Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Two More Little Things

Lost and forgotten in last night's latest meltdown in San Francisco, were two defensive miscues that on the surface didn't appear as important at the time, but in the long run proved costly. Those little things that add up to big innings and ultimately another defeat.

In the very first inning, after Jordan Zimmermann hit Edgar Renteria with a pitch on his left elbow, The Giants shortstop stole second base. A sure thing when Washington's catcher Wil Nieves had to double pump--BECAUSE NO ONE COVERED THE BAG. Cristian Guzman froze, Anderson Hernandez broke late. With eventual San Francisco Game Hero Pablo Sandoval batting lefthanded--neither of our middle infielders seemingly had communicated who should cover the bag. A resultant mental error that cost Washington a run when Randy Winn doubled with two outs in the bottom of the 1st.

Later in the bottom of the 4th--Renteria ropped a two out liner to right field that Austin Kearns scooped up and fired a one hopper to home plate. Aaron Rowand, already on third base, scored easily, but The Giants First Baseman--Travis Ishikawa--came charging around third looking to score. With Austin's throw on target and Ishikawa about to make a beautiful hook slide to the outside/back portion of home plate--Wil Nieves DIDN'T let the baseball come to him. Instead of blocking home plate, Wil moved forward to retrieve the baseball--pulling it back to the sliding Ishikawa, wasting precious seconds and allowing Travis to slip by him and score San Francisco's 5th run of the evening.

Two more little things that if executed better would have given Our Washington Nationals a better chance of winning--and having to depend less on their 9th inning theatrics. Baseball is a team game and it's not been just our pitchers that have made mental mistakes in the field.

InGame Photo--Marcio Jose Sanchez (AP)


SenatorNat said...

With the two runners on in the ninth, I quickly retrieved my Chad Cordero bobble-head from my son's room for luck - but, alas, Say It Ain't So, Joe occurred a moment later - a ball hit so hard that I was praying it would be pulled foul - no such luck.

No relief in sight: may have to go back to Plan A: Hanrahan as closer; Beimel in the 8th; Rivera in the 7th; Mock and Bergmann short and middle relief. Why not? This is not working. Pray for Martis to become first 5 game winner in NL, going the distance. And, of course, for Z-Man to take care of business by 4 PM our time.

Trust in Z the Man. And the Praying Mantis. All Fun.

JayB said...


We have talked for 3 years about the fundamentals and how the Nats seem to play some of the worst fundamental baseball in the National League. From the early not being able to call a pop up to the mental errors of not communicating who is covering 2nd base on a steel last question to you is are you ready to hold Acta accountable and if not now when? Year after Year Acta team play poor baseball....Year after Year Acta teams are at the top of the NL in errors made. Year after Year Acta's teams come out of Spring Training not ready to play baseball. Year after Year Acta team tells us they had a great camp, worked hard they focused on defense and then what........enough...time to give someone else a chance to show they are ready to lead a team. Acta has failed.

SenatorNat said...

Eddie Jordan is quoted yesterday that he supported the move Wiz made in hiring Flip Saunders not just for his noted offensive schemes, but because he could really coach defense too, acknowledging that he, Jordan, pretty much reconciled himself to the fact that Wiz players did not lend themselves to being a defensive team...

Manny may subsequently make similar comments should he be let go - Dunn and Guz have obvious limitations in the field. But, I concur that permitting lax defense is a cardinal sin for any head coach in any professional sport.

Under Manny, no matter who is in the field, communication is lacking; our pitchers lack fundamental bunting skills; he permitted Lopez to play despite his dogging it on purpose; guys do not cover bases or back-up or call off people properly. Nats could have 10 more errors called on them easily than scorekeepers have charted, if omissions were cited. AGonzalez, good fielder, gets 6 errors because, in part, we have an error-prone culture on the field. No one ventures into the outfield holding up two fingers - who is the leader of the infield. Manager has to charge Flores; Guz, Anderson; Dukes (guys up the middle) to take charce and shout it out. He is a wooden figure with hand signals - maddening...

This laxness is what ultimately lost it for Eddie Jordan, and should the team lose 50 before winning 30, he is most certainly gone, too. All-Star Break is probably when the axe falls..

Trust in the Fielder's Choice. And "fitting him in next Tuesday!"

Steve Walker said...


No one said Manny was bad when the 2007 Nats overcame 39-143 predictions to win 73 games, and should have won 3-4 more.

Manny is still learning, but may not have much time left.

I like his emphasis on sabermetrics and on avoiding walks. I like his calm demeanor with the media.

He needs to manage with more overt fire during games, especially doing a Lasorda-like sprint to the mound the get in the face of pitchers afraid to throw strikes.

He also needs to change his spring training routines. The Nats have come out not ready to play for every season he's managed.

He also needs to have his team work on fielding fundamentals once a week minimum.

Still, I'd keep him until he has a true, complete major league team. He's never been given that yet and AAAA guys playing in the majors get exposed no matter who's managing.

If we fire Manny, I'm afraid we may be throwing Casey Stengel 2.0 under the bus and right into the grateful arms of the New York Mets!