Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Lame Duck Award

Now that I don't have Endy Chavez to beat around, I'll need to find some new shtick. Enter, the Lame Duck Award. (Besides, Distinguished Senators is getting all positive, and who needs that?)

The Lame Duck Award goes to the player who does the least -- the one who merely seems to be sputtering along, contributing nothing positive towards the progress of this Nation-als. Win enough of them (And I'm looking in your direction, Guzman) and we, too, will hope you get voted out of DC!

The first winner of the Lame Duck Award?

Vinny Castilla!

But wait, you say! He went 2 for 3 with an RBI! Well, on the first hit, he was thrown out at second base, trying to turn it into a double. He wasn't even close. In his second AB, he popped up, hitting a towering fly ball to the SS. There's nothing I hate more than a first-pitch popup. Well, other than fireworks-hating commies

But his pièce de résistance was the play pictured above on Burrell's liner. That 'hit' *coughhometownscorercough* is a play a major league third baseman needs to make. If he makes that play, the Phillies do not score in the second inning. (Assuming you believe in the fallacy of the predetermined outcome -- that any subsequent events would happen regardless of what came before them.)

And just to be petty, yeah, you walked with the bases loaded, but I wanted a Grand Slam, damnit. I'm hungry and I want some cake too!


  • I can not even believe you wrote this Lame comment. I am not even sure you watched the game. You put me over the top with your complaint that Castilla walked with bases loaded to push in a run with the hottest hitter of the day on deck. I have no idea what you are thinking.

    By Blogger hubster20003, at 4/05/2005 11:49 AM  

  • The sarcasm of the part about the walk obviously didn't translate as well as I had hoped, I guess!

    But, I'll also say that calling Sledge hot at that point is a bit silly. He grounded out in the first. (If Castilla hasn't been an idiot, Sledge would've hit into a double-play there) And he popped up in the 4th inning. He hit a home run, which was great! And I cheered like hell for him. But one AB does not make someone hot. (As evidence by the result of that play!)

    It's really the defense that bugged me about him more than anything. That was a brutal play that didn't make Livan's job any easier.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/05/2005 11:54 AM  

  • Yeah -- Vinny's defense absolutely has to be better than that to justify carrying him as a millstone on the lineup.

    By Blogger Yuda, at 4/05/2005 1:00 PM  

  • Chris, I got to say if I had to select a hitter to bat in the bottom of the 7th with bases loaded and one out, it would have been the guy who had driven in 3 of the 4 runs on the day. Sledge did not bat in the first but he did bat in the second. What you failed to note was that Johnson was on third base and scored on that groundout. I call that a good play by Sledge. By the way how did Johnson get onto third. Castilla pushed him into scoring position on the previous at-bat. Nats take the lead 1-0. 2 more RBIs in the 6th on a homerun. That seems pretty good to me. I am still shocked that you are calling Castilla an idiot for walking with bases loaded. According to you because Castilla walked - he is to blame or Sledge hitting into the double play. But going onto your defensive comment - I do not recall Castilla getting an error on that play. But because Castilla did not get the first out in the second - he is to blame for the subsequent walk and single which loaded the bases. This game was lost by the Manager Frank Robinson in the bottom of the 5th and then he crushed any comeback attempt in the bottom of the 7th by not properly managing the pitching staff. There is a coaching problem on this team - I see plays like Wilkerson throwing to third on the fly out in the bottom of the 6th with two runners on base. So instead of runners on first and third there are two runners in scoring position eliminating the double play chance to end the inning. This is a young pitching staff and does not need extra pressure put on them.

    By Blogger hubster20003, at 4/05/2005 1:13 PM  

  • For what it's worth, I thought it was a hit.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/05/2005 1:23 PM  

  • Geez. My sarcasm about the walk comment is so bad, even when I point out that it's facetious, I get hammered for it. I need a new hobby, I guess! :)

    Yeah, NJ scored on a Sledge groundout. Good productive baseball, but a hit would've been better. I'll take the run though! (And Castilla didn't push NJ to third. His hit moved him to second, the bobble and error by Burrell moved him to third.)

    Regardless, Castilla getting thrown out there, on a play that wasn't close, is inexcusable.

    And on the defense... Castilla didn't get an error, but I'm guessing you weren't watching too closely. He should have been charged with one. These kind of rulings don't come from some Pope of baseball. It's a hometown scorer giving an assist to a hometown player who had a brutal season the year before. If this game were in RFK, it would've been an error.

