I'm having a hard time with the recently concluded weekend. My normal practice is to skim over the recaps, make too much of something that happened in the handful of innings I actually saw, and craft a narrative that, while it may not tell the whole or even a significant proportion of the weekend's events, at least lets me string together a few paragraphs that make sense when put in succession.
To do justice to Friday's game alone would require more narrative skill and a better attention span than I can bring to bear. Troubled hitting coach Mitchell Page was struck down before the contest with a frightening-sounding mystery illness, and he has my best wishes. Shawn Hill -- and I'm sure you're aware of all this, so go ahead and just scroll on down to that Popeye video if you're bored -- no-hit the Marlins for five innings before hurting his shoulder, leading to the most bizzarely cheery DL stint I've ever seen. Add in the circumstances around Chad Cordero's bereavement leave, and there have been a lot of eerie and unpleasant things around the Nats lately.
But no one cares because we swept the Marlins. A wave of ill-considered, probably short-lived optimism has swept over us like a heavenly Tang tsunami. "We're not #30!" goes a chant no one is saying, and none has been harder hit with this paroxysm of not-shame than Nats play-by-play man and ethnic profiler Bob Carpenter. Reproaching us for our worries about a "slow start," Carpenter pointed out that “If the Nationals win 2 of the their next 3, they’ll be 14-26, the same record as they had this time a year ago, when they won 71 games.”
Uh, Bob? I may not have been able to watch the 2006 season, but I could smell it. 71 wins is not a goal. It wasn't fun to sit through, and Carpenter of all people should know that. I guess he's relieved that this won't be a historic, 130-loss season, but I'm with the Lerners on this one: the only difference between 50 wins and 70 wins is draft position.
But I guess I should shut up now because there's a no-hitter going on.