Sunday, July 22, 2007
The Continuing Saga
Honestly, you could not have scripted this any better. There were two outs, and D'Angelo Jimenez had just dribbled a grounder to right field, barely past The Colorado Rockies Todd Helton. RALLYTIME!! was in Full Effect. Ryan Zimmerman was at the plate. JORGE JULIO was on the mound. Yes, ONCE AGAIN, MY BOY!! Jorge Julio was battling Our Washington Nationals. This time, in a scoreless tie--in the bottom of the 8th inning. The Chant "COME ON!! Its Jorge Julio!!" again being shouted out of Section 320.
Anyone that had watched these two teams compete just two nights ago, realized the implications. Julio was moments away, that evening, from blowing yet another lead in the 8th, only to see Our Best Player make his biggest Mental Mistake of the Season--running on a pop out with less than two outs. An error that cost Our Washington Nationals, The Big Inning, against one of Baseball's Least Dependable Relievers. A Washington Loss that gave Jorge Julio, Some Saving Grace.
As has been well documented here on The Nats320 Blog, Jorge Julio has blown games--time after time, after time. Only luck saved him, his last time out at RFK STADIUM. So, inquiring minds wanted to know--Why in THE WORLD did Rockies Manager Clint Hurdle have Jorge in this game? At THIS TIME? Julio has been terrible in most every game he's ever played on East Capitol Street. No lead is ever safe with Number 50 on the mound. A Tie Ball Game, almost certainly, to become a Sure Loss.
And, MY BOY!! Did Not Disappoint.
While Ryan Zimmerman has always learned from his mistakes and improved--Jorge Julio has always fallen deeper into the depths of sorrow. Baseball is a Mental Game. A Chess Match that Our Number 11 understands. A Competition Julio fails to grasp. And, when Jorge's Manager signaled his catcher Yorvit Torrealba to intentionally walk Zimmerman, after a first pitch passed ball, to bring up the struggling Austin Kearns--you could see Jorge FUMING ON THE MOUND. Each successive intentional pass pitch, was retrieved back in Jorge's glove, in EVER GREATER ANGER. Julio always lets his emotions get to him. And, as Ryan trotted to first base--Jorge was standing on the back end of the mound--pounding his right throwing hand around the white resin bag. You can bet he was pissed. Disgruntled, because Ryan Zimmerman has always beaten him. Images he can't get out of his mind. A run scoring single two nights ago. A Grand Slam last May 13th--the very morning The Florida Marlins--tired of his antics--found a willing taker in These Same Colorado Rockies. At a time The Colorado Rockies needed a pitcher with self pause on the mound, Jorge Julio could only seek revenge. Jorge Julio can NEVER LET IT GO!!
Something, even The African Queen noticed: "They are going to regret walking "Z", she stated, with Zimmerman now standing on first base. "Colorado has no idea what they have just set up."
Number 50 took that Hand Dryer and fiercely threw it to the ground, upon the introduction of Kearns on the Stadium PA. Jorge Julio's attitude showed, he was already out this game--mentally. An Affair his Manager should have realized the very moment he threw his very first pitch to Austin--in the dirt. With the anticipation building, Section 320 Rocking and RFK STADIUM near pandemonium level--Jorge Julio would rare back and do what he has always done. The Most Freewheeling Fastball Pitcher in the Game attempted to throw his fastest pitch--RIGHT PAST Our Number 25. A toss everyone in This Great Game has come to expect from him. Austin Kearns LAUNCHED that Jorge Julio Fastball RIGHT INTO THE MEZZANINE--JUST INSIDE THE FOUL POLE, DOWN THE LEFT FIELD LINE--Under Section 443!! Some People JUST NEVER LEARN!!
THE OLD BALLYARD WAS SHAKING!! Austin Kearns had HAMMERED A THREE RUN HOMER!! 21,793 Patrons Mostly Rejoiced. Pandemonium at RFK STADIUM!! JUST LIKE THAT--JORGE JULIO HAD DONE IT AGAIN!!!--And in DEVASTATING FASHION for His Colorado Rockies. For his part, Julio just lowered his head, eventually wiped his jersey over his wet brow. He knew--he had cost his team the game--once again.
BANG!! ZOOM!! Go The Fireworks!! Our Washington Nationals now held a three run lead--courtesy of MY BOY!! How consistent can one pitcher possibly be? Really, "The Jorge Julio Phenomenon" is Other Worldly. The "JORGE JULIO" Chant THE VICTORY SONG THIS AFTERNOON in Section 320. RallyTime Richard's eyes BULGING IN MERRIMENT over the consistency of This Turning Point. BangTheDrumNatly giddy with delight. His High Fives stroked so hard to everyone within striking distance--the force probably could have sent that Julio Fastball over the fence--as well. WAS HE EVER HAPPY!!
