Sunday, August 14, 2005

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fervor

It's amazing how three wins feel, even if they are coming against a lousy team that we should beat the snot out of.

I'm excited again. But it's tempered.

On one hand it is three wins. But it's the freakin' Rockies. They're like a DH-less Royals.

On one hand, we scored 23 runs in three games. But it's Coors Field, a park that makes Vinny Castilla look good.

On one hand, we allowed four runs in three games. But it's against the worst offensive team in Rockies' history -- featuring something called a "Matt Holliday" hitting cleanup, and with a proven 'roider on the bench.

So, I don't know what to think. But maybe that's for the best. What does matter is that they're headed to Philly for a tough four-game series, and they're just one game behind the Houston Astros for the Wild Card (and the right to be slaughtered by the Cardinals).

Yo La Tengo!A few random thoughts:

-- The team put on an extra-base hitting clinic: two doubles on Friday; seven (!) doubles on Saturday; one double and two homers on Sunday.

-- Cristian Guzman hit in each of the games.

--Vinny Castilla ripped a double to deep right center on Saturday. I can't remember if I was watching on TV or listening to the radio, but the analysis was that that's the way Vinny needs to hit the ball at RFK.

Wrong. That's exactly why he's been failing.

Vinny isn't a dead pull hitter. Much of his power is from gap to gap (as is the case with Jose Guillen). At RFK, those balls get eaten alive. He simply can't juice the ball out of the park there like he could at Coors or many other fields.

--The baserunning continues to be atrocious.

In Saturday's game, Jose Guillen managed to hit into a Sac Fly double play when Nick Johnson got caught rooting for truffles somewhere around second base, instead of busting his butt back to first.

--The pitching was universally outstanding, and it's really nice to see that their excellent numbers aren't a complete RFK mirage, even if this was just three games against a below average offense.


Time to dole out some awards.

  • Friday's game was the only one that was close. Jose Guillen set the tone, not only by playing despite his torn rotator cuff, but by singling in two runs in the first. After that hit, the Nationals had a three-run lead, and a little bit of breathing room for the first time in what feels like a month. That's the stuff of a Majority Whip.

  • Saturday's game featured the aforementioned doubles explosion. Nick Johnson had two of them and drove in two runs. But he was also the victim of that truffle-seeking double play. His shoddy baserunning disqualifies him for the Whip.

    Instead it goes to someone I moaned about during the Yuda Game Chatter: Tony Armas.

    It wasn't pretty (11 baserunners in just six innings), and he pitched as slowly as the 14th Street Bridge moves on a Friday afternoon. But six innings of shutout ball in Coors Field is like 14 innings somewhere else. By the time he trotted off the field for the last time, the Nationals were firmly in control.

    He's been our most agonizing pitcher (In the non-Drese category), but he did well for at least one start.

  • Sunday's game is probably the easiest call. John Patterson went eight innings, allowing just one run due mostly to some shoddy defense.

    Patterson suddenly has seven wins (when did that happen?) and his ERA is down to 2.44. He's not really a Cy Young candidate, but he's been this team's best pitcher. I'm happy he's getting the wins he deserves from earlier this season.


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