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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.

This is perhaps the most complete site I've seen yet. Good work.

I'm not ready to give up hope yet, but it's getting rough.

Come on Zimmy!!!!!!! Make the Bobby bounce!!!!!!!!!!!
PS.- I'm JMU, class of 96'

Well, the Nationals are only 1.5 out now of the wild card. They can still make it, though every game is very important.

So far Zimmerman has made 5 appearances at the plate, and is hitting .400 (2 for 5 with 1 SO, 1 2B (his first hit in the majors) 1 run).

JMU - September 3rd - 1st Game:
JMU 56

JMU: 30 first downs, 323 rushing yards, 231 passing yards, only 1 punt, 4 penalties, had the ball for less time (26:20 vs. 33:40

JMU will now play CCU (Costal Carolina University) at CCU next. CCU won their first game 17-10 over Elon.

Class of 1998.
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