Wednesday, June 07, 2006

This Is The End, Beautiful Friend

Last night's game shows how hard it is to climb out of a hole. Just when the Nats looked like they could scratch their way to five under, Soriano's pointless error and a BJ Jones homer (again) combined to knock the Nats back down to seven under. Sisyphus never had it so rough.

The Nats had a one-run lead in the second inning when Shawn Hill ran into a bit of trouble. Back-to-back singles put runners at first and second with the pitcher last night in a bunt situation. Hill threw the right pitches, peppering fastballs up high. On a bunt, it's hard to get the bat up and at an angle that'll get a soft grounder. The bunter will either bunt it hard (allowing the fielder to go for the lead runner) or he'll pop it up. And pop it up he did, for one out.

With one crisis averted, it was time for the key play. Marcus Giles hit a ground single barely past Ryan Zimmerman. Alfonso Soriano charged in to play the ball, leaned down to scoop it, and ran right by it as the ball rolled halfway to the wall, allowing an extra run to score. It was a silly play by Soriano, and one that's a mental error more than a physical one. In that situation, there's no way that he'd be able to throw out the runner from second. The ball was hit too slowly, Langerhans is a pretty good baserunner, and Soriano's arm ain't that good. He tried to make the big play, and in the process allowed the slow catcher to score all the way from first on a ground single. It's no different, really, than throwing to the wrong base.

Sure, he homered later, but had he not rushed before, the game would've played out differently.

  • I mentioned this the other day, but Jon Rauch is starting to struggle a bit. With last night's homer to BJ Jones, he's now allowed a run in four of his last seven appearances.

  • It's a hard game to pick a Lame Duck for, but Jose Vidro had a pretty poor night. Middle of the order hitters need to do better than his 0-4. He chipped in a late error, which didn't cost anything, other than a few extra pitches on Bray's arm.

  • Shawn Hill was decent, but nothing exciting. Everything he threw yesterday was up, up, up. That's fine if you're a flamethrower, but he's hardly that. But if this is the worst he's going to pitch, he's going to be ok!

  • Despite facing a lefty, Frank sat Brian Schneider, giving Robert Fick a chance to catch. Fick's started twice recently, both times against a lefty. Great roster construction there.

  • The Nats send out the Ramon Ortiz Cy Young Express tonight, facing someone called "John Smoltz". Never 'eard of 'em. We're sure to win then, right?

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