Rants, musings and incoherent thoughts from a guy who is way too obsessed with the Washington Nationals.
Dukes' fault tonight. both those balls were catchable by an average center fielder. he misplayed both of them into two runs.
Agree to a point. They could well have been caught and probably should have been caught. Villone's quotes in the Nationals Journal were spot on, too. They were hit awfully hard. He's been getting hit hard lately.
I don't begrudge any outfielder for not making a catch right up against the wall like the one Dukes missed last night. Could it have been caught? Sure. Should it have been caught? Not necessarily. It would have taken a perfect play to do it.The second ball, yeah, maybe he should have caught that one. Without the camera on him all the way, though, we don't necessarily know that he got all that bad a read on it off the bat. Was it Milledge-level bad? I doubt it. And as Dibble pointed out at the time, it was a very hard hit ball. Probably would have required a perfect read on the part of any outfielder to catch it. So, given that and the unearned run from Zimmerman's error earlier, I wouldn't put the majority of the blame for last night's loss on Dukes.And as for Villone, isn't this like three times in a row now that he's come in to preserve a win and turned it into a loss? His low ERA is deceptive. He's had some Cabrera-like luck in keeping it down thanks to unearned runs due to errors behind him.
Villone was 3-0 on June 9 and is 3-4 now. Four of the past five losses are his.Before that, as you note, he was a little bit of Fool's Gold. He loaded the bases and had Ryan Howard up with no one out when rain blessed him against Philadelphia. Against the Os, Tavarez took the loss when Villone gave up the massive triple to Aubrey Huff.I think a CF like Maxwell catches one of those two balls. Of course, he also goes hitless. Carpenter's point about the Nats not really having an outfielder who goes back well was a good one - can that be taught or do you just have to have it?Defense in general kills this team more consistently than anything else, though relief pitching is right behind.
What was the deal with Elijah's hand? If he wasn't 100%, he should not have been playing and Corey Patterson would have made that catch in CF. Next to Ryan Zimmerman, Corey Patterson is the best defensive player currently on the roster. Yes, his bat is a separate issue.
"What was the deal with Elijah's hand? If he wasn't 100%, he should not have been playing and Corey Patterson would have made that catch in CF."The deal with Elijah's hand was that on the catch he missed at the wall, rather than him getting a glove on it the ball came down and hit his throwing hand. So yeah, swap in Patterson at the exact instant that happened and the catch would have been made. If Manny wasn't such a lousy manager he'd have done that."Carpenter's point about the Nats not really having an outfielder who goes back well was a good one - can that be taught or do you just have to have it?"Lots of commenters (not just on Nats telecasts) have said that the hardest play for an outfielder to make is on a ball hit right at him. It has to be largely instinct, and if the player doesn't have the natural instinct then maybe he can still learn and improve with repetition. But can a coach say "I will go out and teach him how to do that"? Probably not.
You have hit on a point that has frustrated me. Why do we continually put people in CF who aren't centerfielders.I know we want the best lineup outhere hitting wise, but I would rather have Maxwell's non-bat in the lineup then Dukes not making plays like the two that weren't made last night. I felt like Maxwell would catch both of those.
Dukes is a corner outfielder. Would a legit centerfielder whose range could help mask some of Dunn's lack of range help, even if he has a weak stick? I think so. What's the diff if we have Maxwell's non-bat out there instead of the essentially non-bat of a Kearns/Willingham platoon? Bring up Maxwell - He already has the Nat's outfield play of the year already. Play Dunn, Max, and Dukes in the field. The offense has gone into slumber. The Nats win a few of these recent games with some good defense. I thinks we need some gloves right now more than bats.
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