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Monday, August 20, 2007

Nats ground Astros 7-0 OR "Houston? We have a problem.."

Forget Hurricane Dan, the Houston Astros had better worry about the Washington Nationals.

The Nats began this 3 city roadtrip by roaring into Houston's Minute Maid Park and taking the Astros 7-0. It began with a big solo homer from Wily Mo Peña in the 2nd inning which ignited the offense and got them going in the 3rd.

Starter Tim Redding, returning to his Astros roots, wasn't flawless, but he had a defense behind him that was on their toes the entire game and got some crucial, timely double plays. He allowed 6 hits and walked 3 batters in his 7 innings, throwing 70 strikes on 116 pitches (60%). Those 116 pitches might be the season high that Manager Manny Acta has allowed one of his starters to throw, I can't be certain, but it seems likely.

The bullpen of....well, Jésus Colomé, making his first start since coming off of the D/L from his soft-tissue infection on his right buttock, looked as though he hadn't missed a beat, allowing only 1 walk and 1 hit but no runs in his 2 innings of work. No if's, and's, or but's about it. (ba-DUM-bump!) Welcome back, Jésus!

The great thing about this, of course, is that the rest of the bullpen got the night off, a valuable gain given that there are 9 more games on this roadtrip, and trips to 2 more cities.

Ryan Report: Church went 2 for 4 with an R.B.I. double, his 36th double of the season, only 14 shy of his season-goal of 50, Zimmerman went 0 for 4 with a walk, and Austin Ryan Kearns went 3 for 4 walk and 2 doubles. Incidentally, having mentioned Ryan Wagner yesterday, he happened to drop by the Nats clubhouse this evening, his home being in Texas. According to MLB, "
Ryan Wagner, the right-handed pitcher who is out for the season with surgery on his right rotator cuff in May, dropped by the Nats clubhouse on Monday. Wagner, who came over as part of the Kearns trade last year, lives in Yoakum, Texas, about 120 miles west of Houston. "He's just checking in," Acta said. "He's not able to throw a ball for two more months."

The Nats big hits came in the 2nd and 3rd inning, beginning with Wily Mo Peña's solo homer (he went 3 for 4 with 2 R.B.I's and a walk) and included Felipe Lopez going 1 for 5, Ronnie Belliard going 3 for 4 with a double and a walk, and Dmitri Young going 2 for 4 with a 3-run homer.

After going 1 for 5 on the last homestand, victimized by the Phillies/Mets collective buzzsaws, this was a welcome bit of relief for us suffering Nats fans. Very nice to get a laugher. The club needed a win in the worst way, a little morale booster.

Have to give props to General Manager Jim Bowden again for Wily Mo Peña. He may not cure all of the Nats ills, but he seems to be as refreshing as a bracing gin and tonic in hot, sticky August. At least he's exiting to watch, there's a palpable sense of anticipation when he comes to bat, especially with men on base, as he proved tonight. His personal chemistry is a perfect fit with what the Nats already have going on in their clubhouse. I hope that this is the club that finally helps him to flourish and reach his true baseball potential.

Hope Joel "The Hammer" Hanrahan can keep this scoreless streak going.


bdrube said...

Dude, you officially have another "Ryan" to add to your Ryan Report. is right now reporting on the strong start by Ryan Hanrahan.

Either Joel changed his name to get in on the Ryan Report action or his own team's site is confusing him with the departed Mr. Langerhans.

Joe Riley said...

Well, I think it's a little of both. :-)

Joel Hanrahan's MIDDLE name IS Ryan, so just as I do with Austin Kearns, I include him in the "Ryan Report". Just something about those guys with the first or middle name "Ryan". I wonder if the Nats have the league record of players with that name?

Of course, they could also be confusing him with Ryan Langerhans. Heck, on Nats Access on Sunday, they showed Ryan Church and his wife, Tina, taking a tour of the new ballpark and they actually had the following caption: "Tina Church - Outfielder" (ha!) Now, how would THAT be for a platoon? Ryan, Tina, Wily Mo, Nook and Austin? :-D

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