Thursday, April 07, 2011

Ending With A Blast

Photo Credit--Pat Carter (AP)
That was one beautiful swing by Adam LaRoche in the top of the 11th inning tonight at "Whatever The Lastest Name Is" Stadium in South Florida. Our Washington Nationals new 1st Baseman absolutely crushed a pitch thrown by The Florida Marlins' Edward Mujica that easily cleared the right field wall. A two run shot that was the difference in this ballgame, despite the fact that The Fish's Chris Coghlan made--without a doubt--one of finest face plants and resultant miraculous catches against an outfield wall you might see all this season--when he robbed Wilson Ramos of sure extra bases just one pitch after LaRoche went deep.

Coghlan running fast and hard to a corner point of the deep centerfield fences at Sun Life Stadium before flat out out crushing himself against the barrier while still holding on to the baseball. The Defensive Play Of This Game that came seconds after The Offensive Play Of This Game which made the first three plus hours of this affair look pedestrian in nature. That was a GREAT CATCH!!

And a clutch home run. As beautiful as Adam LaRoche's swat was of Mujica's fastball moments earlier.

Baseball never ceases to amaze. This was a rather ordinary game through the first 10 innings. Washington did have some great relief pitching. Six innings in fact of two hit, no run ball (although Tyler Clippard allowed an inherited runner to score). The Marlins' fireballing righthander Josh Johnson wasn't bad himself for six complete. Only Jayson Werth's first home run as a National touched Florida's 2010 All-Star. A night which found Josh also striking out six.

Yeah, there were some strange errors and a few even more bizarre Official Scorer rulings, but what anyone watching will ever remember is Adam LaRoche's two run blast and Chris Coghlan blasting himself into the center field wall to make a fabulous over the shoulder catch.  That's why every game really matters because you never quite know what any game will bring.

Final Score from "Whatever The Latest Name Is" Stadium, Our Washington Nationals 5 and The Florida Marlins 3. Curly "W" Number two of 2011 had all the fireworks late. Ending in a blast, one swing of the bat and one defensive gem made this game memorable while stopping Washington's three game losing streak since last Sunday.

No doubt about it. No matter who you were rooting for you had to love that 11th inning tonight in South Florida. That was some good baseball.

Game Notes & Highlights
Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen, Todd Coffey and Sean Burnett saved John Lannan tonight. Lannan made some good pitches when he needed them most tonight and that kept him from a potential loss. But it was his bullpen mates that saved the day. Drew Storen has never thrown so hard in his life and now uses that high fastball for his strikeout pitch as effectively as ever in the Big Leagues. He's growing up folks.

Much like Sean Burnett's attitude on the mound. Washington's lefty is a completely different pitcher than he was two years ago when Our GM Mike Rizzo picked him up in the Nyjer Morgan/Joel Hanrahan/Lastings Milledge Deal. The Former Number 1 Pick for The Pittsburgh Pirates overcame serious arm injuries, went from a starter to a reliever. From situational lefty to set up man. Now, Sean Burnett is Washington's Closer and he's pitching with a confidence not seen before in his entire Major League career either.  Big, big difference for D.C.'s Team.  Hard to believe that Sean may be the most valuable player from Rizzo's four player trade with The Buccos in 2009.

Quietly, Ryan Zimmerman is having a fine start to his 2011 season. He's scoring runs (5), knocking in runs (4), getting on base (.500 obp) and just being a leader out there on the field. At 26 years of age, how far can this still young man go? He's still improving and getting better and better.

It's funny how baseball can be sometimes. If Washington had lost this game, the entire focus of any defeat this evening would have been on Danny Espinosa getting thrown out at third base attempting to steal the bag with one out in the top of the 10th--with the hot hitting Ian Desmond at the plate and Jayson Werth on-deck. Not sure who made the decision on that steal--but it was wrong. Espinosa has the speed to easily score from 2nd base. Next time, please take two shots at getting him home guys with two of Washington's better hitters coming to the plate.

Here's hoping that when The Florida Marlins move to Little Havana next year into their new stadium at the former Orange Bowl sight, South Florida better supports their team. It's embarrassing to watch any Fish game at Sun Life Stadium near Ft. Lauderdale with an announced crowd of 10.696 when you know full well maybe three to five thousand less are actually in the stands watching.  The Marlins deserve better. For quite a few years now Florida's Front Office has put a competitive product on the field with limited finances. It's really hard to believe at times they've even survived this long.

Finally, we found out this evening that WHFS, 1580AM, which broadcasts certain radio games of Our Washington Nationals also is simulcast on 95.5 FM HD3. That's a big difference for us when 106.7 FM is not airing Charlie Slowes' and Dave Jageler's play-by-play due to other contractual commitments. Especially after we learned this week that WHFS AM lowers their signal strength at sunset making listening to the game on regular radio in Alexandria, Virginia virtually impossible.


paul said...

The Nats' radio coverage is confusing. 1500 has legendary reception up and down the East Coat, so why is 106.7, which is shaky in the District, the flagship? (What does it mean to be the flagship, anyway, except to draw listeners to the sophomoric talk shows the station runs?) Why is there no public schedule of which stations are covering which games? Why is there no public list of outlets? Or am I missing something?

paul said...

On Wednesday night (the 13th), I was listening to Charlie and Dave when all of a sudden Wizards highlights started filling the air. Nats baseball was nowhere to be found along wither the AM or FM dial.