Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Running Yourself Out Of The Game

When its early in the game and your team is facing a struggling starter--a Journeyman looking just to stay on the Major League Roster--Why run yourself out of the inning? I know Its hard to believe that pitcher in Question was an Atlanta Brave. But, Buddy Carlyle was hurting right off the bat this evening at Turner Field. A bloop single to left by FLop, bloop single to center by Ryan Zimmerman; and Blooper to left by Dimtri Young--all with one out. With Dimitri's hit heading toward the always decent leftfielder Matt Diaz--Why did 3rd Base Coach Tim Tolman send Felipe Lopez home?

This game was just in its very first inning. A real chance for a BIG INNING. Just the type of opportunity that can break a game open--sending you cruising to a victory. And, Tolman must remember--Our Washington Nationals were ALSO sending a Journeyman out to the mound, in Mike Bacsik. The More Runs--The Better. Our Number 37, also just trying to hang on to the Major League Roster for another start. His chance, that appears to be diminishing with each and every passing week.

Yet, when Tim Tolman waved FLop home--Diaz--running in, scooped up the baseball and threw a multiple bouncer right to their catcher Brian McCann who blocked the plate beautifully--forcing Felipe to attempt to go around the plate to score. Lopez was out, easily. Then, Ryan Zimmerman attempted a run to third on the throw home--McCann, from his knees, slung the ball on a line to the overplaying Edgar Renteria for the putout of Our Number 11. Although, Ryan complained about the call from Third Base Umpire Marty Foster--the replays showed Zimmerman was safe. Nonetheless--Inning Over. Rally Over--unnecessarily.

There was NO REASON for Our Washington Nationals to run themselves out of a potential BIG INNING, so early in the game. Not Smart Baseball.

Those baserunning mistakes giving The Braves Buddy Carlyle a new found confidence--regrouping--after Washington assisted him out of his opening jam. The Atlanta Starter going 7 strong innings--giving up just two hits the rest of the way. While his Braves teammates eventually got to Bacsik, being patient--knowing on most nights--any pitcher just hanging on in the Major Leagues--is going to make mistakes. Which Bacsik did, by allowing three HAMMERED SHOTS, all for Home Runs that decided this one rather early. Two from that man with the fabulously long last name--Jarrod Saltalamacchia and the last one--from "Mr. Official" himself. Yes, that's right--Andruw Jones hit, yet another NO DOUBT Homer to left off Our Washington Nationals. It doesn't matter if Andruw is currently struggling through his worst season in the Major Leagues--because This Jones Boy--Clubs seemingly shot after shot each and every time his Atlanta Braves meet up with Our Nats. Its pretty amazing actually.

Our Washington Nationals had no offense tonight--for the second straight night at Turner Field. And, they ran themselves out of their very best opportunity to knock out a Journeyman Pitcher, when he was down. Instead, that pitcher, Buddy Carlyle righted himself and knocked out Our Washington Nationals--with the help of The Long Ball. The Result, a rather lackluster 6-2 loss to The Atlanta Braves.

Do you think Tim Tolman would like to play that first inning over again? If so, this game may well have had a far different outcome.

Game Notes & Highlights:

In the bottom of the 4th--Atlanta's Jeff Francouer singled to left, and with their contact hitting catcher McCann at the plate--Braves Manager Bobby Cox put on the Hit & Run with two strikes on Brian. Bacsik struck out McCann, and Brian Schneider heaved a gorgeous throw right on the bag at second base, that FLop took on the fly to easily retire Jeff Francouer attempting to steal. This "Strike Em Out-Throw Em Out" Double Play was The Defensive Play of This Game.

Already after just two games without Cristian Guzman, you can see the dramatic difference in Washington's Lineup. Without "The Guz" batting either 1st or 2nd in the batting order--there has been little spark. Brandon Watson went 0-4 last night leading off. Ryan Langerhans got the call tonight--did hit a run scoring ground rule double--scoring Schneider--but Langerhans also struck out twice--looking. The Top of Our Manager Manny Acta's Lineup is in terrible flux right now. A problem that will reverberate throughout his 9 choices each night. Less opportunity for both Ryan Zimmerman and Dimitri Young to hit with runners on base in front of them. And, yet another reason for Opposing Pitchers not to fear Zimmerman batting third. Ryan's "Sophomore Slump" is exacerbated by those teammates not doing their jobs, consistently, around him. With no one on base in front of Our Number 11--Teams like The Braves can just go right after him. No fooling around. You have to feel sorry for Ryan Zimmerman.

