WHICH GOES FARTHER, ZIMMERMAN'S HOMERS OR ERRANT THROWS?
Take a look at this picture of Ryan Zimmerman and Frank Robinson. Is Robinson greeting Zimmerman, or is he taking a swipe at him? I guess it could be either, because the Nats' young third baseman continued his spring infatuation with home runs and errors, hitting two more homers and committing yet another throwing error. For the spring, Zimmerman now has seven home runs and and seven errors. Both numbers are surprising, but my guess is that Zimmerman is feeling "too" comfortable and isn't concentrating. Some guys aren't good "practice players," but are able to turn it up a notch when the game starts, Maybe Zimmerman is one of them. As far as the home runs, is there anyone who isn't surprised by his power? Ryan is now second in the Grapefruit League in total home runs, behind only Ryan Howard's ten. We keep waiting for major league pitchers to find a weakness. Is it possible that, somehow, the Nationals have lucked into a once in a decade superstar that doesn't have any? My original prediction was .275-14-65 for Zimmerman, but I may have been way too conservative. Perhaps .285 - 25 - 85 might be more likely?
Jose Guillen launched his third homer of the spring, all coming in the last three games, good news for the wrist and shoulder worriers among us. Jose Vidro got two more hits and is beginning to look more and more like the Vidro that Washingtonians have never seen. Ramon Ortiz barely pitched well enough to win, giving up three runs and eight hits in five innings. Joey Eischen, Billy Bray and Chad Cordero gave up no runs in three innings of work.
So, the wins are coming more frequently now, and the once horrid spring training record is now just really bad. Some of the team's key offensive players are hitting, others (hello Nick Johnson and Royce Clayton) are at or below .200, not a good sign this late into spring training. And nothing has happened to make the Nats' faithful less worried about the pitching staff. Livan Hernandez and John Patterson have a combined ERA of 1.43, but the "other guys" have an ERA way over 6.00. Without a sudden improvement in the back of the rotation, the 2006 season will be over before it begins.
Call me back in May when the real starting lineups are announced.
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