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Friday, April 13, 2007

Nats flamethrower burns Atlanta OR Bergmann takes Smoltz to the...,, aw, you know!

"Look away, look away, look away, Dixie-Land!"

Wow, what a way to avoid a sweep and emerge from Atlanta with pride and dignity intact! Jason Bergmann may not have chalked up a win for himself statistically, but morally he has scaled some great heights. Battling the great Atlanta pitching legend John Smoltz, Bergmann mastered such Nats-killers as Chipper and Andruw Jones through six innings to keep the Braves scoreless, then the bullpen took over, with Jesus Colome and Jon Rauch setting up "The Chief", Chad Cordero, for his first save of the season. A two-hit shutout! Who'd a-thunk it after the last two nights?

Is it fair to call this game Jason Bergmann's "coming-out"? It's not his MLB debut, of course, but is this the game that makes the MLB world take a little closer notice of this young pitcher? To carve up such great veteran hitters as Jeff Francoeur, Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones is no small accomplishment, especially given what the Atlanta hitters did to the Nats on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Ryan Church continues his hitting streak, and very good defense. At one point, Church went deep after a John Smoltz shot which looked for a moment like it might be a home run, and Church went right up to the wall, got his bearings and made a very good catch. This is no small consideration, every time Church heads towards a wall, I get worried that he'll sacrifice his body again as he did in that game in 2005 where he hurt himself and derailed his Rookie-of-the-Year bid.

This is the sort of game that builds confidence. And going into Shea Stadium for the weekend, the Nats are going to need it, and a little bit of luck, on Friday the 13th.

Poll results: 30.8% of respondents correctly predicted that the Nats would take 1 of 3 from the Braves. Congratulations, and thank you for participating.

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