7/31/07 The Best Bullpen In Baseball Is Still Intact, Though They Might Now Have Competition From Boston And Atlanta’s or The Flattest Brim In Baseball Is Still Spread Out Below A White Cursive “W”…


Acta16The 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.Bowden2_2

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.Cordero15_2
     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.Chico46

     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!)Livingston1

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. Lopezfelipe35_6

     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.Zimmerman165

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.Rivera2_2

     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.Church48_9

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.Cordero2_23
Final score 6-3.

Nationals now 46-60.


7/29/07 And It’s A Hard, And It’s A Hard, It’s A Hard, And It’s A Hard, And It’s A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall. – Bob Dylan


Sheabotof3rd_2Dark 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. Cordero11_31

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.Pelfrey1_2
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?Rauch9_5

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.Soriano60
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.Traber3_9
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.Wright17

     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.Castroramon3
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.Acta14_2

     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.

7/28/07 The Flat-Brimmed Closer? Does He Stay Or Does He Go? C’Mon You Got To Let Me Know?…

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 MetsElduque11
…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.Elduque12
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 rightKearns71_2Milledge_3
Lastings Milledge comes up next and scores Delgado with a line drive to left, 1-0 Mets after five…Lopezfelipe25_5
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. Gotay1
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…Gotay2
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.Wagner1_1

Nationals now 44-59.

     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.Hanrahan3

     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.Zimmerman66_4 Dy54_1

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. Jimenezdangelo4

     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. Pelfrey6

     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.Delgado11

     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.Rauch2_18

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. Belliard48
6-3 Nationals.
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…Cordero30_13

     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.Cordero62_2 Cordero49_2

Nationals now 45-59. ("Yes, but 36-34 since May 11th,” Scout chimes in with the arbitrary stat of the evening.)

7/28/07 I Want To See Shea Crumble…


Bacsik4_6 Former Met Mike Bacsik will be on the mound for the Washington Nationals in the first of four in Queens, NY’s doomed Shea Stadium. Former Expo Moises Alou will makes his return to the New York lineup playing in left behind Mets starter Jorge Sosa. Acta_mets1_1
Former Mets coach Manny Acta is now managing the Nationals, who face a lineup put together by former Expos and now Mets GM Omar Minaya.Acta5_3
Each starter issues one walk a piece in their respective first’s, but neither team plates any runs. Minayamets1_1

Alou gets tested early when DY drops a double in front of the left fielder to lead off the top of the second. Alou fails to make the play, but passes the first test of his injured shoulders and groin. An increasing familiar site next, as Ryan Church lines a double to left and scores DY from second for a 1-0 Nationals lead. Church14_11
Austin Kearns lines out to Damion Easely at second. Brian Schneider lines to left, Church scores, as Schneider comes in standing at second. 2-0 Nationals. Jorge Sosa’s fastball and slider are getting hammered. Nook Logan hits a ground rule double, one-hop and into the bleechers in left center. Schneider scores. 3-0 Nationals. Logan36

Moises Alou doubles to the gap in left in his first at bat in sixty-six games to lead off the Mets second. Paul LoDuca lines a single to left advancing Alou to third. Lastings Milledge grounds into a double play, Alou scores from third. 3-1 Nationals.
Ryan Ch-Ch-Ch-CHURCH hits another line drive on a fastball down the pipe, and this one has the distance and it is GONE!!! Church’s first homer since June 12th lands .380 ft out in right center. 4-1 Nationals. Mike Bacsik gives up a line-drive single to Carlos Delgado, but works his way through the fourth and holds the 4-1 lead. Zimmerman100

     Ryan Zimmerman takes a one-out walk in the fifth, and moves to third on a line drive single to left, DY tries to take second, but Alou nails him trying to take the extra base.Dy45
Church pops out to end the scoring chance. Still 4-1 Nationals. Zimmerman jumps and steals a line drive single from Jose Reyes, and dives glove first at the bag trying to double up Shawn Green. Green gets back safely. Damian Easely gets a hold of one and drives it to right to score Green. 4-2 Nationals after five…Belliard36

