Some ramblings while I’m watching the game…
A couple of weeks ago, I looked into getting a ticket for this game. Since it was scheduled to be a day game, I thought it would be cool to get a ticket, take an early train up to NY from DC, go to the game, and take the train back home at about 6:30-7:00. That would have gotten me back home sometime between midnight and 1 a.m. But I wasn’t able to find an affordable ticket on the Yankees web site, so I gave up on that idea. Fortunately for me, I didn’t think to check StubHub at that time, where I probably would have been able to find something affordable. Why is that fortunate? Because of the 5-hour 26-minute rain delay! By the time this game got underway at about 6:30, I would have been back at Penn Station, either boarding a train or getting ready to board one soon.
Right now, it’s the bottom of the 7th, and the Nationals are leading 3-0. The Yankees have 2 on with 1 out, and Hideki Matsui is at bat. This will be where the Yankees rally and take the lead…not necessarily this inning, but it’ll happen. This is, after all, the Nationals bullpen we’re talking about.
Update: Tavarez coming into the game? Get ready, Yankees fans…here comes the rally……
Update: OMG…I hope Brett Gardner will be OK. The MASN commentators are talking about his lower back, but it looked to me like hit his head. Ouch!! Hell of a catch too….
Update: I probably shouldn’t be so negative where the Nationals are concerned, but I’m a realist. I know how bad this team — specifically the bullpen — is. It’s the bottom of the 9th, and they only need 3 outs for a win, but they will find a way to blow it…or the defense will blow it. Not that this would be a bad thing, because the Yankees need to win tonight…..
Update: Umm…WHAT?!?! The Nationals won, 3-0? The Nationals WON??
Are you kidding me?!?!?
Once again, the Yankees made a young, unknown pitcher look like Cy Young. Rookie Craig Stammen got his first major league win, pitching a solid 6 and 1/3 innings of shutout baseball, giving up 6 hits with 2 strikeouts. The usually horrendous Nationals bullpen not only protected the lead by not giving up any runs, but Ron Villone, Julian Tavarez, and Joe Biemel didn’t even give up a hit. Mike MacDougal allowed 1 hit. Ryan Zimmerman and Cristian Guzman were 3-5 with 2 and 1 RBI, respectively. Adam Dunn, DH’ing again tonight, was 2-2 with 2 walks. Even the Nationals usually weak defense played well, with a diving catch by Willie Harris that robbed Alex Rodriguez of a hit, and a perfect throw by Austin Kearns from right field to second to get Nick Swisher out.
For the Yankees, Joba Chamberlain surrendered 3 runs in 6 innings, with 6 strikeouts and 3 walks. Alfredo Aceves, Phil Coke, and David Robertson combined to give up just 1 hit and no runs, but the damage was already done. Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher were 2-4; Swisher also grounded into a double play in the 9th inning. Derek Jeter pinch hit for Ramiro Pena with the bases loaded, but the Yankees best threat of the game ended when he grounded into a fielder’s choice. Brett Garner made an excellent catch at the wall to rob Austin Kearns of a hit, crashing into the wall and crumbling to the ground in the process. Considering how his head snapped back and hit the plexiglas wall, he was lucky that he didn’t lose consciousness. I hope he will be OK.
Tonight’s game was the first at Yankee Stadium this season in which no home runs were hit. I guess the baseballs were too wet to leave the park!
I officially suck at making predictions. As I mentioned earlier, I know I shouldn’t be so negative where the Nats are concerned, but I honestly believed that they would not win any of these games. Prior to the series, I thought they might have a slim chance to beat Chien-Ming Wang, but I didn’t expect even two wins, much less a sweep.
(Here goes my split personality again…..)
OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!!!!! I’m freaking out here…I can’t believe the Nationals — the “lowly Nationals” — beat the Yankees TWICE. Going back to the 2006 Yankees/Nationals interleague series, the Nats are 4-2 vs. the Yankees! Chien-Ming Wang is 0-2 vs. the Nationals. WOW!! Unfreakingbelieveable! Maybe this will be a turning point for the team, and they will play more respectably for the rest of the season. If nothing else, it’s got to be a confidence builder!
