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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Renteria, Braves stop streaking Nats 6-2 OR Hudson on the Anacostia

Well, all good things must come to an end eventually.

I had a bad feeling about this game since the day before. I saw Braves pitcher Tim Hudson's very low ERA, and I didn't feel 100% about our Jerome Williams starting. Not because of his struggles last month, but because he was just coming off of the disabled list, and I thought that he might be a little rusty.

As it turns out, my fears were properly founded. Tim Hudson had a no-hitter going into the 5th inning, and he threw an incredibly economical 84 pitches in 7 innings (56 strikes, 67%), striking out 4, giving up 3 hits, one run and one walk. He's as deadly on the mound as I anticipated that he might be. Jerome Williams, on the other hand, left threw 48 pitches in 2 innings (30 strikes, 63%), giving up 7 hits, 5 runs, and one walk. He left with a strain of the rotator cuff, and left the bullpen in a terrible hole to pitch out of. It is claimed that Williams is "day-to-day" but, according to MASN's Don Sutton, that's unheard of except perhaps at the end of a season. I'm betting that the team has to D/L him again and reach into the minors for pitching help.

The Braves Edgar Renteria hit two home runs for the Braves tonight. Not often do we see a player hit two in the same game. Nice for them.

My boss was kind enough to allow me to leave work a little bit early, and I arrived in the parking lot during the first inning. My friend Rico wasn't around for me to wish him a Happy Birthday, so I just grabbed a brisket sandwich at Attman's and headed to the seats. Not a bad crowd for a Tuesday night. The weather was ideal for baseball. A little breezy, but in the bowl of R.F.K. I don't think that you could really tell, though the flags on the roof seemed to be flapping away a bit.

There was a bit of heightened drama as the "Rushmore's" ran the President's Race - "Abe" and "Tom" started to duke it out a bit and "Teddy" and "George" were neck and neck headed for the finish line, with "George" winning by a nose. Sorry, "Teddy", not today.

A funny moment that I witnessed was when team president Stan Kasten was sitting at the top of a section in the 200's, and a foul ball went up and landed near him, and several fans scrambled for it, practically trampling the poor guy in the process. When I saw him sit down, I joked to an usher, "Hey, Boris! Go hand him an All-Star ballot!" Boris laughed but demurred. I'd have paid money to see him do that.

Howard, my Miller beer vendor-friend, told me that, when the Nats visit the Orioles in Baltimore this summer, he'll be working there, and he invited me to come on up and cheer the Nats and visit him in his section, and I'm going to do that. I haven't been to Oriole Park in years, and now that I have a compelling interest to do so, I'll mark my calendar. Thanks, Howard!

With the exceptions of watching shortstop Cristian Guzman get another hit and centerfielder Nook Logan hitting a triple, there wasn't much to cheer about on the field last night, but it was a wonderful opportunity to just sit outside, enjoy the weather and the company of friends, which I did quite happily.

Chad Cordero made an early appearance in the 8th inning, just to get some work in I'm sure, having not pitched in a week. It was nice to see "The Chief" back with the team. The bullpen did a great job, with Micah Bowie, Ray King, Winston Abreau, Saul Rivera and Chad working 7 innings and giving up 1 earned run (that Renteria fellow again - drat!) They'd had the day off the game before thanks to Jason Bergmann, so they were rested, but I hope that we don't need to use so many relievers again any time soon.

Ryan Report: Yikes. Church and Zimmerman both 0 for 4, but Langerhans stung his old team a bit going 1 for 2 with a 2-out RBI. Austin Ryan Kearns went 0 for 3. Congratulations, Tim Hudson.

I'd like to take this opportunity to BEG interim hitting coach Lenny Harris, or manager Manny Acta, to PLEASE TELL THE BATTERS NOT TO SWING AT FIRST PITCHES! There was a nice opportunity tonight with runners on base, and Hudson out of the game for Atlanta, and Dmitri Young came in with 2 outs, and he swung at the first pitch and struck out! I know, I know, I KNOW, "sometimes that's the best pitch they will see, the first one, because it is probably going to be a strike", but what is the HARM in taking a freaking pitch? Establish a rhythm! Look at Church! How many times has he been walked because of his outstanding patience? Especially if there are men on base and two outs! You might get hit, you might get walked, there might be a wild pitch or a passed ball... PUT THE PRESSURE ON THE PITCHER, fer Chrissakes! Okay, I'm done ranting now.

Tonight's matchup looks more promising: Speigner vs. Davies. Let's hope the Nats can get another streak going.

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