Friday, October 02, 2009
The common denominator over this now current five game winning streak by Our Washington Nationals has been the contributions from all those young players General Manager Mike Rizzo needs to evaluate for 2010. Everyone knows Ryan Zimmerman is the Gold Standard--setting the bar high. And in doing so is helping to raise the level of those others playing alongside him. In some cases, inexperienced but talented teammates (like Ian Desmond or justin Maxwell) need to learn how to play Major League Baseball from example. For others--guys that once were highly touted but faltered (like Mike MacDougal), are now looking to resurrect their careers.
So, just take a look at each and every game since this past Monday Night beginning with The New York Mets at Nationals Park.
September 28th--Seven strong innings from Ross Detwiler, his first Major League Win. MacDougal his 17th save. Desmond, Maxwell and Mike Morse all big contributors at the plate combining for all seven Washington hits and both runs--including Morse's third homer in as many days.
September 29th--Strong outing from J.D. Martin--Tyler Clippard and MacDougal pitching three innings of shutout relief. Our Number 54 with his 18th save. Elijah Dukes and Desmond with four of Washington's 8 hits. Ian with his second home run and Ryan Zimmerman with his 103rd RBI in a 4-3 win over The Mets. Of course, Dukes with arguably The Defensive Play Of This Year to end the game.
September 30th--to be remembered for some time. Justin Maxwell's Grand Slam with two out and Washington down to their last strike against The Mets' Francisco Rodriguez in the final home game of 2009. Zimmerman with his 33rd Home Run earlier in the game. And maybe forgotten, a very solid seven innings from John Lannan. A total team effort by a DC's Team that did not give up--AGAINST ALL ODDS.
October 1st--Garrett Mock with a solid six innings of work. Clippard with nearly three full innings of relief. MacDougal with his 19th Save by recording the final out--thanks to a nice diving stop and throw to 2nd Base by Ryan Zimmerman. The Z-Man with two key doubles, with one rbi and the scoring of the winning run--knocked in on a single by Pete Orr.
And then tonight, October 2nd--Livan Hernandez making it into the 7th, recording his 2nd win in six decisions since joining Washington (and 9th overall). Mike MacDougal with his 20th save in 21 attempts in just four months playing in DC. Desmond again a catalyst with a home run and triple, two runs scored and three rbi. Maxwell with two additional hits. Zimmerman with one hit, two walks and two runs scored. Even Adam Dunn broke out of his slump with two doubles.
Every single one of those players mentioned is hoping to play a major role with Our Washington Nationals come 2010. Contributors All over the last few weeks of 2009. The perfect time to showcase yourself to Baseball Operations. Staff examining and deciding the True Value of the current talent on Our Roster. By not sitting the youngsters down and letting those veterans needing to find their way one final chance--General Manager Mike Rizzo is truly getting an understanding of what Our Washington Nationals have in house right now. And what they need to search for outside the organization to improve themselves this off-season.
The common denominator is that all the above mentioned players are hungry, not complacent--not set in their ways. Each striving, some might say determined to get better. And many probably inspired by Our Standard Bearer--yes Ryan Zimmerman--who by his actions alone--is helping to mold Washington into a better team. This current group needs to learn, and to build confidence. Success which only becomes by throwing people out on the diamond in pressure situations and letting them find their way--get more comfortable.
As stated many times--Baseball is a team game--and Our Washington Nationals found out this past week what happens when you get contributions from all--including those who didn't have the faith in oneself beforehand.
And it doesn't matter that some may call these games meaningless. These experiences count and so does the maturation process that comes along with it.
Tonight's InGame Photo--John Amis (AP)