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Friday, September 30, 2005


Nationals: Last Three Games, Currently tied for 3rd and worst they can do is end up exactly at .500; Stanton Traded to Red Sox

The Nationals take on the NL East and WC 2nd ranked team, the Phillies. The Braves have won the NL East, but the Phillies are just two games back from the Astros for the WC card playoff spot. The Astros face the 77-81 Cubs, specifically RHP Carlos Zambrano (14-6, 3.33), RHP Jerome Williams (6-9, 4.28), and RHP Greg Maddux (13-14, 4.18). Pettitte (17-6, 2.42), Clemens (12-8, 1.89), and Roy Oswalt (19-12, 2.86) pitch for the Astros. It is possible, barely, that the Astros will lose three in a row, and the Phillies will win three in a row. The Astros are coming off of a 2-3 loss to the Cubs, but that is just a 1 game losing skid. The Phillies are coming off of a losing series with the Mets (who won 2 of three), but left the Mets series winning the last game 16-6. The Phillies will have to win three games against a team that has scored 26 runs in the last 3 games, and limited their opposition to just 8 runs. On the other hand, the Nationals sweep of the Marlins, where they scored those 26 runs, came immediately after being swept by the Mets and scoring nine runs, against the Mets 16. Even if the Phillies are swept, they will retain the number two spot in the division, and the best that the Nationals can do is remain in third place.

RHP Livan Hernandez (15-6, 3.95) tries for his 16th win of the year and faces RHP Cory Lidle (12-11, 4.65) tonight. "[Lidle]'s 3-1 with a 3.97 ERA in four September starts" (from Lidle's scouting report). Lidle has started three games against the Nationals, lasting a total of 19 innings, and giving up 19 hits, 6 runs, 4 walks and striking out 13. Hernandez is 1-1, 6.39 ERA in 3 starts against the Phillies (12.2 IP, 13 H, 9 R, 1 HR, 1 HBP, 4 BB, 7 SO). 20% chance of rain tonight, high will be 72F and low of 53F. At 6pm the temp should be around 69F and at 9pm, the temp should feel like 62F (weather.com). (See below, someone else might start for the Phillies tonight).

RHP John Patterson (9-6, 2.90) goes for his 10th win of the year and must contend with RHP Brett Myers (12-8, 3.71) on Saturday night (time change, game now starting at 4:10 PM). Myers is 0-2 in September after 5 starts, lasting 29.1 innings and giving up 16 earned runs. Myers has pitched 3 games against the Nationals, and has yet to win. He pitched a total of 19.2 innings in those 3 games, giving up 17 hits, 6 ER, 4 HR, 6 walks and striking out 19. Patterson is 1-2 with an ERA of 4.72 in September after 5 starts. He has pitched a total of 34.1 innings during those 5 games, throwing 556 pitches. Patterson is 1-0, with an era of 0.84 against the Phillies, after starting 3 games against them (lasting a total of 21.1 innings, giving up 13 runs, 2 ER, 1 HR, 7 BB and striking out 22).

RHP Hector Carrasco (5-3, 1.73) closes out the Nationals year with his 5th straight start. Carrasco lasted just 4 innings in his first start of the year, and gave up 2 runs in that game. Those have been the only runs he has given up as a starter, though. Carrasco has pitched a total of 21.2 innings in his 4 starts, giving up just 12 hits, 2 ER, 1 HR, 11 walks, while striking out 23 batters. Despite his great starts, Carrasco has just 1 win from his stint as a starter this year. And that win came in his most recent start. Carrasco has not been allowed to go beyond 6 innings in a start, but maybe he will be allowed to test the waters of later innings as this is the last game for the Nationals in 2005. Unfortunately, the Nationals do not know who will start for the Phillies in this last game (Phillies.com doesn't know either).

ESPN believes that Hernandez will face someone named "Eude Brito" (1-2, 3.68) tonight, and that Carrasco will face Jon Lieber (16-13) on Sunday.

CBS.com believes that Hernandez will face Lidle tonight.

FoxSports.com believes that Hernandez will face Lidle tonight, and that Lieber will pitch for the Phillies on Sunday.

SI.com believes that Hernandez will face Brito tonight. Oh, and apparently the Nationals have traded Mike Stanton to the Red Sox. "The Red Sox sent minor league right-handers Rhys Taylor and Yader Peralta to the Nationals."

Washington Post's article about the trade. Washington Times' article about the trade.

20-year old 6'3" 154 pound Taylor played for the Red Sox rookie level minor league team, starting 5 games, and appearing in relief in 6 games. He went 2-2 with an era of 1.49 in 36.1 games started, giving up 6 runs.

I cannot find any information for Peralta on the minor league website (where I got Taylor's information).

ESPN.com's stat pack for tonight. CBS.com's preview for tonight's game. FOXSports.com's preview for the series. Washington Post.com's article for tonight's game (believe Lidle will start).

Information about possible owners: "Nats Ownership Might be Corporate"
Boswell: Beware the Buyer

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Nationals lose again - it's all over

Hernandez pitched 9 solid innings but gave up 2 home-runs (1 to Bonds - which went into the upper deck), one in the ninth inning that gave the Giants 3 runs, moving them in front of the Nationals 4-2 (hit by Alou). Yet another game they were winning or tied in the 9th inning where they ended up losing the game (third in a row). Hernandez ended up getting that last out in the ninth and completing the game. The Nationals offense was able to tack on one more run to make it 4-3 before the game ended (making it another 1 run loss).

Line-up was similar to beginning of year, except for having Wilson in CF.

The game was very quick and could have ended at 9:20, but for that home-run given up by Hernandez in the ninth inning.

Nothing fancy, no links, no news articles, no NL East standings or WC standings because it's all over now. The team is not yet eliminated from the playoffs, but I very much doubt that they could get into the playoffs now.

Mets beat Florida 3-2 in 12 innings. Atlanta beat Philly 4-1. Houston beat Pittsburgh 7-4.

John Patterson (9-5, 2.65) vs. Brad Hennessey (4-8, 5.25) tonight.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Nationals: Down to the final 12 games, the team still, barely, has some limited hope . . .

. . . and the fans will be on the edge of their seats, for playoff chances ("Invoices for Playoff Tickets"), and watching players like Barry Bonds visit (first road game for the year for Bonds, who was injured for most of the year, and who played an exhibition game at RFK in 1989 against the O's - Post article).

12 games remain. The Nationals are in 4th place in the 5 team NL East Division, 8 games back from the Braves. Second place Phillies are 5 games back. I doubt that this will be the year that the Braves stop their consecutive streak of winning the NL East. Just 12 games . . . and 4 games back of the NL Wild card leading Astros (and behind the Phillies (1 game back), and the Marlins (2 games back)). At this point, it is much more likely that the Phillies or the Marlins will take the WC away from the Astros than for all three teams to completely collapse and for the Nationals to win 12 straight games. Of course, if the Nationals did win 12 straight games, the Braves would need to win just 5 games (I believe) to keep that winning streak from carrying the Nationals to the NL East title.

Strangely enough, though flirting with playing an entire season with a batting average worse than that guy who hit something like .195 in a complete season in 1991 (I believe), Cristian Guzman has hit .353 in the last 10 games. Guzman's batting average is a seemingly safe, .209, to stay over .200. Oh, and according to an article in the Washington Post, Guzman's hits are not bloopers but solid hits.
NL East:
Braves 85-65
Phillies 80-70, 5.0 GB
Marlins 79-71, 6.0 GB
Nationals 77-73, 8.0 GB
Mets 73-76, 11.5 GB
NL Wild Card:
Astros 81-69
Phillies 80-70, 1.0 GB
Marlins 79-71, 2.0 GB
Nationals 77-73, 4.0 GB
Cubs 74-76, 7.0 GB
Giants visit for Three Games: Tonight:
Livan Hernandez (15-7, 3.93) tries to stop Bonds and the NL West 2nd place Giants (69-80) from putting the finishing touches on the Nationals season.
Matt Cain (2-1, 2.00) makes his fifth start of the season for the Giants. Cain has pitched quite well for the Giants.

Scouting Report:
The 20-year-old Cain struggled through his worst start in the Majors and came out relatively unscathed with a no-decision. He lasted six innings in the start and allowed only three hits, but he walked six batters and only struck out two. In Cain's only other road start, against the Diamondbacks, he surrendered one run in seven innings to earn his first Major League win.

