Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I Wish I Could've Passed Over This Game

It's been said that a bad day at the ballpark is better than a good day most anywhere else. Those who've said that clearly weren't in attendance at game two of what's already been a looooooong season.

First, let's look at the good.

OK, now that we've done that, let's look at what went wrong.

Josh Wilson might have had the single worst defensive game in the history of the major leagues. Somehow thanks to an official scorer who is either 1) a fan of moonshine or 2) legally blind, (perhaps 1 caused 2?) he was only credited with one error, but wow, I know I'm not the only person who clenched their sphincter when the ball was hit towards him.

It really was a sight to see. As it rolled towards him, he'd circle it like a novice matador, sliding around it as if he were afraid of being gored by it. When it got close, he'd slide his glove down to make the play, all the while sliding his body around it every which direction. On the two or three times glove actually met horsehide, he scooped it up and lobbed the throw without ever setting his feet.

Shawn Hill's line looks ugly, but much of that ugliness is because of El Matador. With Cristian Guzman now headed to the DL and the Butcher of Columbus, D'Angelo Jimenez on his way, Wilson's probably headed back to the bench.

I sorta feel for Hill. Some of it was his own doing, but he, for the most part, got the ground balls he needed. It's just that the stiffs behind him (including the OLE! play by Boots Young at first) stunk.

They've been completely terrible offensively so far. And it wasn't until the 5th and 6th inning that they started showing the patience with their batting eyes that helped them out so much last year. Of course, they did only manage to score two runs on those fives walks over those two innings...

Much of that lies at the feet of the Marlins starting pitcher. He pounded the zone early in the game, and, as I've mentioned 5 times already today, the Nats current lineup is especially vulnerable to left-handed pitching.

  • I'm about done with Ryan Church. The guy can play, but he's a head case. He wasn't a bad defender until the team and certain writers started talking about how bad his defense was, then he started doing his deer in headlights impersonation of any liner hit to center. It happened again today, as he got caught on one ball he definitely should've nabbed, and another he might've had a better read on.

    If he's not going to field at all, and he's not going to hit, then it's time to look elsewhere. He did, though, smoke a ball late in the game, probably the hardest hit ball of the night.

  • I love Ryan Zimmerman as much as the next guy, but tonight's game shows how stupid and selective the idea of clutch is. He had a bunch of chances to get the big hit, but hit into a force out every chance he had. He's lucky that they didn't turn into GIDPs.

    I've noticed (and this goes back to last year) that when he gets two strikes on him, he's MUCH more likely to hit a weak grounder. Same happened tonight.

  • For the second straight game, Brian Schneider, with runners on and trailing big, hit a sac fly. And for the second straight game, the crowd cheered him like a conquering hero. It's not that the sac fly and the run are a bad result. It's just not a good one. With the bases loaded and trailing by 6, is trading one run for an out really something good?

  • Scott Olsen started the game 2-2, smoking a double past Kearns in right. The defense had him played the other way, thinking he wouldn't be able to pull anything, but when Hill's best pitch is a high-80s sinker, they might need to reconsider that. He did the same thing two innings later, hitting one that almost went past Kearns for a second double.

  • Kory Casto did ok against a tough lefty, ripping a solid hit in the fourth for his first major league hit.

  • It's really disheartening right now, but things would be a bit better if the offense were doing well, and it's just not going to against those particular pitchers.

    They get Anibal "Lee" Sanchez tomorrow. He's a righty, but he also dominated us last year (25 innings, 7 ER). He's a bit wild, and if they can show the patience they had against Olsen late in his appearance, they could make it interesting.

    On the other side is Matt Chico, the AA-baller making his Major League Debut. Somewhere, Miguel Cabrera is salivating.


    • Why are you so surprised? I told you from Viera that this team would have difficulty winning 40 games. They are so painful to watch that I ended up going down the road to Dodgertown to see some decent baseball. The Nats have no hitting, no pitching, they can't run the bases and they can't field. How do you expect them to win?

      By Anonymous phil dunn, at 4/04/2007 5:41 AM  

    • Another Ryan Church is a head case convert! To bad he's damaged goods for trading because of his poor performance. By the way, the Marlin "plan" for building a team looks good. Trade your big name stars and aquire good prospects. Felipe Lopez & Cristian Guzman are free agents after 2008 season and Nick Johnson, Brian Schnieder, John Patterson & Chad Cordero are free agents after 2009 season. Does anyone think they will stay with the last place Nationals and not leave town for more $$$$ ?? The Nationals are going to finish in last place with the above players or with young prospects. CHANGE THE PLAN and use the Marlin model.

