GOOD SIGNS FROM THURSDAY NIGHT
• Johan Santana had the breaking pitch working, thereby forestalling by at least one start the precipitous decline feared on his behalf in this space five days earlier.
• Ruben Tejada displays incredible intelligence and instincts no matter where he plays. Whatever way you figure out to get Cliff Lee here, the one place I insist Tejada doesn’t play is Seattle.
• Jesus Feliciano’s minor league hot streak continues in the majors. He doesn’t look good doing what he does, but he does it pretty well.
• We continue to score in first innings even without the services of Jose Reyes.
BAD SIGNS FROM THURSDAY NIGHT
• Liván Hernandez did not take our collective advice from last summer and retire.
• Willie Harris does not require a baseball glove to commit ninth-inning Meticide. A walk will do fine.
• If there’s a way to give up a crucial run, our battery of setup men will find it, particularly when Jerry Manuel is saving Frankie Rodriguez for save opportunities that never materialize.
• We’re not so hot in the eight innings following the first, no matter who is or isn’t in the lineup, particularly if Johan is pitching.
NEITHER HERE NOR THERE
• There are PLENTY of good seats still available for Thursday night’s game. I guess no one has told Washingtonians they’re allowed to go to Nationals Park when Stephen Strasburg merely sits in the dugout and receives pedicures from Bob Costas.
• I don’t miss watching games from Puerto Rico.
• Though I’d prefer Liván Hernandez had found another line of work, good for him for being a regular person and chatting with anyone who wanders by his locker on the day he pitches, as reported by former Nationals television analyst Ron Darling. Good for Al Leiter for having done the same, per Gary Cohen. Generally speaking, starting pitchers can’t be talked to. Starting pitchers have to fly ahead of the team (though Johan didn’t). Starting pitchers have to have somebody cut their meat for them. And the Nationals don’t even let their own and radio people interview Strasburg. I was going to say pitching isn’t rocket science, but I’ll bet rocket scientists aren’t treated this deferentially.
• Funny People came on one of the HBOs after the game. It is the cinematic equivalent of a 2-1 loss that turns out less interesting than the score would indicate.