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Thursday, August 25, 2005


Nationals win 5-3; Church - Broken Toe?; Wilbon Column

Patterson pitched another great dominate game last night at RFK Stadium. He pitched so well, and the cushion was wide enough, that Robinson allowed Patterson to attempt to get his second complete game of the year. Unfortunately, after getting one batter out, he proceeded to give up a very long hit double to the next batter, and immediately thereafter a home-run to Javier Valentin. Cordero then came in and got two quick outs, picking up his 40th save. Patterson increased his win total to 8.

The Nationals started off strong, with Patterson facing just three batters in the top of the first (one, the lead-off, got a single, but was caught stealing), and with Church scoring in the bottom of the first. Church lead-off with a single, then Vidro, who has been having trouble hitting lately, struck out, then Johnson doubled, Church moved to third, and then Church scored when Wilson grounded out (Johnson moved to third), Schneider then fouled out to end the inning.

Both sides then went scoreless in the 2nd and third innings, and then the Reds tied the game in the top of the fourth. Lopez singled to lead off the inning, then Aurilia doubled and Lopez scored.

The Nationals were not able to answer immediately in the bottom of the fourth, but were able to pull to a 2-1 lead after picking up another run in the bottom of the fifth when Guillen hit a towering home-run to lead off the fifth inning.

Three more runs were added by the Nationals in the seventh inning. With two outs, Schneider hit a single that allowed Vidro to score and Wilson to move to second. Castilla then doubled, which scored both Schneider and Wilson. Score: 5-1.

As mentioned, Patterson attempted to acquire his second complete game of the season, but came within 2 outs of securing that accomplishment. He struck out Sean Casey to open the ninth inning, but gave up a towering double to Kearns and then a home-run to Valentin.

Winning Line-up:
Guzman had a root canal, and Wilkerson was still out with sinusitis, so Carroll started for Guzman and Wilkerson stayed on the bench.

Ryan Church, LF 1 for 3, 1 R 1 BB .295
Jose Vidro, 2B 1 for 4, 1 R 1 BB 1 SO .271
Nick Johnson, 1B 1 for 5, 1 2B (29) .298
Jose Guillen, RF 2 for 3, 1 HR (23) 1 RBI (67) 1 R 1 SO .302
Preston Wilson, CF 1 for 4, 1 2B (24) 1 RBI (68) 1 R 1 SO .263
Brian Schneider, C 1 for 4, 1 RBI (39) 1 R .288
Vinny Castilla, 3B 1 for 4, 1 2B (31) 2 RBI (57) .248
Jamey Carroll, SS 0 for 2, 2 walks .238
John Patterson, P 1 for 3, 1 2B (2 - any other runner, & it would have been a triple) 1 SH .067

Robinson: "We have to put it together now. We can't win one, lose one, win one, lose two."

Notes from the Game:
A: Players and coaches
- Ryan Church injured in the game.
X-rays will be taken today to see if Ryan Church broke his toe in the second inning.
Bottom of the Zimmerman story "Zimmerman's Call-Up Is Up in the Air" by Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post (that story: basically: injuries to pitchers are delaying the call-up of Zimmerman, because of the need to call up pitchers: "Absolutely," Bowden said. "If we didn't have the injuries, he'd probably be here today. But you got to be Tom Brady at the line of scrimmage and be able to adjust").

- The first base coach was not able to take his position on the field last night, due to back problems.

"First-base coach Don Buford had a steroid injection in his lower back, and hitting coach Tom McCraw filled in." - CBS Nationals page

B: Two fights, one witnessed by me, one reported to me.

1) In front of me:
During the game two men shoved each other over a seat, apparently one had been sitting in the other's seat. The situation was somewhat unclear, especially the part where a woman that was also present left with, or trailed after the man that left, but returned latter to sit next to the other man.

2) Reported to me:
As the fans rushed out of the stadium, two ended up entangled in a strange situation: Apparently two women were walking along together and a man, who appeared to have no prior involvement with the women, walked up and slammed his fist the face of one of the women. An older gentleman grabbed the man to hold him back and the women moved away from the attacker.

Both incidents were illegal, and both situations could have ended with arrests for assault and battery.

CBS recap (and box score). Washington Post recap: "Patterson Lifts Nats." Washington Times recap: "Nats Ace Provides Key Win At Rfk." ESPN.com recap. FOX box score, and recap: " Patterson gives Nationals what they needed." Nationals.com recap.
Column: Wilbon: Wild Card Is Possible
Basically: The Nationals are just 1 1/2 games out of the wild card and the other teams chasing this playoff berth are as flawed as the Nationals. Loaiza - Hernandez - and Patterson stand up well in comparisons to the other WC contender's starting three, and Cordero is the best closer in baseball.

Since when did people around here grow so accustomed to winning they can turn their nose up at being 1 1/2 games out of a playoff spot? Since when did 1 1/2 games back with 36 remaining become the worst place in the world to be?
The Rotation: "Club Plays Rotation Roulette" by Mark Zuckerman of the Washington Times:

With two-fifths of their starting rotation suddenly suffering shoulder injuries, the Washington Nationals might have to dig deep into their farm system just to get through the week.

