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Thursday, August 31, 2006


Today in Baseball History & Nationals Lose 1-5 last night

40 years ago on this date (August 31, 2006):
Washington Senators played two games at Municipal Stadium against the Kansas City Athletics. The Kansas City Athletics had started life as the Philadelphia Athletics and played from 1901-1954 in Philly, winning 5 World Championships, and 9 Pennants. The Athletics moved to Kansas City for the 1955 season and stayed there until 1967. They moved to Oakland and have been the Oakland Athletics ever since 1968. As the Oakland Athletics, the team has won 4 World Championships, and 6 Pennants. This verison of the Washington Senators was the one that started in 1961 immediately after the older verison of the Washington Senators moved to and became the Minnesota Twins. This version of the Washington Senators played in Washington, D.C. from 1961-1971, before moving to and becoming the Texas Rangers.

The games:
Game One: Mike McCormick pitches a complete game 4 hit shutout for the Senators and won his 9th game of the season (ended 11-14 with an ERA of 3.46 for the 1966 season). McCormick appeared in two seasons with the Senators, 1965 & 1966 wearing number 16 and earning a salary of $24,000 per year. Gil Blanco started and pitched 5 innings for the Athletics, giving up 3 runs off of 5 hits and 4 walks. Blanco only appeared in two seasons in the majors, in 1965 with the Yankees and 1966 with the Athletics. Blanco wore number 28 with the Yankees and number 30 with the Athletics and made $6,000 for his 1966 efforts.

The runs: LF Frank “Hondo/Capital Punisher” Howard hit a 2 run 2 out home-run in the first inning, his 17th of the year. 3B Ken McMullen drove in Howard with a hit in the sixth inning. Senators win 3-0.

Game Two:
Senators lose 0-4 to the Athletics in their second game of the day. Barry Moore started for the Senators and picked up his second loss of the season, and Paul Lindblad started for the Athletics and picked up his 5th win of the season.

40 years ago the Washington Nationals franchise did not exist in any form. The franchise started in 1969 as the Montreal Expos.

On this day (8/31) in 1969, the Expos played two games, winning one 6-1, losing the other 2-5.

Game One:
The Expos lost their first game of the day 2-5 against the San Diego Padres (which, oddly enough, an organization tried to bring to Washington DC in 1973, but the effort, obviously, failed; NL voted on December 6, 1973). Jerry Robertson, wearing number 27, started for the Expos (Robertson played appeared two seasons in the MLB, first with the Expos in 1969, then with the Tigers in 1970). Robertson picked up his 12th loss of the season after pitching for 6 innings, and giving up 4 runs off of 5 hits and 1 walk. Dave Roberts (wearing number 15) started for the Padres but lasted only 3.1 innings, giving up 2 runs off of 5 hits and 2 walks. Roberts was also a rookie in 1969, and his last year playing in the MLB came in 1981 with the Mets.

The Runs (for the Expos): Rusty Staub hit a 1 out 1 on home-run in the third inning (his 25th HR of the year). That was all the runs the Expos scored in this game, but not for the day.

Game Two:
Rookie starting pitcher Steve Renko, wearing number 18, pitched a 1 run, 5 hit complete game win for the Expos (Renko’s sixth win of the season). Veteran Joe Niekro, wearing number 37, started for the Padres and lasted 7 innings, giving up just 2 runs off of 7 hits and 2 walks (Niekro took the loss, his 13th loss of the season).

The Expos runs: SS Bobby Wine hit his 3rd home-run of the season in the 2nd inning with 0 on and 1 out. LF Mack Jones hit his 21st home-run of the season with 2 on and 0 out in the 8th inning. Not sure how the other 3 Expos runs scored, though I know that Staub had 1 RBI in the game, and Fairly also had an RBI in the game (in addition to Wine’s 1 with his HR and Jones 3 with his HR). Expos won 6-1.

And on this date in 2006, The Nationals will face the Philadelphia Phillies tonight at 7:05 pm at RFK Stadium. The game, though, might get rained out.

RHP Pedro Astacio, with a record of 3 wins and 4 losses (6.10 ERA), will take the mound for the Nationals, and LHP Randy Wolf (3-0, 5.58) will start for the Phillies. This will be Wolf’s seventh start since coming back from Tommy John surgery. Astacio will try to make it past the third inning tonight, after failing to do so in his last two starts (remember, though, that three starts ago, Astacio pitched a complete game).

Last Night:
And on August 30, 2006, the Nationals faced the Phillies and lost 1-5.
Ramon Oritz, wearing number 26, took the mound for the Nationals and lasted six innings, giving up 3 earned runs (4 total) off of 5 hits and 2 walks. Schroder relieved Oritz and pitched the seventh and 8th innings. Rauch relieved Schroder and pitched most of the ninth inning, but gave up 1 more run. Wagner finished the ninth inning (1 out) and gave up zero runs, hits and walks. Ortiz picked up his 12th loss of the year.

Rookie starting pitcher Cole Hamels, wearing jersey number 35, started for the Phillies. Hamels pitched 8 innings and gave up just 1 run (HR) off of 4 hits and 2 walks. Hamels picked up his 7th win.

The runs: Soriano hit his 43rd home-run in the 8th inning with 1 out in the inning.

Box Score.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Nationals Almost Came back near the end, But failed, they still lost 6-10; Vidro: "Worst year I have ever been involved"

Phillies take early 2-0 lead in first inning off of starting pitcher Tony Armas (with two out, and bases loaded, Burrell singled, driving in Rollins and Victorino), and eventually drive him from the game after 3.1 innings pitched giving up 5 runs (3 in the 4th) off of 8 hits (1 HR) and 1 walk (and 1 strike-out). Wagner pitched the rest of the 4th inning, and the fifth. He walked one batter, but gave up zero hits and runs, lowering his ERA to 4.80. Gryboski allowed the game to get out of reach when he took over the pitching duties in the sixth inning when he gave up 4 runs off of 4 hits. Gryboski’s ERA is now 14.29. Rivera pitched the seventh and allowed 1 more runner to score. Bergmann relieved Rivera and pitched the 8th and 9th innings. For a fifth starter, Bergmann sure is seeing a lot of time working out of the bullpen. Bergmann gave up 1 hit and 1 walk, but struck out three and allowed zero runs to score.

The Nationals pulled within one run when they scored a run (Soriano’s 42nd home-run) in the bottom of the third to make the score 2-1, but Armas, as mentioned, gave up three more runs in the fourth inning (2 run home-run by Lieberthal, double by Rollins which scored Nunez from second base), and the Nationals were never again so close to winning the game (they never lead, so you have to look for the closest score).

Nationals pulled within 2 runs after Zimmerman hits a triple (his 2nd) in the 5th inning (one of his 4 hits in the game, which also included a double (39th)), and both Castro and Soriano score. Score 3-5 when Gryboski entered the game. You need to look no further than the group of relievers that pitched in last night’s game to understand how bad the pitching has gotten at this point in the season. The game was winnable, in that there were 6 runs scored by the Nationals, but most of the pitchers should a distinct lack of major league pitching ability and this assessment includes Tony Armas. Of course, Wagner and Bergmann were good, but . . .. As I was saying, with the score 3-5, Gryboski entered the game in the top of the sixth and then gave up 4 runs (Nunez scored on throwing error by Johnson according to ESPN; Howard then hit a 3 run home-run). Game over 9-3? Might as well be, though the Nationals would score 3 more runs, those three runs would not have tied or won the game. Oh, and Rivera walked in a run in the 7th inning.

The Nationals rallyed in the 8th and ninth innings. Church singled in Vidro in the 8th, and in the ninth Zimmerman doubled in the to drive in Mateo, and Zimmerman scored off of Johnson’s ninth inning single. Kearns then doubled with 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. With Johnson on third and Kearns on second, and with 2 outs, Vidro struck out. Three run home-run, Nationals would have been down by 1 run with 2 outs and with Church at the plate (or a PH). That scenario did not occur, and as mentioned Vidro struck out.

Vidro believes, with the exception of left fielder Alfonso Soriano and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, nobody has played up to their capabilities. Vidro thought the Nationals would be better than the team that went 81-81 last year, but they were 55-75 and in fifth place in the National League East entering Tuesday's action.
- Nationals.com article

and: "This has been the worst year I have ever been involved -- by far," - Vidro is quoted as saying in that article.

Cole Hamels (6-7, 4.79) vs. Ramon Ortiz (9-11, 5.38).

Oh, and the Nationals will start 2006 at home.

Somewhat annoying that I started writing this about 7 hours ago, but kept getting interrupted, and then a long break. Oh well.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Blogger: What's going on?; Escobar out for rest of year

Anyone know what's wrong with Blogger? For the last week I've been having problems working with blogger here on my own blog and on some others. The actual blogs appear to load (maybe slower, maybe not slower) reasonably well, but I can't seem to get my comments on some other people's blogs (quick note for any viewers of, or runners of The DCentersblog - thanks for the mention and link, lately I've just had 1 blog comment make it onto the blog, the others end up with an error message (something along the lines of "blog does not exist")). Sorry, to all who can't read my comments (brillant comments, I'm sure). :) Beyond the comment situation, I can't seem to get to Blogger.com 9 times out of ten (and the comments are through Blogger.com, not the individual blog). Odd that the blogs themselves are about 90% accessible, but Blogger.com is about 10% accessible.

Sorry to all looking for blog entries from me. Gets somewhat frustrating when I can't upload them.

And because this is a Nationals baseball blog, and entries on here tend, but do not always, automatically show up on some sports blogs:

Alex Esobar's season is over:
Escobar joined the DL on August 26 (RHP Kevin Gryboski rejoined the team, taking Esobar's now open spot) with a separated shouldar. MRI taken.

"Nationals center fielder Alex Escobar had an MRI on his right shoulder on Monday and it revealed that he has a tear in his right labrum and will have surgery within the next seven to 10 days. Escobar will miss the rest of the season, but is expected to be at 100 percent for Spring Training." Nationals.com article.

