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When Yesterday's Game Ends Today

For a crisp but beautiful September night yesterday, an announced crowd of 28,600 -- perhaps the most impressive display of loyalty I've seen all season -- filled Nationals Park for the first game of a weekend series against San Diego. Based on my observations thereafter, I feel comfortable saying this much: Those in attendance had the fair idea to take advantage of a great night for baseball. And almost all of them agreed that an early morning of baseball lacked the same appeal.

By the time the game ended, after all, yesterday became today. First pitch: 7:36 p.m. Last pitch: 12:36 a.m.

San Diego won (e.g., lost) 11-6. Maybe even Stephen Strasburg went to bed before this one ended. And he lives on the West Coast.

By the time the game ended, I'd estimate that around 2,000 fans filled the ballyard. A breeze whipped around, knocking the temperature toward 50 degrees. After a night of stellar bullpen work, Washington's Levale Speigner, a September call-up whose credentials as a major leaguer are, at best, dubious, hit the lead-off man in the 14th with a pitch, and then allowed four ensuing hits and five runs. Speigner was the Nats' eighth reliever of the night. Six of those pitchers didn't allow a run.

Some other notes about the game...

* There were 526 pitches thrown between the two teams.

* Roger Bernadina had an outstanding night, going 3-for-5 with a walk two stolen bases

* Elijah Dukes went 1-for-4 but had three walks

* Ryan Zimmerman went 0-for-7

* The Padres out-hit the Nats, 20-10, but both teams left 15 on base

* The box score the PR folks hand out after every game reminded me of Nolan Ryan's early-90s baseball cards, where the statistical information is reduced into an almost unreadable font, just to fit all the information.

By Chico Harlan  |  September 20, 2008; 7:58 AM ET
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I'm just waking up, what a looooong night last night, eh?
Speigner was in there for how ever long it took, something I wasn't too happy about. The bullpen phone didn't ring once in the 14th, with Bergmann and Estrada available. (Bergmann threw 3 innings in the previous 2 days, but he could still go, no?)

Posted by: Section 138 | September 20, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

138, you mean you didn't understand what was going on? The phone in the dugout rang, a gravelly voice said "They think they can induce labor and get Strasburg? Ha! Give 'em Gal Revels in Pee, for as long as it takes!"

Go NA...uh, well, erm...nats, I guess.

Posted by: Highway 295 Revisited | September 20, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

It was a great night for baseball at the stadium. mid-60s, not hot and not too cold, very clear night. Balester didn't seem to pitch badly but was just owned on the night by Venable and Kouzmanoff. Mock was unlucky in the 6th; he came in w/ guys on 2nd and 3rd with no outs and struck out the side, but he gave up an infield single to let in one of the runs. Guzman fumbled the ball going over the middle and may have made the play but it was given a hit. Shell and Hinckley didn't look terribly strong either.

It was already a sloooow game by the bottom of the 8th when Guzman hit the sac fly to tie it up. We almost immediately left thinking the game was going extras. 5hrs ugh. At least we're now "ahead" of San Diego for the #2 pick. The Mariners truly look like they've given up and have lost 9 in a row.

Posted by: Sec131 | September 20, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Nobody gets more tanked than me, I say!

Let's start Levale tonight!

Posted by: Fake Jimbo | September 20, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

“It´s just a game. We had our chances,” manager Manny Acta said. “We´re still playing hard. We just couldn´t come up with a hit.”

Manny your quote sums ip this team's philosophy. Acta either doesn't care if he wins or doesn't know how. This guy is a non-motivator. This rivals some of the Expos' worst team with little hope of improvement next year.

Also I have this sick feeling that Bowden will NOT be fired.

Posted by: mjames | September 20, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

ahhh...mjames....always with a couple words of encouragement to start the weekend off on a happy note.

I'm more disenchanted with team now than at any point since baseball came to DC. But, little room for improvement is a bit doom and gloom dont you think....especially with a core of 23-25 year olds.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | September 20, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Of course that announced crowd does not at all reflect the number of butts that actually touched seats, which was at best half that. Despite holding tickets in the nosebleeds, my friend and I entered the park and with no usher interference took up seats in a largely empty couple of rows about halfway back in section 110, behind the LF ball girl. Then as the game progressed we worked our way right by grabbing seats in largely empty sections until by the tenth inning we were seated three rows behind the Padres dugout. Of course every seat we plopped our butts into along the way was sold to a season ticket holder who had probably tried to dump the tickets on StubHub but couldn't. Next year, that won't be the case.

Except for the ending, a very memorable night at the ballpark.

Posted by: section 110, then section 111, then section 112, and you get my drift | September 20, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

mjames and JayB, separated at birth? We know he's not RKGF/419+1, so there must be more than a couple of folks posting here after all.

Posted by: or is that a few? | September 20, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I'm looking forward to hopefully having NJ and ED batting back to back next year. That's a lot of power and and who lot of patience in the middle of a line-up.

Posted by: estuartj | September 20, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Oh, Ronnie, did we miss your bat....

Posted by: ladynatsfan | September 20, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

levale speigner, austin kearns suck.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 20, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

"San Diego won (e.g., lost) 11-6."
(for instance, lost) ????

Dammit, man, you're a professional journalist. If you can't use Latin, don't use it.

Posted by: ce | September 20, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Chico should have known to use id est instead of exempli gratia, but this sentence is pure sports page poetry:

"The battle for sole possession of 16th place in the National League already had an absurdist subplot before five hours of sloppy but mulish baseball locked the San Diego Padres and Washington Nationals into a near stalemate"

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | September 20, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Glad I wasn't the only one who noticed that, ce and SoCH. Chico was probably very tired given the late (early?) hour of the loss (win?).

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 20, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

It gets late early out there.

Posted by: NR Yogi | September 20, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Or, NR Yogi, it got early late out there.
So let's quote another of the games best philosphers, Satchel Paige:
"Sometimes I sits and thinks
and sometimes I just sits. "
By the end of the game I was just sitting.
Want to draft #1 but don't want to lose again this year.

You guys figure it out.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | September 20, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Bowden just said at the picnic that Syracuse is a done deal.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | September 20, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm up.

Posted by: new post | September 20, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Friday Night games. I was on a streak of consecutive wins! Oh well, all streaks must end! ;<)

It was pretty packed for Veterans Night. The subway was packed on the way too.

As for Acta, I don't think publicly criticizing your team means he doesn't motivate them. After so many losses this year there's only so many cliches you can use after all. Why is it when we're on a winning streak, no one talks about Acta negatively but a losing streak is "Fire Acta"?!

Why didn't they use a particular pitcher? Maybe because there are more games to play this weekend! Geez!

Posted by: CALSGR8 | September 21, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

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