It bears repeating, and probably every week at that: for summaries of all of your early-morning Nats headlines, check out District of Baseball and William World News. Nobody finds and summarizes the important Natty headlines of the day better than these two.
- The Bozerroo describes Alfonso Soriano's bat-impeded, LoDuca-impeded head-first slide with an eye toward the graceful and poetic, which is probably part truth and part revelatory of Boz's man-crush on Soriano. For several paragraphs, Boz praises Soriano's play; then he sort of implies that Soriano's tentativeness in left field cost the Nats the game. Then Boz says that's okay, Soriano will learn. I think that's right. Boz continues to propogate the notion that Soriano is some sort of elite superstar, though, and I think that's counter-productive. Or just plain wrong.
- Speaking of Soriano, here's the Primate take from "Sam M."---one of the more reasonable and least intellectually objectionable (i.e., smartest) fans of the Metropolitans: "Sorry, but despite the bad call, here's my view. Soriano didn't hustle from the get-go on Zimmerman's double. You don't hustle, you don't complain." I didn't see the play live, and the replays aren't showing me much as to Soriano's hustle. Any insights here?
Thom Loverro seems to dispute Davey Lopes' run-with-reckless-abandon quotes from yesterday, at least to some extent: "Aggressive baserunning creates opportunities for your team and presents problems for the opposition. . . . Usually." Loverro finds nothing horrific about Jose Vidro's final out at second base, which is probably a reasonable viewpoint, given the Mets' pitcher at the time. But he portrays the Soriano/LoDuca play as emblematic of the Nats' lack of faith in their own bats; given their struggles yesterday, Loverro's insinuation is probably reasonable, as well. Certainly, as noted last night, the Nats had quite a theoretical upper hand had they been content with runners on second and third with nobody out and two lefty hitters facing off against either Heilman or Oliver.
- On that topic, based on historical play-by-play data, what is a team's odds of scoring with runners at second and third and nobody out? Quite good, according to run expectancy tables. In recent seasons, such a situation has yielded, on the average, just over two runs. What about a runner at second with one out? About seven-tenths of a run. Of course, the Nats are guaranteed one run (at least---as well as the theoretical shot at 1.2 more) if Tschida makes the right call. But Tschida didn't, and it's probably best not to risk your fate in the hands of an umpire. One thing I forgot to mention last night: given Soriano's speed, he would have scored on anything the presumed next batter, Daryle Ward, hit into the infield, except for a sharp ground ball. Remember, with Dutch on second base, the Mets wouldn't have played the infield in, given the risk of a single to the outfield scoring the go-ahead run. (As for Vidro's out at second---a runner at second with two outs yields an average of about three-tenths of a run, while a runner at first with two outs yields about a quarter of a run. Not very good odds either way; maybe it was worth the risk, but "by the numbers," that's probably debatable.)
- Before we go off the deep end, we might as well consider that it's only one game---and the Nats almost won it, despite some prominent mistakes and poor execution. Is that, in a perverse sense, a good sign?
The Post reports that Jose Guillen's deadline for negotiating a contract extension was apparently a personal deadline; his agent, Adam Katz, is likely to continue negotiations.
The Distinguished Senator has completely, utterly, and morbidly sold out: he's now writing for a network, Baseball Bias, and he's covering both the Nationals and (gasp) the Orioles. FOR SHAME! Here's Ryan's first effort, a preseason look at the Nats. Solid stuff; best of luck to Ryan.