Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Command Performance Lost
102 Pitches into tonight's game at Coors Field, John Lannan was pitching the Major League Game of his life. A Shutout, a Two Hitter, A Masterpiece inside, arguably, the most difficult ballpark in America to throw a shutout. Our Number 31 had The Colorado Rockies totally under control, leading 2-0. Three pitches later, this game was INCREDIBLY TIED.
One Inning later, this game was over--For Washington.
Clint Barmes would fight off an off speed pitch with two outs--and single to right. Then pinch hitter Ian Stewart would DRILL Lannan's second offering DEEP and OUT of Coors Field--hammering a fastball into the right centerfield stands. Just like that, Lead Lost, Fine Outing Lost and as it turned out--this game lost.
After receiving a Command Performance from John Lannan through Six and 2/3rds innings--Our Number 31 Lost Command, and so did Our Entire Bullpen--Losing Command of this game.
You talk about falling about. After Lannan was able to retire The Rockies Wily Taveres to end the 7th, Luis Ayala, Charlie Manning and Saul Rivera flat out gave the game away. Not one of these three relievers had ANY COMMAND of their arsenals, giving Colorado command of this affair. The Rockies scoring six runs after one out was recorded in the 8th--when Our Number 56 gave up a bloop double, walk and hit by pitch. Manning followed Luis by allowing a single, walk and another walk scoring two more Rockies Runs. Finally, with two outs, Rivera hit the first batter he faced, then proceeded to give up another walk and a single allowing Colorado to put this game away in miserable fashion. Six runs scored in one terrible bottom of the eighth inning. Playing their worst pitched frame of 2008, Washington lost total control of this game.
All four pitchers for Our Washington Nationals had lost their command this evening--when this game was on the line. Each had faltered dramatically. Pretty hard to believe, shutting out The Rockies, up by two, with just seven outs to win this game--Colorado had fought back, with a great assist from Our Bullpen, to run away with an easy victory for The Rockies. Anyone just seeing the line score from this affair must believe it was not even close. One of the most depressing defeats to watch all season.
No, I was not expecting Our Washington Nationals to go undefeated in August, but it sure looked very likely, Washington would begin this month by winning their first five games. They should have, at least until John Lannan lost his command and Our Washington Nationals lost total command of this ball game. Yeah, it's just another loss, but Our Number 31 deserved a whole lot better this evening in The Mile High City.
Final Score from always interesting Coors Field--The Colorado Rockies 8 and Our Washington Nationals 2. This game, so close to being A GEM, quickly became truly FORGETTABLE.
Game Notes & Highlights
Lannan really threw well. He had a tremendous outing. Until Stewart slammed the game tying home run, there was a distinct possibility that Our Number 31 might go the distance. His curveball was terrific all night. His command of his off speed stuff was setting up his fastball well. The Rockies were flailing at him all evening, even Matt Holliday, couldn't touch him. John Lannan struck out 8 and was mighty solid this evening at Coors Field.
Lastings Milledge made a huge baserunning blunder in the top of the second. With Austin Kearns on first base, Our Number 44 laid down a bunt for a base hit. A nice one. Colorado 1st Baseman Garrett Atkins threw the baseball away behind first base. For whatever reason, Milledge attempted to run to second base on the overthrow as Austin rightly scooted to third base. Lastings was thrown out easily by The Rockies' Pitcher Jorge De La Rosa backing up the play. A poor mental decision by Our Number 44 that may well have cost Washington another early run after Jesus Flores hit a deep drive to score Kearns on a sacrifice fly and Ronnie Belliard followed with a single to center. At times, Lastings Milledge plays the game on talent alone, not through the taught skills of the game.
Later, Ryan Zimmerman would be caught too far off second base as well, when Milledge hit a blooper behind second base for an unassisted double play in the 8th. A Rally Killing Twin Killing with "Z" and Austin on first and second with nobody out.
The Rockies would also swing one SWEET DOUBLE PLAY when, with Ronnie Belliard just off third base and Ryan Langerhans on first with one out in the top of the 7th--Emilio Bonifacio would drill a one hopper right down the third base line--right on the base. Colorado Third Baseman Clint Barmes would snare the baseball--with Our Number 10 standing right in front of him--off the bag. After tagging Belliard out for the second out of the frame, Barmes threw across the infield to retire Bonifacio for a double play and The Defensive Play of This Game. And as it turned out, The Harbinger of things to come for Washington this evening in Denver. It was all downhill for Our Washington Nationals after this rally killing double play.
During the game, MASN's Debbi Taylor announced that Felipe Lopez had signed a free-agent contract with The St. Louis Cardinals. Later, The St. Louis Broadcasters mentioned the deal on the Cardinals TV Game versus The Dodgers. Interestingly, it appears FLop was signed to a Major League Contract and will be inserted into the starting lineup.
Also, Charlie and Dave mentioned on the radio that Livan Hernandez, released by The Minnesota Twins, may have been picked up on waivers by The Colorado Rockies. The Rockies were not confirming. If true, there is a good possibility that Livo may pitch against Our Washington Nationals at New Nationals Park sometime late next week. Old Number 61 may get his chance to pitch in the new ballpark on South Capitol Street--after all. If so, you know that Livan Hernandez will be received nicely by Our Fans. He will be a favorite of mine for a long, long time.
Tonight's InGame Photo--(AP) Mark J. Terrill