Sunday, April 16, 2006

Church/Easter/Resurrection Make Your Own Damn Headline

Unfortunately, I missed today's game. I'm about to load it up on, but I certainly missed a good one. Even without having seen it, there's no doubt that Ryan Church is the Majority Whip. His two two-run homers, including the game-winner in the ninth sealed it.

And Church did it all because, as Bill Ladson reports, Jim Bowden gave him hitting tips. Gee, gotta love that Jim Bowden, huh? Is there anything this man can't do? (Other than sort through talent, evaluate his team's weaknesses, implement a consistent plan for winning long-term, recognizing and developing good pitchers, blah blah blah)

He also reports that Ryan Church drank in the clubhouse. On Easter Sunday! Expect angry denunciations from MADD and Opus Dei sometime this week.

  • Having not seen Ramon Ortiz pitch, I can't really evaluate his stuff, but just looking at his final line -- 5 IP; 1K; 1 HR -- it looks like he had the same sort of problems as he did with against the Mets. The low strikeout total continues a disturbing trend of him being unable to get the ball past major league hitters even occasionally. On this day, it seems, he got lucky in that the balls the Marlins put in play were hit to the defense. Sometimes he'll get lucky, and he'll have this sort of acceptable, but not spectacular, performance. But there'll be many other times that the opposing batters will eat him alive as the Mets did. His next start is probably against St. Louis. Think he has a chance against Albert Pujols? [Err... Atlanta. I jumped a week ahead on the schedule!]

  • It was nice seeing Chad Cordero get another save. I don't think he's going to put up the numbers he did last year, simply because it's rare for one player to get that many save opporunities in the first place. He was a little shaky earlier in the year, which the team says could be because of his WBC participation.

  • I did see Friday night's game, and I'm glad! John Patterson was as good as I've seen him pitch, and he's the easy choice for Majority Whip. Not only did Patterson take a no-no into the fifth and strike out thirteen fish, he did something the team needed more than anything: he worked deep into the game, saving the bullpen.

    MLB has video of all 13 Ks in a row, and if you watch it, notice the life on his fastball. It really zips and moves those finall 6 feet or so, making it practically unhittable.

    But Patterson's at his best when he's controlling his curve like he did the other night. If you watch the video, see how sharp the break is. It doesn't roll to the plate like Barry Zito's. It has a much harder, and much sharper break to it. Unless he leaves it over the plate, I'm not sure how anyone could hit that. It comes in too fast and moves too sharply to get solid wood on it.

    He starts next Thursday. Watch his curve. That's the key. If he's snapping it right into Schneider's glove as he did Friday, he's going to go deep in the game. If Schneider's reaching for it, then it could be a tougher night.

  • The other story from the game was the team's continued horrid baserunning. Four Nats were thrown out on the bases -- three caught stealings, and one runner at the plate. Statheads aren't against stealing bases. They just hate getting thrown out. Watching this team, you can see why. We have a hard enough time getting baserunners, and stringing together two or three hits to score a run that any baserunners lost (not to mention outs made) further cripple the offense. If someone's drowning, you don't hand them a glass of water.

    What's distressing, too, is that two of those appeared to be problems with Tony Beasley, the third base coach. Late in Spring Training, the team held a special meeting because they were having problems with his signs. On Damian Jackson's CS, it appeared that he thought there was a hit-and-run on. (A straight steal sign wouldn't have made sense there.) He went, and was thrown out easily at third, killing a budding Nats rally. Are they having problems with the signs? Brendan Harris, who had the game-saving catch in the ninth, ran through a Beasley stop sign and was nailed at the plate. Did Harris miss the sign? Did Beasley change his mind? Did Harris see Beasley waving the first runner to the plate, and think that was his sign too?

    The Nats need to figure that out soon.

  • The two wins have me off the ledge, but the schedule doesn't get easier. The Nats are off to the homerlicious home of the Phillies, facing one of the better teams in the division starting Tuesday.

    For now, it looks like Tony Armas v Cory Lidle; Livan Hernandez v Gavin Floyd; Billy Traber (pending a call-up) versus Ryan Madson.

    The first two are winnable games. And I'm intrigued to see how Traber's going to do. His spring stats were dominant, and he's at about the right time since his Tommy John surgery to be back to normal. And his normal, pre-surgery, was quite excellent. More on him later, though.


    • Expect angry denunciations from Opus Dei.

      All good Catholics have at least one drink on Easter!

      By Blogger Rocket1124, at 4/17/2006 8:33 AM  

    • I wouldn't know too much about being a good Catholic anymore! ;)

      (Ever since I saw the Priest cut the wine with a big jug of grape juice, some of the magic has been lost!)

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/17/2006 9:04 AM  

    • What does it matter it all turns to Jesus' blood in the end. No Representation without Trans-substantiation!

      I think what really helped Ortiz, more than luck, is that Florida is a bad hitting team (at least so far). I bet he's kicking himself that he can't face us.

      By Blogger Harper, at 4/17/2006 9:11 AM  

    • I didn't mean communion wine, I meant gin and tonics after dinner!

      (And believe it or not, El Gran Color Harper, I'm pretty sure there's some theological significance to the wine having some alcohol content. But I'm not sure what it is.)

      By Blogger Rocket1124, at 4/17/2006 9:54 AM  

    • I think you're right about the alcohol, if I remember correctly, it has to be on the way to wine, or something like that. Little kids always want it to be soda. I say it would be alot easier if they just packaged the wine in the bread like those mints with a liquid center. I guess that takes the mystery out of it though.

      By Blogger Harper, at 4/17/2006 10:04 AM  

    • There are many Rites, mostly Eastern (Greek, Russian, etc) that will serve the bread and wine together with a spoon.

      I continue to think it's remarkable the discussions that Nationals baseball will spark. I'm actually reading this document to try to satisfy my own curiousity.

      By Blogger Rocket1124, at 4/17/2006 10:12 AM  

    • Bowden must love pitchers who have had Tommy John surgery. Are there any on the Nat's roster who haven't had it?

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/17/2006 10:45 AM  

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