An initial note: If you advocate picking fights with Peter Angelos, then your patron saint may well be Florida pitcher Scott Olsen, who engaged in a weekend argument that turned physical with teammate Randy Messenger.
What does Peter Angelos have to do with Randy Messenger?
Not too much . . . except the Greek word "Angelos" means "messenger." (It also means "angel," but if men were angels, as James Madison would say, then Peter Angelos is something far below that.)
So there. If you want a piece of Peter Angelos, you can always take a shot at Randy Messenger.
- The Nats claimed a fine victory last night, one reminiscent in ways to the far-removed yet fondly-remembered run from last June. In particular, the starting pither was quite solid, the set-up man effectively bridged the gap to Chad Cordero, and The Chief turned out the lights. It is a happy, if rather surprising, occurrence that the progression was Ramon Ortiz (who has been awful), to Gary Majewski (who was recently in Frank Robinson's doghouse), to Cordero (who has been pretty good, but hasn't had the save opportunities and had that recent melt-down in Atlanta).
Then there is the matter of power-hitting, which wasn't at all a weapon last season, even last June. The Nats slammed three homers last night, two of them no-doubters, and one of them that might still be soaring had not the right field upper deck stopped its forward momentum. Damian Jackson commenced the bash party, continuing his Pujols-for-a-week vibe. Then Daryle Ward crushed the aforementioned montrous shot in the eighth; when "Big Fly" gets a hold of one, he can certainly send it to parts nearly unknown. And, directly after Ward's shot, Alfonso Soriano followed up with a blast to dead center.
Those three dingers provided all the offense Ortiz and the relievers would need, but there was also the matter of Nick Johnson bunting a runner over---curious, but it worked---and Jose Guillen, in his first game back, providing a sacrifice fly that proved the game-winning.
- Soriano's latest homer, his sixteenth, continued his hot streak with the long ball. Eight of his last sixteen hits have left the yard, and he is now on pace to slam fifty-six for the season. Soriano has been an excellent contributor this season; he's shutting up many, including me, who believed that RFK would suppress his potency, to a significant degree, unlike the park in Texas. But I don't anticipate the homer pace will continue the entire season.
I know---that's not exactly a bold prediction. Even these days, fifty-six homer seasons don't grow on trees. But, in Soriano's case, there is another reason to doubt the homer pace will continue:
HR 2B 16 5
That ratio has to be an anomaly on some level. I think what we'll see as the season progresses is the homer pace drop and the doubles pace rise. That said, it would appear Soriano is a lock or thirty-five homers and has a very good shot at forty.
- Also, to give credit where it's due, Soriano made an excellent running catch near the line in left last night to rob Brad Ausmus of a double. While I'm not going to go all Boswell and insist that Soriano hasn't messed up a "simple play," or whatnot, it would be disingenuous not to recognize that only a few "real" left fielders would have made that play. Soriano really got on his horse, so to speak.
- Jim Bowden discusses the "War Room" in his latest DC Examiner column, and almost exclusively that: a description of the war room and a brief overview of what everyone will be doing there. In other words, Bowden provides little insight of what to expect, other than the plan "to take the best player, emphasizing starting pitching and middle-of-the-order impact hitters who also are solid defensively."
Bowden did describe the chain of authority on draft day. Essentially, scouting director Dana Brown gets the final call on the picks, with "strong input" from Bob Boone in the first five rounds and from Bowden himself in the very first round (where the limelight is, of course). Needless to say, this year's selections (two in the first, two in the second) will be dicier than last year's, in which Ryan Zimmerman was the consensus pick for the Nats' position in the first round and the team lacked second and third round picks, thanks for the Guzman and Castilla signings.