Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Majority Whip

Longtime readers of this blog (and it doesn't seem like that's most of you anymore!) will remember the Majority Whip and Lame Duck from '05, and from the first part of the '06 season -- at least until the seemingly constant losses killed my drive.

This year, I want to approach it a bit differently. Rather than awarding a Whip only in wins and Ducks only in losses, we're going to accentuate the positive. Because Lord knows if I have to wallow in the negative every game, I'm going to be driven to an early grave. Every game has a Whip, even all 115 of our losses.

  • There wasn't much to be happy about on Opening Day, but Dmitri Young wins the first Majority Whip of the year. He smacked a double down each of the lines, losing his helmet in his chug-chug-chugging towards second. He played a flawless first base, which was a mild surprise. His main competition, Ryan Zimmerman, lost any chance of the award with his third-inning double play.

  • It's hard to pick a winner in Tuesday's game, but we'll give it to the starting pitcher, Shawn Hill. He wasn't dominant, but the runs and hits he allowed weren't so much his fault, as the fault of having only 1.5 competent infielders behind him. He got his ground balls; the fielders just couldn't do anything with him.

    More important, though, was that even after getting roughed up a bit in the first, he bore down, giving the Nats four more solid innings. He helped save a bullpen, which, as we saw, was critical to today's game.

  • It's always easy to point to the guys who drive the runners in, like Ryan Church or Dmitri Young, but the ones who set up those runs often get overlooked. In this case, Kory Casto's scorched liner, which just ate Hanley Ramirez alive and tied the game might've been the key hit. Ronnie Belliard had three hits, including getting the Nats going in the 9th (with a little assist to Josh Willingham's lack of range).

    But the Nats wouldn't have been able to do what they did without the bullpen. Ryan Wagner pitched a solid two innings of relief, doing what no other Nats' pitcher had been able to do. But the Majority Whip goes to Jon Rauch, who grabbed the mop and cleaned up after Ray King crapped the bed again.

    With the Nats trailing by two, and some life in the park finally, Whopper King came in to face a left-handed batter, got a bunt and threw poorly, allowing the batter to zip over to second. The next batter bunted him to third, and Manny Acta brought in the Wookiee. Rauch's first batter was Hanley Ramirez, who to that point had been spraying extra-base hits all over the park on any Nats pitcher he faced. K. Then Dan Uggla -- he of the monster HR -- followed that with another K and the inning was over, setting up the comeback.

    Without that monster K of Ramirez, the bottom of that inning has a pretty good chance of not happening.

  • It really is amazing how different one little game can make you feel. Yesterday, I was ready to call another meeting of the Bridge Jumpers Club. Today, I'm more at peace, and all because Fredi Gonzalez couldn't pull the trigger on bringing in Ricky Nolasco. A bounce here or there (and if you watch the 9th inning, we blooped them to death) and we'd be in despair. Instead, there was a crazily large number of people who pumped our fists while we smiled all alone in our offices, trying to discretely make fools of ourselves.

    What a strange game!


    • GW is honoring Frank Robinson on April 12 with an award commemorating Jackie Robinson. At least Frank will let someone in DC honor him. It is a recognition he truly deserves.

      By Blogger Natsfan74, at 4/05/2007 10:34 AM  

    • I'm wondering how many people were still there to see the Nats win on Thursday.

      And make a note of it -- we are NOT in last place in the NL East! Thank you, Phillies.

      By Anonymous Go Gnatz, at 4/05/2007 1:37 PM  

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