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Thread: Kearns, Nats Caught in the Headlights

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    Please come again pedro's Avatar
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    Kearns, Nats Caught in the Headlights

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...602110_pf.html

    Kearns, Nats Caught in the Headlights
    Diamondbacks 7, Nationals 1

    By Barry Svrluga
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Saturday, April 7, 2007; E01

    There can be times over the course of a season when nearly every play -- an odd hop or a ball in the wind, a bad instinct or a poor read -- seeks out and finds one particular player. That man is stripped in front of an entire stadium, exposed to the fans and a television audience to boot, nowhere to turn, unable to hide.

    Meet Austin Kearns last night. Check the box score, and he's a bit player in the Washington Nationals' hideous 7-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Nationals' fourth in five games to open the season. The eye-popping numbers there were provided by Diamondbacks right-hander Micah Owings, who made his major league debut with five innings of one-hit ball and was helped by a two-out, three-run homer from Arizona center fielder Chris Young off Jerome Williams in the top of the sixth.

    The Nationals entered the ninth with only that one hit on the board, failed to get a hit in six at-bats with runners in scoring position -- making them 0 for 19 in the first two games of this series -- and committed their seventh error in five games.

    "It was pretty bad offensively," Kearns said. "You got one hit going to the ninth, and no runs, that's unacceptable. We can't have that."

    Kearns? Statistically, a quiet 0 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout. On a painfully chilly night in front of 19,234 bundled-up zealots at RFK Stadium, nothing that jumps off the page. Just don't tell Kearns that.

    "Sometimes you have those days where it just seems like you're right in the middle of things," he said. "Sometimes they're good. Sometimes they're bad. Tonight, it wasn't a good one."

    Standing in front of his locker, he immediately ticked off the list: "A play up against the wall. A dumb base-running play. A low liner that was in the lights that I tried to stay with."

    Where to start? Entering the fourth inning, Williams was already in uncharted territory for Washington. No Nationals starter through the first turn in the rotation had pitched two scoreless innings to open a game, yet Williams set down the first 10 men he faced.

    "He kept us in the game," third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. "He threw strikes, got on the mound. He wasn't walking around. That's what we need."

    But when Alberto Callaspo finally got the Diamondbacks' first hit, a bouncing ball into left field, Williams fell victim to his defense. Ronnie Belliard took the throw at second but failed to realize Callaspo was racing to the bag. Belliard didn't apply what would have been an easy tag out.

    With two outs, that set up Kearns's first wild ride. Williams made what he said was one of only two mistakes on the night, grooving a fastball to Chad Tracy that the Arizona third baseman sent high to right. Kearns, who has a reputation as a smart defender, raced to the corner. Still on the run, he jumped, slammed into the wall, and the ball caromed away -- an RBI triple.

    "I definitely thought it was a ball I should've caught," Kearns said.

    When Zimmerman followed with his second error of the season, Arizona led 2-0. Kearns kept it there in the fifth, gunning down Arizona catcher Miguel Montero at the plate.

    "It didn't help us score any," he said.

    Other than Ryan Church's way-too-little, way-too-late solo homer in the bottom of the ninth, nothing helped in that regard. The Nationals' best chance came in the fifth, still down by two. With the bases loaded on two walks and a hit batter, Owings faced Zimmerman for the first time since the pitcher was at Georgia Tech and the hitter at the University of Virginia.

    "He's gotten a lot better," Zimmerman said.

    Zimmerman was looking for an off-speed pitch, and Owings started him instead with an 89-mph fastball, taken for a strike. The next fastball came in at 93, and Zimmerman fouled it back. And, in an 0-2 hole in a key spot in a game, Zimmerman couldn't lay off Owings's next offering -- an 88-mph, chest-high fastball that he simply swung through.

    "It was a bad pitch for me to swing at," Zimmerman said.

    That chance gone by, Young hit his three-run bomb off Williams in the sixth. "Fastball down the middle, and he teed off on it," Williams said. "That's my fault."

    So Kearns tried to create something in the sixth. Down 5-0, Kearns was on third after a walk, a wild pitch and a groundout. Brian Schneider hit a grounder to Tracy. Kearns danced off the base.

    "I thought I could sneak a run in there . . . and ended up looking like an idiot out there," he said. He got caught up in a rundown, an easy mark.

    "Maybe some guys [are] trying to do too much, like with his base running," Manager Manny Acta said. "We're down by five runs."

    What could be left? In the eighth, a low liner off the bat of Conor Jackson sunk as Kearns charged, glancing off his body for an RBI single. He did all he could, picking his grass-stained body up off the ground, turning and walking back to his spot in right, the glare of the lights shining down on him the entire way.
    Get your nunchucks and the keys to your dad's car. I know where we can get a gun

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Kearns, Nats Caught in the Headlights

    Everything I've heard & read makes me think Manny Acta is the second coming of Davey Johnson. This is just a guy who gets it. Period.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Kearns, Nats Caught in the Headlights

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    Everything I've heard & read makes me think Manny Acta is the second coming of Davey Johnson. This is just a guy who gets it. Period.
    Hopefully he'll survive the beatings.

    Over 200 PA's for the Nats this season and only one has occurred when they held the lead, plus they are already -24 in runs after (almost) 6 games

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    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Kearns, Nats Caught in the Headlights

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    Everything I've heard & read makes me think Manny Acta is the second coming of Davey Johnson. This is just a guy who gets it. Period.

    Acta isn't even going to be the second coming of Tom Runnels unless he gets some pitching.
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    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Kearns, Nats Caught in the Headlights

    They're as doomed as doomed can be.

