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.

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