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Game Thread: Washington Nationals at Colorado Rockies- 2008 Game 112 of 162. Today In Two Parts: "Washington Nationals In The News...or The New Nationals Visit Colorado."

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"As we crossed the Colorado-Utah border I saw God in the sky in the form of huge gold sunburning clouds above the desert that seemed to point a finger at me and say, "Pass here and go on, you're on the road to heaven." - Jack Kerouac "On The Road"

Washington Nationals In The News...

In Fred Bierman and Benjamin Hoffman's Sunday New York Times Sports Column, "Bats", the two writers discuss Kansas City closer Joakim Soria's controversial nickname, and an "Accidental Eephus" thrown by D-Backs' lefty Randy Johnson last week when, "A boat's horn sounded in San Francisco's McCovey Cove right as Johnson was delivering the ball," resulting in a slow hanging curve that cruelly landed for a strike against the Giants' Fred Lewis. Then, in the last section of Mr. Bierman and Hoffman's article labeled, "The Watch List" the two NY Times' writers note:

"The buzz last week centered on the power hitters who switched leagues, but there are some speedsters who can earn playing time over the last two months of the season..."

Try and guess who the first example of such a player might be???...

"The Nationals gave up a good reliever in Jon Rauch to get the minor league second baseman Emilio Bonifacio from Arizona. Bonifacio will get an opportunity to establish himself since Felipe Lopez has been released. Bonifacio stole more than 40 bases in four consecutive minor league seasons. He strikes out a lot, but he was hitting .314 for two Class AAA teams and had 21 stoles bases."

The Times' writers and, apparently, the Nationals' GM and Co., were apparently right about Bonifacio's potential immediate impact...After going 2 for 4 Sunday, Emilio Bonifacio raised his average to a .280 in 11 games so far in '08, including the 3 played with Washington since his debut with DC on Friday, over which he's gone 5 for 13, for a .385 AVG, with 2 runs scored, 1 RBI, 1 2B, 1 3B and 1 SB, and a part in two double plays carried out along with newly-acquired shortstop Alberto Gonzalez and newly-appointed first baseman Kory Casto.

Gonzalez might have to share time at short with Cristian Guzman when he returns from a thumb injury, and Ryan Zimmerman should be back at third soon in place of Willie Harris and Peter Orr, who have both performed well at the hot corner but will have to find somewhere else to play if Zimmerman can stay healthy...But Bonifacio at second and Casto first, should be in the everyday lineup for as long as the two keep producing...or until DY or Nick Johnson comes back, Belliard forces his way into the lineup, Washington calls up Chris Marrero or the Nationals sign Teixeira in the offseason...What? It could happen...

Yester-This Day In DC Baseball History...

It's a feature on nearly every sports page in every newspaper across the country, mixed in amongst the previous day's box scores, it's the "This Date In Baseball" column, and this Sunday, the Newark Star-Ledger's baseball page has an event that took place on August 3rd in the year...

"1948 - Cleveland's Satchel Paige made his first major league start and went seven innings to lead the Indians to a 5-3 victory over the Washington Senators."

Paige was 41 years old by the time he made his major league debut (after a long, legendary Negro League career) in Cleveland Stadium, in front of, (according to baseball-reference.com), 72,434 Indians' fans. (ed. note - Wikipedia.org's Satchel Paige, uh?, page? lists the attendance at 72,562, noting that, '...it set a new attendance record for a major league night game.'") Either way, Paige was the winning pitch in his first major league start. Paige would help Cleveland win the American League and the World Series in the first year he was allowed to play in the Majors, and Paige also appeared in the fifth game of that season's Series against the Boston Braves, recording two outs to end the top of the seventh in an Indians' loss...thus becoming the first African-American pitcher to appear in the World Series.

Game Thread: Part Two...

On The Hill...

The New Nationals take their suddenly-entertaining show on the road to Colorado where they face the NL West's 3rd Place Rockies in the mile-high air at Coors Field on Blake Street, in Denver. The Rockies split their four-game visit to Florida to face Marlins in the last series of a ten-game road trip that began on July 25 in Cincinnati, and saw Colorado take three straight from the Reds, two of three from the Pirates and two of four from the Fish to finish the stretch at 51-62, 7.0 games behind LA in the West, and 11.5 behind Milwaukee for the Wild Card.

The Washington Nationals swept the Reds in three straight from last Friday through Sunday, and before that they dropped three of three to Philly, leaving them with a split in the six-game homestand, and a 41-70 overall record, which placed DC in fifth/last-place in the NL East, 20.0 games behind 1st Place Philadelphia, and 20.5 games behind the Wild Card leading Brew Crew.

Tonight in Coors Field, the Nationals throw Tim Redding, the Nationals' win-leader, at (7-6, 4.34), against the Rockies' leading game-winner Aaron Cook, who's currently (14-6) with a 3.53 ERA on the season. Redding's accumulated 84 K's and 42 walks in 130.2 innings pitched, over which he's allowed 138 hits, 63 earned runs and 14 HR's. Cook has pitched 160.2 innings this season, and he's collected 74 K's, while surrendering 166 hits, 35 walks, 12 HR's and an identical 63 earned runs.

"Don Sutton's Favoriter Pitcher", 30-year-old Tim Redding, is (0-1) in 3 starts and 4 appearances in his career against Colorado. Over 18.0 innings, Redding's given up 15 hits, 6 ER's, 3 HR's and 8 walks with 7 K's and a 3.00 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and .231 BAA the Rockies. Colorado's 29-year-old Cook has 24.0 innings on the mound against the Nationals in 3 starts and 6 appearances, and the Nationals have 16 hits, 7 ER's and 1 HR off Cook, who has walked and K'd 11, with a 2.63 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and .188 BAA.

Redding's lost 3 of his last 4 starts....Cook's 3-0 in his last 4...

Nationals' #'s Against Aaron Cook...

Ryan Langerhans - 3 for 10, .300 AVG, 1 2B, 2 RBI's.

Cristian Guzman - 2 for 3, .667 AVG, 2 RBI's.

Austin Kearns - 3 for 5, .600 AVG, 1 2B, 1 RBI.

Rockies vs Redding...

Matt Holliday - 3 for 9, .333 AVG, 1 RBI.

Garrett Atkins - 2 for 8, .250 AVG, 1 2B, 1 RBI.

Troy Tulowitzki - 2 for 5, .400 AVG, 1 HR, 1 RBI.

Brad Hawpe - 3 for 8, .375 AVG, 1 HR, 2 RBI's.

The Colorado Fans' Perspective: the SBN's Rockies' blog...Purple Row

The Nationals and Rockies get things going at 9:05 pm EST, though I hear rumor that the game starts in Colorado at 7:05 pm in some mysterious thing called "Mountain Daylight Time"? Never heard of it...Redding vs Cook? DC vs CO?...East vs Sort Of Mid-Sort-of-West?...Who's Watching the Nationals?...In Denver!...Theisman vs Elway? Sakic vs Ovechkin?....etc...