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A Ludicrous Loss (And Maybe A Ludacris Loss Tomorrow)

How many more oddball ways can the Nationals lose? Today's scenario was particularly plainful. And it involved some unusual suspects. Nick Johnson (arguably their top fielder) committed a costly eighth-inning error. Ron Villone (inarguable their top reliever) allowed the decisive homer. Just so happened, the error and the run came on back-to-back pitches.

With Gape Kapler batting in the eighth, game tied at 3, Kapler popped a 1-1 pitch to into foul territory near first. That's a play Johnson makes 199 out of 200 times. Even with the ball dropping from the Teflon sky at the Trop. Instead, he overran the pop, then drifted back to late.

Kapler's AB continued.

And so of course, he tagged a Villone pitch one row deep into the left field seats. That ended up as the go-ahead homer in Tampa's 4-3 win.

You can read reaction from Johnson and Villone in the gamer I just filed, but that's the quick recap. There were other problems, too, of course. The usual fielding maladies. An offense that stalled after the three-run first. A failure to convert the runner-on-third, one-out chance in the top of the eighth. On and on. But that's what you get with a 16-43 ballclub. I'll post some more reflective thoughts tomorrow morning.

Among tomorrow's highlights at the ballyard:

Jordan Zimmermann, after missing a start, takes the mound for the Nats.

And after the game, Ludacris performs a concert.

(The Rays' game notes refer to him as "Grammy Award-winning artist Ludacris." It also mentions that this concernt is "FREE" with the purchase of that day's ticket. This year, the Rays are 9-0 on Summer Concert Series Dates.)

By Chico Harlan  |  June 13, 2009; 12:22 AM ET
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Next: A Disparity In Speed


Well, we can take some comfort in knowing that the Mets lost in an even more ludicrouser manner (Luis Castillo drops ARod pop-up with two out in the ninth to turn an 8-7 Mets win into a 9-8 loss to the Yankees).

Posted by: joebleux | June 13, 2009 12:46 AM | Report abuse

Nick's a nice guy and a nice player, but he has always been just an average first baseman. We need to be living elsewhere to see a really good first baseman. Kearns and Zimmerman are easily the best fielders on the team.

It was a night of dropped popups. Cf. the Mets-Yankees ending.

Posted by: paulkp | June 13, 2009 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the late gamer and update, Chico! I love baseball and always think "Tomorrow we'll get 'em!". After 33 years without baseball, and a Senators fan (Knothole Club) before that, I still have hope that the the Nats and their FO can turn it around. Maybe not this year, but small steps can be rewarding. I'm still watching and waiting! GO NATS!

Posted by: NickfromGermantown | June 13, 2009 12:49 AM | Report abuse

What is even more amazing is that there are 4 people commenting on NJ in regards to a team that is 16-43...and its at 1:00 AM on a Friday.

I predict victory tom. GO NATS!

Posted by: Cartaldo | June 13, 2009 1:00 AM | Report abuse

That's got to be the worst two pitch sequence of the year.

I was listening to it from Frederick at the P-Nats Keys game. If I have the freedom of choice, I'll choose show up at the minors games plus radio to watching this sad sack bunch on MASN.

Today Michael Burgess, Sandwich Round #1, was the truth and had two home runs in the double header against Angelos' Frederick Keys as the P-Nats came back from 3-1 down to *win an extra inning game* 10-3. We've got a lot of hope invested in him and you can see his potential. Burgess had an outfield assist as well.

I'm concerned about the ballyhooed Chris Marrero, though. He hit a homerun, but was against one of Frederick's worst pitchers and his body language looks bad to me right now. I know that we have a lot of hope invested in this kid but I feel he's in a real fragile place right now as a high schooler with a heavy bonus whose stuck in High-A whose timetable pressures promotion but whose production says stick it out in High-A.

Nice to see Stammen pitch well with some stones. We're going to have some tough decisions to make when we get Olsen back because on merit Olsen might be the weakest of the Detweiler/Olsen/Stammen logjam. Plus J.D. Martin had another solid start in Syracuse as well and simply does not walk people. We seem to be awash in middling pitching depth without a true guy who inspires fear in opposing clubs.

When a charmed Ron Villone is your bullpen ace, you've got problems. Hopefully he can continue to pitch well and we can trade him for prospects while the aging is good.

Posted by: souldrummer | June 13, 2009 1:01 AM | Report abuse

What is even more amazing is that there are 4 people commenting on NJ in regards to a team that is 16-43...and its at 1:00 AM on a Friday.

Make it six, and it's 1:09 on a Saturday.

Poor Nats. I cannot rip NJ (the person, not the blog) for the error. Nick gives plenty at the office.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | June 13, 2009 1:10 AM | Report abuse

JDS: I agree. Everyone on the team plays hard. They never phone the game in. Maybe they try too hard!

Posted by: NickfromGermantown | June 13, 2009 1:30 AM | Report abuse

JDS: I agree. Everyone on the team plays hard. They never phone the game in. Maybe they try too hard!


hold on...


Posted by: grandstander | June 13, 2009 6:26 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone see Rick talking to Manny before he took Stammen out? It was like Manny had no clue on what to do and Rick (why not McCatty I don't know) was telling him what he should do. Manny's reaction was like "I hate this..."

Posted by: SaveOurTeam | June 13, 2009 7:06 AM | Report abuse

@ grandstander: I think NickfromGermantown has a really good point. Ever hear the idea "try easier?"

Posted by: RightField | June 13, 2009 7:23 AM | Report abuse

Horrors like last night (gulp) will simply make the winning years sweeter when they occur....preferably in our lifetimes.

Posted by: MarcJMilzman | June 13, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Chico, you know it's "Jordan Zimmermann".

Report yourself to Steinberg.

And tell him he needs to report a Rays Game Notes fail on this last night, too.

Posted by: 08Cubs | June 13, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse

With Willie Harris at bat in the eighth, one out and a man on third, score tied, I was hoping Manny would put on a squeeze play. I think Harris has enough smarts to execute same.

The call that Orbitz or whatever was safe at home was incorrect. He was out. Chico, take note. Put down one run to the umps. (Whenever they get a chance, they dis the Nats.)

Then Bard airmails a throw to third that shouldn't have been made. Put down two runs to an error.

Then Johnson drops a routine pop fly.

Conclusions: (a) this version of the Nats is jinxed; and (b) the umps are gleefully piling on this loser of a "team" and there's been no pushback from the Nats' management.

Posted by: JohnRDC | June 13, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

A note to JohnRDC: I swear i was thinking the same thing Harris is fast enough to make that play work and with the Ray's playing back it would have been perfect,but then i said Manny's the manager it will never happen.

Posted by: dargregmag | June 13, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

I also thought that Zobrist was out, and I agree with JohnR's conclusions.

BTW, new post is up.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 13, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Although Manny did go out briefly after the call at the plate.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 13, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

He should have been out, but he WAS safe at the plate, poor tag, up high and late. We miss Jesus.

Posted by: cokedispatch | June 13, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

It's unbelievable how many times I have said "it just can't get any worse!".

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | June 13, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

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