Friday, April 21, 2006

Bizarro Nats

The Nats put another 10-spot on the board and chased a starting pitcher in the second inning. Who are these guys? It's amazing how quickly things can change in baseball. Literally one week ago, we were kvetching and moaning about how pathetic the offense is after Pedro Martinez, Brian Bannister, and Dutch Reuther's ghost held the offense, and no we're unstoppable! The truth is somewhere in between, and the Braves starting staff will probably knock some sense back into our head. But for now, let's enjoy the ride!

The Majority Whip was about as easy a call as we've had. Nick Johnson has been on fire, and Philly pitchers are probably thrilled he's out of town. The Walking Stick went 4-4 with a walk, 3 RBI, 3 runs scored, and two homers -- both of which would've been out of RFK. The first was a mammoth blast to deep right which landed in the club level seats high above the field. He got a BP Fastball high and over the plate, and you could almost see NJ jump out of his shoes in anticipation of turning on the pitch an destroying it.

For the season, he's batting an ungodly .400/ .529/ .745!? Small sample size and all that, but, man, that's dominant. Stay healthy, Nick!

  • The other story from the game was Billy Traber, who was solid, even if he wasn't dominant. Traber walked four batters, but his control didn't seem that bad. He throws a variety of pitches, and hit Schneider's glove more often than not. (It's not like when Ramon Oritz misses, and Schneider strains a muscle diving to the other side of the plate!)

    His pitches all seemed to have a ton of movement on them, so even though he doesn't throw hard, there's enough movement and variation to keep hitters off balance and miss the occasional bat. The bulk of Philly's lineup is left-handed, giving Traber an advantage last night. I'll be eager to see how he does against another team as Philly's right-handed bats stink for the most part.

    I'm definitely cautiously optimistic that we've found our fourth starter.

  • Alfonso Soriano had two more hits, and he's getting some praise in some of the recaps for the three leaping catches he made against the wall. Don't fall for it. On two of those, he didn't have to leap; he just misjudged the ball. He didn't seem comfortable near the wall, which is probably as much a function of it being 100 feet or so closer than the one at RFK. ;)

  • Jon Rauch, who apparently has been given the nickname "Wookie" by his teammates, pitched another 2.1 innings, saving the bullpen -- even as he's been the team's best reliever! He's down to a 1.59 ERA, and might be more valuable to this team in that role than as a starter.

  • The Nats come home for three games against the Braves, then three against the Reds.

    Today: John Smoltz v. John Patterson
    Saturday: John Thomson v. Ramon Ortiz
    Sunday: Kyle Davies v. Tony Armas

    All we need to do is make the starters work, and get into the soft underbelly of the Braves bullpen! Easier said than done, though.


  • Yeah, I mailed it in today. Sue me!
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