Saturday, June 07, 2008

Trying To Understand

Sorry, I just don't get it.

For the second consecutive night--Our Manager Manny Acta allowed one of Our Pitchers to remain on the mound in trouble--with not a single person warming up in the bullpen.

Manny--My Friend--you know I love ya. But, Friday night you left Jason Bergmann in the game FAR TOO LONG. Our Number 57 HAD NOTHING GOING FOR HIM. Sorry, but it is true. And despite your "Hombre A Hombre" discussion (to put it mildly) with Jason--all was lost a few minutes later when Bergmann was taken deep by The San Francisco Giants Jose Castillo. Reminder--at no time was ONE SINGLE RELIEVER up and warming in Our Bullpen--until Our Washington Nationals were down and out 8-0.

That was LAST NIGHT (I almost want to Pronounce that like the P.A. Guy at New Nationals Park whose voice I LOVE and always get a kick out of his "LAST NIGHT" routine just before Our Washington Nationals take the field of play before each game. He's good by the way).

Fast Forward to "TONIGHT".

With nothing but Zeros on the board between the same two teams--Shawn Hill begins to tire in the 8th inning. Who could possibly blame him on as a muggy and humid a night that Washington, DC is famous for. No--Our Number 41 had not been stellar--but he had kept Washington in the game once again. And what a surprise--on this hot night--Our Offense was ICE COLD--giving Hill no relief.

Help which totally failed with one out in the 8th--when Last Night's Giants' Hero--Jose Castillo--singled up the middle. Randy Winn then followed with an opposite field liner down the left field line. A resultant double that found Wily Mo Pena trotting (NOT RUNNING BY THE WAY) to pick up the carom into short left field. A baseball that ricocheted off the inset seats behind third base. San Francisco runners now standing on 2nd and 3rd with one out.

OK, My Friend--Our Washington Nationals are now "OFFICIALLY" in trouble. Luis Ayala is warming up in the bullpen. You do the right thing--and make a double switch. After consulting with Home Plate Umpire Brian Runge you take Hill and FLop out of the game--replacing them with Our Number 56 & Willie Harris.

Manny--those are understandable and good moves. Luis has been sharp of late. Felipe Lopez not so. You need to keep the game close--as you are not sure Our Washington Nationals can plate even one run.

Of course Ayala trotting out wearing a Curly "W" Cap while the REST OF OUR TEAM is wearing the "DC" Version--should have sent off the alarm bells right away. Red "DC" Jersey--Red Curly "W" Cap--do not match. Being superstitious--I was wondering if this bad omen crossed your mind? Just curious by the way.

Anyway, as solid as this mound appearance appeared on paper--the physical capabilities of Our Number 56 were not up to stuff. Luis Ayala may well have one wicked slider, but the only wicked movement anyone witnessed at New Nationals Park in this decisive inning of the game--was the vicious lightning bolts--threatening all night--now moving over the field of play. The Skies were getting rough. Ayala was about to get ROUGHED UP.

There were some serious Bang!! Zoom!! of The Fireworks!! coming but this natural phenomena had nothing to do with "Another Curly W In The Books!!"

The Resultant Game Changing Half Inning:

Single by Bengie Molina to left--scoring Castillo. 1-0, San Francisco.

Ray Durham Walk. Bases Loaded. Still One Out.

Rich Aurilia single to center scoring Winn. 2-0 San Francisco. Bases Still Loaded.

John Bowker GRAND SLAM over the right centerfield scoreboard wall. 6-0, San Francisco. (Bowker must have felt like Robert Redford in "The Natural". The Lightning Bolt flashed at the appropriate time over New Nationals Park during this key At-Bat. Although this time--in real life--the home run did not break the light towers--sending the ballpark into darkness. If it had--you would have known The Baseballs Gods were at work and having fun).

Manny--Luis Ayala entered this scoreless game at 8:58PM.

Manny--Luis Ayala had lost this game at 9:07PM.

Everyone has a bad day--it's understandable and expected. But why in the world--for two consecutive days--you had NOT ONE SINGLE PITCHER WARMING UP IN YOUR BULLPEN? Not a sole at the very--MOST CRUCIAL--portion of each game?

Like I said: I don't get that?

Understanding Our Bullpen has been overworked. Understanding that Ayala, Saul Rivera & Big Jon Rauch can't pitch each and every day. Understanding you are trying to illicit trust in your players on the field. And Understanding Our Offense is lucky to cobble together a few runs most any game right now--there comes a time when YOU simply HAVE TO UNDERSTAND--PULL YOUR PITCHER.