First start: 5 IP 3 hits, 2 ER 1 HR 4 BB 2 SO 103 pitches (67 strikes) - home (against Colorado)
Second start: 7 IP 3 hits, 1 ER 1 BB 4 SO 101 pitches (64 strikes) - road (against Arizona)
Third Start: 9 IP 2 hits, 1 ER 1 HR 1 BB 8 SO 105 pitches (77 strikes) - home (against Cubs)
Fourth Start: 6 IP 3 hits, 2 ER 6 BB 2 SO 107 pitches (56 strikes) - home (Padres)

Hernandez will face the Giants for the sixth time in his career. He is 1-1 with a 2.72 ERA against them. In his last start, Hernandez ended up pitching six-plus innings and gave up five runs on nine hits against the Mets. He struck out one batter and walked another. Hernandez didn't figure in the decision as the Nationals won the game, 6-5, in 10 innings.

Nationals.com Game Preview.
John Patterson (9-5, 2.65) vs. Brad Hennessey (4-8, 5.25)

Scouting Report:
Hennessey is on a nine-game winless streak -- he hasn't won since July 28 and has lost five straight decisions. He lasted only 2 2/3 innings vs. the Dodgers last Thursday, tagged for three runs in the Giants' 7-1 defeat. He's had some great outings, but the rookie needs to learn to compensate when his stuff is off-kilter.

Patterson will face the Giants for the seventh time in his career. He is 1-1 with a 7.23 ERA against them. In his last start, Patterson pitched his second complete game and helped the Nationals defeat the Padres, 5-1, at PETCO Park.
Hector Carrasco (4-3, 2.01) vs. Brett Tomko (7-14, 4.54)

Scouting Report:
Tomko is the Giants' hard-luck hurler of the year, not an honor he wants. Over his last 22 2/3 innings, he sports a 1.99 ERA but remains winless in his last nine outings. Alas, Tomko hasn't won a game since July 22.

Carrasco has spent most of the season as a quality reliever. Now, he has become a quality starter. In fact, in his last outing, Carrasco pitched six shutout innings against the Padres, but he didn't figure in the decision as the Padres won the game, 8-5. Carrasco will face the Giants for the third time season. He hasn't given up a run in 1 2/3 innings against them.
Friday: Mets (73-76) arrive for 3 games
TBA vs. Steve Trachsel (1-3, 3.42)

Scouting Report:
Trachsel's splendid pitching in his 2005 debut Aug. 26 -- eight, two-hit innings in a 1-0 victory in San Francisco -- almost has faded from memory, as the Mets' wild card chances have. He has lost three straight starts since then, producing a 4.91 ERA in the process. Trachsel hasn't faced the Nationals since they were the Expos. But he ought to like RFK Stadium -- he might be alone on that regard. It doesn't give up home runs readily, but he has -- five in his last 15 1/3 innings.

Saturday - Sunday vs. Mets, then:

Three games in Florida against the Marlins (79-71), and then a travel day on Thursday then a three game series in RFK against the Phillies (80-70) to end the year.


Redskins Come from behind and win in final four minutes 14-13

For most of the game Burnell looked old and worse than last year's injured quarterback. But in the last four minutes, Burnell threw a fourth down pass 39 yards to Moss, who crossed over the goal line for a touchdown (time remaining: 3:46). The Redskins defense then kept Dallas from doing anything when they received the ball after the kickoff. Then the Redskins acquired to ball on their own 20 yard line with 2 minutes, 35 seconds remaining. First down: Burnell throws a ten yard completed pass to Portis. Another first down: Burnell throws a 70 yard pass to Moss, who outran his defenders to make the catch and run into the in-zone.

Burnell's game: 20 completions in 34 attempts for 291 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception (with 5 sacks). Moss ended up with 159 receiving yards in 5 catches, while Portis caught the second most passes for 25 yards (combined with his 52 yards rushing gives him 77 yards total).

Thrash returned one punt for 9 yards, and 1 kickoff return for 9 yards, otherwise Betts played the return man after Brown was cut earlier in the week before the game. Betts returned four kickoffs for an average of 20.5 per return (longest return was 22 yards).

New kicker Nick Novak mostly went unused in this game, but was able to make the two extra point attempts, and did not mess up the kick-offs.

The Redskins are now undefeated and tied for first with the Giants (who, it would appear, played an away game at their own stadium, slightly confusing).

NFL.com gamecenter stats for the game. Washington Redskins page for the game. Washington Post recap. Post story about Portis's catches (basically, he had the second most receptions and . . .). Wilbon's column (basically, Burnell played worse than his mid-30's opposing QB except for a 1 minute, 11 second span when he won the game for Gibbs). Boswell's column (his son likes the Redskins, but before today, he only had tradition to keep him a fan). Washington Times article. " Dallas plays too conservatively" by Andy Friedlander of the Times.

Monday, September 12, 2005


Nationals lose 9-7; Guzman at .200; Nationals now play 6 road games; Redskins Win 9-7; Other news

Start by committee: Bergmann got the start and pitched 2 innings, then Hughes pitched the third, Halama pitched the 4th, Rauch pitched the 5th, Stanton pitched the 6th, Rasner pitched the 7th, Majewski pitched the 8th and Cordero pitched the ninth.

The Braves put 6 unanswered runs on the board until the bottom of the sixth when the Nationals finally scored 2 runs. Kenny Kelly pinch hit for Mike Stanton and strike-out to lead-off the bottom of the sixth. Wilkerson flied out. With no runners on base, 2 out and down 6 runs, Rick Short hit his 2nd home-run of the year. Nick Johnson then immediately hit a home-run of his own, his 13th of the year. Guillen then struck out. Score end of 6: 6-2.

Neither team scored in the seventh, and the Braves failed to score in the top of the 8th. The Nationals scored 5 runs in the bottom of the 8th to come back and lead the game. Guzman lead-off with a walk. Byrd then walked. Wilkerson singled: Guzman scored and Byrd moved to third. Rick Short was then hit by a pitch to load the bases. No out, 1 run scored so far this inning, up comes Nick Johnson. Johnson singles in Byrd and Wilkerson, and Short moved to second. Guillen then flies out, moving Short to third. Church then hits a sac fly that scores Short, and moves Johnson to second. Zimmerman then singled, scoring Johnson. Schneider then strike-out to end the inning. End of 8 innings: 7-6 Nationals.

Best closer in the game comes in to pitch the ninth. Julio Franco hits a single (Orr - pinch runner). Rafael Furcal flies out. Marcus Giles then flies out. 2 out, 1 runner on base. Chipper Jones then hits a 2 run home-run moving the score to 8-6 in favor of the Braves. Andruw Jones then immediately hits a home-run of his own to drive the score to 9-6 Braves. Cordero then gets 1 more out. Top of inning over. Three Nationals came to the plate in the bottom of the ninth. Ten pitches, all out (Guzman, Baerga, Wilkerson).

Brad Wilkerson, CF5 1 for 1, 1 R, 1 BB .251
Rick Short, 2B 1 for 3, 2 R, 1 HR (2), 1 RBI (3), 1 HBP, .333
Jamey Carroll, 2B 0 for 0, .247
Nick Johnson, 1B 2 for 4, 2 R, 1 HR (13), 3 RBI (62), .289
Jose Guillen, RF 0 for 3, 1 BB, 1 SO .295
Ryan Church, LF 0 for 3, 1 RBI (37), 1 SO .296
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B 2 for 4, 1 2B (3), 1 RBI (2), 1 SO .333
Brian Schneider, C 0 for 4, 2 SO .267
Cristian Guzman, SS 0 for 3, 1 R 1 BB, .200
Jason Bergmann, P 0 for 0, .333
Travis Hughes, P .000
a- Brandon Watson, PH 0 for 1, .214
John Halama, P .250
Jon Rauch, P .000
Mike Stanton, P .000
b- Kenny Kelly, PH 0 for 1, 1 SO .364
Darrell Rasner, P .000
Gary Majewski, P .000
c- Marlon Byrd, PH 1 BB, 1 R .264
Chad Cordero, P .000
d- Carlos Baerga, PH 0 for 1, 1 SO .255

Guzman went 0 for 3, lowering his average to .200.

CBS.com Recap/box score. ESPN.com box score. Nationals.com recap. Washington Post recap. Washington Times recap.
NL East:
Phillies over Florida 11-1. Mets over Cardinals 7-2. Braves defeat Nationals.

Braves 83-60, -
Marlins 76-67, 7.0 GB
Phillies 75-68, 8.0 GB
Nationals 73-71, 10.5 GB
Mets 71-72, 12.0 GB
Wild Card:
See above, plus: Houston lost.

Astros 76-66, -
Marlins 76-67, 0.5 GB
Phillies 75-68, 1.5 GB
Nationals 73-71, 4.0 GB
Travel Day. Nationals now in danger of falling below .500 and face the prospect of falling back to last place in the NL east. They will begin a three game series against the last place Mets on Tuesday.
RHP John Patterson (8-5, 2.74) vs. LHP Tom Glavine (10-12, 3.89)

This four man rotation deal is working great. Patterson says that he might miss his next start due to illness. "Weakened starter still suffering the effects of flu, sinus infection." "Patterson was supposed to have a bullpen session on Saturday, but it was postponed due to his illness. Patterson said he has lost eight pounds since Thursday."

