Baseball really is a wild game. That is probably the reason it drives me crazy when someone tries to say they do not watch baseball because it is boring. I admit that I think soccer is boring, but I also admit that I know nothing about the sport nor do I respect it on the level that I should in order to actually have an opinion on it. Therefore, I do not go around saying soccer is boring so much as I go around talking about how much I do not watch it and how little I know/care about it. Baseball is a chess game, one man’s move against another man’s move. Baseball is a fairly slow paced game, but that is part of what makes it exciting.
At any moment a game can turn in one direction then back in another. Monday night was a very good example of this. The game, at first glance, was somewhat unattractive for the Nationals. On Monday night the Nationals got off to a quick start, scoring a run on the first time they came to bat in the bottom of the 1st inning. That lead, however was short lived and eventually the Padres would take the lead. Ross Detwiler did not seem to have his best stuff, and would go 5 innings that I am sure he hopes to learn from. Ross may have not had his best stuff, but there were also 2 errors behind him Detwiler that caused the young starter to give up the lead a couple of different times in his long 5 innings. Ross Detwiler has been solid for the Nationals though, so it is okay for Detwiler to show a little bit of humanity now and then by not having his best game. Sandy Leon had gotten bowled over in the 4th inning after taking a full contact hit from Chase Headley, Leon would get helped off the field and immediately put on the disabled list. Henry Rodriguez had a tough night would get pulled after loading the bases and recording one out in the 9th inning, with an ugly chorus behind him.
Probably the most interesting thing about the game Monday night is when you take a second look at it though. The Nationals would not let Detwiler down, and would eventually go on to win the game with Craig Stammen picking up the win in relief. In the bottom of the 6th inning the Nationals would take a lead that would not be relinquished. Before Leon took the hit that would knock him out of the game, another young player named Bryce Harper (you may have heard of him) hit his first Major League home run, when a slew of fans refused to sit down and let the game continue until he answered the curtain call. A nice offensive display in the bottom of the 8th inning from Chad Tracy and Xavier Nady gave the Nationals 2 more runs with both players hitting home runs. Henry Rodriguez is probably as frustrated as anyone that he could not seem to get the outs in the 9th inning, but Sean Burnett picked up the fireball throwing reliever. Burnett snared a come backer and would end the game on a very smooth 1-2-3 double play. No harm done, the sub horn sounded and the chorus was a more positive tone.
Tuesday was a strange day too, with the Nationals number 1 starter going up against a fairly light hitting Padres team. With outfielders chasing butterflies and some not so great pitches, the Padres would take the lead in the first inning and never look back. The Nationals got one run on Bryce Harper’s second solo shot of his very young career. Strasburg would only go 4 innings, with 4 earned runs, on 7 hits, with 5 strike outs, and 2 walks. Today’s game is another instance of a guy who is in fact human and no one should be even remotely concerned about a bad game by the Stephen Strasburg. It is easy to get low on a loss and high on a win, but every once in a while a “Hot Stuff Incident” occurs and stands to remind us that sometimes you can not do much about whether or not your pitcher is comfortable on the mound. Strasburg is a very fun pitcher to watch and the only thing on my mind is that it is not yet time for the next game to start and that is almost unbearable.
In baseball it is wise to accept that even the best of the best will have a bad game or 2 over the course of a 162 game season. It is also wise to remember that bad players will play well for a bit here and there. Baseball is a game of averages, a game of inches, a game of streaks, and a game of patience. Every once in a while, baseball is a wild game, where you see the amazingly unexpected or where players will have crazy at bats or crazy innings. It is so much fun to watch, because who knows what will happen next. Just always have to hope the team comes back from a deficit, or that the wildness is kept to a minimum. It is always exciting to see what happens next.