Tuesday, May 05, 2009

No One Wanted It

Twenty runs scored, by both teams, were not enough.

Neither were 24 hits.

Or 13 Walks.

10 Coaching Visits To The Mound.

3 errors.

Batters 6 for 27 with Runners in Scoring Position.

And maybe, just maybe, one of the worst combined bullpen appearances by competitors in some time.

No One Wanted It Today.

Our Washington Nationals and The Houston Astros played to a standstill this afternoon at Nationals Park. A rain suspended game, that some would probably say--deserves to be finished outside the comfy confines of Washington, DC. Because that is exactly what happens when no one seizes the moments at hand to win any ball game. A 10 to 10 tie in the bottom of the 11th inning that simply could not be finished--nor did it seem anybody wanted to. The Baseball Gods giving Washington and Houston every opportunity to finish this rather long affair. And with the never ceasing rain in The Nation's Capital looming large once again--neither team took advantage of opportunity given to put each other away.

There was some pretty bad baseball played today on South Capitol Street.

Arguably, the most disappointing home affair this year--worse than the three straight last inning losses to The Florida Marlins during the first homestand of 2009. Our Washington Nationals were handed this game--like twice--and couldn't close the door. Washington gave up the lead three times. Seven lead changes overall between the two teams--the upper hand always wasted when mediocre play frustrated many of those in the announced crowd of 19,328.

Seriously, you could go on and on rehashing this one. But it's just not worth it. Two teams struggling in the standings, attempting to right themselves put on a performance today not worthy of a winner. Like Mexican Jumping Beans, Cinco De Mayo 2009 found baseballs hoping all over the park, around the plate, but never landing where each team needed to close this one out.

Yeah, Our Washington Nationals handed out "Corre, Teddy, Corre!" (Run, Teddy, Run!!) Tee-Shirts this afternoon for the first 10,000 patrons at Nationals Park, but maybe, just maybe, those handsome white tees should have read "Anda, Jugadore de Beisbol, Anda!!" (Walk, Baseball Player, Walk!!) Usher Captain Pete--playing Official Greeter this Tuesday.

Because all 13 free passes issued by both Our Washington Nationals and The Houston Astros played a major role in the unfinished outcome of this game. The walks transforming this Tuesday Afternoon Getaway Affair into a longer than necessary performance. Each and every time one team pulled ahead, their pitching would let them down. As enjoyable as it was to witness--from a DC standpoint--The Astros reliever Chris Sampson allowing 4 runs on 4 walks and 1 base hit in the bottom of the 6th--which put Washington back ahead again at 8 to 5. It was equally as annoying to watch Julian Tavarez and Garrett Mock combine to allow three hits and one walk--assisted by key error by Cristian Guzman--to tie this never ending affair back up again at 8 apiece. One of those no matter what offense you provide at the plate, your pitching is going to give it back--sometimes more.

Like when the Astros pulled back ahead 9-8 thanks to Garrett Mock not being able to find the plate in the 8th. And Washington slammed their way back ahead with "The Guz" slugging his first homer of the year in the bottom of the 8th--a two run shot--that seemingly put Washington in front for good. At least until Kip Wells allowed a bloop double to Houston's Hunter Pence down the rightfield line to lead off the 9th. Eventually, the tying and last run scored today, when the speedy Pence advanced to third on a ground out by Pudge Rodriguez and scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Geoff Blum. The 10 to 10 tie that was impossible to be advanced on by either team as the darkened skies let the moisture pour down on Nationals Park yet one more time.

Possible tears form The Baseball Gods, saddened over the poor performance witnessed on South Capitol Street this afternoon.

A stalemate that became suspended when the heavy rains continued on the already drenched field and neither Our Washington Nationals nor The Houston Astros could safely return to play this one out. A delay that will not be made up until July 9th--at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The very next time these two clubs meet again. A pick-up game that will find Washington THE HOME TEAM in a visiting ballpark. Elijah Dukes standing on first base with one out. And Josh Willingham stepping to the plate.

Suspended score from Nationals Park--where as ugly as the weather has been over the last week in the greater Washington area, these two teams played a Major League Baseball Game just as bad this afternoon--Our Washington Nationals 10 and The Houston Astros 10 is 11 truly amazing innings of play. No one wanted it. And, at least for two months--no one will be declared a winner.

