Friday night we sat through 5.22 hours of baseball. That's three hundred thirteen minutes. Every single one of them in the rain. The longest game in Nationals' history and we were there through the bitter end. Through the ninth blown save by the Chief. Through the three runs given up by Colome in the thirteenth inning. And through the three missed balls by Wily Mo Pena. We were also there for the highlights. Ronnie Belliard's home run in the first inning, a distant memory by the time the game finally ended. Ryan Z's two run homer in the seventh, shortly after the halfway point of the game, to give us the lead. A very good outing by Matt Chico. But all for naught. We stuck it out to see our excellent bullpen give away a game.
Our entire bench got a chance to play in this game. You can't afford to leave any one out when playing 13 innings. Maxwell got his first start as a National, and made a great show of it, but was replaced by Nook in the seventh. After Pena dropped the ball a third time, he was replaced by Ryan L., who was replaced by Ryan C., after Batista pinch hit for Langerhans. When the final out was recorded off the bat of Austin Kearns, the man standing in the on deck circle to pinch hit for the pitcher, was a pitcher, Joel Hanrahan (and hey, if I had to choose one of the pitchers to come in and pinch hit, the one who hit a triple in his first big league at bat is the one I'm picking too). If you had been scoring, you would have needed an extra page in your book for this game.
What the game came down to was a test of endurance. How much sleep you had the night before and how much Red Bull you had in the dugout. In the most simple way, we were out-caffeined.
So what else went wrong? Obviously there was the ninth blown save by Chad Cordero. But that's what happens sometimes. The bigger question is, what would have happened had Pena not missed those three fly balls? In theory, three caught balls, three outs sooner, equals an inning Pena should have given us. Would those outs have come before Chad blew the save? Would Chad have blown the save if facing the bottom of the order instead of the top? That's baseball. It all builds. It's rarely just one thing that loses or wins a game.
- The Ryan Girls