Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tim Hudson Was Simply Outstanding

Since baseball returned to this nation's capital, few pitchers have dominated Our Washington Nationals quite like Tim Hudson. He's most always been outstanding and tonight was no different at Nationals Park. If not for The Atlanta Braves starter walking Ryan Zimmerman with two outs in the bottom of the 8th with Adam Dunn stepping to the plate in a two-run game, Hudson might well have gone the distance on this most humid and most uncomfortable of outdoor evenings.

Atlanta's Number One Starter finishing off 23 Washington Batters this evening before being relieved by The Braves Closer-In-Waiting, Jonny Venters, with one out in the bottom of the 8th. Before that moment came though, Hudson struck out seven and induced 12 ground ball outs (including one double play). Just three D.C. batters recorded an out via a fly ball. And those that did hit the ball in the air mostly stroked some weak ones. Tim Hudson had his fabulous sinker working this evening on South Capitol Street. Only Pudge Rodriguez was able to get to Hudson when Tim threw one bad pitch up in the zone in the bottom of the 5th. A fastball laced to center for a double.

The only run plated this night by Washington scoring moments later when Michael Morse hit a looping liner to right--just over the head of Atlanta's 2nd Baseman Martin Prado--scoring Rodriguez. Tim Hudson wasn't hit hard and was most always in total control all night long. And only after reaching 96 pitches and being in lead 3-1 with Our Number 44 stepping to plate with The Z-Man on 1st in the bottom of the 8th--did Hudson ever seem vulnerable.

But really, The Atlanta Braves had little to worry about this night at Nationals Park. Their manager, Bobby Cox, wasn't going to allow Tim Hudson to pitch so well and then find himself in a position to possibly lose this game. Calling on his strong Lefty-Lefty Duo of Venters and Billy Wagner out of his bullpen, The Braves silenced any further thoughts of a Washington comeback. Venters striking out Dunn to end the 8th and Wagner recording a 1-2-3 ninth to complete this game.

Now Livan Hernandez wasn't awful starting for Washington, but he didn't have much in the tank either. Ole Number 61 struggled through the first frame, giving up two runs and eventually three, before tiring noticeably in the middle of the 5th inning. But Livo's effort mostly didn't matter at this point because Our Washington Nationals couldn't solve Tim Hudson's magnificent start when coupled with Venters' and Wagner's finish.

Final Score from oppressively humid Nationals Park where the air was so thick you could truly cut it with a knife: The Atlanta Braves 3 and Our Washington Nationals 1. Atlanta's Tim Hudson continued his mastery over D.C.'s Team, recording his 11th personal win of 2010 and his 10th career victory over Washington in 11 decisions since 2005. Loss Number 58 of 2010 for Washington came at the hands of one of baseball's best pitchers. Tim Hudson can dominate with his command and control. His economy of pitches was phenomenal. Working fast, Hudson had the upper hand and nothing, not a game time temperature of 90 degrees or any batter from Our Washington Nationals faced was truly going to beat him.

Tim Hudson called most all the shots this night and his Atlanta Braves teammates scored just enough runs to take him to victory. Really, there is not much more to say about this one because Tim Hudson was simply OUTSTANDING.

Game Notes & Highlights

Livan Hernandez was roughed up in the first inning when Martin Prado led off this game with a single to center and Jason Heyward followed with a double down the right field line. Chipper Jones got Prado home on a sacrifice fly to center. Brian McCann then walked and Atlanta scored their 2nd run on a Livo strikeout of Eric Hinske as The Braves attempted a delayed double steal on that 3rd strike to Hinske. McCann took off from first on the pitch. Pudge Rodriguez threw through to second base to Ian Desmond covering. When McCann stopped and dashed back toward first base, Desmond threw to Adam Dunn. A this point Heyward took off from 3rd base toward home plate. With Adam Kennedy sneaking in behind McCann between 1st and 2nd base, Dunn turned and threw home too late to get Heyward scoring Atlanta's 2nd run. If only Dunn had thrown the baseball to Kennedy, he would have easily tagged out McCann before Jason Heyward crossed home plate and scored. A mental mistake by Adam Dunn that cost Washington a run.

Martin Prado doubled off Livan leading off the top of the 5th and scored The Braves 3rd and final run this evening two batters later when Chipper Jones knocked Prado home for the second time this evening on a single sliced to left field. Ole Number 61 being relieved at this point by Doug Slaten. Now we don't the official tally, but we would bet Martin Prado has hit more doubles against Our Washington Nationals than any batter faced in the past six years. Few games between these two teams go by without Atlanta's All-Star 2nd Baseman lacing a two-bagger against us.

Slaten pitched to one batter in the 5th, Tyler Clippard looked more like his old self from earlier this season when he struck out three Braves over 1.1 innings pitched. Joel Peralta finished off this game for Washington by tossing three shutout frames.

You can't say much more about Tim Hudson's effort tonight. He was the ballgame, simple as that. Billy Wagner recorded his 23rd save of 2010 in the 9th for Atlanta.

George won the 4th inning Presidents Race easily, then was joined by his Rushmore friends to dance some sort of jig together after the finish.

And finally, NatsTV started using this high level camera placed on the terrace level of the 3rd base side at Nationals Park. The angle allowed for some nifty shots of Washington's 1st base dugout and pitchers warming up on the mound and hitters getting loose in the on-deck circles. Nice.

Tonight's In-Game Photos--Drew Angerer (AP)
All Other Photos--Nats320--All Rights Reserved

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