The unofficial home of "Neil and the Rushmore Four"!

Image Hosted by

Current Weather & Forecast (plan your gameday!)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Nats battle Bonds, Giants, but edged 3-2 in 11 OR High drama by the bay

With all of the commotion surrounding controversial San Francisco Giant's left fielder Barry Bonds as he tries to usurp Hall-of-Famer Hank Aaron's career home run record, I think that the last thing that either the Giants or the Washington Nationals were expecting last night was a pitcher's dual.

Nats starter John Lannan, making only his 3rd major league start, pitched a terrific game, even if he didn't have ideal command of his fastball. He lasted 7 innings and gave up 1 run on 8 hits, walked 5 and struck out 2. The soft-throwing lefty threw 97 pitches for 57 strikes (54%). More importantly, he kept the Nats in the game, giving them chances to win, and he spelled the bullpen for the most part, an important consideration given the jet-lag and brutal schedule they've all had, with 7 games played in a row and 6 more to go before their next day off. Lannan has handled quite a bit of pressure of late, but last night was almost October-level pressure. I'm darned proud of him, he's had to grow up fast.

The bullpen of Jon Rauch, Saul Rivera, Chad Cordero, Ray King and Luis Ayala started off well, but got into progressive trouble. Rauch did fine, striking out 2 and allowing no hits or runs, Rivera also allowed no hits or runs, but Chad "The Chief" Cordero blew the save in the 10th, allowing the Giants to tie the game. Ray King got into trouble, and took the loss, as he allowed men on base, and Luis Ayala gave up the winning run in the bottom of the 11th, but it was charged to King.

Ryan Report: All quiet on the western front. One scary moment for Zimmerman, as he took a nasty pitch to the front of his batting helmet in the 1st inning, a nasty "crack" sound as the ball impacted the plastic. Pay attention, kids, the pros always say, "safety first!".

Dmitri Young provided all of the Nats firepower for the evening, driving in both Nats runs, the 2nd on a right-field blast which temporarily gave the Nats the lead in the 10th inning.

This game reminded me of the old, "hurry up and wait!" joke, or "Suddenly.....nothing happened." Each inning was fraught with tension, and as the game moved into the wee-hours of the morning for the east-coast fans, it was easy to stay awake because the anxiety of such a close game would have precluded any sleep.

One really nice aspect of the MASN broadcast was when former Nationals manager Frank Robinson, the great batting Hall-of-Famer, joined Bob Carpenter and Don Sutton in the broadcast booth for an inning or so and gave some candid answers to the questions posed to him. It was very nice to hear from Frank that he follows the Nationals closely, tries to watch their games, and is interested in their success. He obviously still has a great deal of affection for the players whom he skippered for two seasons in Washington (and for some of them, such as Brian Schneider, even before that in Montreal). The one question which I WISH that Bob or Don had posed to him was his impressions of manager Manny Acta's job this season. Since Acta had worked for Robinson in Montreal, the two men are well acquainted with each other, and I know that Acta has had nothing but the highest praise for the legendary Hall-of-Famer and ground-breaking manager. It was somehow very comforting to hear that Frank encouraged Nook Logan to bunt at least once per game. Frank is somehow like our "manager emeritus", looking over Manny's shoulder from the League offices and keeping an eye on things. Maybe he wasn't the greatest manager of all time, maybe he didn't have the greatest record, but the man DID win over 1,000 games and saw most of the greatest players of all time, and respect must be paid.

Not the greatest game, not the worst, but after the shellacking that the Nats just gave to the Reds and the Cardinals, it seemed as though they had the wind knocked out of them. I blame jet lag. Perhaps Mike Bacsik can hold the line and spark the Nats a bit on Tuesday night.

No comments:

Song of the moment - Celebrating the longest homestand of the season

Survey of the Moment