The Washington Nationals swept two straight series at home, going (6-0) against the visiting Reds and Cardinals before boarding a plane and flying across the country to begin a three game series with the San Francisco Giants. The Natonals win streak has caught the attention of the baseball community, and landed the team a nationwide broadcast on ESPN2.
…Giants starter Tim Lincecum is the biggest pitching sensation the West Coast has seen since Fernando Valenzuela was rolling his eyes back for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 80’s. Lincecum, the San Francisco Giants rookie starter is a right hander, unlike Valenzuela, and doesn’t have quite the enjoyably exagerrated delivery Fernando had, but when Lincecum twists at the hip and rears…
…Who am I kidding, it’s all about John Lannan vs The San Francisco Giants left fielder, for the first five or six innings at least, or until the San Francisco Giants Left Fielder goes yard. Mc Covey cove is littered with floating Giants fans. AT&T Park is decidedly Pro-Their Left Fielder. There’s a banner on the outfield wall with The Giants Left Fielder turning his back to show his number #25 and the words, “Road To History” tempting fate to provide a “Happening.”
Lincecum gives up back to back doubles to start the first, and then hits Ryan Zimmerman in the head with a 93 mph fastball. (He’s OK, Kids). (Now Lannan has to hit Him!) DY backs up the Giants Left Fielder, Logan tags and scores from third. 1-0 Nationals. Lincecum blows Austin Kearns away with a fastball. Ryan Church chases a change.
John “Trouble” Lannan walks former Pirate Rajai Davis. Omar Vizquel reaches on a swinging bunt. Vizquel gets caught in a double steal attempt. Davis to third. Winn walks. The Giants Left Fielder steps to the plate. Lannan steps off. Fastball. Strike one. Breaker in the dirt. 1-1. Fastball outside. Strike two. Curve…popped up, Zimmerman grabs it. Bengie Molina singles through short. 1-1 ballgame after one.
A double play and five K’s has Lincecum through three. Lannan takes the mound in the bottom of the third. Randy Winn hits a leadoff single. The Giants Left Fielder steps to the plate. Curve, low and outside. 1-0. Fastball outside 2-0. Low and outside. 3-0. Fastball down the middle. Strike one. 3-1. Fastball low. Ball four. Lannan pops up Molina, and gets a DP grounder from Ray Durham to end the third. 1-1 game.
The Giants Left Fielder limps noticeably while pacing the left field grass as Lincecum completes a scoreless fourth. Lincecum walks Logan to put two on with one out in the fifth. Lincecum gets Ronnie Belliard to chase a curve in the dirt. Zimmerman stares at a 94 mph strike three.
John Lannan gives up a single to Randy Winn to start the bottom of the fifth. The Giants Left Fielder steps to the plate. High and outside. Ball one. 1-0. Low. 2-0. Fastball low, and Lannan gets a grounder into the dramatic shift, shortstop D’Angelo Jimenez, throws to Zimmerman covering, to DY at first, double play. Molina grounds to first. 1-1 after five.
Ryan Church triples off the wall in center with two outs in the sixth. Lincecum strands Church there, striking out Lannan with a cruel curve to end the Nationals half with his eigth K. Lannan’s back on the hill in the bottom of the frame. After issuing a leadoff walk, Lannan retires the next three in order to hold the tie. 1-1 after six.
John Lannan issues a one-out walk to Omar Vizquel, so barring a double play grounder from Winn, the Giants Left Fielder will bat in the inning. Winn flies out to right. The Giants Left Fielder steps to the plate. Low, ball one on the curve. 1-0. Fastball outside. 2-0. Fastball on the outside corner. 2-1. Low and outside. 3-1. Fastball upstairs, The Giants Left Fielder swings through it. STRIKE TWO! Full count…Curve. Strike Three swinging. Lannan sits him down. 1-1 after seven.
The Giants Left Fielder leaves the game. Half of the crowd joins him. Scott Atchison replaces Lincecum in the eigth and retires the Nationals in order. The Tallest Pitcher in MLB History, Jon Rauch takes the mound in the bottom of the eigth. Rauch mows them down. Still 1-1 after eight.
Nook Logan singles and steals second with two outs in the ninth. Atchison faces Ronnie Belliard. Belliard flies out to right. Giants look to walk off. Saul Rivera on in relief with scoreless bottom of the inning. Add an extra frame. DY takes a one-out fastball to left, and into the stands above the brick wall of the outfield, GONE!! 2-1 Nationals on DY’s tenth. Wait for it…
Chad Cordero enters the game in the bottom of the tenth with a 2-1 lead. Cordero sports the away grays, navy blue Nationals cap, white cursive “W” stitched above a brim pulled down low over the brow, razor sharp, and flat as the crowd fell when the Giants Left Fielder struck at swinging late at Lannan’s curve. The Flat-Brimmed Closer faces Omar Vizquel, and gets a ground out to short. 1. Randy Winn singles to left. Cordero vs Mark Sweeney. Sweeney singles up the middle. Winn to third. Bengie Molina chops a grounder to second. Winn comes home, Belliard takes the out at first. 2-2 in the tenth. Durham gets the intentionals to bring up Pedro Feliz. Feliz pops to second. 2-2 after ten.
Ryan Klesko doubles to lead off the eleventh, lining to the wall in right off Nationals lefty Ray King. King walks Dave Roberts. Rajai Davis misses two bunt attempts, and then gets hit to load the bases. Manny Acta, Nationals Manager brings Luis Ayala on to try to preserve the tie. Ayala gets a grounder to first, Fick throws home for the force, but the throw back to first is off, bases still loaded. Ayala faces Winn. Winn singles through second. Giants win. 3-2 final.
