Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Ya Win Some. Ya Lose Some. But Mostly Lose Some.

Eh. I'm depressed after this one. It was a well-played, relatively crisp game. Esteban Loaiza pitched the hell outta the ball. Brett Myers, despite walking everything that came to the plate in the first few innings, shut us down. Nil Nil, headed to the ninth. It doesn't get much better than that.

You know what happened in the ninth. Crap happens when you can't score runs. But, it certainly does seem like the better our starters pitch, the worse our hitters hit. Somewhere, we've gotta find a happy medium. Maybe we'll start friday.Nice Move, Myers!

It's hard to pick out a Lame Duck in this game, but this is DC. And no matter how big, or tiny the program, when something starts going wrong and the press start pouncing, someone must be blamed.

And I hate to do this to him, but I'm looking your direction, Brad Wilkerson. He's been this team's Atlas lately, and things looked promising after his first plate appearance, when he battled Myers for six pitches before earning a walk. But, then he had to go and be stupid and get picked off.

It was particularly annoying, because Myers threw over about 15 times to keep Wilkerson close. The 16th time was the charm, forcing Wilkerson to make the slow walk of shame across the diamond back to the dugout.

Apparently, the walk of shame deflated his confidence. He finished the game 0-3 with another two strikeouts.

I also think he misplayed a ball -- or at least made a poor decision in the field. In the second inning, Jason Michaels hit a ball into the hole between second and first. Jose Vidro didn't come within 15 feet of the 42-hopper. Wilkerson had peeled off early to retreat to the bag. I didn't have the benefit of a replay, but it seemed like a play that had to be made by one of them. Neither did, and it was the Phillies lone hit until the 8th.

WTF Frank Senior Moment
I'm not going to quibble with Loaiza coming out to start the ninth. If I was managing the team, I would've patted him on the ass after the 8th and said thanks, but I can see the argument for leaving him out there. (Although, the 10-pitch AB to Placido Polanco was pretty telling -- it's easy to see a starter's losing it when the opposing team starts fouling off pitches they were missing earlier in the game)

What I will quibble with is allowing Loaiza to face the next batter, Kenny Lofton. Lofton was the first of four straight lefty batters to come up. Joey Eischen, fresh off his whole day off, had been warming early and should've been ready. As soon as Jimmy Rollins's ball cleared the wall, Frank should've been on his way to the dugout.

Loaiza was spent. He gave it everything. And it's a shame he had to have an additional run charged to his line.

Other than that, Frank managed a good game. It was interesting to see Tony Blanco come out once again to PH against a lefty instead of JJ Davis. One of them's headed somewhere soon.

Cristian Guzman had two hits, including an ugly bunt single. He hit it hard to the right side, past the pitcher towards the first basemen. Off the bat, it looked like an easy out. But, Jim Thome played the ball as if he were a breaching whale, giving the Li'l scamp enough time to beat it out. Earlier, he nailed a line drive to centerfield. Progress. I'll take it.


  • Aw, do you really have to tag Wilky with the blame? I guess there aren't any other good options, but he's been my favorite player all year long, had some great hits, walks a ton, and blah blah all the good things people say about him. But I would add one other thing that looked like a screwup to me. In the ninth when Lofton was on third and there was a man on first (Abreu?) and I believe Thome at bat, Wilkerson fielded the ball standing just a foot away from the bag. He did make the play in throwing out Lofton off of third, but a)I thought that was a really really risky throw that easily could've resulted in bases loaded no outs and b)even if he wanted to make the throw it would've been so easy to touch first while Lofton jumped back and forth between third and home. The play ended up being sort of helpful, but still not very wise.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/27/2005 11:41 PM  

  • The only other Lame Duck option I could think of would be Luis Ayala who relieved Eischen and promptly threw gasoline on the fire.

    By Blogger Brian, at 4/28/2005 6:53 AM  

  • It was either Wilky or Vidro.

    Vidro had a hit, but he Kd with a runner on third. If he had just put the ball in play....

    And the second run IS charged to Loaiza because it was a Fielder's Choice. Wilkerson could have just as easily tagged first for the out, leaving Loaiza's run out there. So the credit (?) for the run stays with Loaiza.

    Think of it this way... Eischen faced two batters, letting one get on, and getting an out on the other. You can't charge him with two there.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/28/2005 7:31 AM  

  • Basil, I have to agree with Chris that picking a true lame duck in this game is really really difficult. I find no issue with Wilkerson getting the nod, but it seems that Frank is not utilizing his pen effectively. Overusing and misusing relievers are the norm.

    Loaiza should not have started the 9th. I understand how well he was pitching, but Frank has to realize that Rollins as a RH hitter is less effective (marginally) than as a LH hitter and the fact that Lofton, Abreu, and Thome (all LH and other than Lofton not likely to be PH for). Have Eischen ready to start the 9th with Ayala up in the pen.

    By Blogger Brian, at 4/28/2005 9:23 AM  

  • Ayala was a decent choice, I suppose. But, to me, the game was essentially over by the time he lit the fire.

    If the offense had just done SOMETHING earlier in the game, Cordero would've been on the mound there.

    That being said, I'm not horribly upset with him leaving Loaiza to face Rollins. Like I said, I wouldn't have had him out there, but I can see the reasoning. I just would've been halfway to the mound to take the ball out of his hand before the ball cleared the wall.

    And that's where the mistake was made, I think. Eischen was ready. That shouldn't have been a problem.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/28/2005 9:28 AM  

  • It's DC, baby! There's always someone to blame!

    A lower-level functionary in some remote outpost makes a major gaffe and who gets removed? The under secretary, even though he's 13 levels of power away. That's just the way things work. There's always someone to blame and always someone responsible.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/28/2005 10:27 AM  

  • 1. Yuda is right, Lofton (Loaiza's responsibility) was tagged out on third.

    2. Ok, yes, bad fielding is heavily "to blame" for Guzzman getting on base the second time, but give him some props for running like a man possessed and making a hell of a face-first slide to get there.

    3. F-Rob should have known that Loaiza was done in the 8th... he got a stading ovation then because everyone else in the stadium saw it.

    4. Big contributing factor to the loss: missing Nick, who's our #1 hitter for on base % and could have picked up where Wilkerson's hitting (uncharacteristically) faltered.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/28/2005 11:38 AM  

  • 1. Check the boxscores. Loaiza was charged with 2 ER. A fielder's choice is no different than a putout at first. Either way, Eischen got his man.

    It doesn't matter who actually PUT the runner on base. There was an extra baserunner on, because Loaiza gave up two hits in that inning.

    2. I think I gave him credit for it, in a roundabout way. Like I said, I thought he was out by 14 steps when he hit it. That it wasn't especially close was a solid play.

    4. I agree, to an extent. But, Church didn't embarass himself out there. I'm not sure if NJ would've done any better. Who knows though.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/28/2005 11:42 AM  

  • One lesson learned ... no more 4:35PM starts ... it is a clear disadvantage to the hitters

    By Blogger Brian, at 4/28/2005 12:10 PM  

  • By the way, I think I caught another angle on the first part of the play you pictured. Photo is here

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/28/2005 6:30 PM  

  • That's a great picture! You must have a great camera. Some of the other ones in your album are beautiful too.

    I'm pissed that my digital camera's dead. I miss taking pictures.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/28/2005 9:26 PM  

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