Thursday, April 15, 2010
Character is what Ryan Zimmerman has always had. This afternoon at Citizens Bank Park The Z-Man stepped off the bench after not playing for five days in any game, while nursing a left hamstring injury, and proceeded to drive out the game winning two-run pinch hit home run in the top of the 8th inning.
That's something many have come to expect from Ryan.
Character is also what Our Washington Nationals showed by coming from behind and beating The Philadelphia Phillies after being trounced for two straight days.
That's something many probably did not expect from D.C.'s Team.
The African Queen and I didn't have a chance to watch or hear much of today's game as we were out all afternoon in a meeting. But nothing could please us more than when we turned on the radio in our car and heard Charlie Slowes & Dave Jageler describing the final frame. Really, as Jags mentioned in the 9th, what was Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel thinking when his counterpart--Jim Riggleman of Washington--bluffed that he would send Adam Kennedy to the plate to bat for Matt Capps in the top of the 9th with two outs? That is, if and only if, Philly didn't pitch to Pudge Rodriguez--up at the plate before him.
That was a character development of a whole new sort.
Washington had two runners on base at that point in the game--only holding a slim one run lead--in a bandbox park. Yet amazingly, instead of walking the Future Hall Of Famer, Pudge got to swing his lumber and drove home both Ian Desmond and Willy Taveras with two key Nationals insurance runs. Enough to give D.C.'s Team just enough of a cushion to eventually claim victory.
Dave Jageler called Charlie Manuels move to NOT walk Pudge and call Riggleman's Bluff--STUNNING. And it was because that non-move by Philly became not only a game changer, but a character builder as well for Washington. With Riggleman showing a poker face, The Phillies were unsure of Washington's capabilities. Folks, that's a win greater than victory itself.
Philadelphia was unsure of what to do.
Final Score from Citizens Bank Park where makeup ruled the day--Our Washington Nationals 7 and The Philadelphia Phillies 5. Ryan Zimmerman set the tone for Curly "W" Number 4 of 2010 with his pinch-hit home run. But the ability to rise to the occasion today did not just belong to Our Number 11. From Our Manager Jim Riggleman on down--Washington showed a new and important character development. Just enough gumption to actually get Philadelphia's Fanatics to boo their very own team--for losing.
That's a character change worth cheering for any day.
PS--Four Wins and Five Losses to start the season is a whole lot better than going 1-8. With a tough early schedule, Our Washington Nationals are least winning games without playing their best.
Today's In-Game Photo--Matt Slocum (AP)