Left-handed hurler Matt Chico and the Washington Nationals are wearing the Sunday reds in the last game of a six-game homestand. Five straight wins, three from the Cincinnati Reds and the first two of three from the visiting St. Louis Cardinals. The Nationals are now ten games under .500, at (50-60), a half-game behind the fourth place Florida Marlins, and without a doubt playing their best baseball of the season over this sustained stretch of success.
Albert Pujols backs Nationals left fielder Ryan Church all the way to the wall, but Church closes the glove on the second out of the first. Matt Chico blows a high inside fastball by Juan Encarnacion, who takes an all or nothing swing and gets the latter. The only change is the Nationals lineup on the field today is behind the plate, where Jesus Flores does the catching for Brian Schneider in the day game after last night’s win.
Today’s Cardinals left fielder Ryan Ludwick catches a hanging change, or breakless curve, but either way he’s all over it for a solo shot to left center and a 1-0 St.Louis lead. Adam Wainwright, statistically the best Cardinals pitcher this season, is best known for the knee-locking breaking ball he threw to Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran to close out last year’s NL Championship series. In the rotation this season to compensate for the mass exodus of Cardinals arms after the World Series win, Wainwright still has the snap, as he gets several Nationals looking all ready early this afternoon.
Wainwright gives up a double off the wall in left to Ryan Church, walks Nook Logan, and gives up a two-out single to the opposing pitcher Matt Chico, who grounds up the middle and off the cleats of a stumbling David Eckstein. Church scores. 1-1 tie.
Matt Chico faces Albert Pujols with one on, one out, in the third. Chico starts with a low fastball, gets a foul on another heater for strike two, and throws an 0-2 curve in the dirt that Pujols somehow reaches down and picks off the dirt for a drooping single to left. Chico gets a fly out to center from Encarnacion, but hits Ryan Ludwick to load the bases for Jim Edmonds who pops out harmlessly to left. Still 1-1.
THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!!! Ryan Zimmerman finds the gap in left center with a line drive that rolls to the wall before anyone can catch up to it. Zimmerman is in standing up at second to start the Nationals third. DY saw where Zimmerman hit it, and he does the same, back to back doubles give the Nationals the lead. 2-1 Nationals. Wainwright hits Jesus Flores to load the bases with two out for Nook Logan, who beats out a broken bat dribbler to the infield that scores DY from third. 3-1 Nationals.
Adam Wainwright does his best to help the Cardinals catch up with a solo home run to center that bounces off the facade below the upper deck. Wainwright? 3-2 Nationals. Matt Chico gives up a single to Pujols and a walk to Encarnacion with one out in the fifth. Ludwick, with another RBI opportunity, strikes out chasing a curve in the dirt for the second out. Cards Manager Tony La Russa gets tossed arguing the call. Jim Edmonds lines to right, Pujols scores, Encarnacion’s running, Kearns throws in from right, hits the cut-off man Belliard, who turns and throws on-line to Flores beating Encarnacion by a mile, the plate’s blocked, and, “YERRR OUT!!” the Ump yells. 3-3 ballgame after five.
Saul Rivera pitches a scoreless sixth for the Nationals. Adam Wainwright works through the bottom of the sixth holding it tied at 3-3. Luis “Set-Up” Ayala strikes out Albert Pujols looking with brutal cut fastball that moves across the plate and in for strike three and the second out of the seventh. Encarnacion flies out, and Ayala retires the side in order in the top of the seventh. Stand up and stretch…
Jim Edmonds strokes a one-out double to center off Ayala in the eigth. Chris Duncan walks, bringing Manny Acta, Nationals Manager, out to the mound. Ray King will come on to face Adam Kenne-…King faces Yadier Molina. Ground ball to the mound on the first pitch, King fields, throws to second, to first, double play to end the top of the eigth. Still 3-3.
Nook Logan bunts for a single, dropping it down the third base line, and reaching safely with his Logan-like speed, when the throw comes in behind the sprinting "Adjective!". Ryan Franklin on the mound for the Cards in the eigth. Robert Fick’s sac bunt advances Logan to second. D’Angelo Jimenez walks. Ronnie Belliard is up next, and LOGAN steals on the first pitch. No throw from Molina! Belliard swings through a full-count curve. THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!!! THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!!! After fighting off several 0-2 strikes, Zimmerman reaches down and slices a single to left. Logan scores. 4-3 Nationals. DY clears the bases with a double into the right center gap. 6-3 Nationals. Wait for it…
Chad Cordero enters the game in the ninth. The Flat-Brimmed Closer wears the red day game jersey and cap with the interlocking DC logo. Cordero’s brim is razor sharp and as flat as the blade of Adam Oates’ stick, which he used to pass to Brett Hull when both were with the St.Louis Blues. Aaron Miles down swinging at a low outside fastball. David Eckstein flies out to left. Scott Rolen lines to right…KEARNS dives in and makes the CATCH!!! 1,2,3 Nationals win. Six straight. A Homestand Sweep. One win closer to .500 at (51-60) and the Nationals fans are starting to BELIEVE!! Final score 6-3.
Nationals now 51-60.
