Monday, September 28, 2009

Conventional Win

The New York Mets were down to their last out. The crowd at Nationals Park was standing and cheering. For just over 2 hours & 30 Minutes Our Washington Nationals had played a clean, crisp baseball game. A solid six inning start from a rookie pitcher. Just enough runs to take a slim lead. Quality relief work not seen in these parts for most of the past month. And not one single error.

Not one.

DC's Team was on the verge of winning in conventional style. Appreciated by many still remaining on South Capitol Street among the 18,600 officially announced. Washington Fans had witnessed a very good ball game. One in which Birthday Boy--Ryan Zimmerman--knocked in Washington's first run on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 1st. A plated run by Justin Maxwell which included a tremendous head first deek around The Mets Omir Santos at the plate and a slap down of J-Max's left palm across home plate to score. A solo shot, and third consecutive home run in as many days, off the bat of Mike Morse in the bottom of the sixth.

The key blow that put Ross Detwiler in position to garner his first Major League Victory. A personal win deserved thanks to six professional innings of pitching. Our Number 48 in white was pretty outstanding this evening. Ross isn't going to strike out many hitters. He not going to overpower them either. But what this rookie lefty showed tonight was an aggressiveness to hit his spots around the plate. Let the opposing batter hit him. And then let your defense take care of their business. Inconsistency has been his problem on the Major League level all year, maybe even some maturity. A big advancement shown on the mound this evening by Ross Detwiler. A readiness not seen from him all year.

Success breeds confidence and it's never the other way around no matter what anybody tells you. Our Number 48 is gaining wisdom. The ability to throw and control a Big League Game. Just look at his four appearances since being recalled from AAA Syracuse. Detwiler has pitched 18.2 innings, allowed just five runs and only given up more than one run once--against The Dodgers (three) five days ago. Ross' ERA for September a solid 2.41. Although, he does need to cut down on those seven walks allowed.

When only John Lannan, Livan Hernandez and Tyler Clippard have really been effective hurlers so far this last month of the season--Ross Detwiler has sort of snuck up on everyone and has gained ground--probably some momentum too--as the 2009 Season comes to a close and a fresh new 2010 looms on the horizon.

This Missouri State Product was highly touted as Washington's Number 1 Pick Overall in the 2007 Draft. Many observers felt Detwiler had regressed since becoming a professional. When you spend two straight years at Single A Ball without advancing, people are going to doubt your talent. Yet from the very moment Our Number 48 was sent down EARLY in spring training--the worries began that Ross might not be able to turn the tables on a stumbling start to his professional career. Since then, he has been a completely different pitcher. No one can doubt that. Is he polished enough to be trusted most every single time out there on the mound? No, because Detwiler still has much more to learn.

But what this 23-year old lefty showed tonight was advancement. Even when Detwiler threw two wild pitches and gave up three singles in the top of the sixth--he didn't panic. He didn't give in to The Mets. What he earned was his eventual first Major League Victory when he struck out Nelson Figueroa with New Yorkers on 2nd & 3rd and the game on the line.

Battling every step of the way, Ross Detwiler has put himself back into contention as a projectable starter come 2010. Something many probably within Our Washington Nationals own organization didn't think possible just six short months ago. The tall lanky southpaw wearing Jersey Number 48 has proven many a critic wrong and in doing so has positioned himself for next season and beyond in the rotation for Our Washington Nationals.

Thanks to his own personal efforts. And thanks to the work of his teammates out of the bullpen tonight that sent everyone rooting for Washington home happy from South Capitol Street. Jason Bergmann with two shutout innings of work. Mike MacDougal working a 1-2-3 9th-including that final out at 9:37PM which found Our Number 54 inducing a ground ball to Ian Desmond at shortstop--who fired to Mike Morse at first base to end this game. A 6-4 routine play on a routine night of baseball that had everyone cheering for Washington--content to watch a Conventional Win.

Not a lot of drama, just some solid baseball.

Final Score from Nationals Park where as Mike Rizzo stated to Nats320 a few months ago: Mike Morse "can flat out hit" and did so again tonight with three hits this evening: Our Washington Nationals 2 and The New York Mets 1. Curly "W" Number 53 providing a fresh outlook on DC's Team. A young slugger wearing Number 28 getting the chance to hit and maybe finding a role for 2010 (his bat is exciting to watch). A young lefty getting the chance to pitch and maybe finding his role as well in the starting rotation. And the Bang!! Zoom!! Of The Fireworks!! providing the backdrop for a DC Team in transition that sent out on the field as starters this evening--six players that were staples of The AAA Syracuse Chiefs lineup in 2009.

Mostly youth--which most would call inexperienced--that provided tonight on South Capitol Street as Conventional of a Major League Win as you will ever see.

Game Notes & Highlights

Detwiler, he was good. But so were Jason Bergmann and Mike MacDougal. This was a close game, never more than one run the difference at any time. Any scenario could have played out in victory or defeat--which means pitching was key. Ross, Jason & Mike did not let a loss happen tonight. Ryan Zimmerman provided the early lead. Mike Morse the final lead. And Our Pitching held up giving Detwiler his first Major League Win and MacDougal his 17th Save of 2009.

Of course, Detwiler got the typical Shaving Cream Pie In The Face for his first win. This time provided by John Lannan while doing a postgame interview on MASN.

The Mets journeyman starter--Nelson Figueroa--didn't pitch that bad himself. What he did do was get beaten by Mike Morse who flat out slugged another home run the opposite way in the bottom of the 6th. An 88 MPH fastball over the outside corner of the plate that Our Number 28 just took the other way and easily cleared the right field wall. There is NO QUESTION ABOUT IT--Morse can hit. He needs to find a position as a National League player. If he does, Mike Morse could be dangerous. Size, power, the bat speed--he has all the makings of THE GUY you want on your bench. Quite frankly it's hard to believe Mike Morse has sat on the bench so much since his recall from AAA in August. Give the guy a chance, he's been pretty good.

