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Monday, June 4, 2007

Nats waterlogged in 7-3 loss to Padres OR Wells washes-out Washington

Considering how long the rain was falling yesterday, the Nats were lucky to get yesterdays game under way at all, even though it had little to be remembered by. It wasn't heavy rain, but it was persistent. The Padres didn't want to come back to D.C. just for one game, and the Nats had already visited the Padres. Both teams had Monday off, but that was a problematic decision to have to make because of the lack of an umpiring crew.

Jason Simontacchi got the Nats into an early hole, falling behind the Padres 3-0 in the first inning, but it wasn't all his fault, there were some mental errors on the defense, most notably Ronnie Belliard failing to cover 1st base on an early hit by the Padres' Terrmel Sledge.

The Padres David Wells pitched a very economical 5 innings and while he didn't blow the Nats out of the water (literally and figuratively) he did pitch well enough to win, having a very good defense behind him.

Basically, the Nats lost because they weren't hitting. They got 8 hits to the Padres 9, but only Austin Kearns got more than one hit. Belliard and Zimmerman had all of the Nats 3 RBI's

This game had very little drama. The Nats tied things up in the 3rd, 3-3, but they fell behind again in the 5th.

Ryan Report: One bright, shining moment from Zimmerman, a 2-run shot in the 3rd, which I can tell you was the hardest-hit home run from a National ever. Unlike many ballparks, R.F.K. doesn't have the chart to measure these things (the new ballpark will, of course) but by all estimates, it went anywhere from 450-480 feet. No other National, nor any visiting player over the last 3 years, has hit one into "Frank Howard territory", the upper-deck yellow seats. Zimmerman's went to left field, hit some concrete steps and bounced back down onto the field where the Padres left-fielder then picked it up and tossed it to some fans in the lower left-field seats. I've watched this play over-and-over thanks to my DVR, and I've scrutinized it like the Zapruder film. I could walk to the spot where that ball hit right now, it was 3-4 rows high in the yellow seats in section 534, just to the left of the tunnel there. Quite a thing to see, and even in a loss, it's the sort of fond memory that truly makes a wet game like this worth attending. Zimmerman finished the day 1 for 4, Church 1 for 4, Langerhans didn't hit and Austin Ryan Kearns went 2 for 4.

I got to the park early and just wandered around talking to friends. Never saw Howard, so I didn't buy a beer, settling instead for a souvenir Sierra Mist. Another Attman's corned-beef sandwich (they really are good, I like those things a lot). Never saw Boris, my favorite usher, but I did get to meet Ron Simms, a.k.a. "Coach", who you often see behind the Nats dugout doing a dance during the 7th-inning stretch. He's got the short, white goatee. Nice guy, he was fun to talk to.

One funny thought that I had was, in the 7th inning, the "George" and "Abe" racing president's stopped by near where I was sitting and "George" began banging a blue cowbell with great frequency. It brought back funny memories of this Saturday Night Live skit from 2000, and all I could think about at that moment was imagining actor Christopher Walken exhorting Nats manager Manny Acta, "We need more cowbell!" (ha!)

That was pretty much it. A wet and mostly-unengaging loss. Hopefully, the Nats can take the day off and recoup a little bit before the Pirates come to town on Wednesday.

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