GAME 153 REVIEW: And the Kids Shall Lead Them

Posted by Dave Nichols | Thursday, September 23, 2010 | , , , , , , | 3 comments »

THE RESULT:  Tell the truth.  When you found out Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn weren't in the lineup, you kinda gave up on this one, didn't you?

That is, until Michael Morse launched his 13th home run of the season leading off the bottom of the second inning to tie the game at one.  But even then you still weren't totally convinced.

But then, in the sixth inning, the Washington Nationals scored four times with two outs, and you were back in, ready to follow the youngsters as they turn into a Major League team.  

And on the day Stan Kasten, president of the team, announced his resignation, the Nats cruised to their third straight victory over the Houston Astros, 7-2.  You, along with 14,633 paid attendance, rejoiced. 

At least about the victory.

The Nats record now stands at 65-88, and with nine games to go, you once again feel optimistic about this team finishing up on a hot streak, with visions of Danny Espinosa, Ian Desmond, and other Nats youngsters leading the way.

The kids hit home runs, played exceptional defense, and gave Ross Detwiler his first victory since in almost a whole calendar year.  His last victory was Sept. 28, 2009 against the New York Mets.

Roger Bernadina homered the opposite way in that fateful sixth off loser Nelson Figueroa (5-4, 3.81), and Morse added a two-RBI double in the frame.  Bernadina and Morse, as unlikey a 4-5 combo in the league, went a combined 4-for-6 with a walk, double, two home runs, five RBIs and three runs scored.

And Danny Espinosa homered for the second day in a row, giving the 23-year old second baseman his sixth home run and 11th extra-base hit in just 77 plate appearances.

Detwiler went six innings, throwing 79 pitches, 45 for strikes.  He did not get a strikeout, but induced three ground ball double plays.  He gave up two earned runs on seven hits and two walks.  The first run scored when the second batter of the game drove a double over the head of Justin Maxwell on a ball that Maxwell did not get a good read on and probably should have caught.

Craig Stammen, Drew Storen and Collin Balester all recorded a scoreless inning of relief.

The Nats have taken their lumps this year, on their way to a 90-loss season after consecutive 100-loss seasons.  But teams hardly ever make a 20 game leap in the standings.  If the Nats go 3-6 the rest of the way, they will have 10 more wins this season than last.  That's legit.

It's tough to be patient, but if you look around, some of the building blocks are here.  Some of Kasten's words today in his address to reporters stood out more than others: 
"I do know that this team finally has a terrific pipeline. You know the kids our system produced this season. You know the kids that they're about to produce the next season, the season after that, the season after and the season after that. Nothing good happens after that. We finally have that. We finally have a baseball operations front office that is as good as can be to produce that on an ongoing basis. Those are the two most important things on [the baseball operations] side."
THE GOOD:  Infield defense.  Man, how long have I been waiting to type those words?  All three of Espinosa, Desmond and Gonzalez had a tremendous day on defense, making diving stops, leaping catches, and laser throws to first.  It was a clinic, and a beautiful thing to watch.

THE BAD:  Justin Maxwell.  He was the only batter not to have a hit or score a run, and he hit inot a double play.  He did draw a walk though.  And he kinda misplayed that ball in center on the second batter of the game.

THE UGLY:  Astros pitcher Gustavo Chacin.  Chacin faced two batters, and gave up Espinosa's homer and a single by Adam Kennedy.  Tough night.

THE STATS:  6 Ks, 3 BBs, 2-for-8 with RISP, 4 LOB, 1 GIDP.

NEXT GAME:  Friday night against Atlanta at 7:05 pm.  Jordan Zimmermann (0-2, 6.75) faces Nats-killer Tim Hudson (16-8, 2.61).

3 comments

  1. Anonymous // September 24, 2010 at 10:45 AM  

    THE BAD: Justin Maxwell. He was the only batter not to have a hit or score a run, and he hit into a double play. He did draw a walk though. And he kinda misplayed that ball in center on the second batter of the game.
    ____________________________

    THE BAD? Great observations on that defensive read in CF that cost the Nats the first run.

    Have you seen the way this guy takes the field? He looks like someone whose mom forced him to play baseball. Clearly he doesn't want to be here and the only thing that makes him happy is hitting a grand slam.

    Talking about slams, can someone slam the door shut on him for next year?

    When he could at least play defense he had a value. Now it looks like he doesn't want to play at all.

  2. Dave Nichols // September 24, 2010 at 11:00 AM  

    Anon: thanks for the comment. i think he got a bad read on that ball, but i learned a long time ago not to judge a guy on his body language. Maxwell's biggest limitation as a player is his inability to make consistant contact at the plate at the major league level, and i think he's probably used up his chances in DC.

  3. kids furniture // September 25, 2010 at 12:49 PM  

    Thanks for sharing this post. Nice!