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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Nats lose final to Tigers, 8-4, OR Tigers in the tank and driver's seat

This is about 24 hours overdue, but I was too depressed last night to write about the Nats loss to the Tigers, and with no game tonight (how odd it seems, for the first day of summer,the longest day of the year), I just wanted some time to digest things a bit.

Perhaps "depressed" isn't the right word. With the Tigers being the best offensive team in baseball, my hopes for any success by the Nats wasn't high. Best case scenario? I thought that they might take 1 of 3, and the Nats would have to capitalize on any mistakes the Tigers made.

Well, they didn't make many.

The Monday night game gave me false hope, as the Nats rallied from a 9-1 deficit to almost tie or win the game in late innings, and the "Tuesday night massacre" (15-1 loss) dashed those hopes right down. I held out hope that the Wednesday fame might make the difference.

Nats starter Mike Bacsik pitched 6 innings, throwing 67 pitches for 44 strikes (66%) and giving up only 3 runs on 6 hits. He wasn't great, but he kept things from getting out of hand. Reliever Saul Rivera, pitched to only 3 batters in the 6th, but got charged with 3 runs and he took the loss. He just wasn't himself. "Saul couldn't throw strikes.", Manager Manny Acta said. Things got no better with Jesus Colome, who took over with bases loaded and allowed 2 earned runs on 3 hits. Chris Schroeder, just called up from AAA Columbus, pitched the 7th and allowed no hits or runs, Jon Rauch pitched the 8th and Chad Cordero pitched the 9th without giving up any runs.

The Nats fell behind 1-0, then 3-0, but the Nats tied things up in the 4th and it looked like a good battle was going to ensue, but the 5th inning proved fatal, as the Tigers amassed 5 runs, which proved insurmountable for the Nats, they scored only 1 more run.

Ryan Report: Another relatively quiet evening. Church went 2 for 3 with an R.B.I. and a double, Zimmerman went 1 for 4, Langerhans made 1 plate appearance and was walked, and Austin Ryan Kearns went 2 for 4 with a double. Some nights, that's enough, but not Wednesday night.

The President's Race was actually very funny on Wednesday night. George, Tom and Abe all came running out, but no sign of Teddy. Well, Teddy suddenly appeared, with toilet paper flapping away from the sole of his shoe! Very, very funny, I actually laughed out loud. I'd like to see the line in Las Vegas as to when Teddy will actually win a race. It's either going to be the final game of 2007 or the first game in the new stadium, I'm convinced of that.

I'm glad to see the Tigers gone, but the Cleveland Indians just might prove to be an even tougher opponent for the Nationals. I fear a long weekend, but I'll be there to cheer nevertheless.

My day actually started off pretty well. I went to the ESPN Zone downtown to see Ryan Langerhans and Stan Kasten answer some questions and give out autographs and hats. Charlie Slowes was the M.C. and gave away some tickets to the upcoming Cubs series. I didn't really have any questions for either of them, but I thought it would be fun to see, and I did want Ryan Langerhans's autograph, which I got. He seemed awfully nice, and he kindly indulged each and every fan who approached him. I also had a very nice chat with Charlie Slowes. I was happy to have the opportunity to thank him for keeping me so well-informed of the game action while I'm in my car on the way to the stadium.

I got to the stadium early, and managed to get an autograph from pitcher Matt Chico. Nice guy, he was polite and shook my hand. I told him how much fun it was to watch him develop as a big-leaguer.

I saw plenty of friends and favorite people around, and I spent some time talking to them before the game: Abbie, Susan, Boris, Rico, Ellie, Jonathan, Clint, Tom... It's nice to see them, it makes each visit more special. I grabbed another Capital Q Barbecue beef brisket, with pickles and sauce, and lots of sweet tea (hot day!) and I got ready to enjoy the game.

Just before the end of the 6th, I walked up to the Terrace Food Court to meet some friends for a beer. The western sky was beautiful, with the sunlight fading over the Capital dome, and Venus, the evening star, way up over the dome, and a half-moon over the Armory. Simply beautiful. A light breeze and it was a perfect summer evening.

All in all, a pretty good day, despite the loss. You have to take enjoyment from what you can. This philosophy will get tested over the weekend. As always, I hope for the best, but I'm braced for the kick in the teeth.

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