Friday, June 10, 2005

Big Wheels Keep On Turning

Washington 4, Oakland 3

The Nationals pulled out another one-run win, completing the three game sweep of the lowly A's. But this one was a little different. The Nats had to fend off a comeback by the other team. Washington jumped out to a four-run lead and seemed on the way to another shutout.

¡Livan! was not throwing hard early in the game, apparently because it was so humid. And as others have blogged before, I don't think it matters how hard he throws. As long as he can break 80 on the gun, he's got the ability to lob it up there at different speeds and at different arm angles. That's enough for him to get the job done.

For the second straight game, the Nats scored in the opening three innings. In the third, ¡Livan! himself got it started with a hard single up the middle. After Wilk lined out, Church singled sharply to right. "Pops" Guillen followed with a single to load the bases.

What else can you say about Nick Johnson? The man is simply on fire. The original Señor ­Nasty came up with the bases juiced and drilled a shot over the head of the center fielder for a bases-clearing double. Vinny doubled him in for a 4-0 lead.

Oakland got to Hernandez for two runs in the eighth, making it a save situation for Chad Cordero. Of course, "Chief" made it interesting, though it wasn't entirely his fault. With two outs and men on first and second via a pair of singles, Kendall hit a sharp grounder to Castilla. Vinny went the short way to second base for the force, but the throw was high and bounced off Baerga's glove. A run scored on Baerga's error.

Vinny made a rough throw, but both Vidro and Carroll probably snag that ball. Whether either could land on the base in time for the forceout, that's a different question. But if that ball's caught, the run probably doesn't score. Chief was able to bear down, though, converting his 17th save in 19 chances.
-- There is no question in my mind that Nick Johnson deserves to be an All-Star. And if it weren't for guys like Derrek Lee, Todd Helton or Albert Pujols, NJ would be a lock. I just pray that LaRussa (the NL manager) notices how amazing Nick has been. He's reached base in all but two games he's played, and he has a .438 average with runners in scoring position. Nick's a pretty damn good fielder too. Although it'd be a shame to not play him in the field, perhaps LaRussa will select him to be the NL's starting DH in the All-Star Game. I think that would be very cool.
-- Church got drilled in the hip in the fourth inning. It sure looked intentional to me. He had already got a hit and scored a run in addition to his monster 4-5 game the previous evening. It's possible the A's were not happy with him for swinging at a 3-0 pitch with a five run lead the previous night.
-- Guillen has been hit eight times this year. Vinny was drilled Opening Night when he was at the plate looking for a cycle. Church's plunking last night sure looked intentional. The best revenge is living well, which the Nationals are certainly doing by winning 10 of the last 11 games. However, if this crap continues, I hope the team sends a message of their own.
-- Seattle comes in tonight for three games. They're not a great team, although they've been playing better of late. Ohka, Patterson and Armas will be going for the good guys. Two out of three will do just fine.


Blogger Yuda said...

My guess is, the way things stand right now, either Lee or Pujols wins the voting and starts at first, and the other one DHs (as a LaRussa selection). That leaves plenty of room for NJ, although he'll have to fend off Helton to get there.

2:47 PM  
Blogger Rocket1124 said...

Yeah, I'm sure if Pujols is not the starter, then LaRussa will pick him for DH - same team and all.

2:56 PM  
Blogger Rocket1124 said...

And two reserve 1B is not a bad thing with a DH. Either Helton or NJ would replace whoever started at DH.

2:57 PM  

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