Saturday, August 31, 2013

Nationals Fail to Support Zimmermann

Lower scoring game. Very winnable. Nationals loose. My post on the low scoring games the Nationals' play and seem unable to win happens again with this loss.

Once again the team couldn't seem to score with two outs. Really good teams are able to do that. It also didn't help to have Bryce Harper have this type of at bat:

With the count 3-0, Knorr gave Harper the green light to swing. “Lefty-on-lefty, it might be one of the best pitches he’s gonna get right there,” Knorr said.

Rice threw an inside fastball, right on the borderline between strike and ball. “I thought I got a pitch that I could really handle,” Harper said. He took an aggressive hack but foul-tipped the ball at the catcher’s feet.

Harper bounced Rice’s 3-1 fastball to second. He put his head down, tossed his bat and trotted to first base. When Murphy bobbled the ball, Harper had only reached about a third of the way to first.

“He’s pretty good over there so, in that situation I think he makes that play every single day, so,” Harper said. “I guess I’ll learn from it.”

There were two solo home runs for the Nats. One by Wilson Ramos in the third inning and the other by Steve Lombardozzi in the eighth.

Jordan pitched a hell of a game. Only one really bad pitch in the fourth which yielded a home run. Otherwise he was just about perfect. Got into several jams and then promptly got out of them. I have to say he is really a joy to watch. After the home run he just got back to work. 

I guess you can say this is another one that got away.

On the bright side there was a free t-shirt and fireworks.

Jordan Zimmermann warming up before the start of the game

Wilson Ramos crossing home plate on his solo home run.

Steve Lombardozzi

Friday, August 30, 2013

Back to the Nats

What a great night for baseball. Jordan Zimmermann goes for win 16. 

Have a great seat. 

There was a free t-shirt and after the game fireworks. 

Who could ask for anything more. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013

Charlie and Linus at Home

I'm working from home for a little while. Charlie and Linus keep me on my toes. They will only allow me to stay in front of the computer for so long and then put a stop to it. Charlie sometimes like to help out with work. He especially likes to walk across the key board.

But usually in the afternoon they slow down and decide it's just time to relax.

Afternoon nap time

More afternoon nap time

Charlie helps out with my work

Linus decides to get away from it all

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

I saw this on my way home from picking my car up from my dealership (more on that later).

This is a parking lot at a local mall in Maryland.

This woman is standing in the middle of the street in the parking lot.

Not in the parking lanes or on the sidewalk but literally in the middle of the street. She is texting. I noticed her when I pulled in. I found a space. I then walk toward the entrance to the mall and there she is still texting standing the in the middle of the street.

I'm assuming she was doing this for awhile before I arrived and did so after I went into the mall.

Again how stupid can you get.

But after all texting seems to trump just about anything. And I guess while texting all other major brain functions — like say common sense — completely shut down.

I do so wish someone had come along and blared their horn at this idiot!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Smile for Wednesday

Here's part of a series from Peanuts about a solar eclipse. I especially like the last panel. How often has something like that happened. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Nationals Crushed by the Cubs

That's the only way you can describe an 11 to 1 loss. This is the Nationals' 64th loss and matches the total number they had for all of last year. On top of the losses to the Braves over the weekend. This is like the third time Jordan Zimmermann has just been shelled.

Last week seemed to be shaping up pretty well for the Nationals. But then it all came apart which is essentially what's been happening this year. They can't score any runs on Sunday and lose to the Braves 2 to 1. And there were several chances to score but the Nats just couldn't do it. Then there was Friday's 15 inning game which wouldn't have happened if Soriano hadn't given up a two run home run in the bottom of the 9th. Very similar to what happened the night before when Soriano did the exact same thing and allowed the Giants to win.

The inability to score has been the Nationals' downfall this season. But it has really been bad in low scoring games.

It's summed up in a chat with Tom Boswell yesterday on the Post site:
Here is, perhaps, the key to the Nats season: Their inability to score runs -- at all -- in many of their best-pitched games. When a team gives up only two runs, it wins 70 percent of the time. When it gives up three runs, it wins about 60 percent of the time. That's exactly how the Nats played last year -- like a normal team with normal support for good pitching.

EVERY team in baseball is at or above .500 this season in games where it allows only two or three runs. EXCEPT the Nationals who are an almost unimaginably bad 17-24! Normally, an average team would win more than 65 percent of those games or, in the Nats case, go about about 27 wins instead of 17.

So, why are the Nats 60-63 instead of 70-53 and in the middle of playoff contention? Plenty of things. But one key factor is that their offense is not simply bad, it is absolutely awful in close low-scoring games.

The goal now should be to try and end the season above .500. The notion of making the playoffs is just not realistic. Maybe it never was the way this season has gone. Here's a goal end up five games above .500 which just might and I say might be possible.

It's just sad to see a team with such talent be in such a rut and unable to get out of it.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Washington at Sunset

Here are a couple of pictures from my walk this evening. It was a wonderful walk and a fantastic sunset.

Linus Loves His Ice

Linus loves his plate of ice.

There's a little back ground about this story. I got these great ice trays for a Christmas present a few years back. They are designed so the cubes can easily fit into a water bottle. The cubes are long and narrow as you can see below.

One day while I was getting ready to go spinning and getting my water bottle all set up, I noticed that Linus liked to lick the pieces of ice that had fallen on the floor while I was filling up the bottle.

One day I emptied the trays onto a plate. What I didn't use I put on the floor to see what would happen. The first time not all that much. Linus just looked at it. But the second time he spent a good half an hour happily licking away at the ice. Now every time I open the freezer Linus is there hoping to get some ice.

