Well, poop – I guess I at least caught Ryan Zimmerman’s last game before he went on the 15 day disabled list. Saturday night, Zimmerman re-injured an abdominal strain sliding into 2nd base that first bothered him during spring training. Huge bummer! Things seem a bit touch-and-go with new first baseman, Adam LaRoche as well, initially bothered by a slight tear in his throwing shoulder and now a “slightly” strained groin suffered yesterday, which made for an interesting defensive alignment in the last inning.
LaRoche expects to be ready to return to play tomorrow. Here’s hoping, because without calling someone up, the team is running really short on replacement players. Did you catch Pudge playing first base in the final inning of yesterday’s 11th inning win over the Mets! That was worth the price of admission right there (ok, free since I was watching on TV, but still)!
Also running short are effective bullpen arms not named Storen, Clippard, or Burnett. After hearing Rule 5 pick Brian Broderick would only be used in blowout (either way) games, I was stunned to see him called from the bullpen Saturday night. I surmised, and explained to my Mets fan friends sitting with me, that Riggleman was giving the core guys a rest since they had been used so much recently. And sure enough, that game got away. My sleep-deprived self still doesn’t want to rehash it!
I seem to recall Clippard losing effectiveness toward the end of last season due to excessive use, and am afraid of the same or worse this season. Same goes for the other guys in the bullpen named above. That will be an interesting area to keep an eye on over the next few weeks as the state of the bullpen as a whole becomes clearer with a larger sample size.
Speaking of Clippard, the mill-wheel armed dude, I keep holding my breath when he enters games in tight situations now. It’s not that I don’t trust his stuff — quite the opposite, in fact. It’s just that I know he can’t keep a 0.00 ERA going all season and wonder each time he comes out, “is this where some real numbers appear there?”
Here’s hoping the injury bug is done striking the Nationals and moves on to some other team (few seem to have been spared thus far into the season, however).