Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Opening Day 2009 2010

This game was almost the epitome of the 2009 season for the Washington Nationals.
a) The bullpen coughed up enough runs to put the game out of reach.
b) There were costly fielding blunders.
c) The lineup was unbalanced, with half of it seriously underperforming.

On top of that, we had two unwelcome new developments.
d) The starting pitching put in a worthless outing.
e) Some of the top bats went missing.

What really concerns me, having listened to the radio boys talking to Phil Wood after the game, is that some catastrophes hid the existence of other problems. Pay attention, people!
1) It's easy to forget that the Phillies nearly took the lead in the first inning. Desmond's error on Howard's grounder did not lead to a run only because Adam Dunn made a heads-up play to get Rollins at home. Whether that was Adam's or Pudge's idea, I know not; but I do know that Dunn is still learning the position so I'm not counting on him to pull my chestnuts out the fire on a regular basis.
2) It's easy to blame John Lannan's poor showing in the fourth for losing us the game, but it's only because the offense went to sleep about the same time that we really got into trouble. Gonzalez, pinch-hitting in the fifth, grounded into a very costly double play, the worst single offensive event of the game at a point where Jesse English had kept us still in it.
3) It's easy to regard Placido Polanco's home run off Jason Bergmann as the nail in the coffin, but remember that after English had held the Phillies for an inning, Miguel Batista came in and gave up two runs, which combined with the offensive outage the preceding two innings to put a game against Roy Halladay out of reach.

It's also very easy to get carried away with this kind of game. Mark Zuckerman, in his Nats' Insider recap, quotes Ryan Zimmerman to put it all in perspective:
We can't afford to go through those spells like we did last year where we played four, five, six games in a row like this.

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