Sunday, May 20, 2007

Make Up

Does winning three of four from the Braves make up for losing our first series with Baltimore? For most of you, probably not. I don't even hate the Orioles, but I'm disappointed as well. I don't want to be called a pessimist, but a division title might be outside the range of the Nationals' abilities, and I'm rooting for Atlanta to do it if we can't. Anyone but the Mets.

A similar question: does Nook Logan's Sunday make up for his Friday? Sunday saw him at his Nookiest: two stolen bases on two consecutive pitches, a walk, and of course the double that called the Orioles' strategy of spending millions of American dollars on their bullpen into question.

Friday's performance was a Nooklear disaster. As you know, Logan's there for speed and defense. Replacing Ryan Langerhans in center field, Logan slipped in a painful-looking way and handed Kevin Millar a single. Millar, having transmogrified at some point into the much more athletic Freddy Bynum, later came around to score. In the 9th, he walked and stole second -- good! But then he failed to take third on a ground ball and was stranded there when he should have been using his Nookish velocity to tie the game. If one were feeling uncharitable, one could charge Logan with costing the Nats two runs in about a third of a game.

Logan isn't the kind of guy who's going to hit two-run doubles all that often. No one is claiming that for him. It's all about the speed and defense. But every time either or both of those abilities let us down, it shrinks Nook's usefulness margin drastically. It's the same reason I get a little queasy every time Zimmerman airmails a throw over Belliard's head -- if he doesn't have the D going for him, he doesn't have a lot.

Speaking of Ronnie Belliard, I can't help but giggle whenever I see him pretending to be a first baseman, as he was on Sunday. What's the thinking here? I have a couple of theories.
  • The Nationals are attempting to hasten Nick Johnson's recovery by appealing to his sense of team loyalty and pity. See what we're reduced to without you, Nick? Please come back, baby. Please.
  • Manny Acta lost a bet.

2 comments:

e said...

re: Nook in the 9th. I put the blame solely on Belliard. Nook was at second with no outs and a 2-1 count to Belliard. He should be BUNTING Nook over to third at this point! Instead, Belliard swings away and taps a roller in between the pitcher and cathcer. I think Nook made the right play in not running at this point. The play was in fron of him and he had to make a choice: 1) stay at second and still be in scoring position with one out or 2) go towards third and hope that the cathcer or pitcher doesn't throw him out at third. If you're not sure if you can make it, then stay where you are. I think Nook made the right decision.

Ryan said...

Fair enough. I have no doubt that you were paying more attention than I was. I also can't figure out how to phrase that without it sounding sarcastic, which it's not supposed to.