Thursday, June 30, 2005

Nationals 7, Pirates 5

WP: Esteban Loaiza (4-5)
LP: Kip Wells (5-8)
S: Chad Cordero (28)

The Nationals completed a three game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates this afternoon at RFK Stadium.

Kip Wells got rocked in the first three innings and the Nats' pitchers held on to the lead (barely) for a Nationals win. Esteban Loaiza had a no hitter through four innings but gave up two runs each in the fifth and sixth. He did get the win, despite Chad Cordero's attempts to make everone's heart stop by putting men on second and third with nobody out — and eventually loading the bases with two out — before getting Ryan Doumit to fly out to end the game. It was Cordero's 28th save, and he has now converted 25 straight save opportunities. (He's good.)

The Nats are now 47-31, and four games ahead of Atlanta in the NL East. Atlanta plays at Florida tonight at 7:05.

Preview of Thursday's Games (6/30)

Pittsburgh Pirates @ Nationals
Game time: 1:05 p.m.
Location: RFK Stadium

PIT: 34-42, 5th in NL Central (14.5 behind St. Louis)
WAS: 46-31, 1st in NL East (3.5 ahead of Atlanta)

Pitching Match-up
PIT: Kip Wells (5-7, 4.36 ERA) Throws Right
WAS: Esteban Loaiza (3-5, 3.63 ERA) Throws Right

The Nationals go for a sweep of the reeling Pirates this afternoon after winning each of the first two games of the series by one run.
The Nats have gone on a tear in June and are looking for their 20th win this month, countered by only six losses. According to, this is the winningest June in franchise history.
The Bucs are headed in the opposite direction. After hitting the .500 mark at 30-30 with a win over Tampa Bay on June 11, the Pirates have dropped 12 of 16 to fall eight games under and 14.5 behind first-place St. Louis in the NL Central.
Esteban Loaiza will pitch for Washington, and he is coming off a fantastic outing against the Blue Jays on June 24 in which he threw six scoreless innings, giving up six hits and one walk while striking out five. On top of that, when he left the game with a 2-0 lead, Loaiza had actually knocked in both Nationals runs! Washington went on to win that game 3-0 for Loaiza’s third win of the year.
Pittsburgh turns to Kip Wells, who has been beaten around in his last three outings (against the Yankees, Red Sox and Cardinals), all of which were losses. Wells has gave up 18 runs – 16 earned – over 14.2 innings during his short skid.

Cleveland Indians @ Orioles
Game Time: 7:05 p.m.
Location: Oriole Park at Camden Yards

CLE: 41-35, 3rd in AL Central (11 behind Chicago)
BAL: 43-34, 2nd in AL East (2 behind Boston, 4 ahead of New York)

Pitching Match-up
CLE: Jake Westbrook (5-9, 4.52 ERA) Throws Right
BAL: Hayden Penn (2-1, 6.07 ERA) Throws Right

As soon as the Orioles get a huge win and some momentum and you think that for the first time in a week the team doesn’t need a day off, they get one with a rainout.
The O’s look to take another step toward righting the ship tonight when they face the red-hot Cleveland Indians.
Baltimore is coming off a season-long six game losing streak that pushed them out of first place in the AL East. That streak ended on Tuesday when Brian Roberts launched the first pitch in the bottom of the 10th inning from Mike Stanton into the left-field seats for his first career walk-off homer and a 5-4 win over the Yankees.
Cleveland has gone 16-6 over their last 22 games, but lost last night, 5-2, to Boston.
Boston doesn’t play tonight so it is a chance for the Orioles to pick up half a game in the standings.
Hayden Penn, the 20-year-old rookie, will attempt to shake off a disastrous outing against the Braves on June 24 in which he gave up seven runs on eight hits and two walks, making it through just two innings.
Cleveland pitcher Jake Westbrook, on the other hand, has given up seven runs over 22 innings in winning his last three starts.
Penn was supposed to pitch yesterday and Bruce Chen was supposed to go today, but O’s manager Lee Mazzilli apparently decided to skip Chen to give him some time to heal the the left big toe that he hyperextended on June 25 against Atlanta.
According to, 3B Melvin Mora was listed as questionable last night and there is no word on whether or not he will play tonight.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Welcome to Beltway Sports Beat

Hey there!

Thanks for stopping by the Beltway Sports Beat, my blog for news and commentary on Baltimore-Washington area sports.

I started this because I got tired of watching segments and reading articles on my favorite teams and yelling at the screen (whether it be the TV or the computer monitor) about something I disagree with, especially when I know more details than the writer/commentator/analyst is giving. Hopefully this blog will give you Beltway dwellers -- both on 695 and 495 -- some insight and maybe a little more information than any one major sports site gives on the local teams. This blog isn't meant to give any insider information or do any original reporting, and I don't claim to know more than ESPN, CBS Sportsline, or Sports Illustrated, but I hope that I can bring some of the information that they and other sources give so that people don't have to go searching around for when a player is expected to come off the DL or what minor trades have made minor headlines. I think that I can devote more energy and space to local teams than the major sports sites do, and I also want to be able to voice my opinions in an open forum to other local sports fans. Got some news I missed? Post it! Think my opinion flat-out sucks? Tell me! The more reader interaction there is here, the more fun it is for me.

Let me go ahead and put my biases out there, because I don't want people to complain that I give more post space and comment time to certain teams over others.
1) I am a huge baseball fan, so it's good that there aren't other major sports going on during baseball season (sorry Mystics and United fans), because I'll be devoting a lot of time to the Orioles and Nationals. That being said, I have to admit that I'm a bigger O's fan than Nats fan, so my opinions are a little stronger concerning the Orioles. I do follow the Nationals, though, so there will be posts concerning them.
2) When it comes to the NFL, I am a much bigger fan of the Ravens than the Redskins, and I actually kind of chuckle at the 'Skins failures, so I'm sorry if I offend anyone in that regard.
3) I love hockey, I've played hockey since I was tiny, but the NHL game bores me. Unless they put a game on the ice that is actually fun to watch, I don't know how hard I'll be paying attention to the Capitals (even though I've been a huge Caps fan for so long ... the game needs to be fixed).
4) I love the Wizards, but if they seem to be short on post space, it's because winter has NFL, NHL, NBA, college football and college basketball all at the same time.
5) I like college basketball, but there are too many teams in the area to give a lot of coverage too. I grew up a Georgetown fan until I went to college. I went to Maryland, I work for Maryland, I am a Terp. Sorry if I shortchange other teams in favor of Terps hoops.
6) The only college football team of note in this area is Maryland. Virginia, Virginia Tech and West Virginia are all too far south for me. Penn State -- as much as they think their team should be getting coverage everywhere at all times -- is too far north.
I think that pretty much covers it. If you have more info on other local teams that you don't think I'm covering well enough, post comments or e-mail me. I'll do my best to be somewhat equal.

On a side note, I have to admit that I always cringe slightly when an announcer calls a Ravens vs. Redskins or Orioles vs. Nationals (we'll assume for the future) match-up a "Beltway Battle," because it's two different beltways. Maybe it's just because I lived most of my life less than a mile from the BW Parkway, but I always thought they should be called Parkway Battles. Yet I still named this blog the Beltway Sports Beat because A) it's become the standard, B) I don't know that the BW Parkway is that well known and C) "Parkway Sports Beat" just doesn't roll off the tongue quite as well.

Thanks for coming and check back often for updates!