Wild Ride

Mr. Walkoff did it again for the Nats at Opening Day in Nats Park…with a walkoff wild pitch!

It’s too bad the usually-reliable shutdown artist Brad Lidge blew the save in the top of the 9th. Gio Gonzalez’s pitching was a joy to behold from my perch in Section 309. Watching highlight reels of him grinning like a Little Leaguer after getting a hit? Amazing. How can I not love this kid?

Oh. Uh, ahemSorry. The Nats walk-off win at home today gives them sole possession of first place atop the National League East, a half-game ahead of the Mets. The Nats now have a record of 5 wins against 2 losses (.714 winning percentage!). They have scored 28 runs, allowing only 17.

If current trends hold, the Nats Pythagorean win expectation is .731. Wow.

How’s my model looking? Well, my preseason Natstradamus projection has the Nats scoring 26.66 runs by now and allowing 24.59 runs.

Even without Michael Morse, Drew Storen, Chien-Ming Wang, and Bryce Harper, the Nats are, to this point at least, outperforming my preseason projections. My rational mind knows this may not be sustainable. But when I’m sitting up in 309 and rooting for my Nats, it’s really really tough for me to care.

Wang Goes Down

I was going to write a post about what I think the Nats should do with John Lannan, but the question has been suddenly rendered moot by today’s injury to Chien-Ming Wang. For now it looks like the pride of Tainan City, Taiwan has at least a strained hamstring. I hope it’s not worse than that.

Parenthetically: watch that video of Wang going down again. Once you get over the awkward, vaguely slapstick fall, you get to see some pretty good baseball. Wang seems to injure himself just as he goes down to scoop the baseball. Then, as he’s falling, he has the presence of mind and focus to drag his (good?) foot over the bag and retire Russell Martin, who also leaps to avoid clobbering Wang. Excellently played by both the falling Wang and the running Martin. This is why they’re in the big leagues, folks.

Wang’s injury means that John Lannan drops right into the Nats’ Number 5 starter role. Oddly, this substitution doesn’t really change my projection for the 2012 Nats at all: 86-88 wins. Lannan’s mediocre FIP is, oddly, cancelled out by his better offense.

We’ll re-visit the whole starting line-up and do the calculations more rigorously after the next round of cuts. For now, I’m going to hope that Wang’s hamstring recovers and that he’s not seriously injured. I was looking forward to watching him pitch this year.