Monday, July 27, 2009

Well Dave--There's Your Extra Point

Working late this evening, The African Queen and I didn't start watching tonight's game against The Milwaukee Brewers until Adam Dunn shook and rattled The Miller Park left field stands with his finest defensive play of the year. Chasing FLop's foul fly Our Number 44 ran smack dab into the railing--Felipe Lopez was out. Miller Park had begun to feel the pain.

For from that moment on Our Washington Nationals laid it all out on the line--delivering blow after blow to The Brew Crew. Down 2-0 heading to the bottom of the 5th, Josh Willingham unloaded--for not just one--but two GRAND SLAMS in consecutive innings. 13 runs over two innings--the first 10 scores all at the mercy of The Brewers Jeff Suppan. It's not often a starting pitcher lasts long enough in any game, while getting pounded, to allow 10 earned runs.

Better yet, Willingham's second grand slam in the 6th would not have happened if with Alberto Gonzalez on first base, Jason Bergmann had not basically blown another sacrifice bunt by bouncing the baseball down on home plate with his bat. Called fair by Home Plate Umpire Ed Rapuano--Milwaukee's Catcher Jason Kendall tagged out Our Number 57 first BEFORE throwing to his shortstop J.J. Hardy. Gonzalez stopped running, Hardy tagged second and threw to first base. Alberto was safe because Hardy did not realize the force play was off.

A mental mistake that directly led to Willingham's Second Grand Slam with two outs in the bottom of the 6th. And getting Dave Jageler to bemoan on WFED that Washington had missed the "EXTRA POINT" with that first of two touchdown scores in the 5th frame. Taken care of in the top of the 8th when Ryan Zimmerman slammed out his 18th Round Tripper of 2009.

"Well Dave--There's Your Extra Point!!" smirked Charlie Slowes. The Boys Of Summer just started laughing--at not only their sense of humor but another laugher of a ball game. A romp over The Milwaukee Brewers. A blowout just like Saturday Night's 13-1 crush of The San Diego Padres.

This game getting so out of hand, The Brew Crew Faithful at Miller Park were BOOING.

Final Score from The City Of Suds (Beer), Our Washington Nationals 14 and The Milwaukee Brewers 6 thanks to two incredible offensive outbursts in the top of the 5th and 6th innings tonight. Curly "W" Number 31 witnessed Josh Willingham becoming just the 13th player in Major League History to hit grand slams in consecutive innings. As Dave Jageler mentioned on the radio--that feat is "rarer than a perfect game".

Incidentally, Frank Robinson is one of those 13 to also accomplish the feat. On June 26th, 1970 at RFK Stadium, "Frank Robby" hit consecutive grand slams off first Washington's Joe Coleman and then Joe Grzneda. And just like Willingham's tonight, Frank Robinson hit his in the 5th and 6th frames. The only two grand slams of The Hall Of Famer's illustrious career (Amazing Actually). Funny story--Frank Robinson--to this day--says he never forgave his teammate, Paul Blair, for making the last out with the bases loaded that June, 1970 day in the top of the 9th. The bases were loaded again at that time and the man who later became Our Washington Nationals First Manager--wanted to make HISTORY with his third grand slam hit in one Major League Game--never accomplished. Not once. Ever. In Major League Baseball. To This Day.

Having to both be at work at 4AM tomorrow--Tuesday morning--that will pretty much do it for The African Queen and I tonight. Five wins in our last six games played in "The Riggleman Era".

What a night. Sohna said when I screamed out "WOW!!" after Josh Willingham's Second Grand Slam--she is sure EVERYBODY within a one mile circumference of our home in Alexandria, Virginia--Heard Me. Too Bad.

PS--Nyjer Morgan, runs everything out, watches the game play out in front of him, takes extra bases, gets himself in scoring position and throws out Jody Gerut at the plate. The more you watch him, the better he becomes before your eyes. Really, he is exciting to watch. And he leads The National League in Outfield Assists (11).

Tonight's InGame Photo--Morry Gash (AP)


hugh said...

What a different team since Morgan joined the Nats. I think he has helped catalyze a better team. (Also sacrificing an Empire kosher rubber chicken, instead of a treif chicken, this time, didn't hurt-see Washington, Post DCSportsBog story titled Midnight Baseball).

Anonymous said...

I count five wins in the last SEVEN games, not six. Two Ws against the Mets, loss to STL, loss to SD, two Ws over SD and a W over MIL.

Anonymous said...

Special kudos to the pitchers on their fundamentals and batting.

Outside of the horrific fielding by the pitchers Friday night, the bunting, batting, and fielding their positions has been a strength.

Watching Stammen lay down that bunt and even that crazy bunt by Bergmann (not great)shows what rarely was done last year in so many missed sacrifice attempts so 1 out of 2 is better than 0 - 2. Last year the Nats were not good in the little things by their pitchers and it is nice that emphasis was given.

