Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Beltran Perez

On one of the MOST BEAUTIFUL SUNSET EVENINGS of any Washington Nationals game played at RFK Stadium, Rookie Pitcher, Beltran Perez, making his very first Major League Start, shutdown the Atlanta Braves for 6 solid shutout innings, allowing just one hit, walking no one, striking out three Atlanta batters. The Lanky Perez was on the top of his game. And, since jumping up from AA Harrisburg when called up in September by the Nats, had a HUGE advantage tonight against a good Braves hitting team that had never seen him pitch.

Throwing fastballs in the low 90's, changeup in the mid-80's, slider near 90MPH, Beltran had Atlanta hitters totally off balance. Perez threw just 70 pitches, 40 for strikes, only Chipper Jones solving his magic tonight, singling sharply to right field in the very first inning. No one else from Atlanta came close to a hit. Andruw Jones, flying out twice facing Beltran tonight.

Solid hitting from Washington tonight, helped to give Perez his very first Major League Win. Every starter in the field, except Felipe Lopez, got hits. 7 starters had RBI's tonight. Ryan Zimmerman, breaking out of a mini slump with 2 hits, one, a run scoring double for his 98th RBI. Birthday Boy, Nick Johnson ripped a line drive home run off Atlanta Starter, Chuck James in the second inning. Later, Johnson would single and walk, scoring three runs tonight. It was announced on the Stadium Scoreboard that Johnson was just the 2nd player for the Monteal/Washington Franchise in the past 18 seasons to HOMER ON HIS BIRTHDAY. Even Jose Vidro showed some power, blasting a James first pitch fastball deep to left field, the ball bouncing off the ChevyFirst.com sign above the Atlanta bullpen for a two run shot in the 5th.

After swinging at absolutely everything, and NatsDelNegro commmenting "I mean every single pitch" , and striking out 3 consecutive times, Alfonso Soriano began to right his slumping bat, with a solid first pitch double down the right field line in the 7th, scoring Brandon Harper and Nook Logan for the final 2 runs of the evening. Harper continued to show some decent talent, getting the catching start tonight. Knocking in one run on a sacrifice fly, and scoring that one run. Nook Logan also knock in a run, with a seeing eye single through the hole between first and second, also in the 7th.

This game was NEVER in doubt, the Nats well ahead throughout the night. A rare uneventful win for the Washington Nationals. Saul Rivera and Ryan Wagner each gave up one run apiece in the 7th and 8th, respectively. Jason Bergmann finished off the game in the 9th.

Curly W number 66 was all about Beltran Perez. Many considered Perez the best Minor League Pitcher for the Nationals this season. The 24 year old righthander finished 8-6 with an ERA of 3.11 in 31 games for Harrisburg. 16 of those appearances were starts. Beltran striking out 107 AA batters in 121 innings, and giving up just 40 walks--8 home runs. Since his promotion to the Major League Nationals, Perez had made 5 previous appearances, giving up just one run in 5.2 innings. With all the problems the Nats have had with their poor starting pitching, there was no reason not to give the young man his chance. Its just one start, but it was an impressive one. A good start that the Nationals need badly. I was sort of shocked to see Frank Robinson take him out of the game after 6 innings, he was completely in control. Andy, sitting in front of me, noted that Beltran had only thrown 70 pitches at that time. We were up 6-0. Why not let him hang in their for a few more hitters.

Our only conclusion, was that Frank wanted him to go out of the game untouched and confident. Too bad the crowd on 20,596 didn't get a opportunity to give Number 54 a standing ovation, when taken out, as Beltran was pinch hit for in the bottom of the sixth, never to reappear on the field tonight.

Section 320 had a couple of courtesy seats in Section 214, directly behind home plate, many regulars in our section trading off sitting in a new spot, just to try it out. MickNats reported, the very first time he started the HEH-HO Vidro chant, some guy right in front of him, complained that he could not have a conversation, please be quiet!! KentuckyRob noted that since those seats are in the bottom of the bowl, with so many people around you, it was virtually impossible to pick up any individual cheers, just constant noise. Although NatsDelNegro, sitting in Section 214 and me in Section 320 coordinated a PERFECT Alfonso!!SORIANO!! cheer in the 7th when Alfonso doubled home the final runs. We all agreed, its alot more fun right where we are--Section 320.

Sorry to keep this writing short tonight, I am once again off to Florida to cover the latest problems with Space Shuttle Atlantis returning home. Leaving in just a couple of hours. Unfortunately, I will probably not be able to blog, but will be able to watch tomorrow night Braves finale at RFK on my computer.


Bang the Drum Natly said...

