Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Fouled-Off Bunts: Magic Hands Edition

Bad teams lose ugly games. Good teams steal ugly wins. We're a very bad team. The Mets are an excellent team. So when Gary Majewski took a would-be double play ball and threw it into centerfield to end the game, it shouldn't have come as a surprise, but an inevitability. It's not a question of how this team will lose anymore, but how many creative and unusual ways can they do it.

The offense did nothing. Vidro, Soriano, Johnson, and Guillen combined for one hit. One miserable hit. As a team they had just five, and only walked three times -- against Victor Freakin' Zambrano!1?1! What is it with this team? Individually there are some very good hitters, but collectively they seem to feed off each other's suckiness, as if they're playing a perverse game of Horse, where the object is to mimic the other players' outs.

The pitching looked great, for the most part. Ramon Ortiz picked up where he left off his last game, and appears to have found new velocity. He got as high as 96, which is incredible seeing as he was barely in the 90s a few starts ago. That extra velocity, be it a recovery from a dead arm or he's hopped up on horse tranquilizers, seems to be the difference between a BP fastball, and one that can actually get by major leaguers' bats. He didn't have the K totals that he did in his last start, but he held the Mets down through six. That was more than enough for a win.

At least until Frank turned to the pen. Gary Majewski has been brutal over his last few starts, and his four-pitch walk of Eddie Collins' former teammate, Julio Franco, sealed the game. Inning Endy Chavez pinch ran, and then came the key AB of the game. After getting ahead of Jose Reyes 0-2 with two of his 95-MPH fastballs, Majewski came back with a slider (perhaps bc Frank's been complaining that Majewski throws his fastball too much). When the batter's late like Reyes was, you don't speed up his bat by throwing a slider in the zone. He did, and Reyes was able to smack it into play for a single.

Runners on the corners and up stepped LoDuca, the Nats killer, for his should-be double play. One note on the play... There was yet another miscommunication on the infield as both Clayton and Vidro covered second on the grounder. Majewski said he was expecting Clayton there, but that Vidro was there before him, so he froze up, leading to the error.

I said this a lot last year, but Frank's team has incredibly poor fundamental play. Whether it's a play like this, or all the tap dance hits on pitcher-to-first putouts (not to mention hit-and-runs), this team doesn't do the little things right. When you have ZERO margin for victory, you can't afford to do the little things wrong. Yet we always do.

  • Mike O'Connor gets the start tonight against John Maine, a recent callup. I just have a hunch that the Mets are going to eat O'Connor alive tonight. Against STL, he had good control of his offspeed pitches, but just couldn't control his fastball. He got the job done, but just didn't command his pitches, and I just think that the Mets' bats will make him pay. But, boy, do I hope I'm wrong!

  • Wiki Gonzalez and Tyrell Godwin, who were both Designated for Assignment last week to clear up roster spots for Zach Day and Mike O'Connor, cleared waivers and have accepted assignment to New Orleans. They stay Nats property, and are no longer on the 40-man roster. To be called up, they would have to be added back on the list.

  • Injury Round-Up:
    Ryan Church has been battling the flu the last few games, keeping him out. He has said that he should be ready to go tonight.

    Cristian Guzman played shortstop in an extended spring training game and is still a month or so away, most likely.

    Ryan Zimmerman missed last night's game to attend his Grandmother's funeral. He should be back for tonight's game.

    I haven't seen an update in a few days on Pedro Astacio, but he's been throwing extended bullpen sessions with Randy St. Claire.

    Robert Fick is just starting to play catcher -- and it seems (because the reports are confusing!) like he took a few days off from his rehab assignment.

  • Stat O' The Day:
    Pinch Hitter Extraordinaire Marlon Anderson is now 1-15 in pinch-hitting this year.

  • Felix Rodriguez dropped the appeal of his suspension (did I say this already?) starting last night. He'll be back to raise the team's ERA on Thursday.

  • Our friends at MLB.com hand out the Billy Awards for perforance in the first half of the season. Want to know who the hitter of the month is? What about the Coach of the month (given via process of elimination, no doubt)? Check 'em out.

    It seems pretty silly to give pointless awards out on an arbitrary basis. It's the height of arrogance, I think.

  • Oh, I forgot this up top, but Gary Majewski wins the Lame Duck for his stinktastic outing last night.

  • On the TV front, a few goons of the DC Council are trying to pass emergency legislation to compel Comcast to add MASN in the District. Eh. The Post meanwhile, editorialized, demanding TV coverage. That's sure to bring Comcast to their knees. Tom Davis, too, is threatening legislation.

  • Joe Gross, Grump-in-Chief, pens a column calling Nats fans terrible. I've already called and cancled my subscription to the *checks name of paper* the Capital.

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