Friday, September 28, 2007
Who ever said Our Washington Nationals were not in The Playoffs? Because, Tonight's atmosphere at Citizens Bank Park was EXCEPTIONAL!! Never can you get experience in The Post Season--unless you play in it. Which means, Nothing could be Finer Than Tonight. Our Washington Nationals learned a tremendous amount this evening in South Philadelphia. Baseball was Fun--for a 4th place team--supposedly playing out the schedule.
This One Was Special. Baseball Is The Greatest Game. And, It does not matter that Our Team will not be playing in October. What matters, is that Washington was competing WHEN IT COUNTS THE MOST!!--Giving Their All.
When Austin Kearns grabbed a liner from Ryan Howard in the 4th that was The Signature Play of this ballgame--Our Washington Nationals were playing for KEEPS. Our Number 25 ran into the mesh fence in rightfield to prove a point on--The Defensive Play of This Game. DC's Team was not giving up!!
Can you imagine what New Nationals Park will be like when Our Washington Nationals are IN THE PLAYOFFS!!?? The World Series!!" Those Dates will be LIFETIME EVENTS!! Sometimes, you have to look to the future.
Playoff Games are all about Pitching and Defense. Rarely does Hitting get you to The Promised Land. Sure, a top hitting club can get you to the playoffs--but when it counts the most--its PITCHING, PITCHING & MORE PITCHING. Our General Manager Jim Bowden's well publicized Mantra. Why do think each and every team shortens up their rotation when the post-season begins? Your 4th and 5th starters are rarely trusted. Championship Teams go with their Best. Top Pitching got you there. Top Pitching Gets you to A Championship.
Nothing else really matters. Someone will always get hot with a bat. Many times, someone least expected. Ask Gene Tenace from the 1972 Oakland Athletics. Tenace made a CAREER out of 7 World Series Games. Honestly, he was a Revelation!!--well before many of you were probably born. The Oakland Athletics won their first of three Consecutive World Series Championships that year. The unlikely Gene Tenace was the unlikely hero.
Although, it was not unimaginable that The Phillies Cole Hamels was TERRIFIC tonight--his effort not unexpected . If this game was a World Series Game--Hamels would be remembered Forever!! 13 Strikeouts over 8 EXTREMELY STRONG INNINGS. Their Number 35 was Exceptional!! One of the Top Young Lefthanders in the game--Cole proved this evening--there are fewer top emerging southpaws in the game, better than him. Simply, Cole Hamels threw his BEST GAME OF THE YEAR--and Our Washington Nationals had NO CHANCE.
But, this loss doesn't take away from The Experience. Yes, Our Team is not going to play into The Fall, but the opportunity to participate when it counts the most--can't be overlooked. Difficult it is to play before a Roaring Opposing Crowd. Hard it is to concentrate under the pressure. Never, can you adapt--unless you've been there before. Experience Matters, it how you become confident--no matter what your profession.
Yes, The Final Score at Electric Citizens Bank Park was 6-0 Phillies this evening. But, this loss does not take away from the understanding and seasoning that was cultivated for a later date. Tonight, Our Washington Nationals lost--in hopes of prospering in the near future. Do you think Ryan Zimmerman will strike out three times when Washington makes the playoffs soon? No--its less unlikely. The same with Austin Kearns and Jesus Flores swinging and missing twice each.
Losing was the sidebar story to this night's game. Gaining the opportunity to learn under the most diverse situation-- a lesson learned. An education that will come in handy when Our Washington Nationals are playing with A Division Championship On The Line. Our Manager Manny Acta understands this--hopefully, Our Players appreciate the circumstances.
And, Our Fans--Acknowledge The Big Picture.
Game Notes & Highlights:
Jesus Flores was FABULOUS tonight behind the plate. A throwout of Shane Victorino on a Perfect Throw in the 2nd. Then, an even better toss to throw out Jimmy Rollins with two outs in the 5th. A Sure Inning Ending Out that D'angleo Jimenez simply DID NOT CATCH. Our Number 6 showing tonight why he has rarely been trusted with his fielding. Not only dropping that out--that ended up costing Our Washington Nationals one run--but also missing a routine grounder to his left by Carlos Ruiz. A play that saw Jimenez throw the game away with a silly toss to first base on a routine double play ball in the 6th. An eventual run scoring error--that proves that despite D'angelo's hot September--he is past ready to be a Prime Time Player. Sure, he can hit--at times--but Jimenez is not a good fielder. He proved that tonight.
Tim Redding pitched well off the bat tonight--then began to struggle mightily. By the time Our Number 17 left after five innings--his stats showed: a hammering. His defense didn't help him, though. His Command, also. Tim Redding ends the 2007 Season with a 3-6 record alongside a decent 3.64 ERA. No, his poor Spring Training Start hurt him--but his late season effort was decent, but not spectacular. On a ballclub still looking to find itself--would it be surprising to see Tim Redding Return in 2008? No, Our Washington Nationals are still finding stability. Many more changes are coming--soon.
In the top of the 7th--Flores looped a very soft liner to centerfield. The Most Daring of Outfielders--Aaron Rowand came charging in--slid and caught the baseball with his glove turned nearly inside out. It was a another fine catch from the most Thrilling Centerfielder in the Game!! Baseball, is more than statistics. Sometimes, you just need Ballplayers. The Phillies Number 33 is a Gamer--like no other. He's a Free Agent in three weeks. You can have all your flamboyant players with attitude that you want. I have no problem with Our Washington Nationals making a run for Rowand. No better money will be spent--in the near future. What a fine player!! Better choice than Andruw Jones. Better choice than Torii Hunter. Rowand is a TEAM PLAYER. He will fit in with Our Washington Nationals--if management decides to go in that direction.
Too bad that Dmitri Young has now missed two consecutive weeks of baseball. At a time Our 2007 All Star could have made a late season run for the Batting Title--he has yet to fully recover from his injury. A baseball taken off the head against the Atlanta Braves. Unfortunate--as Young deserved better to end his season.
Justin Maxwell started again tonight and knocked out two hits against Hamels. Becoming more comfortable--looking more like a Major League Ballplayer--Our New Number 16 has not look overmatched--only over anxious--as his Surprising September has continued. I have yet to see his throwing arm--but all signs show that Justin is one fine talent. He just needs some seasoning. What a story from a LOCAL BOY--with strong roots.
One of these days--Our Washington Nationals will have TOP PLAYERS like Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. Yeah, they play for Philadelphia--but you can't deny their All Star Talent. Each and every time Howard and Utley stepped to the plate--you have to worry. They are serious threats. Expertise that Washington will hopefully field at New Nationals Park soon.
Finally--No one was more deserving. Our Manager Manny Acta's option was picked up through the 2009 Season. From Day One--Manny has been positive, never negative--always looking to improve. A Manager, that not only gives his all on the field, but off the field to Our Fans, as well. Manny attending every single community event possible. With each and every appearance, carrying that Charismatic Smile I love so much. Manny Acta--The Perfect Manager for Our Washington Nationals at this time.
Thank You Manny--for keeping the faith. You alone--have made 2007 Worthwhile. There is nothing like A Field Manager that Cares--About Our Fans. You Get It!! I Love That!!
Tonight's InGame Photos--(AP) H. Rumph, Jr.