Phillies 6, Nationals 5
I’m actually surprised that the Nationals were able to score that many runs against former Cy Young winner Cliff Lee. Unfortunately, they just didn’t score enough. The Nats made a run late in the game, but it was too little, too late. Basically, it was just more of the usual where the Nats are concerned.
Yankees 4, Rays 2
It was a historic night, as Derek Jeter got three hits to tie Lou Gehrig’s team record of 2,721 career hits. Congrats, Derek! Jorge Posada pinch hit in the 8th inning and got a 3-run home run to lead his team to the victory. Derek will attempt to break Gehrig’s record on Friday against the Orioles, after a day off tomorrow.
Yankees 3, Rays 2
Nick Swisher’s 2 home runs helped the Yankees beat the Rays…particularly the second home run, which came at the bottom of the 9th with one out and the score tied at 2.
[sarcasm]Don’t you just love Nick’s calm personality?[/sarcasm]
Derek Jeter was hitless, remaining three hits shy of tying Lou Gehrig’s club record of 2,721 career hits.
Phillies 5, Nationals 3
John Lannan pitched 6 strong innings for the Nats, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits. Unfortunately, his 7th inning wasn’t so good; he gave up 2 home runs in the top of the 7th, which gave the Phillies at 4-2 lead. The inning got off to a great start for the Nats with another brilliant defensive play by Ryan Zimmerman on a ground ball from Ryan Howard. Playing near second base on the shift, Zimm dove to make the catch and threw the ball to Adam Dunn in time to get the out at first. But then Lannan gave up those 2 home runs, and the game went downhill from there for the Nats. Another night, another loss. *sigh*
The Nationals lost to the Rays on Saturday, 8-3, after giving up 7 runs in the bottom of the 6th inning. With the Nats leading 2-1, Jason Bergmann replaced Jordan Zimmermann. Zimm2 had pitched fairly well after being scratched from his previous start due to minor elbow soreness. But he was on a strict pitch count and had thrown 92 pitches through his 5 innings of work, so in came Bergmann for the 6th inning. 18 pitches and 5 runs (including 2 home runs) later, Bergmann was removed from the game without recording an out and was replaced by Jesus Colome, who then gave up 2 more runs.
Bergmann was “rewarded” for his effort by being sent down to triple A Syracuse. His replacement is Kip Wells, who just came off the DL. I wish the Nats would bring up Tyler Clippard, who has pitched very well in AAA. Pitching well in AAA doesn’t guarantee success in the majors, of course, but he sure as hell couldn’t be any worse than the drek that’s already in the Nats’ bullpen.
Regarding last night’s 5-4 loss to the Rays, completing the sweep in St. Petersburg, the Nationals find all kinds of ways to lose, or at least to suck.
Way #1: Ben Zobrist hit a foul ball in the 8th inning. Willie Harris, playing 3rd base because Ryan Zimmerman was the DH, attempted to make the catch while running towards his bullpen. Unfortunately, the bullpens are in foul territory (I’ve never understood why a Major League ballpark would have its bullpens on the field…but I digress…), and the Nats’ bullpen catcher could not get out of the way fast enough. Harris tripped over him and failed to make the catch. Zobrist ended up striking out, so that mishap ultimately didn’t matter, other than to be one more display of suckitude from the Nationals.
Way #2: Pinch hitter Willie Aybar got a double when a ground ball that appeared to be headed for Harris’ glove at 3rd instead bounced off the base and went into left field. Carlos Pena then scored the go-ahead run.
This kind of crap only happens to the Nationals, who have lot 15-18 of their last 18 games. This was the 7th series in which the Nats have been swept this season.
The big news in Natstown (jeez, I hate that nickname….) is really just a strong rumor so far, which is that manager Manny Acta will be fired very soon. Per a report on foxsprts.com:
Manny Acta’s time as manager of the Washington Nationals is just about over, according to major-league sources.
Acta will be by replaced bench coach Jim Riggleman, as originally reported on FOX Saturday Baseball. The only question is when. It could be a matter of days….
Riggleman has managed for the Padres, Cubs and Mariners….
Riggleman’s record as a manager is 522-652.
