Nationals, Games 16 & 17: Nationals 8-3, Cardinals 6-5

2011 April 21
by Don Hammack

Record: 9-8. Standing: 3rd, 2 GB. Streak: L1.

Loss

Win
Feeling good: I’m not going to complain about a loss after a four-game win streak. The Nats rallied to beat Milwaukee in the first game, then soundly dispatched the Brewers in a Sunday doubleheader, shutting up the always immature Nyjer Morgan. And a second consecutive doubleheader started out just promising, with the Nationals putting up a big crooked number early against St. Louis. The pitching chinks in the armor appeared late in the opener, and the nightcap was disappointing.

Feeling bad: Not going to complain about being above .500.

Feeling shame:

Coverage of note:

Nationals or Natinals:

Nationals, Game 12: Phillies 4, Natinals 0

2011 April 15
by Don Hammack

Record: 5-7. Standing: 3rd, 4 GB. Streak: L2.

Loss

Feeling good: About Jordan Zimmermann, and Jordan Zimmermann alone. He deserved better tonight, but runner-up to Cliff Lee ain’t too shabby.

Feeling bad: Back-to-back games where nobody can feel like the Nats have a chance to win is a terrible feeling. Washington played pretty well, but two losses is two losses.

Feeling shame: Nats defense let down Zimmermann and the relievers. Only one run was earned, and the Nats pitching staff deserved better striking out six and walking none.

Nationals or Natinals: The only ‘O’ was the total runs. Natinals.

Nationals, Game 10: Nationals 7, Phillies 4

2011 April 13
by Don Hammack

Record: 5-5. Standing: Tied 2nd, 2 GB. Streak: W2.

Win

Feeling good: Heck, yeah! Feeling great! Nats at .500. Jayson Werth goes 2-for-4 with a homer, a double and a walk in his first game against his former team. Livan Hernandez also baffled ‘em with BS in another strong start, six strikeouts and a walk in getting to the seventh inning, plus a squeeze bunt.

Feeling bad: Knowing that Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee are back-to-back the next two days. And that Ryan Zimmerman is on the DL.

Feeling shame: Nope.

Nationals or Natinals: The ‘O’ is strong after this one.

Nationals, Game 9: Nationals 7, Mets 3 (11 innings)

2011 April 10
by Don Hammack

Record: 4-5. Standing: Tied 3rd, 3 GB. Streak: W1.

Win

Feeling good: I left to walk the Biloxi Bay Bridge with the Nats down 3-1. Smelled a little like a repetitious no-offense, good-pitching afternoon. Got back home pleasantly surprised by an extra-innings victory. Ivan Rodriguez is starting to get some hits, and the pitching staff struck out 17 guys. 17. Wow.

Feeling bad: I feel bad for doubting the Nats.

Feeling shame: I go to the box. Two minutes. I feel shame.

Nationals or Natinals: NatiOnals. (No ‘O’ for Saturday’s loss, though.)

Nationals, Game 7: Nationals 6, Mets 2

2011 April 8
by Don Hammack

Record: 3-4. Standing: Tied 4th, 2 GB. Streak: W2.

Win

Feeling good: Jordan Zimmermann got another good start under his belt, and added a two-RBI single to give himself the lead in the second. The Nats bullpen expanded its roster of contributors to include Doug Slaten and Chad Gaudin, then got another stellar performance from Tyler Clippard to get out of a seventh inning pinch. The team went 3-for-9 with RISP, and Ivan Rodriguez got his first hit of the regular season.

Feeling bad: Ian Desmond puts up an 0-for-5 as the leadoff struggle continues.

Feeling shame: Shame struck out today.

Nationals or Natinals: Ohhh, baby, ‘O’. Nationals.

Nationals, Game 6: Nationals 5, Marlins 3 (11 innings)

2011 April 8
by Don Hammack

Record: 2-4. Standing: 5th, 3 GB. Streak: W1.

Win

Feeling good: For finally beating the Marlins. That almost never happens. Literally. The Nats had lost seven straight to Florida, and a mind-boggling 41 of the last 55 meetings. Also, Tyler Clippard was the nuts in the sixth, entering with runners at second and third and nobody out. He got a groundout allowing a run, then two strikeouts, throwing 10 strikes in 11 pitches. That started a stellar night for the bullpen, which didn’t allow a run in the next five innings, striking out six more batters and allowing just two hits.

Feeling bad: Nothing really. Didn’t you read? 14-44. Any win is a good win in that joke of a ballpark near Miami. (And is the new ballpark they’re building down there going to have a capacity of 5,000 to fit in all their regular fans?)

