The unofficial home of "Neil and the Rushmore Four"!

Image Hosted by

Current Weather & Forecast (plan your gameday!)

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Nats melt Brewers 7-2, take series 2-1 OR Redding, offense hot in Sunday scorcher

To paraphrase Forrest Gump, "Nationals games are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get." This was certainly true as the Nationals stunned the Central Division-leading Milwaukee Brewers 7-2, the same Brewers team that swept the Nationals in May when the Nats still had Cristian Guzman in the lineup and were playing better ball. This day, however, the Nats scored early and then scored often.

To say that starter Tim Redding, making only his second start in the majors this season, had a quality start would be an understatement. He pitched a serious gem of a game: 88 pitches for 57 strikes (65%) in 6 innings of work, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits, walking 1 and striking out 1. He got the win, evening his record to 1 and 1. He even had a hit with his first at-bat, helping his own cause. If he keeps this up, he will make an impressive case for himself to stay in the rotation for the rest of this season. I look forward to his next start with great eagerness.

The bullpen of Ray King, Luis Ayala and Chad Cordero allowed no runs, with only 1 hit allowed by Luis Ayala. Once again, and impressive afternoon's work by the relief corps.

Ryan Report: Church went 0 for 2, but he had an R.B.I. with a sac-fly. Zimmerman went 2 for 4 with 2 R.B.I's with his 6th inning homerun, Langerhans went 0 for 1, and Austin Ryan Kearns went 1 for 3 and was walked once.

The other hits and runs came via Felipe Lopez, who scored the first run for the Nats in the 2nd with his just-over-the-fence homerun which fell just inside the right-field foul pole. It seemed to catch everyone by surprise, especially the person responsible for setting off the fireworks after a Nats homerun. He was 2 for 2 and also had a walk. Ronnie Belliard, pinch-hitting in the 6th, was 1 for 1, but what a one! He hit a bases-clearing double which electrified the crowd. It's always nice to see Belliard hitting so well. Jesus Flores, Tony Batista, Nook Logan and Tim Redding each had hits, too.

It was a very hot, but typical, July day. 93 degrees at 1:35 gametime, and probably hit 96 by the time it was over. Almost 21,000 hearty souls braved the debilitating heat and humidity to watch these Nats. For the first time since I've known him, Howard, my favorite beer vendor, sold cold water all afternoon, not beer. That fact alone is a perfect indictment of the heat. I sunblocked-up and stayed in the sun the entire time, except when I ventured out for a Capital Q beef brisket sandwich and a Corona after the 4th inning. I also brought plenty of water with me - I may be dumb, but I'm not stupid.

I had a nice surprise when one of my oldest friends and his wife ran into me on the Terrace Café. I hadn't seen "P" and "E" for a long time, and it was such a treat to find them at R.F.K. They had some pretty darned good seats, too, over in 213 behind home plate.

I saw all of my favorite people (Rico, Ellie, Howard, Tim...), and made some new friends as well. I had a great talk with Kynneth Sutton, the manager of Guest Services. I took the time to tell him what a fantastic group of people he has ushering in the stadium, and he seemed genuinely pleased to hear my comments. While I was speaking to him, we were approached by Mr. Edward Cohen and Mrs. Deborah Lerner Cohen, two of the Nationals Principal Owners. We had a very brief chat, but they, too, seemed quite pleased to have a happy fan (and 81-game season ticket holder) complimenting them on the team and giving them positive feedback. For my part, I was glad to have the opportunity to meet two of the owners and thank them for the way things are progressing.

It was a great game to sit through and to see the Nats generate such offensive heat on the field against an offensive powerhouse like the Brewers to win back-to-back games going into the All-Star break was just tremendous. I live for days like this. How quickly the sting of recent losses become forgotten when you are winning big.

It's sad in a way to have the All-Star break disrupt a winning streak (however brief) but hopefully the entire staff gets some rest and recuperation to come back strong on Friday.

No comments:

Song of the moment - Celebrating the longest homestand of the season

Survey of the Moment