Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Why?


How could you leave him in the game? He didn't have it. Everyone knew it from the first inning on. Now, Tim Redding was in a big jam--thanks to his own doing--in a one run game in the top of the fifth. And no one was warming up in Our Washington Nationals Bullpen. No One.

A hot, steamy night. A starting pitcher laboring. The humidity effect certainly a factor. Washington having lost seven straight ball games. This was not the night to attempt to get your hurler through the required five innings just to register for a possible win. This was an evening to come out on top in a close ball game. A Winnable Affair that got out of hand--in a space of five batters. All of about 10 minutes in real time.

Tim Redding had just committed The Cardinal Sin in a 3-2 game. Our Number 17 walked the opposing pitcher for The Philadelphia Phillies. A 45 Year Old Starter that was ATTEMPTING to give himself up. Instead of sacrificing his teammate Carlos Ruiz to second base on a bunt--Jamie Moyer walked on five pitches, thanks to Redding's inability to locate his pitches. Tim's inconsistency should have sent up a red flag. A warning that Our Washington Nationals were about to be trounced.

Instead, with the Reigning National League MVP Jimmy Rollins stepping to the plate, the pesky Shane Victorino to follow him and the always dangerous Chase Utley in the hole--no one from Washington's Dugout came out to speak to Redding--until after Rollins had tied the the game at three--with a double to the gap in right--scoring Ruiz. Clearly, Our Number 17 did not have it. Finally, when Our Pitching Coach Randy St. Claire did run out to the mound to check on Redding--the Go Ahead Run now stood on third in Moyer, with an insurance run on second in Rollins. And the heart of Philadelphia's Order scheduled next.

Mr. St.Claire's visit was too little, too late as Our Washington Nationals still had no one warming up in the bullpen.

Why?

A good contact switch hitter like Victorino is going to pounce on a struggling pitcher. And the heart of The Philadelphia Lineup is going to make these matters worse. With the slugging Utley waiting and the powerful Ryan Howard to follow--is this NOT THE TIME for Charlie Manning to be warming up in the pen? Our only lefthander reliever to turn Victorino around and pitch our strength to the lefthanded hitting strength of Utley and Howard?

Surprisingly, Washington made no countermove. Two Batters Later--This Game Was Over.

Shane Victorino singled in the 4th and 5th runs for Philadelphia and Chase Utley ended this affair with a NO DOUBT Two Run Shot off Tim Redding. A Five Run Inning resulted, all with No Outs for Philadelphia, and only then was someone warming up in Our Washington Nationals Bullpen.

Why did Our Washington Nationals keep Tim Redding in this game--for far too long? Why did Our Manager Manny Acta not trust his bullpen? Why were no moves made until AFTER Philadelphia's Big Inning had mostly erupted? Why did we not give ourselves The Very Best Chance To Win?

Our Friend Andrew and I must have discussed this throughout the remainder of the 5th and on into the 6th inning. We didn't quite understand the non-moves. Our Washington Nationals had nothing to lose, only to gain. Why not take every chance to stop the losing streak?

Really, Why?

Instead, all that resulted was Our Washington Nationals 8th Straight Defeat. Our Team now 31 Games below .500. Final Score from sultry New Nationals Park--The Philadelphia Phillies 8 and Our Washington Nationals 5--in disappointing style.

Really, this game was WINNABLE, instead it became loss number 69 of 2008.

Game Notes & Highlights

As well as Tim Redding has pitched most all season--tonight was simply not his night. Of course he couldn't have picked a worse time to stumble--less than 24 Hours from the Non-Waiver Deadline for trades. There may not be much interest for Our Number 17 anyway, but this outing certainly didn't help matters either.

Reliever Steven Shell had pitched 15 consecutive scoreless innings of relief--until Shane Victorino took him deep and over the right field wall for a home run in the 7th inning.

Another good crowd this Wednesday Evening at New Nationals Park--31,798.

In the game deciding fifth inning for Philadelphia, The Phillies Pat Burrell hammered a grounder just to the left of Ryan Zimmerman at third base. "Z" dove to his left, scooped the baseball, righted himself and threw out the not so fast running Burrell for what would have been The Defensive Play of This Game, if not for the fact that Burrell made a great effort of his own--when he retrieved a Jesus Flores drive over his head and off the left field wall in bottom of the sixth. With Our Number 3 not being the swiftest of runners either--Burrell flawlessly picked up the carom and fired a perfect strike to Chase Utley at second base to easily retire Flores for The Defensive Play of This Game. Replays actually showed that Utley MIGHT have missed the tag. But Jesus was so far away from the bag when the baseball arrived--there are very few umpires that are not going to give the defensive team the call on that neighborhood play.

