Monday, April 10, 2006


Today's extra-innings loss wasn't quite the finish we had hoped for. When John Patterson is facing Wandy Rodriguez, that's a game you need to win. It was in the Nats' graps, but Morgan Ensberg's game-tying homer (video) off Lame Duck winner Chad Cordero helped the Astros slip loose. (Frank thinks that Cordero's not in game shape yet)

That was also the only legitimate homer in the game. Preston Wilson's was pathetic, an indication that the park needs to be burned down in the spirit of its original namesake, Enron. Lance Berkman's and Daryle Ward's weren't much better -- neither would've hit the warning track at RFK.

The game-losing play was a weak flyball to centerfield. If you watch the play, note how Brandon Watson dances around the shallow fly ball so much that he eventually takes himself out of position. His throw, while on target, would have knocked some north-bound geese out of the sky had they been migrating.

  • Jose Vidro continues his torrid streak, single-handedly getting the Nats back into the game with two clutch hits, but what doomed the Nats was the lack of production from Guillen, Johnson and Soriano. None of them did anything until late in the game.

  • The Nats were burned by another failed hit-and-run. It HAS to stop. This time, Royce Clayton swung through a pitch as the non-base-stealing Ryan Zimmerman trudged towards second. I'm not completely anti-HNR, but you need to be judicious in your use of it. Zimmerman isn't a base stealer, so why risk it? Had it been Zimmerman at the plate with Clayton on the bases, they go for it. At least Clayton can run a bit. Again, the management of this team (in this case temp manager Eddie Rodriguez) refuses to fit its strategy to the people on the field.

  • Brian Schneider's bat seems to be lurching back to life.

  • John Patterson wasn't great, but he was good enough to win. He's still not pitching with the dominance he had for most of last season, and he has reverted to his early-season style from last year where he's throwing too many pitches per inning. Hopefully it's just a lingering effect from his forearm, and that it's just a minor tweak, and not the beginnings of something serious.

  • Gary Majewski has looked good so far this season. His success last year was mostly attributal to his freakish ability to keep the ball in the ballpark. He's already given up one this season, but pitched fairly effectively, despite a few scary walks. Frank has shown a willingness to pitch him multiple innings so far, which could either be a display of confidence in his abilities, or an act of deseparation based on the lack of innings from the starters. Majewski looked like he tired down the stretch last year. Let's hope that that doesn't happen again this season.

  • Road Trip Record: 2-5
    Road Trip Goal: 3-4

    Welcome home, Nats. Let's take 2/3, ok?

    Tuesday: Ramon Ortiz v. Brian Bannister
    Wednesday: Tony Armas v. Pedro J. Martinez
    Thursday: Livan Hernandez v. Victor Zambrano

    • Losses in extra innings really sting. As was recently pointed out, it looks like the Nats have swapped lack of offense for lack of consistent pitching.

      The season is still young, Philly is really struggling, Chip Jones mangled his ankle, and Pedro is coming to town for The Smackdown. Things are not so bleak.

      SorianoWatch sez: B. Wilkerson vs. Angels last night = 4 AB, 0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 RBI, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 2 left on base. BA = .167 but I don't have other stats available to me.

      Compare to Fonzie's identical numbers, except for 1 LOB and BA = .308 and save!

      By Blogger Bote Man, at 4/11/2006 1:00 AM  

    • Already, whenever a crucial play involving our centerfielder occurs (in this case the sac fly for the win), I immediately ask myself if RC would have made the play...unfortunately it's a much longer throw to home plate from New Orleans.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/11/2006 6:29 AM  

    • Hmmm... where do you see 2 of 3? That seems a bit ambitious.

      By Blogger D, at 4/11/2006 9:10 AM  

    • A man of no faith! I had such high hopes for you, too, D! ;)

      You didn't think we'd win the Oswalt start, did you? Things happen sometimes.

      Games 1 and 3 are winnable. Game 2 could be interesting, so who knows.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/11/2006 9:22 AM  

    • I'm loath to defend Watson, but the guys on Baseball Tonight commented on how much the shallow fly ball to center was moving in the wind (preventing our Endylicious CF from getting a running start on the throw).

      By Blogger Natty Bumpo, at 4/11/2006 10:10 AM  

    • It's possible... but he does do a pretty good arthur murry impersonation.

      Even if it was a stronger throw, there's still a chance it doesn't work out anyway. You can't pin it on him, regardless.

      I HATE HATE HATE loading the bases in that situation, and I was susprised that that didn't directly cost us the game anyway.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 4/11/2006 10:14 AM  

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