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Light delay: 25 minutes

Started playing baseball again after a 25-minute delay. Nationals say they don't know why the lights went out -- just four or five banks -- but are looking into it.

There was a bit of a key moment, perhaps, in teh game. After Wily Mo Pena's sacrifice fly made it 7-2 and Wil Nieves doubled home two more runs to make it 7-4. With two outs and Nieves on second, Manny Acta sent Mike O'Connor up to hit for himself. A single would have made it 7-5. O'Connor struck out looking. He then gave up Jose Bautista's second homer of the night in the next inning.

So here we stand in the bottom of the fifth, Pirates leading 8-4.

By Barry Svrluga  |  May 2, 2008; 9:46 PM ET
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Next: Lo Duca handicaps the Derby -- and lineups


who is this idiot talking?

where's the remote so I can change the channel?

what the hell is he talking about now?

why do the Nationals have such awful TV announcers???

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 2, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

10-4, good buddy. over and out for the evening.

Posted by: natsscribe | May 2, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

SOCH, it is amazing how amateurish the Nats' MASN broadcasts are, in every single way. Awful announcers, awful camera shots, awful graphics, awful pre- and post-game shows, the list goes on...

Posted by: Carpenter stinks | May 2, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

...and when you guys are watching, awful viewers.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | May 2, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

MASN's new advertising slogan: Nats baseball on MASN! Why go to Nats Park when you can get an Upper Deck view watching our broadcast?

Posted by: Carpenter stinks | May 2, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Tonight was the worst baseball game I have ever been to, including last year's 15 run blowout by the Tigers. For the first time in my entire life I willingly got up and left the ballpark early. Between the inexplicable light problems and three different pitchers that could not find the strike zone, I was ashamed to be a Nationals fan.

At least there's tomorrow. Go Chico.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 3, 2008 12:00 AM | Report abuse

In case anyone wants to see pictures of the "lights out intermission" from tonight.

Posted by: jweb | May 3, 2008 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Boy, that was another stellar customer experience by Stan and company tonight. The lights don't work, the quality product on the field thrills the weekend crowd, and to top it all off they have to cancel the fireworks because of the "light delay". Perhaps they should have shot them off then.

But seriously, what happened to O'Connor and Hanrahan in the 7th? It seemed between the two of them they had 10 pitches that didn't even reach the plate. I think one was a good 10 feet short!

Posted by: sec 113 | May 3, 2008 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Barry, you have made me a better Nats fan. I've learned so much through this blog. You can tell Kasten with 100% confidence that you, and you alone, are responsible for my first round of season tickets at RFK in 2007 and subsequent 500% season ticket increase in 2008.

I can't thank you enough for all the laughs and all the awesome baseball talk. I wasn't on NJ in 2005, but have read every single post, some of them several times, since day 1 in 2007. I am very, very sad to lose you.

Welcome aboard! We are a very demanding bunch, but fairly easy to please. Here's what you can expect if you're late on lineups...

C'mon Barry, you slacker. LINEUPS, LINEUPS, WE WANT LINEUPS!

Posted by: BIM | April 4, 2008 06:16 PM

Posted by: NatsNut | May 3, 2008 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Somebody tell that Rally Possum to chew through ALL the lighting wires next time. Maybe the game coulda been tossed and Lannan's numbers wouldn't have counted...

Ah well. He's young.

And doggone if I'm not starting to develop a serious man-crush on Wil Nieves. Feels like he's the only one who is able to drive in multiple runs these days...

Posted by: Juan-John | May 3, 2008 12:19 AM | Report abuse

if i didn't see the name "lannan" out there, i'd have assumed chico was getting his regular turn. cuz at the 3nd of 3 innings, it looked like the end of 3 innings on saturday against the cubs.

man, lannan was laboring tonight. 3 innings, and i think *84* pitches. and they seemed to foul off everything.

i was so psyched when i heard about the lannan/chico switch, but he really let me down tonight.

