Sunday, June 22, 2008
Wily Mo Pena nearly caught Ian Kinsler's drive on the second pitch of the game tonight at New Nationals Park. Instead, Wily Mo deflected the baseball over the fence for a home run. The moment setting off a series of near misses all night long.
Washington Starter Garrett Mock nearly got out of a first inning of trouble before allowing The Texas Rangers David Murphy to torch him for a two run double over the head of Elijah Dukes in right field. The results--an early 3-0 lead for Texas.
Our Washington Nationals nearly fought back to tie and take the lead in the bottom of the 5th. Down by two runs, Washington loaded up the bases with nobody out--only to see Elijah Dukes hit into a run scoring double play and Lastings Milledge ground out to third base to kill the rally.
Followed in the 6th by FLop nearly laying down a bunt with runners on first and second, nobody out. Instead, Felipe Lopez struck out badly. But that was not all the near misses in that same bottom of the 6th as Washington loaded up the bases after FLop flailed. Only to see Pena and Kory Casto nearly drive in the tying and go ahead runs. Our Number 26 flying out meekly and Our Number 5--battling during a terrific ten pitch at-bat, eventually sending a looping liner to Rangers shortstop Michael Young.
Lead Nearly Taken, Game Lost For Sure--when Charlie Manning and Brian Sanches were sent to the mound in the top of the 7th for Our Washington Nationals and blew this game wide open. 10 Texas Rangers hitters would step to the plate to face them. Seven of whom scored. Nearly sending the Home Faithful to their cars and Metro before the 7th Inning Stretch even commenced.
Actually the sight of aisles and aisles of fans leaving the park was pretty amazing. A rain storm was actually coming, how fitting--"The Human Rain Delay" trotted out to put a dampening to the Texas 7th Inning Thunder. But that only set the stage for Jesus Colome to nearly make it out of this game unscored upon himself. Nearly no one for Our Washington Nationals was untouched tonight. The Rangers got to Our Number 43 for two more scores in the 8th and 9th to bring this near public flogging to an end.
Not many were on hand to witness the ending.
With the rains beginning, nearly the entire crowd had left New Nationals Park by the 9th frame. Leaving Our Washington Nationals pondering how they lost 13-3, in a blowout that hard as it may seem to believe--they nearly had the chance to win.
Really they did--until that awful seven run 7th inning. Instead, they NEARLY got their brains beaten out.
Game Notes & Highlights
Garrett Mock deserved better tonight. Wily Mo Pena didn't help him when he made a terrible play at the wall in left field off Kinsler's eventual leadoff homer in the top of the 1st inning. The replays showed Wily Mo closing his glove too soon--before the ball reached his padded mitt. Mock struggled through the remainder of the first frame--but settled down nicely to complete sixth innings. A decent effort--striking out eight and showing he has the talent to be a Major League Pitcher. Maybe not a top of the rotation pitcher--but an effective 3rd or 4th starter. Garrett just needs some more experience in The Big Leagues--which will not happen anytime soon when he was optioned back to AAA Columbus immediately after tonight's game.
Paul LoDuca got absolutely NAILED by Marlon Byrd on a close play at the plate in the top of the 1st inning. Retrieving the relay throw on David Murphy's double, Byrd barreled into Paulie as LoDuca swept his glove around on an attempted back handed tag. Marlon's big body caught Our Number 16 on the bottom of his face--knocking down hard--but not out. Did he ever get WHACKED though!! Byrd scored the third run of the first inning for Texas. LoDuca stayed in the game.
Lasting Milledge slugged a Kason Gabbard pitch deep over the left field wall in the bottom of the 4th inning his sixth home run of 2008. Our Number 44 must have been stoked after diving head first onto the warning track in deep left centerfield for a fabulous catch of an Ian Kinsler drive in the top of the 4th. By far, the Defensive Play of this Game, and a nice effort on Milledge's part. Lastings, not only used his athletic ability to track down the drive, but showed some baseball instincts in making the catch. Not bad for a guy that so far this season has not looked comfortable playing centerfield.
Why can't Major League Hitters consistently bunt? Again tonight--FLop couldn't lay one down in the bottom of the 6th with runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs. Felipe Lopez's inability to move the runners up and his eventual awful strikeout on Gabbard's very last pitch of the game--on a toss well off the plate in the dirt--hurt Washington's chances for a big inning.
Dmitri Young had three hits tonight raising his average to a more respectable .283. And in the 4th added to his running resume video--when laced a liner to left that The Rangers David Murphy had to chase down into the corner. Our Number 21 motoring as fast as his large girth would carry him--slung off his batting helmet in full stride rounding first base--revealing his Red Curly "W" Skull Cap and lumbered into the second base with a double. He was safe, but the jaunt to second had to make you smile. Watching Dmitri run is sometimes like watching someone run in slow motion. And with the announcement that Nick Johnson will now seek a specialist for his continuing tendon problem in his wrist--its a good thing Young is beginning to heat up with the summer temperatures. Our Washington Nationals need some punch from their first baseman.
The Rangers can hit. 18 hits this evening. A starting lineup where most every hitter has a batting average above .270. Pretty impressive. A sight I would love to see from Our Washington Nationals some day. Of course, Texas has very little quality pitching.
While attending Saturday Morning's Youth Clinic at New Nationals Park for an upcoming post--Saul Rivera and I got into a conversation about his three inning performance in extra innings on Friday Night. Pleased to talk about his effort, I asked Our Number 52 whether he felt good enough to go a 4th inning--if Our Manager Manny Acta needed him. Saul's response was classic. "Yeah, because I wanted to bat!!" Not expecting such an answer--we both broke out laughing. "I have only batted one time previously (this season) and that was against (Barry) Zito. I was up to the challenge." Understand, Saul Rivera was just joking. But his comment was very funny.
Finally--Nolan Ryan was in the house tonight. The Hall Of Famer was spotted sitting in the very front row of Presidents Club--in the The Lerner Family Seats.
Tonight's InGame Photo--(AP)Pablo Martinez Monsivais