Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Song Remains the Same - The Nationals lost another one, as they fell behind 2-0 in the first innning. The Nats' former ace, Livan Hernandez took the hill and and kept the Nots' off-balance, as he carried a no-hitter into the 6th inning. The Nots finally broke through with Austin Kearns RBI single in the 8th inning, making the score 3-1. That broke a string of futility -- the Nots had more than 30 at-bats with runners in scoring position without a hit.

The Nats had a chance to make it a little closer, but Robert Fick hit a gentle fly out with men on first and second, failing to advance the runners. Dmitri Young followed with a pinch-hit smash that the D-backs' leftfielder flagged down on the warning track. This would have been a run-scoring out, had the runners advanced during Fick's at-bat. The Nots can't afford to give away outs, but they can't expect to get hits either. They way they are going, the Nationals need to manufacture runs. The game ended with Kory Casto flailing at strike three, representing the tying run.

One could take solace in that this game was close. Shawn Hill pitched a great game, but for a rocky first innning. That might be some small solace, but truly it means little at the end of a four-game sweep by the visiting team. "Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life," and 1-6 is no way to start a season. The Nots have not held a lead for even one at-bat this year, having pulled out their only win in the bottom of the ninth on Thursday.

"Historically awful" may not fully capture what is taking shape at RFK so far this season. I knew they were going to be bad, but this is getting ridiculous. This is a team that doesn't do any of the little things a team supposedly needs to do to win games -- and they aren't doing the big things, either. Maybe, the upcoming road trip will be kinder to the team than this opening homestand proved to be.

Meanwhile, in Atlanta, the Mets gave up a 2-1 lead in the eigth innning. I'll say this again and again, but I don't feel confident when Aaron Heilman comes out of the bullpen for a second inning of work. The Braves won 3-2, and took away first place from the Mets for the first time in over a year. It looks like the Mets will have a real race on their hands this year.

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