Tuesday, May 17, 2005
I finally saw Esteban Loaiza pitch, the only Nationals starter that I had not seen who had started the year in the rotation. Loaiza pitched a good, close game. He lasted 7.0 innings, and gave up just 2 runs in the fourth. After Loaiza left, a string of bad fielding and bad pitching undermined the Nationals chance at the win (oddly, the best Nationals reliever turned out to be Day, who gave up one walk in his 1 inning of relief).
ESPN box score; recap; Nationals.com recap.
Saturday: Nationals Win after long rain delay:
I stayed for roughly 2 hours of the 2 hour ~ 35 minute rain delay, but left about 35 minutes before the game actually started. Learned on the drive over to the game that Endy Chavez had been traded to Philadelphia for Marlon Byrd (who I saw on Monday). Byrd played in 5 games for the Phillies in 2005, with 13 ABs and 4 hits (.308) and an OBP more in line with Nationals desires (.400).
Hernandez pitched 6.1 solid innings after the rain delay, giving up just 2 runs before leaving due to injury (despite leaving after only 6.1 innings, Hernandez left after pitching 105 pitches). Hernandez picked up his 6th win of the year. Majewski came in to pitch 1.2 scoreless innings, and then Cordero closed out in the 9th, making it close by giving up 1 run.
The Nationals offense worked in one inning, scoring 4 runs in the 4th, just barely enough to win. Wilkerson started the inning by doubling, then Carroll moved Wilkerson to third (strange, it says that Carroll sacrificed to pitcher, Wilkerson to third on the play-by-play on ESPN, which would imply that Carroll was out, but then it says that Carroll moved to second after Guillen struck out and Johnson was hit by pitch). Castilla singled, scoring Wilkerson and Carroll, then Church knocked in Johnson off a single, and then Guzman picked up an RBI when he singled and Castilla ran in for the fourth run of the inning.
Both Church and Guzman hit when their batting was needed, but both ended up with just one hit each (Church: 1 for 4 (.288); Guzman: 1 for 3 (.223)).
Injury news: Hernandez left the game after injuring his knee; and Mateo was placed back on the DL after appearing in just one game (Friday).
ESPN box score; recap; Nationals.com recap.
Sunday: Nationals Win:
The Nationals just barely won the series against the Cubs when they pushed one more runner over the plate than the Cubs were able to manage. Patterson started the game and had another relatively bad start. Patterson lasted 2 outs less than Hernandez, but gave up 2 more runs than Hernandez (Patterson gave up 4 runs off 7 hits, 4 walks, but he did strike-out 6). The Cubs scored early, knocking in 2 quick runs in the top of the 1st. Washington eventually answered in the 3rd, making the score 1-2. The Cubs increased their lead immediately by scoring another run in the 4th, but the Nationals immediately scored another run in that inning (2-3), shut down the Cubs offense in the 5th, and then scored two more runs in the bottom of the 5th (4-3). The Cubs immediately tied the game in the 6th, but the Nationals moved into the lead to stay in the bottom of that inning by scoring 1 more run (5-4).
Church's average fell to .273 when he went hitless in the game, and Guzman's average increased to .226 after he hit .333 in the game. Johnson hit his 5th home-run in the game.
I saw Tony Armas start for the first time, and he picked up his first win of the season. Marlon Byrd also made his first appearance in a Nationals uniform. The Nationals lead from the beginning (well, by the 2nd inning), and were only briefly tied in the 3rd before pulling away for good in the 4th inning.
Armas pitched 7 solid innings, giving up just 2 runs and 5 hits. Majewski came in for 1 inning, gave up one hit and one walk, but no runs, and then Ayala closed out the ninth for his first save of the year.
Guillen went hitless in his last game of the series, while newcomer Byrd is now hitting .750 for his new club (3 for 4), and has picked up his first three RBI's in a Nationals uniform. Guzman went hitless (.219) and Castilla went 3 for 4 with his fourth home-run of the year.
Injury News: Sledge will miss the rest of the season with a torn hamstring and his spirits are down. Meanwhile, Guillen will not finish the Brewers series due to "a muscle pull in his right rib cage and sore left triceps." Hernandez's MRI test results in: inflammation in his right knee. Hernandez had his knee drained and might make his next start (Washingtonpost.com notes that this is good news; Washingtontimes.com's take - interesting, Ohka is in the bullpen, and won't get into a game except as a reliever but neither Robinson nor Ohka see Ohka as a reliever).
The Nationals remain in third place, 2.0 games out of first with a record of 21-17.
And a new Boswell column (all about Cordero).
WashingtonTimes.com had a reporter spend two weeks following the Nationals minor league teams; this story is about the Potomac Cannons, A level minor league team, an affiliate of the Nationals.