By Rand Paul
Obama acts as though we no longer have a Constitution
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Previewing the National League.
If not for the sound system and the organist at Citi Field, blaring life into the otherwise dingy day in New York, you could be excused if you didn't think a major league baseball game was happening inside.
The pitch was a changeup, no different than 178 other changeups Stephen Strasburg had thrown for the Washington Nationals.
Five hours and 19 minutes after Livan Hernandez stood on the mound at Nationals Park for the first time Friday night, Jayson Werth stood 60 feet, 6 inches away from it representing the start of the Nationals' final stand. Philadelphia Phillies closer Ryan Madson had been summoned. A two-run lead was his protect and the Phillies' 81st victory was seemingly moments away.
Ryan Mattheus climbed the mound with more energy pulsing through him than almost any other time in his career. Jordan Zimmermann prayed that he wouldn't "walk the world." Sean Burnett thought about the long road he'd traversed to get to that point and Todd Coffey reminded himself not to put an undue burden on his shoulder while trying to protect his elbow.
HOUSTON | Though the Washington Nationals lost three of their final four games entering the All-Star break, they still were one of the hottest teams in baseball. The coin that had flipped against them in so many one-run games early in the year had turned in their favor.
Though the Washington Nationals lost three of their final four games entering the All-Star break, they still were one of the hottest teams in baseball. The coin that had flipped against them in so many one-run games early in the year had turned in their favor.
John McLaren, red-faced and irate, pointing violently at umpire Mike Estabrook after an eighth-inning out call at first base was reversed, ensured that his first game as interim manager of the Washington Nationals would end abruptly. The way the previous 24 hours had gone for the Nationals, that seemed a fitting way for it to happen.
Two months ago — maybe even two weeks ago — a game like the one the Nationals played against the Orioles on Friday night would have been out of reach after Baltimore's fourth run crossed home plate. While the Nationals pitching and defense have been their strong suits this season, it was no secret that their offense lagged behind.
Cole Kimball figured he was in trouble.
PHILADELPHIA | With Jordan Zimmermann working in the sixth inning Sunday, left-hander Doug Slaten and right-hander Todd Coffey began to stir in the Washington Nationals' bullpen. The double-barreled action ended immediately after Zimmermann recorded the third out of the inning.
In the box score, the Nationals beat the Marlins Thursday night on a two-run home run by Adam LaRoche -- a ball that sailed into the right field seats at Sun Life Stadium in the top of the 11th inning to bring home Ryan Zimmerman and give Washington its second win of the 2011 season.
A cursory glance at a few numbers about the Nationals' bullpen displays a divide in its effectiveness.
Capsules of National League teams, listed in order of finish last year:
Inside a sparsely populated clubhouse Sunday afternoon, Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen sat at their adjacent lockers and shared a few minutes of conversation - and a fist bump.
"It's good, especially at the end of the season," Coffey said. "Our season is going to be a failure no matter what because we didn't go to the playoffs. That's true about every single team [that doesn't win the World Series]. ... I hate to say we failed this year, but we did. We're out of the playoffs. But you always look on the positive side of everything. Now we're figuring out what we've got to do to win next year."
"It's a tough transition period to go from rehab throws, trying to make your arm feel good, to getting people out," Coffey said. "It's a tough deal. It's learning how to play the game again. Basically you took a year off from playing baseball and the game can get quick for you."