Rob Dibble Thinks the Nats Have 90 Win Potential
The season is finally here, and Rob Dibble is fired up about the Nats' chances. Like, really fired up. Did you read his blog last night?
The same people who said before the 2008 season that the Tampa Bay Rays who won 66 games in 2007 had no chance are choking on plenty of crow this year. The Rays went from 66 wins to 97 in one year and won the AL East; so why is it so hard to believe the Washington Nationals can't go from 59 wins to 92?
Well, because the smart baseball nerd types said the Rays would be massively better last year. They're not saying that about this year's Nats. But Dibble also speaks from experience; his '90 Reds, he notes, were 400-1 to win the World Series. "Anytime you want me to show you my WS ring, let me know, I really won't mind..." he writes, in an especial bit of modesty.
And if you think he was fired up last night, you should have heard him on the Junkies this morning, when 92 wins was yesterday's news:
"It's just a question of who's got the best team, who's got the guys that are the most unselfish," he said. "And I think the Nationals have a lot of what it takes to win 95 games, they just don't know it yet. They have to believe it."
Ninety-five! Get me re-write on that travel budget, please. Since the Vegas over-under for Nats wins is something like 71.5, I guess you'd want to take the over. But there are some caveats. What does this squad need? Not a leadoff hitter who will take pitches and get on base, or its most dangerous hitter in the starting lineup. They need nastiness, grit and self-belief.
"The one thing I'd love to see from these guys? Just be a little bit meaner, a little bit tougher," Dibble said. "And I don't meant that in a bad way. You have to gain respect as a pitcher. Pitch inside. And I'm not talking about starting fights and stuff like that, which I have the reputation for, but to me you have to protect your teammates so they can do their job. You also have to go out there and show everybody, you know what? I don't care if Johan Santana's across from me tonight, I'm gonna stick it to them and I'm gonna show everybody that we mean business....It's your responsibility to go out there every day and prove that you're not gonna mess with us....I kind of love that Get Your Red On slogan, because you need to see red. You need to go out there, it's your job to establish that you're not gonna be messed with."
YNGBMW efficiency, as the stat guys would call it. Dibble will, for sure, make me more likely to watch Nats games sound-full. More nuggets:
On John Lannan: "I wouldn't say he's the ace of the staff because they're all aces, you've got to look at them all as number ones. You can't say ok that guy's a number four, number five, because if you start putting that in his head, he'll pitch like that."
On the WBC: "I'm not a believer in the WBC....It's almost like an All-Star game, even though I've played in All-Star games, I still didn't like the other guys that were wearing different uniforms in the same locker room. You know, so you're thinking, 'Oh yeah let's be buddy-buddy for a couple weeks? It's not gonna happen."
On Barry Bonds: "Actually, Bonds is not a bad guy. I like a guy who's edgy and chippy, and if he's talented I don't care...."
On the Lerners: "The Lerner family really loves baseball, and they're gonna turn this franchise into a winner."
On the Nats: "It's up to them to be kind of like the Rays last year. They gotta keep saying, 'Listen, it can be done.' They have to have a belief system that this can be done--I'm in the Major Leagues, and it doesn't matter if the Phillies are in our division, or the Mets or the Braves or the Marlins. They have to take it on themselves and say, 'Listen, we're the Nationals.' "
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