Monday, July 06, 2009

Mile High Wonder

Blame it on The Humidor used at Coors Field.

Or Jason Marquis of The Colorado Rockies for pitching outstanding baseball, while giving Craig Stammen credit as well.

Admonish Adam Dunn for getting picked off 3rd base on a one-hop shot back to box by "The Guz" with nobody out in the top of the 7th.

The very same frame in which Our Washington Nationals batters stroked a leadoff double, single, fielder's choice & single--in that exact order--AND DID NOT SCORE?

Disapprove of DC's inability to score not even ONE RUN with the bases loaded in both that unbelievable 7th and the following 8th frame. Ronnie Belliard hitting into an inning double play and Josh Willingham popping out to right to end each rally, respectively.

A Wonder played out in The Mile High City this evening.

Give credit to Nick Johnson for making one defensive web gem after another--including a beautiful diving stop of a Brad Hawpe grounder that struck the first base bag--but didn't keep NJ from diving, rolling, retrieving and throwing out Hawpe for The Defensive Play Of This Game in the bottom of the 4th inning. (Nyjer Morgan also making a beautiful running catch to the deepest reaches of left centerfield off a drive by Carlos Gonzalez to end the bottom of the 2nd).

Applaud Washington for turning three double plays. The Rockies for their one key DP in that important 7th frame.

Attribute the only plated run tonight by Colorado on Our Number 35 getting his feet wet in one of the most difficult parks in Major League Baseball to pitch. A one out single in the bottom of the 1st allowed to Clint Barmes, followed by a Coors Field double into the deep gap of left field by Todd Helton giving The Rockies that early lead.

And appreciate the very fact that One Mile Above Sea Level--in the rarefied air of Denver, The Colorado Rockies and Our Washington Nationals played to a 1-0 Final Score. An ending tally only witnessed seven other times in the history of Coors Field. All seven of which have occurred since The Humidor was first used to settle down baseballs flying all over and out through the thin air of The Colorado State Capital.

An 8th Wonder In This World was completed tonight in Denver. Shutout ball was pitched by The Rockies. One run ball was thrown by Our Washington Nationals. Just enough to lose in that most rarest of Colorado fashions. Defeat Number 56 in 80 games played by Our Team will go down in the current standings as just another loss for Washington. But in reality this one was special--because you hardly ever win or lose 1-0 at Coors Field.

This feat takes a series of circumstances to transpire. Good pitching, solid defense and even a little luck must play into the final equation. Who would believe that on the very night The Philadelphia Phillies TROUNCED The Cincinnati Reds 22-1 at Citizens Bank (Pinball) Park--Denver, Colorado would be the venue of a Mile High Wonder--The 8th 1-0 Game in The History of Coors Field.

Astonishing, Fascinating, A Total Surprise--this game is the very reason I love The Great Game so much. Something never witnessed before by me played out tonight. A ballpark known for giving up big scores--was tamed. Wonderful to watch, although it would have been far nicer to see the final tallies reversed.

PS: The African Queen and I still can't believe that final score--nor the one from Philly. Also, We still can't believe Our Washington Nationals didn't score in that 7th frame tonight. And it's absolutely amazing how well Jason Marquis has been all season for Colorado. He looks really good and strong. Much like Craig Stammen was himself this evening. Our Rookie Pitcher has nothing to be ashamed of for taking this loss. His fastball was sinking well. We like his aggressiveness and willingness to let his fielders behind him make the outs. After giving up that one run in the 1st and saved from further damage by Cristian Guzman, Ronnie Belliard and Nick Johnson turning an inning ending double play--Craig settled down, was barely touched, and showed a confidence worth wanting to see repeated from here on out in 2009 by Our Young Starting Pitchers.

One of these days--Our Washington Nationals are going to win more of these close, low scoring games. And when they do, Our Young Guns will reap their rewards of their hard work--when their personal victories begin to mount.

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

1 comment:

SenatorNat said...

Three truly marvelous pitching starts in a row by Lannan, Olsen, and Stammen - you really cannot ask for more. I am looking forward to Z-Mann tonight and then Detwiler bouncing back tomorrow afternoon. I am very anxious and hopeful that we can put five great starts together back-to-back as the first half of the season draws to a close. Only Guz has an error in the three games - Morgan obviously sparking some great defense, with lots of double plays and Nick superb last night, too. Bullpen well rested and if Bergmann can pull it together now, it could actually be a sound bullpen for the second half, a miracle!

Belliard's lack of hitting despite his being a terrific guy makes me think that Manny needs to split second base between Hernandez and Gonzalez for second half so we can get a better feel for who should start there next year. My clamoring that Nats misstepped by not signing Orlando Hudson supported by his All-Star selection - he came cheap too for Dodgers.

Kearns seems reduced for balance of the year for defensive moves late in game, but look at Langerhans brief recent resurgance in Seattle. Maybe Nats can play parlay a deal for good Austin...

Manny has settled into his job since the turmoil reaching high water mark just prior to Nats at Yankee Stadium. Something happened over the course of that 5.5 hour rain delay followed by the perfect 3-0 victory on a cold Thursday in June in the Bronx. Nats leaders took a deep breath, steeled their nerves, banded together, got an appreciation of what they could achieve.

It appears that Kasten-Rizzo-Acta solid for next season, with Eckstein and McCatty part of the nucleus. Everyone seems to have settled in, now, and there is even some confidence that things are back on track. The panic and uncertainty pervasive weeks ago a storm now passed. The team foresaw the loss of Manny as a serious blunder, and his manner is now considered a plus, not a negative. In another life, he managed many a World Series team. Rizzo has been a critical new element which is fixing the ship - the Bow-Bow antidote - his workmanship is becoming obvious to all keen observers. Nats brass no longer a joke among peers and insiders.

Strasburg will be signed ($18.5 million) and then Nats will almost immediately be gearing for next year's number one - likely to be a 17 year-old catcher. Nats will win 31 games in second half, finish 55-106 (one not made up), four games worse than last year; yet everyone associated with the team from Ted Lerner to the bat ball are going to be enthusiasic about what was built in 2009. Spirits will quietly run high within the organization for the remainder of this year and into the off-season. Solid players need only apply - the likes of Milledge, Colume, and even Dukes eliminated in favor of committed earnest young men who don't demand and don't rattle - cite Stammen and Morgan as emblematic. If you got a problem, so be it...

This organizational zeal shall not translate into increased season ticket sales for 2010, but Zimmerman and five young pitchers, Nyjer Morgan, and the promise and symbolism of Strasburg do give the team plausible marketing claims. Flores' return can only help.

And, should the team get off to a solid start in 2010, they will come. And it could become a deluge if anything resembling the fight and electicity of the first half of 2005 were to be exhibited on the field.

Trust in a new sense of being righted. And being on course. All sails out.