Thursday, April 12, 2007

Summer of Ryan (but which one?)

Everyone looking for a bright spot in this Nationals season inevitably mentions Ryan Zimmerman, as well they should. In his second full season, he is expected to improve on his magnificent rookie year numbers. Yet DCO asks, what of the other fine Ryans on this team? Those who may yet make us smile during this potentially (and it is still only potentially, ye harbingers of despair) dismal summer: Ryan Church and Ryan Wagner.

Zimmerman is no longer on his record-setting pace for triples, but nevertheless is still in line for a respectable 20 three-baggers. He has yet to hit a home run but, as Barry Bonds will testify, hitting home runs never proved anything.

Church leads the Nationals with 2 home runs, double that of any teammate, and only 2 off NL leaders Miguel Cabrera and Adam Dunn (though their numbers should be adjusted to reflect that Cabrera has faced Nationals pitching and Dunn has not). He also leads the team with 5 RBI and his .355 batting average is second only to teammate and NL pace-setter Ronnie Belliard, who is making the frozen body (or is it just the head?) of Ted Williams shake with his astounding .444 average.

Wagner looked good in his first four appearances,allowing only one earned run and one hit through 5.1 innings, though his ERA has taken a temporary statistical hit with the 3-run bomb he gave up last night. DCO attributes this freakishly long-hit ball to nothing more than the unusually cold air in Atlanta. Had typical southern April weather been present, no doubt would that ball have died at the warning track. One simply cannot always predict Divine Intervention.

See, there's a little more to look forward to already than 8-x losses and inning after inning of multiple-run deficits to overcome. Enjoy the Ryan Show.

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