Thursday, July 06, 2006
"Z" & The Bullpen Reversal
In what has become a typical whacky Nationals Game, the Marlins and our home town boys started off with a slugfest reminiscent of last nights 18-9 blowout, but it settled down today with a FABULOUS 9 1/3 innings of relief by the Nats and, as most here have come to expect, a walkoff run scoring hit by Ryan Zimmerman to beat the Marlins 8-7 in 11 exciting innings. Just under 30,000 showed up for this afternoon affair that featured a TERRIBLE START AGAIN by a Nationals Pitcher. Livan Hernandez HAD NOTHING!! NOTHING! And gave up a 5 run first inning lead by allowing 7 runs on 6 hits and one walk, including a 2 run shot my Mike Jacobs that Livan just lobbed in over the plate and Jacobs crushed it. Livo only lasted 1 2/3rd innings and looked totally lost. Fortunately, Micah Bowie, just called up from New Orleans to replace Mike O'Connor pitched a solid 2 1/3 innings to keep the Nats back into the game. Jon Rauch then came on with 2 shutout innings and Majewski looked VERY STRONG in the 7th. Then in the bottom half of the 7th, Alex Escobar, just off the DL and replacing Bergmann, drilled a leadoff triple past Florida centerfielder Reggie Abercrombie and scored on a Brian Schneider fly to Marlins leftfielder Josh Willingham that he botched, dropped, moving Schneider to 2nd. After Marlon Byrd lined a PH shot for Majewski to 3rd basemen Cabrera for 2 outs, Soriano was intentionally walked by Tankersly, Then everyone moved up on a passed ball which was followed by a Vidro Walk to load the bases. Zimmerman came up, showing patience, walked on 5 pitches to tie the score and the RFK stadium faithful went nuts. 7-7 after 7 when Nick Johnson grounded out to 2nd to end the threat. Bill Bray would come on to mow down the side in the 8th. And then Nats went quietly in their half. In the 9th, Bray's own error put Abercrombie on 1st and a walk to Uggla put the go ahead run at second, but Bray faught back and got PH Joe Borchard to fly out to Jose Guillen in right. In the bottom half of the 9th, Daryle Ward hit a ph single and Soriano moved him to second with a single. But Vidro, he of the terrible in the clutch hitting, grounded out to first bringing Zimmerman to the plate with 2 outs and the RFK STADIUM CROWED EXPECTING Z HEROICS, but not in this at bat as Ryan popped out to Wes Helms at 1st to send it to extra innings. There was a sigh in the stadium like never heard these past 2 seasons.
The Chief came on and pitched 2 solid innings and then came the 11th, when Schneider reached on a bad error by SS Ramirez and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Robert Fick. Soriano was intentionally walked again, and as has come to be expected, Vidro hit a ground ball to Ramirez at short to retire Alfonso, but was able to beat the relay to first keeping the inning alive. Zimmerman came to the plate and on a 3-1 count, singles up the middle to score Schneider and the NATS WIN 8-7!! Now the RFK FAITHFUFL GOT WHAT THEY EXPECTED!!. Z is Good. And he is going to get better. You just have to love this player. He is very very special.
It was very satisfying for the Nationals to pull out a game they once again did not deserve to win. They are a mediocre team, but they do have some spunk. Some days they are decent, others just terrible, but I love them none the less.