"I've been pretty sick," Patterson said. "I haven't picked up a ball in two days. I'm going to try and play catch today. We have an off-day tomorrow. I don't think I'm going to pitch right now. I'm weak, and I've lost weight. I know we don't have any options. I don't know what I can do. I don't want to hurt the team or myself with the weight that I've lost. I have to get some energy and health back. Someone that is healthy can do better than I can."

Times article on Patterson's illness.

Scouting Report:
Patterson will face the Mets for the fourth time this season. He is 0-1 with a 2.84 ERA against them. Patterson hopes to do better than he did in his last start. Patterson woke up on Thursday morning with a sinus infection, and it ended up affecting him on the mound. He lasted just 4 2/3 innings and gave up seven runs on nine hits against the Marlins. Patterson struck out four and walked three. He threw 105 pitches, 66 for strikes.

The new, improved Tom Glavine has been on display since mid-July, but few have noticed because the improvement hasn't produced success. He has a 4-5 record in 11 starts, beginning with his work against the Braves on July 15 at Shea -- one run in seven innings in a no-decision -- through his start in Atlanta on Wednesday -- one run in 7 1/3 innings in another no-decision. His ERA in those 11 starts is 2.48, the seventh lowest in the National League in that span.

Nationals.com Preview.
RHP Esteban Loaiza (10-10, 3.79) vs. RHP Kris Benson (9-7, 4.00)

Scouting Report:
Loaiza will face the Mets for the fourth time this season. He is 2-1 with a 3.26 ERA against them. In his last start, Loaiza's problems against Braves center fielder Andruw Jones continued. On Aug. 31, Jones drove in five runs off Loaiza. Last Friday was almost similar, with Jones driving in four runs, three of them on a home run in the fifth inning. Loaiza lasted six innings and six runs on 10 hits, but the Nationals won the game, 8-6.

Benson's season has turned like cream after its expiration. The Mets have lost his last four starts, and he has taken three of the losses and produced a 7.32 ERA. He remains a decidedly more effective pitcher at home ?- 5-3 with a 3.53 in 13 starts, compared with 4-4 and 4.52 in 11 starts on the road. His most recent start against the Nationals, Aug. 21 at Shea, produced the worst start of his career. He allowed six runs and eight hits -? all after two outs ?- in two-thirds of an inning.
RHP Livan Hernandez (15-7, 3.83) vs. RHP Jae Seo (7-2, 1.98)

Scouting Report:
Hernandez will face the Mets for the fifth time this season. He is 2-1 with a 6.38 ERA against them. In his last start, one bad inning proved to be costly for Hernandez, and Washington was blanked by Atlanta, 4-0, on Saturday afternoon.

Still smarting from the home run by Larry Walker that stained his record with a second loss Friday night, Seo makes his fourth start this season against the Nationals at Shea Stadium. Seo is unbeaten with four victories and a 1.35 ERA in five home starts this season. And he has a 2-1 record and 1.90 ERA in 19 innings against the Nationals, beating them at Shea on April 23 (six innings, one run) and Aug. 19 (eight scoreless innings).
Friday-Sunday and beyond:
Nationals visit the currently 71-71 Padres for a three game series Friday to Sunday.

The Nationals will then have a travel day on Monday, then host The Giants for a three game series, then the Mets for a three game series. The Nationals will then immediately head to Florida for a 3 game series. Thursday will be a travel day. Friday finds the Nationals hosting the Phillies for the last series of the year (three games; last game of year: Oct. 2nd, 2005).
Redskins win (and choices):
Portis rushes for 121 yards on 21 carries (41 long), while Betts adds another 41 rushing yards off of 12 carries.

Ramsey throws for 105 yards on 6 completed passes (11 attempted) and throws 1 interception.

Burnell throws for 70 yards and completes 8 of 14 attempted passes.

Moss almost makes it to 100 yards receiving (96 - 4 catches - long - 52) and Cooley is the next closest receiver with 3 catches for 34 yards (long - 23). Thrash (15), and Patten (34) also catch 3 passes and Royal catches 1 (11 yards).

Post Article on the choice facing Washington fans: Nationals or Redskins.
Boswell Column on the two games.

"Washington fans have waited generations to see their city become a sports town with the full banquet of pleasures set before them year-round like the lucky folks in places such as Boston, Chicago and New York. This weekend, the evidence became indisputable that the time has finally arrived. Joe Gibbs coaching at FedEx Field as the Nationals play at RFK . . . just pinch me."

"Yesterday, I skipped the Nats and Braves, who drew 112,212 fans for three games, to watch the Redskins win their season opener 9-7 at FedEx against Chicago before a crowd of 90,138. That's right, more than 200,000 fans to see the Redskins and Nats on the same weekend. The Skins throng roared so loudly that, in the most important series of plays in the game, the flummoxed Bears couldn't hear their signals and false-started three times in a row."

I skipped the Nationals game (my ticket was used) to watch the Redskins game on TV, but I caught some of the Nationals action by occasionally flipping over to the game.

"Sometimes, the enormous growth of a community is measured in unexpected ways. A place, constantly described as "a sleepy Southern town" a half-century ago, gradually evolves into a full-blown sprawling city with constantly expanding suburbs. Then, one day, you realize that this morphing piece of geography -- the whole Washington area -- has become more than just another large city, one comparable to America's very largest."

"Washington is no longer strictly "a Redskins town."

Redskins Recaps:
With Brunell, Redskins find some relief

"Mark Brunell is the former (last year) and perhaps future (next week) starting quarterback of the Washington Redskins." - Ramsey was injured when a Bear tackled him by slamming his arm into Ramsey's neck and slamming Ramsey head first into the ground. Brunell lead the Redskins to victory.

Redskins defeat Bears in ugly win
"Style and form were not the priorities yesterday at FedEx Field, not after last season -- or the previous ones, for that matter. In the National Football League, it's not how you play the game so much as whether you win or lose."
Capitals Training Camp Opens:
Caps start with uncertainties
" The Washington Capitals will open training camp today with nearly 60 players and at least that many questions that must be answered before the season opener Oct. 5 against Columbus at MCI Center."
Do not particularly care at this time.

Redskins.com recap. Washington Post recap. Hog Heaven Blog preview.
College Football: JMU loses 31-27: Richmond is now 0-2:

JMU: now 1-1
Here is a link to a summary, a link to game stats, and a link to, I believe, a radio recap of the game.

Richmond: now 0-2:
Recap of the first game.
Recap of the second game.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


Nationals lose 12-1; 4 man rotation; Boswell's Column; Competition

The Nationals required the use of seven pitchers last night, starting with starter Halama, who was quickly pulled after giving up 1 run, 2 hits, 1 walk and striking out 1 (and getting 1 more out, - he pitched 0.2 innings). Halama has been pulled too early twice now, the first time he started for the Nationals (5.1 innings pitched) and in this game. All six relievers gave up runs in relief. Travis Hughes (1.1 IP, 2 R), Jason Bergmann (1.1 IP, 2 R), Joey Eischen (1.2 IP, 1 R), Gary Majewski (1 IP, 2 R), Hector Carrasco (2 IP, 1 ER, 2 R), Mike Stanton (1 IP, 1 ER, 2 R) pitched in relief. Ryan Zimmerman started and gave up 2 errors at short-stop. Rick Short hit is first home-run to keep the Nationals from being shut-out (Short now has 2 hits and 2 RBIs off those 2 hits).

Strange Line-up:
Marlon Byrd, LF 1 for 3, 1 2B (11), 1 BB .272
Deivi Cruz, 2B 0 for 2, .264
Joey Eischen, P .333
Gary Majewski, P .000
a- Kenny Kelly, PH 1 for 1, 1 2B (1) .400 (First AB as a National, used as a PR prior)
Jamey Carroll, 3B 0 for 1, 1 SO .243
Jose Guillen, RF 0 for 4, 1 SO .296
Preston Wilson, CF 0 for 3, 1 BB 2 SO .255
Vinny Castilla, 3B 0 for 2, 2 SO .248
b- Tony Blanco, PH 0 for 0, 1 BB .190
Hector Carrasco, P .000
Mike Stanton, P .000
c- Keith Osik, PH 0 for 1, 1 SO .000
Ryan Zimmerman, SS 1 for 4, 1 SO .300
Carlos Baerga, 1B 1 for 4, .259
Gary Bennett, C 0 for 3, .228
John Halama, P .250
Travis Hughes, P .000
Jason Bergmann, P 0 for 1, .333
Rick Short, 2B 1 for 2, 1 HR (1), 1 RBI (2), .333

ESPN.com recap. Washington Times recap. CBS.com recap. Nationals.com recap. Washington Post recap.
Houston defeats Phillies 8-6. Atlanta over Mets 4-3 in 10 innings. Marlins over Nationals.
Braves 81-59
Marlins 74-65, 6.5 GB
Phillies 73-67, 8.0 GB
Nationals 72-68, 9.0 GB
Mets 70-69, 10.5 GB
Wild Card:
See above.
Astros 75-64
Marlins 74-65, 1.0 GB
Phillies 73-67, 2.5 GB
Nationals 72-68, 3.5 GB
Mets 70-69, 5.0 GB
4 Man Rotation:
Due to the fact that the team has let numerous starters slip through their fingers and now only have 3 heathy legitimate starters, the Nationals will need to use a 4 man rotation for the rest of the year.

