So I clicked over to NBC Sports.com last night to see if any of you had added any other hot chick links in what I’ll call the Drew Barrymore thread, and I was greeted with this ugly sight:
Not that NBC is alone in this. The Manning = the 90s Braves meme was all over the place yesterday. Here it is. Here it is again. And look, here it is again. I’m sure it’s in another dozen places.
I can’t decide if Manning or the Braves should be more insulted by this phony, brain dead line of analysis. If anything they should both team up and beat the hell out
of whoever launched the meme in the first place (maybe the Bills and the Ohio State Buckeyes should join them). Oh, how trenchant! Of course any player or team that demonstrates only occasional greatness should be on the defensive and be made to be ashamed of itself. Of course there is nothing worse in sports than to fall just short of a championship. Second place is first-loser, after all. They would have been better off simply giving up before the regular season began. Beats being a lousy stinkin’ choker.
But I suppose I can’t really blame the columnists who spew this stuff. The concept that almost, but not quite reaching the pinnacle evidences some character deficit is probably deeply ingrained in the American psyche. A myth that had to be created in order to protect the masses from the cold hard reality that random chance and dumb luck governs a hell of a lot more of our lives than any of us would care to admit. The good and virtuous always prevail. The weak and flawed always lose. It’s so much easier that way.
The Nationals lost a heartbreaker on Tuesday night, as the Indians overcame a two-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Nationals 7-6. Closer Jonathan Papelbon faced five batters but was unable to record an out, yielding a leadoff walk, a double, a bunt that ended up very successful due to a Ryan Zimmerman throwing error, an intentional walk, and a single. Oliver Perez came in and eventually allowed one of his inherited runners to score, saddling Papelbon with the loss.
Papelbon also served up four runs in the outing before Tuesday’s, on Saturday against the Padres. The two clubs entered the top of the ninth tied 6-6, but a walk followed by three two-out singles and a bases-clearing double off of Papelbon allowed the Padres to take a 10-6 lead.
On the season, Papelbon is 19-for-22 in save chances with a 4.18 ERA and a 30/12 K/BB ratio in 32 1/3 innings. If the season were to end today, the right-hander’s 21.4 percent strikeout rate would be the lowest mark of his career and his 8.6 percent walk rate would be his highest mark since 2010.
Manager Dusty Baker didn’t indicate that he’s going to make a change at closer, but he sounded dissatisfied with Papelbon’s performance thus far. Via Mark Zuckerberg of MASN, Baker said, “He doesn’t have his command, which is evident when you walk the leadoff hitter. But it’s like, what do you say? How does he look? Right now he doesn’t look like Pap. He doesn’t look very good. Usually he doesn’t walk people like that.”
The non-waiver trade deadline is on Monday, August 1. The Nationals, at 58-42, still have a four-game lead over the Marlins and a 4.5-game lead over the Mets. Tuesday’s loss has motivated the club to attempt to upgrade the bullpen, Jon Morosi reports. The Nationals were in the mix for Aroldis Chapman before the Yankees sent him to the Cubs. Perhaps Andrew Miller could be next on the Nats’ wish list.
The Blue Jays announced on Tuesday night that the club traded reliever Drew Storen and some cash to the Mariners in exchange for reliever Joaquin Benoit.
Storen, 28, was designated for assignment by the Jays on Sunday after posting a 6.21 ERA with a 32/10 K/BB ratio in 33 1/3 innings. The Jays acquired him during the offseason from the Nationals in exchange for Ben Revere and a player to be named later.
Benoit, 38, struggled as well, putting up a 5.18 ERA with a 28/15 K/BB ratio in 24 1/3 innings with the Mariners.