Friday, August 24, 2007
Was that EVER EMBARRASSING--"The Chief Cardiologist" trotted on to Coors Field tonight with a 5-1 lead in the 9th and couldn't retire a single batter. Despite all his heart palpitating ways over the past two plus seasons of Washington Nationals Baseball--I don't recall Chad Cordero EVER BEING TAKEN OUT OF THE GAME WITH EVERYTHING ON THE LINE. At least, until tonight. He had nothing--Single, Home Run, single, double, walk--two runs in, bases loaded--nobody out. Then, Big Jon Rauch relieved him, only to see Our Number 51 allow a two run single, sacrifice bunt, followed by a grounder to D'Angelo Jimenez up the middle--that Jimenez SIMPLY DROPPED for the game deciding 5th run of the inning. The Game Winning Run for The Colorado Rockies. The Result: A DEVASTATING 6-5 Defeat--Clinched from The Jaws of Victory.
This Loss HURTS--BADLY. Yeah, I know it happens--but this unexpected BEATING has to be The WORST OF THE SEASON. Terrible--because SHAWN HILL WAS SO DESERVING.
There is not one single player for Our Washington Nationals more WORTHY than Shawn Hill. He is UNQUESTIONABLY Our Best Starter. Despite Disappointment, Injury, Recovery and Perseverance--he has soldiered on--never looking back, never losing perspective. And tonight--he proved it at Coors Field in Colorado. A solid sinker ball pitcher throwing in the ULTIMATE FLY BALL PARK--one mile above sea level. If Our Number 41 is throwing his best stuff--he should be unhittable here. This evening, Shawn Hill was at his Spectacular Best.
What more could you ask from your starter in a hitter friendly park. Lately, I have read many write that Shawn Hill is no better than a 3rd or 4th starter--at best. What exactly are these so called "experts" looking at? What do they NOT SEE? Outside of Brandon Webb in Arizona--who exactly has a better sinker ball than Shawn Hill? Like, NO ONE in The National League. Our Number 41 is a keeper. And, as far as I am concerned--Number One Starter. Greg Maddux didn't have overpowering stuff. Certainly, Shawn has a long way to go before duplicating Maddux's career efforts--but I don't see anyone complaining about Shawn's stuff, now. Do you? Then, why should anyone lessen Hill's abilities?
Effort which The Colorado Rockies witnessed for seven strong innings. When you retire 21 of 23 batters after giving up two hits to begin the game--you are doing something right. Like throwing strikes, staying on top. And, leaving with a 5-1 Lead. 68 strikes in 98 pitches for Shawn. Since the very first moments, I saw him pitch at RFK in 2006--I had strong feelings about him. Shawn Hill has never disappointed me. If he could ever stay healthy, he WILL go down as one of the best in Our Washington Nationals History. Shawn has The RIGHT STUFF--That FACT I AM POSITIVE.
Ability which Ryan Zimmerman continues to show--an opposite field homer to right in the third off Jeff Francis. Followed in the 7th by A KEY HIT OF THE GAME--a one out hard slap to left field scoring Hill and Nook Logan with the 3rd and 4th runs of the game. Tallies which should have been the game deciding runs. After struggling at the plate earlier this season--swinging at everything--especially outside crap from pitchers--Ryan has returned to his compact, educated swing. Our Number 11 looking for something he can hit--not something he HOPES HE CAN HIT. For 22 years old, Ryan is one impressive young player. Now batting .275 with 20 Home Runs and 75 RBI's. At the end of 2007--he's going to have some good numbers. Now, if he could just cut down on those rushed throwing errors.
Mistakes that Wily Mo Pena can take advantage of. Any Home Run to the opposite field is impressive for any hitter. More so, a stroked blast over the 375 Foot sign in right centerfield at Coors Field. Pena's third homer as a National off Taylor Buchholz in the 8th was nice. Do you think Jimbo is at least feeling good over Wily Mo right now? Yeah, I know he is. Jim Bowden believes he stole a POWER SLUGGER for NOTHING. A thought, which I can't deny him right now.
So much to feel good about, yet SO MUCH MORE TO FEEL AWFUL ABOUT. ONE TERRIBLE INNING KILLING ALL THAT HOPE!! Shawn Hill was SO DESERVING TONIGHT. Yet, Chad Cordero and Jon Rauch let him down. And, I don't want to hear anyone say Washington had other chances to succeed during this ballgame, but failed. This defeat fails directly on Our Bullpen. Sure, it happens. But, It doesn't mean I have to feel any better about it. Just an AWFUL LOSS--A WIN that was all but DEFINITE. That's going to be one SILENT NATIONALS CLUBHOUSE and trip back to the hotel tonight.
Player's Feelings we shall witness tomorrow. Saturday Night, We find out more about The Character of Our Washington Nationals. Will they fight back--or will they wilt?
Game Notes & Highlights:
Sorry, but I am not convinced. Just one month ago--EVERYBODY wanted Nook Logan's Neck. No one felt he was an ANSWER to the Centerfield Problem then, for Our Washington Nationals. Of course, he's been hot--getting on base and making some nice defensive plays in the outfield of late. Last night a terrific catch up "Tal's Hill" in Houston, and this evening a couple of nice tracks of hard hit baseballs into the gap at VAST COORS FIELD. Still, REALLY, I am not a believer--not yet. Logan needs to produce over more than just one month of the season. And, bunt better and drive in a few more runs. Getting a single here and there--does not a fine player make.
If The Colorado Rockies are using a Humidor to keep the flight of a baseball down in the Thin Air of Denver--Why not bring in the outfield fences? 347 Feet down the foul lines is LUDICROUS. You can't have both. The Outfield at Coors Field is so vast--I could even get lucky and knock a single. Really, how can you expect to build a winning team with such varying elements to deal with. For some time, Denver was an attendance leader in Major League Baseball--but even their fans have come to realize the futility of watching baseball a Mile High From Sea Level. Baseball in Colorado is far from ideal. That's a shame. Sometimes a Sham. Tonight, baseball in Denver was just FORGETTABLE.
I've mentioned this before--but, after this defeat, I am in the mood to write about it again. What REALLY bothers me about Bob Carpenter on MASN is his propensity to CALL THE PLAY before it develops in front of him. If runners are on first and second with one out--and a hitter knocks a hard shot at an infielder--Carpenter IMMEDIATELY says: "THAT's AN INNING ENDING DOUBLE PLAY BALL!!" Many times, the fielder boots the knock. Its embarrassing. Bob did it again tonight on a hard smash to D'Angelo Jimenez at shortstop. Leading off the bottom of the third inning, The Rockies Jeff Francis grounded sharply to shortstop. Carpenter called out: "There's an easy out!!" Only to see Jimenez throw the baseball away. Only Dmitri Young coming off the bag--saved the out from being an error. Time and Time Again, Bob Carpenter does this. I am tired of it.
The other call he makes that drives me up the wall is when a batter makes a nice hit--and WITHOUT EVEN MAKING THE CALL ABOUT WHAT HAS OCCURRED--Bob says: That's a NICE SWING!! Its the sign of an announcer who believes he knows more than he really does. He is talking down to the audience. I don't like it. Call the action--please. Let Don Sutton give the expertise. And, each time Carpenter misjudges a call--Don Sutton remains silent. That's telling. Come on Bob!! Let everything play out in front of you. Describe THE ACTION!! Don't Describe What YOU THINK YOU WILL SEE!!! And, please don't try to be the COLOR ANNOUNCER. There is a Big Difference. Sutton is one of the best--let him do his job. There is a good reason why Don is signed to a four year contract.
Tonight's InGame Photos--(AP) David Zalubowski