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Friday, August 24, 2007

Rockies rally, Nats drop ball 6-5 OR Things to do in Denver when you're dead

Y'know, I love Chad Cordero, but he sure has a way of taking what should be 3 routine outs to close a game and turning them into thrilling cliffhanger. In this case, the story went right over the cliff.

Starter Shawn Hill pitched a dandy, holding the Rockies to 1 run, Luis Ayala held them to no runs, then the moment Chad got on the mound, the rollercoaster ride began: 1 hit, then 1 homerun, suddenly it's 5-3 Nats and a save situation. Chad began loading the bases, allowing 4 hits and not retiring a single batter. That was enough for Nats Manager, Manny Acta. He sent Chad out and called in the big fella, Jon Rauch. Poor Jon entered the game with the bases loaded and no outs, in one of the worst pitcher's parks in baseball. Suddenly, he allows a hit, and the Rockies scored 2 runs to tie the game. Both Cordero and Rauch got nailed for a blown save. Then it was just a matter of trying to wiggle out of the jam, and it almost worked until a little single up the middle couldn't be contained by D'angelo Jimenez and the winning run scored from 3rd.

[Expletives deleted]

The first error of this roadtrip and it cost the Nats the game, but of course, the game was almost over long before that. This was a strong candidate for "worst loss of the season", as the Nats had the Rockies up against the wall. All they needed was 3 quick outs and the game was theirs.

Let's hang a name on it already. I hereby dub this the "Coors Field Curse". We just can't catch a break there.

I'm too angry and frustrated to post anymore tonight, I work Saturdays, so I'll pick this up later.

*EDIT* Okay. After sleeping on this, it doesn't seem any better. Shawn Hill got robbed of a much-deserved win. 1 run on 4 hits and 5 strikeouts? C'mon! That should have been light's-out, goodnight time. The bullpen has been the strength, but I just don't know if A) the Rockies have the book on Chad memorized, or B) Chad was throwing the wrong pitches. It isn't unusual for him to allow men on base, though. Chad makes good use of the defense to snag long flies in cavernous R.F.K. and other bigger parks, and also allow batters to ground into double plays, but there is no defense against the homerun ball.

If there were a category for "should have won's", then this game would be at the top of the Nats list. All they can do now is try to learn from it.

I don't know anything from anything about pitching, but it seems to me that sinkerball pitchers do better in Coors Field. Didn't Zach Day wind up there at one point? His strength was his sinkerball. Wasn't Shawn Hill throwing sinkers? Everything looked down to me, but I'll admit I wasn't glued to every pitch. I believe that I heard Don Sutton mention on MASN that curveballs just "hang" there, begging to be hit, so pitchers avoid those. I don't recall hearing anything about fastballs, though.

Ryan Report: Church didn't play, but Zimmerman went 3 for 4 with 3 R.B.I.'s and a homer. I think he likes that ballpark. Austin Ryan Kearns went 0 for 4.

"Way-out" Wily Mo, went yard again, going 2 for 4 with that homer, Dmitri Young went 1 for 4 with an R.B.I., Ronnie Belliard went 2 for 4 and Jésus Flores went 1 for 4.

By God, I hope that Tim Redding has a good outing and gets some run support and bullpen help. The Nats need to put this crap-sandwich of a game behind them and nothing causes amnesia like a nice win.

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