Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: AdamKilgoreWP and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS

A lefty versus righties

Last night's game offered plenty of fireworks, plenty of big moments put the smaller contributions in the shadows. Sure, the five home runs offered plenty to talk about. You could start with Ryan Zimmerman, who is locked in right now. You could talk about Elijah Dukes, who blasted two more home runs, and who Manny Acta said gives the lineup a "totally different" feel. (By the way, when Dukes was asked if he's feeling more comfortable at the plate now, he responded, "No, I'm always comfortable at the plate. If I miss, then he [the pitcher] got lucky.")

But real quick here, I wanted to point out something smaller yesterday.

Mike Hinckley.

The guy entered in the seventh inning yesterday, there to protect a 5-3 lead.

The background: This is Hinckley's first year as a reliever and first week as a major leaguer. From the moment this spring training when organization dispatched him to the bullpen, it gave him a concrete role: He was a lefty specialist. Somebody who needed to get lefties out, nothing more.

And so into the game he came, just in time to face three left-handed hitters in Atlanta's lineup.

But what happened?

For three straight hitters, Bobby Cox sent pinch hitters to the plate. Righties.

To translate: In a tight spot, Hinckley had to record outs against batters he wasn't supposed to face at a level of baseball he was never expected to reach.

To Hinckley's credit, he got out of the inning without allowing a run. The first righty, Omar Infante, flew to center. The next righty, Jeff Francouer, singled hard to right and moved to second on Hinckley's balk. But Hinckley forced the final two batters that inning into grounders, and walked away with a guy stranded on third. A dugout full of high-fives waited him when he walked off the mound.

In the end, Hinckley's night (one inning, good for his third scoreless appearance in three games) didn't win the game for Washington. But it's the kind of night that can win a job for next year.

"It did impress me," Manny Acta said today. "We're very happy for Mike. You guys know how we think: It's only been a couple innings. But Mike has come a long way from falling off the map here, and the way he reacted yesterday after they pinch hit those guys -- he went after them, got them out -- it says a lot about the progress he has made. We were happy to see him not get rattled, so we didn't have to counterpart the move and bring a righty in there."

Now, the lineups for today's game

Washington

Hernandez - 4
Harris - 7
Zimmerman - 5
Milledge - 8
Dukes - 9
Boone - 3
Montz - 2
Gonzalez - 6
Balester - 1

Atlanta

Blanco - 8
Prado - 3
C. Jones - 5
Johnson - 4
Escobar - 6
Francoeur - 9
Jones - 7
Miller - 2
Reyes - 1

By Chico Harlan  |  September 7, 2008; 12:55 PM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: About the decision
Next: 4 hours, 34 minutes of baseball

Comments

I wasn't so sure about our lineup at first glance, but the more I think about it, the happier I am with it. I hope we can capitalize against the struggling Reyes. I bet Montz collects his first hit today. Go Nats!

Posted by: BSG | September 7, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

OK, I just went and read the wedding / proposal story, and I have no idea what you're on about. Maybe being married for several decades makes a difference, but I don't remember being that insecure in my 20s.

************
Chico why would your friend Eli Saslow let his new wife write about their love life in the Sunday magazine? Good grief.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 6, 2008 7:26 PM

Posted by: ce | September 7, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Milledge sure missed that one...

Posted by: brent | September 7, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

And the Attorney General comes through

Posted by: SF Fan | September 7, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I knew he'd be worth something eventually.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 7, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I would like to smack Carpenter in the head with a side door breaking ball.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 7, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Chico, this is just the kind of stuff we need more of in NJ. You often post extended versions of your gamers which is nice, but doesn't give us anything new.

I really like hearing about this overlooked, inside stuff.

Posted by: NatsNut | September 7, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Langerhans ended up at first after the double switch? Did he ever play first before?

Posted by: SF Fan | September 7, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Ouch, that must hurt, having a PITCHER pinch-run for you...

Posted by: SF Fan | September 7, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

!!!!!!!!!!DUKES!!!!!!!!

Posted by: leetee1955 | September 7, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

DUKES!

Posted by: NatGasFutures | September 7, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Dukes picks a good time to get a hit... 1 for 7 3 RBIs!

