Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Tip The Ol' Cap

One moment. That's usually all it takes. But this game, one of the more entertaining ones of the season, had several, beginning with the end.

How many times have we seen outfielders misplay flyballs? Mark Kotsay. Cliff Floyd. Willy Tavares. They each had their moment, and didn't come through. Todd Linden did his best to fail, but in the end, his diving catch off a butchered read of the ball was the difference between a one-run loss and a one-run win.

How many times have we seen the Nationals walk a batter in a key spot? Too frequently lately. Lost in the debacle on Saturday was the fact that Chad Cordero walked the first batter he faced to set up the deflating Grand Slam. Last night, Livan Hernandez made the same mistake. With two outs, all he had to do was get the pesky Omar Vizquel out. Instead, he walked, setting up the non-confrontation with Barry Bonds.

If there was a failing in that game, that was it. Livan, absolutely had to get that final pitch to Vizquel over the plate. Let him beat the snot out of the ball. Just hope it goes to a fielder. Instead, Vizquel got a slider way outside for the easy walk.

How many times have we seen Livan give up a big homer? JD Closser. Brian McCann. Moises Alou certainly has the bigger name, the more impressive resume. But his homer hurt just as much.

I can't fault the decision to walk Barry Bonds. The way he slaughtered the ball earlier in the game, you've just gotta tip your hat. Love or hate him (and most of you probably lean towards the latter), he's one of the best hitters in baseball history, and probably the best that you'll ever see.

But you can fault Livan's execution. If he gets the job done against Vizquel or Alou, the game's over. He didn't, and the Nationals have to live with another non-curly L in the books.

  • Interesting to note: In the ninth inning, Gary Majewski and Mike Stanton were warming. Chad Cordero never got up. Could Cordero be hurt? Is his arm just dead?

  • Brian Schneider returned to the lineup, giving Gary Bennett a much-deserved (in many ways) night off.

  • Luis Ayala threw in the bullpen before the game. With the playoffs a mirage, they should just shut him down. He's more valuable to the team next year than he is this year.

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