The Washington Nationals look for their fifth straight victory tonight. Unbeaten in four so far on the current homestand. (7-2) in their last nine games. The Nationals are now a half-game away from exiting the NL East basement. Right hander Joel Hanrahan gets his second start of the season against the visiting St. Louis Cardinals. Hanrahan faces right hander Joel Piniero, who was supposed to close for Boston this season, and now returns to the starter’s role on the hill for the Cardinals. Both starters work scoreless first frames.
Ronnie Belliard gets a unique double play in the top of the second, dropping a pop fly from Yadie Molina with Scott Spiezio frozen at first, Belliard catches Molina sleeping as he pouts his way to first and Belliard lets it drop, throws to first, and then backs off as Felipe Lopez chases Spiezio down for the tag and double play.
Adam Kennedy, batting in the ninth spot in the order, tucks a home run just inside the fair pole in right, a hanging change inside from Hanrahan leaves the yard on a slow arching descent. 1-0 Cards in the third. Hanrahan pounds the Cards with fastballs for the rest of the frame. Nook Logan beats out an infield hit for a single with one out in the Nationals third. Hanrahan lays down the sac bunt, Felipe Lopez walks, Ronnie Belliard grounds into a force at second. 1-0 Cards after three.
Hanrahan really has a hard tailing fastball, mid-90’s, cutting across the plate, and nearly impossible to catch up with. Ronnie Belliard makes it all look like child’s play again, doubling Scott Rolen off first after catching Scott Spiezio’s line drive for an inning-ending double play in the fourth.
THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!! THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!!! Number sixteen on the season on a fastball inside and pulverized into the upper deck stands for a leadoff homer and a 1-1 game in the bottom of the fourth. DY singles through second. Austin Kearns beats out the tail end of a double play grounder. Two outs later, and after a Brian Schneider walk, Austin Kearns scores on Nook Logan’s single to right. Schneider moves to third and the Nationals take a 2-1 lead. Nook Logan takes second with nobody covering?, and the Nationals pitcher Joel Hanrahan doubles down the line in left to score two and make it 4-1 Nationals. Piniero throws away the pick-off throw to first.
Hanrahan scores. Lopez to third. Tony LaRussa blows his top. 5-1 Nationals.
Hanrahan walks Piniero with two outs in the fifth, and all of a sudden, Kennedy and David Eckstein have singled and the bases are loaded for Jim Edmonds. Hanrahan gets a fly ball to right from Edmonds and preserves the four run lead. Hanrahan’s still in the low 90’s with his fastball as he takes the mound again in the sixth. Back to back singles from Scott Rolen and Chris Duncan, and Manny Acta, Nationals Manager has seen enough. Saul “Sa-ool” Rivera on to hold Hanrahan’s first Major League win…
Saul Rivera gets a pop out from Spiezio for the first out of the sixth, but loads the bases when he walks Juan Encarnacion. Yadier Molina grounds to third, Zimmerman to Belliard to DY, double play to end the top of the sixth. Brian Schneider hits a long double off the Cards Mike Maroth, all the way the dirt of the warning track with one out in the Nationals sixth. Logan lines a single to right, Jim Edmonds takes a hard fall allowing Schneider to score, Logan safe at second. 6-1 Nationals lead. Tony Batista lines a single to left. Logan scores. 7-1 Nationals. Belliard smacks a sac fly to center to score Batista. 8-1 Nationals. Mr Zimmerman? THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!!! THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIMM!! Four-Hundred feet and into the rim of box seats below the upper deck!! Two-run blast on a low-hanging breaker, Ryan Zimmerman hits number seventeen. 10-1 Nationals.
Billy Traber pitches a scoreless seventh in relief. Stand up and stretch…Ryan Church singles off Brad Thompson who faces the buzzsaw Nationals offense in the bottom of the seventh. Brian Schneider’s been stroking recent-BANG!!! Home run to right scores Church and makes it 12-1 Nationals.
Billy Traber gets a double play ball from Encarnacion to end the eigth. Chris Schroder’s on to close it. Chris Schroder loads the bases in the ninth, but Ryan Zimmerman scoops up a grounder running in and throws out Scott Rolen to bring an end to Joel Hanrahan’s first Major League win. Final Score 12-1 Nationals. Hanrahan (W, 1-0 3.27 ERA, 3 walks, 3 K’s, 6 hits allowed). Zimmerman 2 for 5, 2 HR’s, 2 runs, 3 RBI, and now .270 on the season. Nationals win fifth straight, (8-2) in their last ten, 5-0 on the homestand, and if the Astros manage to beat the Marlins (5-5 in the 11th at 10:05pm), the Nationals will be a fourth place team!!!
The Homestead Grays carry a three game winning streak onto the field of play tonight, as the old boys welcome their rival from the city of St Lou, the St Louis Stars, and their awe-inspiring long baller, first baseman, Albert Pujols. Veteran Grays starter Tim Redding strikes out the imposing Pujols, and retires the Coach’s son Chris Duncan for his first scoreless frame. As the sun sets over the cement rim of RFK Stadium the Grays head in and pick up the lumber.
The Homestead Grays are wearing off-white uniforms with navy blue piping along the side of the pants and jerseys and just about everyone’s got the dark blue socks pulled high, adding nicely to the effect, navy blue caps with a bold block-letter “G.” St. Louis sports the Stars gray away uniforms, navy blue caps with a stylized “StL“ across the frontpiece, and red knee highs stretched tight from cleat to knee.