Interesting comments from Nationals Team President Stan Kasten in the Washington Post’s Nationals Journal:
Hours before Saturday’s game against Tampa, a Fox Sports report, citing major league sources, suggested that Acta will be fired by week’s end and replaced with bench coach Jim Riggleman. Team president Stan Kasten neither confirmed nor denied the report, saying, “I would never talk about personnel, because I don’t. I’ve been asked a variation of that question (about Acta’s job security) — from some media outlet — almost every day since the first week of the season. And if I had a policy to talk about personnel, I’d have to do that story every single day.
“Having said that, I can’t tell you how perplexed I am by this season and this team and the things that are going on. And our record is, you know, very troubling for me every single day ….. So yeah, I’m troubled by everything. We continue to look for solutions. Have I thought about every possible recourse? I have. As has [acting general manager] Mike [Rizzo], as have our owners. We’re certainly not satisfied with our record; far from it. We’re distraught over it and we’re going to consider everything we need to do to make it better.”
One would assume that Mr. Kasten would defend his manager and vehemently deny the Acta-to-be-fired rumors if those rumors were not true. So…the Acta watch continues.
I stated here that that I thought it was time for Acta to go. For the most part, I still believe this, because I believe that a change is desperately needed. However, someone posted a comment on the above item in Nationals Journal, pointing out that the Nats record isn’t entirely Acta’s fault — “Casey Stengel couldn’t manage this team to a .500 record.” He has a point. This team just flat out stinks. Firing the pitching coach has made little difference. Firing Acta may just be rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Whatever happens, I wish it would happen soon. Leaving Acta to twist in the wind is unfair to him (as well as the team), and it also feeds the notion of complete ineptitude on the part of the Nationals front office.
According to SI.com, the Nationals are supposedly considering Bobby Valentine as a replacement for Acta. Bobby Valentine?! Oh my. Too bad such a change couldn’t be made in time for the Nationals/Yankees series. Bobby Valentine vs. Joe Girardi would be highly entertaining!
The Yankees and Nationals had different, but not surprising, results in their respective games tonight.
The Yankees defeated the Mets tonight, 9-8, thanks to an error by Luis Castillo in the 9th inning. This was a crazy game, to say the least…..
The Yankees jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 2nd inning on Robinson Cano’s home run.
The Mets came right back in the 3rd inning to regain the lead, 2-1
The Yankees took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the 3rd.
The Mets jumped out to a 6-3 in the top of the 5th inning.
The Yankees scored a run in the bottom of the 5th.
The Yankees regained the lead in the 6th inning, 7-6.
Then the Mets tied the game in the 7th.
The Mets took the lead, 8-7, in the 8th inning.
And then, finally, the Yankees scored two runs in the bottom of the inning, when Luis Castillo dropped a 2 out pop-up off the bat of Alex Rodriguez, allowing Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira to score the tying and winning runs, respectively. The final score was 9-8.
Whew…it was exhausting just typing all of that. I can’t imagine how tiring it must have been to watch the game in person, much less to play in it!
Postscript to the Yankees/Red Sox series: the last Yankees pitcher to win a game against the Red Sox was Mike Mussina. It was his 20th win of the season last year.
And then, there were the Nationals, who lost to the Rays tonight, 4-3. Pitching into the 6th inning, starter Craig Stammen, did a decent job, putting his team into a position to win. But the 3 runs that the Nats scored in the 1st inning were all they could manage. And then, with 2 outs in the 8th, Nick Johnson misplayed a pop-up in foul territory. Instead of the inning coming to an end, Gabe Kapler stepped up to the plate and hit the home run that won the game for the Rays.
SSDD…same stuff, different day. Another day, another loss.
I apologize to my readers — all 4 of you! — for being AWOL for more than a week. My roommate had surgery last Monday, so I’ve been visiting her most evenings. Between being busy at work and the stress of the hospital visits (hospitals creep me out), I just haven’t had the energy to post anything here.
