May 19, 2009
Hopes were high last night for the Nationals' young pitching prospect Ross Detwiler, and he delivered, going five innings against the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates and only allowing three runs, one of which was unearned. He only gave up four hits and zero walks! It's too bad they didn't ask the rookie to keep pitching, as the infamous Nationals bullpen collapsed almost immediately, once again. Garrett Mock kept throwing balls and allowed three runs, and the next reliever Jesus Colome gave up two more before the end of the sixth inning. (Jesus!) Joel Hanrahan put the (ironic) icing on the cake by giving up three more runs in the ninth inning, just for good measure. Final score: Pirates 12, Nats 7. Manager Manny Act announced that Hanrahan will become the regular closer once again, "the triumph of hope over experience." Attendance was only 14,549, which is almost as pathetic as it was for the franchise during the final years in Montreal. If the Lerners don't start spending money to acquire some decent pitchers, there won't be much fun to be had at Nationals Park this summer. See MLB.com.
Speaking of Nationals pitchers, Ryan Wagner announced that he is retiring from baseball, giving only vague reasons about wanting to spend more time with his family. See MLB.com. He has only been pitching at the minor league level this year, after spending 2008 recovering from a bad shoulder, but before the 2007 season, he (and Jon Rauch) were considered as possible replacements for closer Chad Cordero.
On the plus side, the Nationals currently rank #10 in the majors in the total number of runs, at 199.
UPDATE: Did I need to mention the four-game sweep of the Nationals by the visiting Philadelphia Phillies? No, I did not. Let the record show that the Nationals could have appealed the rain-shortened 7-5 loss in five and half innings on Saturday night, since they weren't able to finish the sixth inning.
Here is some great news that baseball may become more family-friendly: MLB has announced that the World Series games will begin at least a half hour earlier than last year, with the first pitch scheduled for before 8:00. See MLB.com. Before you credit the MLB honchos with benevolence, keep in mind that it's basically a bottom-line decision: in order to thrive commercially in the long run, they have to attract the interest of younger fans. Now if they can only cut back on the time devoted to TV advertisements...
Finally, Mike Zurawski came across a Web site with a very specific purpose: Demolition of Yankee Stadium. Yes, sports fans, it really is happening, and hundreds of seats have already been removed.