I am disgusted.
The Nats were 3 outs away from taking the series against the Cleveland Indians, 2 games to 0, and former All-Star closer Chad "The Chief" Cordero was taking the mound to put the game away and protect their precarious 3-1 lead, when the wheels fell off of the proverbial bus.
Chad allowed two batters to get on base with hits and then Indian's 1B Victor Martinez launched a 3-run homer to give the Indians the lead for good, 4-3. And he didn't just launch it, the ball went into the service tunnel behind dead-center 410 feet. Centerfielder Nook Logan climbed the wall to try and get that one and he still didn't have a chance at it, it was so well-hit.
Now, I love Chad, and I care about him not only as a player but as a person, but this was his 6th blown save of the season, and by far, the most egregious (at least that's how it seems right at this moment) and it is making me sick. His job is to come in the 9th inning and get three guys out as quickly as possible. Protect the win. He failed. This has got to stop.
Yet, the Nats had chances at the bottom of the 9th inning to score the winning runs. With Brian Schneider on 1st, Brandon Watson came to the plate and botched a bunt which the Indian's catcher quickly caught for the 1st out. That play made NO sense to me - Watson has been hitting really well, and I'd have liked to have seen him hit, I think he could have easily gotten on base and even driven Schneider to 3rd. The only thing I can think of is that Manny wanted to remove a possible double play from the equation, and that certainly did the trick. Centerfielder Nook Logan blooped a double into left center which got Schneider to 3rd and a win seemed very much within the Nats control. The Indians walked Cristian Guzman, loading the bases, and then the unthinkable happened. Felipe Lopez came to the plate and hit a come-backer right to the pitcher, who fired the ball to the catcher to get Schneider at the plate for the 2nd out, and then Nook Logan inexplicably rounded 3rd and the catcher fired the ball to the 3rd baseman for the final out. A 1-2-5 walk-off double play. Absolutely unbelievable. Later on in my car, I heard the audio replay of Charlie Slowes shouting, "WHAT was Nook Logan thinking?" which is exactly how I felt, only at the time, I exclaimed, "Are you KIDDING ME?!?"
The Nats had this one in the bag. And they gave it away. The word I'd prefer to use isn't "gave", but something more vulgar which I'm reluctant to use.
Starter Matt Chico pitched a GEM of a game, throwing 86 pitches for 56 strikes (65%), allowing 4 hits and 1 earned run, walking 3 and striking out 3 in his 6 innings of work. The only real blemish he has was a solo home run. He deserved to get a win tonight, he did his job beautifully. This is a guy who would probably be playing in AA in any other organization, but he has become the "iron man" of the Nats pitching staff, and you just have to feel badly for him on a night like this.
The bullpen of Jesus Colome and Jon Rauch was perfect. No hits, no runs. Great work!
Brandon Watson had himself another very good night. His manufactured run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 7th to put the Nats up 3-1 had MASN's Bob Carpenter joking that Watson reminded him of Hall-of-Famer Lou Brock. He went 2 for 3, with 2 runs and a stolen base, and he took charge in the outfield while playing Center. He's making a case for himself to stay around this club for the rest of the season, and his .400 hitting (in only a few games, of course) is a compelling argument towards helping him do just that.
Ryan Report: Eeesh... Not a stellar offensive day for the R squad. Church went 0 for 4, Zimmerman went 0 for 4, Langerhans went 0 for 1, but Austin Ryan Kearns went 2 for 4. Congrats to the Tribe pitching staff.
The good Nats bats tonight belonged to Brandon Watson (2 hits), Brian Schneider (2 hits) and Austin Kearns (2 hits). Dmitri Young, Cristian Guzman, Nook Logan and Felipe Lopez each had a hit. Felipe Lopez and Brandon Watson each had a stolen base, also.
The weather couldn't have been better, and with free mesh ball caps being given out courtesy of Bud Light, the fan count was 32, 539, with a walk-up gate of 6,800, which I understand is the largest walk-up crowd in the Nats 3 year history. I'll bet the previous night's win didn't hurt ticket sales, either.
More beef brisket for me and a nice rest after a long Saturday at work. I was having a pretty good time laughing and chatting with a few fans in my section.
During the President's Race, "Teddy" suddenly stopped and had to pull a baseball out of his jersey, a la 3B Ryan Zimmerman during last night's game. That really made me laugh out loud. I don't know how the marketing folks keep thinking of new gimmicks for the President's to play out.
Despite the brutal loss, there are few better ways to spend such a gorgeous summer night than with your favorite baseball team. Time to leave this loss behind and try to win the rubber game on Sunday.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
I am disgusted.