Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Frustratingly Maddening

Congrats to Darrell Rasner John Halama Matt White Billy Traber for winning his first Lame Duck in what was a somewhat enjoyable, but typically frustrating Nats game.

I got to the gate right at first pitch, so I just grabbed an empty seat in the back of the 300s for the first half inning before slogging up to my seats with the common folk. From my spot, it was easy to see that Traber had nothing, and he didn't have any command over the nothing he had.

After Lopez and Aurilia reached on consecutive singles, they took off on a double steal. The Nats had the shift on with Adam Dunn at the plate and Ryan Zimmerman was close to shortstop. When the runners broke, Zimmerman held, giving LeCroy no chance to even make a throw. Traber's body language instantly changed. He started walking around the mound slowly, moved more deliberately, and lots his focus, hitting Dunn, then walking Kearns with the bases loaded. Three hard-hit balls later and the inning was over, but not before the Reds had digitized a four on the board.

During the inning, you could see Frank get cheesed off. The more balls Traber threw, the further and further Frank leaned over the railing -- either in rage, or in resigned defeat.

Frank didn't seem to pleased with Traber's last start, despite it's relative success, and he's certainly not thrilled with this one. Traber's going to have an extra short leash, no doubt, and he'd better pitch better next time agains the *gulp* Cardinals.

  • The good news is that there were lots of WTF Frank Senior Moment Candidates!

    In the fifth inning, Felix Rodriguez was pitching to Adam Dunn with a runner on second, and the Nats were down 2. FRodo got ahead 0-3, then threw three balls. With two strikes on a batter who's a TRUE strikeout machine, Frank calls for the Intentional Walk!? Huh? You have two fecking strikes on the batter, Frank! That Dunn later came around to score the eventual game-winning run just rubbed our nose in the poo.

    At the time I had a little bit of a problem with Gary Majewski relieving that early. I didn't know that they were saving Jon Rauch for Thursday's game to replace Patterson. But if you're going to have a parade of relievers, wouldn't it make sense to minimize their ABs? When FRodo came in in the top of the fifth, the pitcher's spot was due up in the bottom of the inning. Wouldn't that have been a perfect time to double switch Church or Jackson in for the 8th place hitter, Marlon Byrd? As it was, FRodo came up to the plate, quickly made an out, and Soriano hit his bomb to left, which brought the Nats to within one.

    The lineup construction stunk. Why was Royce Clayton batting second? Clayton's hitting .257/ .289/ .300. For comparison's sake, Cristian Guzman batted .219/ .260/ .314. He's almost as bad as Guzman!?1!!1?!1? Why, Frank, Why?

    There were probably a few more, but I ran out of room on my scorecard, and my blood pressure's rising enough as it is!

  • Alfonso Soriano made a good play and a bad play in the fifth inning, which cost the game. The Reds ripped two balls towards him, and both fell in for doubles. The first was actually a tremendous play. He was shaded a bit towards the line when the ball took off for the gap. Soriano ran a loooooong way at a full run to get to the ball which just missed his glove. Most outfielders wouldn't have been near the ball, and it was a good sign that he got that close.

    Later that inning, he had another challenge. But he failed. When the ball was hit, he took one of those stutter steps like he was coming in, then walked a few paces to his left before realizing the ball was a rocket. He half jogged/ran straight back towards the fence then twisted and turned a few times before turning on the jets to get to where the ball was going, completely butchering the play. Two runs scored because of that, and the Nats never recovered.

  • Cap'n Clutch, Jose Guillen was a disappointment again.
    --1st inning, runner on first, foul to third
    --3rd inning, runner on first, can o' corn to center
    --5th inning, runner on first, weak flare to second
    --7th inning, runner on first, walked (a good result!)

    I'm almost glad that Vidro made the final out of the game so as to prevent Guillen's throat from constricting as he tries to hit an eleven-run homer over the centerfield wall. A lot was made by certain beat writers about how Brad Wilkerson's strikeouts killed a lot of rallies last year. But are strikeouts any worse than weak flares to second or foul outs to third? For the most part, they're not. And focusing on them instead of looking at production in an overall context is silly.

  • Ramon Ortiz goes against Bronson Arroyo at noon today. If you're around, watching, listening, whatever, join us at Yuda's GameDay where we'll be whining about the game, and Frank's incompetence. The link's on the sidebar.