Sunday, June 14, 2009
The African Queen had been out in our yard working her garden, transplanting plants, redesigning and landscaping. She walks in as the bottom of the 8th inning this afternoon was about to play out from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.
"How are we doing?" she asked.
"We blew the lead and now it's tied at four," I replied.
Sohna states: "When it comes to a tie game, we can't win late."
Her prognosis was dead on correct.
Ron Villone proceeds to allow a lead off double to Carlos Pena.
Then, the real fun began.
With Ben Zobrist at the plate for The Tampa Bay, The Rays Second Baseman fouls a pitch from Our Number 41 down the leftfield line. A potential out that wasn't when--believe it or not--Our 3rd Baseman for this afternoon, Willie Harris, runs smack dab into Nelson Robledo--one of Washington's Bullpen catchers warming up Joe Beimel in the bullpen.
No Nationals Bullpen Member was protecting those working our sidelines. Instead, a Tampa Bay Rays Ball Boy didn't say a word. Who would expect him too? And when Willie Harris was stopped dead in his tracks by a late moving Robledo--letting the ball fall safely to the ground. Maybe the line of the year was shouted out by Dave Jageler on WFED.
"You can't draw it up. You can't draw it up. Snakebit is the only way to describe this."
Even though this latest of blunders didn't come back to haunt Our Washington Nationals (Zobrist would strike out moments later), it was the precursor of just how bad things have gotten for DC's Team. With two strikes on pinch hitter Willy Aybar, Aybar literally threw his bat at a Villone pitch just to stay alive. A resulted two hopper toward third base that HIT THE BAG and bounded in a different direction toward leftfield. A MAYBE infield single that resulted in Carlos Pena scoring THE GAME WINNING RUN.
Moments later, Charlie Slowes comments: "We just found out how it would slip away today!!"
But that was just the straw that broke the camels back.
There were other shake your head moments that lead to another disappointing climax.
Earlier, in the top of the 7th--Adam Dunn struck out looking with runners on 1st and 3rd on a pitch too close to take.
Ross Detwiler allowed too many walks (five total) and one crucial two out free pass to Gabe Gross in the bottom of the 6th. Then gave up Washington's second home run in three days to Gabe Kapler to tie this game at four.
Elijah Dukes eventually cost Washington another run in the bottom of the 4th when upon catching a deep fly off the bat of Gabe Gross he threw the baseball to Alberto Gonzalez--the cutoff man standing between 2nd and 3rd--instead of throwing behind the running Carlos Pena to third base and nailing Ben Zobrist at second. It was a bad decision. And Zobrist would eventually score Tampa Bay's second run of the day on a sacrifice bunt by Dioner Navarro.
And although Dukes would score Washington's third run of the day on a double by Gonzalez earlier in the 4th, he was almost picked off by Tampa's Pena on a routine ground out to first base--when he inexplicably ran to third while Adam Dunn was standing there--not moving--knowing any attempt to score would result in an out.
Mental mistakes that were on display all day long in Sunny Florida.
In the top of the second after Alberto Gonzalez singled to plate the first of his three RBI's this day, he also made a bad baserunning decision when he attempted to advance to third base on a single to right by Anderson Hernandez. Easily thrown out at 3rd, and running on his own, Our Number 12 had committed the Cardinal Sin and got thrown out at 3rd to end the inning.
Yeah, Our Washington Nationals had the lead, again for the third straight day against The Tampa Bay Rays. And each time, found a new way to lose in dramatic fashion.
Final Score from Tropicana Field where loss number 45 of 2009, against just 16 wins, will certainly only fuel more speculation about the tenure of Our Manager Manny Acta--The Tampa Bay Rays 5 and Our Washington Nationals 4. Snakebit may well be the word of the day as passed forward by Dave Jageler and Washington may need some fresh Karma--but they put themselves in this position to lose today. And as everyone knows--anything can happen in a tie ballgame.
PS--Interestingly, on WTOP this afternoon at 12:50PM, Ken Rosenthal did a live interview on air. Although he didn't deny anything previously reported, he admitted that changing Manny for Jim Riggleman was swapping equal parts. And that no matter what management decides for the short term--it's not going to help in 2009. He also clearly stated: this is "not the fault of Manny."
As Sohna said after listening to Rosenthal: "He didn't sound as confident about his remarks" as he did yesterday on National Television with The Fox Network. It's going to be interesting what happens, if anything, over the next 48 hours.
And finally--The African Queen and I support Our Washington Nationals. Win or Lose, we are cheering for them to succeed. We suffer alongside them in their losses and rejoice in their wins. We are fans and we are not ashamed of that--as much as a few attempt to blast us anonymously in attempts to hurt us in the comments area. We don't suffer through such foolishness. One of these days, Our Washington Nationals will be a winner and proudly Sohna and I will know we stood behind them during the tough times. And there is nothing wrong with that.
Today's InGame Photo--Brian Blanco (AP)