Tim Worrell, take a bow. The Nats have won two in a row and their first series, and you're the man who made it possible. On Wednesday, you came in with the Phillies up one and proceed to allow a veritable conga line of baserunners. One third of an inning, four hits, four runs. Today, you came in with a one run again and let Guillen hit a triple. Nick Johnson drove him in, and we were all set up for Vidro's and Cordero's 10th inning heroics. A city thanks you, Tim Worrell, and your 19.25 ERA is appreciated.
Anyway, that was a hell of a fun game, and shame on you for not being there for the game thread. Be there next time. Frank made some questionable decisions and some good ones. He left Loaiza out there way longer than he should have - there's no way he should have pitched into the seventh. But he did the smart thing by bringing in closer Chad Cordero in a tie game.
It continues to be insane that Cristian Guzman, the worst non-pitcher hitter in the lineup, hits second. I don't expect it to continue much longer - we'd be in real trouble if he rapped out a couple of doubles from that slot. Brad Wilkerson - who got on base eight times in a row between the last two games - is still in the leadoff position, and there arguments on both sides. The best belong to Chris at Capitol Punishment, who's in favor.
Since Wilkerson is the team’s best hitter (Sorry, Jose fans), it makes sense to give him the most chances at the plate, and the most chances to help the team win, whether it’s with a double over the centerfielder’s head, or a leadoff walk. Hitting him lower in the order gives us fewer chances to watch the Hobbit meander around the bases. Over the course of a season, you can expect the lead-off hitter to come to the plate (ballpark) fifty more times than the fifth place hitter. That’d be fifty more plate appearances for him to show off his awesome goodness.That's it, as far as I'm concerned. The leadoff hitter debate hides a more important problem: it's not that we lack a leadoff hitter, it's that we lack hitters. This isn't the best time to mention it, what with the three consecutive 10-hit games, but the Nats are not a good offensive club, and our leadoff quandry is a reflection of the fact that we have precious few hitters with good on-base percentages. Consider, if you will, the Marlins, our next opponent. They start their attack with Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo. Neither is a star, neither can slug over .400, but both can get on base in the .370s. Endy Chavez was supposed to be like that, but he couldn't add that last 60 points of OBP (even though it's so easy). So we're left with the choice of two not-very-fast guys who should probably be hitting farther down. It speaks well of the team that they realize that they need a guy who takes pitches and gets on base at the top.
Wil Cordero's out, and I'll leave the jokes to Needham. He left the game and was on the DL before the inning was out. Carlos Baerga is called up from New Orleans to replace him. One immobile righty pinch-hitter/occasional starter's as good as another, right?