Wednesday, May 13, 2009


One out away from a resilient come from behind victory in the bottom of the 9th.

Not a single San Francisco Giant on base.

Then, just like that, three batters later--a down to his last strike game winning three run homer from Pablo Sandoval.

Our Washington Nationals had lost miserably again.

Pablo Sandoval!!??


To say upset is putting the feelings lightly.

For what seems the upteenth time this season, Our Pitching had failed again. Down big early 5-1, Our Hitters had gotten Washington back in this game, pulled ahead, only to watch as another Curly "W" denied with our relievers not getting the job done.

Like the movie "GroundHog Day", the same ending comes again, and again and again--no matter how different the scenario built to reach the climatic moments.

You could argue that Home Plate Umpire Tim Timmons had a very tight strike zone--especially in the bottom of the 9th with Joe Beimel on the mound. But Our Number 97 can't use that as an excuse. His job is to get the hitter out, no matter the conditions and the calls.

He failed.

This latest blown bullpen save ruined Ryan Zimmerman's extending of his hitting streak to 30 Games.

Wasted Nick Johnson nearly single handedly playing hero tonight--knocking in five runs in the 7th and 8th innings with a three run shot off Matt Cain and a two run single off Jeremy Affeldt.

And threw away all the joy of being proud of Our Washington Nationals Offensive Prowess. Our batters battled their hearts out all night long. They never gave up. And they AGAIN weren't rewarded for their gallantry.

As Gut Wrenching A Defeat as any of the TOO MANY miserable losses so far in 2009.

Knowing the game was going late into the night here on the east coast.

Knowing there was an early call time tomorrow morning for work.

But knowing that The Z-Man, NJ, Adam Dunn, "The Guz" and a host of their bat happy friends would make any deficit a game--we stayed up to the very end--to watch.

Now--The African Queen and I doubt we will be able to sleep. One of those defeats you play over and over in your head--trying to figure out why all went wrong--when everything looked so right with two out, nobody on base in the bottom of the 9th in China Basin.

A very troubling loss.

Final Score from Chilly AT&T Park where DC's Team found another agonizing manner to lose a baseball game--The San Francisco Giants 9 and Our Washington Nationals 7. Heartbroken, anguished, pained, saddened, downcast and distressed. A few of the many adjectives to describe Washington's 21st loss of 2009. But as Sohna and I look to move past this latest tragedy, we find ourselves nearly despondent. Simply unhappy that Our Washington Nationals can't close the door on most any certain victory.

Guys, The Great Game Is Not This Hard.

Game Notes & Highlights

Jordan Zimmermann struggled out of the gate tonight in San Francisco. He didn't look sharp and at times watching on MASN looked uncomfortable, a little less confident then seen in his previous four starts. But J-Zimm hung in there again and finished six full innings. He may well have struck out eight Giant Batters, but he allowed 7 hits and two walks. At times, Jordan seems to throw too many fastballs. In the minors, you might be able to get away with that. But in The Majors, professional hitters are just going to sit back and wait for it. The art of pitching is to keep hitters off balance. Jordan needs to set up his fastball to better utilize his other three pitches. Once he does, J-Z's going to be a good one.

Kip Wells relieves Julian Tavarez in the bottom of the 8th, right after Washington had battled back to take a 7-5 lead. The first batter he faces--Bengie Molina--he gives up a home run--deflating the uplifting spirit of the latest rally. And the telling sign of what was to come in the bottom of the 9th.

Beimel retired pinch hitters Juan Uribe and Rich Aurelia quickly to begin the 9th. Then, just as suddenly, everything fell apart. A slap single up the middle by DC Native Emmanuel Burriss. A pickoff throw to first to check the speedy Giant Second Baseman was thrown away for an error. Burriss moving to second base. Edgar Renteria walks on five pitches when Umpire Timmons' strike zone became tighter. And Sandoval followed with his no doubt blast into the leftfield bleachers to end the game. Beimel threw Pablo nothing but changeups--never challenging him. Almost afraid to give up the lead--which he did anyway. Just sad.

13 Hits and 7 Runs scored by Our Offense tonight--and we lost again.

Ryan Zimmerman got the drama out of the way early when he singled off Matt Cain on a 1-1 pitch in the very first inning. But even Our Number 11 probably can't enjoy completely what he's accomplishing right now. Not with these highest of high's only to be let down by the lowest of lows.