To catch up a bit, since my last post, the Yankees have 5 wins and 3 losses. Some notable games:
The June 1st game vs. the Indians featured another attack of the midges, but the bugs didn’t bug starter Joba Chamberlain too much this time. The Yankees set a new MLB record of 18 error-free games, breaking the record that the Red Sox set in 2006, and they beat the Indians 5-2.
In the June 2nd game vs. the Rangers, there was an exceptional amount of testosterone flying through the air, after Mark Texeira was hit by pitches from Vicente Padilla in the 2nd and 4th innings. Tex then slid into Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus at 2nd base in the 4th. Inspired by Tex’s display of manliness, the Yankees scored 7 runs in that inning. A.J. Burnett sent a message of his own in the 5th inning, throwing a pitch over the head of Nelson Cruz. That display of testosterone drew a warning from the home plate umpire to both dugouts. It also drew a fine, as well as a 6 game suspension two days later. (Padilla was also fined.) Burnett’s appeal of the fine will allow him to play until a hearing takes place.
Tex’s comments about being hit by those pitches:
“There’s really no reason for it in baseball. You know, if you can’t get a guy out, don’t hit him. You know, if you don’t want to pitch to a guy, then, you know, put four fingers out there and walk him,” Teixeira said.
I agree, Tex. As I mentioned here, I think the pitcher and hitter should just drop their pants, let everyone see who is bigger, and then tuck it back in and get on with the game.
Unfortunately, the Yankees errorless innings streak ended in this game. Oh well, at least they set a new record and won the game, 12-3.
The June 4th game vs. the Rangers featured Chien-Ming Wang’s return to the starting rotation. Unfortunately, he was not particularly effective, giving up 5 runs on 7 hits, including a home run, in 4.2 innings. But the Yankees rallied in the 8th inning, overcoming a 5-1 deficit to win the game, 8-6.
In the June 5th game vs. the Rays, Mariano Rivera blew his first save of the season and got his second loss, when Joe Dillon broke a 5-5 tie with a single in the 9th inning. The Rays scored 4 runs (3 earned) off Rivera in the 9th for the win.
I watched the Yankees beat the Rays tonight (Monday), 5-3. Andy Pettitte got the win, Mariano Rivera got the save; it was the 59th time the two have combined for a win and a save. Pettitte and Rivera are the all-time MLB winner-closer combo leaders, with two more wins/saves than Oakland’s Bob Welch and Dennis Eckersley.
Since my last blog post here, the Nationals have 5 losses and 2 wins. It’s really quite astonishing that they have those two wins in 7 games! Some notable games:
On June 2nd, the Nationals had a surprising 10-6 win against the Giants and reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum. The Giants were leading 5-2 when the rally began with the Nats scoring 2 runs at the bottom of the 6th. The Nats offense exploded for 6 runs in the 8th inning. Joel
Suckrahan Hanrahan gave up a run in the 9th inning, but managed to finish the inning and the game without any further damage. Prior to that win, the Nationals had lost 6 straight games.
On June 3rd, the Giants’ Randy Johnson was supposed to be going for his 300th career win, but Mother Nature did not cooperate. The start of the game was delayed for over 3-1/2 hours as MLB hoped the game could be played and history could be made. Now, I understand the historical significance of the game, with Stretch trying for career win #300. But come on… a 3-1/2 hour delay?! That’s ridiculous!! At 10:46, the game was finally postponed and rescheduled for the following evening.
Stretch did get his 300th win on the 4th, in the first game of a doubleheader, as the Giants beat the Nats 5-1. Ironically, the start of this game was also delayed by about an hour because of rain. Too bad so few people actually saw this historic game; attendance was so low that the attendance stats weren’t even listed in the box score. Perhaps the 16,787 attendance figure for the second game was actually a combination of attendance for both games? Anyway, some of the Nationals commentators, members of the media, and Nats fans have fussed about a called strike against Adam Dunn on a 3-2 count to end the 8th inning, which preserved the Giants 2-1 lead with the bases loaded. The call was a bad one — it was definitely NOT a strike — but hey, those are the breaks. Lots of bad calls have been made against the Nationals this season…and against the 29 other MLB teams as well. Bad calls happen. I saw comments on one particular Nats message board which hinted that the umpire had intentionally called a strike to prevent a run from being walked in to tie the game…that, of course, would have given Stretch a no-decision. OK, so in a split second, when the pitch is thrown and caught, the umpire was thinking, “If I call this a ball, then a run will score, and that means that Randy Johnson will end up with a no-decision instead of getting his 300th win tonight, so I should call this a strike even though the pitch was a ball….” Riiiiiiiiight. [SARCASM] I’m sure that’s exactly what that umpire was thinking at that moment. [/SARCASM] This, of course, was the second time the Nationals were involved in a history-making game. In August of 2007, former Nats pitcher Mike Bacsik gave up Baroids Bonds’ 756th career home run.