     At that point my old friend Runner invited me over to watch the second half of the game on 42 inches of HDtv. Never one to pass up a crystal clear view of the Nationals whipping on Runner’s favorite Mets, I listened to an inning on 660 am on my way over…Kearns59

     AK!!! Austin Kearns takes Sosa deep to left, "Too High!!" "What does that even mean? Too high?" Kearns bounces it off the netting on the fair side of the foul pole. 5-2 Nationals. Bacsik19_1
Bacsik lasts 7.0 IP, giving up 8 hits, 2 runs, both earned, and 1 walk. A two out walk in the eigth, puts Austin Kearns in a position to add to the lead. Kearns steals second uncontested, and scores when Brian Schneider singles to through first. 6-2 Nationals. Luis Ayala completes two scoreless for the Nationals win.
Final score 6-2. Two games tomorrow and one on Sunday. Tomorrow night the MLB debut of Joel Hanrahan.Hanrahan1

Nationals now 44-58.

7/26/07 A Day Of Firsts In Philly or The City That Booed Santa or The City Whose Biggest Sports Hero Is Fictitious.


Lannan1_1It’s XM 185 for the MLB debut of the twenty-two year old left hander John Lannan, who tries to help the Washington Nationals avoid the road sweep in Citizens Bank Ballpark, Philadelphia, PA…Lannan, all 6’5”, 200 lbs of him, will have a 2-0 lead as he takes the hill in the bottom of the first courtesy of RBI singles by DY and Kearns…Lannan4
Lannan, straight outta Long Beach, New York, features a fastball, curve, and the change, which the Philly announcers say is his specialty, wearing #26 in the road grays, navy blue socks pulled calf-high, the first pitch from Lannan is a ball, and Jimmy Rollins gets the first hit off Lannan singling to start the first…Rollins14_1
Lannan gives up his first walk to the next batter, Shane Victorino, and his first run when Chase Utley singles in a run…Lannan is about to get his first visit to the mound…and now Lannan has his first K, getting Ryan Howard swinging…Aaron Rowand grounds into an inning-ending DP, and Lannan has his first complete frame…2-1 Nationals after one…Logan23_2
Nook Logan single to start the second, Lannan fails in his first attempt to sacrifice…Felipe Lopez pops out, Logan caught stealingLogan44
…Lannan gives up another single to Chase Utley in the third, and RYAN HOWARD!! BANG ZOOM!! Howard1__1
Straight away center and GONE! 3-2 Phillies, as Lannan surrenders his first HR…Howard5_1
In the fifth…Oops! John Lannan has his first hit batter as Chase Utley takes one on the hand…Ryan Howard…takes one on the hands…Lannan6
LANNAN’s TOSSED out of his first game by Homeplate Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt….another FIRST!!! Manny Acta, Nationals Manager is out and he is ANGRY!! Acta_erupts
Acta’s tossed, this Ump’s an idjut!!! Acta argues for a good five minutes…Chris Schroder on in relief, and two runs score on Pat Burrell’s single…5-2 Phillies…it stays that way until the seventh…Flores15
Jesus Flores singles, Nook Logan doubles Flores to third, and Felipe Lopez brings them both home with a two-out single to center…Lopezfelipe25_4
5-4 Philly…Top of the eigth…Two on, two out for Jesus "Rule 5" Flores…Flores takes the first pitch DEEP to LEFT and GONE!!! Flores12
Flores blasts a three-run shot off Philly reliever Mike Zagurski!! 7-5 Nationals lead…Rauch9_4
The Tallest Pitcher in MLB History Jon Rauch pitches his second scoreless to hold the lead through the eigth…Wait for it…Cordero4_6
Chad Cordero takes the mound in the ninth wearing the Nationals away gray uniforms, navy blue Nationals cap, white cursive "W", brim flat as Ivan Drago’s "flattop" in Rocky IV Drago1
…Cordero gives up singles to Rowand and Michael Bourn with one out…Chris Coste grounds out to third to score Rowand from third…Cordero, The Flat-Brimmed Closer…Cordero16_5
walks Carlos Ruiz…Two on, two out, 7-6 Nationals lead…Cordero vs Abraham Nunez, Nunez grounds out to second, 1,2,3 Nationals win!Cordero65_1
Final score 7-6…AND RUMOR HAS IT DC AND DY are negotiating??? Dy37_3
What does a 2-Year deal mean for Nick Johnson?? What does this mean for Cordero and Rauch?? Tune in tomorrow Same Time Same Address…

