Thursday, August 07, 2008
A Fresh Attitude
Last Friday Night the fun began when Our Washington Nationals stepped onto the field to play The Cincinnati Reds. Six Days Later, the merriment has yet to end. Today, a doubleheader sweep of The Colorado Rockies in Denver gave DC's Team their sixth win in 7 games. Our Washington Nationals looking more and more like a Real Major League Squad.
Thanks to a new willingness to practice what you preach.
Thanks to a new effort to play hard.
Thanks to newly rejuvenated teammates apparently happy to be playing together again.
And Thanks to a Fresh New Attitude.
As Our Washington Nationals were walking off the field congratulating each other this afternoon after taking Game One, the sight of "The Guz" turning around and HUGGING Lastings Milledge was quite revealing. At a time a Youth Moment is making an impact on The Major League Level, and at the very time Veterans have limited space on Our Roster--one of Washington's most senior players thanked his far younger teammate. Happy to be a part of the future.
Unlike the excess baggage tossed aside last Thursday Night, Cristian Guzman apparently cares. A proud player who understands the current forward movement of Our Washington Nationals. Our Number 15 has embraced the positives. Enthusiasm Paul LoDuca, Felipe Lopez and Johnny Estrada lost over season's past.
Not much negative coming out of Coors Field this Thursday Afternoon and Early Evening.
Jason Bergmann pitched one fabulous Game 1. Throwing first pitch strikes, not giving in to a good Colorado Rockies Lineup, I actually thought, he was also going to go the distance and produce a shutout. The same feelings which crossed my mind two nights ago--when John Lannan was pitching into the 7th. Of course, the very moment I had convinced myself Our Number 57 was going all the way--Matt Holliday took him deep for a Home Run, killing the shutout. And when Our Manager Manny Acta came out of the dugout to replace him--that killed any chance of a Complete Game for Our Number 57. But, that one solo shot did not take away from Bergmann's Outstanding Performance. Gaining his first Victory since May 15th at Shea Stadium, you better believe this win was a HUGE RELIEF for Jason. He deserved it. Bergmann had suffered for far too long.
And he had Lastings Milledge to thank in big way for his second win of 2008. Our Number 44 Blasting Out with his finest game of the season and combining that with his Game Two Effort--maybe his finest Day In The Major Leagues--EVER. Two Home Runs, 4 RBI's in Game One. Two Hits and an RBI in the nightcap. And just to prove this was Lastings' Day, Milledge with a very athletic dive and sprawled out catch on a liner to his right, running in, during the bottom of the 9th of Game Two. The Defensive Play Of This Day on a drive by Colorado Pinch Hitter Seth Smith. Nicely Done By Lastings. Even I have to give him credit for that play. Lastings Milledge had it all the way.
In fact, Milledge made such a fine catch I thought Charlie Slowes was going to have a conniption on the radio. Dave Jageler was probably searching for the oxygen tank to assist Charlie through the play-by-play. Was he ever excited!!
A good feeling shared by many this afternoon.
In Game One, Emilio Bonifacio was again a spark plug. Ryan Zimmerman, Ronnie Belliard and Willie Harris providing some key hits and scores. And Joel Hanrahan stepped to mound in the bottom of the 9th to record his 2nd Save of his Major League Career. An effort repeated in Game Two, when Our Number 38 blew away The Rockies in the bottom of the 9th, for the second time in less than 4 hours--to record his Third Save as Our Closer. Did you see Joel's SMILE while shaking hands with his Game Two Catcher Wil Nieves? Priceless--the sign of a very happy ball club.
Bonifacio, Harris, Milledge, Ryan Langerhans and Wil Nieves providing the sparks in Game Two--helped along by another fine effort from Veteran Starter--Odalis Perez. Seemingly working from the stretch all afternoon, Our Number 45 survived through six innings and received some solid offensive support. Since the Re-Structuring Of Our Washington Nationals on August 1st, Odalis Perez has pitched better baseball. Good Defensive work behind him hasn't hurt him either.
Both Bergmann and Perez combining to assist Our Manager Manny Acta from destroying his bullpen from overuse during the doubleheader. A break the relievers truly needed with an overnight flight upcoming and 10 more ball games scheduled ahead, before their next full day off.
As Our Washington Nationals move deeper into the August Schedule they are quickly becoming a better ball club, comfortable with each other, trusting of each other's abilities. Everyone knows, winning is always more fun, but with Victory comes The Confidence. That assured feeling that you can compete with anyone. Yeah, Our Washington Nationals have only beaten two lesser teams since the calendar moved out of July, 2008--but you better believe when Our Team steps off that plane early tomorrow morning in Milwaukee--they will be walking with that undoubting belief--the self assurance--that comes from competing hard. Our Washington Nationals knowing they CAN NOW BEAT one of The National Leagues better teams--The Brewers in a four game set.
No one would have thought that possible, just 8 Days ago.
The Final Scores from Coors Field, A Twin Killing in Double Take Style. Our Washington Nationals 6 And The Colorado Rockies 3 in both affairs. Curly 'W's Numbers 43 & 44 proving that practicing together, playing together, WANTING TO BE A TEAM TOGETHER has opened up a whole new atmosphere for Washington. As The African Queen stated: How Fitting, Our Number 44 played such a key role in Victory Number 44.
A Fresh Attitude among Our Players. A perception finally perceived by Our Coaches that these young men, Our Players, may well take instruction after all. If that doesn't get me up and cheering, I don't know what will.
PS--Nothing pleased me more than reading this article in The Washington Post this morning concerning Our Players praising the very fact that Manny wants them out on the field, taking batting practice, fielding practice, not just sitting in the clubhouse playing cards and watching TV before every game. Our Number 14 is apparently getting his Clubhouse back and it is nice to know that Our Players are responding--positively. A GREAT SIGN!! for Our Near and Long Term Future.
Hard to believe--Our Washington Nationals won two games in one day this Thursday Afternoon and have won 6 of 7 played so far in August. A far cry from July--when DC's Team was only victorious 5 TIMES ALL MONTH!--Along with 19 Losses. What A Difference in play.
Today's InGame Photos--(AP) David Zalubowski