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Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Last Night Rained Out; Tonight: Last Night's Pitchers face off; Boswell Returns; Around the Nationals blogosphere in 28 simple hours

Hurricane Katrina caused massive amounts of rain to fall in Atlanta. This caused Monday night's game to be postponed until Wednesday at 4:35 pm. A second game, the scheduled Wednesday game, will "begin approximately 30 minutes after the first game." So says Nationals.com's "Nationals' opener in Atlanta postponed" article.

In other news, Armas pitched in the bullpen on Monday and came to the realization that he felt no pain, as told to me by "Notes: Armas ready to return" on Nationals.com.

Also not feeling pain anymore, Luis Ayala who "who hasn't played in over a week because of tendinitis in his right elbow flexor, played catch for seven minutes on Monday and didn't feel any pain."
NL East:
While the Braves and the Nationals were able to have last night off, some teams decided to go ahead and play their games. While the hurricane disrupted the Nationals game in Atlanta, the St. Louis vs. Florida game in Florida went ahead as scheduled. The Marlins lost 1-6. The Marlins now move an extra half game back from the Braves and Phillies, as neither played last night. None of the other teams in the NL East race, nor in the NL Wild Card race played.

The Nationals remain in last place.

Braves 74-56
Phillies 70-61 4.5 GB
Marlins 69-62 5.5 GB
Mets 68-62 6.0 GB
Nationals 67-63 7.0 GB
Wild Card:
Only the Marlins played last night, of the top six teams in the wild card race. As mentioned they lost.

Phillies 70-61
Marlins 69-62 1.0 GB
Astros 68-62 1.5 GB
Mets 68-62 1.5 GB
Nationals 67-63 2.5 GB
Brewers 64-679 6.0 GB
Today's Games: CBS Scoreboard.

St. Louis (1st NL Central; Streak: Win 3) vs. Florida (Streak: lose 2) CBS preview.
RHP Matt Morris (14-5, 3.74) pitches for the Cards vs.
RHP Ismael Valdez (1-1, 4.00) for the Marlins.

Season vs. Florida: 1-0, 5.14 - 1 G - 7 IP
Career vs. Florida: 7-2, 3.79 - 8 G - 59.1 IP

Season vs. Cards: 1-0, 7.20 - 1 G - 5 IP
Career vs. Cards: 5-3, 3.59 - 10 G - 67.2 IP

Except for the Marlins .002 higher batting average, the Cards have the edge in every category.

Phillies vs. Mets - both coming off of a losing streak of two games.
CBS preview.
Robinson Tejeda (4-3, 3.20) pitches for the Phillies vs.
Jae Seo (6-1, 1.30) pitches for the Mets.

Season vs. Mets: 0-1, 2.70 - 2 G - 10 IP
career vs. Mets: see above.

Season vs. Phillies: 1-0, 0.00 - 1 G - 7 IP
Career vs. Phillies: 1-3, 2.29 - 6 G - 39.1 IP

Remember, both teams are ahead of the Nationals, and the Phillies currently lead the Wild Card race.

The Phillies have the batting edge and the Mets have the pitching edge, according to the CBS head-to-head comparison in the preview.

Cincinnati Reds (5th NL Central; Win 4) vs. Houston Astros (2nd NL Central; L 2)
CBS preview.

Ramon Ortiz (8-9, 5.33) for the Reds vs.
Wandy Rodriguez (8-6, 6.16) for the Astros

Season vs. Astros: 1-1, 4.91 - 3 G - 18.1 IP
Career vs. Astros: 2-1, 3.70 - 4 G - 24.1 IP

Season vs. Reds: 1-0, 4.50 - 1 G - 6 IP
Career vs. Reds: see above.

Remember, the Astros are ahead of the Nationals in the Wild Card race. Reds have the hitting edge and the Astros have the pitching edge.

Nationals (L 2) vs. Braves (W 2)
CBS preview.

John Patterson (8-4, 2.43) vs. Jorge Sosa (9-2, 2.56)

Season vs. Braves: 0-0, 0.75 - 2 G - 12 IP
Career vs. Braves: 0-2, 4.01 - 5 G - 24.2 IP

Season vs. Nationals: not faced
Career vs. "Nationals": 1-0, 2.70 - 1 G - 6.2 IP

Braves batters vs. John Patterson and Chad Cordero can be found here.
Furcal has no problem hitting Patterson (season or career).

Nationals batters vs. Jorge Sosa can be found here.
Baerga - 2 AB - 1 hit
Castilla - 3 AB - 1 hit
Guillen - 4 AB - 1 hit
Guzman - 7 AB - 2 hit
Johnson - 10 AB - 2 hits
Vidro - 3 AB - 1 hit
Wilkerson - 3 AB - 0 hits
Wilson - 7 AB - 1 hit.

Braves have the edge over the Nationals except in ERA, and opponents batting average (.264 vs. .266) in which the Nationals have the edge. The Braves and the Nationals pitchers have allowed the same number of hits.

