Washington Nationals: A personal year of lessons learned

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If you are a certain age, say mid-40s, you know of the old Earl Weaver doctrine of the three-run home run. The Baltimore Orioles crushed opponents with that and great pitching under the easy going light-hearted Weaver. (Weaver was ejected before both ends of a doubleheader against the Yankees before either game started in the mid-1970s. That takes a special relationship with the umpires.)

As a child, the Red Sox mastered the three-run homer, but could find no pitching, causing this fan many an empty October.

Flash forward to this year and the Nats can slam three-run bombs like the rest and have starting pitching even Weaver would love. (The bullpen is another story.) What makes the Nats different from the old power teams is their aggressiveness on the bases.

Trea Turner reminds me of Tim Raines. Both can turn a walk into a double and have power from the top of the lineup. The Nats have two batters who work pitchers into a frenzy with Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon. Wilmer Difo and Michael Taylor can swipe bags. When Adam Eaton returns, he legs out triples.

The number of ways the Nats can beat you is outstanding and rare.