WTF is wrong with the Yankees?! How is it possible that they lost this series to the worst team in baseball…one of the worst teams EVER?! It’s pathetic. A-Rod was 0-the series. The entire team is in a slump — great timing, to be slumping against a team that hasn’t even won 20 games by mid-June. If the Red Sox win again tonight, the Yankees will fall 4 games back in the division. Hell, the Blue Jays have swept the Phillies, so they’re breathing down our necks. This sucks!!! SNAP OUT OF IT, YANKEES!!
Jeez…what a series.
I guess I should mention the fact that, for the second time in its brief history, this blog cracked the Top 50 rankings on the current Latest Leaders list. The Diamond Diva is #50! I have no idea how that happened, especially since I’ve been so bad about commenting on other blogs in the last several weeks. I’ve been so busy lately that I’ve barely had time to post blog entries, much less comment on other blogs. So that’s all the more reason to take a moment to thank those of you who’ve visited this blog. I thank you, and I hope you enjoy your visits here!
I was thinking about which Nationals player wears number 50, and with great horror I realized that the Nationals’ #50 is a member of the dreadful bullpen.
No way am I dedicating my # 50 ranking to Julian Tavarez!
Instead, I will just dedicate my barely-making-the-top-50-list-hanging-on-by-my-fingernails #50 ranking to the Yankees first base coach
Mark Mick Kelleher…
…whose uniform #50 is not visible in the above photo…but he does wear #50. (Thanks for the heads up about the incorrectly listed name, Jane…and my apologies to Mr. Kelleher!)
Is interleague play really necessary anymore? In my opinion, the novelty has worn off. It was fun at first, but it’s just not as interesting as it initially was. This weekend, in particular — with some of the so-called “rivalries” games — was just…well, boring. Was anyone other than the fans of the respective teams really interested in the result of the series between the last place Nationals and the last place Orioles, or the result of the series between the last place A’s and the next-to-last place Diamondbacks? Of course, last place teams in each league do play other last place teams within their own leagues, but those aren’t hyped the way interleague series are hyped.
Another reason why I’m no longer a big fan of interleague play is because it creates a major, and possibly dangerous, disadvantage for AL teams when they play in NL ballparks. Thanks to the lack of a DH in the AL, pitchers don’t normally have to bat, and therefore aren’t used to running the bases. At best, they risk tiring sooner than they normally would; at worst, they risk injury. Remember, it was during interleague play last year when Chien-Ming Wang’s season ended due to a foot injury suffered while running the bases.
Fans generally still seem to enjoy interleague play, as evidenced by the fact that attendence rises for it. I googled “interleague play” tonight out of curiosity, and I found an article showing that ballplayers apparently are far less fond of interleague play than fans. According to Jayson Stark at ESPN.com:
Players we surveyed this week told Rumblings they would estimate the number of players who dislike interleague play is somewhere in the neighborhood of 70-75 percent.
Stark mentions several of the players’ complaints regarding interleague play, most of which make a lot of sense, IMO.
One suggestion made by a ballplayer caught my attention in that ESPN.com article.
Phillies pitcher Chad Durbin proposed an idea we’ve campaigned for forever: “Use the visiting team’s league rules,” he said. “Show the fans something unique.”
I think that’s pretty interesting. It would definitely be unique.
What do you think? Do you still find interleague play fun and/or interesting?
Yankees vs. Phillies
The home run total at the Bronx Bandbox increased by 12 during the weekend interleague series between the Yankees and the Phillies — 6 by each team — as the Yankees lost 2 of 3 games to the Phillies. There have been 87 home runs already at Yankee Stadium, and it’s not even at the end of May. Just imagine how the home runs will be flying out of the park once the temperature and humidity go up later in the season!
Friday: the Yankees lost, 7-3, in a game that included a total of 7 home runs. The testosterone level on the field skyrocketed on the field in the 1st inning when Brett Myers threw a pitch behind Derek Jeter, in obvious retaliation after A.J. Burnett hit Chase Utley in the shoulder. The plate umpire then warned both dugouts. Personally, I think it’s ridiculous to throw a pitch at a batter. If you hit him, you give the opposing team a baserunner, and you risk injuring him. Why not just have the pitcher and hitter drop their pants, whip it out to see which one is bigger, and then get on with the game.