Scouting Report:
Patterson will face the Braves for the third time this season. He has yet to pick up a decision, but he has given up only one run in 12 innings. In his last start, Patterson threw 8 1/3 solid innings and helped the Nationals defeat the Reds, 5-3, in front of 32,641 at RFK Stadium.

Sosa is 6-2 with a 2.66 ERA as a starter and the Braves have gone 10-3 in his 13 starts. This is Sosa's second start since returning to the rotation on August 24, replacing injured lefty Mike Hampton.

Nationals.com preview. ESPN preview/stat pack.
Esteban Loaiza (9-9, 3.57) vs. Horacio Ramirez (10-8, 4.52)

Scouting Report:
Loaiza will face the Braves for the fourth time this season. Loaiza has yet to pick up a decision, but he has a respectable 3.32 ERA against them. In his last start, Loaiza pitched seven solid innings and gave up one run on three hits against the Cardinals, as the Nationals won the game, 4-1.

Ramirez tries to break a three-start winless streak and even his record against the Nationals (he lost, 2-0, in Washington on April 20). The lefty has surrendered 26 home runs (tied for fourth-most in the N.L.) but is 7-1 with a 3.29 ERA at Turner Field this season.


Livan Hernandez (14-6, 3.87) vs. John Thompson (3-4, 4.97)

Scouting Report:
Hernandez hopes that he can have a better outing against the Braves on Tuesday. In his last two starts, Hernandez has given up 12 runs in his last eight innings. His ERA has soared from 3.45 to .3.87.

Thomson has gone 0-2 with a 10.80 ERA in the three starts he's made since being activated from the disabled list. He hasn't completed four innings in either of his past two starts. After allowing seven earned runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Cubs on Tuesday, he said he thought he'd made some progress from the previous start.

These four pitchers are going to pitch, most likely, on Wednesday. The question is when, and against whom.
Tony Armas (7-7, 4.53) vs. John Smoltz (13-6, 2.96)

Scouting Report:
Armas will make his first appearance since Aug. 23. On that day, Armas left the game against the Reds after three innings because of a sore left shoulder. On Thursday, Armas will face the Braves for the second time this season. He has yet to pick up a decision, but he has given up two runs in six innings.

Smoltz looks for his team-high 14th win after breaking a four-start winless streak his last time out at Milwaukee. He’ pitched seven innings in 15 of his last 17 starts and is 1-0 with a 2.86 ERA (seven ER in 22 IP) in three starts against Washington this season.
Boswell Column: "Stop Your Sobbing"

First paragraph:
On Sunday, Jose Guillen spoke the truth. He just didn't realize how correct he was. "We all stink," he said, meaning the Washington Nationals. However, Guillen missed the larger point. All of the teams in the National League wild-card race stink.

Sunday and Saturday - "one total base per 14,231 customers. Oh, that ought to fetch 'em back."

Boswell believes that fans, or players should not give up if the team loses against the Braves ("would be a very bad idea). The wild card will not be won by the team that plays the best, but by the team that fails the least.

And I'll leave Boswell's column with this note:
Before anyone disparages the chances of the humble Nats, read on. The Marlins, Phillies and Mets are probably already dead. They just don't know it yet.
and allow you the pleasure to read the rest of the story.
The Competition:
Braves blog:
"Braves 8-5 Brewers 4-2" - Smoltz and Hudson - and pray for rain . . .
"Another Loss (Brewers 3, Braves 1)"
Marlins blog:
"MilkGate - enough" - Bat boy - suspended for taking a dare.
"Marlins are the most dangerous team in Wild Card race"
Mets blog:
"Should He Stay or Should He Go?" - trade talk.
"Best Foot Forward" - Mets lost, but so did the Phillies.
Phillies blog:
"Leading Off" - website gets complaints.
"The Magic Number"

Oh, look, the Phillies are still arguing about who should be the lead-off hitter, how . . . oh right, so are we. Never mind.
Nationals: Around the blogosphere:

BallWonk: latest:
- The dregs of the Cardinals pitching staff look like Nolan Ryan when their competition is made up of Nationals batters (or actually "except better because Nolan actually gave up a lot of walks in his day and the Nationals batters this weekend couldn't have reached base if you spotted them three balls before coming up to bat and then made the pitcher throw six strikes").
- Bunting is stupid.

The Beltway Boys: Latest:
- "My Daughter Got Married (Yeah!)" - Congratulations

Capitol Punishment - "I'll be off 'til Labor Day,"

Distinguished Senators - "Tee Time"
- Nationals "lost in humiliating fashion to a team that approached this contest with the hard-nosed, win-at-all-costs mentality usually reserved for NFL teams playing the last game of the preseason. Yes, the Cardinals' B-team made our home nine look rather foolish" . . . oh and the fans cheered Halama after lasting just 5.1 innings.

