- Nationals 8, Braves 6
Jose Guillen's 1,000 hit, a 2 RBI double, provided the margin of victory and The Chief's franchise-record 44th save nailed down the win. Most encouragingly, the Nats did something they haven't done consistently since June, they came back to win a game with clutch hitting in the late innings.
Five months into the season I think I finally have the Nats figured out. They can't hit starting pitching. Doesn't matter who it is, if the opposing team puts someone out there on the mound and calls him a "starter" the Nats are flummoxed. But once the starter leaves and the Nats hitters get a whiff of relief pitching, hoo boy it's a whole different ballgame. Compare the starter and bullpen lines from last night's contest:
SP Horacio Ramirez: 5 IP, 2 ER, 3 K
Atlanta relievers: 3 IP, 5 ER, 0 K
Clearly, the Nats hitters need to take pitches and work the count in the early innings to drive up the starter's pitch count and get into the bullpen. Of course, this is also textbook Moneyball theory, but I'm adapting to the Nats and claiming it as my own.
Must Protect Goooz!
Another night, another 1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1BB performance from Cristian Guzman, he of the positively radiant .203 average. Should Goooz's torrid hitting continue, there is a movement afoot to bench him for the final 2-3 games of the season, thereby preserving his above .200 batting average and sparing him the indignity of playing a whole season below the dreaded Mendoza line.
By the way, if MelRon Proctorling lauches into "The Mario Mendoza Story" just once more this season, I'll be forced to firebomb the RFK pressbox. Note to MelRon: Most Nats fans can't hear you, and those of us who can have been subjected to this story 70 times already. Get some new material.