Rich Tandler's Nationals blog.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Nats Gameblog vs. Mets 3-2-05

Top First: Armas looked sharp. He had comand of the strike zone, striking out two, one swinging and Beltran looking.

Bottom First: Chavez strikes out swinging on a pitch way low and outside. No sign of the "new" Chavez. The Guzmam strokes one to center for a single is erased on an innning-ending double play by Vidro.

Top Second: Armas a bit wild high, but a leadoff walk doesn't cost anything as he gets a high flyout, a soft liner to second, and a bouncer to short.

Probably the last inning for Armas. He got out of two innings with nothing being hit hard against him, two K's, a successful first outing.

Bottom Second: Glavine plunks Guillen. Robinson does not replace him with a pinch runner. Perhaps he should have as he's easily picked off of first base by Glavine.

Castilla gets an infield hit and but Johnson bounces into a force at second to end the inning. Washington baseball is still scoreless after 33 years plus two innings.

Top Third: Mike Hinckley looks funny out there. He throws with the wrong hand, his left one. I didn't think such players were allowed on this team.

Virdo looked pretty smooth and confident gliding to his left to gather up a grounder. The next play he looked a bit akward on a ball hit straight to him. Remember, this is a guy who hasn't played since August and coming off of major knee surgery.

A couple of hard-hit balls off of Hinckley, one up the middle for a base hit by Reyes and the other a hard line drive right at Wilkerson by Matsui.

Bottom Third: Hinckley bats, gets a few good hacks at the ball before striking out on a 2-2 pitch.

Matsui makes his second nice play of the inning by charging and short-hopping a bouncer to throw out Chavez. I can see what Bowden was talking about with Chavez taking too long to get out of the box. He was thrown out by a few steps and with his speed it seemed like it should have been much closer.

Top Fourth: Beltran nearly takes Hinckley's head off with a line drive up the middle. The pitcher was torn between self defense and trying to make the play for a fraction of a second before deciding to watch it go by.

Hinckley then issues a walk on four pitches and a run-scoring single. Chavez displays a pretty good arm in an attempt to get the runner at third after a fly ball for the first out.

Hinckley showed his nerves a bit when he made a poor throw on a comebacker that should have been an inning-ending double play. Instead, everyone was safe and the Mets scored their second run. He rushed the throw, violating the cardinal rule of making sure you get at least one out. They'll make sure that he fields plenty of short grounders in practice over the next week or so.

After two runs were in, Hinckley did work his way out of a bases-loaded with one out situation with a strikeout and a soft fly to left.

Bottom Fourth: With one out Vidro gets a solid base hit and then Guillen gets one that's low and away and muscles it over the fence just to the right of center with plenty to spare to tie it up at two.

Top Fifth: Chavez flat out drops a fly ball by Matsui. Fortunately, Matsui stumbled rounding second and it wound up being just a two-base error.

The 6-11 John Rauch now pitching and is victimized by Jeffrey Hammonds misplaing a line drive hit right at him into a double to the left-field wall. That's a good way for a non-roster player to ensure that he stays there.

Robinson had the headset on to do an quick interview and, a couple of innings later, he still had the headset on and was listening in to the announcers. When asked if that was still Chavez out ther in center (who made the error), Robinson responded "I guess so." It was kind of like hearing Bobby Bowden on the sideline at a Florida State football game.

Chavez nearly misplays a liner, but recovers for the third out. For a guy who is supposed to be one of the strong points of the defense, he has some work to do.

Bottom Fifth: Nick Johnson looks like a ballplayer. For a fairly big guy he's reasonably graceful and just looks sharp standing up there at the plate.

Keith Osik hits a low pitch over the left field fence to tie it up.

Carlos Baerga is wearing #77, not a good sign for making the team. Escobar's is in the 40's, so his shot would seem much better.

Top Sixth: Tucker with a nice 1-2-3 effort.

Bottom Sixth: No regulars are left in the lineup for the Nats. It's getting very difficult to know who's doing what as the announcers are chatting on about the teams and about baseball in general and they aren't telling you who's at bat or in the field. Somebody struck out looking, I have no idea who.

Classic hit and run executed by Terrmel Sledge (they did tell us who he was), slapping the ball through the hole vacated by the shortstop when Jamie Carroll, who had walked, broke for second. Carroll scores on Hammonds' gound ball that went to the outifield. Not sure if it's a hit or error on the third baseman as they were interviewing Guillen in the dugout.

It's an error, they just told us.

First arguement by Frank Robinson. A popup just off the infield grass to right falls to the ground with runners on first and second and one out. The umpire, though, involks the infield fly rule and the batter is out. With a tough sun and due to the fact that no field ever got into position to field it, that was a questionable decision. The key word in the rule is that the play on the ball must be "routine" and clearly this was not. Frank went out and argued the call, but, of course, it was to no avail.

Top Seventh: Gary Majewski has a solid inning, throwing some 90 MPH heat.

Bottom Seventh: 1-2-3 for the Nats

At this point, I will abandon the inning by inning tracking and just pipe in if anything of interest happens.

Now, if this was a regular-season game, this would be a classic setup. With a one-run lead, Majewski works the seventh, Ayalah the eighth, the Nats get an insurance run in the bottom and Chad Cordero comes in to try to nail it down in the ninth.

Cordero strikes out one swinging, the next looking, and got the last one swinging. The last strike was dropped, but the throw to first wrapped up a 5-3 Nationals win.

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