Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Less Than Stellar

Wow--That WAS UGLY!!

So, here I am sitting comfortably in our Edit Suite, working on today's top news story--all the while glancing at the HDTV Screen above and to my left broadcasting the MASN Telecast of Our Washington Nationals and The Los Angeles Dodgers. Robert Fick has just hit a HOME RUN!! Yes, I repeat--HOME RUN!! Dmitri Young is going bonkers on the bench--watching his BEST BUD celebrate in glory. Washington leads 7-2 in the 6th and increases its lead when Jesus Flores doubles and, yes--NOOK LOGAN--knocks him home. With the score now 8-2 and Shawn Hill on the mound--this game sure looked in the bag.

Continuing to edit this afternoon's story--I am not really paying attention--Deadline was near. 5:30PM is Our Broadcast in Canada. When I finally look up again--James Loney is slashing a grounder right past Robert Fick. A hit that sure looked playable to the naked eye. A three double that all of a sudden--puts The Dodgers within two at 8-6. What in the world has happened!!?? is all I can exclaim. The sound is turned down. Could Shawn Hill possibly have lost it this bad? Naw--I can't believe that. Only to find out that FLop--Yes Felipe Lopez--made another crucial error to keep a rally alive. That explained alot. Loney's key three run hit past a diving Fick made me wonder again--Why is Robert the so called defensive replacement? Young could have belly flopped to stopped that baseball. At least knocked it down--keeping it in the infield.

But, when Our Manager Manny Acta immediately trotted out and sat Hill down, replacing him with Luis Ayala--never could I be more shocked than see Luis give up a Two Run Homer to Shea Hillenbrand tying this one up at eight. Then, after Washington fights back to take the lead in the very next top of the 7th, Our Number 56 gives up a leadoff homer to Matt Kemp, tying this game once again at 9. I would doubt Luis Ayala has EVER GIVEN UP TWO HOMERS IN ANY GAME HE HAS EVER PITCHED IN THE MAJORS. You knew, right then--August 29th was not a GOOD DAY FOR OUR WASHINGTON NATIONALS.

Only a matter of time was going to decide this one. Sure enough--in the 12th a simple sacrifice fly after a Jeff Kent single, Russell Martin bloop double to right and intentional walk to Loney--for this game to THANKFULLY END. Hillenbrand again with the decisive blow. This time a routine fly ball that, with everyone playing in--forced Austin Kearns slightly backwards and off angle to make a proper throw. Kent scoring the game winning run, despite a valiant effort on the part of Jesus Flores to tag him out. A 10-9 defeat, completing back to back three game sweeps--this time at the hands of The Dodgers.

A miraculous 3 out of 4 victories from The Lowly Astros to start this 10 game road trip--ending mighty sour. Six consecutive losses against The Colorado Rockies and The Boys from LA. That cross country trip tonight is going to be pretty quiet plane ride.

The Team should be upset. But, as fans--really not as much--at least when looking at the long term prognosis.

In the whole scheme of things--this loss is meaningless. Yeah, Shawn Hill struggled during the game changing 6th inning. Will he ever get a deserved victory on his career record? But, two fairly routine plays, better handled by more adept fielders--would have negated The Dodger Rally. Of course, Ayala got hammered. But, you can't say he hasn't been effective since his return from nearly two years on the Disabled List.

Those were the differences in this game. Lopez should be at second base, not short. Fick possibly not even on the team (Robert hitting into a rally killing double play with one out in the 12th--runners on first and third). This afternoon was a turnaround that rarely occurs. But, is the sign of a mediocre ball club. Yet, would you not like Shawn Hill and Luis Ayala on the 2008 Roster at New Nationals Park? I would--still.

On offense--Nook Logan continues his attempt at resurrecting his career. Two hits today, possibly cheated on a third--running out a grounder in the 11th. All the while knocking in three runs. Yeah, I have been hard on him--deservedly so. But, Our Number 7 has yet to break stride on his improvement of late. Even I am willing to wait and see what he brings to the table come September.

Effort which Jesus Flores consistently applies to his game. A three hit performance at Dodger Stadium, two runs and an RBI today for Our Rule V Draftee. Really, how can you not deny this guy more playing time? Impressive is the only way to describe him. Even My Main Main!! Ryan Church rapped out four hits, including his 37th double, scoring one run and knocking in his 53rd. Runs Batted In which Ryan Zimmerman reached 78 for the season today--on a single in the 5th--scoring Felipe Lopez.

Honestly, I understand--this was a demoralizing loss. A defeat that hits you right in the craw. But, Our Bullpen was decent after Ayala's second allowed homer--5 consecutive scoreless innings. The offense was alive--even without some of its, so called, stalwarts sitting out this ballgame against a very good Los Angeles Starter in Brad Penny.

Come December--no one will really remember this defeat. Hopefully, come this winter--everyone will remember what a fine job Manny Acta did with a limited squad--making our players give their all--when everyone expected far less. There are some parts being built on the field in the ever changing makeup of Our Washington Nationals. Unfortunately--Washington just does not have enough to compete with the best. Winners which The Los Angeles Dodgers are. Competitive every day--which Our Washington Nationals are not--at least not yet.

Yes, Our Washington Nationals lost in Less Than Stellar Fashion today. And maybe I should have been paying attention more while editing. But, No--if so--our piece would have NEVER MADE AIR. You can bet though, I would have been yelling at the TV SCREEN--if watching.

Time to forget about the past six days. Our Washington Nationals can still beat last season's 71 wins. That's good enough for me--right now.

So--Are you ready to BOO Barry Bonds this weekend? Could be fun!!

Today's In Game Photos--(AP) Reed Saxson


Anonymous said...

Sometimes I wish Fick would just strike out and let the next batter take a swipe. With one out I've come to dread him at the plate. I warned a colleague during the 12th today that he hits into a lot of double plays and... bingo!

SenatorNat said...

Manny has not had one move criticized by me this year - not one. But leaving Ayala in to pitch the 8th when he clearly did not have his best stuff in the 7th and had been used a lot since his return, and when Rauch was warm and ready, and typically takes the 8th, when Nats are ahead, deviated from the norm, and lost the game.

Flop makes a lot a good plays at short, strong arm, etc., but goes through cycles both at the plate and in the field, and is exhausted from this year's events, understandably. As SCB says, he would be fine at second all year.

There were many high notes from yesterday, had they won, which we would be concentrating on today - SBF recited them all. What he did not mention was Schneider coming in late in the game to play first. This is significent, since it would provide Acta with late game PH flexibility in 2008, if it works, which it seems to. As for Fick and Jimenez - BYE-BYE!!

Twins are reportedly resigned to losing THunter to free agency, and are going to make the big push to re-sign Santana - they cannot afford both. Can the Nats afford both? Are they willing to get into a bidding war with the Yankees for the pair? Can you imagine how winning the war with blow-out deals would give this team a lift both on the field and at the gate, simultaneously?

Trust in Kasten. All Good.

SenatorNat said...

Crazy me - not the 8th - much earlier - but the point is the same...