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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Nats at Marlins, the 3-game wrapup

The Nationals lost their 2nd consecutive road series, this time to the Florida Marlins but, unlike the Braves series, the Nats didn't go down without a great fight and some impressive offense.

Game 1: Monday, September 10th - Nats 5, Marlins 4

This game was a nail-biter, with lots of thrills for Nats fans.

Nats starter Shawn Hill pitched a dandy, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits, no walks, and he struck out 6. An interesting statistic: Hill has now allowed 3 earned runs or fewer in 13 of his 14 starts this season. That certainly bodes well for the future.

The bullpen did a god job holding the Marlins back, though Jésus Colomé allowed them back into the game in his 1/3 of an inning when he gave up 2 runs on 2 hits, narrowing the score to 5-4, but "Johnny A.", Jon Rauch and Chad Cordero (with save #33) completed the job.

Ryan Report: Church was 0 for 0 at the plate, but was walked, Zimmerman went 1 for 3 with an R.B.I. and a walk, Langerhans did not play, and Austin Ryan Kearns went 1 for 5 with an R.B.I.

Nook Logan went 1 for 3 with 2 walks, as did Felipé Lopez. Dmitri Young went 1 for 4 with a walk, Ronnie Belliard went 3 for 4 with a double and a walk, Jésus Flores went 1 for 5. The biggest hits came from Wily Mo Peña, who had his 8th multi-homer game of his career. His first one was a 2-R.B.I. bullet, which shot just over the left field wall, disappearing in the blink of an eye. The second was a solo shot to the seats in left-center.

The suspense of the game was lengthened with a 40-minute rain delay which, fortunately, didn't shift the momentum of the game.

All in all, it appeared that the Nats had picked up where they had left off with the Marlins in D.C. the previous week.

Game 2: Tuesday, September 11th - Marlins 13, Nats 8

Like the shark in "Jaws", just when you think the Marlins are dead, they seem to find renewed life and keep attacking.

This game had a see-sawing score, with the Marlins jumping to an early lead, losing it to the Nats, gaining it again, the Nats tied it up 8-8, and the Marlins ran away with it in the late innings, scoring 5 runs.

Starter Mike Bacsik never did get comfortable on the mound, allowing 8 runs on 5 hits, mostly due to 3 homeruns. The bullpen of six relievers all allowed at least 1 run, except for Winston Abreau. Saul Rivera, Chris Schroeder (who took the loss) and Luis Ayala each allowed 2 runs, and Micah Bowie (returning to action off of rehab starts and the D/L) and "Johnny A." each allowed 1 run. The Marlins scored in each inning except the 6th.

Ryan Report: Church was 0 for 1 in a pinch-hitting role, Zimmerman went 3 for 5, Langerhans went 0 for 1 pinch-hitting, and Austin Ryan Kearns went 2 for 3 with a double and a walk.

Some big hits came from Nook Logan and Felipé Lopez (each 1 for 5), Dmitri Young (1 for 4 with an R.B.I. a double and a walk), Ronnie Belliard (1 for 3 with an R.B.I.), Brian Schneider (1 for 3 with a walk), and Wily Mo Peña (2 for 5 with 2 R.B.I.'s, and he even got a stolen base, his first for the Nats).

The biggest hit of the game came from young Justin "J-Max" Maxwell, though. J-Max got is very first major league hit, on only his 3rd plate appearance, in a pinch-hitting role to boot, and it was one for the ages - a Grand Slam, which temporarily put the Nats ahead by 2 runs in the game.

The funny thing about that Grand Slam for me is, I got to chat for 2 seconds with J-Max as he left R.F.K. last week, the night that saw his very first major league plate appearance, when he hit that towering shot that ALMOST went over the wall for a homer, but was caught at the warning track. When I spoke to J-Max, I said, "Man, I thought that hit was out of there!", and he laughed and said, "Next time!" Little did we know. Who knows, in the new Nats ballpark, that first at-bat of his might have been a homer, but spacious old R.F.K. took it away from him. J-Max, the Nationals best minor-league hitting prospect, is definitely an exciting guy to watch.

Other than that Grand Slam, it was a game the Nats and their fans would just as soon forget.

Box score for Justin Maxwell fans.

Game 3: Wednesday, September 12th - Marlins 5, Nats 4

The Nats had the chance to take the rubber game and their 2nd straight series from the Marlins on Wednesday.

As Maxwell Smart might have said, "Missed it by THAT much!"

The Nationals went into 12 innings, 4 hours and 9 minutes worth of baseball, only to lose in the bottom of the 12th by 1 run.

Starter Joel Hanrahan didn't have much of a game. The only real highlight was Ryan Church and Wily Mo Peña hitting back-to-back homers. The bullpen did alright, but the game wasn't terribly memorable.

The fun part for me was, since it was my day off, and it was an afternoon game, I went down to the ESPN Zone to watch the game on their HUGE projection T.V., in the comfort of a leather reclining chair, with a burger and a 25 oz. beer. They even have little T.V. monitors above the urinals in the men's room, and I even noticed a monitor in the stall, too. Nice touch! Let me tell you, the ESPN Zone is THE place to watch a Nationals road game from. I highly recommend it, and I'll definitely do it more often next season.

Box score for the masochists among you.

So the Nats couldn't replicate a Marlin sweep, but at least they kept the games close. Hopefully, they will do better over the homestand.

1 comment:

DCSportsChick said...

I think I saw you at Friday night's rainfest, but I didn't get a chance to say hi. Next time :-)

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