Saturday, June 07, 2008
Trying To Understand
Sorry, I just don't get it.
For the second consecutive night--Our Manager Manny Acta allowed one of Our Pitchers to remain on the mound in trouble--with not a single person warming up in the bullpen.
Manny--My Friend--you know I love ya. But, Friday night you left Jason Bergmann in the game FAR TOO LONG. Our Number 57 HAD NOTHING GOING FOR HIM. Sorry, but it is true. And despite your "Hombre A Hombre" discussion (to put it mildly) with Jason--all was lost a few minutes later when Bergmann was taken deep by The San Francisco Giants Jose Castillo. Reminder--at no time was ONE SINGLE RELIEVER up and warming in Our Bullpen--until Our Washington Nationals were down and out 8-0.
That was LAST NIGHT (I almost want to Pronounce that like the P.A. Guy at New Nationals Park whose voice I LOVE and always get a kick out of his "LAST NIGHT" routine just before Our Washington Nationals take the field of play before each game. He's good by the way).
Fast Forward to "TONIGHT".
With nothing but Zeros on the board between the same two teams--Shawn Hill begins to tire in the 8th inning. Who could possibly blame him on as a muggy and humid a night that Washington, DC is famous for. No--Our Number 41 had not been stellar--but he had kept Washington in the game once again. And what a surprise--on this hot night--Our Offense was ICE COLD--giving Hill no relief.
Help which totally failed with one out in the 8th--when Last Night's Giants' Hero--Jose Castillo--singled up the middle. Randy Winn then followed with an opposite field liner down the left field line. A resultant double that found Wily Mo Pena trotting (NOT RUNNING BY THE WAY) to pick up the carom into short left field. A baseball that ricocheted off the inset seats behind third base. San Francisco runners now standing on 2nd and 3rd with one out.
OK, My Friend--Our Washington Nationals are now "OFFICIALLY" in trouble. Luis Ayala is warming up in the bullpen. You do the right thing--and make a double switch. After consulting with Home Plate Umpire Brian Runge you take Hill and FLop out of the game--replacing them with Our Number 56 & Willie Harris.
Manny--those are understandable and good moves. Luis has been sharp of late. Felipe Lopez not so. You need to keep the game close--as you are not sure Our Washington Nationals can plate even one run.
Of course Ayala trotting out wearing a Curly "W" Cap while the REST OF OUR TEAM is wearing the "DC" Version--should have sent off the alarm bells right away. Red "DC" Jersey--Red Curly "W" Cap--do not match. Being superstitious--I was wondering if this bad omen crossed your mind? Just curious by the way.
Anyway, as solid as this mound appearance appeared on paper--the physical capabilities of Our Number 56 were not up to stuff. Luis Ayala may well have one wicked slider, but the only wicked movement anyone witnessed at New Nationals Park in this decisive inning of the game--was the vicious lightning bolts--threatening all night--now moving over the field of play. The Skies were getting rough. Ayala was about to get ROUGHED UP.
There were some serious Bang!! Zoom!! of The Fireworks!! coming but this natural phenomena had nothing to do with "Another Curly W In The Books!!"
The Resultant Game Changing Half Inning:
Single by Bengie Molina to left--scoring Castillo. 1-0, San Francisco.
Ray Durham Walk. Bases Loaded. Still One Out.
Rich Aurilia single to center scoring Winn. 2-0 San Francisco. Bases Still Loaded.
John Bowker GRAND SLAM over the right centerfield scoreboard wall. 6-0, San Francisco. (Bowker must have felt like Robert Redford in "The Natural". The Lightning Bolt flashed at the appropriate time over New Nationals Park during this key At-Bat. Although this time--in real life--the home run did not break the light towers--sending the ballpark into darkness. If it had--you would have known The Baseballs Gods were at work and having fun).
Manny--Luis Ayala entered this scoreless game at 8:58PM.
Manny--Luis Ayala had lost this game at 9:07PM.
Everyone has a bad day--it's understandable and expected. But why in the world--for two consecutive days--you had NOT ONE SINGLE PITCHER WARMING UP IN YOUR BULLPEN? Not a sole at the very--MOST CRUCIAL--portion of each game?
Like I said: I don't get that?
Understanding Our Bullpen has been overworked. Understanding that Ayala, Saul Rivera & Big Jon Rauch can't pitch each and every day. Understanding you are trying to illicit trust in your players on the field. And Understanding Our Offense is lucky to cobble together a few runs most any game right now--there comes a time when YOU simply HAVE TO UNDERSTAND--PULL YOUR PITCHER.
We might not have been able to come back from even a One-Zip deficit this evening. But the fact you left Luis Ayala in the game--well after everyone in the park knew he was through--gave us ZERO CHANCE TO WIN--in a close ball game.
The Players Play and their Abilities most always decide the outcome. But please remember--Your Ability to maneuver those chess pieces--known as Major League Baseball Players--is a trusted right of yours to play. You know I love ya--but I just do not agree with your bullpen usage over the past two games.
Final Score from Humid, Hot--then Lightening filled New Nationals Park--The San Francisco Giants Six and Our Washington Nationals Zero--Zip--Nada.
Game Notes & Highlights
How many times have I written this before? Shawn Hill pitched well enough to earn a victory. Playing for Our Washington Nationals only got him his third loss of the season. In control most of the night--Our Number 41 left the mound in a tie game and has produced a 2.30 ERA in four starts at New Nationals Park.
Hill along with his San Francisco counterpart--Jonathan Sanchez matched up inning for inning during this contest. Neither getting an advantage until the 8th. Eventually, Sanchez finished with seven strong innings. And like Hill, lets batters hit the ball. For these two guys--it's about getting outs--not about getting strike outs.
Washington had zero offense tonight. And if Our General Manager is going to release Rob Mackowiak for his poor spring--how much closer is Wily Mo Pena to the scrape heap? Sorry, but Wily Mo is not helping. And I doubt he ever will--consistently.
Our Washington Nationals did announce Signature Sunday will resume again for tomorrow's 1:35PM Start against The Giants. But, as the picture clearly shows--the nice detail given for the first such signing session was not offered tonight by Our Washington Nationals. Knowing many are interested, I am sorry to say--only that the event will take place--but not who, when or where Our Players will be standing at New Nationals Park. Too bad.
Author and Long Time Journalist with The Washington Post--John Feinstein was at New Nationals Park signing his new book--"Living On The Black" A retrospective of Mike Mussina's & Tommy Glavine's 2007 seasons playing for The New York Yankees and New York Mets--respectively. Feinstein stopped by The Stars & Stripes Club during the 6th, 7th & 8th innings. Throughout tonight's game--he signed autographs around the ballpark.
Finally, my guess is that "Teddy" must have been hit by one of those errant lightning bolts this evening and brainstormed a way to win The Geico Presidents Race. After GW, Tom & Abe had run out of the centerfield gate--"Teddy" zoomed out on a motor scooter and easily distanced the field to WIN!! By Cheating!! My Best Friend!! Screech!! disqualifying Our Lovable Loser for using a mechanical device. Teddy Roosevelt now having lost 153 Consecutive Live President Races. Actually the sight of "Teddy" bending over at the waist in disappointment of being disqualified--was quite the sight. Well done.
Tonight's InGame Photos--(AP) Lawrence Jackson
All other photos--Nats320--All Rights Reserved