Stars starter Kip Wells continues his season-long struggles this evening, loading the bases with two out in the first, as the right-handed hurler looks to avoid adding to his Major League leading fourteenth loss. Left fielder, Ryan Church looks to cash in the early runs, works to a full count, and stands amazed as a breaking ball drops in for strike three.
Redding issues a two-out walk to Adam Kennedy, who scores the first run of the game in the second, coming around on the pitcher Kip Wells’ hard hit single through the right side of the infield. 1-0 Stars. Wells is throwing a lot of pitches, but has only surrendered two hits on his way to three scoreless.
Back to back hits off Redding by the pitcher, Wells, and David Eckstein with two outs in the fourth, and Jim Edmonds looks to lengthen the Stars lead with an RBI hit. Edmonds tries to bunt for a hit on the first pitch, but fouls it off, Redding comes up and in in response with the next pitch, and an angry Edmonds tries to demolish the next offering and it ends up on the warning track in center fielder Nook Logan’s glove. 1-0 St.Louis after four.
Kip Wells looks nothing like a (4-13) pitcher tonight, but the meager run-support he’s received all season is still a factor as Wells works two-thirds of the way through a fifth scoreless, but still holds only a 1-0 lead. Felipe Lopez erases that lead with one swing of the bat. Wells throws a wild pitch early in the at bat, allowing Tim Redding, who had grounded into a force at second, to move into scoring position before Lopez lines to left and brings the tying run home. 1-1 ballgame after five.
Tim Redding is locating his fastball as he gets Juan Encarnacion with the high heat, paints the outside corner to get Adam Kennedy staring at strike three, and then goes back upstairs to get Yadier Molina, who can’t hold back and is called out chasing cheese as Redding strikes out the side in the sixth. 1-1 tie.
THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!! Ryan Zimmerman lines an outside fastball into the right center gap for a leadoff double off Wells in the Grays sixth. DY grounds to the right side allowing Zimmerman to take third. Austin Kearns walks. Ryan Church comes up with men on first and third, and grounds out on the first pitch to strand both runners. 1-1 after six.
Grays starter Tim Redding gets a ground out from the opposing pitcher for the first out of the seventh, but is lifted after issuing a one-out walk to David Eckstein. The diminutive Stars star, Eckstein, steals second on the first pitch from Grays reliever Ray King. King gets Jim Edmonds swinging at strike three, and after walking Pujols, King gets Chris Duncan to fly out to left. Stand up and stretch…
Kip Wells walks Grays catcher Brian Schneider to start the Grays seventh. NOOK Logan beats out a bunt with Logan-like speed as “The Adjective” gets the Grays started. D’Angelo Jimenez pinch hits in the pitcher’s spot. Ryan Langerhans on to run for Schneider. Wells throws four ball with Jimenez offering to bunt. Bases loaded for Lopez, Felipe that is. LaRussa’s leaving Wells in?…Nope. The Cardinals Manager goes to the pen for righty Russ Springer. Springer pops Lopez up to short left. One out. Ronnie Belliard? Flies out deep enough to right to score Langerhans, who tags at third and trots home. Zimm? Lines to Rolen who takes the force at second. 2-1 after seven.
The Tallest Pitcher To Ever Wear A Grays Jersey Jon Rauch enters the game in the eigth. Ryan Zimmerman throws hight to allow Encarnacion to reach safely with one out in the frame. Adam Kennedy singles through second sending Encarnacion to third. Yadier Molina drops a pop in front of Logan, Encarnacion scores. 2-2 tie. Zimmerman throws out Scott Spiezio for the second out. Eckstein pops out to end the Stars eigth.
Randy Flores walks Robert Fick to start the eigth. Austin Kearns fllies out. Jesus Flores into a force at second, but beats out the double play. Ryan Langerhans singles into left moving Flores to third. Two on, two out. Nook Logan down swinging.
The Flat-Brimmed Closer, Chad Cordero, is out for the ninth in a 2-2 tie. Edmonds down swinging at an outside fastball. Pujols? Fly ball out to center. Chris Duncan lines a single to right. Cordero blows a fastball by Rolen, and gives the Grays a chance to walk off. Ryan Franklin takes the hill for St. Louis. Tony Batista lines a broken bat single to left. Felipe Lopez grounds into a force at second. Belliard drops a single into short right. Zimmerman! Zimmerman? THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!! GROUNDER THROUGH SHORT! LOPEZ SCORES! THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!!! THE GRAYS BEAT THE STARS!!! THE GRAYS BEAT THE STARS!!!
Grays now 49-60.
Walter "Big Train" Johnson…Walter Perry Johnson was born on November 6, 1887 in Humbolt, Kansas according to baseball-reference.com. Twenty years later Walter “Big Train” Johnson made his Major League debut with the Washington Senators, on August 2, 1907. Primarily a power pitcher, Johnson has been attributed through historical anecdote with a hundred-mile-an-hour fastball, which the endurance of his record setting strikeout total may attest to.
When Walter Johnson played his final game with the Washington Senators on Septemer 30, 1927, twenty-one years after his debut,, “The Big Train” had amassed a total of 3,509 K’s in 5,914 innings pitched. According to his profile on Wikipedia.com, Johnson’s strike out total, then the largest in Major League history, remained the pinnacle until Nolan Ryan surpassed it in 1983.
