Saturday, September 19, 2009
Baseball always exposes a weakness. Deficiencies in any player's game that can't be hid. This afternoon in Queens, Ian Desmond was the exact benefactor a baseball finding him, challenging him, and then getting the best of him. Only in The Great Game can anyone expect such a consistency.
This afternoon at Citi Field, Interim Manager Jim Riggleman started Our Number 6 in rightfield. A position he has never played before in his professional career. A decision reportedly made to give Desmond more opportunities to play, and better feature his skill sets. A fuller resume to compete for a full time job in 2010 and beyond.
Well that may all be well for the long term, but Ian was exposed when The Mets David Wright drilled a liner to right in the bottom of the 7th inning this Saturday afternoon--the sun field--on this cloudless and bright sunny day. A screamer that if Desmond had just stayed basically in his set track, the baseball would have found his mitt. Instead, his instinctive move was to move in on the ball. A big mistake realized almost immediately--as Ian leaped and watched Wright's stroked baseball sail right over his head and to the wall. A mental error, ruled a double, that completely changed around this well pitched game--then tied at one apiece.
Gifted a two base hit, The Mets were then gifted a run when Jeff Francouer followed with a clean double down the leftfield line scoring Wright. The go ahead run upped to two after Daniel Murphy stroked what appeared to be a routine grounder to the left of Adam Dunn at 1st Base. A more difficult than expected pickup that exposed Our Number 44's defensive capabilities when that baseball scooted right past him and down the right field line for a ruled run scoring error.
Having allowed just one cleanly hit baseball in this turnabout frame, John Lannan now found his fine work to that point exposed. Set up for an eventual fall by two bad defensive plays that--on most days--would have been fielded cleanly and got him out of the inning scoreless. The uncovering of any imperfection, any flaw, that always comes back to haunt any team in the game of baseball.
Unquestionably, any opening is always unearthed. And Our Washington Nationals found out exactly that, the hard way, this afternoon in the bottom of the 7th inning when both a developing prospect and our powering hitting first baseman were exposed in their new defensive positions. Two mistakes that proved costly. So much so, not even a gifted run granted back by The New York Mets' Sean Green--who threw away a sure final out in the top of the 8th on a Cristian Guzman infield dribbler--was enough to over come the hazards of a major league baseball, a hardball, finding two players for Our Washington Nationals in the field who could not handle the balls hit their way.
Final score from Citi Field where both John Lannan and Ex-National Tim Redding pitched fine games this afternoon: The New York Mets 3 and Our Washington Nationals 2. Loss Number 97 in 148 Games was frustrating because it's hard to watch a young and talented infielder placed in a no win situation without much practice. The taking away of his confidence, even if momentarily, when Ian Desmond was exposed in rightfield for one play. The defensive non-catch of this game in the bottom of the 7th, that exposed Our Washington Nationals to yet another defeat.
One bad half-inning in the field ruined one really good ball game. And ruined John Lannan's excellent effort on the mound before his family and friends in Queens.
Game Notes & Highlights
John Lannan was efficient as could possibly be on the mound. Throwing strikes, getting hitters out. Only 45 pitches thrown through five complete. 74 after finishing seven complete, 50 for strikes. 20 of those pitches coming in the bottom of the 7th when his defense failed him. Really, too bad, as Our Number 31 looked like his old self from earlier this season. Keeping the ball around the plate and letting his fielders do a lot work. He also helped himself by picking Luis Castillo off 1st base to end the 3rd.
Lannan's good friend, Tim Redding, was just as good. John's former mentor on Our Washington Nationals pitched seven strong innings of four hit, two walk ball. He struck out four Nats, allowed two runs, one earned, and displayed a confidence and talent missing during most of his 2009 campaign in a Mets Jersey.
The Mets scored their first run in the bottom of the 2nd when Jeff Francouer ripped his first of two doubles off Lannan this day and was sent home on a Daniel Murphy single. Francouer then slammed his second double in the 7th off John after Desmond misplayed Wright's liner to right. And New York scored their final tally of this game when Murphy's grounder got past Dunn at 1st base moments later for their 3rd run.
Washington's first run scoring on a swinging bunt by "The Guz" in the top of the 7th. An infield single for Cristian Guzman advanced to second on a Ryan Zimmerman ground out and rushed across home plate when Adam Dunn knocked in his 100th RBI of the season on a clean single to center. DC's final tally coming only thanks to an amazing throwing error by New York's Sean Green. With Jorge Padilla standing on third base pinch running for Josh Bard who had doubled earlier in the frame, "The Guz" hit a seemingly easy right back to the pitcher dribbler. The Mets' reliever, Green, picked up the baseball, had all the time in the world--and proceeded to throw the baseball past his first baseman, Daniel Murphy--and all the way down the right field line. One of those shake your head mistakes that occur on some sort of regular basis in the game.
Just incredible watching that error transpire.
You never truly know what you will see next in baseball and this afternoon there were three defensive plays not made which proved this point yet again.
And finally, new backup catcher Jamie Burke made his Washington debut this afternoon behind the plate in the bottom of the 8th. Burke given jersey number 32, recently worn by Kip Wells earlier this season and Chad Cordero in season's now past.
Today's InGame Photos--Paul J. Bereswill (AP)