Friday, July 23, 2010 8:19 am
By Miss Chatter
On the 9th Day of Strasmas, my true love gave to me....
9 hits a hittin',
8 runs a scorin',
7 Ks a outin' in,
6 near innings from Stras,
5 golden Reds-runs,
4 runs in sixth,
3 bullpen innings,
2 surprising homers,
and a goofy cap on Pete Rose in the stands.
Did you see that cap on Pete Rose? Wow. Dorkalicious!
I know many people feel the "Strasmas" tagline has run its course at this point, but I vowed I'd stick with it through twelve starts, so you'll have to bear with me a little longer. Sorry! Only three more starts to go - or about two weeks. I waited an extra day on this one because I was getting worried I'd only have a win to write about every five games and that prospect was depressing the heck out of me. Luckily, with "workhorse" Livo's complete game win yesterday over the Reds, I'm feeling a little perkier today after consecutive wins!
Nats started off after the break with a win by Strasburg, then promptly lost their next four games. Oof! So much for that momentum carrying and going forward. Offense was completely lacking against the Marlins and first game of the Reds series. The natives were getting restless and turning on the team, so timing was ripe for the Nats to finally earn a win or two. I mean, they couldn't lose forever, right? Meanwhile, former manager Manny Acta's Indians started off the return to baseball on fire, winning six in a row, including a doubleheader.
The 8-5 win was not entirely provided by Strasburg's pitching performance, and despite winning by three runs, the game never felt like a sure win at any point. Two home runs snuck over the wall provided by the unlikeliest of Nats - Cristian Guzman and Willie Harris. Willie Harris! I was getting pretty down on him recently, and then look at that. He nearly had a home run in yesterday's game as well, but it was ruled a triple after bouncing on the yellow line and back into play. Is this the second half push we're starting to see from some players?
The Nationals' main problem appears to be playing on the road. They actually possess a winning record at home, if you can believe that, at 25-21. On the road, they've lost nearly twice as many games as they've won at 17-33. Somehow they need to translate that home magic to opponents' ballparks to catch up. Although, while there is still a lot of baseball left in the season, most fans have reverted to just hoping for 72 wins or so on the season as they did before the season began. That hot streak caused many to alter their expectations for the season, making the losing punch the gut a little harder than it maybe would have.
The trade deadline is near so right now all the murmuring is over who will get traded, if anyone at all. Dunn and Willingham are rating high on the chatter meter. Meanwhile, pitchers Scott Olsen, Ross Detwiler, and Jordan Zimmermann are rehabbing and getting close to returning, while Luis Atilano has been placed on the disabled list for elbow soreness (no surprise after his last start). So the second half may still get a new-look and feel about it.
After two wins, I'm feeling a bit better. It's quite odd how emotionally attached one can get to a team. Tonight is the 2nd "Baseball On The Barn" viewing of the season, which I believe has a losing record. Since BBotB events always take place when the team is on the road, I suppose that's no surprise given the road record. It's an event I've hosted since the first season when many fans couldn't get MASN on their cable systems. Even though the channel is widely available now, the tradition carries on. Hopefully the Nats will provide a win over the Brewers to make the group "tailgate barn party" more celebratory than sorrow drowning.