Lots of thoughts on tonight's game
I was happy to see a 40K+ crowd there even if there were clearly a bunch of Mets fans (including my folks, whom I took to the game tonight). DC is a transient town with lots of people here displaced from other cities--not much we can do about that.
On the game itself, I thought the Nats played very well. Castilla's hit in the 1st to take a 2-0 lead was very clutch and it seemed to me like the batters were finally taking the idea of pitch count seriously (I had mentioned anecdotally how I wasn't happy with the Nats not walking, swinging early etc...I actually did look on Friday and we were last in the majors of pitches seen per plate appearance). I also felt far more confident in this game that we were going to score when we had opportunities.
There were a couple of lowlights to the game as well....
I hate being the guy that keeps saying this, but I'm honestly not "trying" to find faults with Cristian...they just keep coming up. Tonight they were more in the field than anything, although I was pretty frustrated when he popped out on his first pitch in the second. You can't hit...so at least try to work the pitch count and use your speed by not popping up. But the glove (or lack thereof) overshadowed that mistake. I'm not going to answer comments that at least he makes up for his bat with a good glove, because that would be ludicrous unless he was not only Ozzie Smith, but had a magical potion to turn his teammates into Keith Hernandez, Robby Alomar, Scott Rolen, etc. in the field as well...all of which combined I suppose could make up for Guzman's bat. However, I'd certainly challenge the notion that Guzman's glovework is good AT ALL. I would not say he is better than an average shortstop, and this year he has certainly been worse. DM does the ERV numbers, not me, and his ERV numbers rank Guzman as by far the worst fielder on the team this year. Two examples tonight, the first not as bad. It occurred to me as I watched David Wright's grounder go through the infield to start the 3rd that this guy never seems to dive or really go out of his way for a ball. I wouldn't say that I'd subtract ERV for that play, but I thought he should have made more of an effort. Second, the ERROR (and it was an error even if the official rules can't call it that because one out was made) Guzman made on the throw which forced Johnson off the bag, failed to complete the double play, and caused poor Gary Majewski to be charged with 3 earned runs when Floyd doubled the bases clean, was no doubt a decent sized ERV loser. It's just really frustrating watching this guy hurt the team on both sides of the field.
The other lowlight was seeing Vidro fly out to end the fourth inning. The pitcher is struggling. His last seven pitches have been balls. He just walked in a run. He has thrown 84 pitches in under 4 innings. The count is 1-0 to you. And you swing???? I don't care if he threw the ball underhand. You take the pitch. Albert Pujols takes the pitch. Babe Ruth gets up from the dead and takes the pitch--I guess he wouldn't even have to get up from the dead for that. This made me wonder. Is that Frank's fault? I mean is this the "hey everyone, we have no time outs left. Don't call one" speech that every basketball coach is mandated to inform his players about? Is Frank supposed to tell Vidro "This guy can't hit water from a boat. You do not swing until he throws a strike"? I lean towards yes...it is his fault. He gets paid to manage. So.... manage.
Other notes, not quite on the activities of the playing of the game itself:
As you know, our seats are right behind the visitor's dugout. This enabled me to see two quite funny things. The first was Pedro Martinez's head. Yes, it looks on TV like he uses enough Jeri Curl to supply a small nation (or Manny Ramirez). But the man's head was literally dripping. Yuck. Think of the scene in Coming to America where the family leaves stains on the couches from their heads.
The second was Cliff Floyd. So, some guy a few seats from me VERY jokingly and good-naturedly says to Floyd as he is entering the dugout well behind his other teammates after a Nats at bat inning, "Hey... little hustle there Cliff." Cliff, in front of about half a dozen children just looks up at the guy and so matter of factly says "F*ck off" as he enters the dugout. Now, there's someone you can look up to as a role model.
Had more reasons tonight to be proud that I moved over from the Mets to the Nats. The first was that ridiculous, childish, self-loathing chant that the Mets' fans in right field did mocking the Yankees (and the fans in Yankee Stadium who usually make such chants). You are at a Mets/Nats game. If you are that pre-occupied with your inferiority to the Yankees, get a life. The other thing was that the rain delay emptied out a good portion of my section leaving room for random, very drunk Mets fans to come down and take the seats. They were not just drunk, but rowdy, cursing a lot and throwing things at the Mets dugout (because they didn't like losing I guess). The security was completely non-existent. The fans who had paid tickets to those seats complained to the usher to absolutely no avail with the usher in our section saying to me "yeah, there's nothing I can do." I suppose the RFK security wins the opposite award of whatever the guy in Boston who saved Gary Sheffield's ass (and the man he would have pummelled) won.
Last points... the scoreboards were often wrong as usual. Seriously, it's a team of monkeys isn't it? You can tell us. Llamas? Emus? Something fluffy? Who runs the scoreboards..please start looking at resumes.
SuperNova asked me when we were at the game Tuesday why pitchers underhand throws to first, and my theory was that they really have a hard time throwing a soft overhand lob to first after throwing a bunch of blazing 90 MPH balls by hitters. Ladies and gentlemen, I present as exhibit one...Tomo Ohka.
That's all. Have a good night everybody.