We might not have been able to come back from even a One-Zip deficit this evening. But the fact you left Luis Ayala in the game--well after everyone in the park knew he was through--gave us ZERO CHANCE TO WIN--in a close ball game.

Like None.

The Players Play and their Abilities most always decide the outcome. But please remember--Your Ability to maneuver those chess pieces--known as Major League Baseball Players--is a trusted right of yours to play. You know I love ya--but I just do not agree with your bullpen usage over the past two games.

Sorry--My Friend.
Final Score from Humid, Hot--then Lightening filled New Nationals Park--The San Francisco Giants Six and Our Washington Nationals Zero--Zip--Nada.

Game Notes & Highlights

How many times have I written this before? Shawn Hill pitched well enough to earn a victory. Playing for Our Washington Nationals only got him his third loss of the season. In control most of the night--Our Number 41 left the mound in a tie game and has produced a 2.30 ERA in four starts at New Nationals Park.

Hill along with his San Francisco counterpart--Jonathan Sanchez matched up inning for inning during this contest. Neither getting an advantage until the 8th. Eventually, Sanchez finished with seven strong innings. And like Hill, lets batters hit the ball. For these two guys--it's about getting outs--not about getting strike outs.

Washington had zero offense tonight. And if Our General Manager is going to release Rob Mackowiak for his poor spring--how much closer is Wily Mo Pena to the scrape heap? Sorry, but Wily Mo is not helping. And I doubt he ever will--consistently.

Our Washington Nationals did announce Signature Sunday will resume again for tomorrow's 1:35PM Start against The Giants. But, as the picture clearly shows--the nice detail given for the first such signing session was not offered tonight by Our Washington Nationals. Knowing many are interested, I am sorry to say--only that the event will take place--but not who, when or where Our Players will be standing at New Nationals Park. Too bad.

Author and Long Time Journalist with The Washington Post--John Feinstein was at New Nationals Park signing his new book--"Living On The Black" A retrospective of Mike Mussina's & Tommy Glavine's 2007 seasons playing for The New York Yankees and New York Mets--respectively. Feinstein stopped by The Stars & Stripes Club during the 6th, 7th & 8th innings. Throughout tonight's game--he signed autographs around the ballpark.
Finally, my guess is that "Teddy" must have been hit by one of those errant lightning bolts this evening and brainstormed a way to win The Geico Presidents Race. After GW, Tom & Abe had run out of the centerfield gate--"Teddy" zoomed out on a motor scooter and easily distanced the field to WIN!! By Cheating!! My Best Friend!! Screech!! disqualifying Our Lovable Loser for using a mechanical device. Teddy Roosevelt now having lost 153 Consecutive Live President Races. Actually the sight of "Teddy" bending over at the waist in disappointment of being disqualified--was quite the sight. Well done.

Tonight's InGame Photos--(AP) Lawrence Jackson
All other photos--Nats320--All Rights Reserved


Anonymous said...

I guess the folks in charge of signature sunday are waiting to beg players on Sunday morning. I imagine it's hard to ask guys on a team that have lost 6 of the last 7and have looked amazingly bad to subject themselves to the general public. Imagine all the kids asking, why can't you win a game? My daddy says.....

Anonymous said...

SBF -- on May 27th, you were saying that Manny should consider leaving his starters in because the bullpen was overworked...

I was at the ballpark last night, and agree that Ayala looked weak. But at the moment, I have more questions about Bowden than I do for Manny.

If Escobar and Maxwell are offensive possibilities, why aren't we seeing them? The line up is already depleted by injuries, and Pena isn't delivering, Milledge isn't showing much least let us see someone else audition in The Show, since this is becoming "prospects on parade". And, BTW, since the offensive callups seem to be hitting in AAA, WHY DON'T WE BRING UP THE BATTING INSTRUCTOR?

Anonymous said...

