Hell week in Washington
No one has very high hopes for the Washington Nationals this year, but the first week of play on the home turf of RFK Stadium suggests that this season may be even uglier than we expected. Hopes that John Patterson could lead the starting rotation have not been borne out at all. The Nats' only win of the season thus far was a one-run decision in which the winning run scored (from third base) on Dmitri Young's fly ball to the left field corner, a bizarre play in which the left fielder let the ball drop in hopes it would land foul. It was a nice comeback, avoiding a sweep by the Marlins, but the good vibes didn't last: the Nats lost the next four games to the Diamondbacks, an embarrassing four-game sweep on home turf. The Nationals have been outscored by their opponents by a total of 53 runs to 18. Ouch!
So, let's look at the bright side:
- Veteran Ronnie Belliard is batting close to .400.
- The often-troubled Dmitri Young is batting close to .300, and is now the cleanup batter.
- Youngster Ryan Church is batting close to .300, and with two home runs, is tied for second place in the majors.
- The bullpen has been fairly solid, in contrast to the starting pitchers.
- The Nats scored at least one run in every game.*
* Until tonight's 8-0 shutout inflicted upon them by the Braves in Atlanta.
A-Rod in the clutch?
No one doubts that Alex Rodriguez is among the best sluggers in baseball and that he is bound for Cooperstown some day. Many would dispute his credentials as a clutch hitter, however. In last Saturday's game against the Orioles, he performed the ultimate in miraculous last-minute baseball heroics, hitting a grand slam with two strikes and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, thus turning certain defeat into sweet victory. Having hit five home runs in his first six games, A-Rod is on track to hit 135 homers this season!
And to think I thought it was bizarre that we had snow here in Virginia in March! Well, we had another inch of snow on Saturday morning, but the folks in Cleveland and other northern cities really got hit hard by the white stuff. Seeing those snowplows trying to clear Jacobs Field was surreal.
... for not making baseball fans wait until mid-May before broadcasting the Game of the Week each Saturday.
... for stopping by to visit this site even though I've been tied up with other things lately. I'll take care of "the mail bag" tomorrow.