Nationals now 43-58.

7/25/07 A Tale Of Two Lefties. or A Power Change Vs An Eerie Calm. or Cole Hamels Figurine Night, What Is He?Too Good For A Bobblehead? or Is A Bobblehead A Figurine?


HamelsfigurineLive from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s Citizens Bank Ballpark, it’s the second of three between the Phillies and visiting Washington Nationals. Left-handed change-up specialist Cole Hamels on the mound for the home team opposed by the Nationals twenty-four year old left handed wunderkind Matt Chico.Chico23_3

Hamels, also twenty-four and a native of San Diego, California was drafted by the Phils seventeenth overall in the 2002 Amateur draft, struggled through several injury-plagued seasons before finally getting things together on the mound in this, his first full season in the Majors. With a record of (11-5, 3.66 ERA) thus far this season, Hamels features a power change that is the envy of the entire league, and increasingly the bane of the existence of every batter the young lefty faces. Chico27_1

     While Hamels ascent was considered delayed by many, Matt Chico’s presence on a Major League roster has been to most a surprise. Acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks, along with right hander Garrett Mock, in the trade that sent Livan Hernandez out west, Chico’s (4-6, 4.61 ERA) ascent is viewed as forced by many, due to the Nationals lack of available Major League arms. Chico’s performance thus far has silenced those whispers though, and he’s beginning to look a bit like a future fixture in the Nationals starting rotation.
     Hamels pumphandle delivery is clearly the source of some obfuscation of the opposing batter’s view of his pitches, but Chico must also create some deception, because his fastball rarely reaches the low nineties, his curve’s effective but not dramatic, and his slider’s the pitch voted most likely to leave. Yet somehow, Chico’s achieved success beyond the expectations for a rookie starter on a destined-to-be last place team. Hamels12

     AccoRollins15_1rding to Jimmy Rollins, the Phillies were the team to beat in the NL East this season, but just past the halfway point they find themselves in a familiar position in third behind the Mets and Braves and ahead of the Marlins and Nationals. “Almost Always Almost There,” go ahead, that’s a free city slogan for you Philadelphia, but with the Cy Young caliber Hamels on the mound you might just mistake the Phillies for a contender.Hamels14_1

While the Nationals are fairly well out of contention, there is just as much of interest to watch in the second half of the season, as young players like Chico, Ryan Zimmerman and Jesus Flores continue to grow as professionals, not to mention the impending debuts of several pitching prospects including this year’s first round draft pick, lefty Ross Detwiler who has already made his way to Triple-AAA Columbus, and seems destined for a September start to his MLB career, or another left-hander John Lannan who has emerged from the system to become number one in line for a promotion, which came today, and will get Lannan his first Major League start tomorrow at 1:00 pm against these same Philadelphia Phillies. Lannan2_1

Another player to watch for the Nationals, Nook Logan single handedly scores the first run of the game off Hamels, singling, stealing second, and scoring, when he steals third as Felipe Lopez singles to left, allowing Lopez to walk the distance to home. 1-0 Nationals. Chico gets in deep trouble in the fourth, loading the bases for Aaron Rowand and issuing him a walk to tie the game, before Wes Helms singles and knocks in two for a 3-1 Philly lead.Logan34

