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COOLING OFF IN CANADA

[June 29th] -- I love the Washington Nationals. Oh, I love my family more, but in term of hobbies, there is nothing that gives me more pleasure than watching Washington's baseball team play. Win or lose. But tonight ...

Let's be clear, none of this is the players' fault. Certainly, some of them aren't performing as they should, but that's because they've been asked to do things beyond their capabilities. We weren't angry when the Houston Astros stole all those bases against Matt LeCroy a month or so ago. Designated Hitters aren't supposed to have a canon for an arm. Tonight, it was Robert Fick's turn to fail in a position he shouldn't be playing. Fick, who came up as a catcher in the Tigers' organization, was moved to the outfield, then to first base, because of his shortcomings behind the plate. And yet, there he was, catching John Patterson at the Rogers Centre. Brian Schneider would have probably held on to that ball during the collision and saved a run. And Schneider wouldn't have forgotten what pitch he called and allowed that fastball to roll to the backstop. And the three stolen bases, well, Schneider would have at least had a chance to gun them down. Fick could have played almost anywhere on Thursday and helped the team; anywhere but catcher that is.

The Nationals keep losing in part because of players playing out of position. Daryle Ward, playing right field, ran to the wall and caught a ball a foot in front of the fence. Then dropped it. He also failed to cut-off a slow rolling ball that found the gap in right-center field. I could have cut that ball off, and I'm 5o years old. But that's no slight against Ward; he's a first baseman, he's a pinch hitter. He's not an outfielder. Over in left is Alfonso Soriano, who's not an outfielder either. It's not his fault when he fails to come up with routine fly balls. So, if it's not Robert Fick's fault, and it's not Matt LeCroy's fault, and it's not Daryle Ward's fault, and it's not Alfonso Soriano's fault, then who's to blame?

I don't have to actually write his name here, do I?

Now John Patterson is being affected by all this weirdness. He was pulled from the game because he had a "tired" arm? Manager Frank Robinson said he didn't look "quite right." Tired arm? Wasn't this like Patterson's 10th start of the year? How could his arm be "tired?" Maybe he just didn't "feel" like pitching because of all the crap that he's had to endure this year. And if that's the case, do we blame Patterson? No. We blame the "other guy." Without a healthy Patterson, or even a happy one, the Nats have no chance. Heck, they have less than no chance.

So, The Nationals have gone 4-14 after their 17-7 spurt. Three game sweeps are becoming the norm, and winning one game per series seems to be the team's "ceiling." But the guy whose fault all of this is will probably start carping about the team's effort in the press any time now. I have to assume that the silver lining in all of this is the fact that Stan Kasten and the Lerners won't be able to retain Jim Bowden under any circumstance.

I guess that's worth a few bad losses, right?


Comments:
There was nothing awesome about John Patterson tonight. There is either something wrong with his arm or his head or both. He reminds me of the second coming of the malingering Ben McDonald. Ben had a great arm but never won squat. Same goes for Patterson.
 
Sorry Phil -- you read the article before being cleaned and polished. The "awesome" is always there if I don't first put in my headline. Read it again -- it should look different now.
Farid
 
Patterson has a tired arm. Add to that Livan's knee injury, Armas on the DL and Hill's sore arm and you have a desperate situation. This team is packed with sore armed pitchers and hitters who can only strike out. I am sure the Devil Rays and the Marlins can't wait to come to town. Both are young and improving teams and I would trade either of their rosters for ours in a heart beat.
 
Hello, Farid,
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Best of luck with your blogging,
Walter
P.S. It would be very cool to see a Baseball Nooz link on your site.
http://www.baseballnooz.com/
 
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