Friday, July 14, 2006

Halfway There, Livin' On A Prayer, Pt 3

Yesterday's big trade certainly put a big shiny bow on the first half, huh? It's a new Nats team going forward. I can't say that it's any better, but with FLop and Kearns, we have two players who could be part of the future, alongside Zimmerman and Johnson. There's a reason to watch the team again. It could be fun!

Top 10 Moments of the First Half

10) The Soriano Show -- With the Nats about to be swept, Alfonso Soriano single-handedly beat the Phillies in a 3-2 win. In the third, he ripped a 2-run homer before driving in the eventual winning run in the 7th. Video

9) Patterson Gives The Fish The Hook -- Looking as dominant as I've ever seen a pitcher, John Patterson mixed his fastball and curve, completely baffling Marlins hitters on his way to a 13 strikeout game. Video

8) Nick Johnson Sends Em Home Happy -- After 10 1/2 innings, the woeful Nats and Devil Rays were tied. At least til Nick Johnson stepped to the plate, ripping a drive to the alley in right. Video

7) Zimmerman's Well-Placed Grounder -- After rallying for two in the 7th to tie, Ryan Zimmerman, fresh off a walk-off two days earlier, did it again. His single drove in Brian Schneider, giving the Nats an all-too infrequent series win agains the Marlins. Video

6) Welcome To The Majors, Ryan -- Zimmerman's first major-leage homer would be a memorable one, a tie-making shot in the 9th inning against Billy Wagner. He turned on a high fastball, ripping it deep to the mezzanine in left in a game the Nats would blow open in the 10th. Video

5) Schneider Rolls Out The Barrel -- Facing the hideously ugly Derrick Turnbow with (who else?) Ryan Zimmerman on base, Brian Schneider turned a one-run loss into a one-run win with a surprising homer, one of only three he had in the first half. Video

4) Thrice Is Nice For Soriano -- On a cold, rainy night, Soriano sent the fans into a feverous delirium with a three-homer game, matching Jose Guillen's career RFK total with just three swings. Video

3) Daryle Ward's Mad Dash -- The most memorable run since Pesky held the ball, Daryle Ward's rumble home on Jose Guillen's triple to the right-center gap, still makes me smile. His run gave the Nats a lead in a game they had trailed by as many as 7 against the hated Yankees. Video

2) No Lead Is Safe For Zimmerman -- Down one to the Fish, Ryan Zimmerman stepped to the plate with two runners on. Bang! Zoom! Three runs later, Zimmerman had won the game. Video

1) Zimmerman Might Be Good -- A day after their massive 7-run comeback against the Yankees, the Nats found themselves down 1 in the bottom of the ninth. With a runner on, and Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang still on the mound, he left a sinker up, which Zimmerman deposited in the bullpen, taking the series for the Nats in front of a sold-out crowd. Video

  • Bottom Five Moments

    5) Umpires Stink -- Back when the team had promise, Alfonso Soriano was thrown out at the plate, despite evil rat-bastard catcher Paul LoDuca never controlling the ball. The Nats lost a one-run game on a call that Frank never argued. Video

    4) Livan Tosses BP To The Mets -- The Mets tied Jose Guillen's career RFK homer mark in the first inning, ripping 3 DEEP homers off Livan, before chipping in another in the third inning, perhaps the first sign that this season was going to be a long one. Video

    3) Khalil Greene Does It Again -- Another year, another game-tying homer against Chad Cordero. Sigh. Video

    2) Frank's Fancy Pitching Change -- In extra innings with a three-run lead, somehow Frank managed to downgrade from Jon Rauch to Joey Eischen with about 42 other pitchers in between, before Ken Griffey, fresh off the DL, sent everyone home happy. (At least if they're a Reds fan). Video

    1) Don't Throw Frenchy A Strike -- Jeff Francouer taught Chad Cordero a valuable lesson, hitting a walk-off slam in another game the Nats should've won. Video

  • MVP
    Ryan Zimmerman edges out Alfonso Soriano. Despite all his homers, Soriano only has a 60 point edge in OPS. Zimmerman's gold-glove defense and batting line of .287/ .349/ .478 give him the edge over Soriano. Offensively, Nick Johnson has been better than either, hitting an amazing .295/ .421/ .538.

  • Cy Young
    Jon Rauch. He's been the unsung hero of the bullpen, initially starting out in the Carrasco middle-innings role. He's taken on more setup duties, and is likely to take on even more than before with Majewski's departure. For all the gnashing of teeth about losing Ayala, Rauch has more than stepped in. If you trust BPro's stats, he's been among the most valuable relievers in the game.

  • LVP
    As much as I can't stand the now-traded Royce Clayton, Brian Schneider is an easy winner, 'hitting' .231/ .306/ .311. His offense is pathetic, and his defense has gone to hell. He's killing the team as much as Guzman did last year.

  • Joe Horgan Award
    Livan Hernandez. Expected to be a horse, he's turned into a cow. Sure, he's leading the team in IP, but hasn't made it out of the 7th once this year. And when you're doing that while putting up an ERA of 6, it's U-G-L-Y.

    • I love the 10 Ten High Moments and 5 Low Moments of the first half. You hit them just right. My other favorite moment was Daryle Ward's TITANIC BLAST into section 561 on tuesday night, May 23rd, off Russ Springer and the Houston Astros. That shot was a ROCKET!! Not many people were there to see it, but from our vantage point behind the 3rd base dugout, the majesty of that flight was great to see. What a Beauty!!

      By Blogger Screech's Best Friend, at 7/14/2006 3:39 PM  

    • I'm surprised you didn't include Church on Easter. Back when we thought he had resurrected his season after the surprising demotion.

      By Anonymous Simon Oliver Lockwood, at 7/16/2006 9:26 PM  

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