Tagged: Braves

The Yankees and interleague play

After being shut out by the Braves, 4-0, on Tuesday night, the Yankees then defeated the Braves on Wednesday and Thursday, by the scores of 8-4 and 11-7, respectively. Moving on up to Citi Field, the Yankees have won 2 straight games over the crosstown rival Mets, 9-1 and 5-0.

It figures. Now that interleague play is nearly over, the Yankees are finally playing well against NL teams!

More on the Yankees tomorrow….

SSDD

Same…um, Stuff…Different Day, where the Nationals are concerned.

It’s been an up and down season so far for John Lannan. He pitched brilliantly against the Braves on the 22nd only to watch Garrett Mock and Mike Hinkley combine efforts to surrender the game winning run in the 9th inning. But then he didn’t pitch particularly well against the Phillies last night, giving up 3 home runs in 5 innings. He pitched poorly in losses to the Braves and Phillies earlier this month and then pitched well against the Marlins (getting an ND when the bullpen blew the save). I have a feeling it’s going to be that type of season for John. I just hope the bullpen doesn’t keep imploding in the games when he does pitch well so he can actually get some wins!

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Another bullpen shake-up — “closer-by-committee”? Great…so what the hell does that mean…whoever displayed the least amount of suckitude in the previous game will close the current game? [begin sarcasm] Sounds like a brilliant plan to me! [end sarcasm] Whatever they do, the Nationals cannot, and must not, use Joel Blownsaverahan as their closer…EVER. He performed adequately in the closer role last year, but after 3 blown saves in 5 opportunities so far this year, his confidence is shot. A closer with no confidence is a disaster waiting to happen.

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Speaking of the bullpen:

Struggling Nats get Kensing in trade with Florida
yahoo.com, 4/29
 
PHILADELPHIA (AP) –The struggling Washington Nationals have acquired right-hander Logan Kensing from the Florida Marlins for pitching prospect Kyle Gunderson.

Nationals assistant GM Mike Rizzo announced the move on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old Kensing is 7-8 with a 5.21 ERA in 108 career games spanning five seasons with the Marlins. He’s expected to be in uniform for the Nationals when they wrap up a series Wednesday night at Philadelphia.

To make room on the roster, Nationals also optioned right-hander Jason Bergmann to Triple-A Syracuse. They also transferred outfielder Roger Barnadina to the 60-day disabled list.

Bergmann had a 3.60 ERA in three relief appearances after getting recalled on April 20….

Lemme get this straight…the Nats optioned a pitcher with a 3.60 ERA in 3 relief appearances (1.40 WHIP and .167 BAA) to Syracuse to make room for a newly aquired pitcher with a 9.82 ERA in 6 relief appearances (2.59 WHIP and .412 BAA)? WTF?? Why has Joel Hanrahan not yet been given a one-way bus ticket to Syracuse?! I suspect that the only reason why Hanrahan is still on the 25-man roster is because he’s out of options. But so the hell what?! If he’s optioned and exposed to waivers, and another team is stupid enough to claim him, that’s THEIR problem. For that matter, why was Bergmann optioned instead of Saul Rivera? Options, maybe? Again, so the hell what!

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The Washington Nationals have activated shortstop Cristian Guzman from the 15-day disabled list and optioned infielder Alberto Gonzalez to Triple-A Syracuse. Thank goodness Guzman is finally back (with, I hope, a fully healed hammy). The Nats need his defense! Not that he’s exactly a gold-glove shortstop, but in 11 games, Gonzalez had about 25 errors. OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration…he only had 6 errors…it just seemed like 25.

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Oh, and one more thing before I head out of here……

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Yes, I know this is MLBlogs and not NHLblogs, but that’s just too bad! 😉

Congratulations to the Washington Capitals, for overcoming a 3 games to 1 deficit against the New York Rangers to win their playoff series! GO CAPS!!!

TWO IN A ROW for the Nationals!

Nationals 4, Braves 3 — WOO HOO!!!

My roommate is a Braves fan…she is not happy. *smirk*

I was at tonight’s game. Mother Nature is obviously not a baseball fan…or at least, she’s not a Nationals or Braves fan. For the second night in a row, the game was delayed because of rain. Tonight’s delay was only an hour; last night’s first delay was more than 2 hours. Unfortunately, the sky opened up while I was on my way to the ballpark, so when I came out of the subway station, there was a torrential downpour. It was raining so hard, I could have sworn I saw a school of fish swimming up Half Street. My umbrella kept me dry down to my knees…by the time I walked up the block to the ballpark from the Metro station, my jeans were completely soaked from the knees down. My shoes and socks were soaked through as well. Not terribly comfortable, to say the least. Good thing it wasn’t a very cold night.

