Friday, August 24, 2007

So Deserving

Was that EVER EMBARRASSING--"The Chief Cardiologist" trotted on to Coors Field tonight with a 5-1 lead in the 9th and couldn't retire a single batter. Despite all his heart palpitating ways over the past two plus seasons of Washington Nationals Baseball--I don't recall Chad Cordero EVER BEING TAKEN OUT OF THE GAME WITH EVERYTHING ON THE LINE. At least, until tonight. He had nothing--Single, Home Run, single, double, walk--two runs in, bases loaded--nobody out. Then, Big Jon Rauch relieved him, only to see Our Number 51 allow a two run single, sacrifice bunt, followed by a grounder to D'Angelo Jimenez up the middle--that Jimenez SIMPLY DROPPED for the game deciding 5th run of the inning. The Game Winning Run for The Colorado Rockies. The Result: A DEVASTATING 6-5 Defeat--Clinched from The Jaws of Victory.

This Loss HURTS--BADLY. Yeah, I know it happens--but this unexpected BEATING has to be The WORST OF THE SEASON. Terrible--because SHAWN HILL WAS SO DESERVING.

There is not one single player for Our Washington Nationals more WORTHY than Shawn Hill. He is UNQUESTIONABLY Our Best Starter. Despite Disappointment, Injury, Recovery and Perseverance--he has soldiered on--never looking back, never losing perspective. And tonight--he proved it at Coors Field in Colorado. A solid sinker ball pitcher throwing in the ULTIMATE FLY BALL PARK--one mile above sea level. If Our Number 41 is throwing his best stuff--he should be unhittable here. This evening, Shawn Hill was at his Spectacular Best.

What more could you ask from your starter in a hitter friendly park. Lately, I have read many write that Shawn Hill is no better than a 3rd or 4th starter--at best. What exactly are these so called "experts" looking at? What do they NOT SEE? Outside of Brandon Webb in Arizona--who exactly has a better sinker ball than Shawn Hill? Like, NO ONE in The National League. Our Number 41 is a keeper. And, as far as I am concerned--Number One Starter. Greg Maddux didn't have overpowering stuff. Certainly, Shawn has a long way to go before duplicating Maddux's career efforts--but I don't see anyone complaining about Shawn's stuff, now. Do you? Then, why should anyone lessen Hill's abilities?

Effort which The Colorado Rockies witnessed for seven strong innings. When you retire 21 of 23 batters after giving up two hits to begin the game--you are doing something right. Like throwing strikes, staying on top. And, leaving with a 5-1 Lead. 68 strikes in 98 pitches for Shawn. Since the very first moments, I saw him pitch at RFK in 2006--I had strong feelings about him. Shawn Hill has never disappointed me. If he could ever stay healthy, he WILL go down as one of the best in Our Washington Nationals History. Shawn has The RIGHT STUFF--That FACT I AM POSITIVE.

Ability which Ryan Zimmerman continues to show--an opposite field homer to right in the third off Jeff Francis. Followed in the 7th by A KEY HIT OF THE GAME--a one out hard slap to left field scoring Hill and Nook Logan with the 3rd and 4th runs of the game. Tallies which should have been the game deciding runs. After struggling at the plate earlier this season--swinging at everything--especially outside crap from pitchers--Ryan has returned to his compact, educated swing. Our Number 11 looking for something he can hit--not something he HOPES HE CAN HIT. For 22 years old, Ryan is one impressive young player. Now batting .275 with 20 Home Runs and 75 RBI's. At the end of 2007--he's going to have some good numbers. Now, if he could just cut down on those rushed throwing errors.

Mistakes that Wily Mo Pena can take advantage of. Any Home Run to the opposite field is impressive for any hitter. More so, a stroked blast over the 375 Foot sign in right centerfield at Coors Field. Pena's third homer as a National off Taylor Buchholz in the 8th was nice. Do you think Jimbo is at least feeling good over Wily Mo right now? Yeah, I know he is. Jim Bowden believes he stole a POWER SLUGGER for NOTHING. A thought, which I can't deny him right now.

So much to feel good about, yet SO MUCH MORE TO FEEL AWFUL ABOUT. ONE TERRIBLE INNING KILLING ALL THAT HOPE!! Shawn Hill was SO DESERVING TONIGHT. Yet, Chad Cordero and Jon Rauch let him down. And, I don't want to hear anyone say Washington had other chances to succeed during this ballgame, but failed. This defeat fails directly on Our Bullpen. Sure, it happens. But, It doesn't mean I have to feel any better about it. Just an AWFUL LOSS--A WIN that was all but DEFINITE. That's going to be one SILENT NATIONALS CLUBHOUSE and trip back to the hotel tonight.

Player's Feelings we shall witness tomorrow. Saturday Night, We find out more about The Character of Our Washington Nationals. Will they fight back--or will they wilt?