Releasing Rob Mackowiak is not the answer. At least he hustled when he was granted his rare opportunities to leave the dugout. Another left-fielder and a player who takes up space around second base should have been the one(s) to go. This lack of effort is really getting old. Does the Cincinnati pedigree guarantee them a roster spot and grant them a waiver from exerting a little effort and performing to the best of their abilities? I can accept a team that loses yet still plays hard. What I can't accept is a player whose head doesn't appear to be in the game, fails to run out ground balls, and looks like he'd rather be somewhere other than the ballpark. A few weeks in Columbus might do wonders for the soul.
This was supposed to be the year that this team started to show improvement. In these uneasy economic times, management is taking a huge risk that this inferior product won't alienate their fan base. New ballpark or not, DC fans are very fickle. If the Nats continue to score 6-8 runs for Tim Redding (who can't seem to stand the prosperity) and absolutely nothing for the other starters, play sloppy baseball, and look like they don't care, the fan base may find other things to do with their entertainment dollar.

Janet: I read that Maxwell is on the DL. Regarding Escobar? Your guess is as good as mine.

Anonymous said...

I agree, the Nats are just a few weeks away from killing the fan base for years to come. Not because they are losing but how Acta is letting them play the game. I too can watch bad baseball if the effort is there. Watching million dollar players who do not care and a manager who makes excuses for them is just about the worst thing this team can do and they do it very very well. Wake up Acta and kick some butt or you too will be looking for work.

Anonymous said...

Exactly right, this team was fun to watch because in years past they lost but never gave up. They used to try hard. I can't say that about this years' team. Too often they seem to throw in the towel when things turn bad.

Anonymous said...

SBF, the Critic.
You must be playing to your blogger base! Number of hits on the blog down? Planning to sell the blog?
Want to be 3d Base coach?
Sohna, please help him off the ledge.

PS Keep up the good work.

Jim H said...


I respectfully disagree on questioning Manny's not getting Ayala out of the game in time. Why continue burning the bullpen when you know they're going to be needed the next day and day afer that? When your team is scoring nothing, the strain on the starters to be perfect every time is too much.

This one got away...I don't wonder that Ayala was asked to get a couple of outs before allowing two inherited and four of his own runners to score. He failed. Simple as that.

Team was shut out again. Whether one run or six were didn't make a whit of difference.

For those thinking Mackowiak was cut as a scapegoat...he was cut to make room for the pitcher, Mock.

This is a very difficult set of individuals to watch, right now. (I'd say "team", but they'd have to start playing like one first.)

It could be those "experts" that we derided for being so far off with their "historically bad" predictions last year were merely off in their timing.

We may have to get worse to get better...but major league prices will soon require major league effort.

Anonymous said...

Nats brass seems to think its inconsistent to try to field a .500 team at the major lg level, while building the farm -- maybe it is, but if their plan doesn't work, DC is doomed to see losing baseball for a decade. But if it works, wow! It will be great. Stand and Jimmy B. are playing some high stakes poker with our Nats and the future of baseball in DC may be the chips on the table...

Anonymous said...

As a season ticket holder, this team is a major disappointment. Last year with the roster full of players on their last legs at least the effort was there. This year, it appears most are just mailng it in. How much more of a slacker attitude does Lopez have to show before they DFA him? I only hope when Zimm comes back, they move Casto to 2nd and get rid of Lopez. Wily Mo and Millegde need to go down to AAA mature (who would have thought that Dukes would be the most mature out of the 3 of them?). Let's face it, I don't think the major league team could beat there Sinlge A affiliate in Potomac!

JayB said...

Hey SBF,

Where is Stan in all this? I used to see him in the upper deck all the time in RFK. It was great, you could ask him anything. He has been a no show in my area of the new park. Stan has also said nothing about the team's problems in print or on TV that I have seen. Can you ask him to speak to us, the season ticket base? I think he owes us some kind of response to what we are seeing on the field. Oh and tell him the upper deck still has no onions, napkins, Kraut, and the like after the 2nd inning.

He is going to look pretty dumb, if he waits till renewal time to come out from his suite to ask us all to send in our deposits early.

JayB said...

Repost in hopes (small chance I know) you missed this.....

Hey SBF,

Where is Stan in all this? I used to see him in the upper deck all the time in RFK. It was great, you could ask him anything. He has been a no show in my area of the new park. Stan has also said nothing about the team's problems in print or on TV that I have seen. Can you ask him to speak to us, the season ticket base? I think he owes us some kind of response to what we are seeing on the field. Oh and tell him the upper deck still has no onions, napkins, Kraut, and the like after the 2nd inning.

He is going to look pretty dumb, if he waits till renewal time to come out from his suite to ask us all to send in our deposits early.

Anonymous said...

Mac didn't have to be cut to bring up Mock. They could have put Perez on the DL.