The game itself was a good one, though it didn’t start off that way, with Nationals starter Shairon Martis gave the Braves a 3-0 lead in the first inning. But the Nationals fought back in the 6th inning, to tie the game and then take the lead. Adam Dunn was just 1-4 on the night, but that one hit was a big one…a solo home run to the deepest part of center field. It was one hell of a blast! And then, for the second night in a row, the Nationals bullpen held the lead…and…closer Joel Hanrahan got his second save in a row. WOO HOO!! The win made sitting at the game in wet jeans, shoes, and socks worthwhile!

Washington Capitals’ mascot Slapshot hung out with Nats’ mascot Screech at tonight’s game. It’s cool to see the inter-team mingling of the mascots like that, but it’s also rather unfortunate to put Slapshot and Screech together. Slapshot is a considerably cooler mascot than Screech — at least he actually looks like an eagle, while Screech resembles a skinny, frightened chicken.

Slapshot
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Screech
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No contest!

Oh, and in honor of Slapshot’s visit, all four racing presidents carried hockey sticks during tonight’s Presidents race. LOL

Jordan Zimmerman, and win #2 for the Nats

NATIONALS 3, BRAVES 2 — YEEEEAAAAAAHH!!!!!

A win is sweet for the Nationals no matter how they get it. But this one was particularly special because it marked the major league debut of the Nationals’ top pitching prospect, Jordan (Don’t Call Me Ryan) Zimmermann. Zimm2 completely lived up to his hype, giving his team 6 strong innings. He allowed two runs and six hits, with three strikeouts and a
walk. He was cool and relaxed on the mound, even after giving up a home run to Matt Diaz in the 4th inning. This guy is going to be fun to watch this season.

Zimm2 was originally supposed to make his debut on Sunday against the Marlins. I was very pleased about that, because that game was part of my season ticket plan. But when last Wednesday’s game vs. the Phillies was rained out, that pushed Zimmermann’s debut back one day. I really wanted to see this kid for myself, so a friend and I got tickets for Monday’s game against the Braves. Mother Nature threatened to ruin our plans once again, because it rained pretty much all day. The rain let up a bit a couple of hours before game time, but more rain moved in, and the start of the game was delayed by just over two hours. It didn’t matter to us though…we had to see Jordan Zimmermann’s debut. He was definitely worth the wait.

Mind you, we left at about 10:30, in the middle of the 5th inning. I HATE to leave a game early and very rarely do so, but we took the subway to the game, and Metrorail stops running around midnight. We wanted to make sure that we could make our connections and not miss the last train out. The score was tied at 2 when we left, and we missed the Jesus Flores single in the 6th inning that scored Elijah Dukes. But that’s OK…the important thing is that the Nationals won!

It should be noted that the Nats’ revamped bullpen not only did not allow any runs but also didn’t allow any hits. Joel Hanrahan, who had two blown saves in a row against the Marlins, entered the game in the 9th inning and got his first save of the season.

Oh, and this win coupled with the Marlins’ loss puts the Nats just 8.5 games out of first place, with 150 games to go! LOL

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Miscellaneous Other Stuff:

I finally finished uploading my Nationals’ opening day photos to Flickr. If anyone is interested in seeing them, please click HERE.

I mentioned here that I don’t like the new statues at Nationals Park. I thought that maybe they’d look better in person…but alas, they really don’t. And I am not the only one who doesn’t like them. According to this article in the Washington Times, Walter Johnson’s grandson doesn’t like them either:

Hall of Famer Walter Johnson, arguably the best pitcher in baseball
history, fanned 3,509 batters while winning 417 games with the
Washington Senators from 1907 to 1927. Yet Johnson’s grandson and
biographer, Henry Thomas, is more concerned these days with another
strikeout.

He thinks the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities and
sculptor Omri Amrany whiffed completely with the Johnson statue that
was unveiled last week in the center field plaza at Nationals Park. Or
perhaps hit a foul ball.

Thomas’ one-word description of the towering, bronze sculpture, as posted on the Nats’ Web site: “hideous.”

So there you go. It’s not just me.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good:

After A.J. Burnett stopped the bleeding and prevented the Orioles from sweeping the Yankees, Andy Pettitte turned in a vintage performance on Friday to continue his career dominance over the Royals (he’s 13-3 in 16 career decisions against Kansas City). The Yankees beat the Royals, 4-1. Robinson Cano was 2-3 with another walk.

After making a small adjustment in his mechanics, CC Sabathia regained his usual form and helped the Yankees defeat the Royals on Saturday, 6-1. He pitched into the 8th inning, allowing 6 hits but no runs, and striking out 6. That performance dropped his ERA from over 12 to under 5. Nick Swisher, making a start at first base, had 2 hits in 3 at bats with 3 RBI and 2 walks, and he scored 3 runs. Swisher’s two hits were a triple and a home run. He’s certainly making a case for being in the Yankees’ everyday lineup. The Yankees are definitely back on track!