Drese was put on the DL this week, and Armas might join him.

Armas received an injection yesterday, and the club won't have a clearer idea of his status for two or three days.

Ayala also has a shoulder injury - An MRI on reliever Luis Ayala's right elbow confirmed he has tendinitis. Ayala, who has not pitched since Sunday, remains day-to-day
Rick Short: "Minor Leaguer Eyes Elusive .400" by Scott Boeck of USA Today

Briefly: Short, who is batting .397 (140-for-353) for the New Orleans Zephyrs of the Pacific Coast League (Class AAA), could become the first batter in 44 years to hit .400 in a U.S. full-season professional league since Aaron Pointer batted .402 in 1961 for the Salisbury (N.C.) Braves of the South Atlantic League (Class A).

NL East:

The Braves won early, 3-1 over the Cubs. The Mets crushed the Diamondbacks 18-4. Phillies defeated the Giants 7-4. And Florida lost to the Brewers 4-6.
Nationals now tied for third with the Marlins and the Mets.
Braves 72-55
Phillies 69-59, 3.5 GB
Marlins 66-60, 5.5 GB
Mets 66-60, 5.5 GB
Nationals 66-60, 5.5 GB
Wild Card:
See above plus: The Astros lost to the Padres 4-7.
Phillies 69-59
Astros 67-60, 1.5 GB
Marlins 66-60, 2.0 GB
Mets 66-60, 2.0 GB
Nationals 66-60, 2.0 GB
Brewers 63-64, 5.5 GB
Businessman's special or whatever the phrase is - day game.

Livan Hernandez (14-5, 3.80) vs. Brandon Claussen (8-8, 4.50)

Scouting Report:
Claussen is in the midst of a four-game winning streak, and with it, he's leveled his record at 8-8. The left-hander has gone 33 1/3 innings in that stretch and has allowed 12 earned runs, an ERA of 3.26. Look for Claussen to continue that streak of solid outings as he already has one good start against the Nationals this year.

Claussen: In August: 3-0, 3.76 ERA in 4 GS - 26.1 IP 19 H 11 ER 1 HR 2 HBP 10 BB 18 SO.
Started 1 game against the Nationals in May at night - 6 IP 7 H 2 ER 4 BB 4 SO - 3.00 ERA.
Day games: 6 games started: 3-1, 2.65 37.1 IP 33 H 11 ER 3 HR 2 HBP 10 BB 25 SO

Hernandez last faced the Reds on May 24, when he pitched seven solid innings. He gave up three runs on six hits, struck out eight batters and walked three. He didn't figure in the decision as the Reds won the game, 4-3, in extra innings.

As previously mentioned by me in an earlier entry: Hernandez is 6-3 at home with an era of 3.59 in 11 games started (77.2 IP, 82 H, 31 ER, 5 HR, 8 HBP, 28 walks, 43 SO). Hernandez has pitched one game this year against the Reds, in Cincinnati. He lasted 7 innings, gave up 6 hits, 3 walks, hit two batters and allowed 3 runners to score while also striking out 8. His era for the game: 3.86.

Day - 6 games started: 5-1, 3.98 40.2 IP 52 H 18 ER 4 HR 12 BB 23 SO

ESPN.com stat pack. Nationals.com preview.

Friday: First Place St. Louis Cardinals (80-47) at RFK:
Jeff Suppan (12-9, 3.94) vs. Esteban Loaiza (8-9, 3.66)

Scouting Report:
Suppan lost in his last outing despite allowing only one earned run in six innings of work. Despite that setback to the Giants Sunday, he has won five of his last seven decisions. Suppan is 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA lifetime against the franchise formerly known as the Expos.

Suppan: In August: 4 GS - 2-2, 2.36 26.2 IP 26 H 7 ER 2 HR 1 HBP 7 BB 18 SO
Started 1 game against the Nationals in May: 1-0, 1.29 7 IP 4 H 1 ER 1 HBP 3 BB 2 SO

Loaiza pitched on short rest in his last start, but he went 6 1/3 innings and gave up three runs on seven hits against the Mets. All three runs were scored in the fifth inning, when pinch-hitter Mike Jacobs, making his Major League debut, hit a three-run home run.

Loaiza: In August: 5 GS - 2-3, 4.18 32.1 IP 33 H 15 ER 6 HR 1 HBP 8 BB 23 SO
Started 1 game against the Cardinals: 0-1, 4.50 6 IP 8 H 3 ER 2 HR 1 BB 6 SO

Mark Mulder (15-6, 3.74) vs. TBA (John Halama?)

Scouting Report:
Mulder has been a different pitcher during the day than when starting night games. He is 14-1 with a 1.90 ERA at night but 1-5 with a 7.57 ERA in day games. The Cardinals have won 10 of the last 11 games he has started. He allowed onl[y] one run on three hits in eight innings in a 3-1 defeat of Pittsburgh in his last outing Monday.

Started 4 Games in August: 3-1, 2.89 28 IP 24 H 9 ER 1 HR 9 BB 12 SO
Has not pitched against the Nationals.

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