BYRD HOMERS, FOLLOWED BY 2 1/2 HOURS OF "SAME OLD, SAME OLD"
- After mounting one of those "once every blue moon" comebacks on Saturday, the Nationals reverted to their pattern of getting behind early (save Marlon Byrd's early-game reprieve), scoring some runs to make the game close, then allowing a bad inning to put the game out of reach. It's late, so a few superficial thoughts about the game:
1. Ryan Drese pitched a good game, and without the errors, it would have been a great game. [4 innings, 5 hits, 3 strikeouts, 4 walks]
2. Royce Clayton played good cop / bad cop all by himself. A bad throw opened the floodgates that allowed three earned runs to score. He also got 3 hits to up his batting average to .250. Milo Hamilton, broadcasting the game for the Astros, said of Clayton, "Now there's the Royce we all know and love." Jerk.
3. Ryan Zimmerman didn't get any hits, but he did walk two more times, showing that he's calmed down at the plate after that 7 for 7 whiff deal two games ago. Defensively, he turned in another gem. Willie Tavares, a speedster if ever there was one, bunted the ball towards third. Before the ball slowed down, Zimmerman, by now past Ryan Drese, snagged the ball and threw Tavares out by several steps. Wow. Again, Milo Hamilton took offense to Zimmerman being compared to Brooks Robinson, saying that was an afront to Brooksie, adding, "Come see me in a decade or so and I'll let you know what I think." Jerk.
4. I like Alfonso Soriano, his error not withstanding. Soriano is a singularly special player, a talent that this franchise hasn't seen since that wild-swinging right fielder, oh, what was his name, Blad, Clad, Vlad ... something like that. How can a man so slim, with a frame so slight, with an ego so frail, with a bat so heavy, electrically charge a baseball with such a combination of verticity and velocity?
So, the Nationals are now 2-4, and if you take away Zimmerman's improbable 9th inning home run against Billy Wagner and last night's comeback, and the Nats could just as easily be 0-6.
There isn't such a thing as a "must win" in April, but the Nats don't want to come home with their heads hung low and their winning percentage in the range of the Mendoza line. John Patterson goes against "some guy" on Monday -- a sure win if there is such a thing in baseball.
Now, the really cool thing: I now can watch the Nats on my computer, and I take my laptop to all my classes -- afternoon contest + ECON 202 = little chance I'll be taking notes.
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