Alex Rodriguez will continue his rehabilitation from right hip surgery by heading to the Yankees spring training complex in Florida on Monday. Joe Girardi described his progress as “encouraging.”

The Bad:

The Yankees $180 million dollar man, Mark Teixeira, is suffering from tendonitis in his left wrist and has missed two games. His status is listed as day-to-day.

The Yankees were unable to complete the sweep of the Royals today, losing 6-4. Joba Chamberlain got a no-decision in his first start of the season, giving up 3 runs on 5 hits over 6 innings, with 6 strikeouts. The Yankees were leading in the 8th inning, scored 3 runs to take the lead. The Yankees were unable to respond in the 9th inning and lost the game. Oh well, you can’t win them all.

The Ugly:

Despite tying the score in the 9th inning, the Nationals lost to the Braves, 6-5 in 10 innings, on Friday night. That game was delayed just over two hours due to rain. The Nationals record after this game — 0-4.

Despite taking a 3-0 lead in the top of the 3rd inning, the Nationals lost to the Braves on Saturday, 5-3. The Nationals record after this game — 0-5.

Despite tying the game at the top of the 5th inning, the Nationals lost to the Braves today, 8-5. The Nationals current record — 0-6. After the Indians finally won their first game of the season today, the Nationals find themselves in a familiar position, with the worst record in baseball.

The Nationals finally play their home opener tomorrow against the Phillies. The reception from the home fans to their winless Nats should be very interesting, to say the least.

On a personal note…after reminding my boss and several co-workers on Friday that I will not be in the office tomorrow because I’ll be attending the Nats’ opening day game, I told them to check the news on Tuesday night if (a) the Nats lose tomorrow and (b) I don’t show up for work on Tuesday. If they see a report about an unidentified body found floating in the Anacostia River, that body may be mine…because I may just throw myself off the Douglass Bridge if the Nationals end up 0-7 after tomorrow’s game. So if you guys don’t hear from me again here in this blog, you’ll know what happened to me.

Oh, by the way, my cold is much better today. The chicken soup and Cold-Eeze are doing the jobs!

20-9

The Nationals have been outscored by the Marlins 20-9 in their first two games of the season. Former Nationals infielder Emilio Bonifacio is 6-10 against his former team, 4 4 RBI, 4 runs scored, and a batting average of .600. Conversely, tonight’s starter for the Nats — Scott Olsen, who was part of the trade that sent Bonifacio to Florida — didn’t have quite as good a time against his former team. In just 3 innings of work, he allowed 8 earned runs off of 8 hits, including 2 home runs. He also had 3 walks and 2 strikeouts. At least Olsen’s performance may make John Lannan feel a bit better…Lannan gave up “only” 6 runs in 3 innings yesterday.

I’m trying not to freak out too much after these first two games. Maybe this is some kind of reverse karma, as compared to last season. The Nationals started off with three straight wins — the first against Atlanta, the second and third against Philadelphia — and dreams of a team that actually might be a contender for the pennant danced in the heads of Nats fans everywhere. And then everything fell apart and the season went into the toilet. So maybe the reverse will happen this year…maybe things will turn around dramatically after these first couple of games. Maybe? I hope so!

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I forgot to mention this over the weekend. I had to take my Holland lop rabbit to the vet on Saturday morning.

snickers011307_11.jpgHe needed to get his claws trimmed. While we were waiting for our turn with the technician, a man was paying the bill for his dogs’ vet visit. He had two dogs — a yellow lab and a golden retriever — and the dogs’ names were Wrigley and Fenway!

I could be wrong about this…but I have a feeling that the dogs’ daddy is a baseball fan. LOL

My season tickets were delivered today

My Nationals season ticket booklets were delivered today by UPS. Appropriate timing, since Opening Day is exactly one month from today!

This season, those of us with partial season ticket plans get Opening Day tickets included with our season ticket package. Last year, we had to purchase Opening Night tickets separately. It’s a good deal this year, because fans with partial plans get the Opening Day game for free. So the 20-game plan I had last year is actually 21 games this year, for the cost of 20 games.

This year’s Opening Day ticket is a very cool souvenir — plastic, 3-3/4″ wide by 7″ long, featuring a shot of Ryan Zimmerman being mobbed by his teammates after scoring the game-winning home run against the Braves on Opening Night last year.

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Definitely a keeper!

What a game that was…Opening Night in the new ballpark…winning the game in dramatic fashion with Zimmerman’s walkoff home run. The Nats began the season 3-0, before the season went into the toilet. Last season was a disaster, but now that I have my tickets for this season, I’m totally ready for baseball again. My hopes are high for an improved team in 2009!