Results tagged ‘ Brian Bruney ’
The thunderstorm was swiftly approaching Nationals Park, the radar map was decorated with Christmas colors and ominous clouds crept closer with each passing minute. The Head Groundkeeper John Turnour informed the umpires of the looming storm and a few fans in the park intently watched the radar map with their blackberry’s. The Nats were clinging to a 6-5 lead in the top of the ninth with the heart of the Phillies’ lineup ready to create thunder of their own. After last year, it seemed only fitting that lighting would strike at Nationals Park, not the lighting from the sky but the Phillies lineup.
If it was last year, the game would have been at 7:05 p.m.–not at 4:35 p.m.–and postponed due to rain. If it was last year, the Phillies would have tied the game in the ninth. It isn’t 2009. It is a new year and there is a new team and bolstered bullpen. Newly acquired set-up man Brian Bruney pitched a scoreless top of the eighth to preserve a one run lead for closer Matt Capps.
The bullpen gate swung open and Capps slowly made the walk from right field to the mound–the eye of the storm. Capps doesn’t try to create fear with his entry or stare, he just tries to locate his 95 mph fastball and get outs. There is nothing scary about the soft-spoken Capps. His introduction song is Europe’s “The Final Countdown,” he looks like a cuddly teddy bear and if you didn’t know any better you would bet he wouldn’t be able to grow a beard on his baby face.
He threw a couple of warm-up pitches, walked behind the mound, removed his cap, looked down at the grass and said a prayer–he would need all the help he could get against the fearsome Phillies lineup: Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth.
It didn’t take long before there was a storm brewing on the field. Utley doubled and Howard was intentionally walked. Two on and zero outs typically spells tied game.
“Only the rain can save this game for the Nats,” yelled a Phillies fan.
But Capps quickly got Werth to fly out to center and Utley advanced to third.
Cool, calm and collected is Capp’s style. He would only need four more pitches, all fastballs, to get the save. He got Raul Ibanez to fly out to left and Shane Victorino to fly out to shortstop.
“To go through that lineup, you have to feel good about it,” Capps said. “It was a great feeling when Guzman caught the ball because I knew it wasn’t hit well [enough] to do any damage. Nyjer did a great job on that ball Werth hit. Nyjer getting that ball saved the game. There were a few more nerves going out in that save situation. Everything felt good today. I threw the ball well… today felt good.”
Capps nailed it down and beat the storm on the field and avoided the storm in the sky. The rain would eventually fall but the Nats were already celebrating on the train to New York. It was only one game but it was an important win and it would have been an even tougher loss, a type of loss they experienced one too many times last year.
“As we saw Bruney battle there in the eighth, and the way Capps was firing in the ninth, it was really encouraging to see because our pitching has to come together,” Jim Riggleman said. “It’s making strides. It’s coming together. When it does, it’s going to give us a chance.”
They say a picture is worth a 1,000 words. I don’t know where they got that arbitrary number. I think the best pictures are worth zero words–they tell the story so you don’t have to. But for the sake of argument, let’s say a picture is worth 10,000 words. So here is a thesis paper worth of photos as we look back at the Opening Series…
–The Nationals had six players that filed for salary arbitration and today was the day when eligible players exchanged figures or agreed to a contract with the club: Jason Bergmann, Brian Bruney, Sean Burnett, Jesus Flores (Super Two), Wil Nieves and Josh Willingham. The Nationals agreed to 2010 contracts with Bergmann, Flores, Nieves and Willingham, thus avoiding salary arbitration. That leaves Bruney and Burnett left for salary arbitration and the hearings begin February 1 and end the on 21. There is a good chance the two will never reach the arbitrators. Last year 111 players filed for salary arbitration, of those, 46 exchanged figures with their respective club and only three had their case heard by arbitrators: Dan Uggla (Marlins), Shawn Hill (Nationals) and Dioner Navarro (Rays). Uggla and Hill both won.
Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum who qualified for arbitration as a super two will likely walk away the biggest winner much like in 2008 when Ryan Howard qualified as a Super Two and won his arbitration hearing… his salary jumped from $900,000 to $10,000,000… just a 1,011 percent raise. (To qualify as a Super Two a player must have at least two years of service, but less than three, have accumulated at least 86 days of service in the previous year, and rank in the top 17% of all 2-year players in service time. The cutoff point generally falls between 2 years, 128 days of service and 2 years, 140 days.)
–The Caravan will get the wheels turning next Wednesday, Jan. 27th with the first stop at the Unity Health Care’s Southwest Health Center in Washington, DC. Notes from NatsTown will be on board providing you with behind the scene shots, player comments and fan reactions. Be sure to follow us.
–If you are a Nationals Insider you can purchase Nationals 2010 Spring Training single game tickets before they go on sale to the general public with a special online presale Wednesday, January 20, at 10:00 a.m.
–In the News:
Bill Ladson reports that the Nats may have some interest in former Brewers pitcher Ben Sheets.
Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer breaks down the 2009 Nats and looks ahead to 2010 with the projected starters and rotation.
MASN’s Ben Goessling talked with Manager Jim Riggleman.
Notes from NatsTown has a handful of correspondents working the lobby and covering the happenings from the Nationals’ Baseball Operations suite at the Winter Meetings in Indianapolis this week. Here’s an update from Indy:
With two days in the books at the Winter Meetings, the Nationals have been one of the most active teams and have been working diligently to improve the club.
Monday, Washington acquired reliever Brian Bruney from the Yankees. GM Mike Rizzo sees Bruney as a back-of-the-bullpen guy who could compete for the closer role. The hard-throwing right-hander has a bulldog mentality and big-game experience.
The Nationals’ Baseball Ops brass spent most of today (Tuesday) bunkered down in their suite atop the Marriott hotel in Indianapolis talking to agents about available players and other teams about possible trades.
This year’s Winter Meetings mark Rizzo’s first as quarterback of the Nationals’ brain trust, and he has all of his top aides with him here. Bill Singer, in particular, was Rizzo’s top advisor on the Bruney trade. Rizzo’s lieutenants are absolutely critical at these meetings, not only for their opinions on players but also for their knowledge of other teams’ needs and available players.
Two days remain before the Nationals’ delegates head back to the District. Wednesday should be another day of meetings and discussions and then the Meetings will conclude with the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday.
The winter meetings are but a few hours old and the Nats have already made a move to bolster their bullpen. They acquired right-handed pitcher Brian Bruney from the New York Yankees in exchange for a player to be named. GM Mike Rizzo drafted Bruney in the 2000 First-Year Player Draft when he was with the D-backs.
Bruney joins the Nationals after going 5-0 with 14 holds and a 3.92 ERA in 44 appearances with the World Champion Yankees in 2009. Bruney is 8-0 with 26 holds, one save and a 2.95 ERA in 76 appearances spanning the last two seasons (2008-09) with New York. In those same two seasons, Bruney has surrendered just two blown saves.
The 27 year-old Bruney is 16-10 with 43 holds, 13 saves and a 4.27 ERA in 230 career games (one start) spanning six seasons with the Yankees (2006-09) and Diamondbacks (2004-05).
To make room on the roster, the Nationals unconditionally released right-handed pitcher Saul Rivera.