Friday, October 01, 2010
Getting Themselves Out
Pat Misch should not be striking out 10 batters in any Major League game, not even against Our Washington Nationals. When the difference between a pitcher's fastball, changeup and slider is mostly just one mile per hour in either direction--that pitcher should be hit, not whiffed at all night long. Yet, D.C.'s Team managed to do so this evening at Citi Field in one of the strangest outings all season by an opposing pitcher.
For eight innings. The New York Mets' Pat Misch mesmerized Washington's hitters on slop, and nothing but slop. 28 batters in Nationals Uniforms faced him and only four reached base. One scored, and that was on a solo home run poked to right center by Michael Morse in the top of the 7th when "Mikey Mo" got ahead in the count and patiently waited for a pitch to drive for his 14th home run of the season. A stance few others on his team considered this evening as pitch after pitch after pitch was thrown by Misch that landed in the dirt with two strikes. Yet, more times than not, Washington's hitters swung at it anyway and got themselves out.
Too bad, because Jordan Zimmermann concluded his 2010 recovery season from Tommy John Surgery with an outstanding final appearance: six strong innings thrown--only a solo home run allowed to the possible National League Rookie of The Year Candidate--Ike Davis--ruined his day. Otherwise, J-Z was rock solid. The "Z With 2 NN's" giving up just three hits, that one score, while walking zero. He wasn't involved in the final decision, but clearly, Baseball Management has made the decision that after a few more months rests leading up to Spring Training, 2011--Jordan Zimmermann may well be all the way back from his August, 2009 surgery.
A good sign and promising too. Not only for Zimmermann but for his contemporary, and teammate, Stephen Strasburg--going through the same procedure and recovery process right now.
Tyler Clippard was foiled in his effort to complete 18 straight scoreless by allowing the game winning home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to Josh Thole, but Clippard's 7th loss of the season (against 11 wins) was not the real story. The headlines will say Pat Misch struck out 10 and Jordan Zimmerman continued his speedy recovery from elbow replacement surgery. But the bottom line was that Our Washington Nationals kept getting themselves out. They never gave themselves the proper chances to reach base in a close game.
Everyone was looking to hit the ball out of the park, when small ball would have succeeded just fine.
Final Score from Citi Field where journeyman lefty Pat Misch threw the greatest game of his professional life: The New York Mets 2 and Our Washington Nationals 1. Loss Number 92 put D.C.'s team in the position of having to win their final two games of 2010 to claim 70 victories. A difficult task now after watching Washington gather just 11 hits total over the last four games. You gotta play to win, but you also have to score runs too. Jordan Zimmermann and Washington's bullpen gave their teammates every chance to claim the Curly "W" tonight in a regulation nine-inning game.
Unfortunately, most of Our Washington Nationals hitters just kept getting themselves out for 10.
P.S.--Defensively, Washington hasn't lost a step at third base with Alberto Gonzalez manning the hot corner. He's a terrific fielder and possesses a fabulous arm. But when it comes to offense, what a huge difference compared to Ryan Zimmerman. Our Number 12 struck out three times tonight and for the month of September/October is batting just .139 (six for 43). Incredibly, Alberto Gonzalez may reach 180 official At-Bats in 2010--yet only has four rbi's so far. The average Major League player gets 12 rbi's per 100 at-bats. Gonzalez is close to reaching a record low for rbi's and total at-bats in one season. An absolutely stunning statistic.
Tonight's InGame Photos--Kathy Kmonicek (AP)