Monday, April 25, 2005

The Sacrificial Lamb...Errr... Duck!

DOINK!'S'bout Time. Without a doubt (especially after Nick Johnson rebounded from a crappy day at the plate with a big hit in the ninth), Cristian Guzman, this team's worst player, and perhaps the worst shortstop in the league not named Neifi, wins the Lame Duck. He, more than anyone, is the reason we lost this game.

Zach Day was pitching crappily and was on the edge of getting roughed up every time he stepped to the rubber. In the 6th inning, having already given up 3 runs. He walked the lead-off batter. And then, came the Lame Duck-clinching play. Easy groundball right to Guzman for the Phils-crushing double play! But... Guzman reaches down for the ball, starts the shovel toss to Jose Vidro, and forgets to grab the ball. It just sits there for what seemed like a month. He goes back, scoops it up and fires to first, far too late to make a damn bit of difference.

Instead of none on and two outs, it's two on and none out. The Phillies scored 2 runs, thanks to the two extra outs. Had Guzman made even one out, the inning ends with no runs scoring.

Is it just me or do these things always, ALWAYS come back to bite this team in the ass?

And again, we allowed the opposing pitcher free reign of the base paths. Crappy Lidle (File Photo) had an RBI single and was walked on four freakin' pitches. Day was even removed in the middle of a Lidle AB, when he refused to throw strikes to a sacrificing Lidle. If the pitcher's giving you an easy out, take it!

Brad Wilkerson continued his domination of NL East pitching, slicing out another three hits. Jose Vidro had an ok night. Three hits are great, but he couldn't get the big one at the end of the game with the tying run on third, and he misplayed a ball earlier in the game, which led to an early run.

The team pounded out two more triples (Brian Schneider and Vidro). RFK is the second coming of Exposition Park!

Terrmel Sledge only had one hit, but his approach at the plate continues to amaze me. He's a lot like Nick Johnson in that he's very selective, waiting for the right pitch to nail. Even if he's not getting the results, he's not popping pitcher's pitches up just because they're the first strikes he sees.

Joey Eischen came in, making it 43 straight games he's appeared in! :P Seriously, he's on pace for 105 appearances. Even if that's scattered over 67 innings, at this pace, that still can't be good for his elbow. Even warming up takes something out of a pitcher.

Jon Rauch (A Brother in H Solidarity with Guzman) made his season debut and was dominant, allowing only a flyball triple to Jose Offerman's corpse. He works quickly, throws strikes, and is massively tall. But, you probably already knew that.

He had a decent moving fastball. And what was either a cutter or a small, sharp slider. His changeup moves down and away from righties. Throw him in the rotation for Ohka for a start or two and see how the tall bastard does!

WTF Frank Senior Moment
This was actually a pretty strong game by Frank. Again, he magically stumbled into an optimal batting order. And he managed strongly and aggressively.

In the 8th inning, with the tying run on first and lefty Brian Schneider facing lefty Billy Wagner, he brought in Gary Bennett to PH. That's a decent move, especially because 99% of Major League managers won't PH for their catcher for fear of death. (I mean, have you ever actually seen an emergency catcher have to go in? Other than the Lenn Sakata/Tippy Martinez game)

He even was aggressive with his double switch earlier in the game, to bring in Rauch and Jamey Carroll to bump Guzman to the bench.

I think he made a little bit of a mistake in the 8th inning though. The pitcher was on deck when the last out was made. He didn't want to leave Rauch out there, which is ok, I guess, and he brought in Chad Cordero. But, as constructed, you were only going to get one inning out of him. What if it had gone extra innings?

Frank should have pinch hit Tony Blanco or JJ Davis for Brian Schneider. If they made outs, then he could double switch to bring Gary Bennett into the game, to bat leadoff in the 9th inning. Cordero would then be batting in the 7 spot in the lineup, and he wouldn't come up for at least two innings.

It didn't matter in the scheme of things, but it might have come back to hurt us later.

We Take The Good: Rauch, Frank's Aggressiveness, Wilkerson
We Take The Bad: Guzman, NJ's 2 Ks and GDP, Day's 5 BBs
We Take Them Both And There We Have The Facts Of Life.

Can Tootie play shortstop? Bash away in comments. Vent your long-simmering frustration!


  • Oh, and thanks for chattering with me! I was beginning to think I was the only one alive. It's crushing to one's ego ;)

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/25/2005 10:52 PM  

  • I was having a couple of beers with a guy from work and then a late dinner, myself.

    By Blogger Yuda, at 4/25/2005 11:13 PM  

  • Frank's continued abuse of the pen really needs to be addressed. Besides Eischen's 13 appearances in 20 games, we have Ayala 11/20, Cordero 10/20, Carrasco 4/5, Majewski 4/9, not to mention the injured Osuna and Tucker made quite a few appearances prior to their DL stays. The Nationals have played as close as they have by repeated use of the relief pitchers. This is all a result of Frank's lack of confidence in the rotation. Other than Livan (who hasn't been pitching to his ability as yet) and Patterson, the starting pitching has been terribly inconsistent.

    By Blogger Brian, at 4/26/2005 8:45 AM  

  • The only one who really worries me is Eischen. I can't really recall a situation that Ayala or Cordero have been used when they really shouldn't have. (Other than in that 11-4 game against Atl.)

    Ayala did pitch in back-to-back games, once with a big lead, but that was after getting knocked around the night before. It was more of a 'get back on that horse' kind of outing.

    But, the overall point is the larger one. The starters simply need to pitch deeper into the game. And right now, only have one effective starter (Patterson) and even he rarely makes it past 7. With the disasterous outings of Ohka and Day lately, the bullpens certainly thrown far too many pitches.

    Hopefully Rauch'll get a crack at the rotation soon. He was certainly impressive yesterday.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/26/2005 8:49 AM  

  • The problem (ha! like there's only one) is that this team somehow managed to carry six starting pitchers and not use any of them like a long reliever.

    We're down 9-3? Stretch out whichever of Okha or Day is in the doghouse for 4-5 innings, let everybody else have the night off.

    By Blogger Yuda, at 4/26/2005 8:54 AM  

  • What the starters need to do is not nibble so much. The problem with how deep the starters go is driven entirely by high pitch counts. If the defense is as good as Bowden claims it is, let them hit the ball and rely upon your defense to get the outs. Too many of the pitchers are nibbling around the corners leading to way too many 3 ball counts.

    By Blogger Brian, at 4/26/2005 8:58 AM  

  • Not trying to be flip, but...

    At what point does nibbling begin and sucking end?

    There's definitely a lot of nibbling going on, but there have also been some suckitude problems.

    Ohka just refuses to throw strikes. I really hope he's injured and that it's not that he lost it.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/26/2005 9:00 AM  

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