The Nationals Gallery

Following the newest MLB team, the Washington Nationals

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

And after all that...

A win tonight would tie the Nats with the Astros in the NL wild card race.

To try to pull that off, the Nats trot out Livan, who could be diplomatically termed "erratic" as of late. The Astros don't exactly have much with which to answer, though (the Nats dodged Clemens, though Pettitte is readying for tomorrow night), going with Wandy Rodriguez.

Can Watson continue his torrid .400 hitting pace? I, for one, am just happy to see someone speedy finally hitting at the top of the order. Incidentally, the team leader in SB is currently Wilkerson, who has five to go with his 9 CS. Um.

Another one-run game, but this one a win

Fast forward to last night's game. Watson batted leadoff, going 2-for-5 with a home run and a double. He wasn't the only one to homer, though--there was Wilkerson in the second, Schneider in the fourth, Watson in the fourth, and Castilla in the fifth.

Every starter, Patterson included, had at least one hit except for Nick Johnson (who went 0-for-2 but had three walks), Preston Wilson (no hits in his last 10 ABs), and the true shocker, Guzman (who nevertheless managed a throwing error that scored two runs in the sixth).

Patterson wasn't perfect, allowing three earned runs on seven hits in 5 and two thirds innings, but it should have been more than enough. As it was, his performance was just enough for the one-run win, the first such win for the Nats since July 8. The bullpen thankfully held, and Chief racked up his 37th save.

Remember when it seemed like every game was like this?

First, some belated news...

Before I get to last night's game, let's back up to some news I overlooked from over the weekend. The Nats called up outfielder Brandon Watson and designated outfielder Matt Cepicky for assignment. Cepicky, needless to say, was not happy:
"I am always the odd man out," Cepicky said as he cleared out his locker after going 1-for-4 in Sunday afternoon's 3-0 loss to San Diego. "I don't understand why me going down is going to help this team win. ... If the team was winning, this wouldn't happen, but unfortunately, the team is not, so they look for a way to help it out."
On the other hand,
Watson was hitting .357 with 14 doubles, 20 RBIs and 26 steals in 38 attempts over 73 games at New Orleans through Friday.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Yes, yes, I know.

I went and had a birthday and missed out on commenting on two more sad losses, 3-2 on Saturday and 3-0 on Sunday to complete the sweep for the Padres. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

I don't have much to say today. This team needs to manage to string together some run support for John Patterson tonight. This shouldn't be impossible against a guy like Ezequiel Astacio, but what do I know?

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Will the real Ryan Drese please stand up?

There's no telling which Ryan Drese will show up tonight, but here's hoping it's the Good Drese of the North. Yahoo has Pedro Astacio slated to start once again, which may actually happen tonight.

I'm so tired of one-run losses.

In other news...

The AP newswire carries a report that the Nats:
  • "Lost" Sunny Kim on waivers to the Colorado Rockies:
    "It was disappointing. We had gotten him through waivers earlier this year, and we were hoping a 6 ERA would get him through a second time, but it didn't happen," general manager Jim Bowden said. "So we wish him nothing but the best in Coors Field."
    To which I say: huh?
    The article continues:
    Kim's departure drops the Nationals' pitching staff to 11, with no reliever who's suited to staying in for more than one or two innings.
    But then, we saw that last night.
  • Activated Tony Blanco off of the DL
  • Signed former Red Sox (designated for assignment) pitcher John Halama to a minor league contract
  • Reinstated Henry Mateo from the DL, and promptly sent him to AA
Busy day.

Not pretty.

Livan did not look good. But still, it might have been enough if not for a shaky performance by Chief, compounded by a Guzman error, that let in the winning run, unearned.

Twelfth straight loss in one-run games. This after managing to score five runs, four earned (though on only five hits), off of Padres starter Woody Williams. Sigh.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Tonight: the Padres

Tonight's opponents are the Padres, who are coming off an offensively charged series with the Pirates. Before that, they were slumping (though not as badly as the Nats), but then they scored 31 runs in three games.

The Nats are trotting out Livan to prevent that onslaught, while the Nats hitters will face Pedro Astacio, who hasn't exactly pitched that well since returning to the rotation. If the Nats can just keep up something like last night's level of offensive production, this win streak could definitely continue.

That felt good.

Wow. It has been so absurdly long since the planets aligned in this fashion for the Nationals. There was Patterson's masterful complete-game shutout. There was the grand slam by Wilkerson (was I the only one who didn't know that the Nats were the only MLB team without a grand slam until then?). Every starter but Gary Bennett and John Patterson had at least one hit, even Castilla (1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI) and Guzman (2-for-4 with two RBI). Nick Johnson went 3-for-4. Ryan Church went 1-for-3 with a walk.

It was just an all-around great night. And did I mention that Patterson didn't walk anybody, struck out 13, gave up only four hits, and didn't allow anybody beyond second base? According to the AP writeup, over his past six starts, Patterson sports a 1.02 ERA with 54 strikeouts. Not bad at all.

But most importantly, this was another win. Two in a row! A winning series! For the first time in a month! Sure, sure, it was against a magnificently crappy team, but I'm ignoring that for now.

It felt good to win like that.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Hey, a win!

So the Nats turned to what the AP writer called "an old formula" last night for a win, which mainly involves scoring a few runs and hoping their offense is worse than yours. Last night, it worked, since the Dodgers only managed one run against TA2, and didn't score at all in the next four innings against the combination of Ayala, Stanton, Majewski, and Cordero. (Overworked bullpen? Nahhh.)

But hey, it's a win, and it wasn't even close by Nats standards, ending with a score of 3-1.

The Dodgers should continue to be crappy enough for the Nats to pull out another and win a series for the first time in weeks. John Patterson, who has looked very impressive recently (working his ERA down to 2.60!), goes up against Brad Penny, starting Go Nats! String together two wins!