      By Anonymous Lou of Virginia, at 4/04/2007 8:11 AM  

    • "We just have to play better defense. All of us know that we played worse defense than those two errors that showed up on the board," Acta said. "We just have to keep on working. We'll get better at it."

      ACTA's Comment

      MY Comment

      "that is what spring training was for"

      It is clear that Manny was told he has the whole year as a pass....I am worried he plans to use it all!

      By Blogger JayB, at 4/04/2007 8:11 AM  

    • OK....What really makes me made about Mannies Comment is that the NATS refussed to admit Guzman was not going to be there SS no matter what (injury, No Hit, Bad Club House Guy, whatever it took) and Logan was clearly not a Major League solution.

      Mannie ignored the obvious and now he is saying "Oh give use time....we need to find a SS and CF and get them ready to play"......Come on NATS admit your plan for 2007 was based on a beer and 10 minutes of best case thinking...now what?

      By Blogger JayB, at 4/04/2007 8:21 AM  

    • Hey now! Let's be fair. The baserunning hasn't been bad! Of course they haven't really done any baserunning....

      Maybe that's the trick with the pitching???

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/04/2007 8:44 AM  

    • I also don't understand the fascination with Schneider. Last year, among players who received at least 450 ABs, Schneider was one of the least productive in the majors. Not Guzman 2005 bad, but still really, really bad and that's with his great September. It's crazy to me that he is actually hitting ahead of Church in the lineup. Church is bad, but not Schneider bad.

      Yes, he is good defensively, but save me the talk of his "leadership" and perceived ability to make a difference with the pitching staff.

      By Blogger rps, at 4/04/2007 9:42 AM  

    • rps - If you take a look at Schneider's splits from 2006, he really dug himself a hole in the first half (231/306/311) before fixing something int he second half (286/338/351). While he's never going to be an offensive force, Page corrected something in his approach.

      By Blogger Brian, at 4/04/2007 10:05 AM  

    • Well, sure, if you believe that '06 is his real talent level and not just a year of struggle, in part, because his hamstrings were shot, then you're right.

      But I'm not sure how confident anyone can be of that. We'll have to wait a few weeks to see.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/04/2007 10:06 AM  

    • What is up with all the Beer vendors selling canned beer? What happened to all the bottles? How did SS not have 3 errors? He muffed a ball, each of the first 3 innings. Chris, you hit it right on the button, this season feels looooooong already.

      By Blogger Mac G, at 4/04/2007 10:14 AM  

    • Lost in all the frustration with Josh Wilson's poor play at SS last night was the fumbling by 1B Dimitri Young who couldn't catch a low pop up hit directly to him nor could 2B FLop be bothered to dive for a ball within his reach. I was thoroughly and completely disgusted by the lack of effort by 3/4 of the infield. Nice team you've fielded there Bodes.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/04/2007 10:24 AM  

    • Not that it really mattered much in terms of the final result, but I'm stunned that nobody has bothered to mention yet that Ray King is a big, fat, lazy toad, as George Steinbrenner might say.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/04/2007 11:36 AM  

    • Schneider's 2004 and 2005 seasons also give us a pretty good basis to conclude that the best we can hope for is slightly better than mediocre. Not to mention that while his average improved in the 2nd half last year, his SLG % was still dreadful.

      I don't mean to rag on him because it's not his fault the lineup is poorly ordered. The fact remains that Schneider is by far the worst hitter in the lineup (well, he and Logan would be very close), so it makes no sense to bat him 6th, ahead of a player (Church) who is vastly superior. Because Schneider also has no speed, no power and no ability to get on base, it also makes little sense to bat him ahead of a player (Logan) who has the ability to run.

      Thankfully, Guzman and Logan are out of the lineup for what looks like an extended period of time. If Casto and Belliard can stick, it should mean a few extra wins.

      By Blogger rps, at 4/04/2007 1:05 PM  

    • I'm amazed that not a single person in the media or blogosphere seems to have mentioned Ray King's non-coverage of first last night. If not for that run, the Nats would have twice had the tying run at the plate twice last night. Of course later Florida runs would have mooted that anyway, but that was really the play that killed the Nats last night.

      And could no one really get a quote from King on that? For some reason I'm imagining Kings response as something like "Ray King don't cover first base!"

      By Anonymous Tito, at 4/04/2007 9:40 PM  

    • Even had he broke, I'm not really sure that he could've made the play.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/04/2007 9:43 PM  

    • By Blogger Sneakers hobbies, at 11/01/2009 8:24 PM  

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