Saturday, August 12, 2006

Excellent Tight Win

On Negro League Tribute Night, the Washington Nationals and New York Mets played a wonderfully tight, well fought, pitching duel that came down to the last pitch. A Nats 2-1 Victory before 29,414 on a beautifully comfortable night at RFK Stadium.

Washington came out in vintage 1943 Homstead Gray White Jerseys with Navy Pinstripes, GRAYS on the front and a "W" (but not a CURLY W) on the left sleeve. The cap was Navy with a "G". The Mets wore replica NEW YORK CUBAN Gray with Red NEW YORK across the Jersey Front, Navy/Red Piping down the neck and jersey front and a Navy Cap with Red Bill and Classic NY crossover logo in Red.

The Players looked great in them, most even looked heavier due to the bulky style of the day. Alfonso Soriano looked 20lbs heavier. Most everyone looked like a barnstorming player from years past. It was really cool.

The game featured a fabulous pitching duel from sure fire Hall of Famer, Tom Glavine, for the Mets and one time top Mets prospect, Billy Traber, getting the opportunity to, once again, revitalize his often injured career.

Traber gave up a DEEP Home Run to Paul LoDuca, the second batter of the game, giving the Mets a quick 1-0 lead, but he was solid the rest of the way. Glavine was just as good, and except for a clutch single by Brian Schneider in the bottom of the second scoring 2, Tom and Billy traded shutout innings the rest of the way, Glavine going 6 complete and Traber 7 complete and one hitter in the 8th.

The Nationals only runs came in the 2nd when Austin Kearns led off with a clean single to left. Marlon Anderson followed with a looper to center, moving Kearns to second. Alex Escobar would ground into a force out at second, removing Anderson, moving Kearns to 3rd. With one out and Schneider at the plate, Escbar would steal second and on a 3-1 pitch, Brian would lash a outside corner fastball from Glavine down the left field line scoring both Kearns and Escobar. 2-1 Nats. The Final Scores of the game.

Although Alfonso Soriano was not a factor offensively tonight, he did make his usual outragous play in the field during the 6th. With 2 outs and Carlos Beltran at the plate, Beltran belted a HIGH FLY to the left field warning track. Soriano drifted back, not realizing it was farther than expected, over his head. Instead of running back, like most outfielders, Alfonso just kept on peddling backwards and as he hit the warning track LEAPED OFF HIS WRONG FOOT, getting no jump, but was still able to snowcone the ball into the webbing of his glove as his back hit the fence. The crowed cheered with approval, while sighing in relief, and laughing all at the same time. You have just got to love watching that guy play. YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT SORIANO WILL DO NEXT. Alfonso jogged off the field to a standing ovation and was greeted warmly at the dugout steps by his teammates. Austin Kearns was laughing so hard that Soriano started to cover his mouth--embarrassed. Just one of the many enjoyable moments you can enjoy in this game.

Traber, with his slow, off speed stuff, pitched alot like Livan Hernandez in his prime. Getting batters off balance with just enough zip on the fastball to set up the junk. And his pitching motion is so odd, it appears he will throw out his left shoulder on every pitch. Traber gave up just 4 hits, WALKED NO ONE, and certaintly pitched his finest game in about 3 years at the Major League Level. After giving up a lead off single to Michael Tucker in the 8th, Frank Robinson did the right thing, removed him from the game for Jon Rauch, and let Traber jog off the field to a ROUSING STANDING OVATION from the NATS FANS in attendance. Billy deserved it BIG TIME. IT WAS A MASTERFUL PERFORMANCE.

Rauch though, made it interesting by throwing a Wild Pitch with Jose Reyes at the plate, moving Tucker to second. Reyes would chop a bouncer to short, and with his speed easily beat the throw from Felipe Lopez, moving Tucker to 3rd. Reyes would steal second unopposed with LoDuca again at the plate. Rauch would pitch to a full count and the ENTIRE STADIUM ROSE, SCREAMING Both Nats Fans and Mets Fans. Rauch rared back and UNLEASHED at 95 mile per hour fastball right down the middle of the plate, LoDuca swung mightily, missing and the STADIUM ROARED ITS APPROVAL!! Standing ovation for the Nats as they jogged off the field.

The Chief, Chad Cordero, would make it interesting once again in the 9th. Chad would hit Carlos Beltran leading off the last inning. Powerfully Dangerous, David Wright would come to the plate, and Chief pounded fastballs inside, getting Wright to Pop out in foul territory to Nick Johnson. The equally dangerous, Carlos Delgado stepped to the plate. This guy can CRUSH the ball. And he did, just so happen to slam it the the dead zone of RFK, centerfield, where Alex Escobar ran under it easily. With 2 outs Cordero walked Jose Valentin on 4 straight pitches. First and Second 2 outs. Michael Tucker once again came to the plate, and swung at the very first Cordero offering, grounding to Nick Johnson at first, who ran over to the bag, retiring Tucker and giving the Chief save number 21 in the Nats 51st win of the season.

This game was one of the best, well played games of the season. The pitching was excellent, except for Lopez dropping a hard hit liner by Reyes right at him, it was a very clean game. Fast pace, fun to watch. Everyone was into it.

And, my main BIrd, Screech came by in the 6th for an inning of fun with his BEST FRIEND!! ME!!

On most any night a lesser team can beat a good team, its the fun of baseball. The Nats played extremely well tonight. We enjoyed the game tremendously. The stadium was rocking and noisy all night long .REALLY REALLY FUN!!

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