Posted by: SF Fan | September 7, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the wonderful things you see in a NL extended game. O. Perez pinch hit for S. Shell, and the opposing manager changes pitchers to counter that.

Posted by: SF Fan | September 7, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

And here I was thinking I had to be the only person actually following this game on the first NFL Sunday.

Posted by: leetee1955 | September 7, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Elijah IS the man

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | September 7, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

i'm channel surfing, leetee. watching some baseball, some football, and tracking both on my laptop (first weekend of fantasy football, playoffs in fantasy baseball, busy busy busy!).

Posted by: 231 | September 7, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Oy! Hanrahan WALKS a pitcher being used as a pinch hitter? This club needs a less nerve-wracking closer.

Posted by: leetee1955 | September 7, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Hanny closes the door, different day, different result, albeit Cordero style.. : < ))

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | September 7, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Whew...that was a grinder.

Posted by: H Le | September 7, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

here we are, 50 players played in this game.

23 Nats - 8 pitchers that pitched, the entire bench except for Nieves, Kory Casto as a PH that never PHed, and a pitcher (Perez) PHing.

28 Braves - 10 pitchers that pitched, the entire bench (no warm bodies left), a pitcher that PR (J. Jurrgens for Catcher B. McCann) and a pitcher that PH for the starting 2B (J. Parr for 2B K. Johnson

Posted by: SF Fan | September 7, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

As my math woes continue, I add 23 + 28 and get 50... Oops.

Posted by: SF Fan | September 7, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Hey, the Nats doubled the Braves 12-6 in the season series. Does that say more about them or about us? I prefer to think the latter. Now, let's go ruin another season for the Mets.

Posted by: leetee1955 | September 7, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Oy! Hanrahan WALKS a pitcher being used as a pinch hitter? This club needs a less nerve-wracking closer.

Posted by: leetee1955

And a pitcher that has one AB on the season where he struck out. Now he has a walk to go with it. Shoulda saved the ball.

But my favourite part was Bobby Cox bringing in Jorge Julio to pitch to the pinch-hitting Oooodalis Pereeeeez!!!!
(well that and Dukes getting a hit)

Posted by: cat daddy | September 7, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Getting back to that. Kelly Johnson has a pretty large split (.354 vs lefties, .254 vs righties) but surely .254 is still better than a pitcher?!?

Posted by: SF Fan | September 7, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

SF Fan, that was just Cox going against The Book. Parr was due!

But seriously, that has to rank right up there as one of the strangest decisions. I hope the reporters ask him about it in the post game.

Posted by: cat daddy | September 7, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

@SF Fan..

Back in the day, it was pretty much S.O.P. to have at least one very quick pitcher, who was regularly used as a pinch runner. Of course, a Pinch Hitter, well, that is a different story.

Posted by: Catcher50 | September 7, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

where's baseball tonight? I want to see highlights! Darn fall ball.

I think Brady was drafted as a catcher out of high school. I think by the Expos. Explains the knee injury in the first quarter.

Posted by: PTBNL | September 7, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse

SF Fan - Kelly Johnson may have been injured. He was shown grabbing at his hamstring in earlier innings and he appeared to be hobbling a bit.

Posted by: BSG | September 7, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

"To translate: In a tight spot, Hinckley had to record outs against batters he wasn't supposed to face at a level of baseball he was never expected to reach."

Mike was the Nat's number one prospect before he was injured. He was expected to do just exactly what he did. He is very capable when he is healthy. Ask people who saw him pitch before the injury (oh, they are no longer here. Mike is a very good lefty.

Posted by: Tom | September 7, 2008 8:25 PM | Report abuse

"But seriously, that has to rank right up there as one of the strangest decisions. "

Was listening on the radio and Charlie and Dave seemed to believe that Johnson was hurt. But when this move was made, a Braves fan very clearly shouted, "Are you going to give us our money back, Bobby?" Charlie and Dave were cracking up.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 7, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Thrilling wonderful extra-inning win, and for those of us who who wanted to savor the post-game on MASN there was . . . Ravens post-game, pre-empting the Nats on the Nats' own network. I suppose that I should be grateful that they didn't Heidi the last inning.

