Monday, May 01, 2006

I Know I'm Not A Hopeless Case

Puberty Boy, for the first time in about nine months, moped up to the top of the mound and slung sinker after sinker, reprising his role as Frank Robinson's whipping boy. Zach Day didn't look great, but considering the circumstances -- playing for a manager who hates him and pitching with a shoulder that's spasming -- he did well enough.

Day cruised through the first four innings before running into trouble in the fifth. He walked the 8th place hitter, which was followed up by singles by David Eckstein, John Rodriguez, a walk by Albert Pujols, and a crushing single by Jim Edmonds. Three runs in, and the game was, for all intents and purposes, over.

That the bullpen came in later to gack up a bunch of more runs, thanks to 'performances' by Jason Bergmann, Joey Eischen, and Felix Rodriguez, just made the probable definite.

The true problem, though, was the offense. Unless the starter is lobbing up spicy meatballs, the Nats' bats are flacid. The Nats had just one hit after the fourth inning. Pathetic. At least they can't blame the park.

Alfonso Soriano wins a Lame Duck for his lame outing with the bat. Twice early in the game, he had big chances to drive in key runs, and twice he failed. Throw in two strikeouts (since we're assured by 'professional baseball men' that they're worse than Hitler), and it's another steaming pile of horse crap by the offense.

The top four in the order combined to go 0-14. Yeesh. Either everyone's humming along, or no one's doing crap. And it's frustrating to watch.

  • One more note on Day.... Because of his shoulder problems, Day dropped to more of a 3/4 delivery -- that is, instead of throwing from a 1 o'clock arm angle, he was throwing more from 2-2:30. Supposedly that takes some of the pressure off his shoulder.

    That's fine, but, just as was the case with Drese last year, it removes some of the effectiveness of the sinker. The sinker needs more of an overhand delivery so that gravity and the pull of the seams against the air can rip the ball downwards as it approaches the plate. Throwing sidearm, some of the downward force is transferred laterally, making the downward movement less sharp. If he doesn't throw the pitch perfectly, he can hang the sinker in the zone, making it, essentially, a BP fastball. He'll need a perfect touch, and, for the most part, he had it yesterday.

  • The Nats are off to NY for two more with the Mets. Felix Rodriguez is dropping his three-game suspension, and Ryan Zimmerman's out of town at his grandmother's funeral, leaving the Nats roster extra short. Ryan Church has missed the last few games with the flu, so they'll need him to step up, because they simply need more bats. (Although Marlon Byrd has played very well in his absence -- other than a notable lack of range in comparison)

    Ramon Ortiz goes against Victor Zambrano tonight. Mike O'Connor gets destroyed by the Mets on Tuesday as he goes up against recent call-up John Maine. I'm sick of the Mets!


    • Four walks for Pujols:
      SOMEBODY stayed at Hol'day
      Inn Express last night

      By Blogger MDT, at 5/01/2006 1:01 PM  

    • Is it only me (and the fact I have MASN) or did no one truly appreciate how hosed Day was by Clayton failing to field a groundball and throw out a runner yesterday. Eckstein ain't Joey Gathright or Willy Tavares or (even) Brandon Watson. Throw Eckstein out, inning over, and Frank names his next dog Zach in honor of his fine performance.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/01/2006 2:04 PM  

    • Good point!

      That was another thing that I thought of but forgot to write, too. Frank PRAISED Day in his post-game comments. That's unheard of, especially given the walks and the mostly pedestrian outing.

      Was Frank really happy with the performance, or was he just mindful of what he says about Day given their past history and his apparently fragile confidence?

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 5/01/2006 2:07 PM  

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