Monday, September 10, 2007

Finding His Game

Unquestionably--Wily Mo Pena has talent. Raw Ability that scouts drool over. Superior speed moving his hands through the strike zone while swinging a baseball bat. That Velocity proven this evening on his first of two home runs at Dolphin Stadium. An absolute LASER, almost one handed swing--off Scott Olsen that JUST got over the left field fence in the 3rd inning. If Our Number 26 could ever understand the more patience he shows at the plate--the better pitches he will receive from the mound--Wily Mo Pena would be a MONSTER HITTER--feared by every opposing pitcher.

Clearly--this 25 year old is appealing, very intriguing and many times frustrating.

Because--on his current pace, If Wily Mo Pena played 162 Games for Our Washington Nationals, he would slam 50 Home Runs. Yet, drive in less than 100 Runs. How Odd is that? I don't think anyone has accomplished that feat. Stats that show both everyone's fascination with him, but his faults--as well. Wily Mo, at a crossroad in his career where he needs to figure out the games nuances. Before, the degree of difficulty in baseball gets the best of him. Really, It's going to be interesting to see what happens to Wily Mo Pena over the long haul.

But, for tonight--he was the difference. A GAME CHANGER. Pena's Two Home Runs led the way. And, thankfully, for Shawn Hill's sake--Our Washington Nationals, not only waited out a 40 minute rain delay, that removed Our Number 41 from the game--but survived a poor performance by Jesus Colome replacing him. Still Hill received his deserved 4th victory of the season, because Jonathan Abaladejo was called on by Our Manager Manny Acta to save him. After Colome gave up a two run homer to Mike Jacobs in the 7th--minutes after the rain delay ended--Manny's Call to The Bullpen found Abaladejo again up to the task--2/3rd scoreless innings pitched. Followed by Big Jon Rauch with his 27th recorded hold in the 8th; and Chad Cordero retiring The Marlins, in order, in the 9th for his 33rd save.

Curly "W" Number 65 not only gave Our Washington Nationals a four game lead over the now Cellar Dwelling Team from South Florida--but also notified their opponents--a real slugger awaits them in The Washington Lineup. Aptness, looking to find his game--in the name of Wily Mo Pena.

Game Notes & Highlights:

Sorry for the Crib Notes Post. I have to be up early and--at the same time--I am working on a special post for The Nats320 blog. My time is very limited right now.

Shawn Hill lowered his ERA to 2.87 with a fairly effective outing. He allowed a no doubt Home Run to Dan Uggla, and was charged with an unearned one when FLop made a crucial error. But, 56 strikes over 81 pitches is a decent ratio. If not for the rain delay in the 7th inning, Shawn would have certainly pitched another frame--if not two. Hard to believe that Shawn Hill was rewarded with his first win since May 11th. May 11th!!! Seems like eons ago.

When Dan Uggla hit that solo Home Run tonight in the 4th inning off Hill--Bob Carpenter on MASN actually said: "With a three run lead, he (Hill) is better off throwing that pitch, his best, rather than his 2nd of 3rd best." What? It was just a stunning comment. Shawn Hill had just given up a home run. How would anything else NOT BE BETTER? Very Confusing.

As for FLop, he fielded another routine grounder in the bottom of the fifth off the bat of Florida's Todd Linden--moving to his left. Only to see Felipe Lopez throw the ball well past the stretching Dmitri Young at first base. FLop's 19th error of the season--allowing The Marlin's second run of this evening. He may not be talking to the media--but maybe Lopez should be talking to himself. Lost is the only way to describe him.

A disoriented look that Jesus Colome has brought to the mound over his last three outings--all against Florida. Our Number 43 having pitched 1.2 innings--allowing 6 runs/5 Earned--Two Home Runs allowed. Since his return from The Disabled List in late August--Colome has looked nowhere near the same dominating performer he was during the first three months of the season. Time off has definitely hurt his momentum. The African Queen calls Jesus "The Human Rain Delay" for his very deliberate approach on the mound. Colome drives Sohna up the wall.

Which directly leads to a halt in play that should have been called, with rain POURING DOWN in the top of the 7th inning--Our Washington Nationals had Wily Mo Pena on second base and Ronnie Belliard at first with no outs. Jesus Flores was at the plate. The rain was so hard--when Flores popped a routine fly to the infield, near third base--no one saw the ball. Not a single Marlin. Not a single National. Not a single Umpire.