417 wins in his twenty-one year career ranks Walter Johnson behind only Cy Young’s 511. Owner of the lowest season earned run average in MLB history with the 1.14 ERA “Big Train” posted in 346 innings pitched in the 1913 season. (36-7) that year, Johnson was awarded the AL MVP. The “Big Train” would have to wait until eighteen seasons into his career to appear in the post season. Remember the slogan associated with these time is “First in War, First in Peace, Last in the American League.”
But in 1924, the "Big Train" made the best of that first appearance coming on in relief in Game 7 to lead Washington to a 4-2 win over the New York Giants for the first World Series win in franchise history. Johnson and the Senators were back in the World Series the next season when they blew a 3-1 series lead to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Walter Johnson retired two seasons later, and went on to manage the Senators from 1929-1932. Along with Frank Howard, Walter Johnson remains one of the two most revered names in DC baseball history.
From the Senators past to the Nationals present.
Home run, single, home run in three straight at bats off Mike Bacsik in the top of the second of tonight’s finale of the three game series between Bacsik’s Washington Nationals and the visiting Cincinnati Reds, who look avoid being swept out of DC. 3-1 Reds. Bacsik’s struggles follow a bottom of the first in which the Nationals stranded two after taking a 1-0 lead on Dmitri Young’s RBI single. 3-1 Reds after one.
Washington is wearing white Senators caps, with a red bill and block letter black “W,” tonight in tribute to the “Big Train.” Ronnie Belliard doesn’t care what hat or helmet he’s wearing, he just likes to hit. THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!! THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!! After Belliard’s leadoff single, Ryan Zimmerman doubles into the left center gap to score Belliard from first and close the gap to 3-2 Reds. DY faces Cincy lefty Phil Dumatrait, in his MLB debut, and singles to right scoring Zimmerman from second. Tie game at 3-3 after three.
Ronnie Belliard doubles to right off Dumatrait with two on in the fourth to scores Mike Bacsik from second after the Nationals pitcher had hit a one-out double. Felipe Lopez moves from first to third on Belliard’s double. 4-3 Nationals Dumatrait is done after throwing 84 pitches in three and a third. Zimmerman singles up the middle off reliever Todd Coffey to score Lopez and Belliard. 6-3 Nationals.
Mike Bacsik’s through six with the 6-3 lead.In the seventh, Zimmerman robs Jeff Conine with a backhand stab at a high hoppin’ grounder for the second out, and Bacsik retires the Reds in order. Stand up and stretch…Reds reliever Victor Santos gives up a two-out double to D’Angelo Jimenez to score Ryan Church from second in the seventh. 7-3 Nationals.
The Tallest Pitcher in MLB History, Jon Rauch will take care of the eigth on the mound. Zimmerman barehands a bunt attempt by Ryan Freel. Rauch retires the side in order. 7-3 after eight. Saul “Sa-ool” Rivera up and throwing for the ninth. Norris Hopper hits a high chopper for an infield single. Brandon Phillips grounds into a double play, Zimmerman to Belliard to Fick. Ken Griffey, Jr. defies expectation with a double to left center. Jeff Conine grounds out to first. Nationals win. 7-3 Final.
Three game SWEEP!!!
Nationals now 48-60.
John “Trouble” Lannan pitches a scoreless first without purposely hitting anyone. I still don’t think Lannan hit Chase Utley on purpose (while up 0-2) in his debut on the mound last week in Philly, and I think if he did hit Ryan Howard on the hip, Howard deserved it for some of the home run poses he was striking the whole series, not to mention the home runs themselves.
Tonight Lannan retires the visiting Cincinnati Reds in order in the first, retiring Ken Griffey, Jr after fooling him with a nasty breaking ball and eventually getting a groundout to record an out on a living legend, which must, for Lannan, really be a thrill.
Felipe Lopez doubles off Bronson Arroyo to start the Nationals first. Ronnie Belliard grounds out to second allowing Lopez to move to third. Ryan Zimmerman takes a walk. Dmitri Young, DY! singles up the middle. Lopez scores. 1-0 Nationals.
Austin Kearns doubles to score Zimmerman. 2-0 Nationals.
Ryan Church waits for a slow curve and droops it into left to score DY and AK. 4-0 Nationals. The former member of the Cuss Breaking Red Sox Bronson Arroyo is struggling mightily. I think this happened before…
Arroyo gets off to a bad start in the second as well, walking Felipe Lopez and surrendering an RBI double to Ronnie Belliard to make it 5-0 Nationals in the second. Arroyo tries to sneak a curve by Austin Kearns, but Kearns waits and smacks the breaker off the facade below the upper deck. Hit the showers, Arroyo. Find out what your tippin’? 7-0 Nationals in the second.
Ryan Zimmerman is a line drive machine. Zimmerman singles off Reds reliever Mike Goslin with two out in the fourth, but Gosling retires Austin Kearns for the first time tonight to bring the inning to a close. Zimmerman’s raised his average from .245 on July 1st to .260 at the end of the month (and .262 as of the fifth), as he has hit .311 for the month with 32 hits, 6 doubles, 3 home runs, 11 RBI, and 10 walks. If he continues to rake, Zimmerman might very well find himself with another .280+ season, though he’ll be hard pressed to match last season’s 110 RBI total. So far this season Zimmerman’s at .260, 15 HR’s and 53 RBI’s. Does this qualify as a Sophomore Jinx?
