Monday, September 13, 2010

Still Acquiring The Taste

Derek Lowe was virtually unstoppable tonight while Yunesky Maya looked a little uncomfortable.

There is a lot that needs to be said about coming to a new country, learning a new language and being able to compete at the top level of Major League Baseball with players you've never competed with or against before. After this evening, it's clear, Maya still needs to acquire the taste of that feeling of home--in America. Two starts into his Big League Career, he's just not there yet.

Two walks, two balks, one single, one double, one triple and one hit-by-pitch in the bottom of the second inning at Turner Field proved to be the undoing for Our Washington Nationals newest pitcher from Cuba. Although the second balk called on Maya by Home Plate Umpire Dan Iassaonga was pretty iffy--all the other action in this game deciding frame precipitated in four runs being scored by The Atlanta Braves. All of them earned runs charged to Yunesky.

He looked uncertain at times, a little bit uneasy. No question, Washington's Cuban Defector is currently gauging his game in a completely new atmosphere. Sometimes, that takes a little seasoning. Except for that one bad inning, Yunesky Maya actually pitched quite well. He finished six complete--shutting out the Braves during the remainder of his stint on the mound. Adjusting to a new environment comes from experience. And that's not something taught before you leave your native land to find a better life for yourself elsewhere.

But as it turned out, even the slightest flaw by Maya on the mound tonight in Atlanta might not have mattered, because The Braves' Starter Derek Lowe was sharp as sharp could be. His sinker was top notch, his control--exceptional--not a single walk. When any pitcher completes eight frames, strikes out 12 and doesn't allow a single run--he's mostly likely going to win.

One run would have been unsurmountable tonight for D.C.'s Team to beat Atlanta because Derek Lowe was just too good. As it turned out, he received four scores from his teammates. The fact that Billy Wagner unofficially closed out this one by striking out the side in the top of the 9th was just the icing on the cake. Really, Washington seemingly had little chance of pulling this one out. Atlanta's pitching was just stellar.

Final Score from Turner Field where Derek Lowe had the comfort level Yunesky Maya hopes to soon reach: The Atlanta Braves 4 and Our Washington Nationals Zero. Loss Number 84 of 2010 proved Maya has some nice attributes. That wacky off-speed pitch of his that floats in over the plate is very similar to Livan Hernandez's Woop-Di-Woop Curve. Since it tends to freeze hitters, that pitch has promise. No, Yunesky doesn't throw overly hard, but he does appear to throw four pitches with confidence.

While acquiring the taste of Major League Baseball, Maya still needs to learn the competition. That can be difficult though, for anyone, working in a country they barely yet know.

Tonight's InGame Photos--John Bazemore (AP)

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