Despite repeated attempts at a comeback last night, the Washington Nationals came up short in game one of three in St. Louis, losing a 5-4 game and stranding an absurd 25 runners on base, while failing to fully take advantage of the five walks and two errors the Cardinals provided. After Odalis Perez got knocked around by the Cardinal lineup, another lefty, Matt Chico, takes the mound for the Nationals in this afternoon tilt against the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright.
Matt Chico, the twenty-four year old lefty, faced the Cards twice last season, in his rookie campaign, and over 9.0 IP, Chico allowed 9 hits, 3 ER, 2 HR's, and 3 walks, while striking out 2 for a 3.00 ERA against St. Louis. Chico was (2-6) in 14 starts on the road last season, (5-3, in 17 at home). In his first start this season, against Philadelphia earlier this week, Chico lasted 5.1 IP, and giving up 6 hits, 3 ER, 1 HR and 1 walk, while striking out 4 Phillies.
Matt Chico told MLB.com's Bill Ladson, as relayed in an article entitled, "Chico works on cutting down walks", that after walking 74 in 31 starts last season, "...My goal is to knock off 20 walks this year." After Chico's first start he was working with Pitching Coach Randy St. Claire on consistently repeating his new leg-kick delivery, telling Mr. Ladson:
"We were trying to keep it real still," Chico said. "I wasn't happy with the way I threw. I was going back and forth on my mechanics."
Adam Wainwright's faced the Nationals four times in his career, twice as a starter, and in 16.1 IP on the mound, Wainwright has allowed 15 hits, 5 ER, 1 HR, and 4 walks to the Nationals, who have struck out 17 times against the twenty-six year old's ridiculous, Beltran-freezing curve. Wainwright's (16-13) in 95 games and 32 starts over the three seasons he's been in the Majors, saving 3 games, as well as putting up a 0.00 ERA in 9.2 IP in relief in the '06 Postseason, where Wainwright was (1-0), saved 4 games, and gave up 7 hits and 2 walks with 15 K's in the 9 games it took the Cardinals to win the World Series. Tomorrow's start will be Wainwright's first of '08.
News and Links...
Game two of the weekend series gets underway at five minutes after one this afternoon. Game three on Sunday, was supposed to mark the return to the lineup of the Nationals' Flat-Brimmed Closer Chad Cordero, but that won't be the case apparently. According to an uncredited article on yahoosports.com entitled, "Nationals place closer Chad Cordero on disabled list", Cordero was placed on the 15-Day DL today, though Cordero says he's:
"...fine with it,” Cordero said. “It’s the best for the team. I totally understand. The arm is fine.”
...and the article also confirms the speculation various DC baseball sources had reported heading into the weekend...John Lannan's being recalled to replace Shawn Hill's place in the rotation, as the article puts it:
"Left-hander John Lannan will be recalled from Triple-A Columbus on Saturday, and will start Sunday’s series finale against the Cardinals."
Washington Post writer Barry Svrluga reports on his "Nationals Journal" blog post entitled, "Young en route to DC", that, "Dmitri Young is traveling from St. Louis to Washington to have his back checked out. Not good."
?'s for DC Baseball Fans...
If DY goes on the DL, is Aaron Boone good enough as a backup first baseman? Or does Larry Broadway get a call? Maybe Felipe Lopez can play first too?
What about Felipe Lopez in left? Is this a real solution or a stop-gap til Wily Mo Pena returns? Will Lopez actually hit enough to warrant the continuation of the experiment, or should the Nationals just stick with Willie Harris for now?
Are you worried about Chad Cordero? Feel safe with Jon Rauch closing? How about Joel Hanrahan as the closer?
Am I the only one looking forward to John Lannan's Sunday start? No disrespect to Chico tomorrow...1:05 PM EST...