Before last night's game, Boswell sent out a very interesting and detailed examination of the pitching situation and noted that the Nationals were very loaded, relatively speaking, with starters when the season started, but because so many starters ran into "attitude" troubles with Robinson, the Nationals now have just 3 starters. Sunny Kim, Claudio Vargas, Zach Day, Tomo Ohka, and others all could be very useful right now, but were either traded away or lost through waivers.

Ohka: 2005: 10-7, 3.93 with 24 GS.
Ohka: 2002-2004: 26-27 with 80 GS (2002 ERA: 3.18, 2003: 4.16; 2004: 3.40)
Vargas: 2005: 8-8, 5.10 with 19 GS.
Vargas: 2003-2004: 11-13 with 34 GS (2003 ERA: 4.34, 2004: 5.25)
Day: 2005: 1-2, 6.64 in 6 GS (15 overall)
Day: 2002-2004: 18-19 with 44 GS (2002 ERA: 3.62, 2003: 4.18, 2004: 3.93)
Kim: 2005: 4-2, 4.50 with 5 GS (19 overall)
Kim: 2002-2004: 7-7 with 25 GS (2002 BOS ERA: 7.45 (15 G), 2002 MON: 0.89 (4 G), 2003: 8.36, 2004: 4.58)

Oh, and Boswell also mentioned that it might not be a good idea to use a 4-man rotation, despite the lack of starters, because Patterson has a history of injuries, and you do not want to injury your three best pitchers.

Washington Times article on the situation by Ken Wright.
" Starting next week, Washington Nationals manager Frank Robinson will go to a four-man rotation designed to maximize the talents of his Big Three -- Livan Hernandez, Esteban Loaiza and John Patterson -- to keep the team in the National League wild-card race.
According to Robinson, the other start will be handled by various members of the bullpen."

Nationals.com comment on the situation. "[P]itching coach Randy St. Claire said he is against the Nationals having a four-man rotation"

Washington Post note on the situation: "In truth, the arrangement would be a three-man rotation, and the fourth day would likely be handled by a hodgepodge of relievers. Injuries to right-handers Tony Armas Jr. and Ryan Drese have left the Nationals strapped for starting pitchers, and it didn't get any better last night against the Florida Marlins, when Robinson pulled left-hander John Halama after just two-thirds of an inning."

"There's no more September," Hernandez said. "The only September is next year."
Tonight: Last game of the 4 game series.
Beckett (12-8, 3.62) vs. Patterson (8-4, 2.44)

see last entry for match-up and prior start information for this game and for Friday and Saturday.

CBS.com preview. ESPN.com stat pack. Washington Times article on Patterson. Nationals.com preview.
Friday: Atlanta visits.
LHP Horacio Ramirez (11-8, 4.45) vs. RHP Esteban Loaiza (10-10, 3.62)

My earlier guess was right. Check out the next most recent entry on this blog for information about the starters and games they have pitched against the opposing team.
RHP Jorge Sosa (10-3, 2.74) vs. RHP Livan Hernandez (15-6, 3.80)

Again, guess correct. Again, check out . . .
RHP John Smoltz (14-6, 2.96) vs. a bullpen pitcher

Scouting Report:
Three early runs and a neck injury forced Smoltz out of his last outing vs. the Nationals on Sept. 1 at Turner Field. The right-hander looks for some redemption and a longer outing when he faces Washington on Sunday afternoon. Fresh off a 3-1 win over Pedro Martinez and the Mets, Smoltz is poised for consecutive wins for the first time since his July 15 and 20th starts. Smoltz is 7-3 with a 2.83 ERA on the road this season.

I hope the Nationals win, but my attention will be on the Redskins game. Here is a collection of Times articles on the new season. Post's Redskins page.

"Magic Number is 17"
"Dontrelle reels in 20th win" - "It was the first 20th win by a pitcher in a Marlins uniform - ever."
"Monkey Off His Back" - " Kaz Matsui just may be picking the perfect spot to try and endear himself to us fans"
"An Email to the Phillies" - " I'm not quite sure about what to say about last night's loss. It was heartbreaking (though I probably don't need to tell you that).
Yesterday I was mad as hell at you guys, but I have to admit that today, while I'm disappointed in you guys, there's a part of me that is proud too."

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Nationals Lose 4-2; Injury News; Comcast - TV Fight; Pitchers records

Darrell Rasner's major league record now stands at 0-1 with an era of 10.13. Rasner walked the first batter he faced in his first major league level start, but he faced just three batters in the first inning. Rasner got Hermida to ground into a double play and then got Cabrera to fly out. The second inning started off similarly, with Rasner allowing the lead-off batter of the inning to get on base, this time, though, it was not his fault, as Castilla committed an error (ball hit glove, skidded on by; actually, this is where being at the game helps, CBS.com's play-by-play has Delgado hitting a single but ESPN's play-by-play has Delgado safe at first off an error by Castilla - I was there, I saw the play and the "official" scoreboard result of the play, E-5, error by Castilla; on the other hand, ESPN's box score has Bergmann starting the game, while CBS.com's box score has Rasner starting the game). Rasner then got three straight outs to end the inning, and his big league debut was off to a good start. Third inning. Rasner again allows the lead-off to get on base, this time the 8th batter, Easley, hit a double to left field. Then the Marlins pitcher hit a sacrifice bunt, moving Easley to third. Then the trouble began. The top of the order faced Rasner for the second time. The original lead-off batter, Luis Castillo, singled scoring Easley. Hermida then doubles, scoring Castillo. Cabrera, oddly enough, flies out. Delgado is then intentionally walked. Rasner then faced what would turn out to be his last batter of the day, Encarnacion. Encarnacion hit the third double of the inning, scoring Hermida and moving Delgado to third. Jason Bergmann, a pitcher that has appeared in just 5 games so far in the majors (all this season, first of the 2002 Expos draft to make it to the majors, I believe), then came in and relieved Rasner. Bergmann came into the game with men on 2nd and third with two out. Bergmann needed just one pitch to get the catcher, Lo Duca, to hit a ground out to Guzman. Score: End of 2 1/2 innings: 3-0 in favor of Marlins.

Game over? Nope. Bergmann leads off the bottom of the third inning with a walk. Wilkerson then hits a home-run, scoring himself and Bergmann. Then three straight outs. Score: End of three innings: 3-2 in favor of the Marlins. Unfortunately, that was that for the Nationals offense. Bergmann pitches one scoreless inning and is relieved by Stanton. Stanton pitches the fifth inning and gives up a home-run to the first batter he faced, Castillo, then gets three outs off of fly outs and double plays to end that inning (Score, End of 5: 4-2). Travis Hughes, newly returned to the Nationals, pitched the sixth and seventh and did very well. Majewski pitched the 8th and Carrasco pitched the ninth.

Brad Wilkerson, 1B 1 for 4, 1 HR (11) 1 R 2 RBI (50) 1 SO .251
Marlon Byrd, LF 1 for 4, .271
Jose Guillen, RF 0 for 3, 1 SO .299
Preston Wilson, CF 0 for 4, .257
Vinny Castilla, 3B 1 for 4, 1 Error (9) .249
Kenny Kelly, Pinch Run
Brian Schneider, C 1 for 4, 1 2B (20) 1 SO .276
Deivi Cruz, 2B-SS 0 for 3, .266
a- Carlos Baerga, PH 0 for 1, 1 SO .259
Cristian Guzman, SS 0 for 1, 1 BB .196
b- Brandon Watson, PH 0 for 1, .167
Gary Majewski, P 0 for 0, .000
Hector Carrasco, P 0 for 0, .000
c- Ryan Zimmerman, PH 0 for 1, .333
Darrell Rasner, P 0 for 0, .000
Jason Bergmann, P 0 for 0, 1 Walk 1 Run .500
d- Jose Vidro, PH 0 for 1, .270
Mike Stanton, P 0 for 0, .000
Travis Hughes, P 0 for 0, .000
e- Jamey Carroll, PH-2B 1 for 1, 1 Error (5) .244

ESPN.com recap. CBS.com box score. Nationals.com recap ("My stuff wasn't as sharp as it was the first two innings," Rasner said. "I really didn't have good command of my curveball and that came back to get me. If I have that going, I'm a little more successful. I just didn't have it tonight. I would have liked to be better, but I have to take the positives and go from there"). Washington Post.com recap. Washington Times recap.
NL East:
Atlanta over Mets 3-1. Houston over Philly 2-1 (ninth inning win). Marlins defeat Nationals
Braves 80-59
Marlins 73-65, 6.5 GB
Phillies 73-66, 7.0 GB
Nationals 72-67, 8 GB
Mets 70-68, 9.5 GB
Wild Card:
See above.
Astros 74-64
Marlins 73-65, 1 GB
Phillies 73-66, 1.5 GB
Nationals 72-67, 2.5 GB
Mets 70-68, 4.0 GB
Injury News:
Knee still injured. Will not play defense any time soon.

