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Cristian Attonment June 21, 2007

In the bottom of the 6th inning, with Jesus Colome warming up–facing a mess created by Saul Rivera–three of the National infielders gathered on the grass behind the mound. Ryan Zimmerman, Felipe Lopez and Dmitri Young stood in a semi-circle chatting seemingly about everything but the bases loaded with Tigers. Back next to the 2nd base bag stood Cristian Guzman, alone except for a Detroit player waiting for play to resume. A recent Washington Post article pointed out that Guzman is a loner, mainly due to his lack of command over the English language. Still these were his team-within-the-team mates. The infield has to work together to work at all.

Why did he exclude himself, or maybe was excluded? Possibly because he decidedly lacked heart in almost every play he was supposed to make this game. When, as is now the routine, “You’ve Got To Have Heart” played near the end of the 7th inning stretch, Cristian could have rightly thought “boy, he is singing directly to me”.

A list. He failed to cover 2nd base on a steal attempt that turned into a hit-and-run, the ball gliding through the spot Felipe Lopez vacated in a late charge towards 2nd. Later, when Jeremy Bonderman hit a grounder to short, Guzman practically walked to field the ball, then bobbled transferring the ball to his throwing hand–an E6 that would score. With some hint of a comeback in the making, Cristian hit into a potential double play and did not run through the bag at 1st. Instead he slowed up about 2 steps before reaching. Even though he was safe, the play was way too close. Finally, when Zimmerman ran in to field a short grounder, Guzman failed to cover third. The Tiger on 2nd saw the opportunity and advanced–the throw from 1st would have easily gotten an out if someone (You, Cristian, You) had been there to catch it.

I am ashamed I supported Guzman through the last couple of seasons, against much criticism.

update:So I undeleted the game recording and zipped through to the plays in question. First, one the play that allowed Jeremy Bonderman to Reach on Error, it was an inning before what I thought and Bonderman didn’t score.

On the play where I thought Guzman should have covered 2nd on a steal/hit-and-run, I listened to Bob Carpenter and Don Sutton. Unfortunately, they split. Bob agreed with me, while Don said that–even though normally it would be the SS’s job in that situation–it is possible that with Saul Rivera throwing and the pitch selection, it might have been Lopez’s job.

Here are some pictures from the game:

P1050750 P1050749 P1050725 P1050723 P1050706 P1050696 P1050694 P1050681


1. Eric - June 21, 2007

whoa, does this mean i’m right again? hahaha.

i can’t believe i’m doing this, but…
– are you sure he was supposed to be the one covering second on the “steal turned hit and run”? sounds like it was just a “hit and run” and was well executed. if the hitter was a lefty or a righty with pull tendencies (and also depends on the pitcher and the pitch selection), the 2B could have been responsible for covering second.
– it’s hard not to hate on people for the GIDP, but really, it’s a part of the game and it happens. watch the a’s for a while and you’ll start to see them as routine, almost expected, especially when they’d be the worst possible outcome (which i guess, by nature, is almost always the case).

the other things you mention are truly terrible and show his head was not in the game. hopefully the GMs in the league don’t get a similar report, because his offense has been making him almost decent trade bait.

2. Jol - June 21, 2007

Going from body language and reactions, it was Guzman’s responsibility to cover 2nd. Usually, I would have added input from the radio crew but my radio battery was blinking “almost dead” when I turned it on. Maybe I will FF to that play on the TiVo’d game and see what Bob and Don said.

I don’t mind the GiDP. I do mind that he did not run it out. He is a speedy guy. We were showing some offense. He should always run hard on that play.