Personally I thought he did great as a spot starter and he shouldn't have been pulled when he was. Those two guys on base? They scored because of Carrasco's mistakes (and some poor defensive play - the inning would have been over if but for . . .).

- the Complaining of others (Mike Wise)
- Bowden's whinning.

District of Baseball: Latest:
"A Reprieve" - a much better run down of the various articles that appeared today.
"Shoulda stayed away" - "things here are no better than they were when I left."
"Can you imagine a month ago hearing the words "starting pitcher John Halama"?"

NatsFantics: Latest:
It's Crunch Time - "how good we have it compared to last year."

Nationals Farm Authority: Latest down on the farm:
"EL Pitcher of the Week" - David Maust of the AA - Harrisburg team won EL Pitcher of the week.

Nationals Inquirer: Latest:
"Boz is a dreamer, and Kasten is a crazy man" - Boswell's newest column, examined.
note: "assuming for the sake of argument they make it out of Atlanta alive" - I guess I read the column wrong, I thought he wrote that losing this week would not be the end of the world because the poor play of the other teams racing for the wild card playoff spot.

Oh, and the Marlins "went 13-11 in those 24 games" where they were "playing 24 games against teams with records of .500 or below." The point was that the Marlins needed to take the opportunity to win when the had the chance, get 20 out of 24 games won off of these poor playing teams, because the rest of their schedule is against winning teams (instead of barely staying above .500).

"Quite simply, Boz is projecting two days' worth of bad play onto all teams. Why?" - His last column before this one was about the O's and dated August 5th. Last Nationals column was from August 4th. Why? Probably some connection there.

- USA Today article on Stan Kasten - " potential suitor and/or exec for our Nats"

The Nationals Interest: Latest:
"You are correct, Sir!" - Nationals hitting is embarrassing, "But blaming Tom McGraw for the Nationals' anemic hitting is more than a little unfair."
"Boswell" - "Tom Boswell has a great column in today's Post." "The real problem is that the Washington Nationals aren't a mature organization right now, and a mature organization is more likely to win the race." No sole-owner (the league is more interested in getting the best price fore the team), and the GM "not doing a very good job of" "operat[ing] in this difficult environment". Rick Short would have been the perfect call-up to plug the gap at shortstop. Hitting well and not a prospect, would not have ruined his "development."
Great entry.

Nationals Opinion: Latest from the blogger from Florida:
"Losses" - The Nationals lost, but that is not as important as the Hurricane that has so far (as of August 28th) killed 7 in Florida.
"Pray for these people, donate to the Red Cross, do something. These folks are going to need all of our help.

I'll be out for the next six days, see you folks next Saturday."

Nationalz: Latest:
Internet problems on my end. Could not make a connection to the blog.

Nasty Nats: Latest:
"Bah!" - "Guys, you gotta score if you want to win!"

The Nats Blog: Latest:
"Bouton, Ball Four and Blogging" - great entry about Jim Bouton's Ball Four book.
"Bouton was blogging, 30 years before blogs."

Nats Triple Play: Latest:
"Blues Monday" - "we took in the 25th anniversary screening of The Blues Brothers at Regal Gallery Place Cinemas." - There was an interesting article about Dan Aykroyd, about how he is currently busy building and expanding his Blues Brothers concert halls. Unfortunately, I do not recall where I saw that article.
"Thanks, Bos" - "Maybe I'm wrong. I hope I'm wrong -- Bos's September sounds a lot more exciting than mine."
"We All Stink" - "As a fan, it was nice to see a player admit to what the fans have known for awhile now. So a thank you from me to Guillen . . ."

Oleanders and Morning Glories: Latest:
Understanding my pessimism - "Two and a half games out of the Wild Card is hardly insurmountable, and the Nats have alot of games to play against their NL East bretheren."
The Nationals can win the wild card race, but it is hard to forget their collapse from leading the NL East to trailing four teams in the wild card race.

RFK Cheap Seats (formerly Section 527): Latest:
August 26, 2005 - "A Step in the Right Direction." - "Our Playoff Hopes and Dreams ride on every game."
"John Fights Allergies, Nats Fight themselves." - "They take a step forward, and just when we think the team is ready to get it going, they take two steps back." "EVERYTHING is a must win."
"Hitters making Robinson go batty" by Ken Wright of the Washington Times.
"Before last night's game against the National League East-leading Atlanta Braves was rained out, Robinson was lying on a leather couch in the visiting manager's office at Turner Field acting as if he were at a psychiatrist's office explaining why he thought he was going nuts. "
"McCraw Is Embarrassed By Feeble Bats" by Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post.

"The Washington Nationals are last in baseball in batting average (.251), slugging percentage (.386) and runs."

"General Manager Jim Bowden all but threatened wholesale changes to the lineup after Sunday's 6-0 loss to St. Louis. But Monday, Manager Frank Robinson stood up for McCraw."
Another Svrluga article: "For Nats' Patterson, a Delayed Arrival" also appeared today.

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