Yet, when the ball landed fair, right behind third base--3rd Base Umpire Fieldin Culbreth ruled a fair ball. But, with Wily Mo Pena running to third--The Florida Marlins Third Baseman Miguel Cabrera picked up the baseball and threw to Harvey Garcia to tag out Pena. Home Plate Umpire Tim McClelland ruled Infield Fly Rule. All Pena had to do, was stay on second base. Yet, confused like everyone else over not seeing the baseball--he ran. Just one of those strange, but true occurrences, that surprise you in the game. Of course--The Umpires--now realizing the weather was hampering play--called a Rain Delay, seconds after this debacle. What were the Umpires thinking by allowing play to continue? Clearly--no one could see the baseball properly. What if someone was seriously injured over this mess?

Does anyone in South Florida actually care about Major League Baseball. Sure, I understand its early September, two teams well out of the playoff are playing--yet Our Washington Nationals and The Florida Marlins might as well have played in a high school venue. No one showed up for this game--12,345 the Official Count. Attendance a major problem for The Marlins, pretty much throughout their entire history. How do they make money? The same holds true for The Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Neither Florida Teams seem to have a Fan Base. Why? Are they just poor Markets. Are the owners that bad? Is it because both are not winners. Although, The Marlins have twice won The World Series.

Finally, During the rain delay--The African Queen and I were flipping through the dials on DirecTV. As we came across The Devil Rays/Boston Red Sox game from Fenway--Former National Brendan Harris was batting for Tampa Bay. This William & Mary Product hitting .281 with 10 Home Runs and 55 RBIs. Splitting his duty between Second Base and Shortstop--he has 16 fielding errors in 2007. When Our General Manager Jim Bowden just threw Brendan into last season's big Reds Trade that brought FLop and Austin Kearns here--I felt it a mistake to just give Harris away. He had shown talent--Brendan just needed a chance to play. An opportunity that never developed in Washington--but a situation he has taken advantage of playing for The Devil Rays. Good for him.

PS--Where's Screech When I Need HIM!! How is it that The Radio City Rockettes get to hang out with Billy The Marlin? The Rockettes apparently invited to throw out the First Pitch before tonight's game. My Best Friend--we need to Pow Wow!!


An Briosca Mor said...

Fifty homers and less than 100 RBI? One A. Soriano came pretty close to doing that in 2006: 46 HR, 95 RBI. And in his 50 HR season in 1996, Brady Anderson had only 110 RBI. I think the key to doing it is batting leadoff. If WMP was the leadoff hitter, he might do it sometime.

Anonymous said...

Here's where my ignorance of the infield fly rule comes into play. First, the ball landed behind third base, didn't it? How is that in the infield? And isn't calling it at the dicretion of the home plate ump? Doesn't he have to call it right away so players on both sides know? Of course Pena would run if he sees it's going to fall in fair--as the third base ump called it.

I don't get it. Can someone explain?


SenatorNat said...

Don't look now - but your infield fly rule is down; and Billy the Marlin hangs out with some fine finless friends!!

We needed a stopgap power guy and we got just the thing for virtually nothing in return in WMP - may not work out in the long-run BUT HE MAY; which would be great since he is surprisingly agile in the field and on the basepaths, too. {And he looks like Clinton Portis, and play the same amount in Redskins preseason!)

Should the Nats want to have some fun, and they can afford this "risk" they should start Ross Ditweller tonight instead of Mr. 756-giver...Perhaps this weekend v. the Braves, or v. the Mets, should they clinch...

Trust in Kasten. All Good.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Mick: The Umpire at third base blew the call. But, Pena should not have run blindly. When an umpire rules the ball is easily in play by an infielder around the dirt and grass--its an automatic call. Any Umpire can make that call--not just the home plate umpire. In this instance--Tim McClelland was the Crew Chief. He simply made the call the other umpire did not see. The situation rose because The Crew Chief did not call play--due to rain--at the right time. Instead, playing in a downpour directly led to a bad situation.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

Why were the Rockettes at Dolphin Stadium? Simple. Miami and Tampa/St. Petersburg are both suburbs of New York...

paul said...

Judging from this pop fly anecdote and what little I saw of tonight's debacle, it is clear that the umpiring crew is not a professional crew. Someone needs to tell them that even if the fans do not show up, they need to.