Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Atlas Shrugged

Wilkerson Carrying the Load...Again!That's the winning formula.

6+ innings of solid pitching and two bombs for the runs.

It won't win every game, but it'll win most games.

John Patterson pitched great, only giving up one run, but this team's problem with walks continued, as he chipped in another four to the team's total. Combined with his six strikeouts and the pitch count climbed early and often. He was completely out of gas by the time Big Frank sauntered to the mound with the tying runs on base and the winning run at the plate.

But the real heroes of the game were the same two men who've been carrying the team lately, Nick Johnson and Brad Wilkerson (Pictured At Right--bonus points for anyone identifying the location).

NJ proved that it is actually possible to hit a ball over the wall to the gap at RFK. His first-inning bomb tied the score at 1. Later, he'd leave the game after fouling a ball off his kneecap (please be healthy, please!). And that's where the Majority Whip stepped up, and in.

Brad Wilkerson, despite not having played one inning of first base this season, even in spring, stepped in and played a flawless first base in NJ's stead -- Just as he had flawlessly stepped in to play center on Opening Day with nary an inning's worth of work there during the spring.

But, defensive prowess is not enough to win the Whip, oh no! What did this team's Atlas do to solidify his award? In the fifth inning, after John Patterson laced a double down the right-field line, he did what all true leaders do: Whack the hell outta the ball. Wilkerson's shot cleared the outfield wall. And thensome. Some lucky fan in the 400 section, in the upper deck, got a souvenir he certainly wasn't expecting. 3-1 was the score. And the ballgame was over. When the team's needed a big hit lately, The Kentucky Masher's been there.

John Lieber wasn't himself, falling behind many Nationals batters and surrendering 3 walks in just 6 innings. Well, maybe he was himself, and the early-season Lieber's the one out of whack with reality!

Chad Cordero came in in the 9th, and despite falling behind 3-0 to the lead-off batter, rallied back and had an easy 1,2,3 inning.

Gary Majewski relieved Patterson in the 7th, and faced Jim Thome with two runners on. He got Thome on an easy out. Majewski's definitely pitching like he deserves a more prominent role in the pen.



WTF Frank Senior Moment
1. Bringing Majewski in! It worked, but was definitely a head scratcher. Frank's shown a willingness to bring Joey Eischen in at any time in any situation. Except for tonight, when the situation called for it. Patterson's pitch count was climbing and Eischen probably should have been the one on the mound to face Bobby Abreu and Thome. Patterson walked Abreu. And Majewski got Thome.

It's not so much that I have a problem with Majewski coming in, but if you're going to bring in Eischen to get a lefty in an 11-4 game, why not in a 3-1 game?

2. 8th inning and Terrmel Sledge singles to put runners at the corners. Frank pinch runs JJ Davis for Sledge. Wha??

Sledge isn't slow, but Davis isn't especially fast either. Even assuming there's a difference between the two, it's marginal, at best.

Plus, already up 3-1 and with 2 outs in the inning, Davis' run doesn't mean a ton -- and isn't that likely to come around to score anyway.

So, there's not much of a benefit to pinch running in that situation.

Now, anyone who's watched a few games of these two in the outfield instantly knows that Sledge is a vastly superior defensive outfielder. It's not even close.

Davis plays outs into singles and singles into doubles. He has shown an alarming inability to cut balls off before they roll to the outfield wall.

There's pretty clearly a benefit to having Sledge out there defensively.

It's another play that, while it didn't cost us this time, might come back to bite us sometime.

I keep hammering the point, but Frank's been doing everything in his power to shave our margin for error as closely as his can. That ain't good!

But, what the hell do I have to complain about? We're 11-10 fer Crissake! Would anyone have bet we'd be 11-10 at this point? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

8 Comments:

  • ESPN says Johnson won't play tomorrow.

    By Blogger Yuda, at 4/26/2005 11:12 PM  

  • Flawless? Wilkerson dropped a foul ball and was charged with an error. He got the job done and deserves MW, but he was not flawness.

    By Blogger WFY, at 4/26/2005 11:31 PM  

  • Old Rag.

    By Blogger WFY, at 4/27/2005 6:12 AM  

  • Alright.... I turned away from the game for a few. I guess I missed that one.

    Did the batter reach?

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/27/2005 7:14 AM  

  • I wouldn't complete fault him on the error. Nick Johnson would have got nowhere near that one.

    By Blogger Brian, at 4/27/2005 7:46 AM  

  • check out MLB.com ... Guzman speaks

    http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20050426&content_id=1029199&vkey=news_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

    By Blogger Brian, at 4/27/2005 7:47 AM  

  • No, it was a foul pop. Tough play, back behind the bag in that area where a non-gimpy second baseman would normally make the play in foul ground.

    A tough play, but he got leather on it, so the error was charged.

    By Blogger Yuda, at 4/27/2005 10:09 AM  

  • That glove play drives me crazy. There's a ton of foul territory that a slug wouldn't have been near. Oh well.

    Meanwhile a slug lets a popup drop and there's no error.

    Reason #425 whey Fielding % is useless.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/27/2005 11:49 AM  

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