Saturday, August 11, 2007
That was a GREAT PERFORMANCE!! He was calm, composed, got outs and seemingly was never out of his element. And, he didn't Win!! John Lannan pitched a terrific seven innings of one run baseball this evening in Phoenix. It just wasn't enough. The Arizona Diamondbacks Brandon Webb WAS EVEN BETTER and continued to prove he is ONE OF BASEBALL'S BEST. Number 17 in Black pitched through his 33rd consecutive scoreless inning over his past five games. Tonight A MASTERPIECE!! A 1-0 Win over Our Washington Nationals at Chase Field that will most likely go down as THE BEST PITCHED GAME (BY BOTH SIDES) of the 2007 Season.
Lannan, never out of control was equally as tantalizing. Only an Eric Byrnes single followed by a two out triple to the gap by Justin Upton to right centerfield in the bottom of the 4th was his only blemish. A score that was even more impressive coming off the bat of the NOT EVEN 20 Year old Upton. For a 19 Year Old, Upton is quite the young player. Justin has speed, power, a bat and a glove. What more could you want out of a young player? In many respects, Justin Upton reminds me of Andruw Jones when he also came on the scene as a 19 Years Old. A Game Changer, without realizing it. A Young Player whose skills are so natural--Baseball IS JUST A JOY FOR HIM TO PLAY.
A Competition that Brandon Webb is equally as deft.
Webb--Sinker after Sinker. Strikeout after Ground Ball. Yeah, Our Washington Nationals had runners on base in six of Brandon's 9 innings, but never did it matter. Webb may well be the MOST CONFIDENT THROWER IN THE GAME. The Man can flat out pitch. He knows it. The Diamondbacks KNOW IT!! Every Opponent He's Faced has come to KNOW IT!! And now, Our Washington Nationals MUST BE CONVINCED OF THAT FACT--Also. This evening--10 Strikeouts, 12 Ground Ball Outs. His Outfielders could have napped most of this game. They had NOTHING TO DO!! Over the course of two ballgames against Washington this year--16 Total Innings Pitched, One Run Allowed, 18 Strikeouts and to prove how dominating his Sinker is--Our Washington Nationals have only knocked 6 baseballs--SIX BASEBALLS, I REMIND YOU--Out Of THE INFIELD OFF OF HIM!! IN TWO STARTS!! That's Impressive. Ask Ryan Zimmerman--now 0-7 with three strikeouts against Webb.
What a DOMINATING PITCHER. An effort not seen often in Major League Baseball these days. Big cheers, also, to Diamondbacks Manager Bob Melvin for sending Webb out there to get the Complete Game. Brandon Earned It!! It was nice to see ANY MANAGER not just play the game by the book. Win, with who brought you there. Not, who you believe will get you there.
So, inquiring minds want to know?
How in the world is Brandon Webb's record just 12 Wins & 8 Losses? Two Straight Complete Game Shutouts, one to The Dodgers, the other against Washington Tonight.
And, how about that Lannan. Four Starts, never out of any game--composure and mettle not seen from any of Washington's Young Starters. For a young man whose come out of nowhere--advancing four levels of professional baseball in four short months--What Bell has gone off in his head to bring him THIS FAR, SO QUICKLY? Our Number 26 has not only baffled opposing hitters all season long--but the entire BRAIN TRUST OF OUR WASHINGTON NATIONALS. Obviously, they didn't see him coming. So, What exactly was everyone missing? If John Lannan keeps it up, he's quite the story. If 2007 is about adding competitive parts for the future--is Lannan a New Addition to that list? Nothing has proved him wrong so far.
Tonight was an OLD FASHIONED PITCHING DUEL--sometimes lost in The Great Game Of Today with the speciality nature of Bullpens and Utility Players. Arizona and Washington this evening was more like the olden days, when Managers handed the baseball to their starting pitchers and told them to go nine. Nine Innings--Not Nine Hitters. Or, go as long as you keep your team in the game. In many respects--this was a Throwback Game. Good Pitching, Good Fielding and That ONE TIMELY HIT providing the Decisive Blow. A 1-0 Thriller that Pure Baseball Fans had to, not only enjoy, but cherish this evening.
A Classic Pitching Performance from both sides of the mound tonight. Nothing to be ashamed up. If this game had been played under THE BIG STAGE of The World Series--Everyone would have called it A MASTERPIECE!!
Really, it was.