Here's he is enjoying a recent plate of ice.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Strasburg Pitches a Gem of a Game

Wow! Let me say that again WOW!
One more time


For once this season everything was in sync. The Nationals scored runs 6 of them. And the pitching was amazing. Strasburg pitched his first full game and it was a shut out.

From the Post:

Stephen Strasburg emerged from the dugout in the ninth inning and jogged to the mound. As he fired his warmup pitches, the crowd cheered and stood. His first-inning entrance music, the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army,” blared over the speakers. In his young but well-documented major league career, the right-handed starter had never experienced this feeling.

He has struck out 14 batters in a game. He has also hit 100 mph on the radar gun. He was the first overall pick in 2009 draft. But until Sunday night, he had not stood on the mound in the ninth inning in the majors nor had he thrown a complete game.

In one of the most dominant and efficient outings of his career, Strasburg finally achieved a milestone he had so longed for as a member of the Washington Nationals. He entered this season without the chains of an innings limit and a growing leash from Manager Davey Johnson and vowed to be a workhorse in the starting rotation.

Also the Nats swept the series against the Phillies who could ask for anything more. But there was more Teddy won the presidents' race!

Strasburg going through his warm ups

Even Teddy won the presidents' race!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I Love the Racing Presidents

Even when they aren't running. Yes. I guess I'm obsessed with them. But what a great idea for mascots. 

Hoping to Sweep the Phillies

Another game at Nats Park as the Nationals go for the sweep of Philadelphia. After the disaster with the Braves, this would be a wonderful change of pace for the Nationals: a sweep at home and not by the other team. 

It remains to be seen if the Nats will be able to make the playoffs. The only way I see them getting in is as a wild card. The Braves have the division wrapped up (unless they have a melt down of epic proportions which I don't see happening). 

There is some hope that the Nats can do this. But from now on they have to be playing their A game not what they've done up to this point in the season. 

One other quick note the game today starts at 5:05 which is a very strange time to me. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Anyone Need a New Bike Seat?

I was at REI yesterday looking for gifts for my brother's birthday which is on Monday (yes I know the presents won't reach him on time and neither will his card but I did get him something that he will actually be able to open on his birthday).

So I'm looking around the store and I look to the section that has bike seats and I see this.

Now isn't this just to die for. And it's only $42. But you better hurry because it's the last one left.

I'm just going to say who in their right mind would want to ride on a Hibiscus? Who knew there was a market for this?

Friday, August 09, 2013

The Wolverine

I saw this last week. This it the fifth movie where Hugh Jackman has played Wolverine. I have to say this is a much better movie than the first stand alone Wolverine movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine. That one was just completely flat.

On to The Wolverine. This picks up after the last X-Men movie. Logan has given up being Wolverine. He’s hold up in the forest in Canada (I think that’s where he is). He essentially has become a bum. He dreams about Jean Grey and how he’ll never again be The Wolverine.

He’s sought out by Yukio, a woman samurai. She’s employed by a man Logan saved back in World War II. Logan saved Yashida from an atomic bomb blast. Yashida is asking him to come to Japan. Once there Yashida says that he can make Logan mortal. Allow Logan to live out a normal life and die. Yashida knows Logan can no longer handle being immortal.

That’s the basic premise of the movie: Logan dealing with his demons (thus the scenes with Jean) and whether or not he will become the Wolverine again.

There are some really great action sequences. The scene on the bullet train is fantastic. One of the fake outs is especially funny. But the twist is not all that much of a surprise especially if you pay attention to the dialog earlier in the film.

But there are a few slow spots too. The romance between Logan and Mariko, Yashida’s granddaughter, slow down the pace of the movie. I’m not necessarily saying that’s a bad thing but pace and timing are important in a movie. These scenes just go on too long. I’ve noticed that in comic/action movies lately that directors have a hard time getting the slower scenes to flow correctly with the rest of the movie.

I will say this stay for the credits. There is a scene well worth waiting for. I won’t spoil it but a couple of old friends show up in it.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Rhode Island Row at a Standstill?

It looks like the progress that seemed so very promising this spring has come to a standstill.

The promise was for a Carolina Kitchen to open over the summer. The huge signs where the restaurant is supposed to go said so.

The reality of the situation is very very different. This is what the inside of the place looks like. I took these pictures today.


As you can see the "floor" is dirt. This is obviously not opening this summer. In fact, I would be surprised if it opens this year.

I base this on the fact of how long it has taken the Chipotle to open or not open as the case may be. The construction for this began in November of last year. Things seemed to be going fairly well and then it just stopped. For several months absolutely nothing happened. Then activity started again. I even saw people in there that looked like employees in June.

Sometime in July a sign was posted saying they would open July 31. There was a large help wanted sign out front. Along came July 31 and nothing happened. Actually what happened was another sign saying well as you can see below. August 20 now the official opening day. I wouldn't hold my breath on that.

There are a couple of other places that are being built out, but I would have thought once the DMV opened in April, the place would have rapidly filled in. Obviously that's not the case. At this rate things won't be opening until next year.

Monday, August 05, 2013

The View Along My Sunday Walk

I took a nice walk on Sunday. It was bright and sunny day and mild for August. I mean really mild for August in Washington, DC. It was only in the middle 80s. In fact it is supposed to stay that way for most of the week. A little rain but I think I'll take that any day over the mid 90s.

Here are a couple of things I saw on the walk. The Tiger Swallowtail was particularly impressive. It always amazes me how butterflies seem to float on air. And this one certainly did. I was lucky that it decided to land just long enough for me to take these pictures.