The Comeback Kids Strike Again. D-Backs Blow Lead To Upstart Nationals...
Alright...It's gotten to the point where those of us following along in Friday night's GameThread were calling for the Arizona Diamondbacks to build up an early lead just so the upstart Washington Nationals could mount another comeback, which they once again did, rallying from a 5-0 deficit to defeat the D-Backs a day after they rallied from 6-0 down to beat the Florida Marlins. However big the hole the Nationals' starters have put them in, the Nationals' bats have continued to pound opposing pitching, with Ryan Zimmerman homering in his fourth straight game, Elijah Dukes knocking in the Nationals' first 3 runs tonight and scoring the fourth, for 7 runs batted in two days, and Josh Willingham winning it with a two-run double in the 7th that left him 3 for 4 and hitting .309 on the season, with hits in each of his last 6 games, over which he's 9 for 24. Oh, and Cristian Guzman's hit in 13 of the last 14 games, with 26 hits in his last 65 at bats, and a .480 AVG and a .509 OBP in August...Adam Dunn?...Since you asked, Adam Dunn has 3 doubles, 3 HR's and 7 RBI's in 21 August at bats, and he's hitting .281 on the year, with 22 doubles, 29 HR's, 81 RBI's, a .408 OBP, .572 SLG and a .982 OPS...The pitching?
3.1 of Collin Balester's 4.1 innings pitched tonight were scoreless!!! In the second, however, the Nationals' 23-year-old right-hander allowed 3 HR's and all 5 runs he'd surrender. It took Balester 82 pitches to get through 4.1 IP, and he was lifted in the fifth after retiring one batter and allowing two singles, forcing Saul Rivera to get two outs with two on and the Nationals trailing by a run. The bullpen comes through again, with Rivera, Sean Burnett, Jason Bergmann, Ron Villone and Mike MacDougal holding the D-Backs to just one run after the second, while the Nationals ralllied to tie it and eventually take the lead...but you can't keep doing this to the pen...and the starter can't keep doing this to the fans...one inning of closer Mike MacDougal "making it interesting" is really enough, two, like the DC Faithful had to endure tonight, is asking a bit too much...
• Miss The Game? The DC Faithful Were Watching...
• Check Out The SB Nation's Arizona D-Backs Blog's: AZ Snakepit GameThread.
• Sign Strasburg? No Excuses.
• Zimmermann? Oh Noes...
For The Completists, Full Game Report After The JUMP...
Nationals now 38-72. (Countdown To 100 Losses Stuck At...28.)
• Sign Strasburg? No Excuses.
I know it's all about saying, "We don't need Strasburg," now with MASN's Rob Dibble leading the cause, and arguing that the money could be better spent on a proven commodity. Great idea, but maybe Mr. Dibble should simply read the Washington Post's Nationals Journal, where the Nationals' team President Stan Kasten was quoted last winter stating as clearly as possible in Washington Post writer Chico Harlan's "Stanifesto" blog post:
"'...this is a personal philosophy of mine: I don't believe in signing free agent pitchers, at least not big ones. I have this debate with people from time to time, usually also with agents for pitchers. I don't believe in signing -- I know [inaudible] will remind me that in my career I have signed big, successful free agent pitching contracts, and I'm sure I will again someday, but in my mind that really is a final piece in the puzzle. Before you spend money on a pitcher which is so expensive and so risky, I'd much rather go the way we're going, trotting out the young guys because not only are the young guys we have penciled in now really projecting to be big-time starters, but we also have a crop right behind them. So I like the way we're developing. If we get the five, or five of the eight, to turn the corner and become major league pitchers then we're off to the races -- right now, this year. If not, we have to keep working on it. But because you can't really buy pitching -- look at the contracts in the last five years of free agent pitchers; it's impossible to figure -- so because you can't buy pitching, I just believe in building our own...'"
