Friday, July 06, 2007
Simply Not Delivering
Our Washington Nationals First Round Pick had just signed, with GREAT FANFARE, his first professional contract--including a $2.15 Million Signing Bonus before The Washington Media and Nats Management. The Whirlwind Tour was in order. Ross Detwiler was living The HIGH LIFE--in his first day as a Professional Baseball Player. The Center of Attention, most likely with little sleep. When your life changes overnight--you may not know exactly how to react.
So, for tonight's CEREMONIAL FIRST PITCH--which Ross Detwiler threw about five feet short of the required 60 feet, 6 inches--I will give him a pass. Athough, it SURE WAS FUNNY TO WITNESS. Remarkable, actually. Considering the hoopla--Ross Detwiler did not deliver (and that's written in fun). But, his Opening Toss set the stage for a brutal game played by Our Washington Nationals against one of the finest teams going--The Milwaukee Brewers.
At a time Our Newly Signed 2007 First Round Pick is dreaming how long his Major League Career will last, Mike Bacsik must be wondering how much time he has left as a Major League Player. Because this Friday evening, before a rather spare crowd of 19,861--Our Number 37 Simply DID NOT DELIVER ALSO--Early. A solo home run to Ryan Braun, then a two out -two strike-with two men on --NO DOUBT HOMER TO LEFT by Kevin Mench--putting Our Washington Nationals in serious trouble--not eight minutes since this game began. When Section 320 Regular Andy and his Daughter Erin arrived just after that Mench Blast--they were STUNNED that at 7:13PM, Our Team already was behind, 4-0.
It didn't get much better when Braun homered again in the 5th. Mike Bacsik was throwing far too many pitches high in the strike zone. He wasn't fooling many. It made me wonder--HOW SOON WILL ROSS DETWILER BE READY? By the time Our Manager Manny Acta took Bacsik out of this game, he had surrendered six earned runs in just five innings.
But despite his poor performance--Our Number 37 was not solely responsible. Our Washington Nationals--time and time again-continued to fail in the clutch at the plate. Obviously, you've guessed the tone for this post--Our Hitters also--simply did not deliver. Tonight--24 runners left on base with hitters at the plate--including seven of those runners in scoring position. Despite their early deficit--Our Team had their chances to get back into this ball game. They continually failed--a problem that has existed all season long.
None as badly as the 6th inning. Dimitri Young doubled to left-hustling all the way. Then, Ryan Church smoked an infield single, putting runners on 1st and 2nd with ZERO OUTS. But, Austin Kearns flied out to center--followed by FLop and Brian Schneider striking out weakly to end the threat. Once again--a total inability to move runners up and score them.
Again, in the 8th--Young leadoff single, Church force out grounder removing Dimitri; Austin Kearns Single and Felipe Lopez single provided a second run of the evening with one out. Yet, with The Brew Crew bringing on lefthanded submariner--Brian Shouse--this late rally was OVER. Schneider softly grounded out to second base. And, Tony Batista, pinch hitting for Traber, bounced out to first to kill this final threat. Openly, I have to wonder--really what good are Batista and D'Angelo Jimenez providing for Our Team? How much worse would Washington be--if some other Minor League Talent filled their roles? Are Our Minor League Affiliates that bereft of talent? I find that hard to believe. Really.
Tonight, Our Washington Nationals stroked just as many hits as Milwaukee-11. The Difference--The Brewers were able to deliver in the clutch. While Washington could only fail.
Not much of Ball Game this hot humid evening--A 6-2 loss to a very good Milwaukee Brewers Club.
But, as I mentioned to The African Queen this evening. Take a good look at those Brewers. They are mostly HOME GROWN with some Shrewd Trades and Free Agent Pickups. Milwaukee is EXACTLY The Franchise Our Washington Nationals wish to emulate. Sure, it took Brewers Management some time. But, honestly-who wouldn't want some of their Fine Young Talent. Those Guys can play.
Some Day, One Day, Our Washington Nationals will be able to play with them, competitively. And on that day--Our Washington Nationals WILL SIMPLY DELIVER.
Just not right now. Defintely Not Today.
