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Friday, July 6, 2007

Nats rally, tie, but Cubs prevail 4-2, win series OR Cubs toddle all over Nats

So at least it wasn't a sweep.

The Nats looked to even their home series with the Chicago Cubs last night, fell behind 2-0, then tied the game 2-2 only to lose 4-2.

Starter Jason Bergmann had a pretty good outing. He never walked a batter during his 5.1 innings of work, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits and striking out 2. He threw 88 pitches for 60 strikes (68%). I was very pleased with Bergmann, he's a good control pitcher and he seems to have really come back well from the D/L. He kept the Nats in the game the entire time he was out there. I look forward to his next outing.

Unfortunately for Bergmann, he got very little run support.

I may have missed Dmitri Young's Grand Slam yesterday, but last night I saw him do something almost as rare - he hit a triple! Later while watching the MASN replay, Young looked completely gassed after he slid into the bag, tongue hanging out and all. Bob Carpenter mentioned that this was the first triple he'd seen Young hit since 1996, and I don't doubt it. Young is a big guy, with the sort of build that often necessitates being pulled for a pinch-runner in late, close innings (this, too, happened last night). We may never see Young hit a triple ever again, so that was kind of fun. Between these last two games, Young has hit for the cycle (I know it doesn't count, but still.)

In the 6th inning, Bergmann exited and Billy Traber came in to close out the half-inning. In the bottom of the 6th, the Nats tied things up, 2-2. In the 7th, reliever Luis Ayala had an uncharacteristically rough outing, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits, raising his E.R.A. from (I believe) 1.48 to 4.26. He also took the loss. I like Luis Ayala a lot, and if the same situation comes up tonight, I'd hope to see him on the mound again.
I think that he simply had a bad night.
Jon Rauch and Chad Cordero each allowed only 1 hit in the 8th and 9th respectively.

Ryan Report: Church didn't start again, but was available for pinch-hitting late, going 0 for 1, Zimmerman continues to un-slump himself (de-slump?), going 2 for 3, Langerhans went 0 for 1 in a pinch-hitting role, and Austin Ryan Kearns went 0 for 3 with a sacrifice R.B.I. Zimmerman also made a great tumble-over-the-tarp catch to end the 7th inning, real "Sports Center"-type stuff. Easily one of the most memorable catches of his young career.

Felipe Lopez went 2 for 2 and was walked twice, and he had a double. Nice to see him hitting again. He also stole 3rd after that double. Ronnie Belliard had a hit as well. For the record, Dmitri Young went 2 for 4, which included that triple, and an R.B.I.

It was rather ironic that former-National Daryl Ward robbed Brian Schneider of what could have been the game tying runs in the bottom of the 8th, the Nats last offensive challenge.

I was joined last night by my friends Molly and Dan. Molly was raised a Cubs fan in Illinois, so she comes by it honestly, and Dan's loyalties were split but he wore a Nats cap. They were lots of fun to watch the game with. I was back to my usual Capital Q Barbecue beef brisket and an MGD from Howard. An okay crowd for a Thursday, around 22,000, and though humid, the weather was fair. It rained a bit around 30 minutes after the game.

I was pleased to pick up the new All-Star program from Rico, which has Dmitri Young on the cover. Pretty cool. I had a nice chance to chat with Glen, who runs the retail concessions for the entire stadium. I'd met him last year, a very nice guy, and I showed him my Nats cell-phone holder and he bounced a retail idea off of me which I approved of. I won't say what it was because I don't feel that it is appropriate, I don't want to give anything away, but it will be cool to see when they do it.

I ran into Clint and the Nat Pack, and Clint wants me to help out with the jersey promotion this Saturday, after a couple of aborted attempts to get me involved. I hope that we can do it, it looks like fun. I saw a certain mascot's best friend do this on July 4th. I hope it works out.

I chatted with Ellie and Jonathan upstairs at the Press Cafeteria, so my "rounds" were complete.

I heard on the radio and saw on the replay later that President Bush had attended the game, with team President Stan Kasten on one side of him and team Vice-President and General Manager Jim Bowden on the other. Any politics aside, one has to admit that it's really very cool to have the President of the United States attend your team's ballgame. At least they were quiet about it and there wasn't any visible extra security or other precautions that delayed fan entry or enjoyment of the game.

A disappointing loss, and now we have the Milwaukee Brewers to contend with.

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