And, Our Washington Nationals have NO BENCH Right now. Tony Batista, D'Angelo Jimenez, Brandon Watson, Nook Logan and Jesus Flores is not a Major League Bench. Shades of early April, when Our Manager had little to call for in good choices then, off the pine, to help out in the clutch.

A situation that slightly changed immediately after the conclusion of this game with Robert Fick activated off the Bereavement List and Brandon Watson optioned back to AAA Columbus. "00" had an option, so this decision was probably not in doubt. But, it does say that, somewhere, someone within Our Washington Nationals still believes in Nook Logan. Yet, despite that move--Why do I have this odd feeling Our General Manager Jim Bowden has something up his sleeve? This is the exact type of situation where he always pulls something off. Just a hunch.

Personally, I don't have anything against Mike Bacsik. He's doing the best he's capable. Its just not good enough. Our Washington Nationals have better, younger choices, in AAA that need experience. Bacsik, in all likelihood, has little left to show. We may well see Joel Hanrahan or Emiliano Fruto in a Nationals Jersey very soon. Washington has nothing to lose.

FLop made the very first error by Our Washington Nationals in five games tonight, playing shortstop in place of "The Guz". His throw--an air mail toss on a sure out grounder by Edgar Renteria. Felipe is a far better Second Baseman than Shortstop. His Error tonight was his 6th of the season playing short. Lopez has only 1 error playing second base in all of 2007--that's playing 43 games at second, just 29 at short. That stat says it all.

Dimitri Young continues to swing out of his mind!!! "The Hottest Hitting Player On Planet Earth" knocked two more pokes tonight, including his 21st double of the season--scoring one run on another Double by My Main Main!! Ryan Church in the 9th. Dimitri Young now hitting a robust .342. No doubt--Our Number 21 has got to be Our All Star Selection--if anyone with MLB has any heart.

I noticed on the bench tonight in Atlanta--Alex Escobar was dressed and in Uniform for Washington--but obviously not activated. Does this mean he is close to returning? If Our Number 44 is--Manny--please just throw him out there in Centerfield to see what he can finally do, regularly, if not injured. We have nothing to lose. If he could ever get over his constant injury problems--Alex Escobar would be a terrific player.

Tonight's InGame Photos--(AP) Gregory Smith.


Anonymous said...

are you really calligng dimitri young the hottest hitter in baseball when players like corey hart and a-rod are on an absolute tear right now? Young is barely in the top 100 over the last month and nowhere near the top 200 for the last week

Jim H said...


Anonymous said...

I don't feel sorry for Zimm in the least.

Regardless of his teammates' production, he is better than a .250 hitter.

JayB said...

Hope you are right about some kind of major move from Jimbo because if not the whole Nats organization is showing some very poor judgment with these moves.

This is a watershed time and if someone else wants Logan then let him go and good luck. He is not our centerfielder now or in the future....if he is then I have some major issues with Kasten and his honesty about what we are building here.

Same issue with the pitching....enough already with Bacsik, what more do we need to see?

Same issue with the Bench. Do we really need to see more from that group. What is next a trade to get Wilson back?

Zimmerman, Lopez, Kearns all have been hurt this year by the lack of talent on the team. The daily frustration is getting to them and it will get worse as we get to August. I was never in favor of the extreme cut in talent at the MLB level that Stan's plan called for but it is done, so, now sign the draft picks and play the prospects....have some guts and follow through with what you said you would do and STANd behind it.

Anonymous said...

Batting Avgerage in May/June/Season

Corey Hart .320/.340/.318
Alex Rodriguez .235/.427/.332
Dmitri Young .397/.394/.342

Except for A-rod's month of June, Dmitri Young has been out performing both of them. Dmitri is 3rd in the NL and 6th in MLB in batting average.