Just wanted to augment the 214 experience, as I was sitting for the one late "Alfonso" inning and it was:

Awesome (and this is a "well duh"): Great line of sight for all things baseball. Seeing the ball leave the bat is a great experience, as KentuckyRob noted, you could really see the true curve of the ball as it left Kerns' bat, and you can see pitches perfectly and have the opportunity to truly judge whether blue's on or not. For that alone, worth sitting in for at least one inning... the rest of the game, you might want to avoid, because otherwise, it...

Sux and Blows: The crowd down there is exactly the kind of crowd I'd never ever wanna be around for 9 innings. It was the exact "I'm the most awesome person in the f*in world, and that's why I am sitting in these awesome seats" kind of persona I absolutely abhor in DC. Yeah, sorry that my cheering for our team which is playing RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU is interrupting your "Oh, I so rock because I'm sitting in these great seats and I just had to call someone on my cell phone" moment...

It was a vacuum down there. It suddenly felt a LOT like the time I had in Arizona (see previous post). I am so happy to have found a 2-season home in 320, and whatever happens this offseason regarding our group's seating for 2007 and beyond, I can tell you with full confidence that I will never, ever be sold on the idea that the better price equals the better Nats experience. At the risk of sounding like a Hallmark card, section 320 makes each game exactly the experience I could hope for, and I have a blast every single time... (cue violins)

Allrighty, enough of that, see you tomorrow night in our normally scheduled seats, and I ain't going anywhere (except maybe for a beer... and maybe a smoke... and then maybe another beer...)

As always, great post SBF, best of luck on your journey south, and of course, best hopes for a safe Atlantis return.


Anonymous said...

Just so you guys know, Shawn and I watch a lot of the games at home when we don't have tickets. We always listen in for you guys...and sometimes we can definitely hear you. We've definitely heard the "Alfonso-Soriano" chant during various games...pretty clearly, too. But I'm pretty sure that I heard "What-EVER!" at least once last night (though, it may have been wishful thinking).

Also, the people that nat del negro described annoy the heck out of me. Sometimes these four guys sit next to us in row 5 and all they do is play with their blackberries. It's so annoying. Oh, and they call people around the stadium that they know and invite them down to see their fantastic seats.

SenatorNat said...

These observations of DC's Masters of the Universe at RFK recalls the hushed announcement by the BBC during the World Championship Polo Matches at Hyde Park, London (years ago): "Everyone stands and applauds as the Queen picks her seat..."

Screech's Best Friend said...

Today, while flying down to Cape Canaveral, I was listening on my IPOD the download MLB Rewind which is the RADIO highlights of every single game with their home announcers. Last weekend, when Alfonso stole his 40th base, I could hear clearly today on my IPOD, as Alfonso held up the base, over Charlie Slowes Voice--ALFONSO!! SORIANO!! I WILL KEEP THAT ONE ON MY COMPUTER FOREVER!! Charlie Slowes saying "History at RFK Stadium!!" immediately followed by our CHANT!! Its just GREAT!!

Anonymous said...

I heard some news which may mean that Fonzie won't be sticking around. (Hope I'm wrong.) Phil Wood said on the John Thomson show that it has become apparent to others that Jim Bowden and Phil Kasten are not on the same page and that Trader Jim will probably not remain as Nats GM after next year.

For argument's sake, let's assume this is true. What possible difference of opinion between Bowden and Kasten would lead to Bowden leaving after he was allowed to keep his job as GM after having it on an interim basis? I can only think it is about keeping Soriano, and I don't think Bowden wants to get rid of Fonzie. I suspect that Kasten does not want to offer Soriano a minimum fair market contract after his terrific season this year.

Anyway, does anybody have more information on this?

Screech's Best Friend said...

The African Queen and I were invited to a special Fan Forum with Season Ticket Holders, about 15 folks, this past monday night, before the Nats/Braves Game at RFK. Stan Kasten was there, and told us that they HAVE exchanged numbers for a contract with Soriano. More than once. Kasten frankly stated that he "LOVES" Alfonso and wants him to return to Washington. Stan going on to say he's our "most dynamic and popular player" I really believe the Nats want to keep Soriano. They realize he draws FANS. Its just a numbers game. The numbers in a 3-5 year contract. Give it time, don't believe anything John Thompson says, he knows nothing about baseball. Thompson also is promoting Frank Robinson to return as Manager. That should tell were he stands. Frank and Jimbo don't get along. Thanks for the comment.

Anonymous said...

It's not John Thomson who was claiming this...it was Phil Wood. In all due fairness, everything else in my post was based on pure speculation on my part as to why Bowden would suddenly be on thin ice.

Hope to visit you at 320 before the season ends!

Say Hey Klib said...

I think it may come down to a "no trade clause" which Stan Kasten has never given. Maybe thats where Jim Bowdon and Stan Kasten don't see eye to eye. They may have Soriano wrapped up if they gave him that and a near market salary. If they don't give Soriano the no trade clause, he will go to the highest bidder who is willing to give it to him.

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