Game Notes & Highlights

Pitching well into the 5th, Washington Starter Scott Olsen fell apart in the 5th. Sandwiched around a single, a sacrifice safe hit that was not played well, a walk and an intentional walk--Scott allowed two key doubles to Michael Bourn and Miguel Tejada scoring four total runs. He just sort of ran out of gas. And left this game down 5-2 on the scoreboard. A potential loss that was saved from the record books when for the second straight game Our Washington Nationals batted around in the 6th inning.

This time sending 12 batters to the plate to score 6 runs--most of whom walked home thanks to three bases loaded walks to Josh Willingham, Elijah Dukes and Jesus Flores from Chris Sampson. A Hit By Pitch with the bases loaded by Tim Byrdak on Nick Johnson and an error by Tejada off a routine grounder by "The Guz" that set up the final run of the frame. The Big Inning that got on track when Ryan Zimmerman extended his 23-Game Hitting Streak with an rbi single to right center three batters into this very long half inning.

Elijah Dukes got Washington on the board first with a no-doubter, two run home run over the left field wall in the 4th off Houston Starter Roy Oswalt scoring Nick Johnson before him. The Former NL All-Star Pitcher trying to regain his once stellar form. His top performance not coming today as Roy would only last into the 6th and leave after allowing four earned runs.

Solid pitching work when you consider what others brought to the mound this afternoon in his wake.

For Houston--Chris Sampson four runs allowed--two earned. Tim Byrdak allowed a Sampson inherited runner to score when he hit NJ with a pitch. Geoff Geary letting Washington back into the game and sending it to extra innings when he allowed a two run homer to Cristian Guzman in the bottom of the 8th. And LaTroy Hawkins was on the mound in the 11th when this game was suspended.

For Washington--Saul Rivera pitched a shutout 6th. Mr. Enthusiasm was flat out off the mark. Julian Tavarez had no zip on his pitches, was clearly frustrated and left this game after completing just 1/3rd of an inning of work. Eventually, Julian would be charged with three earned runs--thanks to Garrett Mock's command being just as ineffective. Our Number 49 allowing an inherited runner to tie this game up at eight in the 7th and then give up the go ahead run in the 8th when Mock lost control and Darin Erstad scored on a wild pitch. Another lead change when Washington came back on "The Guz'" homer--only to see Kip Wells give back the game tying 9th run in the 9th inning. A blown save that eventually sent this game into extra innings.

Cristian Guzman, Nick Johnson, Ryan Zimmerman and Elijah Dukes combining for 9 hits, 7 runs scored, and each slapping the baseball all over Nationals Park. Something Adam Dunn was unable to do this day--looking unsteady at the plate for the first time all season. Our Number 44 struck out three times and squibed nubbers back to the infield for two ground outs. Not his day, especially after Our Manager Manny Acta replaced Adam for defensive purposes in the 9th with Austin Kearns. Only to see his bullpen blow the lead again. Extra innings which found Adam Dunn's original batting order spot come up again. Kearns taking Dunn's place--struck out in the 11th frame--shortly before the rains came to conclude play for this day.

So, what happens if those players still in this game are not on the active roster come July 9th? Who is allowed to play if another is traded? If you are already out of the game and you a removed for someone else on the 25-man roster--can that player not with the team on this day--play? Does Ryan Zimmerman's 23-Game Hitting Streak count today. Or, is it set at 22, because this game is not official? Questions to be answered. Interest to play out on July 9th in Houston. Texas. In all my years playing and watching baseball, I don't ever recall being at a suspended game. Not once.

For Tee-Shirt Tuesday and Cinco De Mayo Day, Our Washington Nationals handed out "Corre, Teddy, Corre!!" (Run, Teddy, Run!) shirts to the first 10,000 fans.

And with Teddy celebrating Cinco De Mayo by running in a sombrero during the 4th Inning Presidents Race--Abe again took advantage of his fellow Rushmores and easily took the checkered flag. Just like 2008, Abe seems to win most every day in 2009--which is getting a little stale.

As The African Queen and I waited out the rain and eventual suspended game in The Stars & Stripes Club, we spent time chatting with Jenn. A fellow fan that enjoys coming to as many games of Our Washington Nationals as possible. All three of us must have chatted for about an hour--until we were told there would be no more baseball played today.

And finally, The 1924 World Series Pennant flying above the "A" in Nationals on the HDTV Scoreboard seems to literally be flying by a thread. The triangular pennant apparently loose from it's flag stand. A one point today, Sohna and I thought it was going to come completely undone and set sail across the ballpark. Someone needs to fix that before it does fly away.

