Thursday, April 14, 2005

Tonight's the night

I've been traveling, and didn't realize how long it's really been since I've posted. I'm excited about tonight, and will certainly be taking pictures. It's great to have the team coming in over 500 and technically in first place, even though it's a three way tie. It's not going to last, but it's something I expect the news to latch onto, and I expect people will remember. Therefore, it should be good for the team.

Anyway, pictures will probably show up tomorrow.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

This spanking didn't hurt...

Patterson looked great today until he tired, and it's clear why they left him in until he'd given up two runs... they didn't want to have to put someone in just to lift him for a pinch hitter right afterward. Eischen didn't look so good, but he at least recorded an out. As I'm watching this, Osuna has faced 6 batters and hasn't retired any of them (one was an intentional walk). He let two of Eischen's runners score and has plated 3 of his own, giving up a grand slam to Encarnacion.

Oh, he just got his first out. About time. I'm glad Robinson is leaving him in to mop up his own mess, instead of taking it out on the rest of the bullpen.

Anyway, Armas is making progress, and is soon to throw in a minor league game. Let's hope that when he comes back, they send down Osuna and his 42+ ERA. He seems highly likely to clear waivers at this point...

Not so Amazin'...

First, on the Nats' 3-2 win over the Fish yesterday... I was really pleased to see Guzman dropped to the 8th spot, finally. And, I was even happier to see him walk twice, as I hope that this will inspire F-Rob to keep him there. We should definitely expect to see Guzman making the third out a lot less and walking a lot more from the 8th spot, since people are not going to give him much to hit, with the pitcher coming up. With a hit in two official ABs, he also got his average all the way up to .150! Batting title, here Guzman comes! His defense certainly stunk up the joint, and was responsible for Livan's unearned run.

Now what about the Mets... 0 for 5? I never would have thought it. Sure, any team no matter how good can have a 5 game losing streak or two in the course of the year. But if you start off the season with one, it's easy to believe that there's more of the same to come. I hope they don't make history, but I'll be somewhat glad if a team that looked that good on PECOTA-printed paper doesn't live up to the hype, particularly since it will be an interesting platform to go and look and try to figure out what happened.

I think the Mets are going to be 1-5 after today... it shouldn't be too hard for Pedro to outduel Smoltz, because I don't think Smoltz quite has the stamina built up that he's going to need for the starter role. And, for the first time in my life, I'll be pulling for Pedro (anything that puts us in a better position within the division).

Friday, April 08, 2005

Our first spanking...

9-0, FLA. Five hits with 2 errors, with nobody picking up 2 hits.

Osuna gave up 6 earned runs, and now has a 37.80 ERA. NICE!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Inning-Endy-O-Meter

Nationals who have caused third outs to date, from worst to first:
Sledge6
Guzman5
Vidro5
Guillen3
Castilla2
Davis2
Loaiza2
Hernandez1
Cordero1
Wilkerson1


I'll try to do this periodically... probably on a weekly basis or so. Maybe people would want it broken down per PA, or per opportunity?

Enjoy it while it lasts...


I preserved it, just in case it's a long time before we see it again!

By the way, Wil Cordero injured his knee during the game, and is now on the 15-day DL. In the interim, Baerga was called up from the minor league camp.

Today's game

I've gotten to watch parts of today's game. Loaiza looked good early, throwing four perfect innings before giving up a hit to Jim Thome to start the bottom of the 5th. Apparently, Loaiza fell apart in the 6th, giving up 3 runs, tying up the game. I saw the 7th, and he gave up another run before Horgan came in, with two outs and runners on first and second. Horgan gave up a four-pitch walk to load the bases, then induced a pop-up to get out of the inning.

Guillen has looked pretty good today. He hit a line drive to center field that took a sharp bounce past Lofton. Guillen legged out a triple, then scored on a Nick Johnson ground out to tie the game.

Wilkerson is 3-4 so far, and is batting .615 through the first three games. Castilla hasn't looked that good at the plate, but it's just one game. Guzman is hitless so far, and is .154 over the first three games.

Ayala replaced Horgan for the bottom of the 8th, and retired the side. Wagner is warming up in the pen. We'll see how this ends, but it could be the first game to hit extra innings.

Update #1
I forgot to mention that Wilkerson showed how he isn't in his best position as a center fielder, as he made a fielding error in the 6th, basically letting a ball bounce past him. He's now 4-5 though, and stole a base in the 9th. Too bad Guzman struck out pathetically to end the top of the inning.

Update #2
Cordero gave up a hit, but managed to get out of the inning without giving up a run. So we're into extra innings...

Update #3
Vidro untied it really quick, blasting a middle-in 1-2 pitch into the left field stands, with nobody out and nobody on. NICE. This is our third game in a row with 10 or more hits. A small sample size for sure, but it is still a strong start for a team where I was most worried about offense.

Update #4
Castilla is definitely today's goat. Nick Johnson just got on with a walk, and Castilla grounded into a double play on a 2-0 pitch, to end the side. Let's see if we can hold this slim lead.

