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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Astros top Nats 4-2 OR Sampson railroads Redding

Tuesday night was a perfect night to be at the ballpark. A little warm (90 degrees at first pitch) but there was a nice 11 mph breeze to offset the heat a bit. A predicted threat of rain never occurred.

Sadly, the Nats were not hot, unable to capitalize on baserunning and only able to generate 6 hits, as they lost to the Houston Astros 4-2. The ignominy of this loss comes from the fact that the Astros have the worst road record in the National League, if not all of MLB.

The two Nats runs both came on homers, first from Ronnie Belliard, then from Ryan Zimmerman. The Astros countered with a couple of homers of their own, though.

Nats starter Tim Redding, a former Astro himself, went 7 innings, throwing 55 strikes on 99 pitches, allowing 3 runs on 3 hits, including 2 homeruns, striking out 2 and walking 3. He gave the bullpen a bit of a breather and allowed the Nats to stay in the game. The bullpen, however, couldn't contain the Astros completely, with Luis Ayala having an uncharacteristically-off evening, as he allowed 2 walks and 1 run, throwing only 6 strikes in 18 pitches and working only 1/3 of an inning. Billy Traber and Chris Schroeder allowed to hits or runs, but Traber did walk one.

Ryan Report: Church went 1 for 4 with a double, Zimmerman went 1 for 4 with a homerun, Langerhans did not play, and Austin Ryan Kearns went 0 for 3 but walked once. Church and Zimmerman both have the exact same batting average right now, .259. A better stat-man than I am can probably draw an interesting stat-by-stat comparison between the two.

Ronnie Belliard and Dmitri Young, no surprise, had the Nats other 4 hits of the evening, both getting two, with Belliard going 2 for 3 with a homerun and a walk, and Young going 2 for 4 with a double.

Catcher Brian Schneider suffered a triceps contusion when he was hit by a pitch just above his elbow, and was replaced by Jesus Flores in the 9th inning. He'll get Wednesday off.

The Astros made an interesting pitching move after starter Chris Sampson came out of the game, sending in starter Roy Oswalt to face one batter. I understood later that Oswalt was just getting in a little work in between starts, but it seems to me that it is awfully rare these days to see a starter on the mound at any time between their 5 days between starts. Oswalt faced Robert Fick and got him to fly out to end an inning. The Astros also re-inserted reliever Brad Lidge into the closing role, and he was all too effective.

I got to the ballpark early and came with my friend Vanessa who, while no stranger to major league games, hadn't yet been to a Nationals game. Our first stop was the Main Gate, where we entered and she got a program from the "Ambassador of Baseball Cheer", Rico, who missed me the night before because I was late. Rico was in fine voice as usual. The next stop was the Team Store, so she could get a proper ball cap (she liked the away-blue with curly W, and it looked quite fetching on her). We walked up to the Terrace Cafe so that she could enjoy the view and meet Ellie. Then it was time to eat. Thanks to her generosity we were able to visit the Diamond Club, where we enjoyed hot dogs (mine with chili and cheese - yum!) and good draught beers. I did my best to play tour guide, telling her about some of the history and fun aspects of R.F.K. stadium. Howard had the night off, so we each got a beer from Neal. Despite the loss, we had a wonderful time. It was just so pleasant to spend a nice evening outside enjoying the good weather and getting to chat. I hope we get to do that again soon. A ballgame is always better with such lovely company to enjoy it with.

So this series is tied 1-1 and the rubber game is Wednesday afternoon. I'll be there to see it and root, root, root, for the Nationals.

1 comment:

Pop Cultured said...

bad news about schneider...he played in Easton, PA in high school and batted like .667 according my budd, Dodger Fan...tough break...

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