In the titanic struggle for the title of Nationals’ most unlucky pitcher, a dominant outing from Orioles’ starter Jason Hammel buoyed by timely slick defense and another woeful offensive performance vaulted Jordan Zimmermann back into the lead over his rival Edwin Jackson last night. If the rest of the season plays out in this fashion, I’m wouldn’t be half surprised if Doris Kearns Goodwin writes about this modern-day incarnation of a team of rivals. Put a stove top hat on Strasburg and he is the spittin’ image of Lincoln. And best of all, Doris could, ahem, borrow without attribution, all of this! Anywho, on to the awards for last night’s 3-1 loss:
Game ball(s): Hammel. He has been the O’s Robin to Adam Jones, their Batman. It’s a shame that Sidney Ponson doesn’t pitch for them anymore. Then they would have the Penguin too.
Goat(s): Ryan Zimmerman. While I’d like to think he just screws Jordan over because his momma wouldn’t give him the extra n, we may be at the point where parking him for a few weeks to get healthy is the only thing that is going to ignite his anemic bat.
Bryce Harper is still only 19: Ryan Mattheus. It has been good to see him back in form off of the DL, making his fourth consecutive scoreless appearance last night. The bullpen is getting healthy. Let’s hope the rest of the Baltimore series we see the arms in action with a lead.
Current Record: 40-28
On a night where both the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles were struggling to score much in the way of runs in their interleague opener, you could just sense that it was going to be just one hit, one moment that would decide the game’s outcome. And while my naturally defeatist senses were correct that the turn would not be in the National’s favor, it was ever so slightly off in its count. There were two game-deciding moments which came back to back.
In the top of the eleventh, with Ryan Mattheus facing Nick Markakis, on a 1-2 count, it looked like Mattheus punched out Markakis on a nice fastball. Regrettably, the umpire didn’t see it the same way and without fail, on the next pitch, Nick the Stick launched a solo home run to propel the Orioles to a 2-1 lead. With the Nationals offense, Game Over.
Game ball(s): Markakis. He’s half-Greek and half-German and unfortunately for the Nats, the German in him showed up last night.
Goat(s): The Nationals in the bottom of the eleventh. Get a man on to start the inning and promptly ground into a double play. Get lucky with Bernadina reaching on a wild-pitch after striking out, follow it up with a hit to put him in scoring position, only to ground out to end the game. What a frustrating end to a frustrating night at the dish for Washington.
Bryce Harper is still only 19: Edwin Jackson, who deserved better than another no-decision. While I fully support a gridlocked Washington, I guess I should clarify that I don’t want the federal government making anymore disastrous decisions, not the Nationals.
Current Record: 23-16