Cubs' Starter Dempster Dominates DC...
Those expecting the (45-83), NL-worst Washington Nationals on Friday afternoon in Wrigley were surprised to find a fast, offensively explosive team, capable of rallying from an early 4-0 deficit with a six-run sixth inning and thirteen scored overall on thirteen hits, including three home runs off the Cubs' bullpen, which lifted second-year DC starter John Lannan to his seventh win in twenty-five starts this season.
On Saturday, it was the Nationals everyone expected against the NL's best, the (78-50) Chicago Cubs, who flexed their muscles, taking each of the pitchers the Nationals threw out there deep. Aramis Ramirez hit a three-run blast off Nationals' starter Odalis Perez to make it 4-0 Chi-town after four, and then hit another with two on in the eigth off Marco Estrada to give the Cubs a 9-1 lead in a game that would end at 9-2. (In between Ramirez's blasts, Mark DeRosa hit a solo shot off Garrett Mock.)
Chicago starter Rick Dempster lasted 7.1, allowing just 1 run on 8 hits with 1 walk, and 4 K's, (including Jesus Flores 3 times).
The Cubs improve to (79-50), the Nationals drop to (45-83, aka The Strasburg Spot), but in the six game '08 series betwixt the two teams, Washington holds a slight 3-2 lead with just one game remaining, so as far as I'm concerned, tying or beating the best team means DC's at least as good if not better...
2 Runs and 10 Hits...
That's 23 hits in two games for the DC offense against Chicago...
After going hitless in Friday's game, Ryan Zimmerman was 3 for 4 Saturday with three singles, lifting his average higher than it's been since April 6th of this season, to .271...(After hitting .256 in 50 games and 206 AB's before the All-Star Break, Zimmerman's hit .300 in his last hundred at bats and 28 games, though his home run power has mysteriously disappeared... Ryan Zimmerman, "Zim" as the kids call him, hasn't hit a four-bagger since May 17th.)
Austin Kearns' double this afternoon was his first since July 30th, and only his second extra base hit in August. Ronnie Belliard was 4 for 5 Friday with two doubles and his 11th HR, and today he was 1 for 4. 2 for 2 with a double yesterday after replacing starting catcher Wil Nieves, Jesus Flores struck out three times in 4 at bats Saturday, and Willie Harris, who was 2 for 4 with 2 HR's, 3 runs scored and 6 RBI's in the Game 1, had to settle for a single in four at bats in Game 2.
"I just think any of the other 29 teams would have handled it a lot better."
- Aaron Crow
Former Washington Nationals' 1st Round selection Aaron Crow, a twenty-one year- old right-handed pitcher out of the University of Missouri, (who failed to reach an agreement with the Washington Nationals before the MLB deadline to sign draft picks), will now play Independent ball with the Ft. Worth Cats, out of Ft. Worth, Texas before heading back into the MLB Draft next season. This afternoon, Crow appeared on Blogtalkradio.com's Baseball Digest Daily Live with Eric SanInocencio for a short interview which touched on his success in college, the negotiations with the Nationals, and his plans for the future...
(ed. note - "What follows are the notes I took down while listening, the direct quotes I've gone back and checked word for word, the rest are just quick notes on the interview.")
How did you feel in your first appearance with Ft. Worth?
- Crow says he felt good in his first appearance on the mound. Hadn't pitched since his last game with Missouri.
13-0 with 127 K's, how did you do it with Mizzou this season?
- Crow says he was just pitching well, throwing strikes with a great team behind him...
Where did you expect to be drafted?
- Knew some teams were looking for pitchers some weren't, Crow knew Washington was looking for pitchers so it was right where he expected to be...
How did signing process work?
Crow says he talked to Bowden on Draft Day...and didn't hear back from him for a month, never talked to him, mostly dealt with/through agents...Bowden just said, "Congrats and we're glad we picked you."
How personally involved were you and you're family?
In the last three or four days, Crow was with advisers the whole time, they were relaying information directly, but agent did all the talking, shared everything.
Your emotions on draft day?
"It was crazy, I think, the last day, up and down," but before the deadline even came he figured he'd be better off next year and realized nothing would be worked out.
How does it compare...or did you seek advice from Former Mizzou and Current D-Backs' pitcher Max Scherzer about going to Ft. Worth?
Crow didn't talk to Max. Knew it worked out for Scherzer and (Luke) Hochevar. Sees himself as being as good as, would put himself up against the two of them, believes in himself and his abilities, thinks it will work out the same for him.
How important was a major league contract?
Crow says, it was something he was looking for, he wanted to be on the 40 man right away, definitely something he was looking for...
How do you feel about going to independent ball, what do you hope to gain before next year's draft?
- Honestly, Just hopes for a better situation than he had with Washington...(better than)...
"...the way that they dealt, handled everything, with the way they kinda like...talked to me and my family, I just think any of the other 29 teams would have handled it a lot better."
...Crow's Just looking for a better situation than he had dealing with the Nationals.
How does he feel about the Signing deadline?
Crow admits he doesn't know much about draft, didn't have an opinion, but it didn't work out for him...Doesn't know how it compares to the old situation."
Did it go down to the last minute?
Crow knew what he wanted, and had planned, knew he didn't feel comfortable with the situation, so it wasn't too difficult for him.
If the Nationals drafted him again?
Crow says, Honestly, he'd prefer if they stayed away from him, drafted someone else and decided to go with other players...
New Nationals Now 8-14.
Nationals now 46-84. (Countdown To 100 Losses Stands At...16.)