Monday, August 28, 2006


While I was “Away”, Weekend in Review: Nationals lost twice and won once

The Nationals actually picked up a win on Friday, August 25th, 2006, breaking a five game losing skid. Ramon Ortiz pitched just 5 innings and gave up 4 runs off of 6 hits and 3 walks, and also struck-out 6. Ryan Wagner picked up his first win of the year by being the pitcher of record when the Nationals pulled ahead. He pitched the sixth and seventh innings, giving up zero runs off of 1 hit and struck out 3. His ERA dropped to 5.84. Rauch pitched the 8th and got a hold, and Rivera picked up his first major league save by pitching the ninth. Rivera did give up 2 runs off of 3 hits and 1 walk in that effort. Kearns hit his 20th home-run of the year and drove in 3 runs (and stole 1 base). Escobar went 3 for 3 with 1 RBI. Soriano picked up 2 more stolen bases, and went 2 for 4. Odd as it might seem, the Nationals committed zero errors in the game. Oh, and Damian Jackson was released by the team on Friday, and Robert Fick was reactivated.

Nationals won 7-6

Box score

Well, that was the win. Nationals then lost the series and two games in a row to the Braves.

Pedro Astacio lasted just 2.2 innings, again, on Saturday. After his complete game effort on August the 15th, Astacio has had back-to-back games of at most 2.2 innings pitched (2.0 on August 20th). On Saturday, Astacio gave up 6 runs off of 8 hits and 5 walks (and struck out 1). Schroder gave up an unearned run in relief, and Wagner pitched another scoreless inning. Gryboski returned and gave up 3 runs (1 earned) in his 2 innings of work. Johnson had two errors and Mateo had 1. Braves won 10-1.

box score

And then there was 1 game - Sunday: Nationals lost 6-13. Billy Traber had done will in his short time as a major league starter, but on Sunday he lasted just 2.2 innings. Traber gave up 8 runs off of 8 hits (1 home-run) and 2 walks while striking out 3. He now has a record of 3-3, and an ERA of 7.14. Rivera pitched the next 2.1 innings and gave up 3 runs off of 4 hits (1 HR) and 0 walks. Bergmann was called upon to return to relief work and pitched the sixth and seventh innings. He gave up 1 run off of 3 hits and also struck out 4. Cordero finished the game, and also gave up 1 run.

The Nationals jumped out to a 3 run lead in the top of the first inning, but this didn’t help Traber. Traber gave up 2 runs in the bottom of the first. Trying to help, the Nationals offense added 1 more run in the top of the 3rd inning to move the game to a 4-2 lead for the Nationals. Unfortunately, the Braves would then tie the game, and then add another 4 runs to take a 6-4 lead. They would add 3 more runs in the bottom of the 4th, while the Nationals tried to come back by scoring 2 runs in the top of th 5th. Score after 5: 6-11. The Nationals were done offensively, and the Braves would add two more runs, 1 in the 7th, and 1 in the 8th, to win 13-6.

Highlights: Soriano went 4 for 5 with 3 doubles (35), and 2 more stolen bases (34). Castro started, hit second, and played second - he went 1 for 5. Ward hit fourth and started at firstbase, he went 2 for 5 (1 double). Kearns went 2 for 3 with 2 RBI.

Box score

Tonight: Off day

Nationals end August with three games at home hosting the Phillies, Tuesday-Thursday.


My First MLS Game, Part II: Physical Presence at the Game, or They Live (and are not weird ghosts in the TV)!

On Saturday August 26, in the year 2006, I attended the match at RFK Stadium in Washington DC between the best team in the MLS, DC United, and the worst team in the MLS, LA Galaxy. The game was DC United’s 24th regular season game (there are 32 regular season games, and during the season the team also plays “friendly” exhibition games and “U.S. Open Cup” games).
Midfield line, as seen from our seats - View from our seats (with zoom); the ones wearing red are DC United players - warm-up/practice uniforms.
DC United entered the game slumping, having not won a game in their last four regular season games (3 ties, 1 loss), but still had just 2 losses before their game against the LA Galaxy got under way. United would have set a record if they had ended the year with just 2 losses. What happened? They lost. To the worst team in the MLS. They lost badly, 5-2. The LA Galaxy scored first and early, with Alan Gordon scoring on the fourth minute. In the ninth minute the score became tied 1-1. No, United didn’t score. One Galaxy defender was trying to clear the ball in front of his own net, the ball slammed into another Galaxy defender and bounced into the net for a goal. The recap on the MLS website says that the Galaxy defender that scored on his own team was Chris Albright - but I’m not sure if that is the one that kicked the ball or the one that had the ball bounce off him into the net. Half, score 1-1.
Nationals Dugout - for those Nationals fans - that’s the Nationals dugout.
Albright scored another goal to lead off the second half (2 minutes in), but this time knocked the ball into DC United’s net. Galaxy lead 2-1 at that point, and never lost the lead after that. Landon Donovan scored a penalty kick in the 66th minute to give Galaxy it’s needed winning goal. Needed? Because DC United was able to score another goal when Facundo Erpen scored his third goal of the season in the 69th minute with an assist by Christian Gomez. Bryan Namoff then scored on his own team in the 71st minute to make the score 4-2, and Landon Donovan picked up his 2nd goal of the game to lead Galaxy to a 5-2 win. That goal came during the injury play.
DC United Mascot - DC United’s mascot.
Both Freddy Adu and Christian Gomez entered the game, but did not start due to injury. The team was overwhelmed by the play of Galaxy, which obviously means something is wrong, because a last place team should not have so dominated the game (DC United looked listless, and I would not be surprised if Nick Rimando took over as goal-keeper; remember three things: 1) Rimando is the higher paid, more experienced goalie, 2) Nowak likes to constantly change his goalies and his actions this year of allowing Perkins to start every game is unlike him, 3) Perkins played poorly in this game) . Oh, and DC United sure did get a lot of yellow cards in this game. Odd, didn’t realize until I looked at the recap, that both teams received the same number of yellow cards - three each.
On field reporter - On Field reporter.
The ninety minute game ended up taking 1 hour and 51 minutes to complete and did not start on time, but about 10 minutes late. The late start time was surprising. The 1:51 was not (90 minutes of play, 15 minute overtime and about 6 minutes of injury time).
LA Norte DC United supportes - La Norte Fan Clubs, during game - Screaming Eagles and Barra Brava
The large number of LA Galaxy fans was surprising and unexpected. The small number of La Norte fans was equally surprising. Screaming Eagles and Barra Brava, the other two DC United “supporters” were well represented. It just seems odd to see fans jumping up and down and screaming for ninety minutes without regard to the action on the field (the 5-2 loss).
From the seats, no zoom - View from our seats, no zoom (or what the naked eyeball sees).
Right - the non-MLS fan perceptive (or new fan, not sure yet): We had great seats in terms of position of the field - we sat on the mid-field line. Bad seats otherwise, because the seats were the last row of the lower seating area - against the wall. The overhanging upper deck blocked the view of the scoreboard and time clock (for all I know, there wasn’t an active scoreboard/minute clock). And every time I stood up, I lost sight of the field. United scores, I stand up excited and cheer - lose sight of the field. Not as important as when I had to stand up every five minutes for the other people in the row to enter and exit and I lose sight of the active game.
Ball in play - ball in play.
The game was interesting, and though I had an early impression that it might turn out to be somewhat similar to an in-person football (NFL) experience (in that I find it easier and more enjoyable to watch an NFL game on TV instead of in-person), I found that I had no problem following along and watch the little tiny ball bounce around. Tiny - well, if I ever attend another DC United event, I will want to sit much closer, some place where the players do not look so tiny.
Ugo Ihemelu goes for the ball - Ihemelu tries to score on his own goal (not really).
The game: I was and am annoyed that my first experience at a live MLS regular season game involved “my” team losing 5-2. Especially as they lost to the worst team in the MLS (both leagues). Of course, the Galaxy team is now not the worst team in the MLS after their win.
National Anthem2 - National Anthem.
Would I attend another MLS game? All the regular season games for the rest of the season, except for two (9/13 - Wednesday game @ New England, and 10/07 Saturday New England game - what’s the deal with not broadcasting New England games?) will be televised. None of the non-regular season games will be televised (both games are in the other team’s stadium). I will probably try to watch the rest of the season, but will likely not see another game in-person this season. The only game that I might decide to attend would be that 1 New England game at RFK on 10/07, since that one will not be televised on anything I can see. I will see if I can get into and be excited by the rest of this year’s games, and then make a decision on whether I add a third sport to watch (add to NFL, and MLB; I'll likely readd the NHL at some point, I was a causal fan, they had a strike, and I haven't seen a game since - the question is whether I readd the NHL as my third sport I watch, or my fourth).
GK puts ball back into play
Right, sorry that this is more of a recap of the game than a recap of my experiences.
Recap (as in a professional write up of the game).

Friday, August 25, 2006


The Nationals Don't Lose! The Nationals Don't Lose!

Oh, I'm sorry, they didn't play last night, my mistake.

Three points to be made:
1) I'm taking today off as there is nothing to blog about.
2) Ortiz pitches tonight against James and the visiting Braves.
3) I will be attending tomorrow night's DC United game and will likely not have anything to post until after I see that game. As the game starts at 7:30 pm, I will probably also take Saturday off from blogging. There will be the United game to blog about on Sunday, though that isn't baseball. I hope the Nationals win tonight and tomorrow night so I'll have something good to say about the team.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


The Solar System lost a planet on Thursday

The planet swung to a new heading and headed off to find a more attractive location. We will all be saddened to see the planet go, but if it is it's time to move on . . .

The Redskins can't win a preseason game (those games don't matter), the United have lost the ability to win a regular season game (they didn't lose, but tied, and won their most recent non-regular season game - a cup game), and the Nationals are in a 5 game losing skid (um, can't think of anything nice to say). What more can happen?

