By Josh Kramer
An age-old saying no matter where you go is, “Three strikes and you’re out.” You have probably heard this saying since you were toddler. Whether it be at home. On the baseball field. At school from disciplinarians. Or even in the “real world” work environment. Sadly, these days, companies do not typically give people three strikes. Generally, an employee gets one or two depending on the extent of the situation.
Last night, the saying got thrown in the trash literally. The Washington Nationals, the hottest team in baseball (yes the Nationals are the hottest team in the MLB), took on the White Sox in an interleague game at U.S. Cellular Field, the home of Chicago’s second child. Now many are you are familiar with the current state of the Washington Nationals. They are a team that is playing better than they ever have since the move to the nation’s capital in 2005, yet their manager just walked yesterday.
Jim Riggleman is now known as a “boss” for the way he exited the Nationals organization. Anyways, in Game 1 of the post Riggleman era, Washington played a 14 inning thriller against the White Sox. And in typical Nats fashion, they found a way to win despite blowing the game on three different occasions.
In Major League baseball, when a closer blows a save, teams typically lose. If a team blows a lead again in extra innings, they are dead in the water. But if a team blows a yet another lead later in extra innings, they mine as well leave the ball park, because they are not winning the game. Last evening, the Nationals defied all logic, and escaped a wild 14 inning saga to win their 12th game in the last 13 they have played.
In the bottom of 9th inning last night, Chicago’s Mark Teahan hits a three run homer to tie the game. Kiss a three to zero lead goodbye. Extra innings time.
Laynce Nix, the former Cincinnati Red who sports arguably the biggest upper body in baseball goes deep for the Nats in the top half of the 10th to give Washington their second lead of the night. Todd Coffey, another former Cincinnati Red and a current Nationals reliever, throws a wild pitch with Omar Vizquel, Mr. Gold Glove himself, on third base. Lead number two relinquished.
Nationals shortstop, Brian Bixler a native of Sandusky, Ohio, drives a pitch to deep right, to give Washington their third lead of the night in the top half of the 12th. Have no fear White Sox, A.J. Pierzynski is here. The White Sox catcher teed off on a pitch to deeper right than Brian Bixler did in the top half of the inning, and we are tied up at 5 apiece.
So normally at this point, you would think that a White Sox victory would be inevitable. I mean three blown saves in the same game? You’re not only out at this point, but you should just leave the ball park and take your loss. Three blown saves in two weeks is an embarrassment, much less in the same game.
When your hot though, your hot. And Washington typifies what it means to be hot as we head into the end of June. Come the 14th inning, the Nationals put up a four spot, and found a way to hold the lead in the bottom half of the inning.
The post Riggleman era is off to a wild start.
Davey Johnson, when he takes over this rising franchise, will not accept three saves being blown in a two-week period, much less in the same night.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.