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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).

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