May 12, 2006
Nats' fans' hopes for a turnaround were raised for a fleeting moment after the resounding 7-1 win over the Reds in Cincinnati on Tuesday night. They at least held their own on Wednesday, finally losing 9-6, but the final game of the series was the real heartbreaker. It was a pitchers' duel the whole way, as Zach Day held the Reds to a single run in seven innings. In the top of the ninth, backup catcher Matt LeCroy (another pleasant surprise) knocked in a run, tying the game at 1-1. In the top of the eleventh, Nick Johnson hit a solo homer to take the lead, and the two additional insurance runs seemed like plenty ... but they weren't. Sure enough, the bullpen faltered once again, and Ken Griffety Jr. got a three-run blast off Joey Eischen to win the game 5-4. Ughhh... I don't know why Frank Robinson pulled Chad Cordero after only two innings, but I bet he won't make that mistake again. Once again, the Nats snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. That game in Cincinnati will be remembered for a long time.
In today's Washington Post online chat, Tom Boswell focused on the bullpen issues, and opined that Joey Eischen's days with the team are numbered. It would a huge shame for somebody whose fierce competitiveness inspired his team to defy the odds last year; it was just over a year ago that he broke his arm diving for a ground ball. Where, oh where has the team mojo gone?
Ironically, part of the Nationals' problem may be the uncertainties unleashed by the sale of the franchise to the Lerners. Everyone knew it was coming, but the team had gotten used to being in a semi-orphaned state for the last three years, and the fact that they will finally be held accountable for their performance to a bunch of bosses with a fat wallet will be disconcerting. Welcome to real major league baseball!
Yankee left fielder Hideki Matsui broke his left wrist while making a diving catch against the Red Sox, in a classic instance of adding injury to insult, as the Red Sox beat the host Bronx Bombers. Matsui will be out for several weeks, if not the rest of the season, which is a big loss. This provides a vacancy that the aging reserve outfielder Bernie Williams will only be too glad to fill. It makes me glad too, in a way, but I still hope Hideki gets well soon. MLB.com
I've been "out of commission" for much of this week, hence the hiatus. On a positive note, a large batch of stadium diagrams is in the process of being revised even as we speak. Well, figuratively speaking, at least. Prepare for another "fund raising drive."