Chien-Ming Wang was activated before the game, replaced Burnett in the 7th inning. He threw 51 pitches, giving up 2 runs (including a home run) on 6 hits. His pitches had more velocity, but his location was off a bit. Maybe he’s just rusty?
Saturday: the Yankees were victorious in a 5-4 come from behind win. Those 9th inning comebacks seem to be becoming a Yankees trademark this season. Oh, and “only” 4 home runs were hit in that game.
Sunday: the Yankees lost, 4-3, in 11 innings, before a crowd of 46,986. That’s the largest Yankee Stadium crowd since opening day. Melky Cabrera did his best to be the hero for the second night in a row, hitting a game-tying single in the 9th inning. But it wasn’t meant to be…no wild celebration for the Yankees after this game. CC Sabathia pitched very well, allowing just 3 runs on 9 hits over 8 innings. But with two outs and the score tied in the 11th inning, Brett Tomko walked Chase Utley, and after Utley stole second, Carlos Ruiz doubled to score Utley. The Yankees were unable to score in the bottom of the 11th.
Interleague play resumes for the Yankees on June 12th, vs. the Mets at Yankee Stadium.
Nationals vs. Orioles
The Battle of the Beltways — i.e., the interleague series between the Nationals and the Orioles — wasn’t quite as much of a snoozer as I thought it would be. Yes, both teams stink, and the games probably held very little interest for anyone other than Nats or O’s fans. But the Nationals starting pitchers had very good games on Friday and Saturday, although the usually prolific offense fell asleep on those nights in losses to the Orioles. However, the offense woke up in time to bail out a less than spectacular effort from Sunday’s starter to prevent a sweep.
Friday: the Nationals lost, 4-2 in 12 innings. Jordan Zimmermann had the longest start of his young career, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits over 7 innings. Zimm2 walked 1, struck out 7, and gave up a home run. But the Nationals offense took the night off, scoring just 2 runs (on Ryan Zimmerman’s 4th inning homer, with Nick Johnson on 1st). It would be easy to blame the bullpen again for this loss…but if the offense had not fallen asleep, the game’s outcome might have been different.
Saturday: I was at this game, a 2-1 loss, getting to see Ross Detweiler for myself. He did not disappoint, with a 6 inning, 1 hit and 1 run performance. Justin Maxwell sparkled on defense with an outstanding catch above and over the wall in centerfield, robbing Brian Roberts of a home run. Julian Tavarez gave up a run in the 7th to give the Orioles a lead that they never lost. The Nats’ normally porous bullpen prevented the Orioles from scoring additional runs, but for the second night in a row, the Nationals offense took the night off. Another game…another loss. Ho hum.
Sunday: I was at this game as well, an 8-5 victory to avoid the sweep. Shairon Martis did not have his A-game, but his offense finally woke up and let him off the hook. His defense helped him out as well…in particular, a leaping catch in front of the out-of-town scoreboard in right field by Austin Kearns, robbing Nick Markakis of a hit in the first inning. Martis also helped himself out with an RBI single in the 5th inning, scoring Wil Nieves to tie the score at 3. Adam Dunn got it done with 2 homers, including a grand slam in the 7th inning after the Orioles intentionally walked Ryan Zimmerman to get to Dunn. Anderson Hernandez added to the defensive highlights with a spectacular diving catch of a Brian Roberts line drive in the 8th inning. Wonder of wonders, Ron Villone, Joe Beimel, and Joel Hanrahan combined to shut down the Orioles over the last 3 innings — no hits, no walks, no runs. Amazing!!
Interleague play resumes for the Nationals on June 12th at Tampa Bay.
While I was in Baltimore watching the Yankees get their hineys handed to them, the Nationals played the Diamondbacks in Arizona. After my friend and I left the Yankees game, we went to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner, where I kept checking my score of the Nats game on my cell phone. I didn’t order dessert…seeing that the Nats won, 2-1, was my dessert!