Chico gives up another run and loads the bases with two out in the fifth before Manny Acta, Nationals Manager, makes the move the bullpen and brings out Chris Schroder in the middle of another bases juiced jam. Schroder gets Helms staring at strike three for the third out of the fifth. 4-1 Phils.Schneiderhoward1

Hamels is cruising through the sixth when a fastball of his meets the bat of Ronnie Belliard and ends up twenty rows deep in left. 4-2 Phils. Hamels is done after seven, replaced on the mound by Ryan Madson, who works a scoreless frame. Luis Ayala holds it at 4-2 Philly through eight. Hamels13

Antonio Alfonseca gives up a one-out double to Ryan Ch-Ch-Ch-Church in the ninth. Brian Schneider walks. Pinch hitter Tony Batista DOUBLES off the scoreboard in right center. 4-3 Phils. Philly Manager Charlie Manuel pulls Alfonseca for Mike Zagurski. Jesus Flores on to pinch hit. Full count. Flores DOUBLES off the scoreboard. FLORES DOUBLES OFF THE SCOREBOARD!! Two runs score. 5-4 Nationals. Wait for it…Flores14_1

Chad Cordero enters the game in the bottom of the ninth. Cordero wears the away gray Nationals uniform, navy blue cap with white cursive “W” stitched above a brim as flat as the fastball Mitch Williams threw to Joe Carter. (Ouch!) The Flat-Brimmed Closer gets the first two outs, bringing up Jimmy Rollins. Rollins goes deep to left, Church and Langerhans almost collide, and the ball falls between them, Rollins heads for third, the throw is off, Rollins heads home, Schneider can’t handle it, Rollins slides in safe. Tie game after nine. Add an extra frame.Cordero62_1Rollins15_2

The Tallest Pitcher in MLB History walks Chase Utley and Ryan Howard to start the tenth. Aaron Rowand pops out on a bunt attempt. Michael Bourn grounds out to first. Jon Rauch will face Chris Coste, who bats for the pitcher. Rauch gets a pop out to end the tenth, and it’s 5-5 headed to the eleventh inning and hour.
     Saul “Sa-ool” Rivera gives up a leadoff walk to Carlos Ruiz, but fields a sac bunt attempt and cuts Ruiz down at second. Jimmy Rollins up again with the bunter Greg Dobbs at first, and Rollins grounds into a force at second. Shane Victorino grounds back to the pitcher. 5-5 after eleven. Riverasaul1_4

     Saul Rivera walks Chase Utley to start the twelfth, and gives up a single to Ryan Howard, to put two on in from of Rowand again. Aaron Rowand flies out to center. Utley advances to third. Rivera walks Bourn to load ‘em up. The Phils have no more pitchers so no pinch hitter for reliever Clay Condrey. Condrey down swinging for the second out. Carlos Ruiz grounds to second. Lucky #13 coming up.
     Who would’ve thunk that Saul Rivera is actually a switch hitter. Batting from the left with two on two out in the thirteenth, Rivera grounds out to second. Bottom of the frame. Leadoff single for Dobbs. J-Roll? Beats out a double play ball, force at second for the first out. One out later, Don’t Run on Schneider! Rollins nailed trying. Fourteen anyone?Schneider46_3

Chris Booker walks Chase Utley to start the bottom of the fourteenth. Ryan Howard ends it with one swing of the bat. Five hours after it started, Howard hits the second deck in right, and the two run blast gives the Phillies a 7-5 win.

Nationals now 42-58.

