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Sunday, June 7, 2009

End of May/Beginning of June update - lots of rain, lots of losses, few bright spots

So it's been almost two weeks since I last blogged about the Nats. Truth be told, I just didn't feel like doing it. Miserable weather and even more miserable losses by a team in search of itself. Just very uninspiring for me.

The Nationals finished the month of May with an 0-6 roadtrip, losing three straight to the New York Mets and then three straight to the Philadelphia Phillies.

They came home and began the month of June with a victory, beating the San Francisco Giants 10-6, then had another rain postponement and played their first day/night true doubleheader on Thursday, June 4th, which also had it's share of rain and delays.

The Nats fired their longtime pitching coach, randy St. Claire, who had been with the club since the beginning (and before, having worked for the Montreal Expos) and replaced him by promoting their AAA Syracuse pitching coach Steve McCatty.

San Francisco Giants pitcher Randy Johnson celebrated his milestone 300th career victory by beating the Nats on June 4th, during the afternoon game of the double-header. At least the Nationals didn't have to endure the ignominy of experiencing this in San Francisco, as they did when Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron's career home run record. Then the Nats lost the night game as well.

So the Nats took 1 of 3 from the Giants, and then 1 of three from the visiting New York Mets.
They won the Saturday night game, 7-1. June 6th, 2009 will be remembered by most as the 65th anniversary of D-Day, but Nationals fans will remember it as Nats starter John Lannan's first career complete game, throwing only 96 pitches over 9 innings. The Nats won 7-1 and had home runs from Nick Johnson, Adam Dunn, and Elijah Dukes. That's a game that I would have loved to attended but, alas, my ticket plan didn't include that night. The weather was pretty sweet, too. Not to take away anything from the Nats, but Mets starter John Maine had something of an off night, which helped.

The next day, however, the Mets struck right back and took advantage of Nats starter Craig Stammen's horrible first inning. Stammen did his best Cabrera imitation, throwing wild pitches, and the Mets took immediate advantage, going up 5-0 before the Nationals even got to the plate. The Nats lost 7-0, and instrumental in their defeat was the starting pitching of former-National Livan Hernandez, and former National (and one of my favorite Nationals of their short history) Ryan Church. Former National catcher Brian Schneider also did his part to hurt the Nats. It sure still hurts to see the three of them wearing New York Mets uniforms.

I did have tickets for the Sunday game, and the weather was okay, but I was seriously achy from a long workday on Saturday, and I just had a bad feeling about how the game would play out. Little did I know how right I'd be.

I've said all along that I'm not a "fair weather" Nationals fan, and I'm not (hey, I still ahve season tickets, don't I?), but I go to the games to have fun and enjoy myself. I don't relish long rain delays, especially on a work night, and I don't relish being outnumbered by Philly fans or Mets fans all the time when those teams come to visit. The Nationals are on pace to lose 118 games right now, and it's just painful to see, especially after last season's 102 loss campaign.

I'll go to at least one of the Cincinnati games this week, provided the weather isn't completely awful.

I just hope that the college draft on Tuesday turns out to be a great one for the Nats, a red-letter day in their history. We shall see.

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