Sunday, July 20, 2008
Can You Believe This!!
"Can you believe THIS!!" shouted Dave Jageler on The Flagship Radio Station of Our Washington Nationals. Willie Harris had just slammed out a liner of a home run that put Washington up 12-2 over The Atlanta Braves in the bottom of the 4th inning. Driving around this Sunday afternoon running errands in our car--Sohna and I just started laughing. Then came The High Five. A couple driving beside our car started staring at us--wondering what we were up to.
Yeah Dave, we could believe it--because Our Manager Manny Acta had placed in his lineup this Sunday some hungry ballplayers. Professionals looking to either find their way back into the Big Leagues in a meaningful way, or wanting to protect their position on Our Team. And for some reason--FLop also came along for the ride. Maybe The Washington Post should trash him publicly more often--asking for his release?
This one was a laugher, a 15-6 blowout that found Washington winning a series for the first time since sweeping in Seattle last month. And sent Our Nats on a joyful flight across the country to beautiful San Francisco to begin a three game set with The Giants at AT&T Park. You think the beer tastes a little colder on that five hour flight this evening? You believe Our Washington Nationals will be landing in The City By The Bay in good spirits? Yes, they will and they should because did not only Our Number 1 lead the way this afternoon, so did Ryan Langerhans, Austin Kearns and Jesus Flores. Players that might still have futures wearing a home uniform next season at New Nationals Park.
When things go bad and the many injuries get you down--this is the time to find out whether others can lead the way--providing depth--giving hope--taking away from the despair. Who knew that Willie Harris would be such a spark plug? Playing regularly over the past month, this man has shown he is more than just speed. Multi-talented with the drive to hustle on every single play. Like Elijah Dukes--Our Number 1 has proven to be better than advertised. Whether he has a future in Washington is whole other story. But, you can't say Willie Harris is not exciting to watch right now. A journeyman looking to find a new home. No wonder The Baltimore Orioles thought so highly of his talents a few years back.
The same holds true for Ryan Langerhans. Twice to my recollection, Our Number 29 has been passed through waivers by Our General Manager and accepted a outright Minor League Assignment in AAA. He had THE CHOICE to elect Free Agency but WANTED to play here. Langerhans understood there is opportunity--the chance to find yourself again in The Nation's Capital to play Big League Ball. Now--with NO ONE ELSE AVAILABLE--everybody else being injured--Manny Acta had no other choice himself, but to play Our Number 29 in the field. Everyone knows, Langerhans can field--what many have not found out--is whether Ryan can hit consistently. Well, at least after this weekend against his former team, The Braves--Langerhans deserves an extended tryout. He earned it with a stellar three games. No question, I have always had his back--but now Ryan is slowly showing the quality talent he may well possess to others. He can help Our Team, not only now--but in the future--whether as a starter, fourth outfielder or late inning replacement. Good for him. Ryan Langerhans is taking advantage of opportunity arisen.
The chance to resurrect his career which Austin Kearns has quickly done since returning from elbow surgery. Hitting for power, driving pitches the other way, playing the game right--Our Number 25 looks like a completely different ballplayer. The type of talent many saw early in his injured, but productive years in Cincinnati. Today, five runs scored, three hits and a two run homer. Since returning on July 3rd--Kearns has hit safely in 10 of 13 games, had five multi-hit games, driven in 11 runs and batted a robust .329. Our Number 25 playing for more than just pride--Austin Kearns is playing for his future--maybe ours as well.
The "Wait 'Til Next Year" that Jesus Flores decided on his own--NOW WAS THE TIME. Our Number 3 must have been mighty pissed that he was sat down for the first two games after The All Star Break in Atlanta. Today--Jesus showed his worth--once again--with a 5 for 6 day, two runs scored, two runs batted in. This after pinch hitting an RBI single earlier in this series against The Braves. Yeah, I understand that JimBo is trying to showcase Johnny Estrada, but does it really matter? Estrada's contract is minimal--whatever he returns in any potential trade will, most likely, not be much. Please, let's not stunt Jesus Flores' education, just to get a Low Grade Minor League Prospect that will end up being filler for Our Minor League Teams. No one is going to give up anything worthwhile for Johnny Estrada straight up. If he returns anything, it will come in a package deal. Let Jesus Flores play and if Our Number 3 sits after August 1st with Estrada and Paul LoDuca on the roster--we then have a problem.
As for Felipe Lopez's 3 for 4, three RBI day this afternoon. It's about time. One day does make up for nearly 2/3rds of his season wasted by a talented individual that many time shows little passion for the game. FLop is the most confusing player for Our Washington Nationals. Our Number 2 could be so good--yet many times--does not seem to care. Sadly.
2008 has been a frustrating season for Our Washington Nationals and Our Fans, but some individual performances by some may turn out to be invaluable for 2009 and beyond. There is some light at the end of that dark tunnel--believe it or not.
So Yeah Dave--"I Can Believe This"--when players that WANT TO BE THERE are performing on the field of play. Good call by the way on the radio.
Final Score--Our Washington Nationals 15 (The Most Runs Scored Since Baseball's Return to Washington), The Atlanta Braves 6. "HotLanta" turned DC's Way this weekend. If Austin Kearns' drive to right that became the final out of Game One on Friday Night--had fallen in--we would be talking SWEEP.
Curly "W" Number 38 providing a Fun Flight across the country for Our Manager Manny Acta's Team tonight--thanks to Players That Care. Professionals who are hungry--leading they way. Not giving up--when others may have lost sight or focus. Could they possibly remain hot still--in the Coldest Summer City In America on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday--in San Francisco, California? How I wish that Sohna and I could be there. We LOVE SAN FRANCISCO.
And we still Love Our Washington Nationals for all the good, the bad and the ugly they can provide. The African Queen and I are still onboard for the ride. Besides, Charlie and Dave always make it fun listening--not matter the final score. Believe That!!
Game Notes & Highlights
Odalis Perez was terrible today. Good thing Our Washington Nationals staked him to a large lead. Our Number 45 didn't deserve the win today. But what comes around, goes around in Baseball. Perez did earn his 3rd win of 2008. I would rather see someone else on the mound every fifth day--honestly.
As Mark Teixeira stepped to the plate in the bottom of the second inning for Atlanta--Sohna asked me about this slugger that Charlie & Dave mentioned On Air--being a Baltimore Native. Not long after describing his gold glove talents at first base and his prodigious slugging power--Mark Slammed Out his 19th Homer of 2008. When Teixeira hammered out Number 20 off "The Human Rain Delay" in the 9th--I told The African Queen that this man is a FREE AGENT after this season. Only 28 years old--he would be an intriguing possible buy in the upcoming off season market--if Our Washington Nationals decided to actually go in that direction. Sohna found that possibility interesting--despite how much we both like Nick Johnson.
Finally, The Atlanta Braves Manager Bobby Cox got ejected today for the sixth time this season. Cox is The Career Leader in being tossed from games. I would love to see Our Manager Manny Acta protect his players a little more as well--when the game gets a little out of line. No, Our Number 14 doesn't have to run out there and blister someone at the drop of every baseball or bad call and get ejected--that can be stupid. But, there are opportune times when his presence means more to his players than he may realize. He needs to have their backs.
PS--I just love this picture by The Associated Press Photographer John Bazemore. Great Action Shot of Jesus Flores being tossed out at home plate. Corky Miller recording the out with flair. Award winning possibility in my humble opinion.
Today's InGame Photos--(AP) John Bazemore