Game Notes & Highlights:
Tonight was Ronnie Belliard's night--despite the loss. Our Number 10, who from now on will always be called by me "The Ball Player" was outstanding. When you hit a double, two singles and a solo Home Run, as a gamer--you deserve to be picked up by your teammates. Ronnie Belliard was ON FIRE TONIGHT. Proving, Once Again--A Savvy Veteran, is a Valuable Veteran--even on a less than stellar team. "Manny Ramirez, Jr", as I so fondly call him, STUNNED ME when he clubbed that Dave Bush Fastball over the left field wall in the bottom of the 7th inning. Sure, in his prime--Ronnie Belliard could hit the baseball out of any park in the Majors, and knocked one out this past Saturday Night in Pittsburgh with The African Queen and I in attendance. But at RFK? Everything had to be lined up PERFECTLY for tonight's smash. Obviously, it was. And, I couldn't be happier. Its really sad that Ronnie Belliard is not playing for a Winning Team. Hard it is for me to believe, NO ONE except Our Washington Nationals offered him a contract in 2007. A World Series Winning Second Baseman, was not wanted. How lucky we are to see him play. How fortunate that Our General Manager Jim Bowden saw opportunity this past spring, and took advantage of it.
An Egde that Ronnie Belliard used in the top of the fourth--when Milwaukee Pitcher Dave Bush popped a blooper into short right field. Ronnie ran hard all the way to his left toward the right field line--then dove and SNARED the baseball, just inches from the ground. "The Ball Player" rolling over and jumping up--in GREAT EXALTATION!! Our Number 10 well knew--he had just completed one of The Defensive Plays of This Game.
An Honor that Brian Schneider thought he also earned in the top of the second inning. Ryan Braun popped up just above Home Plate. As Braun trotted to first in disgust, he laid his bat down a few feet up the first base line in foul territory. The spinning baseball was called by Brian--but it just so happened it appeared the baseball would fall directly over the fallen bat. Schneider knew he was in trouble, feeling his way. Sure enough--his left cleat slipped over the Braun's Bat tettering him back--at the very same moment--the wind caught the ball and directed it behind him toward the mound. Luckily for Our Number 23--his foot rolling over the Ryan's Bat produced the exact lift he needed to propel himself backwards toward the pop up--now in fair territory. Falling down, but with his glove in the air--Brian Schneider made ONE TERRIFIC CATCH to end the inning.
Its Hard to Choose--Belliard's Catch was SPECTACULAR. Schneider's was the work of a Real Pro. Tonight. They both get credit for The Defensive Plays of This Game.
Dimitri Young had two more hits tonight--including his 23rd double of the season. Although, he struck out twice, including the game ending out, with a total of four runners on base. Our All Star JUST MISSED A HOMER down the right field line--just foul, before he singled in the eighth.
After Bascik gave the game away early--and Our Washington Nationals couldn't score despite numerous chances--Our Bullpen was quite effective. Chris Schroder, Billy Traber and Saul Rivera combined for 4 shutout innings. Only Schroder providing any hits (3 in two innings) to The Brew Crew.
You may have read my post from yesterday: "Are The Sausages Coming?" Well, tonight when Our Racing Presidents trotted out during the middle of the 4th inning, "TEDDY" unfurled a banner directly in front of the Brewers Dugout. The Sign questioning--'Where "R" The Sausages?' The Milwaukee Bench, to their great credit--actually responded to the proclamation--a few of their players shrugging their shoulders and couple of others telling "Teddy" to just move along. Sure enough, The Brewers Sausages DID NOT POST UP TONIGHT. A "VERY RELIABLE SOURCE" telling me "that the sausages declined numerous invitations to compete against the Presidents this weekend." Take it for what its worth. The Sausages Chickened Out. Could they possibly have been worried about "TEDDY"?
Ross Detwiler signed autographs near The Diamond Club during the 6th inning tonight. You better believe, I took the opportunity to met him. Although I only had the briefest of moments--there were a TREMENDOUS amount of fans wishing to greet and meet with our newest young star. But, I did ask Ross about whether he's concerned about Pitching Inside at The Professional Level. Pitching against Aluminum Bats is basically all he's known. Detwiler responded: "I relish the opportunity. No longer can hitters just get their bat on my pitch and get a hit. Now, with wood bats--they have to earn it. Pitching inside is how you win."
Nothing wrong with that comment. Our General Manager Jim Bowden believes that Ross will pitch two or three outings in Viera, Florida for the Rookie League Nationals, then be sent DIRECTLY to Woodbridge, Virginia and The Potomac Nationals--Single A Ball. With Chris Marrero, Mike Daniels and Justin Maxwell all currently playing at that stadium near Potomac Mills Mall--four of OUR FINEST YOUNG PROSPECTS, may well be playing in our very own backyard, very soon. Time for visit to Woodbridge.
Finally--while walking around the 300 Level at RFK to visit with Detwiler--I took the opportunity to take a photo with Our Racing Presidents. Many Thanks to NatPack Kenny for taking the fine photo. And, Mark Rogoff for my picture with Ross Detwiler.
Tonight's InGame Photos--(AP) Haraz N. Ghanbari
Schneider falling on his back--Miss Chatter