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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Nats can't "Dodge" sweep, fall to L.A. 10-9 in 12 OR Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home

The Washington Nationals capped off a brutal 10-game-in-10-days road trip with a final loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, 10-9 in 12 innings, thus completing a Dodgers home sweep. The Nationals have lost 7 straight games.

This game began with tremendous promise, as the Nats took a 4-0 lead in the 2nd inning, and starter Shawn Hill was pitching well. I was expecting a near-epic pitcher's duel with Hill vs. Penny, two of the best pitchers in the National League. It didn't turn out that way, and Penny left the game in the 5th inning, which only bolstered my hopes that the Nats could take their bullpen.

They couldn't.

It's difficult to remember that, at one point, the Nats led this game 8-3. When Penny exited, they led 6-3, and they managed to get 2 more runs off of Mark Hendrickson. Thnigs were looking up.

Shawn Hill lasted 5 1/3 innings and allowed 6 earned runs on 7 hits, walked only 1 and struck out 4. He threw 63 strikes on 96 pitches (66%) and looked pretty fair for the first 5 innings.
Then the wheels came off of the bus. In the bottom of the 6th inning, Hill struggled and when he exited, the Dodgers rocked Luis Ayala for 2 runs on 4 hits to tie the score at 8-8. To say that I was getting nervous was an understatement. Ayala got the blown save and Rivera took the loss. The only positives to come out of the bullpen's outing was scoreless outings by Jésus Colomé, Jon Rauch, Chris Schroeder and Chad Cordero.

Ryan Report: Church went 4 for 5 with a double and an R.B.I. What a great day he had, hitting his 37th double (only 13 more to reach his goal of 50 before the end of the season).
Zimmerman went 1 for 5 with a walk and an R.B.I. Austin Ryan Kearns went 1 for 5.

Felipe Lopez went 1 for 6, Nook Logan went 2 for 5 with a walk and 3 R.B.I.'s, D'Angelo Jimenez and Robert Fick each went 2 for 6, Jimenez with 1 R.B.I. and Fick with 2, including the one off of his homer, his first of the year, and Jésus Flores went 3 for 5 with a double and an R.B.I.

The game was certainly dramatic, and if the Nats had pulled off the win, it would be fondly remembered as a great end to an otherwise lousy roadtrip. Instead, it will be remembered as the game where the Nats failed to avoid a second consecutive sweep and went home with more questions than answers.

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