Thursday, September 18, 2008

Just Another Loss

4AM Call On For Work This Friday Morning-So this will be a shorter post.

As usual, The African Queen and I came to New Nationals Park to watch Our Washington Nationals play.

As usual, The New York Mets and Their Fans invaded South Capitol Street.

As usual, Johan Santana stepped to the mound for The New York Mets trying to dominate a ball game.

And as usual, it wasn't much of contest because Santana pitched well enough to win. And Our Washington Nationals pitched poorly enough to lose. No, The Former Cy Young Award Winner was far from perfect, but he didn't have to be--because his Washington counterpart on this night was not sharp at all.

Tim Redding was walked all over by Santana's New York Teammates for five runs--four earned in just three innings--including the UNUSUAL SIGHT of Former Washington National Brian Schneider slamming out two dingers of his own. The first off Our Number 17 and his second off his former batterymate--Jason Bergmann. Our Number 57 serving up Schneiderman's 9th Home Run of 2008 on the very first pitch Jason threw in the top of the 4th. A relief appearance that got New York their final two tallies of the evening.

A 7 to Zero Advantage for The New Yorkers after five frames that pretty much settled this game early. Sure, Washington had their chances. Three times in seven innings, Washington could only plate one runner in scoring position against The New York Ace. The Quality Lefthander that was touchable and beatable on this cool September Evening. But never truly taken advantage of.

In fact, for the evening, Our Washington Nationals out hit The New York Mets--13 to 11, although the scoreboard run tally result far favored The Boys From Queens. A usual scenario that played out at New Nationals Park earlier this season during the mighty struggles of June and July--2008. A previous time frame when Washington could not plate their runners from scoring position--time and time again.

This evening, only one score against Johan Santana and one more against The Mets Bullpen.

No, this game was not that close, although Washington had their chances. The usual outcome when your pitching and offense shutdown on the very same night.

Just Another Loss--Number 95 of the season.

Final Score from what at times could only be described as "Chilly Air" at New Nationals Park--The New York Mets 7 and Our Washington Nationals 2. A split of the final series between these two NL East Opponents this year and the realization that Washington has an uphill battle remaining--not to lose 100 Games in 2008. They must win five of their last nine scheduled matches to avoid The Century Mark in defeats.

That's not going to be an easy chore.

Game Notes & Highlights

Tim Redding may not have pitched well, but he certainly was not helped out by Lastings Milledge in the top of the 1st inning. Right after Jose Reyes led off the game with a double down the third base line--just past the diving Ryan Zimmerman--Daniel Murphy stroked a liner to centerfield--a playable ball. Yet, Our Number 44 first went back on the ball, then moved forward, then realized he would be too late to catch the baseball, then proceeded to freeze--AND LET THE BASEBALL SAIL RIGHT PAST HIM to the wall. A ruled Single and Two Base Error scoring Reyes with the first run of the game.

Lastings Milledge needs to quit playing so far back. And he definitely needs to stop stepping backwards as the first step for just about every ball hit in his direction. Valuable time lost--leading to indecision--a costly scenario playing out again at New Nationals Park tonight. Yes, Our Number 44 has made some fine improvement over the course of 2008, but he seems to have regressed a little over the past few days in centerfield.

And Lastings should take stock in what his late inning replacement did in the top of the 9th. The Mets Carlos Delgado crushed a Jesus Colome pitch to dead centerfield--at the wall between The GEICO Ad Sign and the 402 Ft Marker. Playing shallow, Roger Bernadina turned at the crack of the bat of Delgado's blast and ran hard to the wall, only looking up to find the baseball, not worrying about the warning track and padded wall he was fast moving towards. Never breaking stride--Our Number 2 caught the baseball right at the base of the wall and crashed hard into the thick green pads.

An EXCELLENT CATCH, maybe The Defensive Play of this Game, but Ryan Zimmerman had a fabulous night in the field as well. Diving to his right, he backhanded an Argenis Reyes liner down the line in the top of the second. Got to his feet and threw out The New York Second Sacker. Another fine play by Our Franchise Player, one in which he bettered in the top of the 3rd, when his friend, The Mets David Wright--blistered a sharp grounder to "Z's" left. Diving on his knees and with the baseball ALREADY PAST HIM--Our Number 11 was able to glove the baseball as the ball was already behind him. He then rolled over his glove, then rolled up to his right knee and, all in one motion, threw off his knee while falling over onto his back. No surprise from watching Ryan Zimmerman over the past three years--he not only made the stop, he also put just enough mustard on the throw to JUST GET David Wright at first base for The Defensive Play of This Game.