That planet flying off to look for a new location to sit and stay frozen? Well - it didn't leave, it's still in the solar system, so how did our solar system lose a planet? Simple enough. The people that decide whether a particular body of dead frozen rocks is a planet or a particularly large moon/asteroid/comet/ancient spaceship hidden in rock, have decided that the ninth planet in our solar system is not in fact a planet. Goodbye Pluto, you are no longer a planet. Sorry.

Oh, and Pluto isn't a planet anymore.

Now let us all sing that theme song from the television series "Enterprise." Or not (it had something to do with getting from here to there, or something).

What does this have to do with the Nationals? Well, it could be worse for the Nationals, they could be stripped of their status and become nothing more than a group of men wearing funny clothing and swinging at small white objects with sticks torn out of trees. Or demoted to a minor league team. Nope, that has not yet happened. The Nationals remain a major league ballclub. Pluto, though, is now nothing more than a dwarf planet.

Odd, NASA sent a probe to Pluto that will not arrive for 961/27 years? What the heck is 961/27 years? 96,127 years? NASA set a probe that will not arrive for 96,127 years? It's not days/years because 27 years in days is 9855 days (9855/27; days/years).

It was unclear how Pluto's demotion might affect the mission of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, which earlier this year began a 961/27-year journey to the oddball object to unearth more of its secrets.

I'm sure the Ape men that will come to dominate earth will be happy to receive the data from the probe. On the other hand the sun will be dead at that point . . .


DC United finally pulls out of it's slump and wins a game

Unfortunately, it isn't a regular season game but a U.S. Open Cup game. Oh, and a slump without losses, what a league, eh (the slump involved the team picking up three ties in a row)?

So that Cup game - 8,637 people watched the game in person, and no one else watched, as far as I can tell. No tv coverage, no radio coverage. Might have been internet coverage. Read about what happened in the game in this article on the DC United official website.

Why am I talking about DC United, and not the Nationals? Simple. I was tired of the Nationals losing yesterday, and then they went and lost again.

Once again the Nationals took the lead early only to see the lead immediately overtaken by the other team in the bottom of the first inning. End of 1: a manageable 2 run deficit with the Marlins ahead 3-1. Then the Marlins added 5 more runs in the bottom of the 2nd and that was all the runs the Marlins would need, though they would add 1 more run in the third. The Nationals? They would make it interesting, yet again, by picking up an additional 6 runs to add to their initial 1 run scored in the first. They lost the game 7-9, and were swept in the series.

Highlights (and the lowlights, eh?): Good thing they demoted Hughes and didn't bring up another pitcher, right? Oops, Armas lasted only 1.2 innings, giving up 5 earned runs (8 total) off of 10 hits (1 home-run) and 2 walks (and struck out 1). Schroder relieved Armas and pitched a surprising 3.1 solid innings, giving up just 1 run off of 1 hit (a home-run) and 1 walk while striking out 4. Lopez went 3 for 4, stole a base (his 33rd of the year) and committed two more errors (24 errors now). Escobar returned to the line-up and went 2 for 4 - a double (3) and a triple (2). Mateo started and covered third base, giving Zimmerman the night off, and went 2 for 5, with his first home-run of the year. Harper again started, this time going 1 for 3, lowering his batting average to .412. Castro started at second and also went 1 for 3. Jackson also entered the game, but at least only as a pinch hitter. He somehow didn't commit an error while pinch hitting.

Odd starting line-up, with Ward at 1st, Mateo at 3rd, Castro at 2B and Harper as catcher.

The Nationals have now lost 5 in a row. They have an off day today, and then visit the Braves.

box score

Cabrera powers historic outcome: Miguel Cabrera hit two homers to help Scott Olsen become the third Marlins rookie to win at least 10 games, the first time that has happened since 1952

'Frustrated' Nationals Irk Bowden - Washington Post recap
The door to the visiting manager's office at Dolphin Stadium swung open late Wednesday night, and the entire coaching staff of the Washington Nationals marched in. There, they met General Manager Jim Bowden, blue blazer on his back, a piercing gaze emanating from his eyes. These are not happy times around the Nationals, who have all but embarrassed themselves in the midst of a nine-game road trip.

Washington Times recap "With key regulars getting the night off and a lineup that resembled a Class AAA affiliate, the Washington Nationals desperately needed a good outing."

I have nothing more. I don't really care about the DC United team, and their win is not as helpful as it might seem. No games tonight involving anyone (as in DC United or Washington Nationals) I'll have nothing to talk about tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow I'll pretend to have an interest in fly-fishing.

You know, I was thinking about this on the way to work today - Washington DC now has an MLS team (which continues to shine with little fanfare; DC United), an NHL team (I don't recall the last time I watched; Washington Capitals), an NBA team (are they still called the Wizards?; Washington Wizards), a WNBA team (WNBA, right?; Washington Mystics), an NFL team (Washington Redskins), and a MLB team (Washington Nationals). No college sports that I care about, though. Sometimes basketball gets interesting, but I don't care for basketball. Of all the sports mentioned, I seem to only pay attention to the Nationals and the Redskins. The Nationals are not expected to be any good until the turn of the next century (oops, I mean 2010), and while the Redskins are interesting now, I need something more. I'll give soccer a shot. If you find me at an WNBA game, you know I've fallen far and am really grasping at straws (and actually say the same if you saw me at an NBA game, I'm boycotting basketball (the team I played on never lost a game, I've mentally crossed basketball off the list of sports to life through as a player or spectator). Tennis is sometimes amusing to watch, but I don't really have good access to it. NASCAR is rapidly overtaking America, but I also don't have in-person access to that. Soccer it is, then. Oh, just to further bore you - I've always been a casual fan of the Washington Capitals, which is why when I decided to add a third sport to pay attention to, I went with the DC United. I wanted something new, something I've never paid any attention to before, in my entire life (other than playing the sport a couple years when I was something like 5). That and the team seems to keep winning championships, and the Caps just flirt with the playoffs. Hopefully, this time next year I'll have four sports to pay attention to: baseball, football, soccer, hockey. Too bad the local (short-drive; my school won the 2004 I-AA football championship, but they are too far away to go to more than 1 game a year) area college programs are not particularly good in anything except basketball.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


So tired, so very very tired

As all probably already know, the Nationals lost yet again. And they've lost yet another series. One more meaningless game against the Marlins then an off day. Then three days in Atlanta, then an off-day, and then return to RFK to host the Phillies to end August. Then three Arizona games, three Cardinals games and then back on the road again with Willie Nelson (just for the record, I included the Nelson reference before I noticed the Ring of Fire reference, oh and you can hear the song if you go here, and find Cash's name and then click on the audio symbol).

Right, yesterday's meaningless game and recap: Florida jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning, but the Nationals, eventually, came back and tied the game in the top of the third inning. Game tied until 5th, when the Nationals pull out to a 1 run lead, but the Marlins respond immediately in the bottom of the 5th to even up the run total. Back into the lead again for the Nationals in the top of the sixth, only to see the Marlins tie the game again the the bottom of the sixth and then pull out into the lead. To make things interesting, almost, the Nationals then tied the game in the top of the 8th, before the Marlins got tired of all this excitement and scored three runs in the bottom of the 8th to take the game. The Nationals would add 1 more run in the 9th, but that's that.

Reliever Bergmann pitched 6 solid innings, giving up 4 runs off of 6 hits, 2 walks and gave up 2 home-runs. He also struck-out 3 (solid? - he's a relief pitcher). Wagner lost the game by giving up 3 runs, though all were unearned. Judging by the various recap headlines, I expected to see more than just two errors. Two is enough to cost the game. Zimmerman committed his 11th error (fielding) and Lopez committed his 220th error (oops, 22nd error - throw). For two days running, Jackson was, thankfully, not anywhere near the game play. Before the game relief pitcher Hughes was sent down and infielder/outfielder Mateo was brought up (ah, who needs a bullpen? not that I don't mind Hughes demotion, but Mateo? can he pitch?). Mateo entered last nights game and grounded into a double play for Church in the 8th, leaving 2 men on base. Harper started and picked up 2 more hits (his second double), 1 more run, and left 2 more runners on base. Harper is now hitting .429. Instead of a race to see if Harper can be the backup next year, how about having him start next year. No? Oh, and Kearns hit a home-run (his 18th home-run and his only hit in the game), and Johnson hit a home-run (his 19th).

Box Score
Press Release about Mateo joining team
"Nationals' Defense 'Springs a Leak'" - Post recap.
This is how it goes for the Washington Nationals in these long, dreary days of August. Take the lead, then give it right back. Make a good pitch to a savvy hitter, then watch a fielder boot the ball. Tie the score in the top of the eighth inning, then give it away in the bottom half, tossing in a bit of unsightly defense for good measure.

"We seem like we're the kid at the dike, you know?" Manager Frank Robinson said. "Put one finger in this hole, and another one springs a leak. Put one over there, and the other one springs a leak. We're losing ballgames in any way, all ways, that we can. It makes it tough."

"Nationals fall apart behind late errors" - Times recap
The Washington Nationals lived up to their billing last night as baseball's worst fielding team, giving up three unearned runs in the eighth inning of a 7-5 loss to the Florida Marlins before 10,260 at Dolphin Stadium.
The Nationals' poor performance in the field ruined a solid outing by starting pitcher Jason Bergmann and Nick Johnson's big game at the plate.

10,260 attendence at Dolphin Stadium?

" Marlins Capitalize on Zimmerman's Miscue" - AP recap of the game on WTOP.

"Ring of Fire" - "The Curly W"'s take on the game. The game was an old helium balloon. Um, ok. Much better entry than mine, though, as he gives the game and the team the right amount of attention.

