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Game Thread: Washington Nationals at Milwaukee Brewers- 2008 Game 119 of 162. "Monday Finale In Miller Park, Nationals Look To Avoid Sweep."

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On The Hill...

Garrett Mock gets his third MLB start this afternoon, after being recalled from Triple-AAA Columbus for the third time this season in late July to work out of the bullpen, but as MLB.com's Bill Ladson reported in his article entitled, "Mock to make spot start for Nationals":

"Mock is getting this start because manager Manny Acta doesn't want left-hander Odalis Perez to pitch on short rest. Perez, who pitched on six days' rest against the Rockies on Thursday, was supposed to pitch the previous day, but the game was postponed because of rain."

Mock, 25, has 6 appearances this season with DC after making his major league debut against the Giants on June 8th in Nationals Park. Mock was sent back to Columbus after that first start, but returned to Washington for a start on the 21st of June, when Odalis Perez was placed on the 15-Day DL with tendinitis in his left (pitching) shoulder. Mock lost both starts, allowing 15 hits, 8 ER, 1 HR and 4 walks, while collecting 8 K's in 10.1 innings before being sent back down again until July 26th, when he was recalled to replace the injured Elijah Dukes on the roster, working out of the pen.

Today's start will be Mock's first on the road, though he has two relief appearances, and 2.0 scoreless innings on his resume away from Nationals Park. (1.0 of those against Milwaukee in the first game of this series). Mock's opponent in the afternoon matinee of the four game series between the Nationals and Milwaukee Brewers, Dave Bush, has made 61 road starts and 64 road appearances in his 5-year career with the Blue Jays and Brewers, posting a (14-26) record as a visiting pitcher. At home, in Toronto and Milwaukee, however, Bush is (26-19) in 62 starts and 65 appearances, with his '08 home record in Miller Park standing at (4-3) with a 3.30 ERA in 11 starts before this afternoon's assignment.

Bush has faced the DC franchise 4 times in his career, each time as a starter, and he's compiled a (2-2) record with a 3.47 ERA, 16 K's, a 1.33 WHIP and a .281 BAA against the Nationals/Expos, giving up 25 hits, 9 ER's, 6 walks and 2 HR's in 23.1 innings pitched. Bush is 4-4 in his last 10 starts, with the Brewers 6-4 since June 7th with Bush on the mound. In July, Bush was (1-1) in 4 starts with a 3.49 ERA in 21.0 innings, and in his first start in August, the 28-year old right-hander earned a W with 7.0 innings of work during which he allowed just 3 hits and 1 ER in a Brewers' win over the Reds.

Nationals' #'s Against Dave Bush...

Ronnie Belliard - 6 for 10, .600 AVG, 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI's.

Willie Harris - 1 for 3, .333 AVG.

Austin Kearns - 5 for 13, .313 AVG, 2 2B, 2 HR's, 5 RBI's.

Ryan Zimmerman - 2 for 10, .200 AVG, 1 SB.

One Of The Remaining '08 Picks Gets Inked...

According to Washington Post writer Chico Harlan, in his "Nationals Journal" post entitled, "Nats, Nieto agree", the Washington Nationals came to terms with their 5th Round Pick, Adrian Nietro, giving the catcher they drafted out of, "American Heritage High School in Florida," a $376,000 dollar signing bonus, which Mr. Chico writes, is, "...roughly double the slot recommendations for someone drafted in Nieto's spot. (151st overall, 5th Round)."

Nieto was profiled, along with 1B Eric Hosmer (Drafted 3rd Overall in '08 by the Royals), in a February '08 article entitled, "American Heritage Has Baseball Stars Too: Eric Hosmer and Adrian Nieto are baseball stars at a school with two basketball prodigies", by writer Stephen Spiewak at maxpreps.com, who notes:

"While Nieto certainly brings much to the table offensively, he also excels at other, less heralded aspects of the game. He has done very well handling pitchers and being the field general from behind the plate."

And Mr. Spiewak speaks to Nieto's high school coach, Heritage's Head Baseball Coach Todd Fitzgerald, who is quoted in the article praising the Nationals' newest prospect before he was selected by DC:

“'He’s probably the smartest catcher I’ve ever been around. He sees things from a perspective that normal kids don’t see it,' Fitzgerald said.

The biggest testament to Nieto’s acumen behind the plate is the trust that Fitzgerald has in him. Fitzgerald said that he used to call every pitch, but has now let Nieto make the selections, with no drop off in production from the pitchers.

“'We seem to be on the same page,' Fitzgerald said. 'When he sees one of our kids in trouble, he slows it down and goes to talk to them.'”

With Nieto signed, that leaves 1st Round Pick, (RHP) Aaron Crow, 3rd Round pick Daniel Espinosa (SS), and 4th Round pick Graham Hicks, (LHP), unsigned with the August 15th deadline to sign '08 picks quickly approaching...

Back to The Big Leagues...

For A Brewers' fans' perspective on the series with DC check out the SBN's Brewers' blog:

Brew Crew Ball.

The finale of the Nationals' 4-game visit to Miller Park takes place at 2:05 pm EST. Mock vs Bush. The Nationals need to win to avoid getting swept out of Wisconsin. How about a win to send DC home on a high note with the Mets coming to town Tuesday night? Time to start spoiling! Can Milledge hit in 12-straight? Zimmerman doubled yesterday? How about a HR, Zim? Will the Bullpen have anything left after yesterday's 13-inning affair? Steven Shell's the only reliever who didn't get in... I'll be listening on the XM while at work and checking in via the iPhone if anyone's following the game...Who's Watching The Nationals?