Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Strange Night

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.

Worse Relieving.

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


Andrew said...

We score 8 runs and lose???? The guys really showed what they were made of to mount a nice comeback that came a little short!

Anonymous said...

Wbere in the world did Bowden pick up this relief pitcher named "Estrada"? He is even worse than Jorge Julio.

Anonymous said...

Jorge Julio was the worst relief pitcher in the history of baseball until Marco Estrada showed up.

SenatorNat said...

Hey: what I liked about last night's game at Shea - Nats need to play interesting ball, giving us hope about the young guys overall, BUT CONTINUE TO LOSE. I am concerned about San Diego and Seattle winning the Strasburg sweepstakes.

Looks at the moment like we may have three nice young midfielders to bring to Spring Training next year to compete hard for at most two slots on the roster: Hernandez; Gonzalez; and Bonifacio. First two did very well last night - Boni did not play.

If we traded Rauch and Ayala for two quality great defense & speed, decent hitting young enthusiastic mid-fielders, then it will have been worth it. Neither Rauch nor Ayala strike me as true closers - both good set-up guys.

And same for Hanrahan - not a closer, in my view - but, holds promise to replace Rauch and Ayala as reliable set-up guy. I am still hoping that Cordero returns to Nats in that position for '09 - may be a pipedream, however.

Bergmann has lost his rhythm and does not look like a bull-pen pitcher to me, as an alternative to starter. Estrada, Manning are minor leaguers. Shell and Mock hold some promise for '09. And Rivera has been golden since the Nationals moved here, really - his aggregate number of appearances and their quality overall very impressive.

Who are the reliable starters for '09? Right now, I do not think that you can pencil in Lannan or Ballester or Redding as anything beyond a 3-4-5 on a decent team. As mentioned, most suspect Hill is done, and Bergmann certainly regressed in August-September. So - are they hoping and praying for two of the rookies - the Dutchman and Mr. Two N's - to fill out the rotation? If so, that means another year of praying for 5-6 quality innings virtually every game, and then going heavy on the relief corps...What a difference it would make to have an actual number One or even a legitimate number Two in the Nats rotation.

Until that day, even if the offensive line-up were to take the next great step forward in 2009, with health and one proven power hitter added to its middle, it will still be difficult to finish .500.

Trust in The Mouse That Roared. All Ironic.