The African Queen BEAMING--"I told you so. What did I tell you!!" Then, promptly planted on my lips--ONE FINE KISS!!
Indescribable the feeling within my soul over this Home Run. How many times, in my life, have I experienced such a moment with Jorge Julio. Originally, peeved and exasperated with him, while he played for The Baltimore Orioles. Now, My "BLOOD BROTHER" prompting GREAT JOY WITHIN MY HEART!!
Yeah, I know--"The Chief Cardiologist" followed with his best imitation of Jorge--but even Chad Cordero could not be outdone by MY BOY!! Jorge Julio--on this FABULOUS AFTERNOON at RFK STADIUM.
Curly "W" Number 42 will be remembered, by most, for one moment--Austin Kearns' BLAST into the Mezzanine. An Instant, I will always remember as "THE CONTINUING SAGA OF JORGE JULIO!!".
So--Will Jorge Julio be a Member of The Colorado Rockies by Monday Evening?
Wow!! Just Incredible!! Even I--CAN NOT BELIEVE IT!!
Game Notes & Highlights:
When Jorge Julio trotted out to the mound to start the bottom of the 8th--a Tour De Force Performance was upon us in Section 320. Did it ever get loud. And, when Pinch Hitter Ronnie Belliard singled to left leading off--The Decibel Level began to rise. A BOOM that DID NOT WAVER when FLop followed with, what appeared to be, a Rally Killing Double Play. Everyone In Section 320 Knew--Jorge Julio was still on the mound. A Two Out Rally was upon us--even D'Angelo Jimenez was not immune from The Jorge Julio Effect.
For the second consecutive day--Our Washington Nationals completely shutout a potent lineup. The Colorado Rockies have some good hitters. Players with power. Yet, today--Tim Redding pitched the FINEST GAME OF HIS CAREER in nearly three seasons. Pitching into the 7th--he just let The Rockies hit the ball, and allowed his fielders to make the defensive plays. Even a shot off his shin by Willy Taveras with two outs in the top of the 5th, did not phase him. Redding recovered, ran to the ball rolling toward first base--and dove while tossing the baseball to Tony Batista at first--to retire the fast moving Taveras. Today, was Tim Redding's Day. He showed The Management of Our Washington Nationals the innings eating performance many expected of him out of Spring Training. An achievement he failed at, miserably, coming out of Viera, Florida--this past March.
In the top of the 7th inning--Troy Tulowitzki grounded sharply in the hole between 3rd and Short--Ryan Zimmerman, Diving, JUST MISSED THE GROUNDER--But Felipe Lopez WAS BACKING UP THE PLAY. FLop ranging far to his right--reached down--scooped the ball, backhanded--then fired it across his body and the infield. A toss that Tony Batista scooped, perfectly, to retire Tulowitzki. FLop's effort, even better than Redding's shot off his shin--And, The Defensive Play of This Game. None of us in Section 320 could believe Lopez's range on that play. Really, it was a very fine effort.
"The Chief", Chad Cordero recorded his 19th save of the season this afternoon. But, not without some serious concern. Our Number 32 gave up the dreaded lead off walk to Brad Hawpe. And, when Troy Tulowitzki grounded to FLop at shortstop--a sure double play was in order. But, D'Angelo Jimenez could not get a good pivot throw off. His toss in the dirt--could not be scooped by Batista. With Troy now at first--Torrealba doubled to right center--JUST OFF Nook Logan's Glove. Logan had actually ranged far--but just couldn't reach the hit ball. A double for Yorvit--and trouble for "The Chief Cardiologist". The murmurings beginning in the stands. But, like he always does--Chad Cordero bares down in the clutch. This time, striking out Jeff Baker for out number two. Then, forcing Willy Taveras to Pop Out to Tony Batista at first--to end the game!!! Thankfully.
Having now won three straight series at RFK Stadium--Our Washington Nationals recorded their VERY FIRST BACK TO BACK SHUTOUTS while playing in Our Nation's Capital. As The Montreal Expos--The Franchise's last back to back shutouts occured at Atlanta--April 2nd & 3rd, 2003.
Austin Kearns Game Winning Home Run was his First Homer since May 21st at Cincinnati. A 52 Game Drought.
Finally--The Presidents Race this afternoon provided some serious intrigue. "Teddy" actually ran the race and was neck to neck with GW, Abe & Thom the entire distance down the Warning Track toward Home Plate. GW used the outside lane to win at the last moment. When The Presidents posted up in the tunnel, just to the left of Section 320 before the 7th Inning Stretch--everyone belted out "Let Teddy Win!!", then followed by "TEDDY--What Happened?" All Teddy could do was shrug his shoulders and place his index finger and thumb together exclaiming: "THIS CLOSE!!"
RallyTimeRichard suggesting: "Maybe Teddy understands the Concept of Racing for the very first time."
Today's InGame Photos--(AP) Nick Wass