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GameThread: Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals- 2008 Game 27 of 162.

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On the Hill...

Tom Glavine didn't make it out of the bottom of the first the last time he faced the Washington Nationals, though it didn't have anything to do with what the Nationals were doing to him, but rather what the Atlanta Braves "veteran" lefty had done to himself on the mound, straining his right hamstring after giving up a leadoff double, two singles, and two earned runs without recording an out. (ed. note - "...'veteran' is used here as a euphemism.")

Because of the injury, the previous start against DC was an anomaly in an otherwise stellar career for Tom Glavine against the Montreal/Washington franchise. (33-24) in 68 starts against both incarnations the franchise has inhabited and 10 complete games, 4 of them shutouts in the 22-year Hall of Fame-worthy career of the now-42-year old left-hander, who has posted a 3.41 ERA with 280 K's against the Nationals/Expos.

Opposing Glavine on the hill tonight is Tim Redding, the 30-year old right-handed sinking fastballer, who has 3 starts and 4 appearances against Atlanta in his 7-year career, with a (2-1) record and 5.06 ERA in 16.0 innings against the Braves, and he's allowed 19 hits, 9 runs, 3 HR's and 8 walks with 10 K's against the franchise.

Redding's (3-2) this season, posting a 3.67 ERA with 20 K's, 12 walks and 3 HR's hit off him, including the one Chipper Jones blasted off Redding in the sixth inning of the same April 13th game in which Glavine was injured. Redding lasted 5.0 innings that day, giving up 6 runs, the 1 HR, and 3 walks with 2 K's in a winning effort by the Nationals and Redding, 5-4 over Atlanta.

Glavine Report...

Tom Glavine's return to the Atlanta rotation couldn't come at a better time according to MLB.com writer Mark Bowman, who writes in his article entitled, "Braves ready for Glavine's return", about the recent rash of injuries besetting the Atlanta Braves' starting staff:

"Despite lasting just three innings in two of his past three starts, Hudson insists that he is healthy. As for Smoltz, he is thinking about returning to Atlanta this week to have his shoulder evaluated. He has been battling tightness between his shoulder and neck for more than a month.

Thus it's even more important for Glavine to prove that he's still young and healthy enough to bring some health back to the Braves' currently ailing rotation."

The Nationals' #'s Against Glavine...

Johnny Estrada - 6 for 17, .353 AVG, 1 2B, 2 RBI's.

Cristian Guzman - 6 for 16, .375 AVG, 3 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI.

Nick Johnson - 1 for 10, .100 AVG (ed. note - "...though Nick's a career .289 hitter against LHP.")

Ryan Zimmerman - 9 for 22, .409 AVG, 4 doubles, 5 RBI's.

Austin Kearns - 5 for 17, .294 AVG, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI's.

**Washington Post writer Barry Svrluga has an interesting article about Ryan Zimmerman's hitting woes over at washingtonpost.com, entitled, "A Slow Start Right Off the Bat."

There's a REALLY INTERESTING exchange between Washington Nationals' lefty starter Matt Chico and Nationals' catcher Johnny Estrada captured in Washington Times' sports writer Ben Goessling's article, "Chico clocked again", in which Mr. Goessling includes the following quotes from the battery mates...

...first Matt Chico:

"'I'm trying to strike everybody out and trying to do way too much with pitches,' Chico said.' 'Last year, I felt like my slider was my go-to pitch, and this year I haven't had it. I'm trying to do too much with my slider, and just spinning it over the plate.'"

...and then Johnny Estrada in response:

"'That's the worst thing you can think as a pitcher, trying to strike people out,' catcher Johnny Estrada said. 'Nothing upon him, but he doesn't have the stuff to be striking people out. He's not an overpowering pitcher, so he has to use both sides of the plate and mix in his breaking stuff. If he did say that, that's surprising.'"

Listen to your catcher, Chico, though I bet Nationals' Pitching Coach Randy St. Claire's said much the same repeatedly.

Check the NatCast if you're heading to Nationals Park...

Tonight's game starts at 7:10 PM EST in Nationals Park, Washington, DC...