Today's InGame Photos--Pablo Martinez Monsivais (AP)
All Other Photos--Nats320--All Rights Reserved


dcbatgirl said...

As it turns out, I'll be at the game in Houston on July 9, sitting a few rows behind the Nationals dugout. I'll do my best to make them feel like they really are the home team for what will hopefully a 2/3-inning game.

LetTeddyWin.com said...

Note: the stats for the game count, per the Elias Sports Bureau, so Zimmerman's hit streak is officially at 23 games.

Simon Oliver Lockwood said...

Zimmerman's hit streak is active. In the official records the game is counted as having been played on May 5, no matter when it's finished. You may remember the discussion about A-Rod's 500th home run last year in which a suspended game was involved.

If there are any new players on the roster, they can be subbed in during the continuation. "So You Think You Baseball" covered this question back in the 50s -- I remember a book compliation of these features in the late 60s.

yazzy1956 said...

We had a visitor from NY in town yesterday who treated us to front row seats down the right field line. He loved our beautiful ballpark, but it didn't take him long to grasp our plight when he said late in the game, "I knew from their record they weren't that good, but do they always play this bad?"

SenatorNat said...

If Nieves throws to first; if Z-Man doesn't lose the handle on a double play ball; if Guz doesn't play dropsy on the put-out at second, and if Mock doesn't toss the latest of about 8 WPs this season thus far, Nats take the gifts from the pathetic Astros bullpen and go on the road having won three straight. Now they face white hot Dodgers at their home - tough order if not impossible for Cabrera, who is fast becoming the first major casualty of the bad start for the team. If he gets crushed, I think CS is coming up to replace him in the rotation, regardless of Rizzo's quote today about team being out of shovel ready prospects...

The fielding miscues and Wild Pitches are infuriating - they just keep coming. If this team could field like the 2005 team, along with its current hitters up and down the line-up, it would be near .500 even with the pathetic bullpen and spotty starting. The botched plays in the field, especially involving plays around short and second base have been comical and tragic: Anderson Hernandez and Guz should be able to settle the situation down, over time, and Johnson remains excellent first baseman. Next pitcher to throw WP has to appear with three extra arms taped to his pitching arm, a la, Statutory Plaza...It is so disheartening to see such lower minor league styled play, night and day in and out.

Trust in the Williamham The Rain God. And set to launch in Houston, July 9 - unless he is no longer a National. All Strange.

Anonymous said...

I think ticket holders should receive some sort of voucher for another game. To not complete the game AND to not issue a rain check shows the lack of customer service this team provides. Some day I will be proud to be a Nats fans instead of it being a badge of honor.

Seymour Jones said...

Yes...they do. The Nats are real bad. It's more like a comedy show than a baseball game...support your local little league. More effort and enthusiasm.

Andrew Lang said...

Yazzy - When you are from NY, you expect perfection and yesterday was far from perfect but.....

The Nats didn't look great but how bad did Houston look? Their bullpen was worse.

Give credit to clutch hits by the Nats and look at the batting averages of the Nats starters!!! 5 of the 8 starting position players are batting over .300 and Dunn who is at .282 has a robust .445 OBP. Give Manny some more bullpen help and this team is easily at 11-13 or better instead of 7-17

Lots to be thankful for given the horrible start to the season.

Olsen was victimized by bloop hit(s) as was Kip Wells and Saul looked good and Hanrahan got himself out of trouble twice in scoreless relief. No comment on Tavares and Mock...

All in all, 2 great comebacks in this game and a lot to look forward to!

Tom said...

So our bullpen is not the only bullpen in trouble? Who would have thought that? Astros, Indians, Orioles, Yankees, Mets . . . .

Anonymous said...

Went to the game and LOVED it. First time to the new park and it was great. Wish there had been more fans. What a crazy game! I've never seen three straight batters walked for three straight runs! A couple of homers, lousy pitching and offensive (!) game. And I even got a t-shirt! Go Nats!

paul said...

I hope everyone is enjoying the Nats' stirring comeback tonight! The inverse of Tuesday? (Have I just jinxed us?)

paul said...

One more thing about the thriller tonight: That was the best play I have ever seen Cristian Guzman make, hands down, and one of the better plays I have ever seen any shortstop make. Look for it on the Nats' web site (assuming you went to bed) and let me know if you don't agree.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Paul: That was a tremendous catch and behind the back shovel by Guzman.