Friday, August 28, 2009
First, that other Nats Killer not known as Hanley Ramirez--Khalil Greene--slammed out a pinch hit home run off John Lannan tying this rather well pitched ball game at two apiece with one out in the bottom of the 8th in St. Louis. Then, that National League Killer Of All Pitchers--Albert Pujols--took Jason Bergmann deep three pitches into the bottom of the 9th for a walk-off winning home run.
Just like that, what was so close to being a Curly "W", quickly was recorded as loss number 83 of 2009 for Our Washington Nationals. The St. Louis Cardinals winning in dramatic fashion 3-2.
Sadly, Our Number 31 didn't get a personal victory, for outside of his complete game win earlier this year at Nationals Park, John Lannan probably pitched his best game of the year. He was locked in. And when he got into trouble twice--he induced key double play grounders that swiftly ended rallies by The Cards. Not one to overpower or strikeout many hitters, Lannan let his defense help him out--that and a few key off-speed pitches which Pujols and the hard hitting Cardinals lineup kept on pounding into the dirt.
Good hard stuff, which is the only way John Smoltz has ever pitched and did so again tonight during his six strong innings for St.Louis. But you can't tell me Smoltz doesn't look strange in St.Louis Red? And wearing Number 30, not his customary 29. Watching him wear a BoSox uniform earlier this season at Nationals Park was odd enough--but at least he was pitching then in The American League. A huge difference watching him wear a National League Rival Jersey to The Atlanta Braves.
Baseball is really strange sometimes. And Smoltz in a St. Louis Cardinals Uniform is one of them.
But how about that Elijah Dukes? He had an outstanding game with two doubles, one single, and one run scored. Our Number 34 also flashed some serious leather by tracking down a short fly by Mark DeRosa in the 4th--near the foul line behind first base. Then, late in the game, smashing himself up against the right field foul line barrier to snare a pop up by Julio Lugo. An excellent effort from a young man that has struggled consistently hitting and fielding baseballs--on the very night Ryan Zimmerman (two walks) and Adam Dunn couldn't provide any firepower.
Having to be up very early for work tomorrow, this post will have to wind down right now. But this loss was one of the hardest ones to watch all year. Our Washington Nationals played a very competitive game against a true World Series Contender and Sure Fire Hall Of Fame Opposing Starter in Smoltz. Only to lose when Chad Cordero's Old Nemesis--Khalil Greene--came back to haunt "The Chief's" former team. And The Greatest Power Hitter In The Game--Albert Pujols--decided to take matters in his own hands--like Albert has done so many times in what is unquestionably a Hall Of Fame Career of his own.
This defeat was a Heartbreaker--because John Lannan deserved better this evening at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
PS--One more point. You have got to love the support The St.Louis Cardinals receive every day in their home town. Hopefully one day, NatsTown will be somewhat similar. The majority of Cardinal fans dress in red. Most everyone certainly has on red & white in some fashion. They stand and cheer opposing players for fine plays. They stood and gave John Smoltz a standing ovation as he stepped to the plate for his very first at-bat wearing the home whites of St. Louis tonight. Despite being a rival all those years in Atlanta, St.Louis Fans appreciated the very fact John Smoltz freely chose The Cardinals to help them win a potential National League Pennant in 2009.
And just as baseball fans this evening, Sohna and I enjoyed watching The Spirit Of St.Louis. Really Good Fans there.
Tonight's InGame Photos--Jeff Roberson (AP)