Sunday, April 18, 2010

Money Back Guarantee

With his eyes looking straight down as he walked toward the home dugout, Jason Marquis exited an embarrassed man this Sunday afternoon. The boos were raining down from throughout Nationals Park. The time was 1:54PM. During the 16 minutes Marquis had pitched from the very start of today's game for Our Washington Nationals, not one Milwaukee Brewer had recorded a single out.

Not one.

A fan sitting to the left of us asked: "Now, how much are we paying this guy?"

SBF: "$15 million over two years."

The African Queen: "Do you want your money back?"

Fan: "Yeah, is the 30-Day Money Back Guarantee still in effect?"

If such a return was in place, most in the announced crowd of 18,789 probably would have at least checked with their customer service representatives after watching this performance. Seven Brewers stepped to the plate in the top of the first inning to bat against Washington's Starter--four singled, one walked and two (yes, two) were hit by pitch. Three of whom scored before Our Number 21 was summarily removed from the game by Our Manager Jim Riggleman.

Pitching Coach Steve McCatty made an appearance after just four batters in an attempt to settle down Marquis. Three hitters later, Riggleman was asking for the ball. The hook was given. And Jason was gone from the game.

Yet believe it or not--these dire consequences only got worse after his departure. Yeah, it really did.

In setting a new Washington Nationals high of runs allowed in any inning--The Milwaukee Brewers continued their own best first inning record pace in their team history with an infield single, a sacrifice fly, another walk and then the knock out blow--a Grand Slam off the bat of Craig Counsell--all with Miguel Batista on the mound for Washington.

32 minutes into this affair, the scoreboard read Milwaukee 10 and Our Washington Nationals Zero. Never since baseball returned to The Nation's Capital had any previous versions of D.C.'s Teams given up so many runs in ANY INNING--let alone the first. The previous record--eight. The last time that happened--June 26th, 2009 at Camden Yards in Baltimore.

Marquis' inability to pitch effectively and Batista's failure to control the early damage--spelled defeat for Our Washington Nationals not 35 minutes after the 1:38PM start. With such a large deficit, there was plenty of time to recover--which Washington did thanks to the continued hot hitting of Pudge Rodriquez, especially. But as it turned out, those 10 runs posted on the board to begin this game by The Milwaukee Brewers proved far too many to overcome.

Our Washington Nationals did battle back all the remainder of this afternoon. They pulled within three runs at one point and even had two decent chances to possibly tie. But when the final out was recorded at 5:07PM Washington's offensive production was not the story. Jason Marquis' third straight poor starting assignment since the beginning of the regular season was. From the moment Jason began throwing in Spring Training, 2010--he's not been his old self. No consistency in his work, almost a flustered appearance on the mound. Having no idea what Jason Marquis problem may be right now--it's clear that something must be done about it. But there is just no way Baseball Management is not going to give Jason every opportunity to right himself.

To their credit, Our Washington Nationals never gave up until that 27th and final out was recorded on South Capitol this chilly and cold day. And in fact, Jim Riggleman actually disputed a call at 2nd base in the bottom of the 9th with Washington down by four with two outs. A display of pride worth recognizing, but their first inning follies, began by Marquis' inadequate start, doomed any hope of a Washington Curly "W".

Final Score from Nationals Park where any thoughts of a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee in Major League Baseball on any contractual issue was at least fun to contemplate--The Milwaukee Brewers 11 and Our Washington Nationals 7. Jason Marquis was a big disappointment again today. A major off-season free agent signing expected to be the mainstay at the top of the Washington's pitching rotation--has been anything but. Needing to pull himself together, Marquis will assuredly be given more chances. Although Jim Riggleman can't continue to expect his batting lineup to continually over compensate for what has been through the first 12 games of 2010--a shaky starting rotation.

Good thing Livan's been on top of his game.

As mentioned previously, you can't win consistently giving up 9 runs per game to The Philadelphia Phillies. And you may never win ANY BALLGAME allowing 10 runs to The Milwaukee Brewers before your very own side has even taken their very first hacks at the plate. Everyone knows wins are never promised and no one is going to be giving any money back for failure, but it sure would help if our starting pitching would provide better support to keep Our Washington Nationals into most every game they play.

Solid & consistent pitching is the only way to guarantee continued success.

Game Notes & Highlights

Jason Marquis' numbers speak for themselves: 0 Innings Pitched, 4 hits, 1 walk, 2 hit by pitch, 7 earned runs. Marquis' ERA after three starts--a mind boggling 20.25.

After giving up the grand slam to Counsell, Miguel Batista completed five full innings. He provided the necessary distance that allowed Washington to pull back into this game--if only momentarily. Batista wasn't great, three runs on three hits and four walks prove that. But what Our Number 43 did was slow down the game and let his teammates attempt a miracle comeback--which fell short.

Every single time Washington scored today, Pudge Rodriguez was right in the middle of the action. Hot to start the season, Pudge was on fire again today. Three hits, 2 runs scored and 1 rbi. For the second consecutive day he was on the cusp of another huge day at the plate, until he grounded out with Josh Willingham on second to end this game. Rodriguez scored Washington's first run in the 2nd; sustained a four run rally in the 5th with an rbi single scoring Cristian Guzman. And doubled in the 7th while eventually scoring Washington's final run of this game on a beautifully stroked double down the leftfield line by Ian Desmond.

