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Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Nationals Lose, Now in Second in NL East

Nick Johnson and Jose Guillen returned to the line-up Tuesday (Kenny Kelly demoted: "The Nationals have 10 days to trade, release or outright Kelly to the Minor Leagues."). When he hits a ball that looks like it will be an out, Guillen always seems to just trot to first, instead of hustle, but otherwise he certainly looks like he really wants to play. Forecasted to return on Thursday, Guillen returned to the line-up Tuesday. Just for that (and the 2 hits in 4 AB and that 1 RBI with 2 outs), I'll name Guillen the player of the game.

Hernandez pitched a very solid 8 innings, giving up just 1 run (a HR) in the seventh off of 5 hits, and 1 walk. 64 of Hernandez's 105 pitches were strikes, and 5 of his outs were strike-outs. Cordero, as always made it interesting in the ninth (by giving up 2 hits or walks), but unlike always, he wasn't able to finish off the other side, make up for his mistakes (4th blown save). Cordero came in to pitch the ninth and faced four batters. Off of 7 pitches, 5 strikes, the Braves batters knocked in 2 hits, and 1 run to tie the game. Cordero finished the ninth and was replaced by Stanton for the 10th inning. Stanton also pitched to 4 batters, and also picked up a earned run to add to his ERA, but this one was the winning run, so he picked up the loss (Ayala inherited Stanton's runners, and walked in the winning run).

Hernandez tried to help his cause by getting 1 hit in 3 at-bats (and scoring the Nationals second and ultimately final run), but the rest of the offense was mostly slight (Wilkerson had 3 hits in 5 AB's and already mentioned Guillen's 2 hits in 4 ABs). The Nationals took the lead early, scoring 1 run in the second and the 5th, but that was the extent of their offense. Pitching kept the team in the game, and eventually, that 2 run margin wasn't enough. The Braves hit a home-run in the 7th, and scored two more runs, 1 in the 9th, and the winning run in the tenth.

ESPN box score. Nationals.com recap (Just because, here is the write-up by the Brave's MLB.com writer). WashingtonTimes.com's recap. (and if you haven't read it: Boswell's "Giving Away Games in the Worst Way" Column from July 19th).

Ladson blames the loss on the bullpen, and they did give up two runs, but the Nationals offense should have been able to manage more than 2 runs, even with Preston Wilson warming the bench (Wilkerson played LF and Church played CF).

Sources suspect that Larkin won't come out of retirement.

Tonight's Game: Nationals.com preview, ESPN stat pack not available.
Loaiza (6-6, 3.56) vs. Hudson (7-5, 3.59). Loaiza tries to over come his 4.94 2-4 record on the road and return the Nationals to first place against Hudson's 2.91 4-1 home record. To restate the preceding sentence: The Nationals will start a pitcher that is worse on the road against a pitcher that is better at home, in Atlanta.

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