Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Location, Location, Location

It's amazing how much the context of events can change your perception of things.

Last night's game followed the same old script that we've seen for the last five weeks.

The difference is that in the bandbox of Houston's ballpark, the RFK-style warning track flyballs found their way into the seats.

The end result was a bunch of homers for the Astros, and amazingly, for the Nationals.

And it resulted in a *gasp* one-run win. (Remember those?)

But the story of the game wasn't the team's power surge. It wasn't the impressive debut of Brandon Watson (a double and a homer).

I know I'm relentlessly negative, and that I should enjoy the win, but I can't get over the continued horrid play of Cristian Guzman.

In the 6th inning, the Astros had two on and two out, with John Patterson on the ropes. He got Willy Taveras to hit a bouncing grounder up the middle. Guzman ranged up the middle, picked up the ball behind second base, and instead of throwing to first, lobbed the ball towards second and a late-breaking Jose Vidro.

The runner was called safe, even though he was probably out, but it was one of those plays that still is hard to call on the slo-mo replay; it's hard to get into a mouth-froth over the ump's call.

Frank brought in Luis Ayala, who got Craig Biggio to hit a nearly identical grounder. Guzman took a step or two, and whirled the throw sidearm right into the dirt, letting two runs score.

The party line all along has been that Guzman catches everything hit to him, so he's still contributing. While we knew that was a dubious claim before, now that he's stinking up the park with the glove, as he has for the last month, it's even more silly to believe.

He is costing the team, and his continued presence in the lineup is an indictment on Jim Bowden and Frank Robinson and their competence to run this team, especially as this team lunges along the fringes of contention.

He must be benched.

  • Chad Cordero wins the Majority Whip for his clutch, but nerve-wracking pitching.

    With a one-run lead, Frank brought him in in the 8th inning with runners on the corners. He got Craig Biggio to foul out to left.

    More importantly, he had a round-about 1,2,3 inning in the 9th, surviving Berkman, Ensberg and Lamb, thanks to a double-play ball.

    With the team's struggles over the last month, we've probably taken for granted how good Cordero is. He survived the heart of the order of the Astros lineup, and did it in fairly convincing fashion. But that doesn't mean that my gut wasn't in nots the whole time!


    • No WHIP for Watson? Chief locked it down indeed, but consider me surprised.

      I know, I know; make my own damn award!~ ;-)

      By Blogger Basil, at 8/10/2005 10:04 AM  

    • If I was going to give it to someone other than Cordero, I'd probably give it to Schneider.

      Or maybe NJ for all the walks he 'earned'! ;)

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 8/10/2005 10:23 AM  

    • Well, at least you consider him eligible! ;-)

      By Blogger Basil, at 8/10/2005 10:58 AM  

    • I didn't see the game, but the radio made it sound like Vidro was playing somewhat lazily on that first play and it was partly his fault. Possibly that got into Guzman's head as well.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/10/2005 11:36 AM  

    • Vidro didn't hustle right over, but that's because there probably wasn't a play there.

      Guzman's momentum was towards first anyway. And I'm pretty sure the runners were moving (or at least had a great jump)

      That one's entirely on Guzman. He saw the speedy runner and panicked on the first play.

      On the second, he just had a brain cramp.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 8/10/2005 11:51 AM  

    • he just had a brain cramp

      to go along with the nightly menstrual cramps?

      By Blogger Brian, at 8/10/2005 1:19 PM  

    • I watched the game in question, noone quite ruins the experience of finally having a team like Christian Guzman. If the Nationals are the cinderella team of '05, then watching him play is like finding out Cinderella has 3 kids, genital warts, blonde highlights, a tattoo above the crack of her ass and lost her virginity in the parking lot of a driving range. Not since Herbert Hoover has anyone in the Washington area sucked more at their job. There should be a federal mandate that says that him and Chad Cordero (who makes about $300,000) should switch contracts. But I guess part of the orientation of having one's own team is having a goat to bitch about.

      By Anonymous Sam Lewis, at 8/11/2005 11:17 AM  

    • That's the beauty of it. 90% of baseball is about failing and the misery that accompanies it.

      But it also means that the highs you get from it are all the sweeter.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 8/11/2005 11:18 AM  

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