Update #5
Yes. Even though we didn't win our first game, we won our first series, and currently sit on top of the NL East, uncontested, though by the end of the night we'll be tied with either Atlanta or Florida.

Vidro is the popular choice for Team Hero for his homer. I don't have my probability software running yet (need a few days to finish it... maybe in eary May). However, I think that Wilkerson is more deserving. He went 4 for 5 with a run and a RBI. Without a great Wilkerson performance, Vidro might not even have had the chance to tie it up.

By unpopular demand...

While Chris clearly doesn't want to see them, here are my pictures of season tickets. The lighting sucks today. The only place in the house where I could get away without a flash was the floor of my bathroom.

The ticket booklet is incredibly nice. The tickets are laminated. I'm wondering if I can get away without using the ticket book. If I log into the online account, it seems like it should be possible to email tickets around. I can add addresses, but can't send tickets. Does anybody have any 411 on this?

The other odd thing is that apparently the Diamond Box gets lot 4 and lot 5. My seats are right by the lot 5 entrance, yet I got lot 4 parking Lot 4 is where I parked for the exhibition game. It was amazingly close, very nice. I think I'll probably want to use the metro most of the time. Hmm, maybe I should sell the whole season of passes.

The lanyards are amusing. Apparently, I'm supposed to poke the hole in the ticket and wear it around my neck to keep it from getting ruined. That's a cool idea, really.

What a win!

Sadly, I didn't get to see the game yesterday, but that will be the rule, not the exception, particularly for weekday games.

I'm going to watch this one on MLB.TV, though. It is, after all, the Nationals' first win (7-3). And, what win it apparently was! Wilkerson went 4-4, hitting for the cycle for the second time in his career. Castilla also looked good at the plate for the second game in a row, going 4-5. Guzman was 1-5... does anybody know if he got the ball out of the infield?

Robinson's bullpen usage was much different in this second game. Osuna only pitched the end of the 6th, and then Eischen, Ayala and Cordero all pitched a scoreless inning. Cordero gave up a hit, and didn't earn a save, since we were ahead by 4.

My season tickets have now shown up. I'll try to take pictures today and get them posted.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Quick pix


Out of the 400+ pictures I took on opening day, I present 50 or so, here. Some of the other pictures were good, I just didn't want to overwhelm people. I could make them all available, chaffe and all, if people are interested. If I did that, they'd go up without comments. Not that my comments are worth much this time around, as I didn't really have time to attempt cleverness.

I also didn't have time to fiddle with formatting. The thumbnails are big, etc.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Opening remarks still pending

I spent the day yesterday on the bus with the Nats Fan Club, going to opening day in Philly. I had a great time, despite the loss. And I took a ton of pictures. I'll try to have another photo essay up in about 24 hours, and make some comments about what I saw.

At a high level, Hernandez' performance was clearly disappointing. Hernandez wrote it off as an aberation. There was also some speculation that it was due to the wind. I just hope that there's no injury, which was the initial speculation by the Phillies' radio announcers when there was a big fuss at the mound. It turned out that Livan had complained about the mound being slippery, and they ended up adding dirt to it.

Other than that, the hitting was good, though Lieber isn't notoriously deceptive... he's the kind of guy who wants you to hit the ball. The exception in my mind was Guzman, who didn't get a ball out of the infield. The only "hit" he got should have been ruled an fielder's choice, and an error. Guzman grounded to the second baseman, who flipped the ball to the shortstop. But the SS ran past the bag, and wasn't there for the flip.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Exhibition exhibit


My youngest daughter and I enjoyed about 2/3 of the game, and I took a few pictures, one of which you see above (it's of Ohka about to deliver the first pitch).


The rest are here.

I left with the score 4-3 Mets, and nothing happened after that. Ohka made what looked like a stupid play where he took a ball that was going to roll foul and kept it in play, getting an out at first, and letting a run score. It seemed to me that he could have made the play at the plate with no problem if he was going to keep it in play, but he wasn't aware enough of what was going on.

Apparently, Church pulled a groin muscle (maybe hitting that 3-run dinger ;-), and looks doubtful for the opener, though he's unlikely to end up on the DL. The opening day lineup is expected to have Wilkerson in center and Sledge in left.

Today's exhibition

Well, the season is upon us, and today is our first chance to check out RFK ourselves. I'll be taking my youngest daughter, who is almost 4.

I'll be bringing my camera, so I will post pictures tonight.

Edit (9PM): apparently, Blogger is very broken for me, and this post never published. I'm trying to get any post to publish... I have one with my pictures that appears lost to the ages.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Crummy deal

No, I'm not talking about any trade that Bowden may or may not have in the works. I'm talking about the television deal that gives Angelos a 90% share in the joint network with the Nationals. The Nationals get money, but the market price will be set every 3 years by comparing to other markets. This seriously limits the earning power of the team in the long-term, in all probability. It's difficult to believe that, without controlling their own ship, they're going to maximize what they're going to get out of this, particularly when they have no negotiating leverage. If the amounts handed down from up on high aren't near what they should be, and we're less competitive than we should be as a result, there is likely to be little recourse.

I find this personally disheartening, but I'll spare you a longer rant.