Sunday, April 09, 2006

Weekend In Review

Just a few quick thoughts...

Sunday's game
1: Ryan Drese was so-so. I wrote way too much last year about his arm angle. Search the archives if you're bored. His arm wasn't coming way over the top (1 o'clock) like it did during his amazing start in Anaheim. But it also wasn't coming in sidearm (2:30) at the end of last year. His pitches had a decent amount of downward movement on them, even if he didn't really have much control. Coming back from shoulder surgery, that's to be expected.

If his defense hadn't failed him coughClAYTONcough, he might have been able to sneak out with just one or two runs. There's definitely some potential there, but there's also a lot of work to be done. It's sad that I have more faith in him than in Ramon Ortiz, huh?

2: Frank Robinson did what Frank Robinson does best: Makes me forget about how crappy Jim Bowden is. Down by three with a hot-hitting Jose Vidro at the plate and two runners on, Frank put the hit and run on. If you were here last year, you know I HATE the hit and run. Want to know why? Check out this post last year, which I plagiarized borrowed from Earl Weaver. In short, the benefits of the HNR typically pale in comparison to the costs.

And when Jose Vidro's liner sailed right into the glove of Lance "Bullfrog" Berkman, who was standing way off the bag because with the runner moving, there was no need to hold anyone at first, we saw that for the first time this year. (By my unofficial count, that's the third failed HNR this year.)

The bright side? We've got our first WTF Frank Senior Moment of the year!

I'm a strong disbeliever in the fallacy of the pre-determined outcome, but Jose Guillen DID double in the Nats next AB. Oh, what might've been!

3: It's a hard game to pick out a Lame Duck for. I'm inclined to go with Royce Clayton for his costly error, but his three hits sort of negate that. Jose Vidro left six men on base, but he should have had the game's big hit were it not for Big Frank. Instead, Joey Eischen earns a tough luck Duck. For sure he pitched poorly, two runs allowed in just one inning. The Nats were already down three at that point, but his runs tamped the last shovelfull of dirt on their grave.

(Didn't I say that I'd be quick!?)

Saturday's game:
1: ¡Navil!, Livan's evil cousin made his season debut in the first inning, but Livan took over, gutting out just enough decent innings to let the Nats climb their way out of the hole he put them in. Livan's allowing a ton of hits, the same way he did in the second half of last year. Is his knee still bugging him? Is he losing something on his pitches? Are we reading too much into two starts?

2: The Nationals did to Chad Qualls what the Astros had done to Jason Bergmann the night before -- one of those innings that's wonderful to watch if you're wearing the right color foam finger. When Soriano cranked out that double to left (a homer in RFK perhaps?), what do you think Tom Boswell was doing?

3: Jose Vidro's sealing three-run homer (watch it!) gave him five RBI, which is his career high. Notably, it's also a Nationals single-game high, tying Gary Bennett, whose big hits (video) also came in a game the Nats rallied from behind to win.

4: The Majority Whip
Vidro may have had one more RBI, but Alfonso Soriano's RBI came at the right time. His two-run homer (video) in the second gave the Nats their first bit of life in what looked like it was going to be a dreary game. His two-run double untied the game, and put them ahead for good.

Soriano's looked great so far, with only a few ABs where he's fished at crap away, out of the strikezone. I'm rooting for him, for sure. He really is an exciting player, and, as Boz tells us, he has SWAGGER.


  • From the misery-loves-company department:

    First Jason Bergmann, then Chad Qualls. And tonight with St. Louis up 4-3, Jason Isringhausen inherits a runner (courtesy of a walk), walks the bases loaded, then promptly gives up a granny to Michael Barrett to give the Cubs their first sweep of the Cards in 5 years. Is nothing sacred?

    I hope this is just early season rust for our staff. The alternative is unspeakable.

    By Blogger Bote Man, at 4/10/2006 12:44 AM  

  • Yeah, if the staff doesn't pick itself up soon, we're looking at a dreadfully long season. The offense isn't going to play much better than it has been.

    Hey, Michael Barrett, former Expo!

    By Blogger Harper, at 4/10/2006 8:19 AM  

  • I agree...the pitching staff is in shambles and for that we have Bowden to thank.

    On the bright side, though, I like how potent (so far) the team's bats have been as a whole. Unlike last year's team, this year's team is actually capable of scoring more than 5 runs in a game.

    What does it all mean? Well, instead of the frustration of being involved in one-run games, the Nats will seesaw back and forth between the winning and losing end of blowouts.

    The team could be exciting if a few surprises emerge on the mound, but right now I'm thinking that this season is a lost cause by August.

    By Blogger Brandon, at 4/10/2006 8:34 AM  

  • I haven't done the research, but intuitively, I feel middle relief is the single most important aspect of a team. Failure to get from the starter through the closer is the biggest weakness in many an organization. (The downfall of the O's did accelerate with the dismantling of the middle relief guys...Rhodes, Mills, etc.)

    I can be closed in other innings outside the 9th. Whatever...getting from the starter through the end of the game is critical. With the pathetic number of innings the starters have put in, I'm not surprised the bullpen is already gassed. I'd be more patient with the middle guys (okay...Eischen and Bergmann aside). If the starters don't start chewing up some's gonna get ugly.

    (Notice the games we've won so far have been those in which the opposition has scored more than 4 runs. No low scoring wins yet. Could be like that all year.)

    All that from a single week. Not too kneejerk, is it? ;)

    By Blogger Jim H, at 4/10/2006 1:36 PM  

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