Feeling shame: Danny Espinoza tried to steal third in the top of the 10th and got gunned down. There were runners at first and second with one out and the top of the order up. Yeah, not real smart.

Nationals or Natinals: Big “O” today.

Save It or Shave It

2011 April 8
by Don Hammack

Our Lady of Fatima in Biloxi is having it’s main yearly fundraiser, the International Spring Festival, coming up May 13-15.

The idea was pitched, by various people at various times (sometimes by the same people at different times), as you can save your hair if people pitch in $1,000, or you have to shave your head if people donate $1,000. It settled on something to the effect of, “If you volunteer, we’ll shave your head at the festival if you don’t raise $1,000.” (In fact, you can see a different iteration on the fest’s page.)

So I got to thinking. What’s the best way to raise money? What are people interested in? Do they want to see my bald pate, or do they want to do good deeds and save my flowing locks? I have a feeling I know the answer, and it’s the opposite of what the organizers settled on.

I’m going to give you the chance to decide: Save It or Shave It. I’ll take donations from anybody willing to cough up any amount. You vote with your pocket book. When we get to $1,000, whichever is in front, Save It or Shave It, wins. (I’ll gladly take any additional donations after that point, but I’ve got to set a finish line, right?) If I get buzzed by raising $1,000, I’ll use the chrome dome photo for a month on the various interweb places you might run across this. If I don’t raise $1K, you won’t deserve those pictures.

Ooooo, burn.

I know, I know. If you do nothing, donate nothing, I’ll get my head shaved. That’s fine, sit on your wallets. Reach for the bill with your alligator arms.

Or, you can donate, help a good cause, and make me look like a doofus. Contact me on Facebook, Twitter or here at dh _at_ donhammack.com, and I’ll take your pledge and give you the address to send it to.

Thank you for your consideration.

Nationals, Game 5: Marlins 7, Natinals 4

2011 April 7
by Don Hammack

Record:1-4 . Standing: 5th, 3 GB. Streak: L3.

Loss

Feeling good: Only for 4.5 innings. Livan Hernandez was pitching well, Ian Desmond finally gave Washington a base hit out of the leadoff spot (he wound up 4-for-5 to raise his average 222 points to, um, .222.

Feeling bad: Outside of him, the Nats didn’t hit much. Their three runs in the second inning were a bit of a mirage: a walk, a single, a fielder’s choice, a sac bunt, a safety squeeze for a base hit, a walk, a sac fly and a groundout. Lots of runners left on base.

Feeling shame: The bottom of the fifth was ugly. “Watching” via MLB.com’s game tracker, it was death by a thousand cuts. Hernandez with five walks in five innings, struggling to find Tim Tschida’s strike zone. Chad Gaudin was not effective. Again.

Nationals or Natinals: No “O”.

Nationals, Game 4: Marlins 3, Natinals 2 (10 innings)

2011 April 6
by Don Hammack

Record: 1-3. Standing: 5th, 2 GB. Streak: L2.

Loss

Feeling good: Still, the starting pitching. Jason Marquis went 6.1 innings, allowing two runs. Nats starters have thrown 23.2 innings, allowed eight runs with a sub-1.0 WHIP still. Wilson Ramos had another good game at the plate.

Feeling bad: Two more errors, including the back-breaking error by Jayson Werth in the bottom of the 10th. A routine play becomes the downfall. Where have we heard that before?

Feeling shame: Third-base coach Bo Porter for his go-no-come-back efforts with Jerry Hairston Jr. in the eighth.

Nationals or Natinals: Feels like it’s still the bad days. No “O”. 2-2 for the season.

Nationals, Game 3: Braves 11, Natinals 2

2011 April 3
by Don Hammack

Record: 1-2. Standing: 1-2, Tied 4th. Streak: L1.

Loss

Feeling good: Only about the starting pitching. Livan Hernandez, John Lannan and Jordan Zimmerman have combined for 17.1 IP and allowed six runs. I’ll take that. Their WHIP is under 1.

Feeling bad: Yeah, about everything else. Carla and I came back from dinner and the Braves were up 3-1 in the sixth inning. We did some super-exciting spring cleaning (housework!) and I turned the tube back on expecting not to find the game on. Oh, it was on, because Atlanta had piled up eight runs. Sounds like the bullpen was bad, defense was back to the 2010 vintage, and the bats managed just four hits.

Feeling shame: Brian Broderick (54.00) and Chad Gaudin (40.50) sport those crazy reliever first-weekend ERAs.

Nationals or Natinals: Natinals. No ‘O’. No doubt. 2-1 for the season.