Friday, August 22, 2008
In a long down season, no one can say that Willie Harris has not been a revelation. Today, Our Number 1 personally lead Our Washington Nationals back from the edge of defeat and put Our Team not only back in this game, but well over the top. Who would have thought, down 4-0 to The Chicago Cubs--The Very Best Team In The National League--Washington would fight back, and flat out club The Cubbies at Wrigley Field.
All thanks to Willie Harris' Two Home Runs--one a Grand Slam. Thanks to Willie Harris perfectly playing a liner over his head off the ivy in left field and throwing out a surprised Mark DeRosa at second base--trying to stretch a sure single into a double in the sixth. And thanks to Willie Harris for making another diving catch off the bat of Aramis Ramirez in the fifth inning.
In some respects, Willie Harris did it all. Is he not Our Most Exciting Player?
But Ronnie Belliard receives a big assist, too. Twice Today, he kept rallies going and set up Our Number 1's Grand Slam in the comeback 6th inning, by doubling home "The Guz" and sending Ryan Zimmerman to third. A game changing play that found The Cubs Manager Lou Piniella replacing his starter, Jason Marquis, with Neal Cotts. A decision that proved decisive when Cotts walked Austin Kearns and Harris struck thunder and hammered his Grand Slam over the famous ivy in right for a 6-4 Washington Lead. An advantage where Washington NEVER LOOKED BACK.
How Stunning Was That Comeback?!
And thanks to Aaron Boone for coming off the bench, pinch hitting in the 8th, and stroking an opposite field--to right liner--that cleared a full set of bases and gave Washington a commanding 10-5 Lead over The Cubbies. A turnabout that found The Cubbies' Fans booing and exiting The Old Ballyard at the corner of Addison and Sheffield in droves. Yet, Our Washington Nationals didn't stop there, as Belliard and Harris both homered in the 9th to clearly put this afternoon's affair--at one of the Greatest Baseball Parks of All Time--truly out of reach.
Final Score from Venerable Wrigley Field--Our Washington Nationals 13 (Yes, A Bakers Dozen) and The Chicago Cubs 5. Thank You Willie Harris for making the last half of 2008 interesting, every single time you are involved in a play. Welcome back, Ronnie Belliard, hot of late, for once again showing you are "The Ball Player". And a Big Thank You to Our Washington Nationals who sure looked like they were destined for another pedestrian loss, until Jason Marquis began to walk everyone in sight--giving Harris the opportunity to turn this game around.
Curly "W" Number 46 once again proves that on any given day--Any Team, no matter how good, or how poor--can beat the other. Very few critics probably gave Our Washington Nationals that chance this afternoon on the North Side of Chicago. Yet Washington Prevailed against Chicago for the third time in four games played this year.
Who Would Have Thought That Possible? All on an afternoon--Sohna and I give thanks to Our Players, Willie Harris especially, for fighting until the very end. A Most Enjoyable Game To Watch.
Game Notes & Highlights
John Lannan received the win today and probably he would also tell you that he did not deserve the credit. But after all he's suffered through this season, quality starts and efforts lost or left with no decisions--Our Number 31 should feel proud that Our Washington Nationals stepped to the plate this afternoon and saved him on the very day Lannan did not have much in the tank. No one should fault John Lannan for Victory Number 7 of 2008. What comes around, goes around.
Working in our edit suite this afternoon at work, I found myself watching the game out of the corner of my eye. But when Harris stepped to the plate with the bases loaded in the top of the 6th, I turned to our producer and said--this guy has been clutch all year--you watch--he is going to knock the ball out of the park. Sure enough, Willie Harris did. Our Producer and I High Fived and continued editing our news story for today. But, it was fun to live in that moment. It really was.
Steven Shell, Saul Rivera and even "The Human Rain Delay" closed out this affair with 2 2/3rds scoreless innings. Our Bullpen has a long way to go to re-establish itself to respectibility, but at least the current core is finding their comfort level. No doubt, Our Relief Corp will have another shakeup come 2009.
Ronnie Belliard had four hits this afternoon, raising his average to .278. Just a short time ago, like August 13th, Our Number 10 was batting .237. Since then, 18 hits in 31 At-Bats, 1 Home Run and 7 RBI. The Man Is SMOKING.
I don't know for sure, but I would imagine that Willie Harris' six RBI today are a Personal Career High for a single game.
Emilio Bonifacio seems to be slowly understanding that his game, at the plate, is small ball. He needs to use his speed to his advantage. Our Number 7 still can't hit an off speed pitch, but he's come a long way since going 0 for 23 recently.
The only real down note was Lastings Milledge misplaying two balls to center. He missed a Derek Lee drive early and then attempted to make a spectacular diving catch on a Jason Marquis looping liner in the 4th. Each time, Our Number 44 should have played the ball in front of him--allowing the single--the least amount of damage. Experience, hopefully learned for later, when Our Games count more.
Finally, I have to honestly say--every single time Alfonso Soriano comes to the plate, I have to turn my head to watch. Like in 2006, during his one fabulous year wearing a uniform for Our Washington Nationals--he was must see. Every At-Bat exciting, every fielding play an adventure. Even wearing a Cubbies Jersey today, I still find him necessary to watch. Even The African Queen called today to tell me how much she misses Her Former Love--estranged but inseparable they are. She has her favorites today, but Our Former Number 12 is, and was, The Only Player for Washington that consistently got her fanny in her customary seat--for EVERY SINGLE BALLGAME at RFK Stadium. We understand the reasons why We Did Not Re-Sign Him--but it doesn't take away from what Could Have Been.
Today's InGame Photos--(AP) Paul Beaty