Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Simply A Good Win
Once again, John Lannan was pitching a solid game. Once again, his teammates were providing minimal offensive support. And when Our Number 31 walked off the mound after six quality innings of work--his slim 1-0 lead was not guaranteed to hold up. In his last eight appearances--John Lannan had received little help. Five losses and three no decisions added to his personal record since his last victory on May 18th against The Baltimore Orioles.
Tonight, finally, a different outcome. Thanks to timely hitting, solid defense and a stellar relief effort. Words usually not associated with Our Washington Nationals this year. Against The Arizona Diamondbacks this evening--25,862 were treated to one of Washington's finest games of 2008. From start through finish, The Snakes were held well under wrap. They never uncoiled. No rallies, no consecutive hits. No bite and no venom from The Boys from Phoenix.
Thanks to Kory Casto--getting an extended look in left field--knocking in the first run of the evening on a bases loaded walk to score Dmitri Young and following that run batted in with a drive over The Diamondbacks' Emilio Bonifacio's head in right in the bottom of the sixth to score Young again with the second run of the game for Washington.
Thanks to Jesus Flores, continuing to grow up, improve and become one fine power threat at the plate. Not in the starting lineup, Our Manager Manny Acta sent Our Number 3 up to the plate immediately after Casto's double to pinch hit for Lannan. Flores, facing Arizona righthander Conner Robertson got down early in the count. 0-2 before he fought off and fouled off a strike three slider, took a pitch off the plate in the dirt and then proceeded to SMASH a Robertson fastball deep over the left field wall into The Diamondbacks Bullpen for the game distancing three run homer.
Thanks to Our Washington Nationals infield defense. Four Double Plays turned by Washington, killing any potential rally by Arizona.
And Thanks to Joel Hanrahan, Luis Ayala and Big Jon Rauch having Lannan's back tonight. Three shutout innings of baseball by Our Bullpen adding to Our Number 31's stellar effort.
There might not have been a more pedestrian win all season long. How strange to see Our Entire Team slowly trot out to the center of the field after the conclusion to congratulate each other on a 5-0 victory. Seemingly, every single win by Our Washington Nationals on South Capitol Street has come in their last At-Bat. Tonight, there were no late theatrics. No nail biting worries about a late game collapse.
Simply A Good Win.
If 2008 is about youth--The Bang!! Zoom!! of The Fireworks!! signaled that John Lannan and Jesus Flores are a big part of Our Washington Nationals Future. Keepers, talent that could play in The Nation's Capital for years to come. And that Kory Casto may yet have a Major League Future after all--if given the opportunity.
Curly "W" Number 35 ended a six game losing streak for Our Washington Nationals. Halted a personal five game skid by John Lannan--while winning his fifth of the season. And, at least for one night showed, all might not be lost in 2008. There is some talent on Our Roster. Our Team can play team ball. It's just that Our Youth is Our Future. And that's going to take some patience.
Final Score from New Nationals Park, where the skies threatened all night long to rain, but never poured--Our Washington Nationals 5 and The Arizona Diamondbacks 0.
A Shutout--Team Style.
Game Notes & Highlights
John Lannan lowered his ERA to 3.40 while gaining his 5th Win of 2008. His poise on the mound is quite remarkable for a young kid. Tonight, just two hits allowed, although he gave up three walks. Thankfully, 3 double plays fielded behind him solved all those free passes.
Joel Hanrahan, Luis Ayala and Big Jon Rauch provided three solid innings of relief work tonight. Hanrahan was helped in the 7th by Felipe Lopez snaring a liner off the bat of Mark Reynolds and firing immediately to Dmitri Young at first base for an inning ending double play (the last of four for Washington this game). Ayala maybe pitched his most solid inning over the past month. A 17 Pitch Frame where Our Number 56 struckout two and was never not in control. "The Wookie" retired the side in order in the 9th to close things out.
Over the first two games of this three game set--The Snakes have only managed 7 total hits--their powerful offense being shutdown by Washington. Their only two runs scored--in game one--were unearned. Our pitching has been mighty solid. Too bad our bats had been silent of late--until tonight.
Arizona Diamondbacks' Starter Micah Owings hit three different batters, two in the same inning. Generously, Home Plate Umpire Chad Fairchild did not call two more. In fact, Ownings almost hit Paul LoDuca during all three of his plate appearances against Micah during the game. The incredulous look on Our Number 16's face each At-Bat, priceless. Was LoDuca ever pissed.
Dmitri Young had two more hits tonight, raising his average to .290. Hot of late, Our Number 21 now needs to start showing some power at the plate. Our Washington Nationals need someone to jack the ball more often, something Jesus Flores is learning to do in clutch situations. Playing leftfield, Casto provided two hits, two rbi, one walk, one stolen base and some solid play in left field. Better than Wily Mo Pena, just stick Our Number 5 out there and see what he can do over time. What do we have to lose?
Did you know that Season Ticket Holders for Our Washington Nationals who have Ticket Plans which include a Free 2008 Team Yearbook, can now pick up the collectible at New Nationals Park? Before each upcoming home game and continuing through the first few innings, those entitled to the Yearbook can pick up their copy on The Main Concourse, behind home plate--near The Washington Suites Entrance--across from the Elevator Lobby. Staff is on hand with a list containing the names of all those who can pick up their copy. Just show an I.D, sign for your Yearbook and enjoy.
For those that use a taxi to get home from New Nationals Park, the taxi stand has been moved to South Capitol Street, right outside the third base, media and suites gate--located near Potomac Ave. SE.
Before tonight's game, Sohna and were talking with Jehrime Chadwick--Season Ticket Account Executive for Our Washington Nationals. On this occasion all three of us were discussing some of the dissatisfaction mentioned online and in other forms of media over the past few days concerning the play of Our Team in 2008. Jehrime's fabulous response: "People need to realize, you can't graduate from High School when you are four years old. It's going to take time to grow up and mature. People need to be patient." The African Queen and I loved his remark and just wanted to share it.
Finally, at noon today, Joel Hanrahan posted up with Radio Broadcaster Charlie Slowes at The ESPN Zone in Downtown Washington, DC for the monthly lunchtime meet and greet. Much more coming on this event over the next few days, but I wanted to share a comment Our Number 38 mentioned concerning The National Anthem at New Nationals Park. "We need to find a way to end the shouting of 'O' during the song, " said Hanrahan. "I really believe everyone should just respect the Anthem--without intervention." His remark got a huge cheer from those on hand at The ESPN Zone.
Tonight's InGame Photos--(AP) Nick Wass
All other photos--Nats320