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


Anonymous said...

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?

No, I didn't know that. Being an 81 game plan holder, I would like to know if I can pick up a yearbook. Gee, maybe the Nats could make an announcement/send an email letting people know!@!! Or is this "list" for diamond club, suite renters or special bloggers?

Chris Needham said...

Jehrime should stick to selling overpriced tickets.

Love the condescension from a team employee. Stan's trained him well.

Anonymous said...

Given that most teams publish their yearbook during spring training, shouldn't they have been available oh, at the pre-season open house?

The problem is that the organization has Jehrime's attitude about all aspects of its operations -- not just the building the team part.

An Briosca Mor said...

As a 20-game plan holder, I don't think I'm entitled to a yearbook. And I'm pretty sure that was spelled out in the STH benefits package that came in the FedEx envelope along with my tickets. So I'm okay with them not telling me that it's time to not come by to not pick up the yearbook that I'm not entitled to.

But I do know that I am entitled to get a ceramic replica of Nationals Park for paying in full for my 20-game plan before the deadline. I do know that I was told last winter that the stadium replicas would be delivered early in the season. And I do know that they have e-mailed me twice already to push back that date, first to "by the end of June" and now to "sometime in July." Well, it's now sometime in July, and no stadium replica. I do know that the delays are because they are making sure that the replicas look exactly like the as-built Nationals Park (Chinese wage slaves are even now hand-sanding off any trace of senatornat's prized giant baseball icon), and I do know that once I do receive the stadium replica it's going to be a cheesy piece of crap anyway. But really, what's the deal with this? Just gimme my cheesy piece of crap already!

Screech's Best Friend said...

Thanks as always for ripping the messenger. Last night, Sohna and I noticed the table set up on The Main Concourse. Questioned whether the team HAD sent out an email advising others. Team Officials said yes. I told them NO--no one had. So--as always we passed along the information to others who might not be aware. Take your complaint up with the team, don't slash it our way---when all Sohna and I are doing is providing info about something few knew. If not of us--you apparently would not know anything about this. Thanks for showing consideration and respect for us caring and doing you a favor by letting you know. We didn't have to inform you of ANYTHING. But we did, as always, sharing.

Anonymous said...

You know SBF, I think I should apologize to you as you do provide valuable information sometimes. I just vented my frustration that should have been aimed directly at the half (donkey) Nationals team relations people.

Anonymous said...

These idiots who work for the Nationals (Kasten included) are going to find out next season just how fed up the small fan base in DC is with this franchise. Their constant pleas for patience while the minors develop is ringing hollow. There isn't even one top notch minor league prospect in the Nats system who is anywhere close to making a contribution at the big league level. Most of the promising names of two years ago have turned into big busts. The sad fact that only 9,000 fans bother to watch the Nats on MASN every night says volumes. It tells me that the 29,000 going to the ball park are either stuck with season tickets or they are going see the new ball park and try out the food. Stan is going to be in for a rude awakening when he tries to peddle season tickets next year. Sadly, Kasten and the Lerners have completely misread this market.

Anonymous said...

A win's a win and big congrats to Jesus Flores on the Pinch-hit HR last night as we know you have been struggling the past few weeks.

I am looking forward to tonight's game as I am hoping we can put another curly W up!!!

I did get the email about the team yearbook and I was lucky it wasn't deleted or ended up in SPAM mail.

To the readers that didn't get it the email came from Season TKT Holder Comments at this email address:

I thank SBF and TAQ again for their thoughtfulness and I am going to DONATE my yearbook to SBF for him to raffle it off to the most deserving Nats Fan on here---so SBF---call me tonight on the cellphone 202-716-xxxx so I can hand-deliver it to you!

Anonymous said...

So if what Jehrime Chadwick says is correct, we only have 13 or 14 more years until we can graduate from high school?

Anonymous said...

The fans have the right to be upset, no disrespect to you all nor Jehrime. The team is awful on the field, a new ballpark just opened, and there's no real light at the end of the tunnel for a good, long time.

We'd all perhaps be whining if the Lerner group spent $100 million on payroll; however, something really, really needs to be about improving this organization or it will suffer over the next few seasons.

Anonymous said...

The D-Backs "Powerful offense?"

Everybody's offense is powerful relative to ours, but I recall the AP report from game 1 of this series saying the dbacks were next worst in offense.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous - If salaries were the key to winning, then the Yankees should be handed the World Series trophy before the year starts.

