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Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Nats drop 2nd straight to Cubs 3-1 OR Redding steady, but no go

Well, this was a little better than last night. This game kept everyone involved right to the end.

The Nats lost to the Cubs for the second straight night, 3-1, and this game was much more intriguing than the previous night's beating. Chicago took the early 1-0 lead, but the Nats kept it close, and they had their chances to tie things up, but couldn't capitalize on them.

Nats starter Tim Redding, just called up from AAA Columbus, made his return to the majors for the fist time since 2005. He pitched well-enough to keep the Nats in the game, giving up 3 runs on 5 hits in his 5 innings, walking 2 and striking out 1. He threw 78 pitches for 49 strikes (59%).

The bullpen did great work, with Saul Rivera allowing no runs on 3 hits, Luis Ayala no hits, and Jon Rauch no hits. Ayala gave me a little scare when he walked the leadoff batter in the 8th inning, but closed out the inning just fine. It's so great to have him back in the bullpen. Jon Rauch seems to have found a rhythm as well, he's been really steady of late.

Ryan Report: Church went 1 for 4, Zimmerman 0 for 4, Langerhans 1 for 3 and walked twice, and Austin Ryan Kearns 0 for 1.

The Nats other 3 hits came from Felipe Lopez, Brian Schneider and Robert Fick.

Weather-wise, this game wasn't quite as nice as the Monday game, but still pretty good. 77 degrees at game time, little bit overcast, slight breeze. A very brief rain came late in the game, chasing a few folks into the concourse, but it didn't last more than, oh, about a half-inning I'd say. My buddy Rob and I never moved from our seats, we weren't getting drenched, it was actually kind of refreshing and not unpleasant. It certainly never threatened to stop play.

Unless I'm mistaken, this was in all likelihood the 3rd best crowd of the season, behind Opening Day and the game two weeks ago against the Indians. 30,106 tickets sold. Yes, the Cubs are a draw. Thanks for spending your money with us, Cubs fans!

Rob and I missed the first inning, as we got to the parking lot just before 7:00. Lot #8 was jammed, in part because section 8-K was fenced-off and filled with huge pieces of concrete and some other materials. No idea what those are for, but I'll bet that this took away at least 100 parking spaces. Yet another reason to get to the ballpark early.

Back to Capital Q Barbecue for me and a brisket sandwich with pickles. Howard was selling Budweiser and Bud Light, and I hit him up early on. Rico and Ellie were at their respective posts and always fun to chat with. Their enthusiasm never wanes, and they spread the cheer and keep everyone's spirits up. Ellie is sporting a new tan from a vacation to Mexico, and I missed her at the end of the last homestand.

So the Nats have given up 7 runs on Monday, 3 runs on Tuesday, which means that they ought to shut-out the Cubs on Wednesday, right? If anyone on the staff can do that right now Matt Chico can, and he starts tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it. Independence Day at the ballpark - there's nothing else quite like it.

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