Game Notes & Highlights:

Sorry, but I am not convinced. Just one month ago--EVERYBODY wanted Nook Logan's Neck. No one felt he was an ANSWER to the Centerfield Problem then, for Our Washington Nationals. Of course, he's been hot--getting on base and making some nice defensive plays in the outfield of late. Last night a terrific catch up "Tal's Hill" in Houston, and this evening a couple of nice tracks of hard hit baseballs into the gap at VAST COORS FIELD. Still, REALLY, I am not a believer--not yet. Logan needs to produce over more than just one month of the season. And, bunt better and drive in a few more runs. Getting a single here and there--does not a fine player make.

If The Colorado Rockies are using a Humidor to keep the flight of a baseball down in the Thin Air of Denver--Why not bring in the outfield fences? 347 Feet down the foul lines is LUDICROUS. You can't have both. The Outfield at Coors Field is so vast--I could even get lucky and knock a single. Really, how can you expect to build a winning team with such varying elements to deal with. For some time, Denver was an attendance leader in Major League Baseball--but even their fans have come to realize the futility of watching baseball a Mile High From Sea Level. Baseball in Colorado is far from ideal. That's a shame. Sometimes a Sham. Tonight, baseball in Denver was just FORGETTABLE.

I've mentioned this before--but, after this defeat, I am in the mood to write about it again. What REALLY bothers me about Bob Carpenter on MASN is his propensity to CALL THE PLAY before it develops in front of him. If runners are on first and second with one out--and a hitter knocks a hard shot at an infielder--Carpenter IMMEDIATELY says: "THAT's AN INNING ENDING DOUBLE PLAY BALL!!" Many times, the fielder boots the knock. Its embarrassing. Bob did it again tonight on a hard smash to D'Angelo Jimenez at shortstop. Leading off the bottom of the third inning, The Rockies Jeff Francis grounded sharply to shortstop. Carpenter called out: "There's an easy out!!" Only to see Jimenez throw the baseball away. Only Dmitri Young coming off the bag--saved the out from being an error. Time and Time Again, Bob Carpenter does this. I am tired of it.

The other call he makes that drives me up the wall is when a batter makes a nice hit--and WITHOUT EVEN MAKING THE CALL ABOUT WHAT HAS OCCURRED--Bob says: That's a NICE SWING!! Its the sign of an announcer who believes he knows more than he really does. He is talking down to the audience. I don't like it. Call the action--please. Let Don Sutton give the expertise. And, each time Carpenter misjudges a call--Don Sutton remains silent. That's telling. Come on Bob!! Let everything play out in front of you. Describe THE ACTION!! Don't Describe What YOU THINK YOU WILL SEE!!! And, please don't try to be the COLOR ANNOUNCER. There is a Big Difference. Sutton is one of the best--let him do his job. There is a good reason why Don is signed to a four year contract.

Tonight's InGame Photos--(AP) David Zalubowski


Jim H said...

I wonder what's in store for Chad in the new ballpark. I've heard speculation that it's anticipated to slightly favor pitchers, but one won't know until the games begin. I doubt it will be nearly as pitcher-friendly as RFK.

I fear that next year the Chief may be providing more examples reflecting tonight, being a fly ball pitcher, in the new park.

Anonymous said...

VERY disappointing loss. I have to admit though SBF, that Nook was everywhere tonight, running down several gappers with precision. Though inconsistent throughout the season, he has shown enough recently that he could be a good guy to keep around off the bench with speed, defensive skills and some pop in his bat.

Anonymous said...

Cordero definitely crashed and burned last night. But, counterintuitive as it may be, Baseball Reference says his career ERA is 2.84 at home, 2.44 away, and his career HR's are 21 at home and 17 away. If he continues to work on an offspeed pitch (as he has been this season) and stays away from a predictable first pitch fastball, he may be ready to adapt to a new ballpark.

Anonymous said...

The Chief did the best Jorge Julio immitation I have ever seen. The Nats should have dumped him while he still had some value.

paul said...

I had a weird premonition about last night. I kept thinking, as the lead was widening, and we statistically have the best bullpen since July 1, why don't I feel comfortable? I think the bullpen ERA is deceiving because a lot of times our pitchers are working from behind with less pressure (and the other team is less desperate). Also, we have a lot of decent pitchers in the bullpen, with a great pitching coach, but no one to nail down the eighth and ninth innings consistently. I think Manny has got to come to the conclusion between now and next year, that if the team is really going to the next level, he might have to let go of his old friends, Chad and Jon. As much as I love Chad and will never forget his run in 2005, something needs to change.

Anonymous said...

congrats, your team is a total embarressment you tool

Anonymous said...

Chizzle = Cordero????

Screech's Best Friend said...

Phil: Yeah, It was a perfect Jorge Julio Scenario.

Anonymous said...

Um...Manny has said he won't judge anyone based on a bad outing or two. See Logan, Nook; Chico, Matt; Lopez, Felipe; etc.

An Briosca Mor said...

