Didn't Make the Paper, Vol. VIII
Really quickly, because we have a chat at 1 p.m. today. Wednesdays will be the weekly chat day from now on. Hope you enjoy.
Some talk in the comments on why Ryan Church was benched on Sunday for not running out a grounder, while Robert Fick was allowed to play earlier in the Florida series when he bunted and didn't run hard to first. It's a good question, so good that I asked Manny Acta about it after Sunday's game. It did not, however, make it into my game story in the $.35 edition, which is why we all thank the powers that be for DMTP.
Here's Acta's explanation:
"The other play was a bunt play where he probably thought that a throw was going to first base or whatever. This one was no excuses for anything. It was just a tough groundball in the hole."
Fick told me earlier that he had just had a "brain cramp," and that he was watching the play develop. "It wasn't a hustle issue," he said. Acta agreed. Two innings earlier, Fick made a heads-up play by tagging from first to second on a fly ball to deep right, a play lots of guys wouldn't have made.
Church has handled it very well. Jim Bowden said yesterday that Church saw him and said, "Memo received." And what did he do last night? Went 2 for 4 with an RBI double. Church now has nine doubles, a total bested in the NL by only Chase Utley and San Diego's Khalil Greene. Only Greene, Utley, Carlos Beltran and Jimmy Rollins have more extra base hits in the NL than Church.
One other item: Ryan Zimmerman made another error last night, this one on a two-hop throw from Church in the eighth inning. The ball went through his legs.
"I was doing everything I could to center the ball and block it," Zimmerman said afterward. "I thought I had it."
All in all, a tough night for Zimm. He had a good at-bat his first time up, drawing a walk against Jamie Moyer. He hit a decently hard grounder to third his next time up. He smashed a hard liner directly at left fielder Pat Burrell his third time up. And in his final at-bat, he drilled a ball back up the middle that was easily an RBI single -- except Utley, the Phillies second baseman, was playing almost behind the bag. He snared it and turned it into an unassisted double play.
"Utley always plays there, right?" Zimmerman joked afterward. He knows he is having better at-bats than he did a week ago. He just wants a little more to show for it. "It's just frustrating," he said.
Long-term problem? I really, really doubt it. The hits will come.
OK, almost time for the chat. You can access it here. Also, please please please continue the discussion about former Nationals below (or here). I love that stuff, and love when you guys let your opinions fly.
John Patterson vs. Jon Lieber in a few hours. Looking forward to it, I am.
April 25, 2007; 12:36 PM ET
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