"I felt much better, but I was limping a little bit," Vidro said. "We will take it day-by-day. It is significantly better. We are going to hold off on the MRI because my knee is significantly better. We are going to give it a couple of more days." (Byrd article on Nationals.com)

Shoulder still injured. Will not start again this season, though might pitch out of the bullpen.

"Right-hander Tony Armas Jr. went to see Dr. John Conway in Dallas and it was revealed that Armas has tightness in his right shoulder capsule." "offseason surgery is a possibility." (Byrd article on Nationals.com)

"Right-hander Tony Armas Jr. might not pitch again this season." (Byrd Times article)).

Right heel still sore. Took batting practice and tried to run the bases but hurt.

"First base Nick Johnson is expected to miss a few more games because of a sore right heel." (Byrd article)

"Outfielder Ryan Church is expected to be activated from the disabled list in three days. He is on the DL because of a broken right pinky toe. With Byrd swinging a hot bat, Church is expected to come of the bench as a fifth outfielder."

Pitcher Jon Rauch:
Rauch comes off the DL, despite expectations that he would not return this season. Spivey moved to 60-day DL to make room ("The Nationals activated right-hander Jon Rauch from the 15-day disabled list and transferred infielder Junior Spivey to the 60-day disabled list, from which he is eligible to be reinstated as early as Wednesday").

"Rauch is expected to come out of the bullpen the rest of the season." (Byrd Article (on Nationals.com, not to be confused by the article in the Post - Byrd's improvement is credited, by Byrd, to the minor league hitting instructor (Mitchell Paige). Maybe he can work with Guzman; or be confused with the longer article in the Times - Nationals finally have the Byrd of 2003, or at least are seeing evidence of that rookie who finished fourth in the NL Rookie of the Year race with an batting average of .303, and with 7 home-runs and 45 RBI as the everyday centerfielder for the Phillies - credit to Paige for his help is not mentioned in the Times article; Nationals giving free tickets to those refugees staying in the DC Armory)).
"Comcast pursues TV fight" by Thom Loverro of the Washington Times.

"Comcast Corp. took action yesterday to show the cable giant has no intention of dropping its legal battle against the Baltimore Orioles and the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network.

The cable company filed an amended complaint in Montgomery County Circuit Court that further explained its contention that MASN is indeed a third party"

Comcast's original complaint noted that the Orioles and MLB breached Comcast's right to match a third party's offer for the TV rights of the O's. The Judge in the case, Judge Thompson, dismissed the lawsuit on July 27th. Judge Thompson agreed with the defendant's contention that MASN was not a third party, but "that MASN is simply a new name for TCR Inc., an Orioles subsidiary directly involved in the TV rights deal with Comcast SportsNet's predecessor, Home Team Sports. As such, there was no third-party offer to prompt the right-to-match provision."

As I mentioned, I believe on July 27th, the Judge had left Comcast the option to amend its complaint, and Comcast has now filed an amended complaint, though it is unclear what their new argument is about.
LHP Dontrelle Willis (19-8, 2.55) vs. LHP John Halama (1-3, 5.80)

Scouting Report:
Now that the D-Train has set a franchise record with 19 victories, the 23-year-old left-hander will seek to become the first Marlins pitcher to win 20. Barely missing his seventh complete game of the season, Willis worked 8 1/3 innings in his last start, beating the Mets, 4-2. The left-hander has won four straight starts. With 194 1/3 innings pitched, he is closing in on his first 200-inning season. He tossed 197 innings last year.

Willis: Against the Nationals: Career: 7-2, 2.59
2005: Against the Nationals:
April 8th: complete game win (his first game of the year).
Willis: 9 IP 5 H 1 BB 3 SO 97 NP at Florida, vs. Ohka (0-1).
April 18th: 6 IP 6 H 3 ER 1 HR 4 SO 87 NP win for Willis (3-0); at RFK, vs. Ohka (1-2).
Game by game log.

Halama will face the Marlins for the third time in his career. Halama hopes to rebound from his last start. He gave up six runs in three innings against the Phillies last Friday. With the score tied at 1, the Phillies scored five runs in the top of the third, highlighted by a grand slam by David Bell. Manager Frank Robinson said the five-run inning took the Nationals out of the ballgame.

Halama's third start, and third game I'll see him start. Longest start: 5.1 innings (he lasted 3.0 innings in his second Nationals start and 5.0 innings in his only Red Sox start).

ESPN.com stat pack. Nationals.com preview.
RHP Josh Beckett (12-8, 3.62) vs. RHP John Patterson (8-4, 2.44)

Scouting Report:
Seeking his first win since Aug. 18 against the Padres, Beckett has lost two of his last three starts, and comes off a no-decision in a game the Marlins won over the Mets. Beckett is on the verge of setting some season-best statistics. This will be start No. 26 for him, matching last year's total. And with 151 2/3 innings, he is about to pass the 156 2/3 innings he logged a year ago.

Beckett: 2005 vs. Nationals:
April 10th: 9 IP 5 H 1 BB 11 SO 110 NP win for Beckett (2-0), at Florida, against Patterson (0-1) (see below).
June 3rd: 8IP 4 H 2 ER 2 BB 4 SO 106 NP no decision (Nationals win off of sac fly by Church). at RFK, vs. Livan Hernandez.
July 29th: 6.1 IP 5 H 3 ER 1 HR 1 BB 8 SO 100 NP win for Beckett (10-6), at Florida, vs. Armas (5-5).
Game by Game Log.

Patterson will face the Marlins for the fourth time this season. He is 0-2 with 2.37 ERA against them. In his last start, Patterson pitched 7 2/3 innings and giving up one run on five hits against the Phillies. He struck out eight batters and walked one. He didn't pick up the decision, but the Nationals won the game, 5-4, in 12 innings.

Patterson: 2005 vs. Marlins:
April 10th: 7 IP 6 H 2 ER 1 BB 6 SO 103 NP loss (see Beckett's first listed game above).
June 5th: 6 IP 7 H 1 ER 2 BB 7 SO 98 NP no decision (Nationals win off 3 run HR by Church). at RFK against Burnett.
July 30th: 6 IP 5 H 2 ER 3 BB 6 SO 115 NP loss for Patterson (4-3) at Florida, vs. Burnett (8-6)
Game by Game Log.
Friday: Atlanta visits RFK:
LHP Horacio Ramirez (11-8, 4.45) vs. TBDetermined Loaiza?

RHP Jorge Sosa was listed as the starter for Friday on yesterday's scouting report, so . . .

Scouting Report:
Ramirez has gone 2-1 with a 3.95 ERA and lasted at least seven innings in each of his past five starts. The southpaw has allowed 29 homers in 178 innings this year, and is 1-1 with a 3.48 ERA in three starts against the Nationals. He was credited with a win after limiting them to three runs in seven innings on Aug. 31.

Ramirez: 2005 Against the Nationals:
April 20th: 6.2 IP 6 H 2 ER 1 HR 3 BB 3 SO 112 NP Loss for Ramirez (vs. Zach Day - 7 shutout innings). at RFK
June 2nd: 7 IP 8 H 3 ER 1 HR 2 BB 1 SO 92 NP no decision, at RFK (vs. Esteban Loaiza (6 IP 5 H 2 ER 2 BB 7 SO), Nationals win off of Bennett double).
August 31st: 7 IP 8 H 3 ER 1 HR 2 BB 4 SO 106 NP win for Ramirez (9-10) in Atlanta vs. Esteban Loaiza (9-10) - 4.1 IP 7 H 5 ER 4 BB 2 SO 1 HR.
Ramirez has pitched just one game between August 31st and Friday. On Sept. 4th, Ramirez faced the Reds and pitched 7.2 innings, giving up 7 hits, 3 ER 2 HR, 3 walks, and struck out 7 off of 113 pitches.
Game by Game log.

