Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Our Resilient Team

Our Pitching--Not The Best.
Our Hitting---Not The Best.
Our Defense--Not The Best.
Our Prediction for 2007--Last.
Respect From The Media--None. In Fact--Laughable.


So--How is it that after a 1-8 Start--Our Washington Nationals are 16-21 since?

Because, quite frankly, we have some talent.

Are we The Kansas City Royals?

No, I don't think so. Although, WE HAVE HOPE. Now, and In The Future. Kansas City--NOT.

Are we The New York Mets or Boston Red Sox--World Series Contenders?

Not A Chance-- Maybe in a few years.

Then, What DO WE HAVE?

Truly, a RESILIENT TEAM. The only term to describe Our 2007 Washington Nationals.

How else can you describe having NO STARTING PITCHING and still competing?

How else can you continually leave runners in scoring position and still keep the game close?

How else do you have not a single player that can field FIRST BASE DEFENSIVELY and still survive?

How else can can you continually keep games close when every factor points against it?

How else can you compete when not a single player, outside of Shawn Hill, can bunt?

Because, Our 2007 Washington Nationals, not only are resilient--They have HEART.

When everything is going wrong, How do you survive?

Because, Our Manager stays POSITIVE.

When most teams in baseball would be fighting among themselves--Why do Our Washington Nationals seem to love each other?

Because Our Manager remains calm, stresses the rebuilding process. Keeps the clubhouse calm. Doesn't get down on his players. Many Acta sees the Big Picture. Apparently, many of his players see the same outlook.

The result--A Close Knit Team, that enjoys playing together. A team that is improving together.

A Team--Our Washington Nationals continuing to grow before our very eyes.

And Tonight, Our Washington Nationals showed all those characteristics.

After last night's demoralizing loss after leading 6-0, they fought back in this one-TWICE-coming from behind to win 8-4 against The Cincinnati Reds. Many teams dead last in the standings would crumble under the same situation. Our Nats DID NOT. Our Nats DO NOT.

Felipe Lopez had a near career night--knocking in 6 runs and the game changing winning runs with his HUGE Grand Slam in the top of the 8th inning. His six rbi's tonight bringing his season total to 16. You know, for FLop this was SWEET to perform so well against The Reds. If only he can keep it up.

"The Guz" knocked in two runs tonight. Our Nats knocked out 12 hits.

Matt Chico continued to hang in there on the mound. Just three hits allowed, but combined with two crucial poorly timed walks followed by Home Runs to Ken Griffey, Jr. & David Ross--Chico left after 5 2/3rds innings with no decision. Our Work in Progress Starter, ever so slowly, becoming a Major League Pitcher. He also scored his first Major League Run tonight.

As usual, "The Chief" made it interesting at the end. But, Hey--We Won!!--In Typical Style--nothing being easy for Our Washington Nationals. This win ending a 9 game road losing streak.

All signs of Our Resilient Team.

Game Notes & Highlights:

In the bottom of the 2nd inning, Jeff Conine slapped a hard grounder down the 3rd baseline. Ryan Zimmerman dove to his right, with his glove hand down near the ground. Reacting as swiftly as anyone can possibly play the position--Ryan reached up and grabbed the ball as it bounced up above his head. It was The Defensive Play of this Game. In fact, Zimmerman had a couple of other nice defensive plays--charging in or cutting off grounders in the infield tonight. Number 11 is worth the price of admission, just to see him field the baseball. What a GREAT INFIELDER!!

With the score tied 4-4 in the top of the 7th, Dimitri Young had just singled. Why in the world, would Our Manager Pinch Run Ryan Church, taking Dimitri out of the game. Then, replace Church with Robert Fick. I understand that My Main Man!! is still recovering from his sore left wrist. And, may not be ready to play. But, my problem with this change is Manny using up TWO PLAYERS OFF THE BENCH to replace Young IN A CLOSE GAME. WHY? Really, WHY? Young is swinging the bat well. I understand, he is a defensive liability. But, the last time I checked, you need to score runs to win.

Then, when Belliard Pinch Hit in the 8th, before FLop came through with his Grand Slam, Our Bench only had Jesus Flores remaining. And, when Jesus Colome had to bat for himself in the top of the 9th, the pinch running switch, in the 7th, was all the more confusing. We won. So, these maneuvers don't stand out as much. Still, though, they make no sense to me. Just puzzling.