John Lannan allows only two hits through five in holding the 7-0 Nationals lead, but the Reds get to the left-handed hurler in the sixth. A single by Bellhorn, a walk to Jeff Keppinger, a run-scoring single to Junior, and a two-out RBI single by Adam Dunn and it’s 7-2 Nationals as Lannan is lifted. (5.2 IP, 5 hits, 2 ER, 2 walks, 1 K) for Lannan, who manages not to hit anyone and leaves with the lead, and with his family in attendance at RFK in DC. 7-2 after five and a half.
Reds reliever Elizondo Ramirez is back out for his second inning of relief in the sixth. Ramirez pitches a scoreless frame. Chris Schroder continues to pound the strike zone with sinking fastballs. Ryan Zimmerman throws away a routine grounder from Adam Dunn with one out, but Schroder picks him up and holds the 7-2 lead through six and a half.
Two-time former National Mike “Prospects in Return” Stanton will throw the bottom of the seventh for Cincy. Stanton retires the Nationals in order. Chris Schroder gives up a leadoff single to Keppinger before being replaced on the mound by Ray King. King gives up a single to Junior, but gets two outs before handing the ball to the Tallest Pitcher in MLB History Jon Rauch. Rauch gets Jeff Conine to fly out to right. 7-2 after seven and a half.
It’ll be Luis Ayala or Billy Traber as both throw in the pen before the ninth, and it’s Ayala as the Reds come up for their last three outs of the evening. Ground out to Belliard from Scott Hatterberg for the first out. Pinch hitter Javier Valentin pops out to Belliard. Mark Bellhorn takes a full count walk. Norris Hopper reaches on a swinging bunt. Luis Ayala gets Jeff Keppinger to ground back to the mound, and Ayala records the last out of John Lannan’s first Major League win. Congrats Mr. Lannan!!
The Nationals look for the series sweep of the Reds tomorrow night as they turn back the clocks a full century to celebrate the twenty-one season Major League career of the one man who was able to lead a Washington team to a World Series. Who is this player? Find out tomorrow. Wait for it…
Final score 7-2.
The Trade Deadline passed and nothing happened. That’s two years in a row of anticipation and eventual deafening silence. Last season it was Alfonso Soriano. Who was going to empty their shelves of prospects to get the 40/40 soriANO!!?? No one it turned out. Impending free agency for the converted outfielder turned off potential suitors who reportedly balked at the compensation Washington GM Jim Bowden was seeking. Soriano played out the season before leaving for Chick-Caw-Go, and the Nationals received only compensatory draft picks in return.
This year there were four or five players on the trading block as the deadline approached depending on who you read. Dmitri Young, Ronnie Belliard, both aging veterans with one year deals having terrific seasons, Ryan Church, an outfielder given every chance to succeed, and still not living up to his “hype.” And then there were two, The Flat-Brimmed Closer Chad Cordero, and the Tallest Player in MLB History Jon Rauch, who drew the interest of half the league after several years of work as the backbone of the DC bullpen. Who would go? What would they bring in return?…No one and No-thing.
As the Nationals take the field in RFK Stadium to face the visiting Cincinnati Reds, Ronnie Belliard and DY are both signed for two years and on the field at second and first base respectively, Ryan Church is in left, and the Flat-Brimmed Closer and The Tallest Player in MLB History are sitting in the bullpen waiting for the chance to nail down win number forty-six.
Both of tonight’s starters, Matt Chico for the Nationals and Bobby Livingston for the Reds, combine for three scoreless in spite of more than a few allowed on board. Chico lets two on with no outs again in the fourth, bringing up the opposing pitcher. Livingston lays down a successfull sac bunt. Ryan Freel gets jammed and pops out to Belliard at second, and now shortstop Jeff Keppinger comes up, and flies out to left stranding the eigth runner in just four innings. (Chico’s WHIP is gonna be HUGE!)
Matt Chico retires Ken Griffey, Jr, and Brandon Phillips in the top of the fifth before giving up a four hundred foot double to Adam Dunn, who also escaped the Trade Deadline tabloids to remain in Cincy. Jeff Conine finds a spot in left center Nook Logan can’t reach and Dunn trots home for the first run of the game and a 1-0 Reds lead. Edwin Encarnacion picks a change off the outside edge of the plate and singles to right center to score Conine for a 2-0 Reds lead.
Bobby Livingston gives up a single to Nook Logan and a walk to pinch hitter D’Angelo Jimenez to start the bottom fo the fifth. Felipe Lopez lines a single to center. Bases loaded for Ronnie Belliard. Belliard rips a single by the lunging Keppinger at short. Logan scores to make it 2-1 Reds. THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!! THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!!! Line drive to right…no one’s going to get it. Ryan Zimmerman clears the bases and chases Livingston. Zimmerman makes it 4-2 Nationals. Two outs later Ryan Church smokes a line drive to right and brings Zimmerman in from third. 5-2 Nationals.
Ronnie Belliard makes the Defensive Play of the Year to rob Jeff Keppinger of a single with one on in the sixth. Keppinger lines one off the shins of Nationals reliever Saul Rivera and the ball bounces to the left of Belliard as he heads toward second, Belliard scoops the ball into his glove as he reaches back toward the hole and spins the ball out of his glove in one motion ladling the ball to Felipe Lopez for the force at second. That’s truly Unbelieveable!! You’ll be seeing this play for years. Keppinger’s safe at first and scores from second one out later when Brandon Phillips singles making it 5-3 Nationals.
Saul Rivera fields a grounder and turns an inning ending double play to closing out the top of the seventh. Stand up and stretch…Ryan Church doubles to center off John Coutlangus with two out in the seventh to score pinch runner Robert Fick from first. 6-3 Nationals after seven.
