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Game Thread: Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals - 2008 Game 135 of 162. "The Federalbaseball.com Road Trip...Day One."

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(ed. note - For the next three days I'll be on vacation from my work-a-day life in NJ...in DC's Nationals Park, so I'm gonna schedule Game Threads for each game of the weekend series here and update throughout the weekend in the Comments sections with info, and i'll also include each night's section and seat number when I get tickets so anyone who wants to can stop by yell at me about my unabashed enthusiasm for an 85-loss team, or my non-stop run-on sentences, and I can explain how my theory of sentence structure stretches back from Ginsberg to Whitman to Blake...Hope the threat of that lecture doesn't keep anyone away. I'll stick to baseball talk, I promise.")

GAME 1 of 3...Friday Night 7:35 pm EST Atlanta Braves vs Washington Nationals...

On The Hill...

"Opening Night" Odalis Perez, (5-10, 4.21 ERA), makes his 9th career start and 10th appearance against Atlanta, having given up 56 hits, 28 ER's, 9 HR's and 12 walks with a 5.25 ERA over his 10-year career. The Braves throw righty Jorge Campillo, (7-6, 3.37 ERA), who has 3 relief appearances against DC in which he's allowed 3 hits and 5 runs (1 ER), in 3.2 IP, with a 2.45 ERA, 2 walks and 5 K's.

Odalis Perez has lost two of his last three starts, and Washington's 0-3 over the same stretch of games, with Perez surrendering 22 hits, 11 runs, 9 ER, 2 HR, and 9 walks in the last 16.1 IP against the Mets, Rockies and Cubs. Jorge Campillo makes his 20th start and 34th appearance having lost two of the last three himself, though the Braves managed to win in spite of Campillo's efforts the last time out for Atlanta against the Cardinals.

Nationals' #'s Against Jorge Campillo...

Lastings Milledge - 2 for 2, 1.000 AVG, 2 2B, 2 RBI's.

Braves vs "Opening Night" Odalis Perez...

Jeff Francouer - 6 for 10, .600 AVG, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBI's.

Kelly Johnson - 3 for 6, .500 AVG, 1 RBI.

Chipper Jones - 8 for 22, .364 AVG, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR's, 4 RBI's.

Remember the quote from DC GM Jim Bowden in the the recent Chico Harlan "Nationals Journal" post entitled, "Rebuilding the bullpen", the one where Mr. Bowden comments on the reemergence of left-handed pitching prospect Mike Hinckley, noting:

"Since we've been here the last four years, he had no velocity, never got it to 90," Bowden said. "And now he's consistently back there. So it's a funny game."

Well, I found the people responsible, along with the pitcher himself, for Mike Hinckley's unlikely rise to Triple-A Columbus (and possibly DC in September) where he'd be making his Major League debut 8 years after the Expos drafted him with the 82nd Pick in the 3rd Round of the '01 Draft.

Steve Zawrotny at Baseballfit.com, writes an article entitled, "YOU Don't Have To Cheat To Get Ahead - REALLY", in which he describes initially meeting and working with Hinckley after the pitcher:

"...found my web site and contacted me last September (2007) with two goals in mind: 1) To increase his throwing velocity, and 2) To get bigger and stronger.

"For 4+ months, Mike followed the program I designed for him. He put on 23 lbs, increasing his weight from178 to 201 lbs. Training with weighted baseballs, his fastball increased from 87 to 91+ mph. Hinckley also worked diligently on his pitching mechanics under the watchful eye of his father, David Hinckley, the head baseball coach at Moore High School near OK City."

As reported everywhere last week, Hinckley is being considered for a September call-up after just about everyone in the organization seemed to have give up on him, and as the Baseballfit.com people hint in the title of their article, Hinckley's done it all the right way.

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

Game one of three with the Braves in DC gets underway at 7:35 pm EST. Perez vs Campillo. DC's looking for their fourth straight win, be Afraid Braves, Be Very Afraid...Let's Go Nats Go!. Who's Watching The Nationals? I am...from Section 128 U, Row NN...Who's Watching The Nationals?