Final Score: Nationals 5, Braves 4
Dame of the Game:
Kurt Suzuki: 2-6. It might seem like an unorthodox choice, but Kurt Suzuki had the accidental infield single that set up Chad Tracy’s dramatic walkoff easy groundball to second. You’re the Dame of the Game, Kurt Suzuki–take a Kurtsy.
Shame of the Game:
Dan Uggla: 1-6, K, that one play that ended the game. The “uggly” pun is almost too easy. But then it’s really his fault for living up so obviously to his last name.
Last night’s game was The Most Important Game of the Year for the Nationals, and I was there to witness it. What an honor. I was also there to witness The Most Important Drizzle of the Year. What an honor.
When the rain finally went on its merry way, the game got off to a pretty exciting start. The Braves scored a run. The Nats scored a lot of runs! The Braves scored one less than a lot of runs. That all added up to things being tied after four and a half innings, which I naively thought at the time would be halfway through the game. Silly me.
After Jordan Zimmermann’s mediocre 5th inning fastball was legitimately raped by Jason Heyward for a two run homer, he wisely dropped out. Which makes Zimmerman considerably wiser than this guy. The good news for that Nats was that they could at least be sure that Heyward’s home run would not be reproduced later in the game.
Enter the bullpen, which developed an irritating habit of walking a lot of people–five of them in its first three innings of work, in fact. My viewing experience of this wildness was not improved by the Nats’ decision to display this rather oxymoronic ad:
The walks were most definitely unhealthy, but the Nats survived the walk-plague and made it to extra innings. Then they made it to some more extra innings.
In the bottom of the 13th, Edwin Jackson started warming up, indicating that a position player appearance on the mound was mere innings away. Who would it have been? Bryce Harper, throwing uncontrolled heat? Adam LaRoche, a lefty specialist with a sweeping 40 mph slider? Kurt Suzuki, just standing on the mound and sobbing? All great options. I could barely contain my excitement.
Alas, it was not to be. The Nats put runners on the corners with one out, and Chad Tracy shambled to the batters box. Tracy hit a groundball straight to Dan Uggla, playing in, which initially did not seem to be a good outcome for the Nats. Uggla had several things he could do that would not lead to the Nats winning, including turning a double play and throwing Danny Espinosa out at the plate.
He did none of those things. Instead, he just stood there holding the ball for a while, then dropped it. Let’s try and take a peek into Dan Uggla’s mind as that play developed.
“I really hope this ball doesn’t come to me. Please don’t hit it to me. OH NO. Oh god. Okay. I caught it. Now what? What do I do? Should I throw it? Should I run somewhere? Should I hide? Why are so many people watching me? Dear God why have you forsaken me now? Maybe if I just drop the ball someone else will take care of it and everything will be okay.
That didn’t work, did it. Fuck.”
I haven’t laughed so much at a single baseball player’s failures since 2008. Hey, I’ll take it.