Luis “Set-Up” Ayala is on to work the eigth. Ryan Freel hits a one-out single to right, but Ayala strands him to hold the lead at 6-3 through eight. And now the moment we at DC Daily hoped for…Wait for it…
Chad Cordero enters the game in the top of the ninth with a 6-3 lead. Cordero wears the home white uniform, red cap, white cursive “W” stitched above a brim as flat as the lies that all you Mets fans believed about Chad Cordero heading to Queens. Cordero gets Brandon Phillips to fly out. Adam Dunn stares at strike three on the outside edge. Jeff Conine flies out to left. 1,2,3 Nationals win.
Final score 6-3.
Dark clouds loom above Shea Stadium as well as DC Daily today, as the Washington Nationals begin both the finale of their four game series with the NL Leading New York Mets, and coincidentally enter into what could possibly be the final forty-eight hours in the DC career of the Flat-Brimmed Closer Chad Cordero.
According to the Newark Star-Ledger and DC Daily’s other arch-nemesis, Baseball writer Dan Graziano, the Nationals are asking for last night’s starter Mike Pelfrey in return for the Flat-Brimmed Closer, the Chief, Chad Cordero.
Nationals GM Jim Bowden surprised many by signing rather than trading Ronnie Belliard and Dmitiri Young, and we here at DC Daily hope that trend continues when it comes to Cordero and Gigantic Set-Up Man Jon Rauch. Why break up the best bullpen in baseball?
Mr Graziano alternatively, lists GM Bowden in his “Weekly Bottom Three” wondering why the GM signed Belliard and DY and likening the signings to Bowden’s “choking” at last year’s Trade Deadline by failing to bring a return on All-Star outfielder Alfonso Soriano, who signed with the Cubs for ridiculous money.
I really have never heard any rumors of what the Nationals were being offered in return for their two top hitters, but it must not have been overwhelming or I believe they would have been dealt.
The two pitchers dealing this afternoon will be Mets ace John Maine and the Nationals converted reliever left hander Billy Traber. After Maine completes a quick scoreless first, Traber gives up a leadoff double to Jose Reyes, who finds the gap in left and is seemingly standing at second before the ball hits the grass. Lasting Milledge is up next and the Mets are up early as Milledge lines to center to easily score Reyes from second. 1-0 Mets.
Traber gets David Wright swinging at a nasty fastball. Milledge runs and gets caught by a mile. Don’t run on Brian Schneider, that’s the last time I tell you. Traber gets through the first with limited damage. 1-0 Mets.
John Maine blows away Tony Batista with a high fastball to start the second, and goes on to retire the side for his second scoreless. They’re playing in the rain now as Traber takes the mound for the bottom of the second. Traber gets the first two out before Mets catcher Ramon Castro drives one just out of the reach of the diving Ryan Langerhans in right. Traber issues Ruben Gotay the intentionals so he can face the hard-hitting John Maine, who goes down swinging. 1-0 Mets after two.
Maine freezes Felipe Lopez with a two-strike change and gets his fourth K of the day to end the top of the third. Jose Reyes doubles down the line in left to start the bottom of the third off Traber. Milledge pops out to left. Reyes steals third. (Schneider?) David Wright lines to left and drops it right in front of Ryan Church. Reyes scores. 2-0 Mets. Wright steals second. (Wright?) Delgado grounds out. Moises Alou goes down swinging. 2-0 Mets after three.
Maine has only allowed one hit through four as they seem to be rushing this game to get through the necessary four and half to make it official with the Mets leading. Maine’s through four and I bet the Mets are swinging when they come up.
Poor Traber’s getting soaked, and now he’s getting hammered. Damian Easley singles to left to start the inning, and Ramon Castro destroys a fastball, driving it to deep center and GONE! 4-0 Mets.
Traber walks Lastings Milledge to put two on with two out in front of Wright. Manny Acta, Nationals Manager has seen enough. Chris Schroder comes on gives up an RBI single to David Wright. 5-0 Mets after four. Maine gets Logan swinging to end the top of the fifth.
Schroder slips on the mound as he pitches in the fifth and…They bring out the tarp…and they never come back…
Nationals now 45-60.
GAME 1 of 2…
660 AM for the first game of today’s Day/ Night double header with Tim Redding on the mound for the visiting Washington Nationals and Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez on the hill for the home team New York Mets
…No score after two innings of play…Shawn Green singles to start the third, Redding strikes out the opposing pitcher for his fifth K in three innings.
Reyes takes Redding deep to center, but it gets hung up on the humid air and falls short of the fence…Ruben Gotay grounds out to end the third scoreless for Redding. Ramon Castro singles Carlos Delgado over to third in the fourth inning. Marlon “He’s a Met Again?” Anderson flies to right, but Delgado returns to third when he sees Austin Kearns throw in from right…
Lastings Milledge comes up next and scores Delgado with a line drive to left, 1-0 Mets after five…
Felipe Lopez blasts a solo shot off El Duque to start the sixth. 1-1 ballgame…Tim Redding is out after six…Jose Reyes doubles with one out in the seventh off Nationals reliever Saul Rivera.
Gotay up again, and he lines to right, Reyes scores, 2-1 Mets…Rivera walks David Wright…2-1, 1 out for Delgado…Delgado lines to right, Gotay scores. 3-1 Mets…
Heilman on to hold it in the eigth, retires the side in order, and BIlly Wagner comes on to close it in the ninth. Mets win Game 1. 3-1 Final.
