Tuesday, September 09, 2008
The Last Thing First. Yeah we lost to The New York Mets, but you had to appreciate Luis Ayala's knowing smile at the end of the game. Not only did he high five with Brian Schneider and fist bump with Carlos Delgado after closing this one out, but Our Former Number 56 knowingly looked over to The Dugout Of Our Washington Nationals--realizing he had helped defeat his former long time team. That must have been a very interesting feeling for him.
I don't begrudge him. Luis Ayala was just doing his job. But I wonder what his former teammates felt like?
Did Ayala ever look strange in that New York Mets Uniform? The African Queen just couldn't get over it. "He looked a whole lot better in Nationals Red & White," she stated. Yes, Luis does. And we miss him. We really do. His personality was nothing short of terrific.
An exclamation this game was certainly not.
Poor Starting Pitching.
The Inability to hold two leads. In fact, Washington lost the lead three times.
A back and forth slugfest for six innings that turned to a pitcher's dominated game over the final three.
What a contrast.
A Game that Our Washington Nationals should have won.
But lost--due to inexperience. Youngsters on the mound that could not handle veteran hitters under the pressure of New York City.
John Lannan simply didn't have much in the tank tonight. You can't fault him for that. But Marco Estrada, Garrett Mock and Charlie Manning didn't help matters. A combined 4 runs allowed over 1 & 2/3rd's innings. Manning allowing back to back homers to Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado that sealed the deal for New York. You can forgive the two run shot by the switch hitting Beltran, but not the solo shot by the left handed swinging Delgado. Charlie Manning is in the game to RETIRE DELGADO. That is his job as a Major Leaguer. He failed.
And in doing so Our Washington Nationals were unable to mount any more serious comebacks. Too bad, because the 3rd, 4th and 5th innings were very impressive in the batters box for Washington. Anderson Hernandez, "The Guz" and Ryan Zimmerman all hacking the baseball. Even Alberto Gonzalez with a Pinch Hit RBI single in a 5 run 5th inning.
But alas--all for naught. 12 Hits, 5 Walks and 8 runs scored at Shea Stadium were not enough. The New York Mets would pound out two more scores--thanks to, not only that two run homer by Beltran, but a second one from Delgado and another from My Main Man!! Ryan Church (his 12th dinger) in the 3rd.
A back and forth rollercoaster ride was finally settled down as the 6th frame move to the 7th. And at the very end--Old Friend--Luis Ayala trotted out to apply the finishing touches--his 6th save in 7 opportunities since he turned in his Red & White Uniform for a Royal Blue & Orange one. Our Former Number 56 pitching with confidence. Effort not seen over the last part of his career in Washington. And throwing many a fastballs, not the bread and butter slider so many are accustomed to seeing Ayala throw.
All of which made for one STRANGE NIGHT in Queens as Shea Stadium heads ever so closer to the final game it will ever host.
Final Score, The New York Mets 10 and Our Washington Nationals 8 in a slugfest played out on a cool and comfortable night in The Big Apple.
PS--I have to be up at 4AM tomorrow morning for work. Senator McCain and Governor Palin are speaking in Northern Virginia and I am assigned to cover the event. So, this gamer will have to conclude right now. Sorry.
Tonight's InGame Photo--(AP) Kathy Willens