Friday, July 15, 2005

Shot through the heart...

EDIT 12:34 AM: After I've had time to think about this, I've come to the conclusion that Washington should have played better, and that's what is truly to blame for this loss - the struggling bullpen and the anemic hitting, for example. But it's sooooo infuriating to lose on a bullcrap call like that. So read on for my foaming at the mouth reaction.

MIL 3+1, WAS 3

...and Paul Schrieber's to blame.

I only saw bits and pieces of this game, so I can't say anything too insightful. But I did see the end, which was one of the most bizzarre endings of a game I've ever seen. I need to post this now while I'm still hot and pissed off.

In the bottom of the 10th inning, with the score tied 3-3 and one out, the Brewers had Chris Magruder on third base and Rickie Weeks on first. Robinson brought in Mike Stanton to face the lefty Lyle Overbay.

Before Stanton threw a pitch, he whipped a throw over to first base which had Rickie Weeks picked off cleanly. But first base umpire Paul Schrieber called a balk on Stanton, which forced in the winning run. Stanton immediately got up and got in Schrieber's face, an aggressive reaction for a 38-year old veteran.

If I read Schrieber's lips correctly, he claimed that Stanton stepped toward home while throwing to first, which if true would definitely be a balk. Problem is, Stanton clearly stepped toward first, although he didn't necessarily step directly in front of his body. If one draws an imaginary line from the mound at 45 degree angle from first base toward the baseline, Stanton stepped on that line. Only the most hard-assed, letter of the law umpire would even consider calling that a balk - and even then it's borderline at best.

Horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible call. The Nats got screwed by Paul Schrieber.

I know it's real nasty of me to do this, but here are some links of interest on Paul Schrieber.

Under Investigation
A Wildly Inconsistent Ump
Ejects Snow Despite Admitting He Didn't See the Play
Ejects Nevin for "showing him up"
Another Complaint from a Giants Fan

Jim Thome tells Schrieber how much he sucks

There, I feel better.

Unfortunately, as Chris Needham pointed out here, the Nats did not play well again, and this call is going to take away from that fact. Sure, we got two runs in the first, but it took three hits to get the second one after Wilky's leadoff homer. Like I said, I missed a lot of the game, but the Nats missed some decent opportunities to score. Jose Guillen is the goat, going 0-5 and leaving 4 runners on base. For a guy who was on his teammates about stepping up, that's pretty bad. Ayala wasn't good either; he was saddled with the loss and just isn't holding up out there. He's overworked and needs a rest.

Even the fielding wasn't sharp. Wilkerson's rustiness at first showed on a play in the bottom of the first inning, when a throw from Guzman one-hopped over his glove, allowing the inning to continue. The error was charged to Guzman, but Nick Johnson would have made that play. An unearned run would eventually score.

Washington is now 52-38, 1.5 games up on Atlanta. The Nats have lost 7 of the last 9, and only one of those losses was charged to the starting pitcher. Our bullpen needs a rest, and our bats need to wake up.

A loss that ends so roughly either fires up a team and makes them pissed off - or depresses them further. We'll have to see what happens. [sarcasm] Good news, Schrieber's behind the plate tomorrow. [/sarcasm]


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