Personally, I never got the feel of Mitchell Page as The Batting Coach for Our Washington Nationals. He seemed well liked and respected among his peers. That's all fine with me. But, what I find intriguing with Lenny Harris now The Interim Batting Coach, is that Lenny SITS RIGHT NEXT TO MANNY ACTA during the entire game. Harris chats with Our Manager constantly. In 2006 and early in 2007, Mitchell Page always stayed at the far end of the dugout, away from the other coaches. Almost aloof. Rarely seen talking with then Manager Frank Robinson in 2006 or Manny this year. Maybe it was style, maybe it was attitude. But, Page never seemed to mingle with the remainder of the coaching staff during games.

Just a thought. Something I've noticed. Not a condemnation.

Tonight's InGame Photos--(AP) Tom Uhlman


paul said...

I meant to say the other day how much I agree with you about the late inning moves, especially replacing DY in a tied game. Robert Fick is not Wes Parker. Actually he looks like Max Patkin these days. The defensive alignment in the ninth inning tonight was troubling.

The other question I have is: why is Flop leading off? He strikes out a lot, does not draw many walks, and can actually hit for power occasionally. Why not have Nook lead off? When he gets on base, the whole game changes. He is a huge distraction for the other team. Manny actually said two weeks ago, "I said Nook would be playing every day before we had Ryan Langerhans." Reminds me of when Ralph Houk told Jim Bouton he was having a better spring than Dooley Womack!

Thanks for your daily reports, by the way. I always smile or even laugh out loud reading them.

Anonymous said...

I think the Unsung Hero of Our Team is LENNY HARRIS!!!!!11

Look at how Our Nats have been hitting since Our Batting Coach got here! The proof is obvious!

An Briosca Mor said...

SBF, your comment today echoes your theme from Saturday night: Trust Your Starters. I agree wholeheartedly with you on this, and I think the real culprit here is Robert Fick. He possesses a veneer of ability at several positions (the plate not being one of them, unfortunately) that gives him the illusion of usefulness. But what he really is is a termite that eats his way through the batting order, replacing much better hitters one by one and leaving gaping holes in the lineup. Saturday night he managed to eat his way through two better offensive players (Young and Church) and one better defensive player (Langerhans) to remain standing in left field at the end of a tight 11-inning game. Wouldn't you rather see any or all of those other three guys still in there at that point? Then last night, he gobbled up Young and Langerhans. (I won't count Church because he's hurt, although Charlie Slowes did say at the start of the game that he was available to pinch hit. Strangely, though, Manny used him only as a runner, which must mean he really wasn't healed enough to hit despite Slowes's comment.) If this pattern continues, it's only a matter of time until Fick manages to gobble up Schneider/Flores too, along with the likes of Young/Belliard and Church/Langerhans. And this is a guy who with a hit last night managed to raise his average to a whopping .192! He's merely adequate in the field, too, while Langerhans with a similar BA is truly stellar. How has this guy managed to bamboozle Manny into letting him eat up half the team with his mediocrity?

There are two things I really dread hearing in the late innings, Sweet Caroline and the words "Robert Fick now entering the game as a defensive replacement." He may be great in the clubhouse, but man I hope this guy is gone sooner rather than later.

Screech's Best Friend said...

An Briosca Mor: "Illusion of Usefulness"--that's a great phrase! I wish I had thought of that. I might use in the future. Its true, Fick is a puzzling anomaly in the dugout. Why, with little production does he continue to get the nod. Why would you replace Fick with Langerhans late in a game in leftfield? Come the 7th inning in a close game, we need our bats, our starters still in the game. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Just a note, last night was the Nats first win on a Tuesday this season...

Anonymous said...

Though he continually denies this was any kind of gratifying payback, FLop has mentioned how he wasn't "wanted" in Cincy. But I've never heard of anything beyond that. He was an All-Star for them at one point. Did the front office sour on him? The fans? Both? Why did he know he was going to be traded?

Screech's Best Friend said...

When I met FLop in Spring Training, he continually told me that management did not like him. He was "EXPECTING" the trade for some time. He had fallen out of favor with Wayne Krivsky and many fans due to his slow 2006 start after an All Star 2007 season.

I got the impression he WANTED OUT, and quite frankly ENJOYS playing in Washington. For Cincinnati, really his trade, along with Kearns was a TERRIBLE TRADE for The Reds. Although I loved Majewski. Bray was very promising. Thanks for the good question.

Anonymous said...

SBF, I keep expecting to see the name "Thomas Paine" at the end of your posts. Thank you for reminding us Nat fans that we still have very good reasons to hope for the future!

Eddie Cunningham

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great answer!