Nick Johnson unloaded on Cain in the 7th with a well struck opposite field three run homer to the left centerfield bleachers at AT&T Park. NJ's power is coming back and he's pretty close to playing All-Star Caliber Ball. What a great pleasure to see him healthy and playing well. So many have doubted him and he's proving everyone wrong. Sohna and I couldn't feel happier for the man.

Not only is Cristian Guzman still swinging at everything and getting hits--two more tonight, but Wil Nieves has found his batting stroke as well. Replacing the injured Jesus Flores, Nieves with three hits tonight raising his average to .280.

Finally--and this is worth repeating--some didn't appreciate what we had, until we lost him. But when healthy--Sohna and I would take Chad Cordero back as Our Closer in a heartbeat. "The Chief Cardiologist" was tantalizing and scary, but "The Chief" had the mindset and the ability to close the door on most every threat. Aptitude which doesn't exist with our relievers this day.

As Sohna says: "It seems no one can fill Chad Cordero's shoes."

Tonight's InGame Photos--Marcio Jose Sanchez (AP)


JayB said...

May 15th.....that is the date I predicted Acta would be fired way back in the fall......The time has come.

He taught a whole generation of Nats and Nats Fans that losing is fine....That losing was expected....That losing was needed......Those days need to be put behind this team and the best way to do that is losing Acta.

While you are at it Randy Knorr should pay the price as should Randy S.C. They worked with this staff for 3 months now and it shows.

JayB said...

AND THIS FROM Mark Z of the Times.....

All of a sudden, Joel Hanrahan and bullpen catcher Nilson Robledo sprinted out of the Nats' dugout and ran to the visitors bullpen down the right-field line here at AT&T Park. Any thought that Hanrahan might be a better option than Beimel, though, was quickly vanquished by anyone who saw his first three warmup throws. All three bounced in front of Robledo, the first one rolling all the way to the backstop behind home plate and forcing umpire Tim Timmons to call time out.

THIS IS WHY ACTA MUST BE FIRED.....Not getting the team ready from Feb to May....Acta is the real issue here.

Jeremy said...

I truly and honestly don't believe I can watch this team anymore this season. We're a friggin' joke.

Anonymous said...

Who is responsible for this? It is more than lack of talent in the pitching staff. It is a culture of losing established by Stan the Plan and Manny Acta. Action is needed to change the culture. That mean firing people. Let's get to work.

phil dunn said...

SBF I predict you are going to have many sleepless nights. I can't recall the number of times that I have read on all of these Nats blogs that: "relief pitchers are very expendable, that they are a dime a dozen". There is not even one Nats relief pitcher who is worthy of a major league roster spot. Then, add starters Cabrera and Olson to the equation and you have the grimest of situations.

phil dunn said...

I agree with JayB, Acta and St. Claire should be fired. The team is not showing progress; in fact, it has gotten worse every year since Frank Robinson left. The pitching has gotten progressively worse every year since the first season in DC. Yet, Randy St. Claire is thought to be a genius. Last year, the hitters didn't produce and Lenny Harris was fired. It's time for St. Clare to leave too.

Anonymous said...

All I have to say is Renteria should have struck out in the 9th and then we wouldn't be having this discussion.

JayB, Manny doesn't have a lights out closer. Beimel is good. Hanrahan is a set-up guy.

Anonymous said...

Acta deserves to be fired but he won't be because this franchise is paralyzed. The incompetent Bowden would still be the GM if it wasn't for the scandal in the D.R.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Phil Dunn--what you write about "relievers being a dime a dozen" is true, time and time again many so called experts have claimed you can find relief pitchers anywhere so trade or get rid of the competent ones we had before. They were so wrong. It take more than talent to succeed in The Majors. Mental Fortitude is equally, if not more important. Few on our staff seem to have that right now.

Sam R said...


I just a so drained by these bullpen meltdowns. I can imagine, although unsaid, the position players are really frustrated and upset at the bullpen and some of the starters who have sabotaged some fine offensive outtings. You shouldn't have to score 10 runs a game to win dammit!

Take Me Out To The Ballgame!


Screech's Best Friend said...