JD Martin at the plate on Saturday was huge in the outcome as was Stammen frustrating Suppan and his pitch count while fouling off numerous pitches then smacking a gap double.

Don't look now but Washington is only 7 games behind San Diego for the cellar dweller. If you look for a bright spot, maybe it would be overtaking San Diego.

Anonymous said...

I like your comment about Morgan. As you know to me this is one of the underpinnings of winning baseball organizations and why it was so frustrating to watch Lopez, Milledge and the like the past few years. Rizzo is a old school baseball guy and his influence is starting to show.

SenatorNat said...

Last night may have been the Defining Moment for the Nationals in the midst of their darkest season - the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel is peeking through. The team began the game as it had so many times earlier in the year, getting runners to second with no one out, and not scoring. And, the game begins with a muffed play in left by our Big Loveable Lug - but, the Lug hangs in there, and hits the relay guy, who guns it home, and Bard does not screw up the tag. Morgan follows the script thereafter by charging the ball and gunning a guy at home, who actually gets his hand in ahead of Bard for the fifth time this year, but ump gives Nats the call.

Playing hard to keep the game close instead of folding and looking like clowns. After Bergmann's bunt, Riggles actually engages with the home-plate umpire: he is animated in the dugout, too, not looking like a wax figure. Riggles puts in a defensive line-up to hold the lead, removing Guz, too. He changes pitchers slightly differently than Acta - subtle but important distinctions in style.

His line-up needs to be modified still, as I have repeatedly suggested, to have Willingham bat 5th and Johnson 6th, and Nieves needs to play regularly and bat 7th - Bard is just too big a fielding liability, and his bat is not that great. Gonzalez should play regularly at 2nd and bat 8th. Truth be told, based on style and statistics, Willingham should bat third behind "New York-New Jersey" and Guz, with Z-Man fifth, but brass would flip over that move, and Riggles wants to keep the job. Still...

Nats are running more and that is helping. Riggles less predictable than Acta to the opposing manager.

Johnson is not going to SF Giants now that they picked up the Indians guy - unlikely he will go anywhere. Question then becomes: do Nats pay him $8 million or so for next three years, or let him go (most likely), and play Willingham at first, and Dukes in right next year?

If the alternate plan is to have Dunn at first, they will lose some precious games early next year, before switching him back to left where he can do the least damage.

Drew Storen will be here in relief in September - will be interesting to see if he is used as closer or not. McDougal may have competition.

Nats will sign Strasburg for $24 million, same amount as they shall save in 2010 by not paying Young, Belliard, Kearns, Cordero, and Johnson. Big question is how much they will be willing to pay for free agent starter; reliever; and position player. My guess: no more than $10 million total, keeping payroll under $50 million for 2010...

If team goes 25-38 to complete the season 56-106, and Strasburg signs, it is likely that Rizzo and Riggles are back next year with two year deals. "R&R."
Available, mature, economical. The brass likely to keep the current coaches in tact, too. Goodness knows, Nats must demonstrate their Rudder to Scott and Steven, eh?

Trust in career years for Dunn, Johnson, Willingham. And a team finishing 50 games under .500, with a bullet. All Billboard.

Anonymous said...

Nats will sign Strasburg for $24 million, same amount as they shall save in 2010 by not paying Young, Belliard, Kearns, Cordero, and Johnson. Big question is how much they will be willing to pay for free agent starter; reliever; and position player. My guess: no more than $10 million total, keeping payroll under $50 million for 2010...

Where do you come up with your stuff. The Nats will pay nowhere near $24 million unless they are buying out arbitration years upfront.

An Briosca Mor said...

"Last night may have been the Defining Moment for the Nationals in the midst of their darkest season - the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel is peeking through."

SenatorNat, when you film your commercial for MASN will you do it in front of the blue screen and have them superimpose a picture of the giant iconic baseball behind you? Could the light peeking through at the end of the tunnel be bouncing off of it?

SenatorNat said...

I make all my stuff up, taking it out of a warm place that I try to keep out of the sun at the beach!

Seriously, should S&M do a deal with S&S, it will probably take 2X the last highest signing bonus given to a pitcher, plus. The fact that Boros starts at half of what Dice-NOT O.K. got from the Red Sox is key here - he will be disinclined to go much less than 20-25% of that $103 million contract, which is how I arrive at around $24m. The arbitration years issue may be part of the negotiation, but only to jettison it at the midnight hour by S&M in favor of arriving at a bonus number which is paid for by deletion of current players, as I expressed. Tracking the Nats is not rocket science - put a hard cap of $50m on payroll plus signing bonuses, and brass is free to make all the moves it wishes...

Trust in visceral commentary, worth all the $$ you pay to get it. All in fun...

DND said...

Hey we were at the Monday night game, neat park, nice fans and a great game