Thursday, July 21, 2005

A Simple Game

Houston 3, Washington 2



You know, if someone asked you to guess the score of any given Nats game, you couldn't go wrong by guessing 3-2.

It was another one of those games tonight, and once again we were on the short end. I was at this one, and my record in games attended dropped below .500 for the first time this year. Bleh.

If you told a team before a game that the starting pitcher would allow only 2 earned runs over 7 innings, and the bullpen would pick up two perfect innings -- they'd expect to win. Not so with our hapless Nats.

Our pitching was above average, but the bats just couldn't come alive again. Too often with runners on base, Nationals hitters would come to the plate a little too anxious, jumping on pitches too early and either popping up or grounding into double plays. That doesn't even take into account the filthy junk Oswalt was throwing tonight. Only in the ninth inning, once Oswalt was out of the game, did Preston Wilson get ahold of one for a two-run jack.

Fielding was less than desirable too. Baerga's error in the the 5th allowed the first Astros run to score. Preston Wilson was the offensive highlight tonight, but he really makes me nervous in center field. On a long fly ball to center field tonight, he got no jump on the ball. He froze in place for what seemed like several seconds. Then he took a very crooked path back to the fence before thankfully hauling it in.

Interesting lineup Frank put out there tonight. With one exception, I more or less approve. I know Frank's obsessed with alternating righties and lefties, but Ryan Church did not need to be hitting cleanup. Right now I think he's best served either higher or lower in the order, where he can be more of a tablesetter.

But who do you put in his place? Guillen? HA! He was up there hacking again, picking up an 0-4 night, grounding into a double play. The man's in a bit of a funk, I must say. Since he's the only Nat with no hits in four plate appearances tonight, he's the goat. Perhaps I should give it to Baerga for his error that allowed an unearned run, but it's too tempting to rip on the team's most vocal guy when he's struggling.

Bottom line, the hitters have to find a way to win when the pitching gives an above-average effort. The pitchers can't throw two hit shut-outs every day. Something is needed to jump-start the team. I thought that maybe a walk-off victory tonight might be the spark. But alas, we'll have to wait to see what the spark could be.

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