    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
    ~ Mark Twain

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Kearns, Nats Caught in the Headlights

    Managers don't get fired when sucky teams lose. The get fired when they lose despite having a decent team. Any owner/GM who expects Acta to win more than 60 games with this bunch is delusional.... then again, JB isn't the most rational guy.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Kearns, Nats Caught in the Headlights

    Yeah, but sometimes they're the fall guys when the GM who assembled the team goes scott free.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
    ~ Mark Twain

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    You're soaking in it! MartyFan's Avatar
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    Re: Kearns, Nats Caught in the Headlights

    The ownership of the Nats likes Manny...this season is to hang Bowden out there and remove him from his post...he left the organization behind the 8 ball by doing and not doing things last season to bring in draft picks...so mmy thought is that the ownership is going to let Bowden OWN this season and then replace him with a real GM.

    If I was one of his advisor's I would be kissing up with the Reds F.O.

    I think this will bring Larkin back to Cincy as well as Jose Rijo.
    "Sometimes, it's not the sexiest moves that put you over the top," Krivsky said. "It's a series of transactions that help you get there."

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    Baseball card addict MrCinatit's Avatar
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    Re: Kearns, Nats Caught in the Headlights

    Quote Originally Posted by MartyFan View Post
    I think this will bring Larkin back to Cincy as well as Jose Rijo.
    One can only hope. Those two do not belong there...they belong here.

  11. #10
    Where's my chair? REDREAD's Avatar
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    Re: Kearns, Nats Caught in the Headlights

    Quote Originally Posted by MartyFan View Post
    The ownership of the Nats likes Manny...this season is to hang Bowden out there and remove him from his post...he left the organization behind the 8 ball by doing and not doing things last season to bring in draft picks...so mmy thought is that the ownership is going to let Bowden OWN this season and then replace him with a real GM.
    .
    Actually, if the Nats wanted to let Bowden go, they could've just not renewed him after last season.
    They really don't need a reason to fire him. It happens all the time.
    Doesn't it seem a bit silly to think the Nationals owners got together and said "Let's cut the payroll to the bone and stink this season just so we have a reason to fire Bowden".

    The Nationals decided to punt this season and spend a lot of money on building the farm. They would've likely done that strategy no matter who the GM was.

    Maybe Bowden will not be renewed after this season, but logic says that if they already wanted to get rid of him, they would not have brought him back this year.
    Thank you Walt and Bob for going for it in 2010-2014!

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Kearns, Nats Caught in the Headlights

    6 games into the season and the Nationals have held the lead only once, after the last at bat win they had in game 3.

    No team in MLB history has never held the lead as little as the Nationals in the first week of the season. Once attrition hits that bullpen The Great Peshtigo Fire will look tame in comparison.

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    Let's ride BRM's Avatar
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    Re: Kearns, Nats Caught in the Headlights

    We know the Nats have a terrible pitching staff but do they have the ability to be historically bad?

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    Harry Chiti Fan registerthis's Avatar
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    Re: Kearns, Nats Caught in the Headlights

    Quote Originally Posted by BRM View Post
    We know the Nats have a terrible pitching staff but do they have the ability to be historically bad?
    I think so.

    Not only do they have a deplorable pitching staff, but the offense is sorely lacking as well. This isn't a team that's built for anything. The Nationals are counting on Austin Kearns and Ryan Zimmerman to provide the bulk of the team's offense--that should send up red flags from here to the moon. Arguably their greatest offensive trheat--Nick Johnson--is on the shelf until at least June, and there's no guarantee that he'll come back with any degree of success.

    meanwhile, you've got guys like Nook Logan, Christian Guzman, Ronnie Belliard and other assorted characters playing at key positions on your team.

    I don't think there's any doubt that this team has sprinted out of the gates on their way towards a 100+ loss season. That's a virtual certainty. But considering the division they play in, and the fact that there's no help to speak of on the horizon in th efarm system...this team could be approcahing levels of suckitude not witnessed since 1962.
    We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Kearns, Nats Caught in the Headlights

    Quote Originally Posted by BRM View Post
    We know the Nats have a terrible pitching staff but do they have the ability to be historically bad?
    Probably, right now they are pace to surrender 1215 runs and score 486.

    Of course that won't happen, but even if they add 200 runs to the scoring at the expense of the runs allowed it will still be

    686/1015

    Here are the worst runs allowed in a season

    Code:
    SEASON
    MODERN (1900-)
    
    RSAA displayed only--not a sorting criteria
    
    RUNS                          YEAR      R      RSAA    
    1    Phillies                 1930     1199     -174   
    2    Tigers                   1996     1103     -231   
    3    Browns                   1936     1064     -104   
    4    A's                      1936     1045     -129   
    5    Phillies                 1929     1036     -105   
    6    Browns                   1939     1035     -170   
    7    Rockies                  1999     1028       -2   
    8    Browns                   1937     1023     -176   
    9    A's                      1939     1022     -167   
    10   Braves                   1911     1021     -193   
    11   Phillies                 1923     1008      -68   
    12   Rangers                  2000      974      -60   
    13   Royals                   2006      971     -123   
    14   Rangers                  2003      969     -108   
    15   Rangers                  2001      968     -197

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    Let's ride BRM's Avatar
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    Re: Kearns, Nats Caught in the Headlights

    So, they are on pace to surrender the most runs in history. That's a special group there. They will probably improve somewhat but they appear to be a lock to finish in the top 15 (or bottom 15 if you look at it that way) of all time.


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