So here we are – playoff bid clinched, NL East title clinched, and tickets to Saint Loo purchased. As an aside, I hope you saved a tree and use the boarding pass that they text message to you, Nationals.
Arborist tinged demands notwithstanding, the final week of the regular season has come and gone, and as Nationals fans anxiously await the next chapter of the 2012 story, let’s take a brief moment to see who is coming into the NLDS against the Cardinals running on all cylinders, and who might need to reactivate their chakras, and re-center themselves in preparation for a long run in the playoffs.
Let it be known that it took much restraint to not be the syrupy sweet softy that I normally am, and put the entire team down as my Hot to Trot, Picks to Click, Keys to the Game Players for the final week of the season. Truth be told, I spend most of my time when shopping at Target in the greeting card aisle, reading the serious Happy Birthday cards, and getting misty eyed. You know the ones – usually with a picture of ocean waves, or a close-up shot of a flower, and written in very fancy cursive fonts.
Before I get too worked up thinking about it all, and liken my love for you to a rainstorm in the desert, let’s see who’s had a good’un of a week, and a turd of one on the Nats (stats courtesy of Baseball Reference)…
Hot to Trot, Picks to Click, Keys to the Game, Hitter(s)
Adam LaRoche had himself a heckuva 2012 season, and he tied up his regular season heroics with a nice bow in the form of this final week. With a slash line of .412/.500/.706, and 12 total bases in 20 plate appearances, it was a great end to a personally historic season for #25. With 1 HR, and 2 RBI in the final week, LaRoche was welcomed into the hitters Promised Land of the 30+ HR, 100+ RBI season. Add to it his accomplishment of becoming one of 4 current players to hit 25 or more HR for 4 different MLB franchises this season, and you have one locked in cleanup hitter, peaking just as the playoffs begin.
Honorable mentions go to Bryce Harper and Michael Morse. Harper, in his usual Rookie of the Year…(?) fashion, sparked the offense from the #2 spot with 4 runs scored, and an astounding .467 BABIP. Morse was his usual beastly self, hitting .316, with 2 HR, and 6 RBI, and sharing the team lead with 14 total bases for the week with Harper.
The Iceman Cometh, Hitters
Jesus Flores is our Iceman of the Week, with an uninspiring showing that saw him go 0-6 with 4 K’s. Granted, this is only 2 games worth of at bats, but striking out 67% of your at bats, regardless of sample size, is bleak. With a stinker of a week like this, Jesus isn’t even Iceman, he’s the Fat Val Kilmer of the Week.
Poor guy. Hit the cages, Flo, and get that mojo back.
Hot to Trot, Picks to Click, Keys to the Game, Pitcher(s)
For the pitchers this week, the honor of being the AFLAC-Farmer John-Moe’s-WB Mason-Jet Magazine-Winkelman’s Stoma Supply Warehouse Pitcher of the Last Seven Games goes to Craig Stammen.
For the week, Stammen was resoundingly dominant in the late innings, with 7 K’s, and no walks with 10 batters faced in 3.1 IP, with a save to boot. Saving the best for last, in the form of his 2 inning, 6 K outing on October 1st, Stammen went out with a bang, with all batters faced not only whiffing, but whiffing swinging. An impressive performance, albeit one in a losing effort to the Phillies.
The Iceman Cometh, Pitchers
In easily his most frigid outing of 2012, Edwin Jackson ‘wins’ Iceman of the Week for the hurlers, with his short lived, 1.1 IP, 8 ER, and 4 walk performance against NLDS foe St Louis Cardinals. With a WHIP of 9.01, and a batting average against at a robust .400, EJax did not bring his A game, or his D+ game, for that matter.
A close second goes to Ross Detwiler, who also found himself on the wrong end of a clunker of a game against the Cardinals, with another brief outing, giving up 7 runs, and 5 walks over 2.1 innings against his hometown squad.
It rarely happened this season, but in the final week, The Other Guys didn’t show up for the Nats. Hopefully they got it out of their systems in preparation for the playoffs, but for the last week of the season, EJax and Det were Washington’s Iceman and Slider:
You know the funny thing about all of these pictures and references? I’ve never seen Top Gun.
It’s a wrap for the 2012 regular season, and what a regular 162 it was. Now here’s hoping that the Nationals don’t get their butts above hard deck, and report back to base immediately with their first playoff appearance, and continue to Take Our Breath Away into November.