Battle of the Beltways

DC Sports Nexus ---- Sunday, April 15, 2012

This was a strange week for Baltimore-Washington area baseball.  Both the Nationals and the Orioles have ended it atop of their respected divisions.  The only question that remains, who did it better?

ORIOLES: (5-4)  The Oriole's took their Opening Day win momentum and managed to sweep the Minnesota Twins.  People were riding high in Baltimore, so what if the Twins aren't a very good team?  Well expectations for the season took a big hit when the Yankees came into town and swept the O's in 3, with two of the games going into extra innings.  After that, the O's hit to road for and managed to take 2 out of 3 from Toronto to round out the week and wash out the bad taste of Yankee's series.

NATIONALS: (7-3)  The National's also won their Opening Day against the Cubs and went on to win the series 2 games to 3.  Then it was off to New York where the Nat's took 2 of 3.  Finally, the club won their home opener against the Reds and used that momentum to take 3 of 4 in that series.  Simply put, all the Nat's did during this opening week of baseball has been to win series, and that is what you have to do if you want to keep playing into October. 

O's MVP:  With such a good opening week a lot of players put up good numbers for the O's.  However, Adam Jones gets the nod for the MVP award this week.  Jones is hitting .348, has 4 RBIs, 3 HR, and has looked great in the outfield.  This is a big year for Jones to prove he can take the next step and be a star in this league.  If he plays well enough he may even be able to get out of Baltimore.  Say it ain't so!

Nat's MVP:  The MVP for the Nat's this week in none other than Ian Desmond.  Desmond is hitting .354, has 4 RBIs, 1 HR, and 1 SB.  Desmond is showing that he can be a major offensive force on this team along with his defensive skill at short stop.  Desmond almost singled handily carried the offensive burden for the team earlier on in the week and hopefully he can continue his production as the rest of the Nat's lineup starts to wake up.

Woeful O:  Pretty clear cut choice here, Brain Matusz.  Matusz picked up where he left off last season and posted a 8.38 ERA on his way to 2 loses.  In fact, every other starter on the Orioles looked good besides Matusz.  There was a point in time when Matusz was considered the biggest hope for future success, but now it is becoming clear he won't live up to those expectations.

Woeful Nat:  It was really hard to decide who to place here.  Even players who started off slow, like Adam Laroche, picked it up and finished out this week strong.  For lack of a really "woeful" player Ryan Zimmerman finds himself here.  Zim is only hitting .179 and has only driven in 2 runs, although he does lead the team in walks.  This shouldn't be cause for concern, Zimmerman being here is more indicative of everyone else playing really well, instead of him playing poorly.

Winner:  The winner is, the Nationals.  Each of these clubs are playing quite well to open up the season.  Each is leading their division and really what more can you ask for?  However, as good as the Orioles record appears for now, everyone knows that the AL East crown goes through Boston and New York.  As such, getting swept by the Yankees at home was not a good sign.  For the Nat's, however, they showed that they know how to win a series.  They showed it 3 times without any signs of slowing down.  If I had to place money on which team would be around in October, my money is on Washington right now.  

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