Sunday, April 17, 2011

Book'em Danno

Alex Brandon (AP)
On the original television series Hawaii Five-O, "Book'em Danno" was the famous phrase Steve McGarrett stated to his sidekick Danny Williams at the conclusion of many episodes. Today at Nationals Park "Book'em Danno" was the evidence Radio Broadcaster Charlie Slowes needed to twice bellow out "A Curly 'W' Is In The Books" for Our Washington Nationals because Danny Espinosa crushed the baseball at Nationals Park when his teammates needed it the most in the second true doubleheader ever played on South Capitol Street.

When Commander Steve McGarrett (Jim Riggleman) sent Danny Williams (Danny Espinosa), Chin Ho (Pudge Rodriguez), Duke (Jason Marquis), Kono (Ian Desmond) and Che Fong (Livan Hernandez) out onto the field of play early this afternoon, little did Manager Jim understand how today's mysteries would play out. But as dusk began to settle as the lights came on and "Let's Go Nats!!" was being heard throughout Nationals Park, one of the most satisfying days for Nats players and fans alike in the three-plus year history of the still young ballyard was about to conclude.

Working the caseload, the Five-O staff had figured out every puzzle piece The Brew Crew threw their way.

In fact, "Danno" nearly had a career day. A three run homer to put Washington ahead for good in the afternoon's first game. Then a three run rbi triple in the nightcap which put D.C.'s team back on top. And, oh yeah--just to add to the pleasure--the Defensive Play Of This Day when Espinosa ran, jumped and lunged to his left to snare a sharply hit liner off the bat of The Brewers' Erick Almonte in the top of second inning of Game Two.

Like any good detective, Danny Espinosa used some brawn and then his brain--a deadly combination this day.

But Danno wasn't the only contributor, just the most outstanding.
Detective Chin Ho's opposite field drive to right finished Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo in the 6th of game one--another three run shot. A Pudge blast JUST over the right field wall----a smoking liner driven the opposite way. The wily veteran in Pudge didn't let the younger Gallardo overpower him. Instead, Rodriguez used his learned knowledge to outsmart The Milwaukee Starter for the game distancing score.

That was some good police work.

In fact, the same could be said for Jason Marquis' seven innings of two run ball thrown in Game One. "Duke" was riddled for nine hits. The Brewers' challenged him most every frame, but Marquis never wavered with the added caseload. Riding the wave of the Five-O defensive staff standing behind him this afternoon, Jason was well on his way to his first personal victory of 2011. And was insured of the win when "Kono" laced a liner to left in the bottom of the 8th. Ian Desmond breaking out of his hitting slump by smacking his second home run of the year.
But as the Five-O staff always realizes, no crime scene investigation is complete without the crime technician and that's were "Che Fong" comes in. Livan Hernandez worked all the clues in game two. Ole Number 61 examined every angle a baseball could be thrown. He kept The Brew Crew off balance and by the time Manager Jim handed the ball over to Drew Storen to complete the sweep, Livo and Our Washington Nationals had solved The Milwaukee Brewers for good.

Playing solid defense (not a single error today), getting quality pitching, and for the first time all season--clutch hits, D.C.'s team played their finest day of baseball, so far, of the 2011 season.

Final Scores from Nationals Park where Danny Espinosa pretty much did it all with some help from his friends: Our Washington Nationals 8 and The Milwaukee Brewers 4 in Game 1 and Our Washington Nationals 5 and The Milwaukee Brewers 1 in Game 2. Curly "W's" Numbers 7 & 8 put D.C.'s Team above .500 after 15 games. The exact record after the same amount of games in 2010. But today's doubleheader wins and series sweep of The Brew Crew would not have been possible without the effort of Washington's Number 18.

Commander McGarrett proudly stating at the end of each Curly "W" today: "Book'em Danno!"

Game Notes & Highlights
In Game One--Jason Marquis gave up a ton of hits, nine in seven innings plus one walk. But he only allowed two runs and was helped out by a beautifully turned double play on a ground ball hit by Carlos Gomez in the top of the sixth. Stroked to Alex Cora manning 3rd base, Cora quickly turned over the baseball to a rushing Espinosa at 2nd Base (to get Jonathan LuCroy) who pivoted and sidearm slung the baseball around the horn to Adam LaRoche at 1st Base to end the inning. A Twin Killing so well turned that Marquis pointed to each and every one of the trio involved in thanks as he walked off the field while fist pumping in joy.

Speaking of LaRoche, he made quite a few nice in the dirt pickups of baseballs thrown his way by Washington's Infield today. The quality of defense not seen consistently by a Washington 1st Baseman since Nick Johnson regularly manned the bag in the Nation's Capital.
In Game Two--Livan Hernandez was vintage Livo. Throwing that Woop-Di-Woop Stuff that's made him famous--barely reaching 60MPH on some pitches, Ole Number 61 was terrific this afternoon.  Seven complete innings pitched, no walks, six hits allowed, just one run. The most relaxed person in the game picked up his second personal win in three decisions and lowered his ERA to 2.88.

Drew Storen was fabulous too in his two inning save recorded in relief of The Big Cuban. The Stanford Product continues to impress with a fastball in the mid to upper 90's--setting up his slider to get hitters out. Storen's first save of 2011 was a thing of beauty.
Words that can not be said about Washington's bullpen in Game One. If there was any discord from today's two games it came in the bullpen work over the final two innings of the opener. Doug Slaten, Chad Gaudin and Tyler Clippard pitched 2/3rd's of an inning apiece. None was overly exceptional. Gaudin allowed two runners to score. Milwaukee loaded up the bases in the 9th, putting the tying run in the on deck circle--before Clippard, thankfully, struck out Casey McGehee to finally end the game.

