Tagged: Ron Villone

Yankees vs. Nationals — the rubber match

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.

More later…..

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??

OMG_shocked.jpgAre 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.yanksnatsbigapple.gif

Yankees 5, Nationals 3

natsyanksfan.gif OK, I wore my Mussina Yankees jersey and my Nationals cap for this game. I was ready for whatever would happen tonight!

My prediction about the score of tonight’s game was wrong…and CC Sabathia didn’t pitch a complete game…and it wasn’t Kip Wells who replaced Shairon Martis. But I was right about Martis pitching well — I certainly didn’t expect him to leave the game with a lead. And I was definitely right about his effort being wasted when the Nats bullpen entered the game. Ironically, Ron Villone was the last pitcher I expected to give up the lead, since he has pitched quite well for the Nationals this season. Oh, and I absolutely did not expect Anderson Hernandez to hit that home run — just the second of his MLB career — off of Sabathia. My jaw nearly hit the floor when that thing left the park! I knew that 1-run lead wouldn’t last…and I was right.

Overall, this game turned out better than I thought it would. I really expected a blowout, so I’m pleased that the Nationals were not humiliated, and I’m pleased that the Yankees won to keep pace with the Red Sox, who defeated the Marlins.

One down…two to go………

GO YANKEES!!!
GO NATIONALS!!!
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0-8

0-8 is the Yankees record vs. the Red Sox this season. 0-8 is also the Nationals record in extra inning games this season.

I am not happy about this state of affairs.

Yankees:

I can’t help but wonder how long Chien-Ming Wang will remain with the Yankees after his latest ineffective performance in a Yankees uniform in Wednesday’s 6-5 loss to the Red Sox. Throwing 69 pitches in less than 3 innings, Wang gave up 3 runs (including a home run) on 8 hits. Wang wasn’t the only reason that the Yankees lost, of course — the fact that the Yankees left 19 men on base also had a little something to do with it. But Wang’s performance was certainly disheartening, to say the least. I don’t know if it’s a mental issue, or if his foot is still bothering him. Whatever the issue is, it doesn’t seem like something that will be “fixed” by keeping him in the starting rotation.

At least Wednesday’s game was close, unlike Tuesday’s 7-0 rout by the Red Sox. The Yankees pulled within 1 run on 2 home runs, by Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira, in the 7th inning, but that was as close as they got.

In tonight’s game, the Yankees were leading the Red Sox in the 7th inning, 3-1. And if the game had ended there, they’d have been fine. But the 8th inning had to be played, and the Red Sox fought their way back to take the lead in that inning. After a single by Nick Green and a walk to Dustin Pedroia, J.D. Drew singled, scoring Green. Then Kevin Youkilis singled to load the bases. Jason Bay singled, and Pedroia scored. Mike Lowell drove in the game winner with a sacrifice fly, scoring Drew. And that was the end of that. Final score: Red Sox 4, Yankees 3.

0-8.

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Nationals:

On Wednesday night against the Reds, the rain began to fall at Nationals Park in the bottom of the 9th inning as the Nationals were attempting to rally and possibly win the game. Over 2 hours later, the game resumed, and the Nats managed to tie the score, sending the game into extra innings. Unfortunately, they performed the way they’ve done all season in extra innings  — poorly — surrendering 2 runs in the 12th inning to lose the game. Entering the game, Ron Villone had pitched 17 scoreless innings for the Nats, and he picked a crappy time to give up his first run of the year! Jay Bruce walked, then Alex Gonzalez was safe at 1st base on Villone’s error, sending Bruce to 2nd base. A passed ball enabled Bruce to go to 3rd, and Jason Bergmann replaced Villone. All would have been well if Bergmann hadn’t given up a double to Jonny Gomes (scoring Bruce) and a single to Jerry Hairston, Jr. scoring Gomes. The Nats did not get a hit in the bottom of the 12th and fell to 0-8 in extra inning games this season.

0-8.
screeeeeeam.jpg
Wonder of wonders, the Nationals managed to pull out a win in today’s game against the Reds, 3-2. Down 2-1 in the bottom of the 8th, with the bases loaded, Ryan Zimmerman hit the ball to Alex Gonzalez, who got the force at 2nd. Alberto Gonzalez slid hard into Brandon Phillips at second, as Phillips was trying to get Zimmerman out at first for the double play, and Phillips’ throw to 1st was off-target.  Anderson Hernandez and Cristian Guzman scored to take a 3-2 lead. Joe Beimel pitched a perfect 9th inning to preserve the win and get his first save in a Nationals uniform.

The save was the Nationals’ first since May 24th.

The Nationals are 3-7 in their last 10 games, and 2-3 in their last 5 games. Those numbers are a lot better than 0-8.

Has interleague play run its course?

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.

Crazy game in L.A. tonight

I’m watching the Nats/Dodgers game, and I nearly went to bed after the first inning, when Nats pitcher Jordan Zimmermann gave up 6 runs. The Nationals scored 1 run in the 6th inning, 3 runs in the 7th, and 6 runs in the 8th to take a 10-6 lead, before the Dodgers scored at the bottom of the 8th. The Nats have scored another run in the top of the 9th to take an 11-7 lead. But the game is heading into the bottom of the 9th…and a 4 run lead is nothing, considering how attrocious the Nats bullpen is. Oy…Kip Wells is pitching now. *GROAN* I predict that the Nationals will lose, 12-11…….

EDIT: OMG…after some bottom of the 9th drama, the Nats won, 11-9!! They actually beat the best team in baseball! This is the first time the Nationals have won in L.A. since May 4, 2005. The newest edition to the bullpen, Ron Villone, got the win…he arrived in L.A. shortly before the game began and was en route to the ballpark as the game got underway. He made it to the ballpark in time to enter the game in the 7th inning, and ended up getting the win.

Like I said…crazy game!

OK, I’ve gotta go to bed now, so I can get up for work in 4 1/2 hours………

Goodbye Hinckley…Hello Villone

Nationals’ left-handed relief pitcher Mike Stinkley Hinckley has been designated for assignment after displaying an incredibly annoying and frustrating inability to throw strikes. In less than 10 innings pitched, he has walked 11 batters. Last night against the Dodgers, he was unable to retire a batter and gave up 2 runs on 1 hit. [START GIRLY COMMENT] I must admit that Hinckley was smokin’ hot, and I’ll miss that eye candy. [/END GIRLY COMMENT] But I won’t miss him enough to want him to stay…he has just stunk this year! To replace Hinckley, the Nats brought up veteran left-hander Ron Villone from Triple-A Syracuse. I don’t know how much of an improvement Villone will be…this may just be like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. But perhaps Villone will provide some sort of beneficial veteran presence in the bullpen. Or maybe he’ll just suck like the rest of the Nationals’ relievers. *sigh*