Some more to-and-fro in this one.
Derek Lowe got Freddy Sanchez to ground out to begin the top of the seventh inning, but was pulled in favor of Peter Moylan after loading the bases. Juan Uribe followed with a groundball to Alex Gonzalez, who pulled Omar Infante off the second base bag with the throw (though replays were inconclusive), forcing in the tying run. Gonzalez, one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball, has two errors so far tonight.
Braves manager Bobby Cox then brought in left-hander Johnny Venters, who struck out Aaron Rowand for the second out, but allowed a single to Cody Ross to give the Giants a 3-2 lead. It could have been a lot worse for the Braves, as Brian McCann was able to hang on to the relay throw from Matt Diaz to snuff out Pat Burrell at home plate and end the inning.
Frankly, I was a little surprised to see Cody Ross facing Venters in that situation. Ross has earned a reputation as a lefty-killer in his career. Granted, McCann prevented an even bigger inning with a fantastic block of home plate, but Cox may regret using a left-hander there.
It’s currently 3-2 as the game moves to the top of the eighth inning.
Tom Boswell of the Washington Post does frequent Q&As with readers and today he had quite the A to one of their Qs.
The question was about the Nats’ bullpen, which is obviously a glaring weakness on an otherwise excellent team. Following a long answer talking about the approach to bullpen construction, he dropped this:
On Friday, yet ANOTHER National simply walked up to me and said, “When the hell are they going to get this done? What are they waiting for? Waiting is just doing more damage.”
He didn’t even have to say what subject he was talking about or whom “they” were but it’s the bullpen and the Lerners.
A team has a problem when all a reporter has to do is say, “How’s it going?” and an established part of the team blasts the owners for not understanding what’s happening in their own dugout/clubhouse.
The Nats have a bit of a history venting to the Post’s reporters in ways a lot of players don’t vent, but that’s usually when things are going bad overall. These days, things are going pretty good for the Nats, the bum bullpen notwithstanding. I guess one weakness on an otherwise good team is annoying as hell.
But I guess now that they’re getting K-Rod, all of that will end.
The Nationals bullpen is a tire fire. They’re about to add another tire. Per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Washington is about to sign free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez.
K-Rod was released by the Tigers last week after posting an ERA of 7.82 over 28 appearances this season. He has a 1.658 WHIP, is allowing 11.9 hits per nine innings and is posting his highest walk rate in five years. Also worth noting: the Detroit Friggin’ Tigers decided that he was not good enough to be in their bullpen.
So, yeah, good luck with that Washington.