Sohna and I started laughing when Willie Harris led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run over the right centerfield wall. A blast off Jamie Moyer which was the first Lead Off Homer for a member of Our Washington Nationals since Felipe Lopez did the trick on May 8th, 2007 at Milwaukee's Miller Park. Delighted we were to look over to our left to see Our General Manager Jim Bowden, in his private box, immediately start typing something on his blackberry. An effort that became more furious after Austin Kearns doubled to left and Jesus Flores followed with his 7th Home Run of the season. A two run shot to left that put Washington up 3-2 early. We were chuckling--wondering out loud--if JimBo was sending emails to other GM's around The Majors stating--"See, we can score some runs. Harris is a perfect leadoff hitter--You need him?" "How about that "Bluegrass" doing great since returning from surgery? Let's make a deal?" Having no idea what Jim Bowden was actually doing, it was fun to think about what he MIGHT BE WRITING.

And for the record--45 Year Old Jamie Moyer can not only still pitch, but bunt. Everyone else should be able to also. Moyer is quite amazing to watch throw. Everyone knows he can barely break a pane of glass with his fastball. Everyone knows he depends on his slop pitches. And many players today, still can not hit him. Remarkable how durable and good Jamie Moyer is still today. Makes me feel good that he is only three years younger than me.

Abe won The 4th Inning Presidents Race tonight. Teddy again led early, but was no match for his fellow "Rushmores" as the foursome turned the corner at the right field foul line toward the first base dugout. At least tonight--no odd animals jumped out to tackle, punch, kick or trip up Our Lovable Loser, winless in 172 Live Presidents Races since 2006.


Before the game--Sohna and I headed over to The Main Concourse, near The Washington Suites, to pick up The Season Ticket Holder Ceramic Replica of New Nationals Park. Available to those fans who paid for their accounts in full by The December 15th, 2007 Deadline--today was the very first game the gift could be picked up--by showing a proper ID. There are many more dates over the course of the next few weeks, where qualified season ticket holders can pick up their Stadium Replica.


Sohna and I found the Replica to be OK. Nothing that says "WOW". The detail not the best. But, it's free, different and we were happy to pick ours up.


Finally, before tonight's game and leading all the way up to The National Anthem--nearly the entire bullpen for Our Washington Nationals stood down the right field line, at the first row of seats and signed autographs for a good 15 minutes. Later, after warming up Austin Kearns was joined by Ryan Langerhans to sign autographs for fans near Washington's Dugout. Nothing officially announced, just something that happened. Good for the players to spend some unscheduled time with Our Fans. Stuff like that is always appreciated.

Tonight's InGame Photos (AP)--Charles Dharapak
All Other Photos--Nats320, All Rights Reserved

16 comments:

Yazzy 1956 said...

I spent over a 1/2 hour + in the replica stadium line last night only to find out that I hadn't paid in full by Dec. 15. Then I spent another 1/2 hour in another line to get my yearbook. So I missed about 3-4 innings of the game.

Of course the geniuses that ran both these operations didn't have signs telling folks that the line on the left was for those with last names from A-L and the other for M-Z. So a whole bunch of people had to get out of line and go to the back of the proper one.

Aside from the fact that as season's ticketholders we have to pay premium prices to see the worst team in the major leagues, one might expect the people that run the team might actually bend over backwards on the customer service end. I have spent over $100,000 in the last four years on tickets, food, parking, team merchandise, etc. and I can't even get a $10 stadium replica or my season't ticket rep to call or e-mail me back in response to a ticket exchange problem I have.

The Nats are bush league on the field AND in the management. I know a lot of people, me included, who are thinking of not renewing our tickets. When they start losing people like me who have had tickets since Day 1 in 2005, maybe Kasten will start paying attention to taking care of his core customers. Thanks for the opportunity to vent!

Andrew said...

"Why?". Great title for this thread. Manny Acta wanted to get Tim Redding through 5 innings to be in line for a "W" and take a chance for a "L".

To see this one slip away was sad!

To see the positives of the game overshadowed by Inning #5 is a shame.

I got to the stadium at 4:30 for Wednesday's game as I took a special friend who is a policeman from Tennessee who claims the title of "Greatest Nats fan". It was his 31st birthday Tuesday so I surpised him with a field pass. Many of the Nats know me but they went through their hacks in BP and left the field quickly. They normally hang around the cage and acknowledge people on the field. This losing streak & trade deadline was taking it's toll. The only player that came over was Lastings Milledge who gave Sgt. Halliburton his batting gloves as a birthday present. Thanks Lastings!

