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Game Thread: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves- 2008 Game 143 of 162. "On Hampton, Redding, FLop, Ayala, Strasburg And Good Old DY."

On The Hill...

Braves' lefty Mike Hampton hasn't started a game against DC since 2005, when he split two against Washington, surrendering just 1 run on a HR and 7 hits over 8.0 innings in an 11-5 Braves' win at home, here in Atlanta, GA. In his second start against the then first-year franchise, Hampton pitched just 4.0 scoreless, allowing five hits before bowing to injury when tightness in his left (pitching) arm forced him from the game.

In 14 years on the mound, the 35-year-old Hampton, a native of Brooksville, Florida, is (9-3) in 14 starts and 3 relief appearances opposite the Nationals/Expos, posting a 3.08 ERA in 84.2 IP, over which he's allowed 94 hits, 36 runs, 29 ER, 6 HR's and 27 walks with 56 K's, a 1.43 WHIP and a .285 BAA. The consistently injured left-hander worked his way back twice from serious elbow injuries and waited over a thousand days between starts before returning to the mound earlier this season, and with a (2-2) record in 8 outings, in which he's posted a 5.67 ERA, Hampton's probably surprised a few who thought he'd never start consistently again.

DC righty Tim Redding, (10-8) with a 4.55 ERA in 29 starts and 164.1 innings pitched in '08, takes a two-game winning streak onto Turner Field's mound tonight, having beaten the Dodgers and Phillies in his last two appearances with Washington winning his last three outings overall including another start against Philadelphia in which Redding received no decision.

In Redding's 7-year Major League career, the 30-year-old Upstate NY born pitcher is (2-2) in 5 starts and 1 relief appearance against Atlanta, with a 5.88 ERA in 26.0 innings pitched to the Braves, who have collected 29 hits, 17 runs, 4 HR's and 13 walks, with 15 K's and a .287 BAA Redding. In his last start against Chipper and the Boys, things didn't go so well for "Don Sutton's Favorite Pitcher", with Redding allowing 6 hits and 6 runs in 4.0 innings over which he walked 3 and K'd 3 before leaving for a pinch hitter in the top of the fifth...

Nationals' #'s Against Mike Hampton...

Ronnie Belliard - 9 for 24, .375 AVG, 2 2B, 4 RBI's.

Aaron Boone - 3 for 16, .188 AVG, 1 2B, 1 RBI.

Redding vs Atlanta...

Yunel Escobar - 2 for 5, .400 AVG.

Chipper Jones - 8 for 11, .727 AVG, 2 HR, 6 RBI's, .750 OBP, 1.273 SLG, 2.023 OPS.

Brian McCann - 2 for 6, .333 AVG, 1 2B, 3 RBI's.

Where Are They Now...(Before Last Night.)

Felipe Lopez - (3rd In NL Central w/ Cardinals.) - Riding an 11-game hit streak, which includes 7 hits in his last 12 at bats, for a (.583 AVG) over the last 3 games in September (before last night), the former Nationals' infielder has hit for a .377 AVG in 21 games and 69 at bats with the Cardinals, who signed the 28-year-old not too long after Washington released the struggling Lopez back on August 1st. After hitting two home runs as a National from April through July, Lopez has 2 HR's already in September.

The Tallest Closer In MLB History, Jon Rauch...(1st in NL West with D-Backs.) - Rauch is (0-3) with 1 save in 18.0 innings pitched, over which he's allowed 20 hits, 12 ER, 5 HR's and 5 walks with 17 K's and a 6.00 ERA as a D-Back since July 22nd, having allowed at least one run in 7 of his last 10 appearances.

Luis "Set-Up" Ayala - (1st in NL East w/ Mets.) - I keep on telling NY Mets' fans that Luis Ayala is not much more than a struggling middle reliever, even as he saved his 4th straight game the other night for NY and 5th in six save opportunities since requesting a trade and leaving Washington with a (1-8) record, 0 saves, and a 5.77 ERA in 57.2 IP. As a Stinkin' Met, Ayala's (1-0) with the 5 saves in 9 appearances and 9.0 IP, during which he's given up 8 hits and 3 runs on just 1 walk with 6 K's and a 3.00 ERA for NY.

Paul "PLoD" Lo Duca - aka the Albatross, aka "Squirrel" - (3rd in NL East w/Marlins.) - Seriously, who cares where he is and what he's doing as long as he's no longer a National...Alright, in case you were wondering...In 11 games and 23 at bats for the Marlins, PLoD's hitting .348 (8 hits in 23 at bats), 2 doubles and 4 RBI's with Florida. Lo Duca will get his chance for revenge against DC soon enough.

THE STRASBURG FILES...Latest Edition -

A post by nickmueller on the SBN Blog "Driveline Mechanics", entitled, "On Strasburg" takes a closer look at the projected #1 Pick in the '09 Amateur Draft, as the season winds down with Washington neck and neck (and neck) with San Diego and Seattle to see who ends up last in the Majors and earns the right to choose the 20-year-old right-hander out of San Diego State...

Stephen Strasburg of the San Diego St. Aztecs (via farmsystem)

nickmueller's assessment of the consensus #1 pick:

"...I don't necessarily hate him (Strasburg) as a draft prospect. I probably wouldn't drop the 10 million he's probably going to seek being the consensus NUMBER ONE guy instead of drafting someone with cleaner mechanics..."

The post takes a quick look at what problems the writer sees in Strasburg's mechanics and offers a perspective that anyone interested in drafting the hard-throwing right-hander might want to check out before calling his name on Draft day...

He's COMING...

pinata (via H20cooler)

For An Atlanta-Based Perspective on the Current Nationals/Braves Series Check Out the SBN's Braves' blog:

Talkin' Chop

Game 3 of 4 in Atlanta gets underway at 7:10 pm EST Saturday. Redding vs Hampton. Lefty vs Righty. Chipper looks to continue a career's worth of dominance over Tim Redding. Don Sutton gets to continue to convince me why Redding's got superb stuff, and is a POWER pitcher! If only Redding could rewatch these broadcasts, Sutton would convince him too...Who's Watching The Nationals???