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.