Wednesday, May 13, 2009
One out away from a resilient come from behind victory in the bottom of the 9th.
Not a single San Francisco Giant on base.
Then, just like that, three batters later--a down to his last strike game winning three run homer from Pablo Sandoval.
Our Washington Nationals had lost miserably again.
WE COULDN'T BELIEVE IT!!
To say upset is putting the feelings lightly.
For what seems the upteenth time this season, Our Pitching had failed again. Down big early 5-1, Our Hitters had gotten Washington back in this game, pulled ahead, only to watch as another Curly "W" denied with our relievers not getting the job done.
Like the movie "GroundHog Day", the same ending comes again, and again and again--no matter how different the scenario built to reach the climatic moments.
You could argue that Home Plate Umpire Tim Timmons had a very tight strike zone--especially in the bottom of the 9th with Joe Beimel on the mound. But Our Number 97 can't use that as an excuse. His job is to get the hitter out, no matter the conditions and the calls.
This latest blown bullpen save ruined Ryan Zimmerman's extending of his hitting streak to 30 Games.
Wasted Nick Johnson nearly single handedly playing hero tonight--knocking in five runs in the 7th and 8th innings with a three run shot off Matt Cain and a two run single off Jeremy Affeldt.
And threw away all the joy of being proud of Our Washington Nationals Offensive Prowess. Our batters battled their hearts out all night long. They never gave up. And they AGAIN weren't rewarded for their gallantry.
As Gut Wrenching A Defeat as any of the TOO MANY miserable losses so far in 2009.
Knowing the game was going late into the night here on the east coast.
Knowing there was an early call time tomorrow morning for work.
But knowing that The Z-Man, NJ, Adam Dunn, "The Guz" and a host of their bat happy friends would make any deficit a game--we stayed up to the very end--to watch.
Now--The African Queen and I doubt we will be able to sleep. One of those defeats you play over and over in your head--trying to figure out why all went wrong--when everything looked so right with two out, nobody on base in the bottom of the 9th in China Basin.
A very troubling loss.
Final Score from Chilly AT&T Park where DC's Team found another agonizing manner to lose a baseball game--The San Francisco Giants 9 and Our Washington Nationals 7. Heartbroken, anguished, pained, saddened, downcast and distressed. A few of the many adjectives to describe Washington's 21st loss of 2009. But as Sohna and I look to move past this latest tragedy, we find ourselves nearly despondent. Simply unhappy that Our Washington Nationals can't close the door on most any certain victory.
Guys, The Great Game Is Not This Hard.
Game Notes & Highlights
Jordan Zimmermann struggled out of the gate tonight in San Francisco. He didn't look sharp and at times watching on MASN looked uncomfortable, a little less confident then seen in his previous four starts. But J-Zimm hung in there again and finished six full innings. He may well have struck out eight Giant Batters, but he allowed 7 hits and two walks. At times, Jordan seems to throw too many fastballs. In the minors, you might be able to get away with that. But in The Majors, professional hitters are just going to sit back and wait for it. The art of pitching is to keep hitters off balance. Jordan needs to set up his fastball to better utilize his other three pitches. Once he does, J-Z's going to be a good one.
Kip Wells relieves Julian Tavarez in the bottom of the 8th, right after Washington had battled back to take a 7-5 lead. The first batter he faces--Bengie Molina--he gives up a home run--deflating the uplifting spirit of the latest rally. And the telling sign of what was to come in the bottom of the 9th.
Beimel retired pinch hitters Juan Uribe and Rich Aurelia quickly to begin the 9th. Then, just as suddenly, everything fell apart. A slap single up the middle by DC Native Emmanuel Burriss. A pickoff throw to first to check the speedy Giant Second Baseman was thrown away for an error. Burriss moving to second base. Edgar Renteria walks on five pitches when Umpire Timmons' strike zone became tighter. And Sandoval followed with his no doubt blast into the leftfield bleachers to end the game. Beimel threw Pablo nothing but changeups--never challenging him. Almost afraid to give up the lead--which he did anyway. Just sad.
13 Hits and 7 Runs scored by Our Offense tonight--and we lost again.
Ryan Zimmerman got the drama out of the way early when he singled off Matt Cain on a 1-1 pitch in the very first inning. But even Our Number 11 probably can't enjoy completely what he's accomplishing right now. Not with these highest of high's only to be let down by the lowest of lows.
Nick Johnson unloaded on Cain in the 7th with a well struck opposite field three run homer to the left centerfield bleachers at AT&T Park. NJ's power is coming back and he's pretty close to playing All-Star Caliber Ball. What a great pleasure to see him healthy and playing well. So many have doubted him and he's proving everyone wrong. Sohna and I couldn't feel happier for the man.
Not only is Cristian Guzman still swinging at everything and getting hits--two more tonight, but Wil Nieves has found his batting stroke as well. Replacing the injured Jesus Flores, Nieves with three hits tonight raising his average to .280.
Finally--and this is worth repeating--some didn't appreciate what we had, until we lost him. But when healthy--Sohna and I would take Chad Cordero back as Our Closer in a heartbeat. "The Chief Cardiologist" was tantalizing and scary, but "The Chief" had the mindset and the ability to close the door on most every threat. Aptitude which doesn't exist with our relievers this day.
As Sohna says: "It seems no one can fill Chad Cordero's shoes."
Tonight's InGame Photos--Marcio Jose Sanchez (AP)