Although it was the Chief who threw the pitches, I have to place much of the blame for last night's loss on Manny Acta. Cordero did not need to be in the game. It wasn't a save situation, so the argument needn't be made that the closer should pitch the ninth because that's what closers are for. It couldn't be argued that Cordero needed the work, since he had just pitched the night before in Houston. In fact, even though he picked up the save that night, he did not look sharp in doing so. So why not bring in someone else last night? Ayala threw only 10 pitches in the eighth, so why not leave him in to pitch the ninth? Or why not Colome, or Rauch, or someone else? After all, it was not a save situation. So what was it in Manny's head that said "Chad is the best man for this job tonight"? I really wonder...

Bang the Drum Natly said...

This was a bad one no question, I was actually kinda surprised Hill was taken out of the game, was he on a pitch count? I wanted to see this year's first Nat CG last night, Hill didn't seem tired at all, and his stuff was outstanding... Oy. I can only hope the Nats find the fire and fight back tonight...

As for Carpenter, I have him on a botch count every night. I think he averages about 4-5 per game, whether it's calling the wrong player at the plate, to missing the out count, to the aforementioned calling the play before the play, etc... And then you get to his bonehead commentary, case in point last night:

When Robert Fick tagged the runner at first instead of just going to the bag, Carpenter said along the lines of "Now, I have NO IDEA why Fick didn't just go to the bag" (said very adamantly)...
Sutton (and this is why I absolutely LOVE Sutton) immediately jumped in and said "I'll tell you why..." and proceeds to point out that Robbie in his wisdom neeeded to keep himself facing home plate the whole time to keep the runner on third, and not simply go to the bag, thus turning his back to home.

At that point, I wanted to give a standing O to the commentary, as it was a great double-play by Sutton: First, for calling out (can I say it here?) "Crapenter" like he should (it seemed at that point even he might've had enough of him), and secondly for EXPLAINING why Fick did what he did. It's those nuggets of "behind the scenes" info that I cherish, and will continue to do so. I was wondering somewhat why Fick did what he did as well, I thought it was simply due to his momentum on the play, and Sutton filled in the gaps. He rocks, and as I said on a previous comment, we need to keep him for a long, long time, hands down.

C'mon Nats & Redding, BRING IT!

Cheers, and happy (hopefully!) baseball.

Anonymous said...

I posted this at the Nationals Journal, but I'll take a leaf from An Briosca Mor/Sect. 419 and repost here:

Cordero went down in flames last night (August 24, in the 6-5 loss to the Rockies). Agreed. But does one bad outing undo the record of 119 saves in 142 tries? Or being the second youngest pitcher in MLB history to record 100 saves?

Last night was embarrassing. (and also ugly) Agreed. But is it worse than Rivera blowing a save against Baltimore on the 13th and giving up three earned runs against Baltimore on the 15th? Or Wagner and Hoffman both blowing saves in Thursday's game in NY? Or Hoffman's three blown saves since August 10th? Or, for that matter, the August 12th game from the Diamondbacks point of view, when their bullpen and closer gave up two leads and allowed us to win?

Cordero doesn't look or pitch like Papelbon. Agreed. But are we remembering that the Red Sox were rumored to be trading for Cordero when Papelbon said he thought he might do better in the starting rotation...because he was fatigued after 59 games and 68 innings pitched in 2006? (Compare to Cordero's 62 games and 61 innings pitched when there are roughly 33 games to go.)

We will remember last night for a long time. Agreed. But can we either try to think like the Nationals ball players and say today is a new ballgame, (and we plan to move on), or remember to do a quick look at the long term stats and story lines?

An Briosca Mor said...

Well, in reading the online version of the WaPo gamer, I did get the answer to what Manny was thinking. To paraphrase, he said that up by only four at Coors Field with the heart of the order coming up, he treats it as a save situation and wants his best guy in there. I can buy that reasoning, but still wonder why AT THAT PARTICULAR MOMENT Cordero was the best guy. (Hey, I'm in SBF's blog, so I can use the caps lock key, okay?) It's not a save situation by definition, so if Manny doesn't bring Chad in it's not a slight to him. And admittedly Cordero had been having some problems with location of his fastball recently, and Manny must have known that. Why bring him in to work out those problems in a game, when you have a bullpen full of other guys at your disposal? Ever heard of "playing the hot hand"? Manny apparently doesn't like to do that, for better or worse.

Also, before you get too spun up, please note that I'm not one of those calling for getting rid of Cordero because he's blown a few saves. Rather, I'm just saying that there were signs there before the ninth last night that might have pointed against using Cordero as the automatic choice to close out the game in a non-save situation.

20/20 hindsight, of course. Is there any other kind? Hopefully Manny will use his own 20/20 hindsight to at least influence his foresight a bit in the future. He's a rookie manager, doing a good job, but hopefully still learning too.

Anonymous said...

SBF, I very respectfully, but strongly, disagree with you about Logan.

The key thing to remember is that Nook has always been a much better right handed hitter. In fact, his lifetime average hitting RH is .298. That's far better than "premier" CFers like Rowand, Hunter, Edmonds and Beltran.

The old switch-hitting Nook is gone. Now we've got one of the best CFers in the game. Let's appreciate him.

paul said...

Batting average is an incredibly overrated statistic. In tonight's line-up, for instance, you'd have to consider Logan the seventh best offensive player, ahead of only Schneider and the pitcher.