Game Notes & Highlights:
Gamesmanship re-invigorated this affair in the bottom of the 7th. A development that saw both Managers looking to deke the other and get an advantage. Arizona's Connor Jackson had knocked a single to right. Upton followed with a fly out to Kearns for out number one. Then, The Diamondbacks Mark Reynolds (Ryan Zimmerman's Teammate at The University of Virginia) grounded to Flop at short. A Potential Inning Ending Double Play Ball that Ronnie Belliard turned, but JUST MISSED getting the hard running Reynolds at first base. A Bang-Bang Play that haunted John Lannan when he sawed off Arizona Catcher Chris Snyder's bat next--only to see Snyder muscle the baseball to centerfield. A fluke that saw Nook Logan, step back, then charge in for the catch. A Diving retrieval of the hit that turned sour when the ball glanced off his glove. All runners safe with Runners on 2nd and 3rd now. Logan's non-catch setting up The Gamesmanship.
Arizona Manager Bob Melvin knew that his next batter, the 8th hitter in his lineup, Stephen Drew, would most likely be walked by Our Manager Manny Acta to put Brandon Webb at the plate. Manny--of course--was hoping to win either way under these circumstances. To convince Melvin to either replace Webb with ANYONE ELSE on The Diamondbacks Roster by loading up the bases with 2 outs in a 1 run game. Or, just let the weak hitting Webb bat to kill the rally. A Card Game was at hand. The Arizona Manager having some plays of his own. Bob Melvin was wishing for Manny to let Drew Bat. So, to convince Manny that Arizona was going to Pinch Hit for Brandon--Jeff Cirillo started warming up in the On Deck Circle. An effort to persuade Acta to let Drew Hit. A Maneuver that Our Manager refused to show his cards for. A Mini-Poker Match played out to see who would fold first. A Scenario that saw Washington walk Drew Intentionally to load up the bases. And, Arizona fold by sitting Cirillo and putting Webb up to bat. Neither Manager wanted to make the call. But the shuffling of the cards to bring this bottom of the 7th to fruition, was fascinating. Bottom Line: No Way The Arizona Diamondbacks take THEIR BEST PITCHER, ONE OF THE TOP THROWERS IN THE GAME, out of this game, even one with the slimmest of margins. Bob Melvin well knew--Webb was in TOP FORM and, most likely, was not going to be taken tonight--by anyone. Why trust ANYONE ELSE?
This Gamesmanship was The Defensive Play of This Game.
For what seems like the Billionth Time, a player for Our Washington Nationals is originally diagnosed with a Day-To-Day Injury. This occasion finds Dimitri Young with a Tweaked Hamstring. As always announced, he is just suppose to receive one day off, two tops. Yet, Our 2007 All Star is out again this evening. And, Washington now states his condition has not improved. Have we not seen this same scenario, over and over, and OVER AGAIN? If truth returns to form, Dimitri Young will be placed on the Disabled List, in the next few days. Never have I understood how One Team, Our Team--can continually mis-diagnosis a more serious injury. Strange Really. One of My Pet Peeves about Our Washington Nationals. Really, it just doesn't add up. Guzman, Hill, Patterson & Bowie all this year alone has been lost under the same circumstances. On and on I could go about this topic. Very Bothering.
Then, Our General Manager Jim Bowden with his Own Flip-Flop today. First publicly stating that Shawn Hill would make one more start at AAA Columbus before making his first Major League Start since May 14th. Now, Jimbo has switched gears. Our Number 41 will return to RFK this Tuesday Night to face The Philadelphia Phillies. Pleased I am to see this. Hill is Our Most Capable Performer on the mound. And, best Bunter--by far. Now, who will be sent down to put Hill on The 25 Man Roster. Just guessing--Some would say Lannan (all year long, the goal has been never to lose a player during roster moves). Although, Mike Bacsik would be a logical choice. But, since he would have to be exposed to waivers--I doubt it. That Roster Move come Tuesday, is going to be interesting.
Finally, never have I been a Big Fan of Black as a Primary Uniform Color for Alternate Jerseys. For me, it just doesn't work most times. Too many teams use Black as their Alternate Jersey Top Color. The Florida Marlins Alternate never has impressed me. Neither The Orioles, Blue Jays or Giants. Although The Chicago White Sox look Great in Black. For the ChiSox, it fits. Tonight, for the first time, the sight of The Arizona Diamondbacks in Black with Desert Red--looked pretty good to me. Sharp, Defined Lines, the Red Shows up nicely with White Trim. They could use numbers on the front right lower panel (like Our "DC" Reds) though. But, far better than their Purple Shades worn every year of their existence until 2007. And, Better looking than their Desert Red Tops.
All which made me think back. How so many traditionalists made fun of Our Washington Nationals Home Uniforms when first displayed in 2005. Yet now--they almost look "CLASSIC". In fact, I love those home Whites with Red Trim. Team President Stan Kasten actually told me he ADORES them, even with the Red Curly "W" Cap not matching the Jersey Design. I couldn't agree with him more. The Home Whites worn by Our Washington Nationals are FABULOUS LOOKING. Very Sharp. So, don't expect any changes soon.
Of course, I also love those Red "DC" Jerseys. Sunday's at RFK would not be the same without them.
Tonight's InGame Photos--(AP) Rick Scuteri