Mateo story in the Times
The move comes after Damian Jackson's three-error game Sunday in Philadelphia. With off days tomorrow and Monday, the Nationals didn't need to carry an extra pitcher. And with baseball's rosters expanding to 40 players on Sept. 1, the Nationals think their pitching will hold up until then.
In 113 games this year for the Zephyrs, Mateo hit .254 with two home runs and 35 RBI. Mateo leads the Pacific Coast League with 33 stolen bases and was caught just 11 times.

All about those team unwearable team jerseys Unwearable? Because the jersey has the name of a player no longer on the team.

"Jim Bowden: When a deadline is not exactly a deadline" "Most fans don’t understand waivers. So I’ll explain it to you." - Bowden explains how he was able to trade Hernandez after the trade deadline had passed.

Unconditional release

If a player is placed on waivers with the intention of unconditional release, the other 29 teams can claim his contract for $1. If no team claims the contract, the team who placed him on waivers will continue to pay the player’s contract until he signs with another team. This type of waiver usually applies to players who no longer provide a benefit at the major league level and make too much money to continue playing in the minors — Luis Matos, for example.
Assignment to the minors, without the right of recall

Like the previous condition, the other 29 teams can claim his contract. This time the waiver fee is $20,000. If no team claims the player’s contract, the player reports to his assigned minor league team.

Outright waivers remove a player from the team’s 40-man roster. This type of waiver usually applies to players who do not make as much money and could serve a purpose in a team’s minor league system. One such example is Marlon Byrd, who is now with our Class AAA in New Orleans.
and then there are revocable waivers.

DC United (13-2-6) vs. New York Red Bulls (5-6-9) at 7:30pm.
The game will not be on tv, and no, you will not be able to hear it on the radio. At least according to the official DC United website. You can, though, see it life, as the game will be at RFK (if you live near RFK). This is not a normal game, it is a "Open Cup affair". Read about it at DC United's website.

I read the article. I'm still confused about what's going on at RFK, so I'll turn my attention back to the Nationals:

try to pick up another sport to watch, then that sport suddenly starts doing odd things like play for Cups in the middle of the season (actually slightly past the middle)

Also Tonight:
Tony Armas (8-8, 4.73) pitches for the Nationals and LHP Scott Olsen (9-7, 4.49) pitches for the Marlins in the last game in the series. The series that the Marlins have already won.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


So sorry

The Nationals are not making it easy for me to find something to write about. Only so often can I write “Nationals lost, here’s how” (not that I’ve actually ever used those words before).

Well, here’s something - a question and answer about Damian Jackson in the Mailbag segment on Nationals.com.
Isn't it time the Nats stop using outfielder Damian Jackson in important situations? Sunday's three-error performance was atrocious.
-- Robert L., Leesburg, Va.

No, I do not. Not playing Jackson will only make it worse. He made the errors, in part, because of lack of playing time. I have to commend Jackson for coming forward on Sunday and admitting that he was at fault. He didn't make any excuses.

Well, Rob, not to disagree to violently with Bill, but I believe that Damian should be immediately dropped from the team. What’s the point of continuing to employ him? Was there reason to have ever employed him? The answer to that question is: no. Jackson has made $2.23 million in his career from 1998-2003 according to Baseball-Reference (notice: he played in the majors in 2004 and 2005 and is currently in the majors, his salary for those years is not included in the $2.23 million). According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, Jackson is making $700,000 this year, so it’s just 2004 and 2005 that are unclear. He has played at least 6 years in the majors and has made at least $2.93 million dollars. The time has come for Jackson to retire. Except for the few games he played in the majors as a 24 year-old in 1998, Jackson has never shown that he could play at the major league level, or should play at a major league level. He was somehow good enough for a series of teams to allow him to play in the majors and he has become a multi-millionaire for his efforts. There is no reason to believe that Jackson has any real future in the majors, and so he should immediately retire and go off an play with his millions, or whatever is left. He is currently a multi-millionaire 32 year-old man, in the prime of his life. He has money and youth, why waste it showing how poorly he can play baseball?

Right, sorry, I was supposed to mention last night’s game, right? Ok, the Nationals lost. There, happy? No? Ok, so sorry.

Strange as it might seem, Traber actually pitched a quality start for the Nationals. Unfortunately, though Traber gave up just 3 runs in his 6.2 innings of work, and all three runs in the 7th inning, the Nationals were able to manage just 1 home-run against the Marlins. The Marlins won 3-1.

The game was tied 0-0 until the top of the sixth when the Nationals jumped to a seemingly unsurmountable lead when Soriano hit his 41st home-run of the year, giving the Nationals a 1-0 lead. Traber kept the Marlins from responding in the bottom of the sixth, and all was going well, until . . .

With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, the Marlins loaded the bases. Traber got Ramirez to ground out to lead off the inning, and struck-out Uggla for the second out. Then Traber stopped being able to pitch. He walked Cabrera and Willingham and then hit Helms to load the bases. Then Traber got Ross to foul out. So, struggling, Traber got out of the sixth inning successfully, but was not so fortunate in the seventh inning.

Olivio grounded out to start the inning, but trouble started immediately thereafter when Traber put Hermida on base by hitting him (Traber would hit two batters in the game, the other team hit none). Traber was able to get another out, but only by getting Abercrombie (PH for pitcher Sanchez) to sacrifice himself, moving Hermida to second. Two out, Hermida at second, sixth inning was more scary at this point, no? Ramirez then up. He hits a triple and Hermida, with no bases available for him to stand on, heads home and is safe across the plate. 2 out man at third base, tie-game. Uggla singles, Ramirez scores, Marlins ahead by a run. Robinson pulls Traber and Rauch takes over. Cabrera singles, Uggla scores and Cabrera to second on error by Soriano. Marlins up 3-1. They win 3-1.

box score
Washington Times recap
Left-hander Billy Traber gave the Washington Nationals quality pitching, but it was not good enough to compensate for inferior hitting.

Washington Post recap
It's as if they're playing basketball, and they go to the free throw line, where they haven't made a shot in a month. Or perhaps they're golfers with the yips, unable to stride confidently to three-foot putts and knock them solidly into the back of the cup. For the Washington Nationals, the free throws clank off the back of the rim, the gimme putts lip out, and there's almost no chance they'll get a key hit with runners in scoring position.

Reliver Jason Bergmann against RHP Josh Johnson (11-6, 2.84).
Unlike Bergmann’s last start, where he faced a fellow starting reliever, this time Bergmann faces a starting pitcher, one who has an era of 2.84 and has won 11 games. Johnson currently has an era of 5.06 in August and pitched only 1 quality start in 3 August starts (5 runs given up in 3 innings on August 5th, 4 runs given up in 6 innings in his last start on August 16, and 0 runs given up in 7 innings pitched on August 11th).

Monday, August 21, 2006


Nationals lose on Sunday 12-10 because of Damian Jackson; Brown - Stop the Construction!

Astacio, like Ortiz on Saturday, barely made it into the second inning. Unlike Ortiz, Astacio was able to complete the second inning without getting himself ejected from the game. Astacio pitched two innings, giving up 6 ER (7 total) off of 6 hits (1 HR), and 4 walks (strike-outs: 0; Astacio picked up his third loss of the year). Schroder replaced Astacio and pitched the third and 2 outs of the fourth. He gave up 3 runs off of 3 hits (1 HR) and 1 walk. Schroder’s ERA is now 7.04. Hughes pitched the rest of the fourth and the fifth, and finally a Nationals pitcher was able to keep runners from scoring. Hughes gave up zero hits and zero walks, and struck-out none. Rivera gave up run (off of 2 hits and 2 walks) in the seventh inning having relieved Hughes. Rivera pitched the 7th and got 2 outs in the 8th. Rauch finished the 8th (1 out), and Cordero pitched the ninth. Cordero gave up 1 unearned run and gave up one 1 hit. Cordero was the only Nationals pitcher to record a strike-out.

Offensively: Soriano went 0 for 4, Lopez went 2 for 4 (1 double - his 20th; and was CS once), Zimmerman went 0 for 3 and left 6 runners on base, Johnson . . . See the box score.

Highlights: Harper hit his first two major league home-runs, drove in 4 runs and now is hitting .400. Schneider pinch hit for him in the 7th and would end up going 2 for 2 with 2 RBI. Astacio went 1 for 1 at the plate, and Hughes also went 1 for 1 at the plate. Hughes is now hitting 1.000.

Those ERRORS: Johnson had a throwing error (his tenth error), Soriano also had a throwing error (9th), and for some reason Jackson continues to somehow sneak into games - this time he committed his 8th, 9th, and 10th errors (throwing, fielding, and missed catch).

Injuries, or why did Robinson send pinch-hitters in to hit for Zimmerman, Escobar, and Harper? Zimmerman had gone 0 for 3 and had left 6 runners on base when he left the game, but he hadn’t committed any errors, and he wasn’t immediately replaced at the plate but in the field. Jackson trotted out to play third base for the bottom of the 5th inning, after Zimmerman lined out in the top of the fifth inning. Was/is Zimmerman hurt? Nope, Robinson wanted to give Zimmerman a breather:
replacing Ryan Zimmerman in the bottom of the fifth with the Nationals down, 10-2. Manager Frank Robinson wanted to give Zimmerman a breather.

The number one reason that the Nationals lost the game? Robinson. The score was 10-2 when Zimmerman came out of the game, but before Robinson could fix his mistake (in putting Jackson into the game), Jackson would commit 3 errors and cost the Nationals the game. The Nationals would end up getting the score as close as 11-10, one of Jackson’s three errors allowed the 8th inning to build up in opportunity for the Phillies (0 outs when error occurred), and by the time the inning was over, the Phillies would add one more run to their total. That extra run cost the game. The top of the order was up, but they saw that the team was down by two runs, and they couldn’t find the energy within them to make up 2 runs, 1 run maybe, but not 2 runs.

Fake bunt attempt by Jackson - Jackson

Oh, and for Escobar and Harper, I can not find any information as to why they were pulled.

