Thursday, August 07, 2008

A Fresh Attitude

Last Friday Night the fun began when Our Washington Nationals stepped onto the field to play The Cincinnati Reds. Six Days Later, the merriment has yet to end. Today, a doubleheader sweep of The Colorado Rockies in Denver gave DC's Team their sixth win in 7 games. Our Washington Nationals looking more and more like a Real Major League Squad.

Thanks to a new willingness to practice what you preach.

Thanks to a new effort to play hard.

Thanks to newly rejuvenated teammates apparently happy to be playing together again.

And Thanks to a Fresh New Attitude.

As Our Washington Nationals were walking off the field congratulating each other this afternoon after taking Game One, the sight of "The Guz" turning around and HUGGING Lastings Milledge was quite revealing. At a time a Youth Moment is making an impact on The Major League Level, and at the very time Veterans have limited space on Our Roster--one of Washington's most senior players thanked his far younger teammate. Happy to be a part of the future.

Unlike the excess baggage tossed aside last Thursday Night, Cristian Guzman apparently cares. A proud player who understands the current forward movement of Our Washington Nationals. Our Number 15 has embraced the positives. Enthusiasm Paul LoDuca, Felipe Lopez and Johnny Estrada lost over season's past.

Not much negative coming out of Coors Field this Thursday Afternoon and Early Evening.

Jason Bergmann pitched one fabulous Game 1. Throwing first pitch strikes, not giving in to a good Colorado Rockies Lineup, I actually thought, he was also going to go the distance and produce a shutout. The same feelings which crossed my mind two nights ago--when John Lannan was pitching into the 7th. Of course, the very moment I had convinced myself Our Number 57 was going all the way--Matt Holliday took him deep for a Home Run, killing the shutout. And when Our Manager Manny Acta came out of the dugout to replace him--that killed any chance of a Complete Game for Our Number 57. But, that one solo shot did not take away from Bergmann's Outstanding Performance. Gaining his first Victory since May 15th at Shea Stadium, you better believe this win was a HUGE RELIEF for Jason. He deserved it. Bergmann had suffered for far too long.

And he had Lastings Milledge to thank in big way for his second win of 2008. Our Number 44 Blasting Out with his finest game of the season and combining that with his Game Two Effort--maybe his finest Day In The Major Leagues--EVER. Two Home Runs, 4 RBI's in Game One. Two Hits and an RBI in the nightcap. And just to prove this was Lastings' Day, Milledge with a very athletic dive and sprawled out catch on a liner to his right, running in, during the bottom of the 9th of Game Two. The Defensive Play Of This Day on a drive by Colorado Pinch Hitter Seth Smith. Nicely Done By Lastings. Even I have to give him credit for that play. Lastings Milledge had it all the way.

In fact, Milledge made such a fine catch I thought Charlie Slowes was going to have a conniption on the radio. Dave Jageler was probably searching for the oxygen tank to assist Charlie through the play-by-play. Was he ever excited!!

A good feeling shared by many this afternoon.

In Game One, Emilio Bonifacio was again a spark plug. Ryan Zimmerman, Ronnie Belliard and Willie Harris providing some key hits and scores. And Joel Hanrahan stepped to mound in the bottom of the 9th to record his 2nd Save of his Major League Career. An effort repeated in Game Two, when Our Number 38 blew away The Rockies in the bottom of the 9th, for the second time in less than 4 hours--to record his Third Save as Our Closer. Did you see Joel's SMILE while shaking hands with his Game Two Catcher Wil Nieves? Priceless--the sign of a very happy ball club.

Bonifacio, Harris, Milledge, Ryan Langerhans and Wil Nieves providing the sparks in Game Two--helped along by another fine effort from Veteran Starter--Odalis Perez. Seemingly working from the stretch all afternoon, Our Number 45 survived through six innings and received some solid offensive support. Since the Re-Structuring Of Our Washington Nationals on August 1st, Odalis Perez has pitched better baseball. Good Defensive work behind him hasn't hurt him either.