Going by yesterday's note by me: " If the Nationals go to a four man rotation, Loaiza would likely be up for this start (even if they stick with the 5 man rotation, Loaiza would likely be the one to start this game" due to the length of time since his last start). I still believe that Loaiza is the likely starter.

Loaiza vs. Braves 2005:
see above, plus:
April 12: 7 IP 7 H 3 ER 3 SO 97 NP no decision. In Atlanta, vs. Hudson. Nationals win off of Schneider double.
June 2nd: (see above).
July 27th: 6 IP 7 H 2 ER 1 HR 1 BB 5 SO 82 NP no decision. In Atlanta, vs. Hudson. Braves win.
Aug. 31: (see above).
RHP Jorge Sosa (10-3, 2.74) vs. Hernandez?

Scouting Report:
Sosa strained his hamstring and had to exit Saturday's start against the Reds after just five innings. His abbreviated effort was still good enough for him to win for the second time in his past three starts. The only loss during that span came on Aug. 30, when he allowed the Nationals three runs and nine hits in five innings. The Braves are 11-4 in his 15 starts this year.

May 31st: Relief appearance. 1.2 IP 1 H 1 BB 1 SO 23 NP.
Became starter for Braves on June 14th (relief work August 18-August 21st, became starter again August 24th).
July 28th: 5 IP 7 H 2 ER 2 BB 4 SO 68 NP. win for Sosa (6-1). In Atlanta, vs. Drese (7-10)
August 30th: 5 IP 9 H 3 ER 1 HR 1 BB 2 SO 86 NP. Loss for Sosa (9-3). In Atlanta, vs. Patterson.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Nationals win three; Decision made: Darrell Rasner starts; New Boswell Column: With experience comes loss of innocence; Injury Report

Against the Phillies: Nationals lost Friday 1-7, won Saturday 5-4, and won the series when they scored 6 runs on Sunday, and allowed just 1 run by the Phillies (12 runs scored by the Nationals, 12 runs scored by the Phillies in the series). The Nationals then hosted the Marlins and beat them in the first game 5-2.

Monday's Game:
The Nationals lead the entire game, and were never in any real danger until the 9th inning when the Marlins picked up 2 runs.

First Inning: Wilkerson singled to start the game, Byrd then singled and Wilkerson ran to 3rd base. Guillen then singled, Wilkerson scored on the play. Castilla walked, Cruz popped out, and Bennett flied out.

Washington then added insurance runs in the 8th. Zimmerman, who took over at 3rd base in the seventh inning, singled to lead off the 8th inning. Cruz then sacrificed Zimmerman to second. Schneider was then intentionally walked. Baerga pinch hit for Guzman and flied out. Hernandez then stepped up to the plate. I'm sure fans were yelling at Robinson for letting the pitcher hit. Hernandez was 1 for 3 before this at-bat (singled in his first at-bat in the 2nd, flied out in the 4th, grounded into a double play in the 6th). 2 out, runners on first and second base. Hernandez up. Ball 1. Strike 1. Strike 2. Ball 2. Foul. Foul. Single to right field, Zimmerman scores and Schneider to third. Wilkerson then walked, Hernandez to 2nd. Byrd then doubled, Schneider, Hernandez, and Wilkerson all score. Guillen then grounds out to end the inning. Score end of 8: 5-0.

Hernandez was allowed the chance to pitch a complete game, but ended up giving up a 2-run home-run before being relieved by Mike Stanton in the 9th. Hernandez faced two batters in the ninth without getting an out, Stanton faced 1 (and got him out), and Cordero got the next two batters out.

Brad Wilkerson, 1B 1 for 4, 2 R 1 BB 1 SO .251
Marlon Byrd, LF 3 for 5, 1 2B (10) 1 3B (2) 3 RBI (22; all with 2 out (11)) 1 SO .272
Jose Guillen, RF 1 for 4, 1 RBI (71) 1 BB .301
Preston Wilson, CF 0 for 4, 3 SO .259
Vinny Castilla, 3B 1 for 2, 1 BB .249
Kenny Kelly, PR 0 for 0, .333
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B 1 for 1, 1 R .400
Deivi Cruz, 2B-SS 2 for 3, 1 SH (3) .270
Gary Bennett, C 0 for 2, .233
a- Brian Schneider, PH-C 1 BB 2 R .277
Cristian Guzman, SS 0 for 2, 1 BB 1 SO .197
b- Carlos Baerga, PH 0 for 1, .261
Jamey Carroll, 2B 0 for 0, .241
Livan Hernandez, P 2 for 4, 1 R 1 RBI (7; with 2 outs (5)), .247
Mike Stanton, P 0 for 0, .000
Chad Cordero, P 0 for 0, .000

CBS.com recap. Nationals.com recap. Washington Times article on Hernandez (" Livan Hernandez never is going to be included among baseball's elite pitchers." " Not only did Hernandez lift the Nationals to their third-straight win by carrying a shutout into the ninth inning, he delivered a critical, two-out, two-strike RBI single in the eighth -- one of the defining moments of what could become one of the defining games of September"). Washington Post recap.
Johnson exited early from Saturday's game due to a bruised heel. X-rays were negative and he is listed as day-to-day. Nationals.com article. Johnson did not appear in Sunday or Monday's game.

Tony Armas:
Likely will pitch out of the bullpen, if at all, rest of the season according to Nationals.com article.
Nationals might go to a four man rotation, according to tv broadcast of Nationals game (and now that I read more of that linked article: "Robinson is also considering a four-man rotation that would feature Esteban Loaiza, Livan Hernandez, John Patterson and John Halama, which would mean they would pitch on short rest for the remainder of the season").

RHP Jon Rauch:
Expected back, and to pitch out of the bullpen, according to same article as above.

Luis Ayala:
Shut-down for another week according to Nationals.com article.

Jose Vidro:
"Second baseman says sore knee feeling much better" - Nationals.com article. " While it's not etched in stone, manager Frank Robinson believes that Vidro most likely will be available only as a pinch-hitter the rest of the season."
Roster Moves after Monday's Game:
Like the Nationals Farm Authority predicted, the Nationals have called up a catcher (36 year old Keith Osik) after the rosters expanded (specificially after Monday's game). RHP Travis Hughes rejoins the team, Darrell Rasner (who well be "examined" later) joins the team for the first time and Drese moves to the 60-day disabled list.
Boswell Column:
Are You Experienced?

The Nationals were new and innocent at the beginning of the year: "In a new town with a fresh start, they were a band of brothers." Now? Now they

Now the Nationals have played most of a year in Washington DC and they know "themselves better, although liking each other distinctly less."

The started off on a quick clip, going 50-31, then they "fell from grace" but have now " been stabilizing their play (12-11), confronting their internal issues, trying to play with a fraction of their inspiration in June, despite all the feuds and fractures that gradually became public since then."

"If the Nats had lost these last two games, they'd be six games out in the wild card and you'd be reading a baseball obit right now" - ok, I read his last column wrong then. Considering that I thought that he was saying that the Nationals would still have a chance to get the WC even if they failed a couple of more times, considering how flawed they and the other WC contenders are.

"the deepest bullpen in the league," - yes, but apparently very very tired. So tired that it took awhile for minor league pitchers to be promoted after the rosters expanded.

"From now on, 'trying hard' isn't enough. Anybody can try. My mama can try," said veteran Vinny Castilla. "This time of year, you gotta win."
Loaiza, Hernandez, Patterson and pray for rain?:
Washignton Times article about the Nationals pitching.

""Spahn and Sain and pray for rain."

The Washington Nationals are not quite as bad off. They can live with three rain-free days, when Livan Hernandez, John Patterson and Esteban Loaiza pitch. Otherwise, their starting rotation continues with TBD -- to be determined.

It might as well be SOS."

"Tonight's TBD will be Darrell Rasner"

"Stellar. Spectacular. Superior. The best way to describe the rest of the rotation, now reduced because of injuries to anyone who can last four or five innings without getting shelled, is shaky."
Zimmerman Article:
"Off the Bench, Zimmerman Sees Action" by Barry Svrluga.

Zimmerman has yet to start a game for the Nationals, and now his 5th place (out of 6) minor league team (Harrisburg) is done for the year and handing out awards (see below). For now Zimmerman must be content to "watch[] much of the playoff chase from a seat in Washington's dugout."

That experiment at shortstop? Well, 20 year old Zimmerman played short-stop in high school. "Zimmerman called the experience "like going home.""

Despite Bowden orders to give Zimmerman time at SS at AA Harrisburg, and despite high school experience at SS, Robinson doesn't feel it would be appropriate to ask major league experienced short-stops to sit so that Zimmerman could start at SS.

