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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Nats lose Atlanta opener 4-1 OR Tripped-up marching through Georgia

Monday was quite a different day from Sunday for the Nationals. In one short period, they lost Shortstop Cristian Guzman for the year with finger surgery and relief pitcher Jesus Colome for the foreseeable future with an infection. With a slightly reshuffled lineup, they went to Atlanta to resume their National League campaign against their division rival Braves. They didn't get off to a good start, losing 4-1.

Jason Bergmann returned to the mound from the disabled list and some successful rehab starts and pitched well on a limited count, exiting after 76 pitches (52 strikes, 68%) and 4 innings, allowing 1 run on 4 hits and striking out 4. Unfortunately, reliever Billy Traber couldn't continue that work, allowing 3 runs on 2 hits and walking 1 in his two innings of work. Luis Ayala allowed no hits in his inning and Chris Schroeder allowed 1 hit.

Ryan Report: Church went 1 for 4, Zimmerman went 1 for 4 with a double, Langerhans, returning to his old stomping grounds, went 0 for 1 in a pinch-hitting role, and Austin Ryan Kearns went 1 for 4. Congratulations, Tim Hudson.

Brian Schneider had the hot bat for the Nats, going 3 for 4 with a double and an R.B.I., but he was pretty much the only one who challenged Atlanta's Tim Hudson. Ronnie Belliard, Dmitri Young and Felipe Lopez also had hits, with Belliard registering a double.

I don't know anything from anything when it comes to roster moves and shifts, but I predict that we will see more of Luis Ayala while Colome is on the D/L, probably taking the 7th inning, and that is a blessing. Ayala is relatively fresh and seems to be returning to his excellent form, so no worries there. Ronnie Belliard now is much more valuable to the Nats and much less likely to be traded to a contender later this summer, as the Nats return to their post-Opening Day lineup when Guzman went on the D/L the last time, and he impressed with his glove as well as his bat. I'm curious to see what other moves are in store for the team. Robert Fick is due back from bereavement leave soon, and one has to wonder just what will happen with Brandon Watson and Nook Logan, as I don't believe that Langerhans will be the odd man out in centerfield. D'Angelo Jimenez might be a stop-gap for the infield.

Now to see if Mike Bacsik can outpitch Buddy Carlyle tonight.

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