SenatorNat said...

The Dimitri Young comment should have come from natsfanfromsiberia - what was that? Glad it was clarified by the fact. Not comparing him to A-Rod, either, as Young outearns A-Rod by $15 million a season: THAT IS A JOKE, EVERYONE.

Serious notes: "Is that you, Watson" now too quickly becomes "Was that you, Watson?" Unfortunate that we had no viable choice, as we need a defensive first-baseman on the bench, with Belliard taking over second base, certainly, and he is the one of the "twins" (Logan & Watson) with an option available.

Bow-bow acquired Young and Belliard to be on the bench this year: both start, and both are the two leading BA guys in the line-up. Young is a serious liability in the field, unfortunately, as he is a TERRIFIC GUY! Young and Guz were competing for Comeback Player of the Year: now, honor clearly goes to Dimitri.

Nats with Soriano would probably be hovering around .500 this year, still in the Wild Card race - he is tearing it up for Cubs, and they are on a roll. Would dedicating 50% of the current payroll, or so, be worth it for 7-8 years is still the question, both in terms of the team's economy, and the overall foundation of the team over this span. Only time will tell. Nothing worse than locking yourself in as a .500 team in perpetuity, preventing the kind of moves which get you to the top, and the ability to sustain it.

Thus, the PLAN, which Bow-Bow apparently has become a convert to - a true believer. Note, his assessment today in the Post that Nats have their 3-4-5 pitchers in a solid starting rotation, if healthy, in this order: Hill; Bergmann; and Patterson.

Thus, Patterson has correctly gone from expansion-styled team ACE to number 5 on legitimate team. This is realistic, and prudent thinking for 2008.

Thus, probably thinking that they will aggressively go into the free market to secure young veteran to be the ace; and hope that one of the phenoms on the farm, CB probably, can actually rise to be a number 2.

And, there was an odd silver lining, perhaps, in Andruw Jones hitting that change-up for the 3-run homer. Nats may be able to pick him up relatively cheaply for 2008, and he might be able to pull a Young.

Schneider is at the plateau he needs to be now to stay in the PLAN; Z-Man is the keystone; Church is probably playing at his level; which means that we need to now scrutinize Kearns-Lopez. Increasingly, they are looking to me like excellent utility guys, not starters on a first-rate team...

As to the comment about playing the guys you sign, living up to the PLAN, this team already resembles a Triple-A line-up everyday: you are suggesting that it should look like Hagerstown?

Trust in Kasten. All Good.

JayB said...

As you know my first choice would have been not to cut talent to the bone and be forced to be looking at such a poor product......that being understood I think we have much more talent at the AA level than Manny Alexander and the AAA roster so yes I would dig deeper at this point and play real long term prospects...not Jimmerez, Fick, Basitsa, Logan, Watson and the others.....I would also get more AB's for Flores.......C, First Base, LF....somewhere!

Anonymous said...

jayb said:
Zimmerman, Lopez, Kearns all have been hurt this year by the lack of talent on the team.

Last time I saw the Plan they were the core talent on the team.
Why isn't the lack of talent hurting Young, Beliard or Guzman (before he got hurt)? Because they are older professional players who know they have to play well in order to get to the next big contract. They are not externalizing the game they are playing for their own baseball lives. Z, L & K will learn this soon.

SenatorNat said...

This is a good stream of comments, and I understand and agree actually to an extent with jayb that we must have better guys on the farm than the current fill-ins. But, perhaps if they are in fact better, it is better in long-run to let them play everyday, and bring them up later this season. 2007 was always supposed to be the throwaway season, as it is turning out to be. I think that Acta had a vision of making a late move for the WC, which has kept his and the team's energy level above their collective abilities, but even he is settling in for the long haul, it seems...

And terrific comment by Tom that the mature players don't let all this undermine them. Have to be a little bit existential in pro sports to succeed regularly...Z will pick it up again as season progresses - he needs to rest a bit, probably. Should end the year at .270 with good production - no real sophomore crash.