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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Nats fall to Braves 6-2 OR Bacsik blasted for 5

I didn't watch the Nats/Braves game live last night, I worked late, then went to a going-away party for a friend, so I watched it later on my DVR. I followed the game on the radio and the MLB gameday feed on my computer at work, and when I left, the score was 1-1, but when I arrived at the party, the score was 5-1 Atlanta. Mercifully, there was beer at the party.

I still think that the Nats are re-adjusting to not having Cristian Guzman in the lineup. They had some good stretches in May with no Guzman at shortstop, but it's no secret that they were a better team with him. Last night, the Nats managed to get 8 hits, but it isn't the same when you go from a leadoff hitter with a .300+ batting average to one with a sub .200 average. Not to knock Langerhans, I'm hoping that he will be more comfortable there and get his average up, but "Guzzie" was a singles-machine.

Starter Mike Bacsik worked 6 innings, throwing 96 pitches for 62 strikes (65%), but he allowed 5 runs on 8 hits, walking 1. Worst of all, he allowed 3 homeruns. Take away the homeruns and it's a respectable outing, but...

Chris Schroeder allowed 1 run, but by then the damage was done. Ray King allowed 1 hit.

Ryan Report: Church, Zimmerman and Langerhans all 1 for 4, with doubles and R.B.I.'s from Church and Langerhans. Austin Ryan Kearns 0 for 4. *Sigh*

The other hits came from Felipe Lopez, Dmitri Young (2 for 3!), Ronnie Belliard and Brian Schneider, who has his average over .250 now.

There have been some nice discussions by the MASN guys, especially Ray Knight, about how valuable Brian Schneider is as a defensive catcher, with Knight mentioning an anecdote from Don Sutton about how when former catcher Bob Boone was playing, that he only drove in 50 runs per year, but was like an 85 R.B.I. man, because he saved so many runs from the pitching staff, either calling plays, blocking pitches, calling pitches, or getting people out. It's nice to be reminded tht Brian Schneider is one of the best defensive catchers in the game, and now his hitting is improving, too. Bob Carpenter and Don Sutton had mentioned with irony earlier in the season about how Schneider was getting more R.B.I.s without getting hits, either being walked, or from flyouts which allowed baserunners to score, and I'd laugh every time I saw Schneider do just that, but he's one of my favorite players and I'm happy to see him hitting more the way he knows he can.

I've been waiting for tonight's matchup eagerly. Micah Bowie vs. John Smoltz, who the Nats have already beaten twice this season. If Bowie pitches the way that he has been, and gets in 6 innings, then we get treated to Luis Ayala in the 7th, Jon Rauch in the 8th and Chad Cordero in the 9th, as nature and Jim Bowden intended it. Should be fun.

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