Very short article.
NL East:
Braves beat the Mets 4-2 on Monday. Houston over Philly 4-3. Nationals over Marlins.
Braves 79-59
Phillies 73-65, 6.0 GB
Marlins 72-65, 6.5 GB
Nationals 72-66, 7.0 GB
Mets 70-67, 8.5 GB
Wild Card:
Astros regain WC lead.
Astros 73 64
Phillies 73-65, 0.5 GB
Marlins 72-65, 1.0 GB
Nationals 72-66, 1.5 GB
Mets 70-67 3.0 GB
RHP Ismael Valdez (1-1, 4.36) vs. RHP Darrell Rasner ( - - )

24 year old RHP Darrell Rasner will make his first major leauge start tonight against Ismael Valdez (1-1, 4.36). Rasner is listed as 6'3", 210 pounds. Rasner started 26 games and appeared in 27 games for the AA-Harrisburg Senators, putting up a 6-7, 3.59 era record in 150.1 IP (150 H 60 ER 10 HR 29 BB 96 SO), and as a batter acquiring a .214 batting average (6 hits in 28 AB). Rasner spent the entire 2005 campaign with the AA Senators. Harrisburg's season ended Monday with the Senators season ending with a 5 game losing skid. Harrisburg ended up with a record of 64-78 and 5th in a 6 team division.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Ryan Zimmerman was named Harrisburg's team MVP for 2005. Rasner received the 2005 Carl J. Dordaro Leadership Award from the Senators. And while we are discussing awards, "Infielder Rick Short won the Pacific Coast League batting title with a .383 average. It's the highest batting average in modern PCL baseball history."

Scouting Report:
Effective in his last start, Valdez was not involved in the decision in a game the Marlins pulled out against the Cardinals. The veteran has lossed 33 innings this season, returning from a fractured bone in his right leg before the season started. He has struck out 19 and walked 11.

Tony Armas Jr. was scheduled to pitch, but he is still experiencing shoulder problems. The Nationals will call up right-hander Rasner to make the start on Tuesday. He is playing for Double-A Harrisburg, where he is 6-7 with a 3.59 ERA. (Harrisburg's season is over).

The Marlins enter this game just 0.5 games ahead of the Nationals.

Nationals.com preview. ESPN.com stat pack. Washington Times article on Rasner ("Manager Frank Robinson won't be asking much of Darrell Rasner when the right-hander makes his major league debut tonight for the Washington Nationals. He just wants five innings out of the rookie starter against the Florida Marlins").
Wednesday: 3rd of the four games in this series:
LHP Dontrelle Willis (19-8, 2.55) vs. LHP John Halama (1-3, 5.80)

Scouting Report:
Now that the D-Train has set a franchise record with 19 victories, the 23-year-old left-hander will seek to become the first Marlins pitcher to win 20. Barely missing his seventh complete game of the season, Willis worked 8 1/3 innings in his last start, beating the Mets, 4-2. The left-hander has won four straight starts. With 194 1/3 innings pitched, he is closing in on his first 200-inning season. He tossed 197 innings last year.

Halama will face the Marlins for the third time in his career. Halama hopes to rebound from his last start. He gave up six runs in three innings against the Phillies last Friday. With the score tied at 1, the Phillies scored five runs in the top of the third, highlighted by a grand slam by David Bell. Manager Frank Robinson said the five-run inning took the Nationals out of the ballgame.
Thursday: Series concludes:
RHP Josh Beckett (12-8, 3.62) vs. RHP John Patterson (8-4, 2.44)

Scouting Report:
Seeking his first win since Aug. 18 against the Padres, Beckett has lost two of his last three starts, and comes off a no-decision in a game the Marlins won over the Mets. Beckett is on the verge of setting some season-best statistics. This will be start No. 26 for him, matching last year's total. And with 151 2/3 innings, he is about to pass the 156 2/3 innings he logged a year ago.

Patterson will face the Marlins for the fourth time this season. He is 0-2 with 2.37 ERA against them. In his last start, Patterson pitched 7 2/3 innings and giving up one run on five hits against the Phillies. He struck out eight batters and walked one. He didn't pick up the decision, but the Nationals won the game, 5-4, in 12 innings.
Friday: Atlanta Braves visit RFK for
RHP Jorge Sosa (10-3, 2.74) vs. Loaiza?
Scouting Report:
Sosa strained his hamstring and had to exit Saturday's start against the Reds after just five innings. His abbreviated effort was still good enough for him to win for the second time in his past three starts. The only loss during that span came on Aug. 30, when he allowed the Nationals three runs and nine hits in five innings. The Braves are 11-4 in his 15 starts this year.

If the Nationals go to a four man rotation, Loaiza would likely be up for this start (even if they stick with the 5 man rotation, Loaiza would likely be the one to start this game).

TBA vs. TBA (likely Livan Hernandez).

Friday, September 02, 2005


Nationals Lose 8-7; Zimmerman up, more on the way; Guzman still starting because of Vidro injury?; WC Race examined by SI article

Devi Cruz makes first start for the Nationals, and does not hit a home-run in his first at-bat as a National. He did, though, go 2 for 6. Ryan Zimmerman came into the game in the seventh inning to pinch hit for Bergmann. Zimmerman struck out.

Well, the game recap: The Nationals failed to score in the top of the first (three up, three down), but the Braves picked up 2 runs in the bottom half of the first inning. With one out, Chipper Jones hit a 2 run home-run. Score at the end of 1: 2-0 Braves.

The Nationals immediately cut the lead in half when, in the top of the second inning, Schneider hit a single with two outs and 1 on third. Guillen, who had walked to start the inning and moved to second on a wild pitch and to third when Castilla grounded out, was able to score when Schneider hit that single to center. Byrd then ended the inning by popping out to second. Score at end of 2: 2-1 Braves edge.

By the third inning, Armas had given up 2 runs in the first, but shut-down the Braves offense in the second. The third inning? Armas gives up 5 runs, driving the Braves total to 7. What happened? Furcal singled to lead off the Braves half of the third inning. Then Giles singled and Furcal moved to second. Then Armas loaded the bases by walking Chipper Jones. Armas then throws a wild pitch, and the runners advance, with Furcal scoring. Andruw Jones then grounds out, but in the process Giles scores and Chipper Jones moves to third. Hollandsworth then fouls out. 2 out, runner on third, up comes Julio Franco. Franco walks. Then Jeff Francoeur steps into the batters box with 2 out and two on. Francoeur then hits a three run home-run. McCann then is walked, and Smoltz grounds out. Score at the end of 3: 7-1 Braves edge.

It's all over, right? 7-1 Braves by the end of the third inning? Well, no. Armas lasts for another inning, and the Nationals make it to extra innings, strange, eh?

The Nationals immediately respond to the Braves offensive scoring by pushing two more Nationals runners across home-plate in the top of the fourth. Vidro lead off the inning with a single, then Carroll goes in to pinch run for Vidro. Guillen then singles, moving Carroll to second base. Johnson then grounds out, but the runners advance. Castilla then hits a single that scores both Carroll and Guillen. Schneider then hits a fly ball that becomes a double play, ending the inning. Score at the end of 4: 7-3, Braves edge.

The Nationals are not able to produce a run in the fifth inning, but that inning is important because Byrd leads off the inning with a single, and then Armas was due up. Instead of Armas, Carlos Baerga stepped up to the plate and singled, moving Byrd to second. Wilkerson then flied out, Cruz singled, but Baerga is out at third. Then Carroll flys out. Jason Bergamann pitches for the Nationals in the Braves half of the inning, and gets three straight outs. Score at the end of 5: 7-3, Braves edge.

For some odd reason John Smoltz does not come out to pitch the sixth inning. Blaine Boyer comes in to pitch instead, and faces four batters. Guillen lead-off and reached first on a throwing error. The next three batters are out (1 strike-out, 2 ground out). End of 6: 7-3, Braves edge.

Top of 7th: Jim Brower now pitches for the Braves. Byrd leads off the inning with a double. Zimmerman pinch hits for Bergmann and strikes out. Wilkerson then is hit by a pitch and goes to first. Cruz then strikes out. 2-0ut, runners at first and second, Carroll up. Carroll loads the bases by hitting a single. Guillen up. Guillen walked, scoring Byrd and keeping the bases loaded. Macay McBride then relieves Brower and promptly walks in another run. Johnson walked, Wilkerson runs home, and the other runners advance. Dan Kolb then relieves McBride and gives up a single to Castilla. Carroll and Guillen both score, Johnson to third, Castilla at first. Schneider walks and then Byrd flies out. End of 7th (Carrasco pitched the bottom of the 7th-3 up 3 down): 7-7 tie.

No more runs until the 10th, when Luis Ayala gives up a home-run to Andruw Jones, who had lead-off the inning. End of game, 8-7 Braves win.

