Monday, August 24, 2009
When Our Racing Presidents officially called out and challenged The Milwaukee Racing Sausages for not posting up for official competition at Nationals Park again at the end of the mid-4th inning race, Our Washington Nationals held a slim 1-0 lead against The Brewers. Collin Balester was pitching well, having thrown shutout ball, allowing just two hits to that point.
Then, shortly after Our Racing Presidents finished posing for pictures at the end of the 5th frame with any fan desiring at The Exxon Kids Zone, Collin Balester was left wondering what exactly hit him, as did Jason Bergmann and finally--Ron Villone? No home game this season had gone from nail biter to romp so quickly--in the opposite direction.
Just like that, it was all over. Done.
Did The Brew Crew ever unload to get things started in the top of the 6th and whittle away before one single out was recorded by Washington. Six total runs plated by Milwaukee. A turnaround game winning rally that was started by--Ryan Braun. Yes, The Power Hitter, maybe looking for redemption after being ejected yesterday for arguing and throwing his helmet at the feet of Umpire Mike Muchlinski. Ryan absolutely BLASTED OFF a two run homer DEEP INTO SECTION 104--five rows from the Center Field Plaza Walkway. A tremendous tee shot (he does have the prettiest looping swing) off his powerful bat that scored Frank Catalonatto in front of Braun and set in motion one of the worst innings of the year for Our Washington Nationals.
Our Pitching just fell apart and no matter who Interim Manager Jim Riggleman brought to the mound, it didn't help. No Brewer this frame again crushed the baseball like Ryan Braun--but three singles, two walks (one intentionally) and a force out scored the distancing runs that made this one time entertaining game--just an quick afterthought. From then on out, this affair had the true feeling of a getaway game. Yeah, get it over with--pack the bags--get on the next flight. Because when Jorge Sosa allowed YET ANOTHER home run (his 5th in 17.1 innings pitched--pretty amazing actually), what was left of the 17,805 headed for the exits in droves.
All which left The African Queen and I just chatting, talking about things, and hoping for that miracle comeback. No, sorry, not to be, but became far more entertaining when The Brewers' Manager--Ken Macha--sent Hernan Iribarren to the plate. Now there is your household name. This Venezuelan had pinch hit in the previous three games of this four game set. And the lefty swinging batter was now being given a fourth chance late this afternoon.
Great for us because WE LOVE HIS NAME. Hernan Iribarren!! What a moniker. That Pen Name right up there with our other favorite baseball player name of ALL TIME--Jarrod Saltalamacchia. One time Atlanta Brave and now Texas Ranger. Famous in Our Hearts for showing up at RFK Stadium for The Brav-Os in 2007 with a jersey that displayed his last name from halfway down the leftside of the uniform back and looped above the numbers to halfway down the rightside of that very same jersey.
The longest last name in Major League History that was so big the small video board on East Capitol Street COULD NOT complete his entire given family name. The same which held true in 2008 at Nationals Park when Saltalamacchia played for The Texas Rangers.
Yes, this afternoon and early evening came down to the simple things. Enjoying a young man named Hernan Iribarren that now plays baseball for The Milwaukee Brewers. The very team that just defeated DC's team in three out of four games.
Love That Name!!
Final Score from Nationals Park after one the most exhausting weeks in franchise history--Strasburg, Rizzo, Introductory Press Conferences, Picnic In The Park, Blogger Day & Seven Home Games--The Milwaukee Brewers 7 and Our Washington Nationals 1. The 81st defeat of 2009 confirmed what so many had realized already. Yeah, we are not going to finish near .500 this season. But at least all was not lost this past week. Progress was made and Hernan Iribarren showed up on South Capitol Street helping to make a rather mundane loss far more entertaining.
Let's see now if Washington can re-group on the upcoming western swing to Chicago, St. Louis and Beautiful San Diego (Our Other Favorite City) and return home Labor Day weekend with some more Curly "W's" In The Book. What are the chances of avoiding 100 losses for a second straight year?
Game Notes & Highlights
Collin Balester really looked solid through five complete. He had faced just four above the minimum, but just as quickly as Catalonatto doubled leading off the 6th and Braun homered to left, our Number 40 just lost steam and command. The harbinger of things to come when neither Bergmann nor Villone could stop the Milwaukee rally before it was too late. The top of the 6th was the ball game and Our Washington Nationals let it get out of hand.
Jorge Sosa must throw one of the flatest fastballs in the game. How else can so many be teeing off on him?
Throwing in the low-90's, The Brewers Yovani Gallardo was all over the place. He walked four Nats Batters but gave up just four hits in five innings complete. But when a hard thrower tosses 108 pitches of which only 62 were strikes--it was a good sign that Our Washington Nationals were getting themselves out this day.
None probably did that more than Alberto Gonzalez.
Our Number 12, removed in a double switch during the pivotal 6th frame, did not help himself by striking out looking with the bases loaded to end the bottom of the 3rd (swinging at the very first two pitches thrown his way after Gallardo had just loaded the bases) and flying out to right to end the 5th--stranding Ryan Zimmerman at third base. Despite five free passes allowed by Milwaukee pitching and six base hits, not a lot of offense from Washington this day. In fact, DC's only run scored on a fielder's choice. A botched double play by The Brewers in the bottom of the second inning that plated Willie Harris. Wil Nieves hustling to first to break up the possible DP and getting his 18th RBI on the year.
The Fake Milwaukee Sausages came out running again early this evening but were eventually run down by Our Racing Presidents as all eight participants turned for the home stretch at the rightfield foul pole. Tom winning again going away before all four Rushmores displayed their challenge sign to The Real Milwaukee Sausages.
And finally, when Our Washington Nationals return in September for the final 15 Home Games of 2009, what in world should The African Queen and I do after the schedule is complete? It just all of sudden hit us today. The season is nearly over. We are not into The Washington Redskins or The Washington Wizards, although The Washington Capitals are usually entertaining for us two to three times per season.
Maybe, we will take a real vacation this fall? Something we haven't done since Our Washington Nationals arrived in Washington, D.C. in 2005. All our travel over these past years has been business or baseball related. In fact, the last time we really got away was Fall, 2004. And we were in Santa Barbara, California the very day Major League Baseball announced The Montreal Expos were moving to The Nation's Capital. The morning after in which I bought The USA Today & Washington Post Newspapers out west and paraded around the main streets of Santa Barbara--on the water there--and showed everybody that would listen to me that MY HOMETOWN WAS AGAIN A MAJOR LEAGUE TOWN!!
Californians thought I was crazy. Sohna knew better.
True story. Just ask The African Queen. We still have the newspapers with Mayor Anthony Williams and Council Chair Jack Evans sporting red Curly "W" Caps. One of the best Redemption Days Of My Life!!
Tonight's InGame Photos--Charles Dharapak (AP)
All Other Photos--Nats320--All Rights Reserved