Posted by: 231 | May 3, 2008 12:58 AM | Report abuse

Who was it who always sees Chico everytime he goes? Obviously, it's not Chico, it's him. He can never return to the park.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 3, 2008 1:17 AM | Report abuse

glad i worked through the game (if you can call it that). im not as downtrodden as some here seem to be. i went last nite and it was just as moving as opening night for me (maybe not but close). its an awe inspiring park with a team to be hopeful about. lets not worry about a 2 month old park and a 23 year old pitcher

Posted by: love | May 3, 2008 1:22 AM | Report abuse

Paul Maholm, LHP (2-2, 3.26) vs. Matt Chico, LHP (0-5, 6.68)

Chico to win the series. Scouting report on the Pirates starter:

From Maholm tossed his third career complete game in a 5-1 win over the Phillies on April 27. He was outstanding, giving up one run on two hits, walking four and striking out two. In going the distance, he threw a total 99 pitches and was in the zone with 56 for strikes.

Posted by: MKevin | May 3, 2008 7:57 AM | Report abuse

From Barry's Notebook today: "Because the Nationals have an agreement with the neighborhood surrounding Nationals Park not to have fireworks after 11 p.m."

The best thing to come out of last night was the Nats honoring their commitment to the folks who live near the ballpark.

Posted by: MKevin | May 3, 2008 8:00 AM | Report abuse

THUD, crash, breakage in aisle 5. Bang, zoom, there went the fireworks...uh, well, no, maybe not. It's a long season, these things happen, it was lights out last night in more ways than one. The moment matched the event. Lannan labors, don't disturb the neighbors. Chico invades Lannans body, perhaps Lannan will invade his today. Please place a wake up call to the bats for an afternoon affair...if not, oh well, theres the derby to watch later.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | May 3, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

John Lannan last night = regression to the mean, pure and simple.

C'mon people, his last 2 starts were a fluke. Enjoyable, but not repeatable.

Cross your fingers and maybe he'll be an acceptable 5 on a World Series team.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 3, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

So why did they play "The Girl Can't Help it" when Nick Johnson came to the plate?

Posted by: Twinbrook, MD | May 3, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

SoCH: Go easy on the kid a bit. That's a little harsh for one bad start. Nights like that happen.

Posted by: MKevin | May 3, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I like Lannan--how can you not? And I don't think I'm going hard on him. In fact, I think the unreasonable expectations this group (and Barry--Walter Johnson???) hoisting on him is what's "hard on him."

It's like if Redskins fans wanted Chris Cooley to be their #1 wide receiver and carry them to the Super Bowl. He's not that, and it's not fair to set such high expectations. So just enjoy what he is.

Same with Zimmerman and Shawn Hill. It's not fair to them to expect them to be David Wright and our #1 ace. They aren't that. They are good, maybe very good, players who we should enjoy for what they are.

But Chico didn't invade Lannan's body. They're basically the same guy, so enjoy their heart, face up to their marginal stuff, and stop hoisting unreasonable expectations on these kids.

And then blame Bowden for the fact that we don't have any real stars to root for.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 3, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Well, actually it was Lannan's second bad start this season. I seem to recall a rain-delayed Saturday afternoon game against Atlanta where he gave up four runs before recording the second out of the game. I recall it very well because I was sitting there watching it from my not-so-private (but cheap) box seat high up in Nationals Park. Svrluga in spinning his story this morning seems to have forgotten that one. His seat in the press box is no higher up than mine is, so I wonder how he missed it?

But let no one think I'm agreeing with SoCH here. He's nothing but a hater. If he hates everything about the Nationals, one has to wonder why he even pays any attention to them.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | May 3, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Welcome, Mr. Harlen, and please ignore Steve from Capitol Hill. If Omar made that '05 team so bad, how come the Nats finished at .500? Is there anybody here who has a problem with being in first place by 5 games on July 4, as the Nats were in '05? (Oh, sure, we had crystal ball that said it wouldn't last. Right.)

I've been ignoring my haters, those who only want to hear that the Nats are great and all is well, never mind what our lying eyes say. But this post is so completely divorced from reality I just couldn't let this go by.

No one needed a crystal ball to know that the first half of 05 was a completely non-repeatable fluke, and the second-half collapse of that team was predicted by just about everyone in baseball. All you had to do was look at the fact that we were winning despite getting massively outscored by our opponents and having some absurdly unsustainable winning record in 1-run games. It was as obvious as Monica Lewinsky's low self esteem that that Nats squad was set for a big downfall. It was an enjoyable, completely lucky fluke.