Posted by: flynnie | September 7, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Apparently, this is his second time at first. How many people have played there this year, now??

C&D raved about the save he made on a bad throw from A.G.
**************
Langerhans ended up at first after the double switch? Did he ever play first before?

Posted by: SF Fan | September 7, 2008 5:19 PM

Posted by: CE | September 7, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and those "fading playoff hopes" Dodgers are in first place today.

Posted by: just sayin | September 7, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

The Nationals are currently 56-88, 6.0 games behind Atlanta. 18 games remain for the season (say it ain't so).

I would very much like to win 7 of those games so we can avoid a 100 loss season. The Haters will say what's the difference between 99 and 100 losses, it's all bad, blah, blah. But secretly, I think even they would like to avoid 100 losses.

Here's what it looks like.

2 at New York (79-63, L2, 6 of last 10)
3 at Florida (72-71, L2, 4 of last 10)
4 vs. Mets
3 vs. Padres (55-88, W1, 4 of last 10)
3 vs. Marlins
3 at Philadelphia (78-64, W2, 5 of last 10)

We've won our last 2, taken 7 of the last 10 games, 12 of the last 17, and are 18-18 since August 1 (including that 12-game losing streak from August 8 to August 20).

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 7, 2008 9:43 PM | Report abuse

That explains it, 506. Still, a guy with one AB?
What would have been cool is when Cox brought in RHP Julio to face LHB Odalis, that Manny would've countered with say, Lannan.
Or, to foil the wily reverse matchup, send up the starter from yesterday, who shall remain nameless...

Posted by: cat daddy | September 7, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

In the Major Leagues, Langerhans has only one previous appearance as a first baseman. He played there for 2.0 innings on August 8 (the start of the losing streak) against Milwaukee where he went in as a double switch so he could pinch hit for Mock (he walked). He accrued 3 put outs in that inning and racked up a meaningless 1.000 FPCT.

His only other appearance as a professional ballplayer at first was this year with Columbus. I'm not sure how long he played there, since minors.B-R doesn't have a gamelog, but he got 9 put outs and 2 assists, so we can guess four or five innings at least.

Maybe he played in college?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 7, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

506, I think taking 7 looks within reach. The Mets are pressing, so we could take 2 of the 6, maybe more. Getting back some wins against Florida is probably key. The Padres at home, maybe 2 of 3. And Philly will be either stressing or setting up for the playoffs.

Posted by: cat daddy | September 7, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

By Jason Campbell's twitching ass, don't cut into my Nats post-game show with ANY football coverage. The fact that there's only 18 games left makes every minute of coverage all the more precious.
********************************************


"Jason Campbell has a "tell." The D-linemen know when he is about to snap the ball. I read a quote last year (can't remember who said it) that he lifts his hips just before he calls snap. Justin Tuck was getting ridiculous jumps last night.

Anyone else notice this?

Posted by: Ben | September 5, 2008 2:49 PM "


This is important because it's true. I'm not sure if it is every snap, but JC definitely leans back a decent amount right before the snap. Definitely a tell, which is exploited easily at this level.


Posted by: The Truth | September 5, 2008 3:40 PM

Posted by: flynnie | September 7, 2008 10:26 PM | Report abuse

MASN did run Nats Xtra after the game, but it was an abbreviated version hosted by Bob and Don from the ballpark. Not sure what happened to Johnny and Ray, since they were there for the pre-game show. Either Mr. Angelos didn't want to pay them OT for sticking around for 14 innings, or MASN uses the same studio for the Ravens show and the Nats got the short end of the stick. That stinks, because I always look forward to hearing them and their take on the game.

Posted by: BSG | September 7, 2008 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't it be funny if we took 4 or 5 out of 6 from the Mets and they lose the playoff race AGAIN?

Posted by: SF Fan | September 8, 2008 1:33 AM | Report abuse

The problem with spoiling it for the Mets is that it means helping the Phillies... and the problem with spoiling it for the Phillies is that it helps the Mets.

If only they could both lose.

Posted by: Wigi | September 8, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company