Sunday, April 19, 2009
The Right Stuff
Dispensing tonight with the gamer from today's latest loss because there is something more important to discuss. Thanks to John R. for really hitting home with Sohna & I in his commentary this evening on the post-game roster moves.
John R. mentioning how many so-called experts out there thought Chad Cordero was worthless? Look at Our Washington Nationals now. "The Most Thrilling Closer In The Game" was certainly "The Chief Cardiologist", he made the 9th inning far more spectacular at times than needed. But Cordero succeeded far more times than he lost. He was a deserved All-Star playing for a mediocre team. And he was pretty darn good at his job. It's disappointing that only because he got injured, attempting to be THE GUY again, he was unceremoniously and publicly dumped. And when Chad Cordero signed with The Seattle Mariners this spring, many others cheered the move. They didn't want Our Former Number 32 a National any more.
They were wrong.
Look at Our Bullpen and Closer Situation now. We can't finish off ANY ball game. Sure, Chad Cordero will not be ready until late May, early June. But who wouldn't want to take that chance six weeks from now that "The Most Thrilling Closer In The Game" would be far more successful than anything that has been witnessed so far in 2009 in Washington?
When Chad Cordero was sent to the mound, there was a belief--he knew what was needed to get the job done. You just didn't know whether he would always be successful.
The same with Shawn Hill. Granted he was injured, continuously for year after year after year. But when your Starting Pitching Staff is not composed of Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Tommy Glavine you should hang on to what you got--not send them packing for nothing in return. Many applauded the release of Shawn Hill during Spring Training. It's an issue that has bothered The African Queen and I since the very day Our Washington Nationals made the waiver move. Now Our Former Number 41 is pitching some pretty decent ball for The San Diego Padres. Two respectable starts, a 3.60 ERA, no lingering after-effects of pain. The only pain suffered being that of Our Very Own Team (and fans watching them) struggle in the pitching department.
You don't give up on talented individuals to make due with journeymen. Players that are just complimentary parts--not your Go To Guys.
Truly, sometimes you really don't know what you had until it is gone.
John Lannan, Shairon Martis and now Jordan Zimmermann all deserve to be in Our 2009 Starting Rotation. We are all for the youth movement when talent is there. All three earned it. You could argue Scott Olsen and Daniel Cabrera as well--depending on their individual days on the mound--but their consistency is lacking.
Wouldn't you want to see Shawn Hill back in our rotation right now? He's certainly more talented than Kip Wells as long man and emergency starter. And Shawn would be that solid veteran presence this rotation needs to excel. Hill walks, talks and handles himself very professionally. Tim Redding might not have been the greatest starter in The National League for Washington. But look at what good he did nurturing John Lannan last year. John Lannan will tell you that Redding was a big influence in his 2008 Rookie Campaign. A person to confide in and trust your deepest thoughts.
Hill should be playing the same role at Nationals Park. But he's not. Sadly.
It's worth repeating once again (maybe for the 100th time here), it's far better to win with your own players, than trying to win with some one elses.
Who doesn't believe that Chad Cordero and Shawn Hill could still be the veterans and reliable young anchors for Washington's Pitching Staff? They both have The Right Stuff, but weren't allowed to resurrect their careers in The Nation's Capital. Together Cordero and Hill wouldn't have combined to make Our 2009 Version Washington Nationals even a .500 club so far in April, 2009--but they sure would have made us, as fans, feel a whole lot better about our near and long term chances in The Curly "W" Column.
Realistically, Our Washington Nationals are nowhere near as bad as they have played through the first eleven games of 2009. Although, these 10 losses have been pretty depressing. What we do have is a rather solid starting lineup. A team that can hit and smash the ball. Nick Johnson, Cristian Guzman, Ryan Zimmerman, Elijah Dukes and Adam Dunn (who is actually been very impressive at the plate) we would take on our team at any time. They hustle, make the effort, never give up. Austin Kearns is the same way, but hasn't been as consistent. We have a starting rotation that is better than advertised. But that 25-Man Roster is too incomplete. Our Bullpen horrendous. To win consistently, Our Manager Manny Acta must be able to trust EVERY SINGLE PERSON on his active roster to be there when he calls on them.
Duty, that has fallen short, well before Our Washington Nationals have played their first dozen games of the new campaign.
No, you can't cry over spilled milk--both Chad Cordero and Shawn Hill are gone--maybe forever. But we can certainly believe Our Washington Nationals would be a better franchise today, if we had taken care of two of our very own--when they needed our support the most. Not trash them when they were down. We miss those two guys, because they made us A BETTER TEAM.
More worth cheering for.
They really did.
And we miss that.
We really do.
Because They Have The Right Stuff.
PS--Just give Jason Bergmann the ball and let him close out a few games. There is no doubt he has also the right stuff to be a legitimate closer. If Jason is allowed to throw the ball and not think about it--for one or two innings at a time, Our Number 57 could be OUTSTANDING in that pressure role.
PPS--And when Our Washington Nationals have Ryan Zimmerman on second base with two outs and only maintaining a slim one run lead (4-3)--let's have Josh Willingham at the plate pinch hitting in the 8th, not Alex Cintron. Why are we saving Josh when Our Bullpen can't hold a lead? I don't care about lefty/righty matchups. I don't care about what THE BOOK says. I care about having the best hitter available being at the plate with the game on the line. A journeyman like Alex Cintron is not the guy. Josh Willingham is. Today, that exact scenario played out in the 8th inning when Our Manager Manny Acta decided that Cintron, a left handed batter, was his guy against the hard throwing righthander pitcher Leo Nunez of The Florida Marlins. It was the wrong call. Sorry Manny.
PPPPS--And not to jump on Manny. It's fair to question some of his managerial moves, but you can't fault Our Number 14 for not having the horses to run with every single day. Manny's playing short-handed and that's not all of his own doing.
Finally--and like long time Nats320 reader Tom (who made the kind effort to come by to meet The African Queen and I in Section 218 this Sunday) mentioned tonight to in the commentary on the roster moves: "(Mike Rizzo) is not indecisive." Tom's right. You or I may not always agree with all of his decisions, but he makes his moves without hesitation. Mike Rizzo is not wishy-washy. I can appreciate that too. Mike Rizzo knows what he wants and makes his decisions--without hesitation. You know where Mike Rizzo stands--and that's a good thing.