Sam R: Zuckerman in The Washington Times hints at frustrated position players--"Acta has tried Hanrahan. He has tried Julian Tavarez. He has tried Kip Wells. And he has tried Beimel. The only thing that has changed is the name on the back of the uniform, leaving the beleaguered manager with growing discontent in his clubhouse and few answers for how to remedy the problem."

An Briosca Mor said...

"time and time again many so called experts have claimed you can find relief pitchers anywhere so trade or get rid of the competent ones we had before."

Well, maybe. But if so, who are those competent relievers we got rid of who are now succeeding somewhere else? I can't think of a one. Cordero was good, yes, but he's not back yet either and would be no help to the Nats right now even if he hadn't been released.

So I really can't fault them for getting rid of the relievers they did. The only complaint I have is that perhaps they shouldn't be replacing them with guys other teams have decided to get rid of, e.g. Kensing. Maybe it's time to just start bringing up the kids one by one until you find a few who can cut it.

And along those lines, I think we all know by now that Hanrahan can't cut it. Get rid of him and bring back Bergmann.

NatsGuy said...

The only thing worth watching anymore on this team is Zimmermans streak. Eventually that will be gone too. Massive changes need to happen very quickly. Its interesting how quiet the FO has been this last few days. Something must be going on. I suspect there will be changes on Thursday when they get back.

Anonymous said...

Wow, a lot of Manny haters out there. Acta should not be fired. There are so many "fans" in DC that don't know enough about baseball and just demand a winning team. That is the DC way. When the Redskins win, everyone is happy. When they lose, "they suck." Fair-weathered fans all over the DC area.

People are jumping on the Caps bandwagon right now because they are red hot and winning. Those same people don't much about hockey but are trying to learn so that they can see a winning team. What they may not realize is how many YEARS and YEARS of painful games that the real fans went through to get here today. It is not an overnight thing people! Leonsis bought the Caps 10 years ago and it has taken that long to reach the 2nd round of playoffs.

I am an unconditional Nats fan. Yes, it is always more fun when they are winning, of course!

Take a minute and think about the line-up over the last couple of years. Not exactly MLB scary. NOW - our lineup is fantastic and every single batter is a threat! That is exciting. Our offense is great and Zimmy is on a roll. Adam Dunn has hit almost as many homeruns in the first month of the season than our homerun leaders did all season. Willingham hit 3 homeruns in 6 ABs.

Pitching needs work. No doubt about it. Cabrera needs to go to Syracuse to work on his mental game. It is what got him into trouble with the Orioles. The O's sent him down for a while and when he came back, he had much better control. Worth a shot anyway. Martis and JZim could have a shot at Rookie of the Year if they keep it up. Each only 22 so we have the pleasure of watching them improve all season.

Bullpen is the biggest issue. I know that the guys in the bullpen must feel like they are in a pressure cooker which cannot help the situation. Villone has been a good addition and hopefully he can be a mentor to some of these younger guys.

My proposal to Nats:
1. Send Cabrera to Syracuse to work on mental game and bring up Craig Stammen. He is 4-1 with 1.85ERA through 34 innings.
2. Kensing was a Rizzo mistake and Kensing needs to go. Bring back Rivera. Colome is available starting Friday so maybe they are waiting on him to DFA Kensing. Colome has 3 saves with 9Ks in 9.1 innings in Syrause.
3. Cintron finally got his first hit, but he still needs to go. Give Seth Bynum his first MLB shot. He has .300BA, team leading 6 homeuns and 19 RBIs in Syracuse.

Don't give up yet fans. We came back after being down 6-0 in 1st inning to beat the Dodgers 11-9 last week and it was their first loss at home all year! We don't give up!!!!!

Screech's Best Friend said...

ABM--Yes, as posted the other day, we should go with our own guys and not the retreads and castoffs of others.

And the point being made is that so many others have said that putting together a bullpen is easy. It's not and shouldn't be taken for granted. Even when Cordero was healthy, people called for him to be traded. Closers are easy to come by--they claimed. It's not true. And that's important to remember.

NatsGuy said...

Seth Bynum is a career minor leaguer and is 29 years old. He is still there for a reason. Lets not make things worse.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Bynum is also a poor fielder. 9 Errors in 23 Games this season at Syracuse.