It is cliché to say that a win is a win. Except, as with all clichés, it’s true and for good reason after last night the Nationals tried to close out the series opener against Filthadelphia Charlie Sheen style. Winning! Just barely.
Game ball(s): Gio Gonzalez and Ian Desmond. Gio shut out the Phillies for six innings, mowing down nine in the process. And Ian supplied all the offense the Nats would need with his solo home run in the top of the second and RBI single in the top of the fourth. I’m proud to say that at the first quarter poll of the season, both players are making a mockery of some of my preseason concerns regarding them. Keep poking me like the Snuggle Bear boys!
Goat(s): Henry Rodriguez. I’ve been a supporter of the wild flamethrower since the beginning, but it has become apparent that his inability to throw strikes is a real impediment to H-Rod effectively closing out games. It’s a shame because he has an electric arm, but a team wishing to contend simply can’t have him taking the mound in the ninth unless he has a better clue where the ball will go leaving his hand.
Bryce Harper is still only 19: Sean Burnett. Craig Stammen was rock-solid again for two innings, but after H-Rod made a mess of the bottom of the ninth, Burnett stepped in and closed off the wound before it become fatal.
Current Record: 25-17
I’m going to presume that the Nationals’ Assistant to the Traveling Secretary pulled a George and booked the team on a very early flight back to DC; hence, their putrid effort today on get away day. However, while that assumption is comforting for the moment, the reality is that the Nationals offense is not very good right now. Gone are the late rallies, the hot start of Ian Desmond, and what has sunk in is that without Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse, the Nats sorely lack offensive punch.
Today, despite holding the Dodgers to just three hits, a bout of untimely wildness from Gio Gonzalez was the hiccup that a struggling Washington offense could not overcome, as they fell 2-0. As the Nationals head back east for a six-game home stand, they now find themselves tied atop the NL East with the surging Atlanta Braves and in desperate need to find their bats in order to return to their winning ways.
Game ball(s): Chris Capuano, who took full advantage of an awful display of hitting by the Nationals, whiffing nine in 6 2/3 shutout innings.
Goat(s): Nats’ hitters. Each and every one of them. Washington has pushed across six runs in the last four games, including laying an egg today. Not surprisingly, the Nationals have lost four straight.
Bryce Harper is still only 19: So, after several long and intense discussions with Cooley the dog, we settled on a new name for the award formerly known as the Bryce Harper is not as far off award. Our logic: While we are on bended knees hoping that Harper is the real deal from the get go, the reality is that he is 19, so for the Nats to have success this season, and in the near future, the team will have to get meaningful contributions from players that can legally drink. And well, this isn’t a public school report card where everyone gets a game ball. With that out of the way, Cooley the dog humbly suggests we give out today’s award. And today it goes to Craig Stammen, who has been fantastic in April, and delivered again with another two scoreless innings of relief today.
Current Record: 14-8