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Thursday, August 17, 2006


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

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