Photo by Rachel Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
I missed Stephen Strasburg's June 8 debut by one day and his win total by 2.
And we're all wrong sometimes. Hopefully not too often. But no ballplayer has ever hit 1.000 (at least none that ever got more than three big-league at-bats) and no sportswriter has ever hit 1.000 when it comes to preseason predictions.
So it is in the spirit of professional accountability that I will now admit all the things I and some of my colleagues were wrong about the Nationals before the season started. Way back on Opening Day, I asked six of my counterparts on the beat (Adam Kilgore and Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post, Bill Ladson of MLB.com, Ben Goessling of masnsports.com, Pete Kerzel of the Associated Press and Craig Heist of WTOP) to join me in making predictions in 10 different categories related to the Nationals.
As you can see, we actually did a pretty good job in most areas (aside from, most notably, our All-Star selections)...
Who will represent the team at the All-Star Game?
Mark Zuckerman -- Ryan Zimmerman
Adam Kilgore -- Ryan Zimmerman
Dave Sheinin -- Ryan Zimmerman
Ben Goessling -- Ryan Zimmerman
Bill Ladson -- Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn and Ian Desmond
Pete Kerzel -- Ryan Zimmerman
Craig Heist -- Ryan Zimmerman
Winner: No one. Matt Capps was the Nats' All-Star.
What will the total season attendance be?
Bill Ladson -- 2,500,000
Craig Heist -- 2,400,000
Adam Kilgore -- 2,100,000
Dave Sheinin -- 1,900,000
Pete Kerzel -- 1,819,111
Mark Zuckerman -- 1,652,378
Ben Goessling -- 1,585,031
Winner: Kerzel. Actual attendance was 1,828,066.
When will Stephen Strasburg make his big-league debut?
Adam Kilgore -- June 4 vs Reds
Dave Sheinin -- June 5 vs Reds
Pete Kerzel -- June 6 vs Reds
Craig Heist -- June 9 vs Pirates
Mark Zuckerman -- June 9 vs Pirates
Ben Goessling -- June 10 vs Pirates
Bill Ladson -- June 10 vs Pirates
Winner: Heist and me. Everyone came incredibly close, but no one actually picked June 8 against the Pirates.
How many games will Strasburg win this year in the majors?
Bill Ladson -- 10
Craig Heist -- 10
Dave Sheinin -- 9
Ben Goessling -- 8
Pete Kerzel -- 8
Mark Zuckerman -- 7
Adam Kilgore -- 7
Winners: Kilgore and me. Though we still predicted two more wins than Strasburg actually got (five).
When will Drew Storen make his big-league debut
Bill Ladson -- April 27 at Cubs
Adam Kilgore -- May 16 at Rockies
Ben Goessling -- May 21 vs Orioles
Pete Kerzel -- May 31 at Astros
Dave Sheinin -- June 1 at Astros
Craig Heist -- June 1 at Astros
Mark Zuckerman -- June 4 vs Reds
Winner: Kilgore. Storen was called up from Syracuse on May 17 and made his debut that night in St. Louis.
How many different starting pitchers will they use this season?
Mark Zuckerman -- 13
Adam Kilgore -- 13
Ben Goessling -- 13
Pete Kerzel -- 12
Craig Heist -- 12
Dave Sheinin -- 10
Bill Ladson -- 10
Winners: Kilgore, Goessling and me. The Nats wound up using 14 different starters this season: John Lannan, Jason Marquis, Craig Stammen, Garrett Mock, Livan Hernandez, Scott Olsen, Luis Atilano, Matt Chico, J.D. Martin, Stephen Strasburg, Ross Detwiler, Miguel Batista, Jordan Zimmermann and Yunesky Maya. If only Strasburg's shoulder hadn't acted up on July 27 and Batista wasn't needed for emergency duty, we would have hit it right on the nose. Of course, then we never would have met Miss Iowa.
How many different relievers will earn saves this season?
Mark Zuckerman -- 6
Dave Sheinin -- 6
Adam Kilgore -- 5
Ben Goessling -- 5
Pete Kerzel -- 5
Bill Ladson -- 4
Craig Heist -- 4
Winners: Kilgore, Goessling and Kerzel. Five relievers earned saves this season: Matt Capps, Drew Storen, Sean Burnett, Tyler Clippard and Miguel Batista.
When will they use a sixth starting pitcher for the first time?
Dave Sheinin -- April 20 vs Rockies
Mark Zuckerman -- April 26 at Cubs
Adam Kilgore -- April 30 at Marlins
Ben Goessling -- May 12 at Mets
Pete Kerzel -- May 12 at Mets
Bill Ladson -- May 15 at Rockies
Craig Heist -- May 15 at Rockies
Winner: Sheinin. It didn't take long for Mike Rizzo to make a change. Garrett Mock made only one start before getting replaced by Scott Olsen on April 15.
When will Jesus Flores appear in his first major-league game?
Ben Goessling -- July 6 vs Padres
Pete Kerzel -- July 16 at Marlins
Craig Heist -- August 5 at Diamondbacks
Mark Zuckerman -- August 10 vs Marlins
Adam Kilgore -- August 15 vs Diamondbacks
Dave Sheinin -- Out for the season
Bill Ladson -- Out for the season
Winners: Sheinin and Ladson. Flores never did play this season.
How many games will the Nats win in 2010?
Bill Ladson -- 83
Craig Heist -- 75
Adam Kilgore -- 73
Pete Kerzel -- 71
Ben Goessling -- 70
Dave Sheinin -- 69
Mark Zuckerman -- 68
Winner: Sheinin. It all came down to yesterday's season finale. Dave and I were on pins and needles straight through the 14th inning, at which point the Nats pulled out victory No. 69.
So there's the group portion of our Opening Day Nats predictions rehash. Now, we move to my own personal predictions for the rest of the majors. Back on April 4, I tried to guess how the standings would look in all six divisions, who would win the wild cards, who would go to and win the World Series and who would win each league's MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year awards. I did OK in several departments (got three of four NL playoff participants, probably nailed both Cy Young winners) but failed miserably in several others (the Cardinals winning the World Series, the Padres finishing last in the NL West).
Anyway, here's how I did...
Verdict: Nailed it straight through, 1 to 5.
Verdict: I should have flip-flopped the Reds and Cardinals, and I should have known the Pirates would finish last again.
Verdict: Got the Giants right as division champs. Never in a million years imagined the Padres would come within one game of winning the wild card.
NL WILD-CARD: Braves (nailed it)
NL CHAMPION: Cardinals (not even close)
NL MVP: Albert Pujols, Cardinals (definitely in the mix, though Joey Votto appears to be the favorite)
NL CY YOUNG: Roy Halladay, Phillies (probably got it right)
NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Jason Heyward, Braves (solid choice, it'll be either him or Buster Posey)
2. Red Sox
5. Blue Jays
Verdict: I should've given the Rays more respect.
1. White Sox
Verdict: Should have flip-flopped the Twins and White Sox, otherwise got it right.
Verdict: Not even close. The Mariners lost 101 games, the Angels finished under .500 and the Rangers won the division.
AL WILD-CARD: Red Sox (wrong AL East powerhouse)
AL CHAMPION: Yankees (could get this right, but it's wide open)
AL MVP: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees (had a solid year, but Josh Hamilton or Miguel Cabrera will win it)
AL CY YOUNG: Felix Hernandez, Mariners (if voters ignore his won-loss record, he'll win)
AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Brian Matusz, Orioles (won 10 games, but Neftali Feliz, Austin Jackson or Brennan Boesch will get the award)
WORLD SERIES CHAMPION: Cardinals (what was I thinking?)