Espinosa's six RBI in two games leaves him second in the National League with 14 for the season. Pudge's 310th Career Home Run was his first since September 21st, 2010 against The Houston Astros at Nationals Park. He celebrated like a World Series Champion rounding 3rd Base.  He was bouncing around the bases. We could see his wide smile easily from our seats in Section 218. Pudge was pumped.

Jerry Hairston, Jr. took former National Marco Estrada deep in Game Two, to be followed by Espinosa's opposite field triple stroked down the left field line scoring Desmond, Hairston and Matt Stairs, before Adam LaRoche capped off today's Washington scoring with a tremendous drive to right off Zack Braddock which cleared the Out Of Town Scoreboard in the bottom of the 8th.
22 total hits today by Washington, 11 in each game. Five home runs, one each from Espinosa, Rodriguez, Ian Desmond, Jerry Hairston, Jr. and Adam LaRoche. For a team struggling all year long at the plate--Manager Jim's lineups busted out big time this afternoon, at just the right time in each game.

Speaking of Espinosa's three run homer in the 1st Game, the sight of Milwaukee's Mark Kotsay running back toward Washington's Bullpen, with his glove hand high in the air, attempting to catch the drive was almost as good as the home run itself. From the crack of the bat, that ball was driven off Gallardo--a no doubter. Yet Kotsay believed he had the baseball in his sights and never gave up on it until he hit the fence.  Credit for effort and thanks for making the game turning moment even more enjoyable.

By the way--just like The Brewers's Craig Counsell (playing for Arizona) stood at home plate on April 14, 2005 to take the first kick and pitch from Livan Hernandez at RFK Stadium--to be remembered forever--Kotsay was the centerfielder for Atlanta immortalized by Charlie Slowes on March 30th, 2008 when he attempted to track down Ryan Zimmerman's game winning home run in the bottom of the 9th on Opening Night at Nationals Park. One of the greatest home run calls in Nationals history.

Jayson Werth sat out Game Two. Toward the end of Game One, Werth was seen trying to loosen up his achilles tendons and legs during pitching changes.
Nyjer Morgan pinch hit today during Game One. He was booed lustily before grounding out.

The Cherry Blossom Trees looked great today. They were in full bloom and appeared at their best since Nationals Park opened in 2008.
Sohna counted eight different baseballs fouled off into Section 218 during the two games today. Moments before Jayson Werth singled and eventually scored in the bottom of the 4th inning of Game One, Werth fouled a pitch from Yovandi Gallardo that came directly to me that was caught on the fly. Our first baseball of the 2011 season.

My Best Friend!! Screech!! celebrated his 6th birthday today and was joined by his Mom and a series of area mascots. The George Mason Patriot, Maryland Terrapin, GW Colonial. DC United's Talon, University of Delaware Blue Hen, Georgetown Hoya, American University Eagle, Uncle Slam (Potomac Nationals) and the Maryland BlueCrab (Waldorf's Atlantic League Independent Baseball Team) all appeared on the home dugout as Screech's Mom presented his birthday cake.

Later the mascots took out the Unracing Sausages which featured one of the greatest body slams in Presidents Race History when Teddy flat out NAILED one of the sausages with an aerial worthy of the WWE.

During the same game, Screech and the NatPack would defeat all the local mascots in a tug-of-war.

In game two--Teddy would clothesline one of the Unracing Sausages allowing Abe to take the checkered flag.

Good crowd for Game One: Officially announced at 23,047.

Not as many stayed for Game Two though.
We got a total kick out of the electronic billboard that sits above Washington's Bullpen when newly called up Collin Balester got up to throw in the 7th inning, it read: "Number 99--Stammen" Well, Craig is still in Rochester at AAA Ball and Balester switched his uniform Number from 99 to 23 for 2011.

And finally. OK, due a rainout and the fact that Our Washington Nationals and The Milwaukee Brewers play each other in D.C. only one time in 2011--a true doubleheader was played today at Nationals Park. Great!! Two games for the price of one. So why would every concession stand in The Stars & Stripes Club shutdown between games?  Would that not be one of your better times to sell food and drink?

Both the Homestead Grays Bar and the Nats Bar remained open--nothing else did. Thankfully, the Flippin Pizza folks realized fans staying for Game Two wanted food, and reopened almost immediately when people started lining up. As for the Anacosta Station, the Nacho Stand and The Carving Station on the 1st base side--not until just a few minutes before the start of game two.

All Other Photos Copyrighted--Nats320--All Rights Reserved


Thenakedshort said...

Pretty sure we saw you in the big screen during the wave your caps" for game 2!

Laurie said...

The carved roast beef was fantastic..the guy doing the carving..also great...very nice..I recommend that and of course Ben's Chili half smoke, all the way!

Jenn Jenson said...

Thanks for making a note of the concession issue. I sat in my usual field-level seats for both games, but used a Stars and Stripes pass to go up to the Club for dinner between the games. I had been craving a turkey sandwich, but as you note, most concessions, including the carving station, were closed.

I called my season-ticket representative about this oversight and noted that it is yet another example of the Nationals making a mistake because they don't seem able to "think like a fan." I'm sure a lot of fans were like me and planned to eat between the 2 games of the double-header.

If the issue was that staff needed to take a break, then a logical time for that would have been in the 8th and/or 9th inning of the first game.

Sure, the double-header was unplanned, but the Nationals need to adapt. I keep hoping they'll learn and show a real commitment to fans, but gameday service continues to lag behind the empty marketing slogan to "Expect it."