Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Running Yourself Out Of The Game
When its early in the game and your team is facing a struggling starter--a Journeyman looking just to stay on the Major League Roster--Why run yourself out of the inning? I know Its hard to believe that pitcher in Question was an Atlanta Brave. But, Buddy Carlyle was hurting right off the bat this evening at Turner Field. A bloop single to left by FLop, bloop single to center by Ryan Zimmerman; and Blooper to left by Dimtri Young--all with one out. With Dimitri's hit heading toward the always decent leftfielder Matt Diaz--Why did 3rd Base Coach Tim Tolman send Felipe Lopez home?
This game was just in its very first inning. A real chance for a BIG INNING. Just the type of opportunity that can break a game open--sending you cruising to a victory. And, Tolman must remember--Our Washington Nationals were ALSO sending a Journeyman out to the mound, in Mike Bacsik. The More Runs--The Better. Our Number 37, also just trying to hang on to the Major League Roster for another start. His chance, that appears to be diminishing with each and every passing week.
Yet, when Tim Tolman waved FLop home--Diaz--running in, scooped up the baseball and threw a multiple bouncer right to their catcher Brian McCann who blocked the plate beautifully--forcing Felipe to attempt to go around the plate to score. Lopez was out, easily. Then, Ryan Zimmerman attempted a run to third on the throw home--McCann, from his knees, slung the ball on a line to the overplaying Edgar Renteria for the putout of Our Number 11. Although, Ryan complained about the call from Third Base Umpire Marty Foster--the replays showed Zimmerman was safe. Nonetheless--Inning Over. Rally Over--unnecessarily.
There was NO REASON for Our Washington Nationals to run themselves out of a potential BIG INNING, so early in the game. Not Smart Baseball.
Those baserunning mistakes giving The Braves Buddy Carlyle a new found confidence--regrouping--after Washington assisted him out of his opening jam. The Atlanta Starter going 7 strong innings--giving up just two hits the rest of the way. While his Braves teammates eventually got to Bacsik, being patient--knowing on most nights--any pitcher just hanging on in the Major Leagues--is going to make mistakes. Which Bacsik did, by allowing three HAMMERED SHOTS, all for Home Runs that decided this one rather early. Two from that man with the fabulously long last name--Jarrod Saltalamacchia and the last one--from "Mr. Official" himself. Yes, that's right--Andruw Jones hit, yet another NO DOUBT Homer to left off Our Washington Nationals. It doesn't matter if Andruw is currently struggling through his worst season in the Major Leagues--because This Jones Boy--Clubs seemingly shot after shot each and every time his Atlanta Braves meet up with Our Nats. Its pretty amazing actually.
Our Washington Nationals had no offense tonight--for the second straight night at Turner Field. And, they ran themselves out of their very best opportunity to knock out a Journeyman Pitcher, when he was down. Instead, that pitcher, Buddy Carlyle righted himself and knocked out Our Washington Nationals--with the help of The Long Ball. The Result, a rather lackluster 6-2 loss to The Atlanta Braves.
Do you think Tim Tolman would like to play that first inning over again? If so, this game may well have had a far different outcome.
Game Notes & Highlights:
In the bottom of the 4th--Atlanta's Jeff Francouer singled to left, and with their contact hitting catcher McCann at the plate--Braves Manager Bobby Cox put on the Hit & Run with two strikes on Brian. Bacsik struck out McCann, and Brian Schneider heaved a gorgeous throw right on the bag at second base, that FLop took on the fly to easily retire Jeff Francouer attempting to steal. This "Strike Em Out-Throw Em Out" Double Play was The Defensive Play of This Game.
Already after just two games without Cristian Guzman, you can see the dramatic difference in Washington's Lineup. Without "The Guz" batting either 1st or 2nd in the batting order--there has been little spark. Brandon Watson went 0-4 last night leading off. Ryan Langerhans got the call tonight--did hit a run scoring ground rule double--scoring Schneider--but Langerhans also struck out twice--looking. The Top of Our Manager Manny Acta's Lineup is in terrible flux right now. A problem that will reverberate throughout his 9 choices each night. Less opportunity for both Ryan Zimmerman and Dimitri Young to hit with runners on base in front of them. And, yet another reason for Opposing Pitchers not to fear Zimmerman batting third. Ryan's "Sophomore Slump" is exacerbated by those teammates not doing their jobs, consistently, around him. With no one on base in front of Our Number 11--Teams like The Braves can just go right after him. No fooling around. You have to feel sorry for Ryan Zimmerman.
And, Our Washington Nationals have NO BENCH Right now. Tony Batista, D'Angelo Jimenez, Brandon Watson, Nook Logan and Jesus Flores is not a Major League Bench. Shades of early April, when Our Manager had little to call for in good choices then, off the pine, to help out in the clutch.
A situation that slightly changed immediately after the conclusion of this game with Robert Fick activated off the Bereavement List and Brandon Watson optioned back to AAA Columbus. "00" had an option, so this decision was probably not in doubt. But, it does say that, somewhere, someone within Our Washington Nationals still believes in Nook Logan. Yet, despite that move--Why do I have this odd feeling Our General Manager Jim Bowden has something up his sleeve? This is the exact type of situation where he always pulls something off. Just a hunch.
Personally, I don't have anything against Mike Bacsik. He's doing the best he's capable. Its just not good enough. Our Washington Nationals have better, younger choices, in AAA that need experience. Bacsik, in all likelihood, has little left to show. We may well see Joel Hanrahan or Emiliano Fruto in a Nationals Jersey very soon. Washington has nothing to lose.
FLop made the very first error by Our Washington Nationals in five games tonight, playing shortstop in place of "The Guz". His throw--an air mail toss on a sure out grounder by Edgar Renteria. Felipe is a far better Second Baseman than Shortstop. His Error tonight was his 6th of the season playing short. Lopez has only 1 error playing second base in all of 2007--that's playing 43 games at second, just 29 at short. That stat says it all.
Dimitri Young continues to swing out of his mind!!! "The Hottest Hitting Player On Planet Earth" knocked two more pokes tonight, including his 21st double of the season--scoring one run on another Double by My Main Main!! Ryan Church in the 9th. Dimitri Young now hitting a robust .342. No doubt--Our Number 21 has got to be Our All Star Selection--if anyone with MLB has any heart.
I noticed on the bench tonight in Atlanta--Alex Escobar was dressed and in Uniform for Washington--but obviously not activated. Does this mean he is close to returning? If Our Number 44 is--Manny--please just throw him out there in Centerfield to see what he can finally do, regularly, if not injured. We have nothing to lose. If he could ever get over his constant injury problems--Alex Escobar would be a terrific player.
Tonight's InGame Photos--(AP) Gregory Smith.