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Sunday, May 6, 2007

Cinco de Mayo no hay partido para los Nacionales

History will show that, on May 5th 2007, Elizabeth the 2nd, Queen of England and Sovereign of Great Britain, visited Churchill Downs in Kentucky to witness the 133rd running of the Kentucky Derby, the most famous thoroughbred race in the United States of America. This was the premier sporting event in the U.S.A. yesterday.

The 5-3 loss by the Washington Nationals to the Cubs in Chicago, by comparison, was not.

It's a good thing that Her Majesty the Queen decided to attend a horse race rather than America's Pastime, but perhaps that was deliberate. After all, the last time she attended an American baseball game, Reggie Jackson tried to kill her.

What she would have seen, though, was a lot of poor pitching by the Nats. This was a day when they truly beat themselves, the "Bad News Nats" again with their 2 errors.

John Patterson threw an ungodly 61 pitches in 2 1/3 innings, allowing 7 hits and 5 earned runs, and walking 3. He exited with an arm problem (bicep above-the-elbow strain), which would certainly account for his dismal outing. Just when he seemed to be improving physically, too. I hope that it's only a temporary setback and that he makes his next scheduled start.

Leval Speigner entered next but hardly in relief. He threw 24 pitches but only 8 strikes, walked three and, worst of all, he WALKED IN THREE RUNS! I couldn't believe it. I hope that was just a case of nerves. He was pitching in front of 40,000 screaming Cubs fans in one of the most storied ballparks in major league history, and he might have just had trouble adjusting. On MASN, Don Sutton opined that, when he pitched at Wrigley Field, it always seemed to him that the mound was facing up towards the plate, it just seemed different to him than pitching anywhere else. Maybe Leval thought that, too.

The Nats had their chances with the bat - they had 10 hits - but once again, they stranded too many runners today. They rallied briefly in the 8th inning, getting two runs to narrow the score to 5-3, and they had men on base, including the tying run at 2nd, but couldn't drive them home.

The hot bat today? Jesus Flores! He went 3 for 4, and Austin Kearns went 2 for 4, both with RBI's. One of our Ryans also had a good day at the plate, too.

Ryan Report: Zimmerman 3 for 5, Church 1 for 3, both with doubles, Langerhans 0 for 2. I understand that Nats hitting coach Mitchell Page wants to wait until the end of the Cubs series before he works with Langerhans. Makes sense, he probably wants to see first-hand what he has to work with first.

Perhaps Shawn Hill can prevent a series shoutout. Still hoping for the best.

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