Another Stellar, reflex only move, by the finest third baseman in the game. Just a GREAT EFFORT. "Z-Man" also with three hits tonight at the plate, raising his batting average to .285. Wil Nieves continued his Hot Hitting by adding two more tonight. And Cristian Guzman recorded his 15th Multi-Hit Game in his past 20 Games--singling twice while raising his average to .316.

In one other fine defensive play--Catcher Nieves threw out the very speedy Jose Reyes attempting to steal second base in the top of the 2nd. An inning ending toss when 2nd Base Umpire Kerwin Danley quickly signaled the out call. Nieves is turning out to be an invaluable backup catcher--now with some serious experience under his belt.

In The 4th Inning Presidents Race--Teddy led early, then blocked Abe from winning. GW and Tom went the distance, before GW won at the tape--for his 14 win of 2008.

Before the game--Our Manager Manny Acta was out on the field to present Two Scholarships to two deserving youths in District of Columbia Public Schools. In conjunction with Manny's ImpACTA Kids Foundation--Our Manager presented Pilar Barreyo from Wilson High School and Vincent Omekan from The School Without Walls $2500 Scholarships for Higher Education when they enroll in college next fall. ImpACTA Kids is Our Number 14's grass roots efforts to provide educational assistance for deserving children in need in both The District of Columbia and his native Dominican Republic.

Finally, it was quite funny to see my name up on the scoreboard during the 7th inning. Apparently, I was chosen as Designated Driver Of The Game. Something I sign up for most evenings, but had never won the prize--Two Free Tickets to Busch Gardens, Williamsburg. Many of our friends took notice at New Nationals Park as The P.A. Announcer Jerome said my name-turning to wave to Sohna and I in Section 218. But the best reaction came from The Broadcast Booth--as Charlie Slowes & Dave Jageler also noticed the between inning annoucement and made sure WE KNEW, THEY SAW IT--by waving and saluting to us from high above in the Shirley Povich Media Center. More than anything else tonight--The African Queen and I enjoyed this one brief moment--the most--because it was so unexpected and played out so naturally among our friends. Charlie & Dave never cease to amaze us with their humor. They are just terrific.

PS--Speaking of Charlie Slowes, yes, I did attend yesterday's Q & A with Jason Bergmann at ESPN Zone. Not the usual larger crowds of the summer, but about 30 to 40 folks at any given time during the one hour session. A complete transcript coming--just not a lot of free time right now with work and all. But, I really enjoyed The Ringo Starr Impersonation that Charlie put on yesterday. Sporting a Gotee, he looked very similar to the former Beatle.

Compare these two pictures. With Shades, they are nearly identical. Just Imagine, Charlie Slowes--Rock Star.

Tonight's InGame Photos--(AP) Evan Vucci
All Other Photos--Nats320 (All Rights Reserved)


janet said...

Tickets to Busch Gardens -- that's outstanding! Now you and Sohna have something to do in the offseason (although I don't know how long Busch Gardens stays open).

Anonymous said...

Good points on Milledge's play in CF. How did you like Bernandina playing in the 9th. Two nice plays going back on balls plus I would guess he plays 10 to 15 feet closer to the infield than Milledge. If only Bernandina showed that AAA form with the bat. I'd like to see Bernandina start a few games in LF to see what he can do with some consistency at the plate.

Tom said...

Annon: Who are you Manny Acta or Jim Bowden?

Jim H said...

I wasn't able to make it to the Park last night, and saw Lasting's gaff on TV. He had to run a long way to retrieve that ball.

What I couldn't see was where Dukes or Harris were. Isn't it normally a function of the two corner outfielders to back up the centerfielder? Should that ball have been gotten to by Dukes? Were Dukes or Harris on the move to assist? Or did they just watch.

Just curious.

Jim H said...

{{{Clarifying previous comment}}}

Obviously, when I ask if Dukes could have gotten to the ball, I meant after it had gotten past Milledge.