The Heat. Steiger/Poitier, Bogart/Bacall, Whalen/Lopez – it seems the most charged confrontations always occur against the backdrop of hot steamy nights. Some in Georgia, some in the African jungle, this last one tonight in the cauldron of the Nation’s Capital. Our two protagonists were each 22 and pitching their third ML start. One was to emerge with a good deal more to offer than the other and he came from the same home town as our revered Raffy Ramirez in the Dominican. Kudos to the Nats fans, 38,500 of them showed up in all this steam along with Alex who we believe had been asked to run the eye over Hursh, more later.
Going in. Harper still absent – it’s the shoulder says Verducci, stiff neck says GM Ratso Rizzo (everbody’s talking). Our Neck, no longer stiff, embarrassed himself last night so will be fired up for this one. ‘Too much Freddy Freeman’, says Dusty, more please. Papelbon’s gone.We are at .500 over the last 52 games.
The Game. Have had to rewrite some of this a couple of times. For most of the evening there was an embarrassing difference in quality between the teams particularly offensively. After Freddy’s first inning homer got us the briefest of leads we were given a lesson in power hitting throughout the lineup. Five extra base hits between Turner, Murphy and Revere – 2 homers, 3 triples. After the sixth they had 6 runs on the board to our still solitary one. Whalen had a pretty torrid time of it. He hung in but he was being consistently hit hard. Their big 3 were whupping us. (If there is a more exciting all round rookie prospect in the Majors right now than Trea Turner please tell me his name. Drafted 13th , hmmm. I’d take him now over Harper or Trout or Mochado or Arenado. Now he’s made the team his WAR will eat theirs in the remaining weeks, and then the summers, to come. His body – the supposed fastest man in baseball- looks lean, mean. He’s bright, he thinks. Such brilliant talent. A rush to judgment? sure…anyone can pontificate after a thousand PA’s- much more fun this way-but i’m right!)
We picked up what looked like a meaningless run in the 8th- unlucky not to get more- came up in the 9th still down 7/2…and then scored 4 more with no outs till Aybar ran himself out at third as he drove in the 5th and 6th runs. And then there was no more. Mr Malancon’s pride was hurt, he mopped up. (A word here about Mr Aybar. What is going on? No Brave hit the ball harder than Erick tonight and he did it twice, in the first inning to deep center twisting and turning Revere right to the wall. Goodness, where were you? It’s not just the average now, it’s the pop.)
The rest of our pitching when Whalen left after 5, 6H 6R 6ER 1K ,would have normally been inconsequential. Roe pitched a decent 7th and 8th giving up 2 hits and a walk, no runs, but what may have been of some import was Hursh’s debut inning. 3H/1R/1W/1K. You tell me, i shall likely ask Alex.