Living in Tallahassee, Florida, one of the advantages of the wrap-around weekend series against the Marlins is that I can watch the Nats on my big screen tv rather than on my laptop through MLB tv. In addition to getting my brain to stop pleading for scissors listening to F.P., it carries the advantage of getting to hear an opponent’s perspective on your squad, what is working and what is not working. And last night, the Marlin’s announcers kept emphasizing the early dominance of both team’s pitchers, Gio Gonzalez and Mark Buerhle, and how quickly both worked their craft.
That narrative held up for the entire evening, but a couple of small-ball plays by the Marlins in both the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings allowed Miami to eke out a 2-1 victory. Gio pitched a good game, certainly good enough for a W, but then again, Buerhle was just that much better, and the Marlins got the clutch run-producing hits when necessary. As Davey Johnson said about the game, ”Old fashioned National League ball – they bunt the guy over and then their guys delivered a hit. That’s what wins ballgames.” Gotta love Davey. The only thing missing from that was an “I reckon”.
Game ball(s): Buerhle. While the Marlins have to be thrilled about what they have gotten from Buehrle so far after signing him in the off-season, if you had told them during Spring Training he would be the most valuable of their flashy signings, do you think they would have held their traditional fire sale before they won a championship?
Goat(s): The FSN broadcast. As nice as it was to watch the game from the comfort of my couch, for some God-awful reason, the Marlins broadcast kept featuring a “pool boy” contest for The Clevelander bar out beyond the left field fences. And you wonder why Miami fans are considered among the worst in all of sports?
Bryce Harper is still only 19: Jesus Flores. Yeah, he didn’t come up with a game-tying hit with Roger Bernandina on second in the top of the ninth, but he did go 2 for 3 and drove in the only run of the night for the Nationals. Plus, Jesus has been struggling at the dish, so it was nice to see him get his bat back on track, if only for a night.
Current Record: 50-35
Considering the number of hits this blog gets a day, I’m pretty confident that Gio Gonzalez isn’t among one of the regular readers. Sad emoticon. But by all appearances, he is pitching like a man possessed to prove that this schlub is as adept at making baseball predictions as Marion Barry is at making racial amends.
Gio was simply dominant again last night, allowing only one hit and striking out ten over seven innings, leading the Nationals to a 7-2 win over the Braves and the series sweep. I will say it now: There has not been a better pitcher in the National League through the first two months of the season than Gio, and I daresay that there has not been a better pitcher in all of baseball. Will it continue?
Yo no digo nada.
Game ball(s): Gio. For a nice little look at Gio’s success so far, take a gander at this article courtesy of FanGraphs.
Goat(s): The injury bug, which may have taken down Jesus Flores. The team is saying it is just a tight hamstring and he may not miss any action. I’ve watched baseball long enough to know that this means he is just as likely to miss two weeks. Shakes fist in frustration.
Bryce Harper is still only 19: Boy, the title of this award is looking sillier and sillier each day. All Harper did last night was go 2 for 4, extend his hit streak to seven games and toss in his second home run in as many games.
Current Record: 29-18