The Nationals scoring came from two solo home runs, off the bats of Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman. Starter John Lannan pitched a pretty good game, allowing just 3 hits and no runs with 2 strikeouts in 6 innings of work. Unfortunately, he also surrendered 6 walks. Six Nationals relievers combined to finish the game and secure the win. There was a bit of drama in the 9th inning, when Kip Wells walked 2 batters and gave up a double to another, enabling the D’backs to score their only run. And then Joel Suckrahan then entered the game.
When I saw his name come up on my phone, I figured that he’d do what he does best…blow saves. Imagine my surprise when I checked the score one final time and saw that he got the save by striking out the last batter! Who needed apple cobbler, a hot fudge brownie, or a hot fudge sundae for dessert? The Nationals’ third win a row was sweet enough!
Unfortunately, the result of today’s Nationals/Diamondbacks game wasn’t so tasty. After falling behind 1-0 in the 2nd inning, the Nats took a 2-1 lead in the top of the 3rd inning…then a 4-3 lead in the top of the 5th…and then a 6-5 lead at the top of the 6th, before things fell apart in the bottom of the 6th when the D’backs took a 9-6 lead and never looked back. Being at this game must have been like being at a tennis match, with the leads bouncing back and forth so many times. Starter Scott Olsen struggled today, and ended up leaving the game in the 5th inning after getting hit on the left ankle by a line drive off the bat of Ryan Roberts. Olsen was replaced by Garrett Mock, who later was, unfortunately, replaced
Logan Loser Kensing, who proceeded to give up 4 runs and the lead. Kensing has been with the team for less than two weeks and already has 2 blown saves. Julian Tavarez pitched the 8th and 9th innings and gave up the Diamondbacks’ final run, for a final score of 10-8.
When a team scores 8 runs, including 2 home runs by its right fielder (Adam Dunn) and and left fielder (Josh Willingham), it should win the game. But the Nationals bullpen once again did the team in, and an error by shortstop Álex Cintrón lead to a Diamondbacks run. It’s incredibly frustrating!
Four wins, two losses and one “tie” — that’s the Nationals’ record this month, after defeating the Diamondbacks tonight, 5-4. What’s going on here? The Washington Nationals are actually trying to play like a major league team now! The Nats are 8-8 since starting the season 1-10. Had it not been for the miserable bullpen, we might actually have 3 or 4 additional wins.
Mind you, Joel
Suckrahan Hanrahan did his best to blow the lead when he gave up a run in the 7th. But he only gave up that one run, and Julian Tavarez and Kip Wells kept the D’backs scoreless to preserve the win. The save for Wells was the first of his career.
Good job, fellas…keep up the good work!
Crap…apparently, I jinxed Julian Tavarez.
When responding to Julia’s comment about him HERE, I said that he didn’t suck as much as the rest of the Nats’ relievers. And then he gave up 5 runs (2 earned) in the 9th inning of last night’s loss to the Cardinals. Of course, the damage wouldn’t have been so bad if Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman had been able to catch the balls hit in their direction and if Jesus Flores hadn’t dropped Cristian Guzman’s throw home. *sigh*
And then, to rub salt into the wound, Joel Suckrahan replaced Tavarez and balked a run home and gave up the final run on a sacrifice fly.
After the game, Manny Acta stated the following (per yahoo.com):
“They just walked themselves into trouble. They walked themselves into losing the ballgame. Walks allowed them to tie. Walks allowed them to take a lead. I mean, they didn’t hit the ball hard in the last inning and they ended up scoring five runs. … It’s unacceptable,” Acta said.
Acta, who overhauled his bullpen two weeks ago, isn’t sure how to fix the wildness.
“Walking guys after 0-2 counts, walking guys at the bottom of the order–I don’t know why,” Acta said. “You shouldn’t be afraid. … You’re pitching for a last-place team in a half-empty stadium. What can you be intimidated (by) right now?”
And he’s right. They all seem to be pitching scared now. It’s ridiculous!!
I don’t know whether to scream or cry at this point.