Friday, July 20, 2007
Courtesy Of--Jorge Julio!!
It took nearly 2 Hours & 30 Minutes, and into the 8th Inning to FINALLY!! get this game started. Courtesy of--JORGE JULIO!! Yes, Jorge Julio, My Boy, was back at RFK Stadium. No lead is ever safe with Number 50 on the mound. Julio has crashed landed time after time at RFK Stadium. In fact, the very last time Jorge Julio was seen on East Capitol Street, was at 1:42AM last May 13, when Ryan Zimmerman unloaded a Grand Slam in the bottom of the ninth to defeat The Florida Marlins--ONE OF THE FINEST COMEBACKS IN WASHINGTON HISTORY!! Before an Ecstatic Friends & Family Gathering--of just 76 folks.
Yeah--You Had to Be there. That was ONE FINE MORNING-THAT NIGHT.
In 2007, Jorge Julio has played for three different Major League Teams (Arizona, Florida & Colorado). No lead is ever safe when he enters. His Manager's always hope he will record the necessary outs. His Opposing Manager's well know Jorge gives them hope. Everyone Realizes--Blowing a Save--not an unlikely event with Jorge Julio on the mound. And, you thought "The Chief" was the "Most Thrilling Closer In The Game"?
Yes, I know--Julio and I have one FABULOUS HISTORY (We might be considered Blood Brothers if I counted the number of times our lives have crossed on His Blown Saves while attendiing Baltimore Orioles Games at Camden Yards). And, when Manager Clint Hurdle sent Jorge to the mound for The Colorado Rockies in the bottom of the eighth tonight, he made me wonder. "Clint--What in world are you thinking of? Do you have ANY IDEA how terrible Julio has been at RFK Stadium?" The Most CAVERNOUS OF BALLYARDS plays like a Ping Pong Table when Jorge Julio enters any game here. "You have to know that--right?"
Of course, Section 320 noticed this move by The Rockies--the very moment Jorge stepped out of the leftfield, visitors bullpen. "Come ON!!! Its Jorge Julio" was the Warrior Cry--Once AGAIN!! Our Washington Nationals were down 3-0, had accomplished nothing against Colorado Starter Aaron Cook for the first seven innings. But, just like that--this game was in the balance. No lead is ever safe with Julio on the mound.
Even, with FLop leading off.
With RALLYTIME!! IN FULL EFFECT--Felipe Lopez led off the bottom of the 8th with a clean single to right field. Mr. & Mrs. MickNats, RallyTimeRichard, BangTheDrumNatly, SenatorNat, The African Queen, Abby's Dad Mike & Grandma, Scott, John, Richard & Myself all rose for the occasion. Section 320 was ROCKING!! Everyone along the third base side of the park--turned to look. Ahead 3-0, Jorge was already digging himself a hole after just one batter. A cavity that turned into a cavern, when Ronnie Belliard followed, also with a grounder to right--FLop scurrying to third base. EVERY ONE of the 27,581 in attendance were on their feet now. RFK STADIUM was SHAKING for the first time tonight.
"JORGE JULIO!!--Dat, Dat, Dat, Dat, Dat--JORGE JULIO!!--DAT, DAT, DAT, DAT, DAT!!" was heard from Section 320. BangTheDrumNatly providing some SERIOUS PERCUSSION. The African Queen pounding away on her empty beer bottle. Tonight, provided by Bud Light. This was serious FUN!! Not a sole watching believed for ONE SECOND--that Jorge Julio was not GOING TO BLOW IT!!
And, when Ryan Zimmerman swung at the Julio's first offering--SHATTERING HIS BAT--but getting enough OOMPH!! on the ball to send it to short center field--scoring Felipe with Washington's First RUN. This game appeared all but won. Just three batters after taking the mound--Jorge Julio had opened up a chasm. Was The Old Ballyard EVER LOUD!!
No Outs, Belliard advancing to 3rd. "Z" on first. Even a visit to the mound by The Rockies Pitching Coach--Bob Apodaca could not quell the building enthusiasm. "Keep Jorge IN!!, KEEP JORGE IN!!" now being chanted in Section 320. A Shout Out CHEERED MIGHTILY, when Apodaca left the mound--with Jorge Julio still in the game.
Due to a double switch earlier in the game, Saul Rivera was the next scheduled hitter. For reasons, unbeknownst to me--Dimitri Young was a late scratch from tonight's starting lineup. Robert Fick started in his place. In this instance--Rivera had entered the game batting in the fourth spot for Ryan Church. So, Our Manager Manny Acta made the right move--he sent "Da Meat Hook" to the plate in an attempt to either tie or break open this affair. Who else to breach Julio's wide abyss? DID RFK STADIUM EVER RESPOND!!!
A Standing Ovation for Our 2007 All Star!! The Chance for Dimitri Young to redeem himself for yesterday's ejection from the game. Our Number 21 knew what to expect. Jorge Julio--one is of the most freewheeling fastball pitchers in the game. Then he threw a off speed pitch--fooling Dimitri badly. Surprisingly--Jorge came back with a similar pitch. Young grounding to Todd Helton at first base. Zimmerman advancing to second. You could FEEL the disappointment among the faithful. That crevasse that Julio had opened, didn't look as large. How fitting would it have been for Dimitri to provide the game changing blow.
But, with one out, Our Washington Nationals still had runners on 2nd and 3rd--Austin Kearns at the plate. "Come ON!! Its Jorge Julio!!" still being shouted out of Section 320. There was NO WAY Julio Escapes. And once again, for the second consecutive evening--Clint Hurdle decided NOT to intentionally walk a batter to load the bases and set up a double play situation. Personally, I find that strange. Yeah, walking Kearns puts the winning run on first. But, it sure seems like the better percentage play.