The Nationals have stated clearly and demonstrated in their actions the last few seasons that they have no interest in paying for free agent pitching, it's going to have come from within, and signing your number one pick, thee number one pick in '09, and the number one prospect in the country according to every scout who was asked is probably a good place to start. I know everyone likes quoting from the 100 or so articles about how Strasburg probably won't succeed that preceded the Draft, but the same's true for every pitcher wherever he's chosen. It was just as unlikely that John Lannan would make it to the Majors as it is that Strasburg will continue to defy the odds. This is, however, the same team that drafted Jordan Zimmermann*, Ross Detwiler, Drew Storen and the other young pitchers that we're all so enamored with, why assume they were wrong about Strasburg? Should the Nationals pay $60 million? No. But they're going to have to pay, and they'd better be ready to, cause it's just over a week until the deadline, and I want to hear an announcement, not more excuses.
• * = Zimmermann? Oh Noes...
According to MLB.com's Bill Ladson's post at his blog entitled, "Zim has setback, Kearns has tissue removed from thumb", DC's right-handed rookie, Jordan Zimmermann, "...continues to have tightness in his right elbow," and, "He will have an MRI soon to determine the seriousness of the injury." Mr. Ladson's last report entitled, "Kearns seeing specialist; Zim may get big-league start", quoted Zimmermann explaining, "'It's tight. I don't know how to describe it...'" Let's all just hold our breath til he sees a doctor...
Arizona Diamondbacks At Washington Nationals. Game 110 Of 162.
DC right-hander Collin Balester gets a groundout to third from Stephen Drew that Ryan Zimmerman handles. Josh Willingham settles in under a fly ball to left off Alex Romero’s bat. D-Backs’ center fielder Gerardo Parra flies out to Nyjer Morgan in center to end the top of the first...AZ starter Jon Garland gets a groundout to second with a 1-0 fastball to Nyjer Morgan. Cristian Guzman goes back up the middle with a 2-2 fastball and has himself a one-out single. Ryan Zimmerman up, Guzman’s nailed trying to steal second, not even close. Zimmerman ends up walking in front of Adam Dunn, who grounds out to first.
Mark Reynolds starts the second with a solo shot to left on a 1-1 fastball up high and inside. 1-0 D-Backs. Collin Balester gets Chris Snyder swinging at ball four. Trent Oeltjen, AZ left fielder, flies out to short left. Former DC prospect Josh Whitesell sends a long fly ball out to right and over the bullpen, 2-0 Arizona. Cristian Guzman knocks down a one-hop liner from Augie Ojeda, but can’t make the throw. Balester has to duck to avoid a line drive up the middle by Jon Garland. Stephen Drew does it to Bally again. HR to right and into the second deck, 5-0 D-Backs on the 3-run HR. A sharp grounder from Alex Romero bounces off Adam Dunn’s glove, but Balester finally gets Gerardo Parra to roll the third out to second for Belliard to take care of...Josh Willingham lines to center, Gerardo Parra charges in but misjudges it and has it roll by him into deep center, the Hammer takes third. Elijah Dukes pushes a line drive out to right, that goes far enough to score the Hammer from third. 5-1 D-Backs. Ronnie Belliard lines a double into the left field corner. Wil Nieves gets jammed and rolls the second out back to the mound. Stephen Drew throws out Collin Balester to end a long second.
Collin Balester hits the inside corner with a 1-2 change up and inside for a called strike three. Chris Snyder takes a high fastball for ball four and a one-out walk. Trent Oeltjen flies out to Elijah Dukes in right. Josh Whitesell lines out to Dukes to end the Arizona third...Nyjer Morgan K’s swinging over an 0-2 change. Cristian Guzman flies out to center. Ryan Zimmerman fouls strike three into the catcher’s mitt.