Despite a once-a-decade run of good luck in the first half, they collapsed and finished 81-81 with a roster of almost totally 100% declining players.

If that the team we inherited was so talented, show me what those guys are doing now? Vidro, Wilkerson, Guillen, Vinny, Guzman, Schneider, Junior Spivey, Marlon Byrd, Livan, Tony Armas, Ryan Drese, Loiaza, Patterson, Majewski, Ohka, Carrasco, Carroll, Baerga, Gary Bennett.... that whole team didn't have one single position player who has been in the top half of the league at their position then or since. Any rotation that sends Ryan Drese and Tony Armas out every 5 days is blech. Patterson was talented but always hurt, and pitchers like that litter the landscape--we were lucky to see his one partial season healthy. Livan, Ayala, and Cordero were useful role players, but when useful role players are your best pieces, that's the definition of a terrible team.

But the real travesty was in the minors. Remember these "top prospects": Mike Hinckley, Larry Broadway, Clint Everts... there was not one single player in the entire minor league system with the potential to become an above average major leaguer when that team left Montreal. Utter devastation resulting from years of no scouts, salary caps, and trading away all prospects as part of the push for contraction. Grady, Brandon Phillips, Cliff Lee, Jason Bay, OC, Vladdy... all those guys were shipped off for one-year rentals of aging stars or lost to FA when MLB refused to allow the team to even negotiate or in Vladdy's case file for arbitration so that we could at least get the picks.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 3, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

But let no one think I'm agreeing with SoCH here. He's nothing but a hater. If he hates everything about the Nationals, one has to wonder why he even pays any attention to them.

Gimme a break. I don't hate the Nationals. I'm a total Nats fan, and a better fan than the "all is well, 70 wins is just fine Mr. Bowden, keep it up" crowd.

I want them to win, and I'm not going to delude myself that are better than they are or that I should be just happy to have a team in town, even if they are terrible and run by an incompetent GM who has no track record of success ever (unless your definition of success is drunk-driving, slapping your girlfriend, slandering the memory of 9/11, not to mention never winning anything ever).

Good fans demand good teams. Bad fans cheerfully chirp everything is fine while the team serves up years of unrelenting talentless crap on the field. If you want 100 years of terrible teams and packed stadiums where the fans and the announcers are too blotto to notice, move to Chicago and root for the Cubs.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 3, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

this series is gonna tell us everything we need to know about the nats. so far not so good.

Posted by: dk | May 3, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

SoCH: I agree with most everything you said in your last post. I perhaps wouldn't have included Ayala as I think he's recovering nicely from his devestating injury resulting from the poorly run, over-hyped WBC.

Time will tell what Lannan turns into in a future rotation made up largely of guys not on the big league roster right now. The same can be said of the position players. I don't think many of us here are under any illusion that more than a handfull of the starting position players on the current Nats roster would be in the same place on a contending Nats roster. Count Zim, Millidge, Dukes (TBD), WMP (maybe), as long term guys. Everyone else are here to field a serviceable team until the guys in our farm system are ready.

That all being said, I get bored of talking about that every day. Call it burying my head in the sand if you want to, but I for one prefer to get excited/disapointed with the game at hand, with the season at hand, with the team we're fielding this year because, guess what, it is what it is. I'm simply not going to wait 2 or 3 years for "the plan" to complete in order to follow this club passionately. I'm a baseball fan, and this is my team... for better or worse. Warts and all.

Posted by: MKevin | May 3, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I get bored of talking about that every day.

I understand this and agree. And I cheered as loud as anyone when John Kerry (get it? Flip/Flop?) hit the GS, or Wil Nieves's walk off (man, if his numbers were as good looking as he is, he'd have something).

So the challenge is to enjoy the pleasures of the moment while at the same time not sugar-coating the reality or settling for mediocrity or just being a complete apologist.

It's like the mindless partisan Democrats who always want to blame Ralph Nader and the media and the Supreme Court and refuse to acknowledge that Gore was a completely miserable candidate who performed abominably in the debates and blew the election despite peace, prosperity, and a total miserable unintelligible inarticulate silver spoon spoiled rich brat drunk driving coakhead joke of an opponent. I hate those people.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 3, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

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