The Seattle Mariners Opening Day roster this year had a combined salary of $117,993,982 and they are in last place.

The Yankees who outspent everyone is in 3rd place today.

The team that spent 2nd to the bottom called now the "Rays" spent over 20% less than the Nationals and they have been hanging around near 1st place!

The winning will come with more regularity next year, as yes, this year has been a disaster.

A couple of big name free agents will be nice, but I won't count on it.

Here is the behind the scenes why they just can't handle the $100 million in salaries now....

Keep in mind that the Lerner Group paid the most of any MLB team had at the time for a MLB team without a stadium in the deal which is what the new Braves ownership paid last year too at $450 million for an established team!

The Red Sox ownership paid in comparison $380 million but they got ownership of the stadium. Compare that to what Moreno paid for the LA Angels at the bargain price of $184 million in 2003. The big laugher was when the Oakland Athletics
were purchased by Lewis Wolff,
who bought them in 2005 after the season was over for $180 million or $270 million less than what the Lerner Group paid for the Nationals.

Do the math! These other teams can well afford their payrolls as a % of their debt to operating income. The Nationals have to grow it slowly as the Net Incomes reported do not include debt payments on the purchase of the team.

Blame MLB for charging too much for the franchise.

Let's get back to fundamental baseball and see where our team is then and get some positive momentum going.

All this talk about other peoples money is getting old.

SenatorNat said...

Second grade being my favorite year - I spent four years in it!!!!

Lerners were not required to buy team - other groups very happy to have done so: problem they have is they look "frugal"compared to Abe and Ted and especially Danny-Boy. Cannot comment on D.C. United spending, since they only need folks with legs and heads (saves on arms).

Sorry to say that I believe they seemingly don't get it: Stan the Man's comment in Boz column that he is unconcerned about MASN Nats numbers, since they just get a rote check for $25 million is short-sighted from any number of perspectives.

Should Guz go to the Dodgers after All-Star break, that may be another PR setback for sure. Problem is: cannot point to players picked up in trade for Livo, etc. as current contributors - and that has been 3-4 years for development.

Trust in Leave No Nats Behind. All educational.

Anonymous said...

senatornat - You are correct. They didn't need to buy the team but anyone else that believed in the hype drummed up by MLB to push the price up would have spent near that.

My opinion was that the Lerner Group got the team because they bid substantially more than the other groups, but we will never know since it was "sealed bid" so we can go on thinking they got it because their ownership group was "the best fit" lmao.

BTW, everyone in sports but the Yankees look frugal next to Dan's spending but keep in mind the Yankees and Redskins have the Revenues in place to offset their humongous payrolls. I am convinced Dan would spend even more if the "NFL salary cap" wasn't in place.....hmmmmm and keep in mind 3 years ago when Leonsis traded off Jagr and almost all the big salaries and slashed payrolls.

If any of the core gets traded, 100 losses looks like 110 losses or more as we are barely scraping by now as it is to field a team.

Anonymous said...

After all this mess, if the Lerners and Kasten don't show Bowden the door, there is no hope for this franchise.

Steve Walker said...

Always darkest before the dawn - team scrapped and came up short today -- but, the team needs to hit bottom before it can re-build -- and we have.

Take a friend to Nats park, watch tv with them - let's grow the franchise by word of mouth -- if we don't, we won't have one much's up to us fans now!

Anonymous said...

"Thanks as always for ripping the messenger."


I don't see anything that I, Chris, Anon, or ABM said that could conceivably be taken as ripping you, the messenger. We were criticizing the failures of the organization to do what they promised to do, and the lame excuses offered by the organization's employees in response to complaints about those failures.

I appreciate your ability to ferret out these things and let people know about them. You do a hell of a better job of promoting the Nats and getting information to their customers than the Nats do themselves. This is a positive reflection on you, but it's an even more negative reflection on the people who are paid to do that job.

Screech's Best Friend said...

simon oliver lockwood: my comment was directed at anonymous from 8:22AM His statement is fine, until he takes the personal swipe at me "special blogger". There is no excuse for that comment. We noticed something that we were unaware of at the ballpark, wrote about it. Then someone rips me saying I have done something wrong. That's ridiculous. I love everyone's comments and opinion. But I have said many times, the personal insults will not be tolerated here. There is no reason for anyone to be that way toward us.