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Game Thread: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves- 2008 Game 97 of 162.

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Season Series...

The last time the Washington Nationals played the Atlanta Braves, DC took two straight at home in Nationals Park, on April 29th and 30th, in a two-game set that effectively completed the normal three game visit to the nation's capital for the Braves, which began on March 30th with the one night stand on Opening Night. So in a way, you can say that the Nationals swept the Braves in three straight the last time they met, even if it might not be exactly, factually, true, but they did sweep two...

The Braves were back in DC only 12 days after Opening Night, for a three game weekend series from April 11th-13th, with Atlanta taking two of three on the road, and in Washington's only visit to Atlanta, Georgia's Turner Field so far in '08 on April 21-22, (another abbreviated two-game set), the teams split, leaving the season series so far at 5-3 in favor of DC...

On The Hill...

Tim Redding (7-3, 3.85 ERA) started the second of the Nationals' two games down South in Atlanta, taking the hill on April 22nd, and throwing 6.0 innings of 4-hit, 2 run ball with 2 walks, 2 K's and 1 HR surrendered, that being the solo shot Chipper Jones hit in the sixth inning to tie at 2-2, a game which the Nationals would eventually win 6-3. In Redding's career, he's faced Atlanta 5 times, with 4 starts and a (2-1) record in 22 innings pitched, over which he's allowed 23 hits, 11 ER, 4 HR's and 10 walks with 12 K's and a 4.50 ERA overall. Two of those starts against Atlanta came this year, with Redding holding the Braves to a .244 AVG, with 10 hits, 5 ER's and 2 HR's in 11 innings all at Nationals Park.

On the road this season, Redding's undefeated at (3-0) in 8 starts, posting a 3.42 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and a .223 BAA in 47.1 innings on the mound, but on the road...in Atlanta...in 2 career starts, the 30-year old Redding is (1-1) with a 5.00 ERA, 1.67 WHIP and a .324 BAA, having given up 11 hits, 5 ER, 2 HR's and 4 walks while striking out 5 Braves' batters.

Tim Hudson (9-7, 3.13 ERA), has beaten the Nationals two of the three times he's faced DC this season, with a (2-0) record and a 1.25 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, .216 BAA, and just 16 hits, 3 ER's and 4 walks allowed in 21.2 innings pitched during which he's collected 11 K's.

In fact, in his career, Hudson's dominated DC, with a (7-1) record in 11 starts against the Nationals, posting ridiculous numbers...like his 1.13 ERA in 79.1 innings, or his 0.93 WHIP, or .212 BAA, and the fact that he's held the Nationals to just 61 hits, 14 runs, (10 earned), 1 HR and 13 walks while setting 57 down either swinging, looking, or fouling third strikes into a catcher's mitt is kind of impressive...

Not quite as impressive? Hudson's record at home in Turner Field, where the 32-year old right-hander is just (2-6) in 11 starts and 12 appearances in 2008, having doubled his runs allowed on the road, (15 to 30 at home) while nearly doubling the number of home runs surrendered (4 to 7), as well as his ERA from (2.13 to 4.09), though he's still held opponents to just a .253 BAA. Hudson's struggled through his last ten starts, going just (2-4), while the Braves have gone just (3-7) with Hudson on the hill...

Nationals' #'s Against Tim Hudson...

Jesus Flores - 0 for 5, .000 AVG.

Paul Lo Duca - 7 for 23, .304 AVG, 1 2B.

Cristian "All-Star" Guzman - 10 for 53, .189 AVG, 2 2B's, 8 K's.

Felipe Lopez - 5 for 27, .185 AVG, 2 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI's.

DY - 9 for 13, .158 AVG, 1 HR, 3 RBI's.

Willie Harris 1 for 6, .167 AVG, 1 2B, 1 RBI.

Austin Kearns - 10 for 30, .333 AVG, 1 HR, 4 RBI's.

Ryan Langerhans - 1 for 4, .250 AVG, 1 RBI.

The "If They Were Playing" List...

Aaron Boone - 3 for 11, .273 AVG, 1 2B, 2 RBI's.

Lastings Milledge - 0 for 12, .000 AVG, 1 RBI.

Ryan Zimmerman - 3 for 23, 130 AVG, 1 2B, 6 K's.

Nick Johnson 4 for 23, .174 AVG, 2 2B, 1 RBI.

Tim Redding's Been Hit Hard By...

Yunel Escobar - 2 for 5, .400 AVG.

Chipper JONES - (Career #'s) - 7 for 9, .778 BA, 2 HR's, 6 RBI's, .778 OBP, 1.444 SLG!!, 2.222 OPS!!!. - (C. Jones vs Redding in '08 - 4 for 6, .667 AVG, 2 HR, 3 RBI's.

Mark Teixeira - 3 for 7, .429 AVG, 3 2B, 1 RBI.

Cristian Guzman @ The All-Star Game in NYC...

The Nationals' All-Star shortstop, Cristian Guzman, comported himself well at MLB's Mid-Summer Classic, (which actually lived up to that moniker this season in a tense 15-inning affair), which saw Guzman, who entered the game as a pinch runner in the ninth, end up getting 3 AB's, and going 0 for 3 with 3 LOB. But if he didn't impress with the bat, he did in the field, where Guzman, who agreed to play third base for the first time at the Major League level, made at least one game-saving play, whilst simultaneously increasing his value by adding another position to his resume as he plays his way towards a new free agent deal after this season...

Guzman talked to MLB.com's Bill Ladson about the experience, talking to Mr. Ladson for an article entitled, "Guzman doesn't sell himself short", in which Guzman admits:

"'In the first inning, I was so nervous,' Guzman said. 'I never played third in my life. We didn't have anymore infielders. He (NL Manager Clint Hurdle) talked to me and he asked, 'Are you going to play third?' I go, 'Why not?'"

...(and Bill Ladson gets a laugh out of Guzman by asking after his night at third base, "So, watch out Ryan Zimmerman?" to which Guzman replies, "He's the best, he's the best.") Speaking of Ryan Zimmer...THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!!!!

"Zimmerman Watch: Columbus Edition" - Federal Baseball's 24-Hour, 22 Hou...12 Hour... Intermittent Dodgy Coverage of the BREAKING NEWS! And ACTION!!......(This Time With Extra Action)...

Ryan Zimmerman was 1 for 3 with a double last night in his '08 debut with the Nationals' Triple-AAA affiliate in Columbus, though the Clippers dropped a 5-2 decision to the Indianapolis Indians. Roger Bernadina was 2 for 3 to lift his '08 AVG to .417. Shairon Martis, fresh off his save in the XM MLB All-Star Futures Game, lost the game, giving up 7 hits, 5 runs, (2 earned) and a walk with 3 K's....

...Mike Hinckley, (I'm still waiting to see Hinckley debut in DC), was just called up from Double-AA Harrisburg on (7/12) to make his Triple-AAA debut with Columbus after 8 seasons in the Nationals/Expos organization, according to Dan Watson's article entitled, "LHP Mike Hinckley Goes to Columbus." In last night's game, Hinckley tossed 2.0 scoreless in relief, allowing 1 walk with 1 K after losing his Clippers' debut, as a starter, to the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees after allowing 9 hits and 2 ER in 6.0 innings, with 1 walk and 6 K's on July 12th.

7:35 pm EST start at Turner Field in Atlanta. The "So-Called Second-Half" begins the same way the first half did, with the Nationals and Braves in an NL East tilt. Redding vs Hudson. Game 97! Who's watching the Nationals?