Both Bergmann and Perez combining to assist Our Manager Manny Acta from destroying his bullpen from overuse during the doubleheader. A break the relievers truly needed with an overnight flight upcoming and 10 more ball games scheduled ahead, before their next full day off.

As Our Washington Nationals move deeper into the August Schedule they are quickly becoming a better ball club, comfortable with each other, trusting of each other's abilities. Everyone knows, winning is always more fun, but with Victory comes The Confidence. That assured feeling that you can compete with anyone. Yeah, Our Washington Nationals have only beaten two lesser teams since the calendar moved out of July, 2008--but you better believe when Our Team steps off that plane early tomorrow morning in Milwaukee--they will be walking with that undoubting belief--the self assurance--that comes from competing hard. Our Washington Nationals knowing they CAN NOW BEAT one of The National Leagues better teams--The Brewers in a four game set.

No one would have thought that possible, just 8 Days ago.

The Final Scores from Coors Field, A Twin Killing in Double Take Style. Our Washington Nationals 6 And The Colorado Rockies 3 in both affairs. Curly 'W's Numbers 43 & 44 proving that practicing together, playing together, WANTING TO BE A TEAM TOGETHER has opened up a whole new atmosphere for Washington. As The African Queen stated: How Fitting, Our Number 44 played such a key role in Victory Number 44.

A Fresh Attitude among Our Players. A perception finally perceived by Our Coaches that these young men, Our Players, may well take instruction after all. If that doesn't get me up and cheering, I don't know what will.

PS--Nothing pleased me more than reading this article in The Washington Post this morning concerning Our Players praising the very fact that Manny wants them out on the field, taking batting practice, fielding practice, not just sitting in the clubhouse playing cards and watching TV before every game. Our Number 14 is apparently getting his Clubhouse back and it is nice to know that Our Players are responding--positively. A GREAT SIGN!! for Our Near and Long Term Future.

Hard to believe--Our Washington Nationals won two games in one day this Thursday Afternoon and have won 6 of 7 played so far in August. A far cry from July--when DC's Team was only victorious 5 TIMES ALL MONTH!--Along with 19 Losses. What A Difference in play.

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


Chris Needham said...

You forgot the part about "thanks to playing some of the worst teams in the National League."

I'm definitely glad at how hard they seem to be playing. and I'm glad to see an improved defense.

But I'd hold off on the victory parades for a few more weeks :)

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

From the Trade Deadline, there was talk of acquiring difference-makers such as Rockies outfielder Matt Holliday or Reds first baseman/outfielder Adam Dunn. The Nationals have hit only 82 homers this year. Zimmerman has eight home runs and none since being activated from the disabled list on July 22.

"Obviously, we need some more power," Acta said. "We need probably a big power threat in the middle of our lineup, preferably from the left side, because we have a few right-handed hitters."

Manny, duh!!!! Obviously!!! Check the archives on Nats320 blog. The quote tells me that you aren't looking at Pat Burrell. That leaves the possibility of Mark Teixiera who is a switch hitter or Adam Dunn who has been on Bowden's wishlist for a while. Please don't even think of Giambi.

Does this spell the end of Nick Johnson's tenure here?

Anonymous said...

Chris Needham said...
You forgot the part about "thanks to playing some of the worst teams in the National League."

Sure the Reds were not great when you miss Volquez in the rotation and with Griffey gone, but the Rockies (good at home) were still in the hunt for the West when we rolled into town. Our pitchers I thought did a great job on Holliday when men were on base and we out-slugged their sluggers and out-hustled their hustlers.

Tonight we get the lucky draw (lol) of facing CC Sabathia at the start of a 4 game series against the Brewers who are the real deal this year.

Anonymous said...

Wow, how did jim b manage to quote an entire NJ thread here?

Chris Needham said...

How to tell that you're a homer: :)
Sure the Reds were not great when you miss Volquez in the rotation and with Griffey gone, but the Rockies (good at home) were still in the hunt for the West when we rolled into town.

They're in the worst division in baseball and even before we rolled into town, they had something like the fifth fewest wins in the league. That's not a good team, no matter what kind of miraculous streak they went on last year.

