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September 18, 2005 [LINK]

Padres deflate Nats' sails

The trite cliche "That's gotta hurt" never had more meaning than it did for the Washington Nationals yesterday in San Diego. With a four-game winning streak behind them, leading by a comfortable margin of 5-0 in the bottom of the ninth, with every expectation of sailing ahead in the National League wild card race, Frank Robinson abruptly pulled rookie reliever Jason Bergman, and all hell broke loose. Robinson stands by his decision (see, but this seems to be another case of shaky managerial confidence in the team's bullpen. Not exactly inspiring. The Padres proceeded to piece together a two-out rally, and a grand slam by Khalil Greene tied the score, sending the game into extra innings. Just like on the previous Saturday against the Braves, the usually rock-solid closer Chad Cordero blew a precious save opportunity. Finally, in the 12th inning, Ramon Hernandez hit a three-run homer to end the game -- again, with two outs. Such an awful, ill-timed reversal of fortune is exactly the kind of thing that can put an end to a team's postseason hopes. In today's game, Esteban Loaiza pitched seven shutout innings, but the Nationals could only manage a single run, and the Padres pulled ahead toward the end, winning 2-1. The Nationals have shown they are capable of bouncing back after enduring similar traumas, and there is no reason why they can't do so once again. Nevertheless, since they are now 4 1/2 games behind the Astros in the wild card race, my estimation of their chances of making it to the postseason has now fallen to just two percent. (Go ahead, call me an optimist.) With exactly two weeks to go, the proverbial "fat lady" has left the dressing room and is heading toward the stage...

By far the hottest team in baseball this month has been the Indians, who have pulled to within 3 1/2 games of the complacently coasting White Sox. The Yankees are closing in on the Red Sox, meanwhile, and the tension between those two ancient rivals is raised to a Fever Pitch (!) by the very real possibility that one of them will not make it to the playoffs this year. In such a case, baseball television ratings in October would suffer a big drop.

UPDATE: Fenway fixup

A visitor to this site, Sean, told me that the Save Fenway Park folks think their proposed addition of a large second deck to their beloved sports palace could be done without forcing the Red Sox out of town if they were to move the diamond to the right field corner and rotate it. So, I've added a modified diagram to the Fenway Park page to show such a possibility, and it's ver-r-ry int-er-esting...

Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 19 Sep 2005, 2: 07 AM

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The "home made" blog organization system that I created was instituted on November 1, 2004, followed by several functional enhancements in subsequent years. I make no more than one blog post per day on any one category, so some posts may cover multiple news items or issues. Blog posts appear in the following (reverse alphabetical) order, which may differ from the chronological order in which the posts were originally made:

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