Much like what Ryan Zimmerman is most every single day out on the field. Celebrating his 25th Birthday, Our Franchise Player knocked in his 102 run of 2009 with his sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 1st. Zimmy has scored 105 runs, hit 32 home runs, 33 doubles and has played the finest 3rd Base in The National League this season. No one comes close. The Z-Man is deserving of a Gold Glove and we are fortunate Baseball Management locked him up as our very own until 2013 and hopefully--forever. Ryan Zimmerman is such a joy to watch.

Again tonight--The Defensive Play Of This Game--which came after Anderson Hernandez singled to lead off the top of the 5th for The Mets and Josh Bard misplayed a routine sacrifice bunt by Figueroa by throwing to second base--wrongly. Our Number 11 then rushed in with nobody out on a Angel Pagan bunt and--as he does as well as anybody ever in the game--picked up the baseball barehanded--and while still running toward the first base line--heaved a perfect underarm toss to Alberto Gonzalez covering 1st base. You can't take that effort for granted. Zimmerman ended up nearly in Washington's On Deck Circle--he had ran so hard. Providing a key out that allowed Ross Detwiler to settle down in a precarious situation and retire both Luis Castillo and David Wright on a line out and ground out, respectively, to Ian Desmond at shortstop.

Mike Morse had two singles and his home run in going 3 for 4 tonight. His batting average up to .306. Our Number 28 has just 36 At-Bats and has knocked in 10 runs. 10 Runs!! Five of his 11 hits are for extra bases. Yeah, he's struck out 12 times, but his bat is potent. The potential to be that big bopper off the bench that managers covet. COVET.

The African Queen and I got to Nationals Park early today. We decided to watch Batting Practice for both teams from the leftfield bleachers. We picked up two BP home run balls. One from Ian Desmond and the other hit off the bat of Justin Maxwell. It is always interesting to see the conversations and friendliness amongst players for different teams. Being a Major League Player is a fraternity and the sight of Livo greeting his former Mets Teammates, David Wright chatting with Ryan Zimmerman and John Lannan shagging flies while chatting with his good friend, and former Nat, Tim Redding enjoyable to see. Especially, when both Lannan and Redding will face each other this Wednesday for the last scheduled home game of 2009 at Nationals Park.

The 2009 Team Photo was the giveaway today. Considering 20,000 were available and only 18.600 showed up, there must be a few extras. Usher Lead Captain Bill and Supervisor Jimmy hanging with Sohna as we came in the park this afternoon.

The Tours Guides of Nationals Park presented The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation with a $75,000 check in pre-game ceremonies. Money raised from the tours given at Our South Capitol Street Ballpark with all proceeds given to Our Washington Nationals charitable arm for distribution to their many causes.

Abe again won the fourth inning Presidents Race, his 39th win of 2009.

Nationals Park Beer Vendor Todd showed Sohna and I tonight this new mechanical way to open beer cans. The beer then poured into plastic cups for purchasing patrons. Todd was testing the device produced by Beer Vendor Perry at Our South Capitol Street Ballpark. Here is the video shot on our digital camera (the video is sideways--haven't figured out how to rotate it yet):

And finally--take a look at the finest Curly "W" haircut of all time. ALL TIME!! This on a youngster sitting just below us in Diamond Club. NatsHD even showed this wonderful head on the HDTV scoreboard during the game--to a tremendous cheer.

Tonight's InGame Photos--Manuel Balce Centa (AP)
All Other Photos Copyrighted--Nats320--All Rights Reserved


SenatorNat said...

Desmond has a Jeter-like throw from short to first - it curls nicely - he has good range, and his two hits and bouncing ball to right side to move runner over maintain his average at .291, stopping his batting slide. He looks relatively relaxed and polished. A diamond in the rough find for the Nats certainly if he is on the roster in 2010, even starting at short, perhaps. He is far from a sure bet, but his trial is working out, it seems.

Maxwell is another story. Flashes of brillance, but overall, still too rough at the plate and even in the field. Seems to need more time at Syracuse. It would be sensational for Nationals' fans if he works out, since he is a modern day Len Elmore - a fabulous young man, home grown, Harvard/Maryland type - and perfect teeth!

Gonzalez, hitting .264, commits his 11th error, and remains somewhat in disfavor with the brass - but, of the three we began with (Bonifacio, Hernandez, Gonzalez), I like him the best - and would not jettison him too quickly.

Willingham's fall from the sky at the plate continues - now batting .265, it is more reason than ever that Nats make a BIG PLAY for Matt Holliday, with an offer he shouldn't refuse. Between Willingham and Dukes, there is no guarantee that the outfield can consistently provide the power and hitting a good team will require. Dukes is all about potential - but his hitting this year not as impressive as last, in totality.

Lastly, Detwiler is the only pitcher besides Lannan and perhaps Stammen out of the young brigade (Martis; Balester; Mock; Bergmann; Martin; etc.) who I believe can be penciled into the starting rotation in 2010. Lannan, Doug Davis, Scott Olsen, Livo, and Detwiler seems possible. Stammen should replace Bergmann in the bullpen for long relief.

Trust in the Plan. Forever changing. And it had better...

SenatorNat said...

Forgot to add: Mike Morse, as SBF points out, is classic bench guy with power who can play multiple positions - seems like he is beating out Pete Orr for that position in 2010.

3rdStoneFromTheSun said...

nice to see Maxwell get more PT