Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats hope Ryan Zimmerman has more defensive help in 2011.
Hopefully "The Nats Insider Story" is more accurate. And hopefully they cast George Clooney as me. Something tells me I'm never going to have to worry about that happening.
I am, however, curious to know who will play the title character in "The Brooks Conrad Story." Hearing the odds-on early favorite is Edward Scissorhands.
Just when you thought the Nationals were the worst defensive team in baseball, the Braves (and the Reds, for that matter) tried to prove otherwise. Atlanta has committed five errors in the first three games of its Division Series against San Francisco, four of them by Conrad. Cincinnati, meanwhile, committed seven errors during a three-game sweep at the hands of the Phillies.
This just in: Pitching and defense wins. Did you know the winning team in the six NLDS games so far are averaging only 3.67 runs and 7.5 hits. That's the WINNING team. You can get by without a ton of offense. You can't get by without good pitching and defense.
It's no secret Mike Rizzo and Jim Riggleman believe in that mantra. It's why you heard so much from them this season about the importance of improving the Nationals' pitching staff and defense. They look at some other clubs that either made or nearly made the postseason without world-beating lineups -- like the Giants, Padres and Rays -- and they see that as a blueprint for success.
Yes, some teams can slug their way to a championship. But not everyone can be the Yankees, and the Nats clearly aren't anywhere near the Yankee stratosphere at this point.
The Nationals' more likely path to success in the relatively near future is to build a roster that can pitch and catch the ball, then hit enough to provide a margin of victory.
With an infield of Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa, they think they're getting closer in the defense department, though a few holes still remain elsewhere.
With Drew Storen, Sean Burnett, Tyler Clippard, Joel Peralta, Doug Slaten, Collin Balester and others, they think they're very close in the bullpen department.
As for a rotation that currently boasts Livan Hernandez, John Lannan, Jason Marquis, Jordan Zimmermann and Yunesky Maya ... well, that's obviously an area that still needs to be addressed.
You can't build a billion dollar business overnight. Well, unless you're Mark Zuckerberg.