7/24/07 Rumor Mills, Fightin’ Phils, The Fed Ex Guy, Our Friend Runner Says Hi, The Philly Fan Boos, Even Though The Nationals Lose…


Deliveryguy1At approximately 9:42 am this morning the local Fed Ex delivery driver arrives at my place of employment, “How’s it going?” he asks, “I heard your team’s going after Dunn(Adam of the Cincy Reds).” “Really?” I ask, “I hadn’t heard that, I guess Bowden is trying to move the Reds team he drafted to DC.” “I think you should pick a new team to cheer for, that franchise is just a joke. See ya tomorrow.” “Thanks Fed Ex guy. Thanks a lot,” I mumble as he leaves. What was I gonna say, he’s a Padres fan. He should know about futility. Dunn4_1

I spent the rest of the morning searching the internet for a confirmation of his rumor-milling, but couldn’t find a report anywhere. ESPN.com and ESPNradio, the Nationals official site, Yahoo Sports, and…nothing. Until I finally find a Trade Deadline article on MLB.com which states that both the Reds and Nationals have shot down the “Dunn rumors,” but the fact that they’re even addressing the stories tends to lend credence to such tales in the “I don’t believe anybody,” days we’re(I’m?) living in. So… Now I think a trade IS in the works.Actabowden

One player Nationals fans now know won’t be traded is Ronnie Belliard, who just signed on for two more years in DC as a result of his consistently excellent hitting and fielding for the Nationals this season. A .303 AVG, 5 HR’s 29 RBI’s, and it looks like the Nationals have second base locked up through 2009. But with Belliard, at second, and Felipe Lopez at short, Cristian Guzman’s place with the team is once again a question mark.Guzman9

With only seven days to go before the Trade Deadline, a few more questions still remain. Will the Nationals award DY with a similarly-earned contract to Belliard’s, or take advantage of what the All-Star, .339 AVG hitting, 9 HR, 52 RBI, power bat can fetch on the open market? Will the Nationals give in to the tempation of trading Chad Cordero and Jon Rauch when they see what prospects the rest of the playoff bound teams are willing to part with? Or will Washington keep their bullpen in tact in light of what many baseball writers nationwide are predicting will be a quiet market, as a result of an increasing commitment for teams to grow from within rather than trading prospects for the playoff boost provided a two-month rental.Cordero62

The problem is that the one team seemingly not committed to “growing from within,” the New York Mets have former Expos GM Omar MInaya at the helm, and much like Bowden plumbing the Reds roster for players he’d chosen, Minaya still appears enamored with his own previous picks, and Chad Cordero in particular. The mere idea of Cordero’s flat brim beneath the orange interlocking NY logo on the Met blue cap, is enough to make DC Daily ill…Minayaexpos1

8:45 pm. My old friend Runner, the Mets fan, checks in via the telephone, “Hey, I heard Minaya’s interested in DY!” he taunts, “Yeah, and Cordero, and Rauch, and Livan,” I respond. “First of all, Livan’s not on the Nationals anymore, secondly, if we add Cordero forget about it,” Runner says in reference to the Mets playoff hopes. (Is it a New York thing to say “we” when referring to a favored team?) Runner continues, “We’ve got some good pitching in the Minors, who were the Nationals looking at?”
“Humber, Pelfrey, and one other Double-AA pitcher from what I read, two of the three,” I say. “I’d be alright with that,” Runner says. “Yeah good idea, trade your prospects for rentals, that always works for the Yankees right?” I ask. “Cordero is young, not really a rental, and the Mets don’t want to be the Yankees,” Runner counters, and I can’t really argue with the first part of that sentence.
The Nationals play a close one with the Phils in the first of three tonight. Brian Schneider’s base clearing double gives the Nationals a 3-2 lead in the fourth. Bergmann33
Nationals starter Jason Bergmann leaves early with a hamstring issue.Bergmann34
Billy Traber carries the lead into the sixth when the Phils tie it, and Aaron Rowand puts Philadelphia ahead for good in the eigth, with a solo shot to left off Luis Ayala on a cut fastball that ends up inside and hammered for a 4-3 Philly lead. Antonio Alfonseca on to close it in for the Phils in the top of the ninth, and in spite of a leadoff walk, Alfonseca gets the job done.Ayala9

Nationals now 42-57.