    What I was saying about the predetermined outcome is that, assuming things had stayed the same, no runs would've scored. Burrell would've made an out. Lofton walks. Bell singles, Lofton stopped at second. Lieberthal grounded out to first, the runners move up, and then Lieber flew out to end the inning. No runs would have scored.

    I don't believe that that's what would've happened, because things change pitch to pitch depending on other things. (Pretend he had been given an error -- all those runs would've been unearned)

    Good catch on Wilkerson throwing to the wrong base. We noticed that in the stands -- but, that's a case where Wilkerson hasn't played one inning of center in a year. I'm not going to fault him for that. As long as it doesn't keep happening. (And incidentally, it didn't cost them a run in that situation)

    The relievers were brutal, but what specifically would you have done differently? I think he put them in the right spots. They just didn't execute. (The only thing I might've done was bring in someone quicker when Osuna struggled, but the game was mostly over by then anyway)

    Frank DOES need to get Guzman out of the number 2 slot. That's for sure.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/05/2005 1:26 PM  

  • Thanks, Tom for saying it was a hit.
    Earned or unearned run, the Nats were still in the game at that point.
    I am not faulting Wilkerson for throwing to the wrong base. I am faulting Frank Robinson for not getting off his ass and walking up to the top step to remind Wilkerson which base to throw to if the ball is hit to him. Guzman can be used to remind these outfielder also. You have two young players out there. They can be signaled where the play is going.
    With the game at 3-1 in the bottom of the 5th, I would have brought the reliever in following the intentional walk to Thome. Let's just face it that Hernandez was not very sharp throughout the game. The Philly's had clearly honed in on him in the 5th. This is where Robinson needs to manage the pitching staff and not let the game get out of hand. Particuliarly on a team in which we are concerned about run production. Another run scored in 5th might have sealed the game, which it did. You can certainly argue that you have your ace on the mound and you need to take your chances. But he does the exact same thing in the bottom of the 7th with Cordero. Chris you had the same attitude that Frank Robinson had in the 7th by believing he did not need to get Cordero out of the game because the game was mostly over with. The Nats were only down by three with the Schneider, a pinch hitter and top of the order coming up. Robinson needs to teach this team that every out counts and needs to battle to the end.
    As far as Guzman batting second, you will need to talk to Bowden. I still would like to see Guzman lead-off and place Wilkerson down in the power slots of the line-up. I know what you are going to say about Guzman leading off but this team does not have lead off hitter. It is too much pressure to put on Wilkerson to be the lead off guy and play center, Robinson needs to take care of the kid and let one of the veterans take some of the pressure by batting leadoff.

    By Blogger hubster20003, at 4/05/2005 3:31 PM  

  • If you're seriously advocating batting Guzman leadoff, there's not a whole lot I can do to argue with you. You clearly have your ways. I clearly have mine.
    I'm pretty confident that Wilkerson won't be making the same mistake too often. But, I also don't think the other player's could've done that much to help him. That's really a reaction and anticipation play. At the very least, the cutoff man should've been in a better position. (Would that have been Guzman?)
    As far as the fifth inning, Yeah, I suppose Tucker could've come in to face Burrell. Livan clearly wasn't himself out there, but Frank trust him and trusted him to get the out. Most of the time I'd rather have a tired Livan than a healthy Tucker. It didn't work out. But, that's what happens sometimes.

    (As far as the 7th, I'm assuming you meant Osuna. After he loaded the bases on two walks, I wanted Ayala in there, especially with the off day)

    In baseball, you can make the right decision and still lose. And sometimes you can make the wrong decision and still win.

    The key is identifying what are the optimal strategies to give yourself the greatest chance of winning.

    If you're playing blackjack and you hit with a 19, sometimes you'll get that 2. That doesn't mean it was the right call.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/05/2005 3:51 PM  

  • Cristian Guzman has a lifetime on-base percentage of .303. I don't care how fast he is, no batter who makes an out 70% of the time should be hitting leadoff. Stack Johnson, Vidro and Wilkerson in the top three slots in any order and this team is better off than with Guzman hitting anywhere above 8th.

    And that ball that Vinny booted should clearly have been called an error. Was it a tough play? Yeah, but he was in position and that's a play that major-league third basemen have to make.

    By Blogger Yuda, at 4/05/2005 4:51 PM  

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