Saturday, April 09, 2005

Who's The Alpha Male?

What a game! Really well-played, quickly-paced, and some drama. What more could you want?

There were lots of candidates for Majority Whip today, but in the end, only one prevails:

¡Livan! has banished his alter-ego that stunk up Philly!

He wasn't overly sharp early, and it seemed like he went to 3-2 on every batter, but he got results. And if it weren't for one of the ugliest throws I've seen in a long time (Well, actually since the last Brian Schneider throw) by Cristian Guzman, Florida never would have scored. Instead, he settled for 7 innings with 1 unearned run. He struck out four, walked one, and lobbed up 116 pitches.

He also chipped in two sacrifice bunts, showing beautiful form on both. (Although why they'd have him bunt with one out and a runner on second, is a mystery to me!)

Congrats ¡Livan!

Jose Guillen was also in the running. He had the game-winning home run and three hits overall. Additionally, he made an excellent sliding stop of a liner down the rightfield line by Juan Pierre. If that ball skips by him, Pierre's probably standing on third base, and the Marlins probably tie the game. Guillen's quietly had a few clutch hits -- this one and the triple in Philly stick out.

(Which is not to say that he's a good clutch hitter, just that he's had actual clutch hits!)

The other major candidate was Cristian Guzman, yes, Cristian Guzman. Dropping him to eighth may have gotten into his head, or maybe he just faced crappy pitching. Regardless, he walked twice, once on four pitches, which is amazing as that's probably the second time in his career he's gone four pitches without swinging. He chipped in a gapper to right, and even the out he made was a hard hit ball to the outfield. He made a few decent defensive plays as well.

But, he had the horrible throw in the DP attempt which was a good 7 feet off the bag. When it nailed Delgado, it bounced to right field, and allowed the lone run to score off Livan.

And in the ninth inning, he was caught stealing third. I know what he was trying to do, but that doesn't mean it was the right decision. With Terrmel Sledge and Brad Wilkerson coming up, you just need one of the two of them to get a hit to score. Staying put is the better decision, especially with one out.

There's no sense in worrying over Chad Cordero. He gave up a bomb to Delgado, but that was about as tough a save as a closer can get: 1-run lead and the heart of the order up. It was great seeing him buckle down and get the rest of the batters.

On the broadcast... I'm glad they moved the count away from the outs. I don't have to figure out how they managed 22 outs anymore. Mel Proctor and Ron Darling are benign. They obviously don't know the players all that well yet, and there's definitely some work needed on the chemistry, but I'll give them some time. But Proctor has to stop getting so damn excited any time a batter hits a ball within 30 feet of the warning track.

We're 3-2 now and with the Mets losing (HA!), we'll be a game back. I can deal with that! It's a tough schedule early in the season, with the 9 games on the road, all against the toughest parts of the division. That we're holding our own on the road against divisional opponents is a great first step!

John Patterson gets the start tomorrow. He had a decent spring, as did all the Nats' pitchers. What worries me about him is that he hasn't pitched in two weeks now. We'll see how that affects his control.

They'll be facing Josh Beckett. He'll be a tough matchup, so let's hope for some blisters!


  • And I purposely didn't mention Ryan Church just to piss off his fan club!

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/09/2005 9:33 PM  

  • Come on, D.C., we all know there's no such thing as a clutch hitter.

    Anyhow, I like Guzman batting 8th. Takes the pressure off, they're not gonna try and baffle him as much, etc. I suppose the only downside is that unless Livan's pitching, there's a near guaranteed out behind him. No idea how Guzman's head is for baserunning, but since he's quick I guess he could benefit in the runs scored department from good bunting pitchers (Ohka can lay 'em down as good as anyone you've seen) and a nice Wilkerson at-bat. Can't say I like sacrificing outs for bases, though.

    What we REALLY need is a leadoff hitter that will allow Wilkerson to move into an RBI slot. He's great at #1, but it's wasting his best power years.

    By Blogger Angry Sam, at 4/10/2005 8:57 AM  

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