When the Phillies took BP Chase Utley said "hi" to everyone on the field and Ryan Howard to my surprise posed for pictures and signed autographs for anyone on the field that wanted his autograph. The Phillies were not tense as they had that edge of Positive Mental Attitude.

It was great to see Ryan Langerhans and Austin Kearns jump out of the dugout before the game and sign autographs!

While watching the players sign autographs, Sgt. Halliburton told me a disturbing story with Paul LoDuca that probably won't translate well in writing and I had him retell the story later to SBF, TAQ, and about his trip to Miami earlier this year to see our Nats vs. Marlins in an empty stadium. He took his young son and all the players were great and signed his son's baseball. Mind you, nobody is there in Curly "W" caps and when he asked Paul LoDuca for a sig LoDuca totally blew him off and just wasn't nice about it.

SBF recalled his Estrada encounter in Spring Training and it seems that either Paul LoDuca was having a bad day or that is his normal demeanor and I just hope he was having a bad day.

I remember how Stan Kasten talked pre-season about how "fan friendly" the players would be and I guess Estrada, LoDuca, and Jon Rauch missed that speech. Lastings Milledge leads the team in community appearances which is great for this 23 year old and I think many others have also enjoyed seeing the fans.

If we can't win, let's at least make the fan experience as pleasant as possible and add as many positive suprises as we can so the Stadium stays as full as possible.

Yep. "Why?".

JayB said...

I had a good time last night, nice to see some hitting at last. My Philly fans were fine around me….in fact they seemed to feel bad for us.

Did you see Milledge's throw home from very short CF? I was so weak it hit a very surprised Lo Duca in the feet. He was standing well in front of the Mound. Any MLB level kind of throw had the runner, but Philly did the scouting work to know, Lastings has a very very poor arm. Not only weak but just plan bad.......If Jimbo had the chance to trade him today for the value (not the players but value to a team but youth in return) we gave up to get him, would you make the deal? I sure would, I do not think he can even play LF anymore based arm this year.

Brandon said...

Really, my moment from the game was the lonley Phillie fan on the Kiss Cam. That was probably the best coordination from the Nats' media staff we've seen.

Also, Willie Harris was just a single away from the cycle, did the crowd cheer him on, or leave after the 8th like me?

Anonymous said...

I sat near the Nats bullpen last night, and said to myself immediately after Redding walked Moyer "That it's time to warm-up guys". Well by the time I heard the ball popping in the glove in the bullpen below me, Utley was walking towards the batter's box. Too late, home run, game over. I then headed for the exits in disgust.

JayB said...

Lonely Kiss Cam guy was a Nationals employee. I was at the top of the section when he ran off with his Radio buzzing from his boss asking what he was doing.

Just a perfect little sub plot to the current mess that is the Nats.

An Briosca Mor said...

Lonely Kiss Cam guy was a Nationals employee. I was at the top of the section when he ran off with his Radio buzzing from his boss asking what he was doing.

Just a perfect little sub plot to the current mess that is the Nats.


JayB, you need to start taking some anti-cynicism pills. So the lonely Phillies fan was a set-up, an act, a little playlet amidst the game. (I suspected as much myself, after the guy disappeared from the otherwise empty section immediately afterward.) But so what? The Nats pulled it off, it was at least semi-believable, and it stuck it to the opposing team's fans who were filling our house (albeit behaving much more politely than usual). That's not "part of the current mess that is the Nats". It's a good thing, something they did right for a change. Why can't you see that?

Anonymous said...

Nothing seems to work right at games for the Nationals. When the starters pitch well the team provides no offense. When the Nationals hit they don't pitch well.

As for the running services for fans, giveaways and tickets I gave them the first three years to get it together which they never did. Now they blame it on being in a new stadium.

They should learn you can only have a bad product on and off the field so long before people stop coming. The build it and they will come scenario only works a short while ask Pittsburg and Baltimore.

An Briosca Mor said...

Also, Willie Harris was just a single away from the cycle, did the crowd cheer him on, or leave after the 8th like me?

The cycle ended up not being an issue last night, because for some reason Harris's second hit was scored as a double even though he ended up on third, beating the throw by only a step or two. Not sure why that ruling was made. Did the right fielder bobble the ball or something before making the throw?

JayB said...

As usual ABM you have not idea what you are talking about. I was there, he had no idea, it was not a set up.

An Briosca Mor said...

