Didn't Make the Paper, Vol. II
So last night's mess is behind us, and for whatever reason I decided to build my whole game story around Kory Casto's first major league hit, which came in the midst of a 9-3 debacle. As Stan Kasten knows, I'm always ferreting around for the positive needle in a negative haystack, and Casto's big league debut was a nice avenue for that.
However, that leaves plenty to digest for this edition of DMTP. Let's start with the new center fielder, Ryan Church.
First, Manny Acta: "It's obvious that Nook Logan is a better center fielder than a lot of guys who are playing center field in the big leagues." That includes Church, who is a corner outfielder by trade and is being forced into playing center because of Logan's injury.
Last night, Church allowed one ball to fall in front of him that Logan certainly would have caught. Then, in the ninth, he froze on a rocket Josh Willingham hit off Chad Cordero, and the ball sailed over his head.
Again, Acta: "Let's get something clear. I don't think Nook Logan would've caught that ball yesterday, the ball that was hit off Cordero. He did break in a little bit on the ball, but it was a missile and the ball was elevating when it went over his head. And the ball didn't land right behind him, it landed out by the wall. Yes, he's not Nook Logan, but a lot of guys in the big leagues aren't Nook Logan. That's what we have. He's decent there, and we're going to go with him."
I talked to Church last night after the game. He said: "I'm comfortable out there. But I just keep moving back and moving back [to try to make sure things don't get over his head], and after a while, it's like, 'Uncle.'"
Whatever you think of the injuries suffered by Cristian Guzman and Logan on Opening Day, the Nationals are a worse defensive team because of them. Acta admits it. Church admits it. But like Acta said, this is what they have.
What they don't have today is Josh Wilson at shortstop. Wilson was hit by a pitch late in last night's game, and afterward was undergoing treatment. As deadline approached, I couldn't wait for him, so I went upstairs to write. Our good friend Bill Ladson at mlb.com doesn't have those crazy deadline constraints, so he waited for him.
To review, Wilson was charged with one error and might have been charged with two others, though they were 50-50 calls. Clearly, an excellent major league shortstop could have changed the entire game. Acta said, when Wilson started the spring in a shaky manner, that he appeared to be pressing. The manager wouldn't quite go there last night, but Ladson was able to ask Wilson about it when he finally appeared at his locker after getting treatment.
"There were no nerves," he told Bill. "I've been doing this, not as much as some guys, but it's baseball. I don't get nervous out there. Sometimes things don't go the way you want them. If I go back in there tomorrow, I'm going to play hard again."
Well, unfortunately for him, he won't be out there today. (I'll get to the lineups after we're done with DMTP).
Last item: You might have seen, if you read the $.35-edition of the paper carefully, a small item on John Patterson thinking his struggles from Monday's Opening Day were mechanical. That's true, said pitching coach Randy St. Claire. But there might be more. He and pitching coach Randy St. Claire watched video of Patterson from 2005, when he was pitching well, and compared it to his start Monday.
"I told him, to me, he was very unaggressive," St. Claire said just a few minutes ago in the dugout. "He wasn't his same, usual attaching guy. He was really deliberate out there."
Translation: If he gets his mind right -- attacking mode, allowing his arm to whip through -- the mechanics will follow.
Today: Matt Chico's first big league start. I would guess a sparse crowd here at RFK because of the afternoon start and the pretty miserable weather (though it's not currently raining, so I think we'll be fine getting the game in).
More online: Another podcast is up. I'll get better at these things as we go along. I hope they add some value to the coverage.
Ramirez -- 6
Uggla -- 4
Cabrera -- 5 (hitting .714 w/ 5 RBI)
Willingham -- 7
Jacobs -- 3
Ross -- 9
Olivo -- 2
De Aza -- 8
Sanchez -- 1 (he of the no-hitter last year)
Lopez -- 6
Casto -- 7
Zimmerman -- 5
Kearns -- 9
Young -- 3
Schneider -- 2
Church -- 8
Belliard -- 4
Chico -- 1
Enjoy the game if you can get it on TV or the radio. I'll chime in once or twice, I suppose.
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