Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Now THAT WAS PRETTY EXCITING!!
I had the opportunity to watch, on my computer, from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral today's thrilling Nats Win over the St. Louis Cardinals, while waiting, like everybody else here, to see if Space Shuttle Atlantis will EVER take off!!
Yeah, our pitching continues to be mediocre, the bullpen let the Cards get back in the game 3 times, The Chief, didn't have much, and grooved a game winning 2 run homer, that would have lost this game on most days, but as the Nationals have shown alot, lately, when they are down BIG, they can fight back--with a good hitting lineup!!
I would have loved to watch this one in person. The ups and downs, twists and turns were tremendous. Each team had 2 game changing rallies. Each team thought they had won the game, first the Nats entering the 9th, then the Cardinals at the start of the bottom of the 9th and finally the Nats winning in DRAMATIC fashion on a one out, 2 run, bases loaded single by JOSE VIDRO off Jason Isringhausen to win this THRILLER!!
While watching the game on MLB.com, I listened the Nats Radio broadcast instead of the MASN audio. Charlie Slowes was at his theatrical best. When Vidro lined that ball down the right field line, I was expecting Dave Jaegler to start up the oxygen tank for Charlie. The man can raise his voice to a new level, without taking a breath. I love listening to this guy when the game is on the line---Slowes is a total joy to hear call a baseball game. We are really blessed that he fell into the Nats broadcast booth, really by default.
Even the African Queen called me after the game to RAVE about it!! She couldn't stop talking about the win. And Screech came by TWICE to MOURN not seeing his BEST FRIEND in attendance.
Mike O'Connor actually pitched well, just off the disabled list, holding the Cardinals decent hitting lineup in check through most of five innings, giving up 3 hits and one run. Leaving with the lead, 1-0. But all that effort was wasted, when Frank turned to Chris Booker, making his second appearance for the Nats since being recalled from New Orleans. Booker just didn't have it. Giving up a leadoff single to Preston Wilson and walking Chris Duncan. Frank had seen enough at that point, and Chris Schroeder came on to retire the DANGEROUS Albert Pujols on a pop foul to Nick Johnson, and Juan Encarnacian to pop back to the mound. There could not have been anyone in RFK that didn't think Schroeder was going to get out of it. Only to see with a 1-2 count, Chris groove one to Scott Spiezio who banged it out to right for a 3 Run Homer. I figured, at that point, this one was over.
In the bottom of the 6th, Washington immediately fought back against the very good Chris Carpenter, with the patient one, Nick Johnson, drawing a lead off walk, Ryan Church blooping a shallow single to left, Johnson moving to 3rd, and today's hero, Jose Vidro slapping a single to left center, scoring Johnson. 3-2 Cards. Robert Fick would follow, and in typical Nats style, could not lay down a bunt, twice, so Fick swung away with 2 strikes, singles up the middle to load the bases. Still no outs. The crowd was alive, Melvin Dorta would pinch run for Fick, but Nook Logan, looking overmatched, went down swinging badly for out number 1.
Brian Schneider would then pinch hit for Scroeder and singled to center, tying the game at 3 as Church scored. Cards Manager Tony LaRussa would finally take out his starter, Chris Carpenter, for Tyler Johnson--Soriano greeting him with a 2 run single to center--and I could hear the RFK Stadium crowd roaring on the radio broadcast. I jumped out of my seat at the Press Center at Cape Canaveral--then realized where I was, and slowly sat down--clenching my fist--"YES!!" FLop and Johnson would strike out, sandwiched around a Zimmerman infield single that had loaded the bases, ending the rally, but Washington led 5-3 heading to the 7th.
Jon Rauch come on to pitch, AND ONCE AGAIN!!--tried to overpower everyone, get too comfortable--and give up another Home Run, this time to Yadier Molina to make it 5-4 Nats. Rauch has got to figure out this problem--it's getting ridiculous.
Then, Saul Rivera would pitch the 8th--and barely survived. After striking out Chris Duncan--Pujols singles, Encarnacian walked, Spiezio walked. Rivera also didn't have it. But, would be saved by the defensive play of the game, when Ronnie Belliard (A Manny Ramirez WANNBE--if there ever was one) would pop a texas leaguer to short left center, FLop when back on it looking over his shoulder, then dove in the opposite direction to snare the ball for out number 2. Lopez actually dropped the ball while getting up--and better baserunning by Pujols would have tied the game easily. As it turned out, Molina would fly out to Soriano to end the threat, and I started to breath again--in front of my computer.
Of course Cordero was coming in to close out the game, and as I have said on many occasions, the Chief needs as many runs as possible for a cushion. The man is downright scary on the mound. As he was scary again today.
Chad would get the no hit killer, from 2 days ago, Aaron Miles to line out to Soriano, but John Rodriguez would single to center. Former Nat, Preston Wilson, an all or nothing swinger--got it all, when on a 2-2 count, Cordero sent in an offspeed pitch right over the plate that Wilson HAMMERED into the Upper Deck in Left field. Preston slamming his bat down defiantly has he, first watched the balls flight, then slowly jogged around the bases. The Chief looking like he wanted to kill himself. 6-5 Cards.
Over the past week, you can't count out our Nats, and when Felipe Lopez walked to lead off the bottom of the 9th--I felt good, because I would much rather have FLop on the bases already, instead of being at the plate with the game on the line. Z flied to right, Lopez would steal second, then the inning was set, when Isringhausen hit Johnson on an offspeed pitch in the dirt. And when Church walked to load the bases, you could hear the anticipation of RFK Stadium crowd through my computer speaker.
But, Jose Vidro?? Not the guy I would hope to be at the plate in this situation. Has not been clutch this year. After taking ball one, Isringhausen tried to get one inside, but not inside enough and Vidro turned on it--drilling it down the right field line, scoring FLop and Johnson--GETTING ME TO ACTUALLY JUMP OUT OF MY SEAT and yell out--"YEAH!!" I didn't care at that point about everyone around me. Alot of folks knew I was watching the game--and came over to congratulate me on the victory.
Charlie Slowes was OUT OF CONTROL!! And I loved every moment of it. Every moment, except for not seeing it in person. It was a memorable game, from a memorable week of games at RFK on this completed homestand. Baseball is fun again watching our Nationals. Even down big in the standings, they are giving us something to cheer about as the season comes to its close.
Thank you--Washington Nationals.