Seriously, where is ZNN because I need something to care about. Perhaps the Joe Q Natsfan (I guess a man cannot escape his destiny) is out there is hanging on every pitch, but this feels like slow death, doesn't it?
Usually at this time of year we could count on the Nats (and their star player "Reggie Tothemean") making some strides and playing some good baseball. They were 14-15 for August in both 2008 and 2009. This year the Nats offense is crashing (.232 / .285 / .411 line in August). The pitching is pretty bad (4.59 ERA, 5.21 from starters this month). Scratch that.
Another item of interest could be front office intrigue. Except for the Nats, there is no front office intrigue. Everyone will be back next year. End of story. I guess the Dunn contract deal is of interest but that's not something you check on daily.
What about satiating your baseball craving on young players being brought up or getting their first real extended try out? Nope. We've been watching Desmond play all year. He's having a nice August so far, .340/ .386 / .528, but I think he'd have to keep up this level of play into September for fans to really get excited about him again. Bernadina has also been playing a ton for a while now and frankly has been proving he shouldn't be. Plus he's not young. So unless the Nats start playing Justin Maxwell all the time (just for fun - because he hasn't proven himself any better than Bernadina) or for some reason bring up Danny Espinoza and make him a starter, there isn't anything fresh or new here.
All the Nats have in terms of on-field intrigue is pitchers coming back from injury. Marquis is back and has looked terrible. Olsen is back and has had mixed results. That's sort of interesting but we know what the best case scenario is for Marquis (average) and have no real faith in Olsen. The interest is in the young guys, Detwiler and especially Zimmermann, who many fans expect to immediately bounce back into #2 form. I don't necessarily agree but I think we're all interested to see how he looks. The Nats are eyeing a return for him in the next two weeks or so. He can't come back soon enough.
The Diminishing Strasburg Effect Revisited
I'm right. You're (possibly) wrong. (depends what you thought before)
I went to a Strasburg game last Tuesday (of course I get his worst game EVA) and thought - "Hey, it seems kind of empty". It was. 26K showed up. Significantly better than a non-Strasburg weekday night game? Sure. Probably 10K more at least but not a sell-out. Perhaps though there was trepidation about him actually pitching, given his last second bailout the last time he was scheduled to start. Surely his next start - a Sunday game getting toward the tail-end of school's out season - would be better.
That's actually the lowest Sunday game turnout since May 9th. I don't live in DC so maybe someone can come up with an explanation but for now it looks like they are running out of the casual fans just going to the park to see Strasburg pitch.