After the Nats 3-1 loss to the Mets on June 5th, Joel Hanrahan went back to being Joel Suckrahan as far as I’m concerned. With the game tied at 1 in the 10th inning, Suckrahan gave up a single to Luis Castillo, a walk to Carlos Beltrán, and a double to David Wright which scored Castillo and Beltrán. And that was that. The loss caused Suckrahan to lose his job as the closer for the second time this season.
The June 6th game vs. the Mets was another surprising win for the Nationals. John Lannan pitched the first complete game of his career, allowing just 1 run and 4 hits in a 7-1 win. He even hit a single in the 5th inning and scored a run on Nick Johnson’s home run. Adam Dunn and Elijah Dukes also hit home runs in the game, which lasted exactly 2 hours.
The Nationals reverted back to their usual form on the 7th, losing to the Mets 7-0. Just more of the same suckitude.
At least the Nationals didn’t lose tonight…they didn’t play tonight…….
Despite a 4-5 performance, including 4 RBI, from Johnny Damon, the Yankees lost to Tampa Bay. This is the second straight 2-game series sweep of the Yankees by and AL East opponent. The Yankees have now lost 5 straight games and have won only 1 game so far this month. Pitching continues to be a concern, not just with the bullpen now but also the starters. Andy Pettitte wasn’t particularly impressive tonight, giving up 5 runs on 9 hits in 6 innings, including 4 home runs. Even Mariano Rivera, who most Yankee fans believe could walk on water without getting his feet wet, gave up 2 home runs. Only the Cleveland Indians have a higher team ERA than the Yankees…even the Nationals have a better team ERA than the Yankees (5.26 vs. 5.77, though that could change after tonight’s game). As someone stated on my message board:
This is the toughest division in MLB and it’s possible to be out of the race by Memorial Day.
Indeed. If the Yankees don’t get their crap together soon, that may be their fate.
If you have read the first few entries in this blog, then you know that I became a Yankees fan when they signed Mike Mussina. Now that Moose is retired, I really thought I’d miss him a lot in this first season after his retirement…but I gotta say, I’m glad he’s not a part of this train wreck.
Today was another rough day for CC Sabathia, who gave up 5 runs (4 earned) in less than 7 innings, as the Yankees lost to the Angels, 8-4. He is now 1-3 with an ERA of 4.85…not terribly impressive, particularly for a pitcher making over $15,000,000 this season. Sabathia’s last win was April 11th, against the Royals.
The Yankees often manage to make unknown, or mediocre, pitchers look like Cy Young; while no one would have mistaken Angels pitcher Matt Palmer (a 30-year-old rookie) for the second coming of Cy Young, Palmer allowed only 1 run on 3 hits in just over 6 innings. The Yankees were only able to score in the 1st and 9th innings.
Not only is Sabathia struggling, but fellow expensive free agent Mark Teixeira has gotten off to a horrendous start this season, with a batting average of less than .200 currently. A.J. Burnett, another high priced free agent, has been unspectacular as well. In fact, the only recently signed free agent who has been performing well for the Yankees this season is Nick Swisher…as pointed out in the Big League Stew blog on Yahoo. I guess it really is true that money can’t always buy happiness.
The Yankees really need to get themselves togther. After Sunday’s game against the Angels, the Yankees will face the Red Sox, the Rays, the Orioles, and the Blue Jays.They are 3 games behind the Blue Jays right now, but could drop significantly in the standings if they have rough outings vs. Boston, Tampa Bay, Baltimore, and Toronto.