Livan Reverts to Dr. Jekyll, Pitches Nats To Win
I can only assume that the "magic" elixer ingested by Livan Hernandez shortly before opening game wore off sometime after the second inning of today's game. I don't know what was in the potion, but it certainly wasn't steroids. It didn't help. To this point, Livan hasn't looked like the all-world pitcher Nationals fans had come to expect. But somewhere around the third inning, Livan, his head clear and his arm sound, pitched to one man over the limit until he was removed for a pitch hitter in the seventh inning. For his efforts, Livan gave up 3 runs, on 9 hits and was near perfect throughout the latter innings. If Livan is indeed back, then we one heckuva 1-2 punch with Hernandez and John Patterson, with Zach Day, Tony Armas and Tomo Ohka rounding out a good, perhaps very good starting rotation.
The offense, having remained moribund for more than a week, exploded against former Devil Ray Victor Zambrano and all comers. Five players had at least two hits, with Brad Wilkerson and Vinny Castilla getting four hits apiece. Wilkerson also slugged his second homer of the year.
Tomorrow, the "boys" return to RFK, and send ace John Patterson against the league's only 4 game winner, John Leiber. Now there's an interesting story. George Steinbrenner didn't want to pay Leiber 21 million over three years, so he let him sign with the Phillies, and instead, picked up Jaret Wright for the same contract. Jaret Wright was one of the many reclamation projects of the Atlanta Braves. Every year, Bobby Cox brings in a pitcher whose done nothing for several years, only to return them to serviceability. But when they leave, they usually return to their own level of mediocrity. Now, Wright is on the DL, booed off the mound at Yankee Stadium after injuring himself. Man, that's a tough crowd.
Looks like Christian Guzman is finally beginning to come out of his funk, slowly but surely. Baby steps, Nats fans, baby steps ... Brad Wilkerson is looking like he will finally leave behind that .255 career average and start moving towards stardom ... Jose Guillen has been very sick for several days, which might explain his lack of production since the middle of last week ... I'm beginning to think that perhaps neither Ryan Church nor Termel Sledge is the answer for the third oufield position. Plug a quality player in there, and I think this team could really compete ... Vinny Castilla, days after setting the all time record for consecutive chances as third base without an error, set his personal all time high with two stolen bases in a game.