Wednesday, July 07, 2010
The Z-Man Has Done It Again!!
As the baseball sailed over the centerfield wall at Nationals Park, we could almost imagine what Radio Broadcaster Charlie Slowes was probably screaming into his microphone at that very moment: IT'S GONE!! GOODBYE!! BANG!! ZOOM!! GO THE FIREWORKS!! THE Z-MAN HAS DONE IT AGAIN!! A WALK-OFF HOME RUN IN THE BOTTOM OF THE 9TH INNING TO DEFEAT THE PADRES 6-5!!"
We would bet that's pretty close to his actual call.
And it's good thing Ryan Zimmerman did deliver again--his 6th career game winning homer--because Our Washington Nationals had already blown a big lead, then saved themselves from almost certain defeat--before Zimmy stepped to the plate and put this game on ice. Cooling down what might have been some hot tempers in Washington's Clubhouse on the very evening the hottest game start in Nationals Park's history, 99 degrees, was played.
Sweltering doesn't even describe the weather well enough. It was downright ugly outside. And after the way Washington played the top of the 8th inning this evening against San Diego--it sure looked like they were headed for one ugly loss. A three run Livan Hernandez lead evaporated as quickly as scorching heat dissipates water. Thanks to Tyler Clippard struggling again in relief and Ian Desmond throwing away a pivot toss from second base on an inning ending double play. A throw Our Number Six should not have taken. The exact game learning experience Quality Control Coach Tim Foli mentioned in his chat with Nats320 yesterday.
That Ian Desmond Mid-Season Report Card given an incomplete grade today. The steadiness not yet in his game, but Big League ability all there for everyone to see when Washington's Rookie Shortstop launched out his 5th home run of 2010 in the bottom of the 5th. Then produced The Defensive Play Of This Game when San Diego's Scott Hairston drilled a clean double down the left field line in the top of the 9th off Matt Capps--deep enough for The Padres to send Hairston's brother--Jerry, Jr.--home from second base in an attempt to score the go ahead run in the tie 5-5 ball game. Only to see Desmond take the relay from Josh Willingham in left and uncork a one-hopper just barely up the 1st base line. A strong throw that Pudge Rodriguez lunged over to catch--then lunged right back across to his left to not only block the plate, but tackle Jerry Hairston, Jr. with a glove punch out to his chest. Tim McClelland with the out call to end the threat.
The true game saving play handled by Ian Desmond. The exact same guy who had thrown away Washington's lead one inning previously. His great toss in the top of the 9th that re-engergized those left wilting in the balmy heat watching. And setting up Ryan Zimmerman's cool and soothing walk off homer on the second pitch he saw from The Friar's Luke Gregerson leading off the bottom of the 9th. A no doubter to dead centerfield that made you forget about the heat and rejoice in a victory parade seen at home plate--a celebration now patented by The Z-Man.
Having to be up early on Wednesday morning, this gamer will be shorter than most, but if Ryan Zimmerman isn't Our Washington Nationals All-Star and "Face Of The Franchise"--no one else is. No one raises their level of play more when it really counts than Zimmy. And there has never been any player--ever to don a Nats Uniform--that has so consistently done so.
Final Score from oppressively hot Nationals Park where The Z-Man has done it again!!: Our Washington Nationals 6 and The San Diego Padres 5. Curly "W" Number 37 once again proved what a great player Ryan Zimmerman really is. He homered twice tonight. One of the best players in The National League. And the one man D.C.'s Fans can most always count on to deliver in the clutch. The Bang!! Zoom!! Of The Fireworks!! not only getting Charlie Slowes to probably jump out of his chair in excitement again, but also putting on display a young shortstop in Ian Desmond who can wow you one minute and have you shaking your head in another. The subtle differences in Zimmy's and Ian's games are striking. Desmond's middle of the game home run was equally dramatic as Ryan's, and so was his Defensive Play of This Game. But Desmond's mental error of forcing an errant throw to 1st base while being taken out at second in the top of the 8th nearly proved costly.
That was a throw Washington's Gold Glove 3rd Baseman would have held on to these day. A lesson long ago learned which explains why Ryan Zimmerman is considered polished this day, while Ian Desmond is still considered rough around the edges. Yes, The Z-Man Has Done It Again!! But one of these day, fans might also be saying the same things about Ian Desmond. He's that talented too.
Game Notes & Highlights
You have to give both starting pitchers credit tonight for lasting as long as they did. Livan Hernandez pitched into the 8th inning. He threw 111 pitches, left with a 5-2 lead, but saw it all disappear when Clippard and Sean Burnett (thanks to Desmond's error) gave back the lead by allowing three Padre runs to score in the top of the 8th. San Diego's Clayton Richards threw 115 pitches in six complete innings. Neither was involved in the final decision, but each should have rewarded for amazing efforts considering the blistering heat.
In the post game press conference, Our Manager Jim Riggleman actually stated that if Washington had lost this game--the defeat would be on him. Riggleman said he probably should not have pitched Tyler Clippard again. He thought Tyler was ready and rested. But he wasn't and it nearly cost Our Washington Nationals a victory. Matt Capps received his third personal win of 2010 by being the pitcher of record in the 9th frame.
Ryan Zimmerman with three hits, two home runs and two RBI. If you haven't voted for Zimmy yet in the Final Vote for The 2010 All-Star Game--what are you waiting for? The Z-Man has been on fire since learning he wasn't named to the N.L. Squad for next week's game and he still needs to campaign to be given an All-Star roster spot. You can help, by voting at MLB.com.
Michael Morse also got the start in right field tonight. Again, the man can flat out hit. Three singles and two RBI's this evening for Our Number 28. Morse is not a great outfielder, but he's pretty competent with the glove.
14,039 was the official attendance this evening. In all likihood, really only half that number actually in attendance due to the extreme heat hanging over the greater Washington, D.C. area.
After Abe won the 4th inning Presidents Race, the Rushmores and GEICO Gekko lineup up to promote Ryan Zimmerman's appearance on the Final Vote All-Star Game Ballot and encourage fans to participate.
And finally, Mr. 10 Millionth Fan, Mark Stratter and Betty graced us tonight for the game in Section 218. They are both great fans and enjoyable to watch any Nationals game alongside. We couldn't stop talking about how outrageous all the chants and cheers were that everyone enjoyed along the third base side of RFK Stadium from 2005 through 2007 for Nationals Games--thanks to Old Section 320. And how much we all miss them. Mark saying that when The Kansas City Royals were in town a few weeks back, he couldn't stop singing the Jose!! Jose!! Jose!! Jose!! song every time Guillen stepped to the plate. Funny.
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