Friday, June 3, 2011

No Lying: Total Team Effort in Bullets' Loss to truTV

I was offered a few bribes to not write this one up. And I didn't really need one to think over the possibility of "being too busy".

But here it is: Thursday, the DC Bullets matched up against truTV for the first time ever. Here's what you need to know: seven innings, a meager ten hits - only one for extra bases. Four three up-three down innings. And only four hits after the first inning. Add in one of the Bullets' sloppier defense days - a couple throwing errors from Mike Lorah and Nel Yomtov, Vince Letterio's dropped fly ball, a popup lost in the sun by Sal Cipriano, and twice that pitcher Pat Brosseau fielded a comebacker and went to first rather than taking out a lead runner, and the Bullets afforded the opposition a few extra runners and a few extra bases.

None of this should take anything away from truTV. They took advantage of DC's defensive miscues, and their leadoff hitter smoked one of the few over-the-fence home runs witnessed at North Meadow #2. And even with the misplays, truTV mustered only 9 runs in seven innings, but it was enough for a 9-6 win over the comic book makers.

Ironically, the game looked like a slugfest in the early going. truTV scored four times in the top of the first, and it was probably the most solid defensive inning DC played all afternoon. The balls fell in or stayed just out of reach. I think there were three balls that I just barely didn't get to in that frame (and, admittedly, one I probably should've had). But the Bullets came out swinging in the bottom of the first, tying the game at four.

Travis Hastback, Nel, Mike, Pat, LP Vollano and Christine Napolitano all singled in sequence to start the inning. The first four in that sequence scored. The latter four picked up RBIs. Sal grounded into a fielder's choice, Vince flew out, and Jennie Gaeta grounded into a fielder's choice to stall the rally, and the offensive ineptitude began.

Beginning with Sal, nine straight Bullets were retired to end the first, and then roll right through the second and third innings without even a baserunner. Fortunately, truTV's offense couldn't push a run across the plate either. truTV scored once in the fourth for a lead.

DC responded. LP singled, and CNap got the worst fielder's choice in history when she lined a sure base hit into left, but the leftfielder threw into second to force LP. Sal waited out fifteen or so pitches before finally lining a hard single into left (best at-bat of the day, see note below), and then Vince crushed a double over the leftfielder. CNap and Sal both came home, giving DC a brief lead. Jennie and Brian Walters grounded out, however, and truTV came back with two runs in the fifth to retake control of the game.

The comic book makers went down in order in both the fifth and sixth innings, another string of eight straight batters retired. truTV added single runs in the sixth and seventh innings. In the last of the seventh, the Bullets didn't even put up a fight. CNap singled, her second hit of the game (joining LP with the only multihit games of the afternoon). Sal's fielder's choice took her off the bases, and Vince's pop-up and Jennie's routine fly ball wrapped up a lackluster game.

4-4 (1-0 NYMSL), the Bullets take on the High Times Bonghitters this afternoon on the Great Lawn in Central Park.

A couple observations: CNap and Brian played a strong right field, and Jennie saved a couple low throws on force plays at second, so the defense wasn't a total letdown. And honestly, despite an error each, Mike and Nel had a lot hit at them and turned most into outs.

The other thing I see, as discussed with Nel, is that the Bullets don't hit bad pitching. Impatience had the team reaching for terrible pitches, and maybe four balls put into play all day were hit with any authority. Playing High Times today, we'll have the advantage of an umpire to keep the pitcher near the plate, but we need to be pickier about what pitches we're swinging at. And that goes for me as much as anybody.

Bullets Box:
LF Travis Hastback - 1-3, R
SS Nel Yomtov - 1-3, R
3B Mike Lorah - 1-3, R, RBI
P Pat Brosseau - 1-3, R, RBI
DH LP Vollano - 2-3, RBI
RF Christine Napolitano - 2-3, R, RBI
1B Sal Cipriano - 1-3, R
LCF Vince Letterio - 1-3, 2 RBI, double
2B Jennie Gaeta - 0-3
RCF Brian Walters - 0-2
C Allison Dugas - 0-2

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