Monday, August 08, 2005

MLB: Nationals weekend recap (August 5-August 7)

Sorry to those four people who stopped by from Friday Evening to now that may or may not have been looking for updates on the O's, Nats, D.C. United and Mystics games. I was at a wedding up in Yankees/Mets territory and couldn't make my usual recap posts. But here's a quick review just to get anyone up to date who was relying solely on my blog for sports information. Starting with the Nationals (Sunday's recap includess previews and standings information)...

San Diego Padres 6, Nationals 5

WP: Scott Linebrink (5-1)
LP: Chad Cordero (2-3)
S: Trevor Hoffman (28)

The Nationals had their two-game run snapped in a see-saw battle that saw them down 1-0, up 2-1, down 4-2, up 5-4, then finally losing 6-5 on a Robert Fick groundout in the ninth inning.

San Diego Padres 3, Natonals 2

WP: Pedro Astacio (1-2)
LP: Ryan Drese (3-5)
S: Trevor Hoffman (29)

The Nationals lost a lead again, but this one wasn't as late in the game. The Nats were up 2-1 in the fourth inning after a Vinny Castilla solo homer, but the Padres scored a run each in the sixth and seventh innings to take a 3-2 lead that they would hold to the finish. New Padre Joe Randa came up with the RBI double that scored the game-winning run.

San Diego Padres 3, Nationals 0

WP: Jake Peavy (10-4)
LP: Esteban Loaiza (6-8)

WAS: 58-53 (2nd in NL East, 5.5 behind Atlanta, tied with Florida, 0.5 ahead of Philadelphia, 1 ahead of New York)

Jake Peavy did it all in this one, throwing a five-hit complete game shutout and hitting the game-winning RBI single in the fifth inning. Esteban Loaiza gave up just three runs in seven innings but took the loss.

The Nats are now in a tie for second place with the Marlins and are just one game ahead of the Mets for last place. They have Monday off before starting a three-game set in Houston on Tuesday, where they will face the Wild Card-leading Astros. Washington is two games behind Houston in the Wild Card standings.

Tuesday's game is an 8:05 p.m. start, with John Patterson (5-3, 2.42 ERA, throws right) taking his microscopic ERA to the pitchers' hell that is Minute Maid Park. He will face Ezequiel Astacio (2-4, 6.33 ERA, throws right).

Well the Nats looked like they were gaining some momentum with a couple of wins against the Dodgers, but then they went out and fell flat against the Padres. Well, the Padres are a little better than the Dodgers. Not a lot, but they are better. It's so important to forget about this and look ahead, because now the Nats leave their cavernous ballpark to go to Houston where you could spit a sunflower seed for a homerun, so it's time to find some offense.

The upcoming series against the Astros is huge for so many reasons. Huge huge huge huge HUGE! The Nationals still aren't out of the division race with the Braves, but a rough series could drop them to 6.5, 7.5 or 8.5 back and all the way to last place in the NL East, as Florida is tied with Washington and Philadelphia and New York are in the rearview. Also, the Nationals are tied for second in the Wild Card race, and a couple of wins could cut into the Astros' lead there.

After Saturday's loss, manager Frank Robinson held a closed-door meeting that lasted almost two hours, but it didn't seem to help on Sunday.

Luckily, the Nats send John Patterson and his 2.42 ERA to the hill on Tuesday to get the series started off right. It will be a true test for him in the run-producing park in Houston, but he has been up to most tasks this season, and he can hope that the park will produce some runs for his team, as well.

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