Sunday, July 30, 2006
Today, the Nationals had fairly good pitching, although Ramon Ortiz continues to give up the GOPHER BALL too often, but today's loss and 3 game sweep by the Dodgers comes down to fundamentally unsound players. In 6 of the first 8 innings the National had serious chances to put the game out of reach, yet would falter badly due to bad base running, swinging at pitches out of strike zone, grounding into a double play, never getting the bunt down. 4 times in the 6 Innings that Dodger Starter Mark Hendrickson pitched, he was in trouble, tettering on getting blown out, yet Washington Hitters kept him in the game with poor choices at the plate and in the field. Considering how tough Frank Robinson can be, its amazing that he hasn't flat out clobbered some of his players for their play.
During the 7th inning of today's game, I was watching on MASN, Tommy Lasorda was in the broadcast booth the entire inning and the discussion was how the Nationals can never move a runner up, and score, even with no outs and the runner on 2nd or 3rd base. Lasorda told Rob Carpenter and Tom Paciorek that its because "players don't care" about moving runners up. "Its all about their stats" No one wants to move up a runner, because that "doesn't look good in your batting average. It will not get you big money." Tommy went on to say how Washington had 3 previous opportunities and failed, and had done so continually throughout this past weekend in Los Angeles.
And, Lasorda is exactly correct. Having attended most every single Nationals Home game over the past 2 seasons, its excruciating to see how bad Washington is at scoring with runners on 2nd or 3rd, or both, and less than 2 outs. Nats players simply CAN NOT BUNT! Always swing for the BIG HIT!! Get caught off base and picked off. Get ahead in the count and swing at the very next pitch, whether its over the plate of not. And, my true favorite--have a pitcher in serious trouble, walking hitters, loading the bases and the very next Nats hitter SWINGS AT THE VERY FIRST PITCH, helping the opposing pitcher and killing the rally. Many Nationals players do not have a game plan at the plate. They show no patience. And, its obvious very few treasure the necessary art of advancing baserunners and team play. Clueless they are.
There is something wrong with baseball players today. They can not execute basic baseball fundamentals that, when I was growing up the the late 1960's were taught on every single ballfield/practice I ever attended.
Today's players are given all the resources and opportunities to make the most of their god given talents, yet very few seem to care, as long as they can hit the long ball. I find it very frustrating to watch.