Coming to you live from Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine, located in beautiful Los Angeles, California, it's game one of three between the visiting Washington Nationals and the team that broke Brooklyn's heart, the Los Angeles Dodgers. On the hill where Sandy Koufax, Fernando Valenzuela and Orel Hershiser once threw, Mike Bacsik and Derek Lowe will do the pitching in the series' opener. The Nationals are looking to break a three game losing streak, while the Dodgers look to win their second straight to stay alive in the NL West and Wild Card.
The seven o'clock sun still shines over downtown Los Angeles while the night approaches it's darkest point back here in the east. Vin Scully is alone onscreen to kick off the Dodgers broadcast, and in a few short words he sums up the race in the West, and tells Dodgers fans who to root for when following the out-of-town scoreboard. The 4th place Dodgers are the only team playing out of division as the rest of the NL West squares off. (At 10:02pm - 1AZ 0 2SD 0, and 3COL 0 5SF 0 both in the first).
Vin Scully only breathes every minute or so when he pauses his fact-filled narrative delivery, for a moment, and quickly describes the action taking place on the field. Derek Lowe retires the Nationals in order in the first, and I can only imagine Mr Scully then turns to talk quietly about the inning's action with someone offscreen.
Mike Bacsik walks the Dodgers leadoff hitter Rafael Furcal to lead off the first and Los Angeles just gets faster as Juan Pierre steps to the plate. Pierre's bunt is a popped up over the charging infield, and the Dodgers have two on without an out recorded. A ball in the dirt moves both runners up a base. Everyone must respect Austin Kearns' arm, so not even Furcal's running on Matt Kemp's line out to right. Surly Jeff Kent hits a sac fly to center, Furcal tags and scores. 1-0 Dodgers. Pierre steals third and scores on Andre Ethier's single to center. 2-0 Dodgers.
It takes only one pitch in the second for Dmitri Young to cut the Dodgers lead in half, as DY takes a fastball to left center for a solo shot to make it a 2-1 ballgame. Mr Scully's continuing monologue's not only a recitation of stats, he somehow seems to know every single player individually, recalling their youths, and professional development and rendering their personalilties through personal anecdotes and recollections the announcer has somehow absorbed over the years. Wily MO MO MO MO MO!!! Wily Mo Pena fouls one pitch off his own ankle and demolishes the next for a two run shot to left after Austin Kearns' single. 3-2 Nationals.
Juan Pierre singles through Bacsik's wickets and up the middle of the infield to start the third. Matt Kemp goes to the left of the bag at second with a single that turns to a double when the throw in is off. Pierre to third. Jeff Kent swings angrily and lines one to short where Felipe Lopez makes a diving grab and doubles off Kemp at second. Ethier flies out to to center. 3-2 Nationals after three.
Still 3-2 in the fifth when Felipe Lopez chops a single into left off the sinker-baller Lowe. Nook Logan at bat when Lopez is caught stealing by Russell Martin on a well-timed pitch out and throw to second. After Nook Logan makes the second out, Ryan Zimmer-THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!! THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!!! A high fastball is lifted to left as Ryan Zimmerman hits a solo shot off Lowe for a 4-2 Nationals lead.
Rafael Furcal singles to start the Dodgers fifth, but the Nationals turn a DP on the fastest 1-2 combo in baseball when Belliard fields a hard-hit grounder and backhand tosses to Lopez covering to DY at first. Kemp grounds out. 4-2 Nationals after five. (1 AZ 0 SD in the fifth, 1 COL 1 SF in the 6th).
Jeff Kent and Andre Ethier single in succession to start the Dodgers sixth with two on and no outs. Russell Martin slaps a single to center to score Kent and chase Bacsik. 4-3 in the sixth. Jesus "Everyday" Colome is on in relief. James Loney punches a single through second to score Ethier and time the game at 4-4. Sac fly from Ramon Martinez scores Martin from third. 5-4 Dodgers. Ray King in for Colome, and King gets two out to end the sixth.
Los Angeles left hander Mark Hendrickson pitches a scoreless top of the seventh. Stand up and stretch...Luis Ayala holds the Dodgers off the scoreboard in the bottom of the frame. Scott Proctor is on to pitch the top of the eigth for the Dodgers. The former Yankee reliever issues Zimmerman a one-out walk. DY flies out to right. Austin Kearns at bat when a wild pitch moves Zimmerman to second. Kearns leans back and watches strike three cross the plate to end the top of the eigth. Still 5-4 LA.
The Tallest Pitcher in MLB History Jon Rauch takes the mound. Three up three down against the big right hander. The Nationals have three outs to get a run off Dodgers closer Takashi Saito. Ryan Church watches strike three cross the outside of the plate. Ronnie Belliard lines a two-strike slider back up the middle. Brian Schneider grounds to Loney at first, to Furcal covering second and back to Saito at first. Double play. Dodgers win. Final score 5-4 LA.
*(Final scores...AZ 1 SD 3, CO 1 SF 4. )
**THE RESULTS are in, and Federal Baseball readers want to see the new DC ballpark named Nationals Park. 62% of the 32 votes cast chose the name, though it was, admittedly the only reasonable option provided.**
Nationals now 58-74.