Sunday, July 17, 2005

This team's in a legit funk...

Beermakers 5, Natty Lites 3

In late May, the Nationals came home from a 2-7 road trip to Toronto, Cincinnati and St. Louis and went on a tear, winning 14 of the next 16 games.

Washington comes home tomorrow, having lost 8 of the last 11 games. This time, the stakes are much higher. It's a much shorter 7 game homestand this time around, and afterwards, Washington sets out for a 6 game road trip against division rivals.

To be honest, I feel lucky to have won a single game out of the four game stand in Milwaukee. Sure, Paul "Anus" Schrieber jobbed us out of a win on Friday night, but it's not like the Nats played well.

This series has magnified how small Washington's margin for error can be. Earlier in the year, the margin was still fairly small, but the Nats were getting the little things done, clicking on all cylinders.

Thursday, John Patterson pitched extremely well again, but the offense only managed two runs on four hits, and the bullpen couldn't hold it - again.

Friday, Washington got screwed out of a win, but some sloppy play allowed the Brewers to get back in the game. Preston Wilson's misplay of a single in the outfield turned the hit into a double (in my opinion at least). And Guzman's error was a play the Wilky missed at base. That play which Nick Johnson would have made, allowed a runner to reach that would eventually score.

Saturday, Washington won, but Gary Bennett did his best to give the game away, allowing a wild pitch to go through his legs on what would have been an inning ending strikeout. The tying run scored on that play.

Sunday, Vidro let a grounder go through the wickets in the first inning, allowing the Brewers rally to continue. Two unearned runs would eventually score. In the eighth with a man on, Jose Guillen worked a 3-0 count from a pitcher who hadn't yet thrown a strike since entering the game. Yet the guy swings a 3-0 pitch way out of the zone! Why?!

The Nats did not play particularly well in any of the four games in Milwaukee. But they've had a knack of pulling out poor-played games because of their success of doing a lot of little things well. That wasn't the case this weekend.

Washington desperately needs Nick Johnson back at first base for both defensive and offensive reasons. All those calling Nick a wuss for not recovering quicker, please go away and shove it. He's scheduled to be evaluated tomorrow, and hopefully we get some good news.

Jose "I used to be called Pops" Guillen had been whining about how guys weren't playing hurt. Well, if he's as hurt as he claims to be, maybe he'd better sit down for a game or two. Despite his home run today, he hasn't been playing well. He's made some poor decisions at the plate, failed to run out some grounders, and he's (understandably) lost his temper with the umps.

After our 2-7 road trip in May, Tom Boswell wrote an uncharacteristically lucid column. I blogged about it here. Every team goes through rough stretches, especially on the road. Fortunately, the Nats are still in first by 1.5 games after a stretch of horrific baseball.

The Nats went through a rough stretch in May, and Washington responded well coming home to RFK. They have a chance to do that again tomorrow, and this time the stakes are a lot higher.


Blogger Paul said... that's comedy.

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Allard said...

Good summary of the Nats' latest woes. Defense is what wins you close games and defense is what overcomes a sputtering offense. Agree that Nick Johnson is the key to all of our ills, though my wife has to steal the converter from me whenever Mario strolls to the plate.

8:35 AM  

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