Didn't Make The Paper, Vol. I
So as the Journal evolves into something that can sustain itself during the regular season -- which I'm not sure it can, but whatever -- I figure it might be worth dealing with little things that aren't significant enough to be included in the game story and the notebook from the previous day but might still leave fans a bit curious. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to get in stuff about Frank Robinson bunting in the first inning, but by the time the game had played out, it seemed so insignificant that I couldn't wedge it into my 900 words (each one is valuable, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise).
So let's start with yesterday's decision by Manny Acta to allow Levale Speigner -- the Rule 5 pick, designated long man and dude making his major league debut -- to hit in the bottom of the fifth (which he led off), which meant he would go out for the sixth. Boz dealt with it a bit this morning in the $.35-edition of the paper.
Two schools of thought:
1. By allowing Speigner to hit, you're basically conceding the first game of the season, because the bullpen should be completely rested and, trailing by five runs at the time, you at least want to give yourself a chance to come back by sticking in a pinch hitter, right? Plus, Speigner had survived his major league debut by recording four outs, and maybe pulling him then could have left him with a positive feeling.
2. Acta's explanation is reasonable: "Our starter didn't go far enough. We really needed some innings. We can't start hammering that bullpen from Opening Day."
The manager obviously chose No. 2, and Speigner allowed a run the following inning. But it also points to the realities about this team -- the bullpen is likely to be under constant pressure, even from Opening Day, because the rotation just isn't set up to give you seven innings every night. The notion that this team could carry an 11-man pitching staff at this point is patently absurd. They're going to need 12 guys, and just keeping those 12 guys fresh is going to be a challenge for Acta and pitching coach Randy St. Claire.
Another thought about the bullpen: It's supposed to be the strength of the team, right? But Speigner gave up a run yesterday, and Micah Bowie got shelled by Dan Uggla's towering homer. Still a strength?
I would say yes. Keep in mind, if the Nationals are in the game or even playing with a lead (which presumably will happen at some point over the next six months) then we won't see Bowie and Jesus Colome, we'll see Ray King, Ryan Wagner, Jon Rauch and Chad Cordero -- and, presumably, Luis Ayala at some point. It'll almost be like two bullpens out there -- one for blowouts and one for tight games.
Injury update: In case you missed my story in the $.35 edition of the paper, got word late last evening that early opinion from Nats medical people is that both Nook Logan and Cristian Guzman could miss a week-to-10 days. That's before re-examinations today, which will include Logan seeing a foot specialist. GM Jim Bowden said he wouldn't decide on disabled list moves until after the new exams. The good news on Logan: tests showed no damage to the bones in his foot, and he basically has swelling and bruising in the foot.
One other item for DMTP, Vol. I: Remember Ryan Zimmerman's triple yesterday? What if he had stopped at second?
I think I mentioned this yesterday, but I talked with Zimmerman about it after yesterday's game. Remember last year, he ended up with 47 doubles -- and three triples. What if those triples were doubles? He'd have had 50 doubles. Would that have looked better? Would someone have cast their vote for Rookie of the Year for Zimm and not Hanley Ramirez (who, by the way, has "superstar" written all over him)? I mean, 50 doubles as a rookie?
"There's two outs," Zimmerman said yesterday. "I can't stop."
He is, of course, right, and there's no way he's ever going to stop at second when he could cleanly get to third. It's just a funny thing to think about.
Housekeeping: Did anyone check out the Podcast? (Do you capitalize the "P" in podcast? I have no idea.) Kinda shaky, I guess. It's just going to be me speaking into the recorder, but we'll have lots of sound from players as well. That should make it worthwhile. I'll try to include a few things that weren't in the paper, but -- as with the Journal -- no real promises. You'll get the decent info you need/want/die for/live for. I'd be interested in thoughts from those who listened.
RFK: Interesting reading some of the frustrations about game experience. I will ask Stan Kasten about this (though he is not going to be at the park today because of Passover). Again, my standard answer is that Kasten talks a lot about customer experience, and if that is substandard, he and the team must be held accountable. I'm not soliciting complaints, believe me, and I have only a limited amount of time/space/brain power/sheer will with which to deal with all that stuff (given that, I think, I'm supposed to cover a baseball team on the field. But feel free to use the comment spaces to let me know about stuff.
Finally: You're more than welcome to use the comment spaces as kind of a message board, one you know I'll be reading. Let the comments stack up. But -- KEEP THEM CLEAN or you'll be kicked off.
Talk to you when I have lineups.
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