Friday, April 18, 2008

Can I Start Crying Now?

I know that there's no crying in baseball; my purse tells me that each game. However, when we lose to a team with which we have developed a near incestuous relationship with I want to cry.

Not only were we owned by the Mets, it was my old Ryan who did a big chunk of the damage to us. I think that having all 14 inningings of last night/this morning come down to a wild pitch was just short of pushing me over the edge. I love my Nationals; I really do. They say it's always the ones you love that hurt you. And, let's face it, a 2-3 loss in extra innings hurts.

I just hope that we clean ourselves up for Florida. I may have a complete break-down if another truly amazing starting pitching job (last night was Lannan, but Chico was amazing last week) comes to not. I feel an urge to run down to Florida and either hug or hit the guys into putting a couple hits together.

Here's to hoping that the guys start coming into their own. I miss the call of curly-Ws going down in the record books. I'm starting to forget what the words sound like.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

#42 an honor, but not a good luck charm for the Nats

This is why I shouldn’t go out of town. Wins are few and far between and by going out of town, I miss them. The Nats finally broke their nine game losing streak on Sunday and I was on a mountain several hours away and could watch or listen to the game. After an off day on Monday, it was straight back to losing on Tuesday. We just can’t seem to get those clutch hits we need. The few who get on base are unlikely to advance. Wily Mo is back, but is not yet making much of a difference in the line-up. He’s still getting back into the swing of things, as it were.

I was looking forward to this series with the Mets. Not only is it always fun to play them, I wanted to see Schneider and Church again, and to see how the Mets fans reacted to Milledge and LoDuca. Let me just say, it’s freaking me waaaay out to see Schneider in a Mets uniform. I’ll catch sight of him behind the plate and think, “But I thought we were batting…oh, right.” And we had to go and lose the first game there, to put a nice damper on the start of the series.

Last night was Jackie Robinson Night and all the players on both teams wore the number 42 in tribute. While it was a bit confusing at times, and a bit of an overblown gesture, it was great to hear Willie Harris talk about what it means to him, being from the same hometown as Jackie. “There’s no one else from Cairo, it’s just me and Jackie.” “"I like to think if it wasn't for Jackie, I wouldn't be standing here in this locker room. A lot of things that I'm able to do, I wouldn't be able to do if he hadn't persevered and faced all the difficult challenges that he did. I'm just thankful for Jackie Robinson."

Friday, April 11, 2008

I Am Hereby Over the Lo Duca Experiment

“I’m almost afraid to ask, but, you look so sad, did the Nationals lose?”

Monday night as the Ryan Girls were getting on the Metro elevator to go back home we ran into a woman who asked us that very question. Decked out in gear again last night I had a sinking feeling we would run into her again.

Perez gave us a respectable start to the game, going five mostly clean innings with a 0-1 lead thanks to Belliard’s solo homer. The problems all started in the fifth with Hanley Ramirez and then Hermida (who I took to heckling the whole of the game). Perez let things slide and the bullpen didn’t stop it as well as we have all come to expect them to. Big John gave up the run that would make the difference in the game, and the Ryan Girls called it as soon as foot touched plate. It’s just rather difficult to win a game when your pitchers give up 13 hits.

I will say one good thing about how we played last night though; we didn’t leave a little league number of people out on the base paths. What it came down to were those last two, Nick and Kearns, left standing out there. Lo Duca was up to bat with one out and Nick in scoring position. It was a moment where I missed Schneider with all of my heart. Not only has Lo Duca been unable to throw out a single base runner, not only has he left several balls roll by him (including a crazy throw from Zimm last night), but he also hasn’t been able to hit in the clutch. On Monday, with the bases walked full he whiffed. Thursday, when all he needed to do was hit a sac-fly, a Schneider-man specialty, he grounded into yet another double play to end the game at 4-3. And yet, when he hasn’t been performing up to scratch, he goes and tells the press that the team needs to be doing better. Well, yes, that’s true, but sometimes I think he may have forgotten he is a part of that team.

I think it is rather telling that Estrada’s been activated and Flores still lingers. We’ll see how long it takes for the veteran’s elbow to finish healing, but with the way Lo Duca has been playing, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Daisy’s role continue to shift this season. Unless the former Met steps up his game, and soon, Ryan Girl #2 would not be surprised to see Flores’s future with the team coming earlier than originally intended.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Forget the birds, let's have fish for dinner!

Ouch. Not the best weekend in Nats history. But, not the worst either. Friday's starter Perez continued to not impress. Saturday a passed ball (which is shaping up to be our specialty this year) let in the run that made the ninth inning rally pointless. Sunday's good pitching effort by Lannan, was completely wasted when we couldn't string any hits together.

Colome seems to have lost all ability to find the plate (which I'm sure my neighbors enjoyed hearing about as I screamed at him during the game). King isn't doing much better. But on the plus side, Chico has (so far) cut down on his walks. Still wouldn't be surprised to see Matty lose the spot to Lannan though, if Shawn does come back soon. Personally I'd rather see Perez go, but that's just because I have a soft spot for Matty.

Though the results aren't showing yet, we do have some hitting going on. Ryan, Nick, and Austin are all batting above .290, with Milledge and Guzman not too far behind. We're #2 in baseball in doubles so far, tied for sixth in total bases. It's not that the boys aren't hitting, they're just not hitting when they've got someone on in front of them.

So I'm not giving up on them yet (or ever). Before long we'll have Wily Mo and Dukes back and Dmitri back on the bench. Things ought to pick up then. Tonight the boys come home for their first homestand, in which we're sure to whip up on the Marlins and get this show back on track. The Ryan Girls will be there, of course, cheering them on. LETS GO NATS!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Welcome Home!

So the Nats have had a pretty good week so far and, like any good (read: crazy) baseball fan, I was terrified to talk about it for fear of jinxing it. But now that they’ve actually lost a game, I can finally update! A start of 3-0. Even if we lose the next seven, it’s definitely much better than last year’s. The boys are looking good so far. We’ve got some offense, finally! In just four games, we’ve already had three inning in which we scored more than four runs. Last year it took us 23 games to score in the first inning. This year it took four batters.

And have you seen Zimm in the field?! Wow!

Pitching is working. How about Tim Redding? One-hitting the Phillies after spending the day before vomiting up his oysters? Pretty great. Didn’t he have the flu for his last good ST start (discounting the game with the back spasms of course)? Maybe he just needs to vomit a little before every game.

And I’m really liking Joel’s stuff when he comes out of the bullpen. He was always good at getting two quick outs, it was the third one he would break down on. Now that they’re only asking for those two, he’s got it going on.

We’ve really got what looks to be a new and improved team to match our new and improved stadium. And that new stadium is NICE. Top of the line everything. A beautiful place to spend a day (or night) watching a game. Some kinks need to be worked out with the concessions still, but it’ll come along with practice. We Ryan Girls have only spent two days there so far, and one of them it was impossible to explore during, but we’ve been on every level of the stadium and they all have great views of the field.

The beginning of the season is the time for dreams. For a few short days, we got to dream of the boys being welcomed home undefeated. For a few more weeks, we get to dream of them going all the way this year. Is it likely? No. But we can dream it just the same. Last year we couldn’t even do that.