First Star – Carlos Zambrano (.217)
Second Star – Derrek Lee (.145)
Third Star – Mark DeRosa (.091)
Top Play – Mark Derosa’s single in the 1st (+.103)
AP Photo – Pablo Martinez Monsivais
Reed Johnson – I’m going on record now, and I know it means I’m changing my tune, that I am fine with Reed Johnson as the every day center fielder for this team. He’s shown me enough over the first month of the season for me to send Pie down yet again for every day at bats. I am almost to the point where I am considering the idea that moving Pie might be the best option for this team. It’s obvious they’re doing everything in their power to not give him a chance so why not try to get something for him while his stock is still high? I’m not quite sold on the idea just yet, but I’m slowly moving there.
Reed continued to show his talent today with a pair of singles on 10 pitches seen. I throw that number in there just to make Matt smile. He’s got to stay in that leadoff spot when Soriano comes back. I don’t know how Lou can do anything else. Soriano is not the answer in that spot, especially now that his legs are recovering.
Ryan Theriot – He seems to have taken the 2nd spot in the order and made the most of it. He had a good game today, going the other way and taking what the pitcher gave him. He’s had some goofy things the past two days with the choice to try for a steal of third with less than two outs and the power guys up in game one and the error tonight on an easy ball. I’ve been pleased with Theriot this year. I think he’s come ready to play and knows that there is a hot hitting Ronny Cedeno that is making the case for the job. We mentioned it yesterday that Ronny hasn’t taken the job yet from Theriot, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens. Ronny is younger and has more upside. If he can take the job, more power to him.
The Platinum Sombrero – Geo needs a day off. He is getting killed at the plate this series. In his 8 at bats this series, he has 8 strikeouts. That’s got to be tough for a rookie to deal with, especially when you have all the other responsibilities of a catcher with handling a pitching staff. My guess is that with a day game tomorrow, he’ll have two days off with Monday being an off day. Hopefully that will help him recharge and get those K’s out of his head.
Carlos Zambrano – Man, he was a little wild today and struggled to keep that pitch count down. Thankfully, the Nats couldn’t counter with a run all game on him. They had their chances, getting runners on each inning, but Z did just enough to get out of it each time. I was a little disappointed to see Lou run him out there in the 7th, but my guess is that Zambrano had a say in that decision. He finished the game with 114 pitches, which isn’t terribly high, but could have been limited because of the lead. Why not let Zambrano go six and then let Jon Lieber, who hasn’t pitched since the 23rd coming for an inning or two of work? I’d like to save Zambrano as much as possible, when possible. On the hitting front, I’m beginning to wonder why it is Carlos is a switch hitter. It seems to me like he would be more successful at the plate if he focused on one side of the plate and stuck with that.
Don Sutton – For the last two games, I’ve watched the Nats feed on MASN and have been confused on some of the logic by Nats color guy, Don Sutton. He’s a hall of famer, but some of the things he mentioned over the past things had me scratching my head. For example, he marveled over Ryan Dempster moving his glove when pitching from the wind up. He couldn’t figure out what that was all about. I understand the confusion, but to keep mentioning it throughout the broadcast just accents the fact that he had no idea what was going on. In case you’re wondering, Demp does the glove movement to keep from tipping his pitches. He starts with the ball in the splitfinger grip, which is one of the harder grips and then moves that glove around to conceal when he’s changing grips. It’s actually quite clever. Tonight, Sutton said he disagreed with the signing of Zambrano long term because Z has emotional issues. That would be the least of the reasons I would worry about the contract. For me, I worried because of injuries. Z plays all out and has the habit of doing dumb things. He breaks his bat over his knee. He reaches for line drives with his pitching hand. He pitches late into the game. He’s just asking for an injury, but to say that he shouldn’t get the contract because of emotions is dumb. As he matures, he will continue to grow up and learn how to handle things like that. Let’s remember how young he still is.
I’m off to see game three in person tomorrow with Tom C, aka pepi. I should have some pictures for you and some notes on my experience in the new park on Monday.