AP recap
Washington Post Recap - "What if Ryan Zimmerman had stayed in the game?" - Game too fast for him, admits Jackson:
"The game is just a little fast for me right now," said Damian Jackson.

Harper's Great game - as mentioned by Washington Post writer Barry Svrluga
Before Sunday, Brandon Harper had played in exactly three major league games, had been to the plate precisely eight times -- all after spending eight seasons in the minors, and another injured, since being drafted out of Dallas Baptist University in 1997.
Oh, so that's why Harper was pulled after hitting two-homers - he is a right-handed batter, and a right-handed reliever had entered the game.
Schneider, who singled when he hit for Harper in the seventh and later added a two-run single, heard Harper talking and joked, "You'll remember getting pinch-hit for more." Schneider, a left-handed hitter, came on to face right-hander Ryan Madson.

Washington Times recap
To Washington Nationals manager Frank Robinson, it wasn't the season-high five errors that prevented his club from erasing a nine-run deficit yesterday. The difference was a couple of calls.
Not his calls, like the call to replace Zimmerman with Jackson, but the Umps "bad" calls ("Robinson said two rulings turned the game in the favor of the Phillies").

President's Race
All about "First president for a day" - The day (Thursday) that Zuckerman was George Washington.
President's leave - President's - not Thursday but July 25th.
Todd Jacobson of Fredericksburg.com - "Mascot infamy" - Jacobson also ran in the President's race.
"A rough ride for Teddy Roosevelt in this presidential race" - By HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Sports Writer and his day at the races.
Picture shows Howard Fendrich as Teddy Roosevelt, an intern (Ryan Thomas) as Thomas Jefferson, and Mark Zuckerman of the Washington Times as George Washington.

If elected Washington DC Mayor, Michael A. Brown promises to stop construction on the new baseball stadium and instead:
refurbish RFK Stadium for the team.
"The city is going to build a stadium for the team or refurbish, from my standpoint. ... I think the city should've selected the location. I don't think [Major League Baseball] should've forced us as to where," Mr. Brown said during an interview with editors and reporters at The Washington Times.
"When this deal is done, it's going to be $1 billion. What I'd like to do is reprogram some of those dollars to other things here in the District of Columbia and at the same time refurbish RFK."
- from the Washington Times article.

Three game series with Marlins in Florida, begins tonight at 7:05pm (see 5 Q's asked by a Nationals blogger (CurlyW), and answered by a Marlins blogger, and 5 Q's asked by a Marlins blogger (Fish Stripes) and answered by CurlyW). Billy Traber tries for his 4th win of the year, and the team hopes that this time their starting pitcher will make it past the second inning, unlike their last 2 games.
LHP Billy Traber (3-1, 5.49) vs. RHP Anibal Sanchez (4-2, 3.70)
Billy Traber Throws first pitch1throw to Zimmerman
RHP Jason Bergmann (0-1, 7.31) vs. RHP Josh Johnson (11-6, 2.84)
Bergmann's first pitch

RHP Tony Armas (8-8, 4.73) vs. LHP Scott Olsen (9-7, 4.49)
Armas throws the ball

Saturday, August 19, 2006


DC United Ties Colorado Rapids

Today's game (match?) is the first complete MLS game that I've watched (saw about ten minutes of a previous DC United game). Both NFL Football and MLB Baseball can end in a tie, but an MLB Baseball game ending in a tie is so rare that I'm not sure that it actually can happen, and while NFL games are much more likely to end in a tie than a MLB game, they're still rare enough to create much talk when they occur.

Glad United didn't lose, but . . . they tied. How am I supposed to respond to a tie? A vague feeling of happiness, mixed with sadness? We are talking about a first place team with just 2 losses playing a 9-8 team, and United did not pick up a win in their last three matches, so how exactly can I be happy with a tie? Only in thinking "at least they didn't lose." On the other hand, the game announcers mentioned that last years champs lost 13 regular season games (32 regular season games, ended up with a record of 19-13? nope, can't tell because of the fact ties exist, could have been 0-13-19, except I doubt a team that never won a game in regular play would win the Championship).

Interesting game to watch and I believe I see one reason beyond the low scoring reason, for why Soccer has so much trouble advancing further into USA culture. That reason is the game itself - the 45 minutes of game, 15 minutes of break then another 45 minutes of game. I saw this in the rules before I watched the game on TV, but I didn't really think about it until I saw the game. That's 45 straight minutes of game. No TV breaks, no breaks except for the half-time break. If the broadcasters go to commercial, the game does not stop, the game continues. Broadcasters don't take a break, game continues. What does the audience do? Never move, that's what. At least never leave the vicinity of the TV screen. I now know why in some movies from "soccer" countries there is a big point of having a TV in the restrooms.

Soccer, being soccer, ends up with a lot of low scoring games, if you get up for any reason, you will likely miss something important. Stay and watch people kicking the ball around. Get up and miss goals.

I was fortunate. I put off eating supper or doing anything else (like getting a drink of some kind) until after the game was over (of course I did get up at half-time). Therefore I saw the two goals.

All other major sports (with two+ exceptions), Baseball (inning breaks/side changes/pitching changes), Football (the NFL kind, quarters), Hockey (do they call them periods?), Basketball -> all have built in time for broadcasters to show commercials. Soccer doesn't. The two+ exceptions? Auto-racing and golf. Both involve more than two competitors, and both can somewhat get away with taking a commercial while action continues to happen (The + is for Horse-racing - the only major events in Horse-racing, these days, are the big events - the Kentucky Derby races and the like, events that go by so quickly that there's plenty of commercial time - the pre-race talking, broken up with commercials, and the post race talking, broken up with commercials, the race itself is over before you know it).

Right, sorry, just my thoughts after watching a Soccer game/match/whatever. Not sure why I included these thoughts in a baseball blog, other than I have no where else to express these thoughts.


Nationals defeat Phillies 6-4 in Game 1 of the 4 game series

The Nationals jumped to an early lead off of a Soriano lead-off home-run, single by Lopez, and then a two run home-run by Zimmerman. Armas kept the Phillies off the board until the 6th, and meanwhile the Nationals added to their run total with two more runs in the second, and one more in the fourth. Entering the bottom of the sixth inning, the Nationals lead 6-0. That would be the extent of the Nationals scoring, and the start of the Phillies scoring. The Nationals needed three innings to put up 6 runs, and the Phillies ran out of innings. They scored 4 runs in two different innings, but were not able to tie the game.

Highlights: Armas picked up 8th win, now 8-8, but gives up 3 runs and pitches only 5.1 innings (giving up 6 hits, 2 walks and striking out 2 in 88 pitches). Soriano went 4 for six with his 39th home-run (which the radio mentioned match's Soriano's career high), 79 RBI, and 30th stolen base (and was caught stealing for the 13th time). Soriano is once again a 30-30 player (for fourth time). Lopez went 2 for 4 and scored 3 times (plus 19th double). Zimmerman went 3 for 5 and knocked in 5 RBI off of his 38th double and 17th home-run. Johnson went 2 for 4 and stole his 10th base. Vidro rejoined the team and went 2 for 5. Church and Escobar both started (Kearns sat) and all three went hitless (Kearns in a PH for Church). Schneider faced 5 straight balls before his first strike and walked three times (went 1 for 2; did not score). Cordero picked up 23rd save.

box score

Washington times recap
Alfonso Soriano put on a clinic and reached two milestones last night against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Rookie Ryan Zimmerman offered a strong supporting role and the Nationals beat the Phillies 6-4 in front of 30,123 at Citizens Bank Park.
- Soriano joins Vladimir Guerrero as only 30-30 man for Expos/Nationals franchise. Needs just 1 more home-run and 10 more stolen bases to reach "exclusive 40/40 club" that includes "Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez."

AP recap

"It is good, but I'm working hard to get better in the field and to make my team better," Soriano said. "So whatever number that I put (up) this year, maybe I want to enjoy after the season, but not now. It is more important for me to win and make the team better."

Washington Post recap.
Ryan Zimmerman was in the dugout preparing for his first at-bat Friday night when Alfonso Soriano blasted a gargantuan home run on to the concourse in center field at Citizens Bank Park. "He's an amazing player," Zimmerman said hours later.

Soriano had barely settled back into the dugout himself when Zimmerman laid into a fastball from Philadelphia's Brett Myers, a two-run shot to left, and the Washington Nationals were rolling. "He's unbelievable," Soriano said.

Article about off-season/roster. - Nationals have some flexibility/choice in the Soriano part of their off-season action, but "[a]t second base and shortstop, though, the Nationals have what could be two anchors weighing down their goal of payroll flexibility." Expensive Vidro "coming back from injury" at 2B, and "not-so-feared shortstop, Cristian Guzman." Vidro was praised for his committment to the franchise when he signed the 4 year deal for $30 million, but is now seen as a liability.

$23 million in salary locked up in players who no one would really like to see out there next year. Add in newly acquired shortstop Felipe Lopez, who appears to be a flawed player but a better option than either Guzman at short or Vidro at second, and you have a problem that is harder to fix than the uncertainty over Soriano.
- what to do? Read that article.

Today: 4:00 pm in Washington DC, RFK stadium:
The first place DC United squad (13-2-7) host the last place Colorado Rapids (9-8-4). The game takes place at RFK stadium and will be televised on ESPN2.

The United enter the contest in a slump. They are the league leaders in goals and assists, and have three of the top 8 scorers, b ut enter today's contest in a three match slump - having scored just two goals in those three matchs and having "to settle for a pair of ties and a loss."

Read more about it in the Washington Post article.

