Tuesday, June 24, 2008
The Sad News
This day began sadly with the news that Nick Johnson was officially done for the season for Our Washington Nationals. That man never gets any good breaks.
Sadness which continued throughout the top half of the first inning tonight against The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Five hits and one walk allowed by Shawn Hill. Two crucial errors behind him defensively. Even the odd sight of Our Starting Left Fielder, Paul LoDuca, being replaced due to dehydration. The result six runs before most everyone in the announced crowd of 28.531 had settled in.
Game Start 7:10PM. Game Over 7:35PM. That's pretty sad. And considering the picture above of Randy St. Claire and Shawn Hill--this game must have stunk too.
Yeah, Our Washington Nationals made a slight comeback. Wily Mo Pena actually hit one out!!--for the second time this season. So did Elijah Dukes--his third. In fact, after Kory Casto pinch hit and knocked in Ronnie Belliard for run number three for Washington in the 5th--there was a glimmer of hope. Down by five with two runners on--Dukes was again at the plate--looking to get Our Washington Nationals back into this affair.
Sadly--Our Number 34 struck out swinging. Ball Game Officially Over.
This one had little flair. An early lead, never truly threatened. The Angels controlling this one from the very start to the very meek ending. Final Score from quiet but comfortably wonderful New Nationals Park--The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 8 and Our Washington Nationals 3.
Washington, losers of four straight, now sitting 19 games below .500 at 30 wins and 49 losses.
When will Charlie be able to proclaim: "Another Curly 'W' is in the books!!"? Hopefully soon. Otherwise that might be the saddest thought this day.
We Need A Win.
Game Notes & Highlights
Sohna and I love Nick Johnson. We believe he is not only a fine professional baseball player, but a decent person. Our Number 24 is the type of man you cheer for. That's way the news that NJ would again miss the remainder of a baseball season got this Tuesday off to a disappointing start. Nick Johnson deserves so much better for his efforts. Never does that man give up on the field of play. It's how he got injured in late 2006 during his violent collision with Austin Kearns. And it's how he got injured swinging at a pitch, back on May 13--late in another game well out of reach. A torn tendon in his wrist. Ironically--both season ending injuries occurred at Shea Stadium in New York. Thankfully, Johnson will never have to play another game in that ballpark. The Mets open Citi Field in 2009. You have to feel for the guy. Sometimes it's about more than the game. Personally, this latest setback has got to bother him--more than anything. It's just so unbelievable. It really is.
As mind boggling as Shawn Hill in the first inning tonight on South Capitol Street. Our Number 41 had no zip on his pitches. Batting practice early on for The Angels. And when Mike Napoli took Shawn deep on a full count in the top of the third for a two run opposite field homer to right --Hill's reaction to the Home Run said it all. He knew it was going out. He still looked at the ball's flight--all the way to seats. Then, he dejectedly dropped his left hand--his glove hand--and slowly lowered his chin to his chest. Turning to get a fresh ball from Home Plate Umpire Rob Drake, Shawn Hill knew he had been whipped, again. Like Chad Cordero earlier this season with his shoulder--you have to wonder if Our Number 41 has completely changed his mechanics to compensate for his lingering pain.
That man is not pitching anywhere near his talent level. Shawn Hill is not right. Please, let's get better, before we ruin his career. Something is badly wrong. And you know--he is one of my favorites.
If there was a bright spot, Our Bullpen actually pitched six solid shutout innings after Hill was lifted for a pinch hitter. Steven Shell, Jesus Colome, Joel Hanrahan and Charlie Manning finishing this one off.
Finally--my pet peeve of not only this game--but most every home game this season. Why is that someone like Pete Orr can run hard, both on and off the field of play--before and after every half inning? But, most every other player for Our Washington Nationals loafs. Nothing beats Lastings Milledge and sometimes Dukes WALKING off the field of play. Many times back on to it. Monday night, they took their sweet time one inning--so slowly--Willie Harris stood there the entire time Our Pitcher was warming up with a baseball--waiting to throw to someone. He never did. Milledge & Dukes did it again tonight with Wily Mo Pena.
Harris hustles, "The Guz" hustles. Ryan Zimmerman and Nick Johnson always make the effort. Now it seems, many others do not. Our Team is struggling. Washington is not winning many games right now. But, how difficult is it to--at least for show--act like you care?
Please--players for Our Washington Nationals--run off and on the field of play. Look like a real ballplayer and act proud--whether you feel like it or not. The fact I have to write this--is pretty sad news in itself.
Nick Johnson Photo--Getty Images, Drew Hallowell
St.Claire, Hill Photo--(AP) Nick Wass