? – (17:00)
  • Wizards Draft Positioning – (26:50)
  • Capitals Playoff Series vs. Carolina – (32:15)
  • Nationals Bullpen Woes – (51:30)
  • “What Grinds Our Gears” – (1:18:40)

Music By: Kenneth Thomas (www.DJKennethThomas.com)

Supporters: We Organize “Professional Organizing Services” ~ Parrando’s Tex-Mex Grill