Saturday, June 04, 2005

The Scrappiest Bunch Of Scrappers That Ever Did Scrap

Another great game. Another win. It's getting crazy now.

One of the great things about baseball is the different ways it toys with your emotion. The last game against the Braves was the perfect example for the in-game version. Your emotions fluctuate wildly, constantly changing depending on the situation -- from the lows of the top of the 8th, to the highs of the bottom of the inning.

But, those fluctuations in emotion also happen from week to week and month to month.

One week ago was probably the lowest point of the season. The Jays, Reds and Cards exposed our weaknesses, and our injuries were finally starting to show.

Yet, the Nats came home, and the team has flourished, taking 4 out of 5 from the two best teams in the division. Even though we're barely scratching out these wins, it certainly feels like we've been dominant.

The Nats loaded the bases in the 11th inning, thanks to an error on a sure double-play ball. Ryan Church hit a short fly ball to left field, and Jamey Carroll, who had walked, water-bugged home ahead of a tremendously poor throw by leftfielder Miguel Cabrera.

There isn't any doubt about who the Majority Whip is tonight. Livan Hernandez gutted out 9 innings while giving up just two runs. In the process ¡Livan! threw 150 pitches. (Anyone know what his moral ERA for the night was? I can't find the stat anywhere? :P )

Can't you just picture Baseball Prospectus' faces reddening?

While 150 is certainly on the high side of what I'd want to see from him, it's par for the course, particularly given his sometimes-lackadaisical style. I've written before about why it's not really a problem before, and how it is that ¡Livan's able to do it.

It was a great performance, all around.

¡Livan! certainly saunters around the field like he's cock-of-the-walk. It applies to when he's batting, too. When he hits a grounder, he half-trots to first. I really don't mind that from the pitcher, especially one with a bad knee and too many pounds on his frame anyway.

¡Livan! made the final out of the bottom of the seventh, a slow grounder to second. He trotted most of the way to first, before stopping, slowly peeling off his batting gloves, and gingerly walking back to the dugout to get his glove and do whatever the hell else he does between innings. He took his damn sweet time.

Between innings, watch the second base umpire. He pulls a stopwatch out of his back pocket, and tracks the time between innings. He and the homeplate umpire are in communication so that the homeplate ump knows when to tell the hitter to get into the box.

It took ¡Livan! close to a minute to get from first to the dugout, where he spent another 30 seconds or so doing something or other.

Only then did he start his saunter out to the mound to warm up. Well, actually it was closer to a half-saunter. He took his damn sweet time. I don't even know how it's possible to move that slowly.

At that point, the second base umpire, with watch in hand, looked at the homeplate umpire and did the wrist-rolling C'mon, let's get this thing moving motion. The homeplate ump looked back at him, nodded his head, then started shaking it like 'can you believe this guy?'

Once he was sure he was out of ¡Livan!'s range, the homeplate ump started his impersonation of him. He slumped his neck and let his arms hang loosely to his side, while doing an old person's shuffle. All he needed was a pair of fuzzy slippers and he could've fit in right at the home.

The second base ump started to laugh, and the homeplate one stopped doing it, probably not wanting to bring attention to himself making fun of the player on the mound!

¡Livan! wins the Majority Whip not for the gutty pitching performance, but for getting the umpire to taunt him! There aren't many players who can inspire that, or get away with that. Congrats El Gran Caballo!


  • Watch Livan's warm-up tosses, too. He just lobs them in there. No point in over-exerting yourself warming up before the inning, eh?

    By Blogger Carl, at 6/04/2005 12:49 PM  

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