Friday, July 27, 2007

My Main Man!! Returns

Maybe My Main Man!! should play more games at Shea Stadium. My Favorite Player has been mired in a serious slump of late. So much so, even Our Manager Manny Acta has called him out. Many Fans of Our Washington Nationals have pined for his everyday inclusion in the lineup. Yet, after such a fabulous start this season--Ryan Church has struggled. And, I was lost for words to explain.

Despite his misplay the other night against Philadelphia that was very costly, Our Number 19 has again begun to hit doubles of late. At this point in the 2007 season, he is still in the top five in The National League in two base hits. Yet, quite honestly, he is capable of more. As I have mentioned before, Ryan Church has that wonderful Will Clark Swing. A Hitting Stroke that evokes fear in opposing pitchers. Power which My Main Man!! has not been consistent with.

So, Thank You Shea Stadium. Tonight, My Main Man!! Returned.

On a night Our Washington Nationals changed the multiplication rules: 4 X 2 = 3 runs scored, Ryan Church finally broke out and was the difference against The New York Mets. In the top of the second inning, Our Team stroked four doubles. Dimitri Young, followed by Ryan, then Brian Schneider with one out, and Nook Logan (Yes, Nook Logan) with a Ground Rule Double to left center off Jorge Sosa (For those keeping score, 4 doubles--4 X 2 equaled 3 runs scored). Yes, 3 Runs Scored and then Our Number 19 taking a Jorge Sosa Fastball over the right field fence his next time up--in the top of the 3rd.

The very last time Our Washington Nationals visited Queens to face The New York Mets, Ryan Church had a breakout day. A game I thought would propel him to the Solid Major League Status believed by many. As it turned out, that was not the case. Unfortunately, Ryan's home run tonight was his first since June 12th against The Baltimore Orioles. But, at Shea this season, Ryan is 5 for 11 with two doubles and two homers, 3 RBI and four runs scored. Good Production.

Could it be, that My Main Man!! has finally re-found his stroke? No one is more needed to produce in Our Lineup. Hopeful I am, that Church will begin to look for that first pitch to drive. And, protect himself more with two strikes. He has an impressive stroke. Ryan Church is capable of more. Many Nationals Fans would LOVE to see him become a RUN PRODUCER.

And, nothing could make me happier.

That and Curly "W" Number 44 being a solid WIN over The Eastern Division Leading New York Mets at Shea Stadium. Hard it was for me to believe that ANY Nats wins is produced in pedestrian style. But, Our Washington Nationals won easily tonight. Not much pain. Not much to worry about. Too bad, so many more provide such stress.

All on a Night My Main Man!! broke out of a slump, providing the KEY BLOWS.

Game Notes & Highlights:

Mike Bacsik continues to pitch well, after being pretty much left for the dead. Our Number 37 completing seven strong innings, never really threatened, giving up 2 runs, most importantly ZERO WALKS, and striking out NOT A SINGLE METS HITTER. That's letting your defense help you out. Remarkable that Bacsik earned his 4th win tonight, a few weeks after many thought his time on The Major League Roster was over with.

When Bacsik was done, Luis Ayala came on the close the game out. Two VERY STRONG INNINGS. Our Number 56 pitching in 3 out of the last four Nats Games. Yeah, I know, he gave up a game winning homer to Aaron Rowand a few nights ago--but he continues to rebuild his game. Having finished off tonight's affair with his first save in nearly two years, you can bet he was pleased to be rewarded. Hard it is to recover from surgery to your pitching elbow. Ayala has been BETTER THAN EXPECTED in his 14 games since returning from the Disabled List. Tonight, when he trotted out to the mound for the 8th, it reminded me of 2005, when Luis SET UP Chad Cordero. There was not a better duo in The Game that year. How I would LOVE TO SEE THAT AGAIN. And, no disrespect to Big Jon Rauch. Those three combine to form a very effective LATE INNING BULLPEN. One of The Best In The Game.

How about Austin Kearns. For some time, his game has lacked power. Now, two BIG BLASTS over the past week that hopefully will give him confidence to succeed more in the very near future. Does he ever need to work out his swing.

There were three fine defensive plays tonight, not surprisingly, Ryan Zimmerman was involved in two of them. In the bottom of the second, The Mets Shawn Green laced a liner down the right field line. But, Dimitri Young got his big body in front of the ball--and made a very fine lunging catch to his left.

The second with New York threatening in the fifth and runners on 2nd and 3rd--Damion Easley stroked a liner down the third base line. Ryan Zimmerman dove to his right, catching the baseball, and JUST MISSED Doubling off Shawn Green, also diving back into the bag.

Finally, with Carlos Delgado on first base with one out in the 6th, Paul LoDuca chopped a grounder on the third base side, near the pitcher's mound. Ryan Zimmerman DID NOT GIVE UP ON THE BALL--Surprised EVERYONE by throwing to second base--whereupon "THE BALLPLAYER", Ronnie Belliard made a TERRIFIC PIVOT and One Footed Toss to Dimitri Young at first base to retire The Mets. Just a FABULOUS Team Play, and The Defensive Play of This Game. Ronnie Belliard is just incredible at turning two. There could not be many others in This Great Game--Better. If baseball is theatrics--this double play was a BRAVADO PERFORMANCE!! Very, Very Impressive.

To conclude: when Paul LoDuca stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 9th with one out--The African Queen noticed that every single Mets Fan sitting behind the third base dugout had the MOST MISERABLE LOOKS on their faces. Absolutely SORROWFUL. Thinking the exact same thing, Sohna and I just BUSTED OUT LAUGHING!!! What a treat to see NEW YORK FANS SUFFERING. Really, its a GREAT JOY!! We couldn't stop chuckling about it for some time.

Tonight's InGame Photos--(AP) Ed Betz

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