Desmond's double which brought the score to this game to its closest margin after the 1st frame was played (10-7)--set up The Defensive Play Of This Game. With Washington rallying in the 7th, Adam Kennedy slashed a slicing single to centerfield off a pitch from Milwaukee's Manny Parra. As 3rd Base Coach Pat Listach waved the speedy Desmond home with two outs--The Brewers' Centerfielder--Carlos Gomez--swiftly moved in on the baseball charging in his direction. As Ian headed for home, Carlos scooped up the baseball and unfurled a marvelous one-hop throw to his catcher Gregg Zaun. Only problem, Desmond arrived at the same time as the ball. With everyone rising in anticipation of the impending collision, Zaun corralled the baseball in his catcher's mitt, smothered it with his right hand--AND THEN GOT BARRELED OVER BY IAN DESMOND. Without delay, Home Plate Umpire Mike Everitt with the definitive "OUT CALL!!" Desmond had run over Zaun, but Gregg had not dropped the baseball. The 7th inning over. The Rally over. And as it turned, any further comeback by Our Washington Nationals this day over as well--thanks to The Defensive Play Of This Game.

Speaking of Gomez, having never seen him play before--the young Milwaukee Centerfielder really impressed this weekend. Great arm, deft skills tracking fly balls and a little on the reckless side (in a good way). Carlos Gomez gives up his body to make plays in the field. He was good. He really was.

Adam Dunn continues to struggle at the plate. Today, 0-5 at the plate including two big outs in the 5th and 7th when any type of hit off his rather strong bat would have been keys to continuing Washington rallies. The 16 Washington base hits today were a season high--just not enough in bunches with runners in scoring position.

Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks--if his dreadlocks were just a bit longer--and you put him in Uniform Number 85 for The Pittsburgh Pirates, The African Queen and I believe he could double as a twin for Lastings Milledge. Weeks is bigger in size, but their physical similarities are striking.

Loved it when Weeks dropped the baseball attempting to transfer the ball from his glove hand to his throwing hand for a potential game ending double play off the bat of Josh Willingham and Riggleman protested the out call. 2nd Base Umpire Adrian Johnson made the right ruling but having Our Manager trot out there on the field with two outs and down four runs spoke volumes about his competitiveness. Jim Riggleman does not give up. And neither did his team today after being 10 runs down. Maybe, the best feeling to take from today's loss.

It was cold today at Nationals Park. We were bundled up, but nothing like this lady sitting one section over from us. Her fur parka a wise decision for sitting in the shade.

We love The Presidents Race, but as Sohna said today--it needs something fresher. Today again, the Un-Racing Sausages were on hand. Again, they got run down. Again, a President not named Teddy won. The Popular 4th Inning Race needs to do something different. It really does. Just our thoughts.

Finally, today was the first "Kids Run The Bases" Sunday of the season. The chance for parents to bring their children down on the field to run from 1st base to home while greeting The Racing Presidents and Screech. After every Sunday home game throughout the 2010 Season--"Kids Run The Bases".

Today's In-Game Photos--Cliff Owen (AP)
All Other Photos--Nats320--All Rights Reserved


Jim H said...


I'm wondering what assistance, if any, Steve McCatty's been in all of these pitching challenges. You'd think he'd be knee deep in trying to help Marquis find well as those others who are struggling.

In the past, I'd hear comments like, "Randy noticed something I was doing that was different from last week" or "Randy took extra time with me last week and straightened something out."

I'm not hearing anything from the pitchers about how Steve is helping them find their way. Marquis today said something like, "I've got to figure this out". I didn't get the sense that McCatty was helping through all this.

What have we seen from McCatty since he arrived that tells us he's impactful? Just curious as to your thoughts.


TBC said...

Agreed that the Presidents Race - a truly inspired idea when it was created - has now totally jumped the shark. The scripted races need to be jettisoned, as they are becoming more and more hokey with each passing game. They should just run the race every game as a real race between the four mascots, and let the chips fall where they may. That would be much more entertaining than the lame scripts and their bizarre auxiliary characters. (What's the deal with "that darn cat" anyway? Never made any sense to me.) If they did it that way, there still would be nothing to keep them from playing out a script from time to time if a special occasion warrants it (e.g. the Oriole Bird or the Peirogies or the real Racing Sausages in the house). Running it as a real race is the way to go, IMHO.

And while they're at it, they could also get rid of Clint. In what is it now, year four? he continues to be one of the most annoying parts of the ballpark experience.

Screech's Best Friend said...

JimH--McCatty is the exact opposite of St.Claire when it comes to demeanor. McCatty quiet, Randy outgoing and talkative. Washington's pitchers always used to talk about how St.Claire was there for them at a moments notice to talk, look at video, etc--much like Rick Eckstein is looked at today by Washington's hitters.

You never hear those same comments about Steve McCatty, but I really couldn't say whether he's had an impact or not.

VCUAlum Kyle said...

Ever since that July weekend in '06 when the president's were created, it has been one of the biggest entertainments, especially in 2007 & 2008. But SBF, you are right now if you missed the Presidents race its not that big of a miss like it was in '07 & '08. What happened to acts like on Opening Day 2007, when Teddy catepolted off the rooftop of RFK. That was awesome.

They need to spice it up, new course, relays, invite other mascots to the park, race fans during the game in a relay, get rid of the Darn Cat, and maybe Let Teddy win one, just one!!!!!!