Distinguished Senators, the Washington Nationals Blog That Is Great

Monday, April 30, 2007

It's A Dull and Rusty Razor

Do I pick these players because they need to someone to argue for them, or do they need someone to argue for them because I pick them? I don't know what it is, but as soon as I stopped worrying about Ryan Church, things started to go well for him. The moment I declared my allegiance to Chris Snelling . . . well, you can't say his luck's gotten worse, but he has endured a string of setbacks at the hands of the front office. Over the last couple weeks, he's been losing starts in left field to the likes of Michael Restovich and Robert Fick, the latter of whom proves conclusively -- as if we needed any more evidence -- that a gritty, scrappy attitude and left-handedness can get you a long way baseball, even if that's pretty much all you've got going for you.

Now we've got Kory Casto, already vanquished once in this positional war, back from AAA. This move comes, of course, just as I'd forgotten how to spell his name. It also comes as Snelling isn't hitting. He's down to a Guzmanian .208 average, and he's not making up for it with power. What he is doing is getting on base, with his antipodean mixture of walks and hit by pitches giving him a more than respectable .367 OBP. And that's part of what makes me think Snelling should be playing every day -- his batting can't not go up. There's no way he keeps hitting .208, and when he snaps out of it, that tasty on base percentage is a nice foundation to build on.

Manny Acta sees it differently, though: Casto is going to play every day until the little-missed Nook Logan comes back, whereupon he becomes the fourth outfielder. Snelling, out of options and therefore un-Columbusable, gets to sit on the bench and wonder why he went through all that rehab.

This may well be the right decision for the team, but who's pretending to care about that? Not the front office, that's for sure. At this point, it's every Nat for himself and every blogger for his Nat, so I don't feel too bad in hoping that Casto and the three or four other outfielders I need out of the way fail miserably.

We dropped the series with the Mets, which is predictable, but at least we got some nice pitching out of it. Jerome Williams, who was responsible for six innings of it, is on the DL now, but I didn't feel the need to put an "unfortunately" on the beginning of this sentence, which only now have come to the end of. For one thing, six innings of no runs doesn't mean he doesn't suck. More importantly, watching this guy work is pure torture. There's already far too much Steve Trachsel on the MASN family of networks, and I have no desire to watch a Hawaiian Steve Trachsel imitator take three hours to get through five innings.

A word on Tony Randazzo, the umpire who possibly cost us the rubber match with the Mets. Maybe you remember -- in the seventh, down a run and with a man on second, Snelling and Fick came up to hit. They thought they were playing baseball, but Randazzo without warning switched the game to single player Random Strike Call, and they both struck out. Keep in mind, though, that the night before he blew a double play call that let us score a run. It didn't give us a win, but it did make us take a long time to lose, and that's something. Maybe he was trying to make up for his gaffe on Sunday, or maybe -- and Occam's holding a razor to my neck and telling me that this is the explanation -- he's just not very good at his job.


Anonymous said...

has anyone looked into whether or not Snelling's OPB is this good because he's being pitched around instead of being pitched to? Opposing pitchers aren't afraid of putting our #8 hitter on base knowing full well that:

1) our pitchers can't hit/bunt
2) our pinch-hitters can't hit/bunt

so there's no fear in walking Snelling. Seems to me that they're giving Snelling the old "unintentional-intentional walk." If he swings at one of these out-of-the-strikezone pitches, he'll more than likely pop it up or hit a weak dribbler. If he doesn't swing, no big deal as he's not a threat to steal a base and whomever the Nats have coming to the plate won't be able to put the ball in play either.

Ryan said...

You know, I should have thought of that. Good point.