Tonight: 7:05pm in Philly
RhP Ramon Ortiz (9-10, 4.88) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (5-6, 4.50)
Ramon Ortiz pitches to FinleyHamels pitches to Guillen 2

Friday, August 18, 2006


Please bear with me as I adjust to something called “Soccer”

This here entry might be the only one I make, ever, about soccer, or the next week(s) might fill up with talk about soccer. The reason? I’ve decided to see, in person, that other pro-sports team that plays at RFK. I’ve seen the Nationals (MLB), and I’ve seen the Redskins (NFL) at RFK (and I’ve seen the Washington Capitals and the Washington Bullets/Wizards (saw under both names), but did not see the CFL Washington team, nor have I seen any of the other local pro-sports teams (past or present)). On Saturday August 26th, I’ll attend the 7:30 pm showing of the first place DC United (MLS) team compete against the last place Los Angeles Galaxy of the Western Standings (wait, that Standings part might not be part of the division’s name).

At home (RFK): DC United has a record, so far, of 8-0-2 with 20 goals for and 7 goals against. Away: Los Angeles Galaxy has a record, so far, of 4-6-2 with 11 goals for and 15 goals against. Current standings.

Let’s see, DC United has 26 players on its roster (apparently, according to the MLS website, teams are supposed to have 28 players, 18 on the Senior Roster, 10 on the Development Roster, and all 28 eligible to be part of the Gameday Squad; DC United is missing 2 players). I recognize #9 Freddy Adu from local radio announcers talking about him and his age, but I do not recognize anyone else on the team. Adu is currently 17, and has played two seasons in the MLS. He has played 22 games (20 started) so far this year and has 1 goal and 6 assists. The stats on his page almost mean nothing to me. I assume: GP - games played, GS - games started, MIN - minutes (1,750), G - goal, A - Assists, SHT - ? Shots? (41), SOG - Shots on goal? (21), FC - well in football that would be fair catch, but here?, FS - free safety, here?, C - catcher, here? (Oh, I see in the “Laws” thing mentioned below, Cautions - does the C in the stats stand for cautions?), EJ - ejected?. Adu is listed as playing the M position.

Also on the team are: Forwards: #99 Jaime Moreno, #11 Alecko Eskandarian, and #20 Matt Nickell. Moreno has 10 goals and 5 assists and has started and played in every game (22; 1930 mins.). Moreno is from Bolivia, and has played in 239 games, and started 231. Eskandarian has 7 goals and 2 assists, and has started in 13 games and played in 17. Eskandarian is from New Jersey, and has played in 76 games, and started 44. Nickell has 0 goals and 0 assists, and has played 6 minutes in 2 games. Nickell is from Iowa, and has played in 6 games.

Those listed as playing M-F number 2 on the team: #6 Domenic Mediate and #23 Jamil Walker.

Those listed as playing M-D number 1 on the team: #24 Jeff Carroll.

Those playing the M position: Adu, #16 Brian Carroll, #15 Rod Dyachenko, #10 Christian Gomez, #22 Devon McTavish, #8 Justin Moose, #14 Ben Olsen, #19 Clyde Simms.

D players (defensive?): #32 Bobby Boswell, #5 Facundo Erpen, #4 Brandon Prideaux, #12 John Wilson.

Goalkeeper - #1 Troy Perkins. 81 saves.

DC United - 1996, 1997, 1999, 2004 MLS Cup Champs, 1996 US Open Champs, 1998 CONCACAF Champs, 1998 Interamerican Cup Champs,

Looking for information, I head to MLSnet.com. Notes: League is in its 11th season. 80 million soccer fans in USA. 32 regular season games, playoffs in mid-Oct. and MLS Cup is Nov. 12. Los Angeles Galaxy play in The Home Depot Center. New team in 2007 - Toronto FC.

Interesting, accidently downloaded the “Laws of the Game” .pdf file. Apparently “fields” can be anywhere between 100-130 yards long and 50-100 yards wide. Goal area has an 8ft height and 8 yard width. 2 equal periods of 45 minutes each. 15 minute half-time.

Start: coin toss to decide which goal to attack. Kick-off like Face-off in Hockey. At kick-off - initial “kicker” cannot kick ball again until another player has “touched” the ball. The winning team is the team that scores the most goals, if no team scores the most goals, then the game is a tie (I suppose they need something like that in the “official laws”).

Interesting - must memorize Referee Signals section so that I’ll know what is going on. Starts page 58. Gee, read whole 84 page guide and still don’t know how to read the statistics pages.


Ran out of time, will examine the other players and rest of this league later.


Finally, something to write about: Bowie on DL, Vidro activated joins major league team

Only LHP in the bullpen joins the long deep crowd "lounging" around the DL. Micah Bowie was brought up the the majors on July 6th, pitched in 15 games, and then pitched one last time on August 9th. He has a "left latissimus dorsi strain."
Micah Bowie

Jose Vidro readded to active roster. Marlon Anderson, I assume, is now sad.
Vidro faces the ball - Jose Vidro

Marlon Anderson leads off the bottom of the fourth with a double - Marlon Anderson looking sad.

As previously mentioned, the pitchers tonight are: RHP Tony Armas (7-8, 4.72) vs. RHP Brett Myers (8-5, 4.12)

Armas hasn't won a game since July 23 and is looking to snap a personal three-game losing streak.
- from Nationals PROBABLE PITCHERS page.

Myers currently has an ERA of 8.10 in Auguts, but has picked up 2 wins in the three games started in August.
Armas pitches2

Thursday, August 17, 2006


The Braves relief pitcher (Villarreal) is better than the Nationals Relief Pitcher (Bergmann)

The Nationals and the Braves put up two relief pitchers as starters today, and the Braves came out ahead in the relief pitcher as starters duel. Villarreal lasted 1 inning less than Bergmann, but gave up just 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 4 and allowing no runners to score (all on 65 pitches). Our relief pitcher as a starter, Bergmann, actually lasted a relatively respectable 6 innings, but ended up giving up 4 runs, most of which scored in the 5th inning. Meaning that our relief pitcher did well for longer than most relief pitchers pitch in relief (can I somehow throw in more uses of the word relief?), in that he pitched 4 solid innings and gave up just 1 run in those 4 innings. Unfortunately, Bergmann gave up three runs in the top of the fifth to give the Braves a 4-0 lead. The Braves would tack on one more run in the top of the 7th off of reliever Schroder (whose ERA is now 6.75, and the reliever that hit a batter) and win the game 5-0. The Nationals score zero runs off of 4 hits and left 8 runners on base.

The proclamation that announced that Escobar was the starting center-fielder from here until the end of the season was lying, as Church started today in CF. Church went 1 for 2 with the team’s only walk and only double, and left 1 runner on base. Lopez, Kearns, and Escobar (PH) picked up the other three Nationals hits.

The wind was 7 mph out to RF and the temp was 81 degrees F. It was also sunny.

All of the above was gathered by watching the game-day as the game unfolded, and therefore I have nothing that I can link to at this time.

Oh, but there is something that I can link to: Ladson plays with fire by announcing that Johnson has avoided the injury bug all season:
The 2006 season marks the first time since 1999 that Nationals first baseman Nick Johnson hasn't been placed on the disabled list
- what’s Ladson trying to do? Get Johnson hurt?

No news yet on the Soriano/Armas/Astacio on waivers deal.

Braves even series, win two, Nationals win two. Now off to Philly. I will not announce the probable pitchers, just so I can have at least a one-liner for tomorrow's blog (Armas vs. Myers - ok, now I have nothing to write about tomorrow).


Nationals win 9-6, Traber picks up 3rd win of 2006

Zimmerman in the 8th of May 26th game
Originally uploaded by MichaelBriggs.

Zimmerman committed his tenth error of 2006 that started a rally, then made a great catch to end that rally. He also hit his 16th home-run (drove in himself and 1 runner), drove in 3 runs and left 1 runner on base and struck out once. Interesting game for Zimmerman, I’ll call him the player of the game. Can’t call Traber the player of the game. Traber went just 5.2 innings (81 pitches), giving up 5 runs (4 earned) off of 6 hits, 1 walk and also struck out 3 batters (52 of his pitches were strikes). Rivera continued to do well in relief, Rauch gave up a run in his 1 inning of relief and Cordero picked up his 22nd save.

The game: The Nationals jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the 2nd inning, that they kept until the 4th inning. The Braves scored three runs in the top of the 4th to come within 1 run of tying the game, but the Nationals immediately responded with two runs in the bottom of the 4th to pull to 6-3. The Braves get 2 more runs in the 6th to pull within 1 and this time the Nationals didn’t respond until the seventh. Good think Rivera was in there in the 7th to keep the Braves from tacking on any more runs. The Braves make things slightly more interesting by scoring 1 more run in the 8th, but in the end, the Nationals win 9-6.

Soriano went 1 for 5 with 1 RBI, Lopez went 2 for 4 with 1 walk and scored 2 runs (1 SB), Zimmerman went 2 for 5 with 3 RBI (and HR), Johnson went 1 for 2 with 3 walks and 1 RBI, Kearns continues slumping going 0-5 and leaving 7 runners on base, Escobar starts against a RHP and goes 1 for 3 (Anderson will walk for Rivera, who moved into Escobar’s slot in the sixth), Schneider shows that he actually can hit the ball with 2 hits in 4 at-bats including a 3 run home-run , Castro improves his average to .300 with 2 hits in 4 chances, Traber walks and screws up on the base paths, Church takes over for Escobar in the field (hitting in Traber’s spot) and goes 1 for 2.

Castro: read the Nats notes on The Beltway Boys most recent blog entry.
I've never quite figured out what Bernie Castro has to do to win a full time job in the major leagues.