Augie Ojeda lines a hanging curve right to Nyjer Morgan in center. Balester drops a few curves on Jon Garland and gets a backwards K. Balester pops Stephen Drew up to end a quick fourth...Adam Dunn lines a double off the out-of-town scoreboard in right to start the Nationals’ fourth. Josh Willingham lines a full-count change back up the middle for single that moves Dunn to third. Elijah Dukes rips the cover off the ball, lining to center and over Gerardo Parra’s outstretched glove. Two runs score, 5-3 D-Backs. Dukes in standing at second. Ronnie Belliard sends a chopper up the middle and beats Stephen Drew’s throw to first. Dukes to third. Wil Nieves works the count full and flies out to center, Dukes tags and scores, Belliard takes second. 5-4 Arizona. Collin Balester grounds back to the mound. Nyjer Morgan flies out to right to end the fourth.
Alex Romero rips a single back up the middle to start the fifth. Gerardo Parra flies out to left field for Willingham. Mark Reynolds rips a high fastball from Balester to left for a single. Chris Snyder with two on, one out. Saul Rivera comes on and gets a check-swing K. Trent Oeltjen grounds out in front of the plate, Wil Nieves throws to first to end the D-Backs’ fifth...Cristian Guzman K’s swinging at a low two-strike change. Ryan Zimmerma---THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!! THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!! Ryan Zimmerman ties his career high with his 24th HR. Solo shot ties it at 5-5. Adam Dunn K’s looking at a low strike three. Willingham K’s to end the fifth.
Ryan Zimmerman leaps to catch a high chopper from Josh Whitesell and throws to first in time. Zimmerman fields going toward short and throws to Dunn at first for the second out off Augie Ojeda’s bat. Jon Garland grounds out. Saul Rivera records his fifth straight out...Elijah Dukes flies out to left. Ronnie Belliard grounds out to Augie Ojeda at second. Wil Nieves grounds out to third and it’s tied after six.
Ryan Zimmerman fields a spinner toward third from Stephen Drew and throws to first for the first out of the seventh. Sean Burnett gives up a two-out single to Gerard Parra. Mark Reynolds sends a soft pop to right and it falls in for a single. Burnett’s done. Jason Bergmann vs Miguel Montero. Montero grounds out to short to end Arizona’s seventh...Juan Gutierrez takes over on the hill for the D-Backs. Alberto Gonzalez flies out to center. Nyjer Morgan lays a bunt down the third base line and beats the throw to first. Cristian Guzman chops a single up the middle, Morgan goes first to third. Ryan Zimmerman up with men on the corners. Ryan Zimmerman pops out to the infield, Stephen Drew catches it at short. Adam Dunn gets the intentionals to bring up Willingham. Gutierrez gives up a single to left, two runs score on Hammer's hit, 7-5 Nationals lead. Dukes grounds out to end the seventh.
Ron Villone’s out to pitch the eighth. Trent Oeltjen grounds to short, Cristian Guzman slides as he fields it, jumps up and makes the throw to first, in time!! Josh Whitesell takes a one-out walk and Augie Ojeda singles Whitesell to second. Riggleman’s out again, and he takes out Villone in favor of Mike MacDougal. MacDougal walks the first batter he faces to load the bases. Stephen Drew hits a sac fly to left to score Whitesell, 7-6 DC. Alex Romero grounds to short, Guzman throws to first, 7-6 DC after seven and a half...Franklin Gutierrez is back out for Arizona. Willie Harris K’s on three straight pitches. Wil Nieves grounds out to short. Alberto Gonzalez grounds to short, Stephen Drew does it again.
Gerardo Parra leads off the ninth with a single to center on a 2-1 fastball. Mark Reynolds flies out to right. Miguel Montero goes down swinging through a late breaking heater!! Two down. Trent Oeltjen lines a single to right. Chad Tracy will get a pinch hit chance. Tracy grounds a 1-0 pitch to second, Alberto Gonzalez fields and throws to end it!!! Nationals win, 6-straight!! 7-6 final.
Nationals now 38-72.