NATS GO TO CHURCH ON EASTER SUNDAY
[April 16th] -- How much do you want to bet that Jim Bowden will take the credit for Ryan Church's two homeruns on Sunday? It'll probably sound something like this: "I knew all he needed was to get his head straight, and that going to New Orleans for a couple of weeks did the trick. Perhaps now he'll listen to me."
Of course, that's a lot of hooey. Church simply started the season in a slump, and that slump continued with the Zephyrs. It also continued his first game back with the Nationals. Slumps come. Slumps go. Jim Bowden had nothing to do with it.
Jim, I'm thinking that Brandon Watson wouldn't have been able to make such a difference in today's game. Jerk.
Now, before we get too excited, let's remember a few facts. First, the Nationals beat a minor league team the last two games. Sure, they'll be good in a few years, but today, they are just a bunch of kids. Second, the Nats managed only 8 hits, for a total of 13 in their last two wins. That's just not enough. Third, Ramon Ortiz continues to pitch, well, not poorly exactly, but certainly not well enough to win on a consistant basis. Ortiz gave up 8 hits and 3 runs in 5 innings, and struck out only one batter. He now has only two strikeouts in 16 innings this year; he's not able to overpower anyone, and that's a bad sign. Third, Ryan Zimmerman is slowly slipping into mediocrity. He's now batting .204 and is striking out once every three at bats. Forth, the mental mistakes keeping happening. Marlon Byrd got picked off of first base. Nick Johnson tried to advance to third on a wild pitch that wasn't very wild, and was easily thrown out. The team isn't making as many errors as they had earlier this spring, but the mental boo-boos just keep on coming.
Royce Clayton joined the walking wounded after being hit by a Sergio Mitre fastball, he like half the team (or so it seems) is listed as day-to-day. There was some good news. Chad Cordero overwhelmed the Marlins in the 9th; he made sure there was no repeat of last night's "almost" blown save.
The Nats have a day off tomorrow before playing the Phillies in Philadelphia on Tuesday. They are now 4-9, but can claim not a single "decisive" win (the 10-5 win against the Mets came in extra innings), while many of the losses have been lopsided. The Nationals have two starters (Patterson and Armas Jr.) who have pitched effectively, and only two starting hitters above .240. The two wins this weekend were nice, but we're back in the big leagues this coming week.
The offense might suddenly become potent and lead the Nats to wins over the Phillies and the Braves.
But I wouldn't count on it.
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