Brad Wilkerson, LF 0 for 5, 1 R, 2 So .248
Deivi Cruz, SS-2B 2 for 6, 1 SO .270
Jose Vidro, 2B 1 for 2, .271
Jamey Carroll, PR-2B 2 for 3, 2 R, .248
Gary Majewski, P 0 for 0, .000
Mike Stanton, P 0 for 0, .000
Luis Ayala, P 0 for 0, .333
Jose Guillen, RF 1 for 2, 3 R, 1 RBI (70; 2-out (26)), 3 BB, .304
Nick Johnson, 1B 0 for 4, 1 RBI (59; 2-out (20)), 1 BB, 1 SO .289
Vinny Castilla, 3B 2 for 5, 4 RBI (61; 2 are 2-0ut RBIs (33)), .251
Brian Schneider, C 1 for 4, 1 RBI (41; with 2 outs (19)), 1 BB, .280
Marlon Byrd, CF 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B (9), 1 SO, .263
Tony Armas Jr., P 0 for 1, 1 SO, .125
a- Carlos Baerga, PH 1 for 1, .264
Jason Bergmann, P 0 for 0, .500
b- Ryan Zimmerman, PH 0 for 1, 1 SO, .000
Hector Carrasco, P 0 for 0, .000
c- Cristian Guzman, PH-SS 0 for 2, .195

Armas, as mentioned, lasted just 4 innings. He gave up 7 hits, 7 runs, 3 walks and struck out 3. He did not get the loss, though. Bergmann pitched two very solid innings, giving up just 2 walks, and striking out 1. Carrasco relieved Bergmann and pitched 1 solid inning, striking out 1. Majewski pitched 1 solid inning (1 so), and Stanton then pitched a solid inning (2 BB), and then Ayala came in to pitch the 10th inning and gave up the winning run in the form of a home-run by Andruw Jones.

CBS.com recap/box score. Nationals.com recap ("Asked about Armas' future in the rotation, Robinson said, "I don't make those kind of decisions after a ballgame like this. I don't know what I'm going to do with Armas right now. I'm going to sort out this ballgame here"). Washington Post recap ("The loss sent the Nationals back to Washington -- slowly, no doubt -- with the painful knowledge that they fell far short of their goal this week and, in the process, did serious damage to their playoff hopes." "Clearly, with September now upon us, treading water no longer suffices in the woolly, wacky, five-deep National League wild-card race. Although the Nationals emerged from this four-game series against the best team in their division with a split -- a solid showing, by most accounts -- they still came away with a net loss of a half-game in the standings and the feeling that something very meaningful was lost"). FOX.com box score. SI.com recap. Washignton Times recap.
NL East:
Phillies defeated the Mets 3-1. Braves over the Nationals, obviously enough, and I do not see a score for a possible Florida game (they didn't play).

Braves 76-58 (WON)
Phillies 72-62, 4.0 GB (WON)
Marlins 70-63, 5.5 GB (did not play)
Mets 69-64, 6.5 GB (LOST)
Nationals 69-65, 7.0 GB (LOST)
Wild Card:
Same as above plus: Houston beat the Reds 3-1 at home. SD over the Brewers 6-5.

Phillies 72-62 (WON)
Astros 71-62, 0.5 GB (WON)
Marlins 70-63, 1.5 GB (did not play)
Mets 69-64, 2.5 GB (LOST)
Nationals 69-65, 3.0 GB (LOST)
Brewers 65-69, 7.0 GB (LOST)
Budget Constraints?
"A day after Bowden said that budget restraints prevented them from calling up more players this week, the Nationals said they will purchase the contracts of infielder Rick Short and outfielders Brandon Watson and Kenny Kelly on Friday. All three have played for the Nationals this season and were playing with Triple-A New Orleans at the time of their promotions."

Above from an article about Zimmerman by Ladson on Nationals.com.

Rick Short Called up - "The Washington Nationals called up Rick Short, who flirted with hitting .400 in the minors, and former University of Miami quarterback Kenny Kelly after Thursday night's loss to the Braves. " - AP article.
Vidro Injured:
Well, Vidro left the game due to an inflamed knee, so it appears that Cruz might end up at 2B and Zimmerman might actually get to use his minor-league short-stop training in the majors, that or Guzman will continue to start at SS.

"It's pretty serious," Robinson said. "It's pretty close to where he may not be able to do much the rest of the year. We'll wait a couple of days and see what happens."

At some point I mentioned, either in a blog comment or in this blog, that Zimmerman might end up starting at SS with Cruz at 2B because Vidro's legs might collapse from under him. I just meant that Vidro's legs were bothering him, but well . . .

Washington Post: "Before he came to bat in the top of the fourth, Vidro spoke with Robinson and said he couldn't do much, but wanted to hit. He singled, and was replaced by pinch runner Jamey Carroll. He will have an MRI exam Friday in Washington, and will be closely monitored over the next week."

Nationals.com article. Washington Post article.
Who To Start:
John Halama will start tonight for the second time for the Nationals this year. Patterson will start Saturday on short rest. Sunday?
"[T]he Nationals are trying to figure out who will pitch on Sunday.

Robinson will not consider using a member of the bullpen to make a spot start because the relievers have been overworked. The other two options are to have Esteban Loaiza pitch on short rest or call up a Minor Leaguer.

The last time Loaiza pitched on short rest was on Aug. 21, and he pitched well against the Mets." - from the Zimmerman article.
"It's almost surreal to see the guys that you've been watching all your life, now you get a chance to play against them. I think that's the biggest thing I'm going to have to get past is the mental aspect."

Ryan Zimmerman - Washington Post article.

"He has been compared to Brooks Robinson, Mike Schmidt and Scott Rolen. Now third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has a chance to show everybody what the hype is all about. " - Washington Times article.
SI Article: Handicaping the WC race:
Astros have the best shot according to John Donovan.

Astros: odds of winning NL Central: 4,000 to 1
Astros: odds of winning WC: 3:1

Marlins: odds of winning NL East: 15:1
Marlins: odds of winning WC: 5:1

Phillies: odds of winning NL East: 10:1
Phillies: odds of winning WC: 10:1

Mets: odds of winning NL East: 20:1
Mets: odds of winning WC: 10:1

Nationals: odds of winning NL East: 50:1
Nationals: odds of winning WC: 20:1

"Livan Hernandez is the rock of a good pitching staff "
"Hernandez (14-6, 3.87 ERA) is a deceptive wonder, but John Patterson (a 2.50 ERA in 25 starts) is maybe the best pitcher on the staff."

LHP John Halama (1-2, 5.14) vs. RHP Vicente Padilla (7-12, 4.67)

Well, second Halama start, second time I'll see him start. And now:
Scouting Report:
Padilla had a rough night on Sunday against the Diamondbacks, giving up six earned runs in his three innings. He issued four walks, three of which came ahead of Shawn Green's ninth career grand slam in the third.

Halama will face the Phillies for the third time in his career. He has yet to pick up a decision, but he has given up two runs in four innings against them. In his last outing, Halama was an emergency starter for the Nationals, and he pitched well, giving up two runs in 5 1/3 innings against the Cardinals, who the won the game, 6-0.

Nationals.com Game Preview ESPN stat pack
LHP Eude Brite (0-0, 1.59) vs. RHP John Patterson? (see above)

Scouting Report:
Brito received a no-decision on Aug. 21 against the Nationals, though he deserved better. He surrendered just one run on three hits, with the run scoring on a Brad Eldred solo homer. Otherwise, he was near perfect through the first four innings, retiring 12 of the 13 batters he faced.

Patterson is likely to start after pitching just 61 pitches before leaving early with stomache cramps in his last start.

Family day? I believe this is the day where the whole family will be able to see a game together for the first time this year.
RHP Robinson Tejeda (4-3, 3.19) vs. RHP Esteban Loaiza? (see above)

Scouting Report:
Tejeda pitched well in his second return to the rotation, allowing two runs in six innings to the Mets. He's allowed two runs or fewer in 11 of his 13 starts this season, but one of those came July 8, against the Nationals.

Manager Robinson would prefer not to use a relief pitcher as they have been overused recently. Loaiza, who pitched just 76 pitches in the double-header, or a minor league pitcher will likely get Sunday's start.
Monday: Florida Marlins (currently 70-63):
RHP Ismael Valdez (1-1, 4.36) vs. RHP Livan Hernadez?

Scouting Report:
Effective in his last start, Valdez was not involved in the decision in a game the Marlins pulled out against the Cardinals. The veteran has lossed 33 innings this season, returning from a fractured bone in his right leg before the season started. He has struck out 19 and walked 11.

Hernandez pitched on Wednesday in that double-header. The scouting report mentions that a pitcher has not been determined yet, but it would seem logical to assume that Hernandez would pitch Monday or Tuesday.

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