Game 2 of 2
The “night” half of this day/ night doubleheader features two rookies on the hill, New York’s Mike Pelfrey and Washington’s Joel Hanrahan. Pelfrey looks for his first win of the season, (0-7, 6.12 ERA) as Hanrahan makes his MLB debut. Pelfrey, in spite of his struggles, remains the Mets number one prospect, while Hanrahan is yet another prospect from the Dodgers organization who never quite caught on and has now found a home in DC.
Both Pelfrey and Hanrahan feature mid-90’s fastball’s though Hanrahan’s seems to have a bit more movement. One thing’s for sure, Hanrahan’s more dangerous with the bat. After pitching his second scoreless Hanrahan triples to lead off the third on a line drive that gets by Lastings Milledge in center. Hanrahan scores on D’Angelo Jimenez’s bloop hit over first. Ryan Zimmerman comes up with D’Angelo Jimenez at second, and singles him home for a 2-0 Nationals lead. DY singles to score Zimmerman from second. Kearns singles. 3-0 Nationals.
Hanrahan throws three and a third hitless before David Wright singles on a line drive to center that Ryan Langerhans knocks it down, but can’t make the catch in spite of a diving effort. Hanrahan blows Carlos Delgado away with a live ninety-five mph fastball outside. Moises Alou pops up for the last out of the fourth. Still 3-0 Nationals after four.
D’Angelo Jimenez singles again to start the fifth, but gets nailed trying to take third on Ronnie Belliard’s single up the middle when Milledge fields and throws in time for David Wright to apply the tag. Zimmerman flies out to left. DY gets the two-out shot at an RBI… but Pelfrey gets DY swinging with the heater. 3-0 after five.
Hanrahan’s really starting to locate a nice curve as the game progresses. Five innings of one hit ball end when Lastings Milledge chases a few breaking balls into the dirt and then pops out to center where Langerhans closes the glove on it. Mike Pelfrey issues his first free pass to Fick with two out in the fifth. Langerhans takes a fastball off the knee, which caroms off Mets catcher Paul LoDuca’s knee in a way which makes the “Magic Bullet” JFK theory seem plausible. Pelfrey bounces back and gets Hanrahan to ground out to end the top of the sixth. 3-0 Nationals.
Hanrahan gets Jose Reyes swinging at a brutal change for the second out of the sixth, but tries the same pitch again and Ruben Gotay slaps it for a single. David Wright blasts a line drive to the left center gap, Gotay’s on his horse, and scores easily as the throw’s off line. 3-1 Nationals. Carlos Delgado gets a hold of an outside fastball and drives it the opposite way, Fick tracks it to the wall, but turns back as it sails into the stands. 3-3 after six innings of play.
Guillermo “Scarlet S” Mota retires the first two batters of the seventh before walking Ryan Zimmerman on a full count ball inside. DY flies out to center. Stand up and stretch… Back to back singles off Ray King from LoDuca and Milledge with one out in the seventh, and the Mets use up their bench in the seventh when LoDuca pulls up lame, pitcher Orlando Hernandez comes on to run at second, and Marlon Anderson pinch hits while Ramon Castro puts on the catching gear. Anderson pops out to Fick in left for the second out of the inning. Jose Reyes will face the Tallest Pitcher in MLB History as Manny Acta, Nationals Manager, goes to the pen. Jon Rauch gets a pop off third that Ronnie Belliard snaps the glove on. 3-3 after seven.
Austin Kearns strokes a single to center off Jose Feliciano to start the eigth, and moves to second on a wild pitch with Brian Schneider at the plate. Schneider grounds out to the pitcher allowing AK to advance to third. Tony Batista is issued the intentionals. Langerhans SINGLES through short.
Kearns scores easily from third. 4-3 Nationals. Feliciano loads the bases with two out walk, and Aaron Heilman comes on to end the eigth. Ronnie Belliard drives in two runs with a line drive to left…D’Angelo Jimenez rounds third and gets nailed trying for home.
Ruben Gotay singles off Rauch to start the Met eigth. David Wright smokes a hanging slider to center. Gotay stops at second. Carlos “Longball” Delgado grounds a skipper up the middle. Gotay scores. Wright to third. 6-4 Nationals. Alou grounds to Felipe Lopez at short to Belliard at second to Batista at first, double play. Wright scores. 6-5 Nationals. Shawn Green singles to left. Ramon Castro up next. Green steals second, and moves to third when Schneider’s throw sails into center. Castro grounds to first. 6-5 after eight.
Aaron Heilman retires the Nationals in order in the ninth. Wait for it…
Chad Cordero enters the game in the humid night air of Shea Stadium in July wearing the gray away Nationals uniforms, navy blue Nationals cap with the white cursive “W” stitched above a brim as flat as the line on Vice President Cheney’s heart monitor when they induced a cartiac infarction in order to replace his pacemaker(Sorry this was a write in anology…Cheney/Jeb ‘08!!!). Cordero faces Milledge. Milledge grounds to third. Tom Glavine will have to pinch hit. (Torre teach you this, Mr Randolph?) Glavine grounds out to short. Reyes grounds out to short. The Flat-Brimmed Closer shuts the door. 1,2,3 Nationals win. 6-5 final.
Nationals now 45-59. ("Yes, but 36-34 since May 11th,” Scout chimes in with the arbitrary stat of the evening.)