As usual ABM you have not idea what you are talking about. I was there, he had no idea, it was not a set up.

Okay. So you're saying a Nationals employee decided to put on a Phillies cap, sit smack in the middle of an otherwise empty section and get absorbed in his BlackBerry or whatever with a gloomy expression on his face, only to get called out for all to see on the KissCam. If that's how it really went down, I can buy that. So, set up or not, it was a funny bit that served its purpose. I still fail to see how you can classify that as "part of the current mess that is the Nats." Care to explain?

Oh, never mind. You'll just say I have no clue what I'm talking about anyway.

brandon said...

Jesus, you two.

On a freaking positive note, at least they've installed lots of big TVs for those poor folks in the 130 sections.

Who knows when that'll be completed, but it's nice to see they're not being skimpy on the size of them. Or the number, for that matter. It's like 5 TVs to a section, I thought 3 would suffice.

There's also some hanging bats and balls near the elevators near 1st base.

I think the conclusion from the entire season so far is that the Lerners are more concerned about the stadium than the team. Let's hope they decide to switch gears at some point.

An Briosca Mor said...

I think the conclusion from the entire season so far is that the Lerners are more concerned about the stadium than the team. Let's hope they decide to switch gears at some point.

You'll know that time is getting near when the signs start to sprout on the field saying Future Player Location.

Anonymous said...

Good news bad news.

Good news is Griffey probably won't be in the lineup against us this weekend.

Bad news is the Griffey faithful will stay home because he probably won't be in the lineup against us this weekend.

Any Nats trades on the wire this afternoon?

SenatorNat said...

The Nats 2008 version most dispirited Senators-Nationals team that I have ever witnessed, and I followed team fairly closely from 1960 (last year of Old Senators) through 1971. Suppose one could liken the team to 1963 under Mickey Vernon, but even that team had Jimmy Piersall and Don Lock, Eddie Brinkman as a rookie. This squad is: DTW (Dead Team Walking).

Interesting juxtaposition: fans are coming anyway and enjoying the new park, and (as said) even the Phillies fans were good guests last night. It is the team's management, its manager, and its players who are acting disgruntled - the fans are generally friendly to one another, appreciative of the park, The Nationals (uniforms; radio announcers, etc.), and patient.

Now - what are we waiting for? Zimmerman is wonderful guy, superb third baseman (2 nice picks last night), a .260 hitter with fair power; Guz is having a career BA year, not a lead-off hitter and no range at short; Flores is a potential gem - hitting .280, real clutch hits and RBI's, and a true work ethic; Milledge seems likeable enough - has shown nothing consequential at the plate or in the field, where he still seems confused; and Dukes is the mystery factor (may be the one jewel on the team) - he plays hard! All other position players on the team are taking up a locker...Nieves exception as he is adequate backup catcher.
Down on the farm: second baseman who is the next Ty Cobb (batting .457 with Columbus) but cannot break into Nationals lineup! Chris Morrero (DL for '08).
Justin Maxwell (also DL and does not appear to be more than .250 hitter in majors.

So - pitching is it, eh? Shawn Hill (may be shot); John Lannan (yes); Colin Ballister (looks like the real deal); Jason Bergmann (decent); Cory Van Allen and Jordan Zimmermann (both might be ready to pitch next year for Nats).

Relief Corps: Chad Cordero (terrific question mark); Joel Hanrahan (potential); Saul Rivera (old reliable); and Steve Shell (may have something here).

That is core of 19 players who could be the nucleus next year for the team, including the five minor leaguers mentioned; and not make you want to puke or fall asleep. Means team needs 6 more actual MAJOR LEAGUE players, not slop, to give the others a chance to prosper. Matt Holliday; Mark Teixiera; Pat Burrell - players of that magnitude.

Anything less and the team is doomed for 2009. I am certain the fans will turn ugly should Lopez and Kearns be back again as starters, along with penciling in Nick Johnson at first. That would mean that 3 of the 8 position players are illusionary.

Trust in the Power of the Missing Iconic Baseball to bring the team luck. All Good.

Old Nats Guy said...

Like Senatornat, I rooted for the early '60 Senators, but I don't remember them being this bad. With few exceptions, this team appears to be playing only for a paycheck. Win or lose, it's all the same to them. Just listen to their post-game comments. Where is the frustration? Where is the anger? The post-game comments sound like nothing more than carefully rehearsed sound bites. "We've got to get more hits." "We've got to score some runs." Blah, blah, blah... night after night after night. Where is the fire? Their answers are as bland as their level of play. The fans seem to be the only ones who care.