Traber: the running error - Traber on second, Soriano on first, Lopez at the plate. Lopez hits what should be a double, Soriano runs to second, stops. Why did he stop? Because Traber was just standing there looking blank. He would eventually run to third base, Lopez, apparently not paying any attention, like normal, runs to second, and Soriano stands between second and third looking for some base that he can stand on. Soriano, without a base to stand on, is out. Traber and Soriano should have scored, Lopez should have been on second if not for Traber’s running, or lack of running. Bases should have been loaded if not for Lopez’s lack of attention to the runners a head of him. Sure, he hits a double, runs hard to second, but he still should have looked around to see if second is open. For all he knew, Traber tripped and was lying on the ground, blocking Soriano’s path to second/third . . . etc (instead, of course, Traber just wasn’t moving).
Traber’s quote in the Washington Post recap: “I just went blank, I’m not very used to being on base.”
When Traber came back to the dugout, Robinson asked him if he knew the ball was a base hit. Traber, according to Robinson, said, "I haven't been out to second base for a long time." Robinson laughed.
"What are you going to do?" Robinson said.

Soriano on waivers: Soriano surprised by waiver
"I don't know what to think," Soriano said. "It happened to me in Texas, too. But I'm surprised [the Nationals] put me on waivers. But as I always said, it's as if it's part of the game. If they didn't trade me before the trade deadline, why are they going to put me on waivers now?"

Times article on Soriano on waivers.
Although Alfonso Soriano reportedly was placed on waivers Tuesday, the possibility of the Washington Nationals parting ways with their star left fielder this season appear slim. Once the trade deadline passes, it's a fairly common practice among clubs to place high-profile players on waivers to gauge interest.
- no mention of Soriano’s surprise.

Minor leagues:
The Nationals have now signed seven of their top eight picks from the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. "Looking back at the draft this year, it's turned out to be a real successful endeavor for us," assistant general manager Mike Rizzo said. "We filled a lot of needs we wanted to. We feel we got some depth into the system that we felt we needed. We checked off all the boxes that we are trying to check off."
- quote from same article as mentions Soriano’s surprise above.

Escobar: Despite injury, Escobar will be the everyday CF from here-on out, according to the same article linked above about Soriano’s surprise.

Washington Times recap.
For all the heat Brian Schneider has come under in recent days, it should be noted that the Washington Nationals' beleaguered catcher is in the midst of his hottest stretch at the plate all season.

Nationals.com box score

Today at 1:05
Braves series comes down to this game, will the Nationals defeat the Braves and win the series, or will Braves save themselves and pick up the win today and the tie for the series.
RHP Oscar Villarreal (8-1, 4.48) vs. RHP Jason Bergmann (0-0, 7.62)
Bergmann's first pitch - Bergmann’s first pitch on July 3rd.
Not mentioned above are in the articles is that Astacio and Armas were earlier reported to have been placed on waivers at the same time Soriano was. If Astacio and Armas leave, how will the Nationals put out to start? Maybe more relief pitchers like Bergmann. Bergmann makes his third start in the majors and second in 2006. Bergmann started once in 2005. On August 12, 2006, Bergmann started and went 5.0 innings, giving up 3 ER off of 4 hits and 2 walks (while striking out 4) and posting a 5.40 ERA for the game (which actually lowered his ERA from 8.14 to 7.62). Bergmann threw 91 pitches, 60 for strikes.
Villarreal is also a relief pitcher, but unlike Bergmann, this is Villarreal’s first start this season. Villarreal has appeared in relief in 47 games this season (60.1 innings pitched) and acquiring a record of 8-1 with an ERA of 4.48. He has 36 strike-outs to 21 walks in those 60.1 IP. So far this season, Villarreal’s longest outing occurred on June 23rd, when he pitched 4.1 innings giving up 2 hits and 1 walk while striking out 2 (50 pitches). Villarreal started 1 game in 2003 for the Diamondbacks. He went 10-7 with an ERA of 2.57 that year, but I can’t seem to locate the game he started.

On the Road again
After today’s day game, the Nationals head on the road again, stopping first in Philly for three games before heading to Florida to face the Marlins. At the moment, Armas is scheduled for Friday against Brett Myers (8-5, 4.12), Ortiz is scheduled to pitch against LHP Cole Hamels (5-6, 4.50), and Astacio is scheduled to finish the series on Sunday against LHP Randy Wolf (1-0, 4.35).
Armas watches a ball fly past himRamon Ortiz pitchesHamels pitches to Guillen 3Astacio takes first

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Nationals win 5-0 off of an almost perfect game pitched by Pedro Astacio

Attempting to fool the batter, Astacio throws two balls
Originally uploaded by MichaelBriggs.
The Nationals provided their starting pitcher with both outstanding fielding (in that they didn’t commit any errors), and effective batting (in that they scored 5 runs), and their starting pitcher, Pedro Astacio, rewarded his team’s defensive and offensive efforts with a 9 inning complete game 2 hit shut-out. Astacio pitched 87 perfect pitches (in that no walks, hits, HBP, were given up on those pitches), and had just two pitches that were “bad.” Those two pitches were: 1) the hit by LaRoche, and 2) the hit by Francoeur. Think about it. Astacio was two pitches from pitching a perfect game.

Offensively: Soriano went 2 for 4 with 1 run, Lopez got a hit in four at bats and left 2 runners on base, Zimmerman struck out three times in 4 at-bats and left 2 runners on base, Johnson drew 2 walks scored twice and went hitless, Kearns went 1 for 4 (his 28th double) and drove in 2 runs while also striking out once, Escobar went 1 for 3 with 1 run scored 1 RBI and 1 LOB (and 1 SF), Schneider went 1 for 3 with 1 walk and 1 LOB, Castro went 1 for 4 (another bunt hit that drove in a run (2 out 1 RBI)) and LOB 2, and even Astacio got1 hit in his 3 times at-bat - though he did leave 2 runners on base.

Astacio is now 3 and 2 with an ERA down to 4.64.

Nationals.com box score.

Washington Times recap
He's the wily veteran of the Washington Nationals pitching staff, a 36-year-old right-hander whose better days are clearly behind him but who still has a gem in him every once in a while.

Washington Post recap
They saw a visiting lineup that had pounded their pitching staff for 14 hits, 10 runs and 4 homers an evening earlier. And they checked on the probable starter and saw 36-year-old journeyman Pedro Astacio, whose 16 career losses to the Braves ranked him among the dozen worst all-time against the Atlanta franchise.

Minor league news
Six of first eight selections from 2006 draft have agreed to terms

RHP John Smoltz (10-5, 3.41) vs. LHP Billy Traber (2-1, 5.14)
Billy Traber Throws first pitch2
While Astacio pitched his first complete game yesterday, Smoltz pitched his third in his last start on Friday.

This will be Traber’s first start against the Braves. He went 7 plus 1 batter in his last start and picked up a win.

Bowden's article in the Examiner
"Nats prospecting for gold this offseason"
In an effort to expand the payroll budget, Bowden plans on spending some part of the offseason prospecting for gold in the Rocky Mountains. Other GM's are dubious of Bowden's plan and believe that he has finally . . . . Oops, that is not what Bowden's article is about.

As we enter the middle of August, offseason planning is in full swing. Our baseball operations staff has begun to make offseason plans for all major league and minor league players. The offseason is not a time to sit around for five months. Players need to get into shape, make personal improvements and become better ballplayers. . . . This offseason will see the return of Major League Baseball’s relationship with the Hawaiian Winter Baseball League. . . . Among the players we plan on sending: shortstop Ian Desmond and pitcher Marco Estrada.

I don't actually see anything about prospecting for gold. How odd. Just talk about winter ball.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


New header/banner

I created a new header/title/banner for the blog and it has been up for a little while. For some reason I can't get it to line-up correctly. I'm glad that the title of my blog is in the address bar, because you won't be able to tell from the new banner.

"Nationa"[ls] from a uniform + a picture of a baseball + blood-red lettering, as if my blog were a horror movie ("oh no, it's written in blood!" "The wall! It's bleeding! . . . For some reason it's bleeding FAN, the word isn't too scary, but still, giant drops of blood are falling down and coating my head")* FAN = nothing really, because: 1) Hard too see; 2) more prominent titles are "Go Nats!" and "No Parking On Either Side of the Roadway <->"; 3) if visible, looks more like Nationa [picture of baseball] FAN. Maybe I should just rename my blog "No Parking" . . .

Oh, and the sidebar (which takes about an hour to load now . . .) includes a new style to listing the blogs: Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Image hosted by Photobucket.com Image hosted by Photobucket.com Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Image hosted by Photobucket.comImage hosted by Photobucket.comImage hosted by Photobucket.comImage hosted by Photobucket.com
- the blogs whose titles/banners I can "copy" and make into buttons (still need to fix size of Banks and Ball-Wonk).

That's all - I have nothing, at this time, to say about the Nationals.

* - sorry about all the talk about blood - nothing bad intended, it's just that I was examining the blog and noticed that FAN looked like it might have been written in/with blood, which briefly created a startled laugh. My blog is vicious.


Nationals lose, again; Game tonight

Braves series:
Nationals lose 4-10 to the Braves in the first of the 4 game series. The Braves are in third place, 16 games behind the Mets and 4.5 games ahead of the last place Nationals. The Nationals lost their previous series against the first place Mets, but did pick up 1 win in the three game series. Hopefully that means that the Nationals will at least pick up two wins against the Braves (it doesn’t work that way).

As mentioned, the Braves won on Monday by a score of 10 to 4; the less said, the better right?

Ortiz (recall when he was called the ace of the team?) picked up his 10th loss of the season after pitching just 4.2 innings and giving up 7 runs off of 9 hits, 3 walks, 2 home-runs and just 4 strike-outs. Wagner relieved Ortiz and finished the fifth inning and pitched the sixth. Wagner let 1 runner score in 1.1 inning of work, lowering his ERA to 12.00. Travis Hughes pitched the 7th and 8th, and gave up 2 runs off of 3 hits (1 home-run; the pitchers, together, gave up 4 home-runs). Rick Schroder had nothing to do with the game, but Chris Schroder pitched the ninth inning. Schroder (Chris) gave up 1 hit in that 1 inning of work - lowering his ERA to 6.00. Monday’s game was Chris Schroder’s 3rd game in the majors. He pitched on August 8th: 1 inning, 1 strike-out (7 pitches, 5 strikes), on August 12th: 1 inning, 2 runs off of 2 hits - 1 strike-out (22 pitches, 17 strikes), and yesterday (11 pitches, 9 strikes).

