In the top of the eighth, presented with an opportunity to roll over, the Washington Nationals lineup did something it hasn’t done all season, it took charge. Four runs and an Adam Dunn and Nick Johnson homerun later the Nats not only had the go ahead run across, they had insurance runs.
Up 11-10 closer Joel Hanrahan came to the mound to slam the door shut on a Phillies 8th inning rally. Luckily for the Phillies, Hanrahan has an open door policy. A wild pitch, two walks, and a Raul Ibanez grand slam later the Phillies took the lead and never looked back.
I think the only person who’s job may be in more jeopardy now in Washington than Manny Acta must be Hanrahan. He now has three blown saves in five opportunities, and a blown hold as well. What’s worse is that at times it seems like he can’t even throw a strike, with pitches sailing into the opposite batters box. The best weapon for a closer, aside from his stuff, is the ability to get ahead in the count and enforce your will upon the batters by dictating its cadence. You can’t do that without throwing strikes.
Hanrahan now has officially been just as bad, and probably more disappointing than Saul Rivera. He also has nowhere near the track record…why isn’t he in the minors this morning?
I guess that’s not fair, he’s kind of old to send down to Syracuse…maybe a real baseball team may be interested in trading him for some splintered bats and a rag of pine-tar.
Bombs over Bag—-er Philly
There are homers, there are hum dingers, and then there are just flat out bombs. Bombs are what we saw from the Nats last night as they knocked five shots out of the park, including a pair of back to back jacks from Ryan Zimmerman and Elijah Dukes which easily approached the 450 feet range.
Two innings later? Another Zimmerman bomb to add emphasis.
These types of shots are supposed to deflate the other team, take their fight out of them. It’s similar to the blocked shot in basketball, or the interception in football, the long distance bomb sends shatters down the opposing teams spine and erases their ill-guided hopes of coming back.
I guess it doesn’t have the same effect when you have no bullpen. Few teams can come back in a bottom of the eight when the top saw two homeruns and a four run rally.
Stat of the day
Phillies left on base: 11
Nationals left on base: 21