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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.

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