Offensive highlights: Soriano went 2 for 4, scoring twice, walking once, and knocking in 1 run. and hit a double (30th) and a single. Sorinao also picked up his 29th stolen base of the year. Just one more for that magical 30-30. Castro went 2 for 4 (he is now 3 for 12 as a National, and 26 for 92 in the majors). I’ll give the player of the game trophy (or award, or whatever) to Church for his 9th inning pinch-hit 2-out home-run with the game winding up and the score 10-3. The announced attendance was 21,550, and most of those ticket holders were probably in their cars when that home-run was hit.

Anyone with pictures, and/or for other reasons want to include the name of the umps when referring to this game: behind the plate: Tony Randazzo. 1B: Jim Wolf. 2B: Joe West. 3B: Ed Rapuano.

And for those keeping track of this stat, the Nationals left 10 runners on base.

Series continues tonight at 7:05 pm with 2-3, 6.12 Cormier pitching for the Braves against 2-2, 5.56 Pedro Astacio pitching for the Nationals.

Washington Post recap for Monday’s game:
Jones smashed home runs in three consecutive at-bats, Diaz collected hits in his first four at-bats to tie a National League record and by the time the Braves' 10-4 demolition of the Nationals was complete, Ortiz's deficient effort had been long forgotten by the thinning crowd of 21,550.

Washington Times recap for Monday’s game.
Diaz entered the game with six straight hits, so he was already on a roll by the time he walked into the ballpark. By the time he walked out, he had etched his name into the record books, thanks in large part to a Nationals pitching staff that kept deciding to pitch around Adam LaRoche to get to him.

Presidents’ Race
See pictures "From the inside".

A look at the headlines:
Pedro Martinez viciously injuries baby cow: “Mets Ace Pedro Martinez Injures Calf”. Oops, sorry, the article is actually about:
The New York Mets ace tweaked his calf during warmups, got roughed up for six runs and left his terrible outing against Philadelphia after getting only three outs.
- The article title confused me.

This day in History: “Phil Wood: Still a fab moment at RFK Stadium”: Beatles played RFK 40 years ago August 15th. Tickets were in the 3-5 dollar range, but the band attracted only 32,164 fans at RFK (called DC stadium at the time).
The idea of a ballpark rock concert was still unusual; The Beatles had played the first-ever stadium show a year to the day prior to playing D.C. That one was at Shea Stadium in New York, before 55,000-plus fans. They sold tickets behind the band at Shea, which accounted for the huge crowd; a year later they drew 32,164 here, with the outfield seats essentially vacant.

Washington Post - 2 players angry on Sunday: "Nationals Try To Toss Aside Controversy"
Catcher Brian Schneider, who got upset with reporters before storming off after Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Mets . . . The other incident Sunday involved utilityman Damian Jackson, who tossed a chair before the game.

Washington Times - All about the fielding: “New players lead to more errors”

Last season, the Washington Nationals committed the fewest errors in franchise history with 92. The Nationals surpassed that total with 93 after three miscues in Sunday's loss against the New York Mets. Entering last night's game against the Atlanta Braves at RFK Stadium, the Nationals were tied with the Florida Marlins for the worst fielding percentage in the majors at .978.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


Nationals win and Lose since my last entry

Interesting, anyone watch the replays of the game on MASN? As I started to write this blog, I turned on the tv to be background noise and lo and behold there's the game. I believe it was 4-1 when I started, and it is now 4-4. Do you think the Nationals will somehow win this time? Want to make a small bet?

Right, the games. On Friday Billy Traber pitched a great 7 inning (and 1 8th inning batter), and gave up just 1 earned run off of 4 hits (1 hr) and zero walks (and 2 SO), dropping his ERA to 5.14 from 9.00. Rauch continues to shine in the set-up role (at this point, he is too good of a relief pitcher to now go back to starting, unlike, say, Jason Bergmann), and pitched 1 great inning. Cordero pitched the 9th, and while it had a slight excitment from a walk being given up, as normal, Cordero still picked up his 21st save (the as normal part is about the walk, not the save).

Let's see, highlights from Friday's game: Escobar SB (2nd of year); Kearns CS (4th), error by Lopez (21st), pick-off by Traber; doubles by Schneider (11) and Zimmerman (36); RBI by Schneider 2 (37; who also left 2 runners on base); Traber entered with a batting average of .333 and ended the game with a batting average of .167. Considering that Schneider had the most hits and drove in the two Nationals runs, the case can be made to make him the player of the game; but the Nationals would not have been in position to win off of just 2 runs without the great pitching of Traber.

Last night's game is distracting me, so I'll end my talk of this Friday's game. First, though, I'll provide some links: Nationals.com box score; Met's fan blog - much better use of my photos (which reminds me that I probably should include something more about the Negro Leagues Tribute Night - probably need to turn off the losing game, really distracting).
Cubans vs Grays - Friday's game was between the New York Cubans (Mets) and the Homestead Grays (Nationals).
Former Negro League players turned up:Negro League players
and 1 of the three women that pitched in the Negro leagues threw out the first cermonial pitch:
First pitch by 1 of 3 Negro League female pitchers

Meanwhile, the Nationals played in the Gray's jersey's, and Billy Traber made his third start of the season (first: April 20th, second: April 25th): Billy Traber Throws first pitch2

Traber got lead-off Reyes out, which is a good thing, because the second batter he faced, Lo Duca hit a home-run:
Lo Duca crosses home plate - that 1 run home-run was the total offense for the Cubans/Mets (at least run scoring).

Glavine pitched for the Cubans/Mets: Tom Glavine pitches. Glavine entered the game with a 12-4 record, but picked up his 5th loss of the season after this game. He gave up 2 runs, in 6 innings, off of 7 hits and 1 walk (and he also had 7 strike-outs).

As I mentioned, the Nationals won because of a 2 RBI hit by Schneider, well, here is Escobar - the second to score:
Escobar crosses plate after Kearns

Some more things happened at the game, check out my photo set, and/or MissChatter's photo set on Flickr.com (includes a photo I should have gotten, but didn't think of until much later - thanks for stopping by MissChatter).

I had tickets for Saturday night, but I went to the zoo instead. Don't worry, my ticket was used.
Giant Panda son's tongue - see the tongue sticking out? - that's the young Panda at the zoo.

I did get back to see the game, so my recap (and even if I hadn't, I've been rewatching the game while I wrote this blog - might have been a closer game if hitting a guy's shirt doesn't put that guy on base, and if the umps hadn't taken away one of Soriano's assists (runner out, called safe).

Nationals lose 6-4 to the Mets, today's game decides the series. Interesting - looked to see when they called up Bergmann, what do I see, Matos dropped from team, Bergmann recalled. That line had previosly only noted Matos unconditional release.

Right, so Bergmann. Bergmann made his second major league start (just looked, didn't realize he had a start in 2005), on Saturday. Bergmann pitched 5 innings, gave up 3 runs off of 4 hits, and 2 walks (while also striking-out 4). Bergmann faced 22 batters and threw 91 pitches (60 strikes).

Mets jumped out to early 3-1 lead by the end of the fourth inning (3 runs for the Mets in the 3rd and 1 run for the Nationals in the 4th), and added another run in the top of the sixth. That sixth inning run by the Mets was off of reliever Travis Hughes. Game over, right? 4-1 going into bottom of the sixth inning. But no - Nationals score 3 runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game. Unfortunately, that was all the runs the Nationals were able to pick up in the game, and unfortunately, the Mets were able to add 2 immediate runs in the top of the 7th. 8th and 9th innings basically didn't matter (other than great pitching by Rivera; need to start using him when the game is tied, instead of after game lost), Mets win 6-4.

Highlights: In 7th inning, Soriano threw out a base-runner, but the runner was incorrectly called safe. Game might have gone differently, but almost every team has wrong calls like this in their memory bank. Saturday's crowd: 42,507; Castro picks up his first hit as a National; Jackson again used as a PH, despite not being able to hit; Johnson hit his 18th home-run of the year, Soriano hits his 37th HR of the year. Lopez picks up 31st SB; constant talk on the TV broadcast about Preston Wilson being dropped by his team.

Total of 8 runners LOB in last two games (5 Friday; 3 Saturday).

Box score on Nationals.com.

Sunday: in a couple of hours, Mets series ends:
11-5, 5.03 RHP Steve Traschsel vs. 7-8, 5.04 RHP Tony Armas
A difference of 0.01 runs in the ERA of the pitchers?

Don't feel like doing original research this time, so:
Scouting Report:
His ERA is higher than 5.00. He hasn't completed the seventh inning in 11 starts, or the sixth in six of the 11. But when Trachsel pitches, the Mets usually win -- nine times in those 11 starts, to be exact. From June 9 through Tuesday night when he defeated the Padres at Shea, Trachsel won more games -- nine -- than any pitcher in the big leagues. What else need be said?

Armas hasn't won a game since July 23 and is looking to snap a personal three-games losing streak. In his last start, Armas frustrated manager Frank Robinson by continually falling behind in the count and having to throw 104 pitches -- only 59 of which were for strikes. Armas lasted six innings and gave up four runs -- two earned -- nine hits.
- from Probable pitchers page.

Braves at RFK Monday-Thursday
Monday: LHP Chuck James (4-3, 4.69) vs. RHP Ramon Ortiz (9-9, 4.60)
Tuesday: RHP Lance Cormier (2-3, 6.12) vs. RHP Pedro Astacio (2-2, 5.56)
Wednesday: RHP John Smoltz (10-5, 3.41) vs. LHP Billy Traber (2-1, 5.14)
Thursday: RHP Kevin Barry (0-1, 7.71) vs. RHP Jason Bergmann (0-0, 7.62)

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