These next six games against Milwaukee and the Mets -- two legitimately good teams -- will tell us a lot more than beating the hell out of some dogcrap teams.

Jim H said...


Absolutely true...the Nats have been beating weak teams. Of course, this team had just lost 6 straight to the Giants and Dodgers...hardly juggernauts.

So, as you ask...great to see them playing hard, but is it good enough against the strong teams in the league? Maybe not. But I think the thing to feel good about, is this team may be on the road to beating the teams it "should". Always the first step to better things.

Nice to see 'em playing this way. They're a long way off from great expectations, certainly. But they're certainly more fun to watch.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Chris: The point is that, although they are beating lesser teams, as stated in the original post, they are playing with confidence, with the belief THEY CAN WIN, a feeling missing most all year long. This string of wins were not last at bat wins--but solid victories played out over nine full innings. Big Difference, worth getting excited about.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Jim B: I appreciate your enthusiasm and wanting to share comments about Our Washington Nationals, but please don't re-post page after page after page of a thread from another Blog, even if it is from Nationals Journal. Most everyone reading here, probably checks there anyway. If you have a specific point to make and want to use a quote or comment from NJ--Fine, but please don't take up unnecessary space just to do so.

It is not desired or wanted.

If others wish to comment here, I am all for it, but please don't replay everyone's thoughts from elsewhere here.

That is why I deleted your post.

Make comments, make suggestions, talk about the team and everything surrounding them, but make it fresh, not taking others thoughts and pasting them here.

An Briosca Mor said...

These next six games against Milwaukee and the Mets -- two legitimately good teams -- will tell us a lot more than beating the hell out of some dogcrap teams.

True, but if you have a dogcrap team yourself, beating two other teams whose dogcrap doesn't smell quite as bad as yours does tell you something. That's all SBF is saying.

And hey, if you can have graduation ceremonies from elementary school these days, why not a victory parade when your dogcrap team wins six out of seven? And if you come to the parade, Chris, SBF might even let you march behind the dogs to get the full dogcrap experience!

Anonymous said...

Take the little triumphs and build on it. Beating Colorado like they did is a step in the right direction.

There are 16 teams in the NL. Only 7 have winning records as of this morning so do you keep dissing it every time you beat a team with a .500 record or less?

Roll back to Monday, and Colorado was in the playoff hunt in the horrible NL West so they had everything to play for. They didn't ship off any players by July 31st because they thought they still had a shot for Post-Season. The Nats stuck the fork in them so congrats to the Nationals.

The Nats are still shorthanded. The Nats are in need of a legit First Baseman and a #1 starter. The Nats aren't going to the Playoffs so the Nationals are playing for respect and for 2009.

You can call them dogcrap and belittle the victory parades as that is your right, but most don't want to read your negativity. Go on the Baltimore blogs and tell them how great their team is.

Chris Needham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris Needham said...

Whoa! Burn! You got me!

Go to Baltimore? Zing!

Anonymous said...

Check out Chris, hanging out at Nats320 telling us homers how we should feel. When perhaps another outlet would be more productive and persuasive...

Anonymous said...

At one time, life seemed to be pleasant here in 320-land. "The Plan" seemed to be on track, and the fans seemed content. Then the team endured a terrible stretch of injuries accompanied by poor play, and the fans started complaining about the product on the field. As the losing continued, the venomous comments turned away from the team and toward each other. Now that the team has rid itself of some life-sucking tumors, they are playing better baseball, and the comments about the team are not so pointed. However, the sniping at each other continues. "Can't we all just get along?" Isn't there enough negativity in the air as it is? I'm sure if we all met, we'd have a wonderful time discussing (and/or dissing) the Nats without getting personal. We are suffering through this season TOGETHER.

Chris Needham said...

I'm not telling you how you should feel. I'm just clarifying the facts.

Different people enjoy the game on different levels. I just think that to ignore the level of competition we've faced over the last week and to ascribe the majority of the wins to the era of good feelings is wrong.

We'll find out.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Yes, Please make your points. But, Please don't be personal against someone else here. The African Queen and I would appreciate that tremendously.