- Giants 5, Nationals 2
Sometimes one big inning is all you need, but that's the one big inning that the Nationals can never seem to get. Instead Livan (with an assist from Tony Blanco) gave up five runs before recording an out in the first. If you only score the game from the bottom of the first on, Livan pitched a gem. He threw seven more innings of shut out ball before giving way to Jason "Harvey" Bergmann who retired the side in order in the ninth. It's hard to feel like this game accomplished anything, what with the cavalcade of backups playing, but it should have definitively answered the question, can Tony Blanco be a big league first baseman? Answer: NO! All kidding aside though, I wish Tony well next year in Double-A ball.
The Kevin Maas Effect
Ryan Zimmerman certainly looks like the real deal. Back-to-back 3 for 4 days at the plate have raised his average a Rick Short-like .483, and he just missed his first big league homer last night, crushing a double off the left field fence. But the kid's only been up for three weeks. Pitchers don't have a book on him yet. The test will be how he does long about next May, when major league pitchers figure out how to pitch him. Baseball history is littered with supernova players, guys who burned bright for half a season or a full year, then flamed out and disappeared.
A couple of caveats. Zimmer looks like a hitter, not a slugger, which is good. He doesn't overswing, and rarely strikes out swinging (6 Ks in 29 ABs being an admittedly small sample). So the signs that he might avoid the fate of Sam Horn and Joe Charboneau, among may others, are encouraging.