Yet, The Rockies pitched to Austin. Jorge Julio tossing in ball one. The Crowd was now standing. Everyone was ROARING. For this night--the moment to follow was THE INSTANT that NO ONE WILL FORGET--For Some Time. With JORGE JULIO!! Yes, Jorge Julio struggling on the mound--Our Number 25 would receive a fastball right off the inside part of the plate. Swinging--Austin lazily popped the ball just over second base into short centerfield. Rockies Second Baseman Kaz Matsui had an easy play on the baseball. Out Number Two was coming. But, for whatever reason--soundness I can not explain--Ryan Zimmerman either thought there were two outs--or the baseball was going to drop.
With Belliard retreating to third--"Z-Man" realized far too late--his serious mistake. Matsui easily tossed to Troy Tulowitski at second base to double off Our Number 11. Inexplicably--Ryan Zimmerman had made THE FATAL MISTAKE. That one time hole--now a crater--had been shut--in the most egregious way. YOU COULD HEAR A PIN DROP AT RFK STADIUM. Followed by The Boos.
Our Best Player, had made one HUGE MENTAL MISTAKE--And Ran Our Washington Nationals out of the Game. Zimmerman so pissed off at himself--he flung his batting helmet clear across the infield toward Third Base Coach Tim Tolman. Then, proceeded to turn and walk dejectedly back toward second base in disgust. He had paid a hard price for his blunder.
Jorge Julio had survived--and it had less to due with his talent--than luck.
Inning Over, RALLYTIME OVER!! And, This Game--Definitely Over!! Ryan Zimmerman had saved Jorge Julio from his Predetermined Destiny--at least for this night. Final Score--Colorado Rockies 3, Our Washington Nationals 1.
I still can't believe he got out of that jam. But, This Game Will Be Remembered, For Some Time.
Courtesy Of--Once Again--Jorge Julio!!
Game Notes & Highlights:
Leading off the bottom of the 5th--Brian Schneider hammered an Aaron Cook pitch to the wall in right, just in front of Washington's Bullpen. Rockies Rightfielder Ryan Spillborghs ran hard to the fence and leaped at the very last moment. What seemed to be a SURE HOME RUN was caught by Spillborghs as in backed into the wall. Everyone thought it was out--until Ryan Showed First Base Umpire Adrian Johnson the baseball in his mitt. Ryan Spillborghs made The Defensive Play of This Game.
With Jason Simontacchi going on the 15 Day Disabled List today, Pitching Coach Randy St.Claire received a decent effort from makeshift starter--Billy Traber, who was followed by Chris Schroeder, Ray King, Saul Rivera and Big Jon Rauch. Traber hurt himself on a terrible error fielding a bunt in the Colorado's two run 3rd inning. But, no one hit the baseball hard tonight off any Washington Pitcher. A Night Our Manager received a better than expected emergency start from Traber. On an evening once again--Washington's Bats were mostly silent.
Speaking of Simontacchi--Abby's Dad--Mike and I were discussing last night how each and every time Our Washington Nationals proclaim a pitcher is going to be day to day--that very player ends up going on The Disabled List. Then, the next thing you know--said pitcher is gone for a few months or the season. Mike & I just nodded our heads in acceptance of the Official Word that Jason is on The 15 Day DL. Chris Booker expected to be called up tomorrow.
I would be curious to know whether Dimitri Young not starting was a disciplinary move--with his ejection last night.
The Rockies Aaron Cook may have pitched seven scoreless innings, but Our Washington Nationals had their chances to score--many times before that fateful 8th. Once again, no clutch hits with runners in scoring position.
Did The Racing Presidents EVER HEAR IT TONIGHT!! As has become custom--GW, Thom, Abe & Teddy post up in The Tunnel next to Section 320 to head down to the Nats Dugout for the 7th Inning Stretch. Each and EVERY TIME they appear next to us--We all start chanting "LET TEDDY WIN!! LET TEDDY WIN!!" Very popular this has become. Tonight--the chant reached FEVER PITCH--when just about everyone within earshot chimed it. "LET TEDDY WIN!!" WAS LOUD. And, the sight of Teddy always waving his hands and jumping up and down--hilarious. As funny as--GW, Thom & Abe waving their hands "NO" across their chests in response. In Section 320, we love it when Our Presidents show up for the 7th Inning Stretch. Every Single Game, They are a Highlight for Us. This Evening--a Feature for Many More.
All weekend long--The United States Marines are collecting Toys For Tots In July. So, The African Queen and I decided to drop off some unwrapped, unused Toys for their Drive this evening at The Main Gate. For bringing some items, The Marines offered us any of a number of Nationals Promotional Items. Of course--we chose the "SCREECH" BobbleBelly. What Else!!
The Marines were kind enough to take a photo with Sohna.
Finally--there were two Die Hard Washington Nationals Fans and Nats320 Readers that showed up tonight with two FANTASIC TEE-Shirts. On the front, Dimitri Young was depicted--with the wording--"KEEP DMITRI". On the back of their shirts were printed "TRADE CLINT". To The Host of Nats TV Clint's GREAT CREDIT!! He took the shirts for what they were meant to be--FUN!! All of The NatPack enjoyed a good laugh. Clint posing for pictures with these two GREAT FANS!! Really, they were funny. And, that's all it was--FOR FUN! Huge Props To Clint For Enjoying The Moment!!
Tonight's InGame Photos--(AP) Haraz N. Ghanbari