Wednesday, August 29, 2007

If You're Reading This...

If you're reading this, then you probably have a pretty good idea of my interests, likes and dislikes... hopefully you like what you're reading. I just wanted to give a quick thanks to everyone who has been reading this blog of mine since I started it a little over five months ago. I've received so many kind words, and words of encouragement over that time from friends, family, and even complete strangers. I'm very blessed and thankful to have so many people enjoying my writing! And by the way, if you haven't heard Tim McGraw's song with the same name as my post title today, do yourself a favor and give it a listen - it's a very powerful and moving tribute to a military officer who makes the ultimate sacrifice. Actually, go one better and buy the new version of his "Let It Go" CD which includes the song as a bonus track. It's definitely one of the best CD's of the year!

The above said, you probably know what's next - yes, it's some baseball coverage! One of these days when the Galaxy and Mr. Beckham actually do something notable, I promise to give you some coverage there - right now with their 3-5-4 record and Beckham not scoring much, there's not a lot to say though. The U.S Open tennis tournament is also happening, but without any major upsets in the first day, there's not a lot to write about - yet! College football is coming soon too... Of course, I look forward to nothing more than this December's second annual UCLA beats USC game! :)

The Washington Nationals were in town again to play the again Dodgers last night, and the game was a virtual carbon copy of Monday night's game. The Nats took an early 1-0 lead in the first off Dodger starter Chad Billingsley as Dmitri Young's double scored Felipe Lopez. Jason Bergmann pitched well for the Nats in his return from the DL, giving up only three runs and six hits in his six innings of work. Shea Hillenbrand gave the Dodgers the lead in the second, scoring Jeff Kent and Russell Martin with a one-out single. Kent extended the Dodger lead to 3-1 with a solo homer to left field in the thrid inning, his 17th of the year.

The Nats managed to claw their way back against Billingsley, scoring a run in the fourth on a Brian Schneider sacrifice fly. The Nats then tied the game at 3 as Tony Batista homered deep to center. Bergmann was now off the hook for the loss, and it also looked like Billingsley would end up with a no-decision. The latter wasn't the case though as the Dodgers would rally again the bottom of the 7th though as Billingsley's pinch-hitter Mike Sweeney hit a one-out double off of reliever Chris Schroeder. After a walk to Rafael Furcal, Juan Pierre reached on an error by Felipe Lopez to load the bases. Lopez' error would prove to be very costly as Andre Ethier would score Sweeney with a sacrifice fly to center.

From there, Jonathan Broxton held down the Nats for his 27th hold in the eighth inning. Takeshi Saito pitched a scoreless ninth, striking out pinch hitter Wily Mo Pena to end the game and pick up his 36th save of the year. The win was Billingsley's ninth of the year and moved the Dodgers to within 4 1/2 games of the National League West lead held by the Arizona Diamondbacks and 3 1/2 games of the NL Wild Card lead, currently held by the San Diego Padres. Of note, with his 2-for-4 performance, Dmitri Young reclaimed the lead in the NL batting race. At .337, he's in a virtual tie with Chase Utley of the Philadelphia Phillies. This afternoon, Brad Penny takes on Shawn Hill in the series finale. Coverage of the game begins at 3:05 ET/12:05 PT on MASN in the D.C. area and on Prime Sports here in L.A.


Last night may have marked a huge turning point in the seasons of the Los Angeles/Anaheim Angels and the Seattle Mariners... Ervin Santana once again relapsed into his "bad road pitcher Ervin" mold, recording only a single out while giving up 4 hits, two walks and five earned runs before he was pulled for Dustin Moseley in game two of their series at Safeco Field in Seattle. As most people know, the Angels are very resilent, with 30 come from behind victories on the year. So, no lead is safe against them. Such was the case last night. The Halos would score a single run in the top of the third off of Mariners starter Jeff Weaver. Solo homers by Gary Matthews Jr. and Kendry Morales pulled the Angels to within two in the fourth. Orlando Cabrera and Jeff Mathis plated runs in the top of the fourth to tie the game at 5.

As for Moseley, he was simply outstanding in his emergency relief role, pitching 5 1/3 innings of shutout ball before being relieved by Justin Speier in the 6th inning. Vladimir Guerrero would give the Angels their first lead of the game, plating Mathis with a double to left in the top of the 7th inning. Ichiro Suzuki would quickly tie things back up though off of Speier, slapping a single to center to score Yulenski Betancourt.

The Angels would quickly reclaim the lead though.... Gary Matthews walked and then stole second base to begin the 8th inning. Kendry Morales would double him home to give the Angels a 7-6 lead. Reggie Willits would draw a two-out walk. Orlando Cabrera then singled to load the bases for ol' #27... As usual, "Super-Vlad" would deliver, lining a single to left to plate both Morales and Willits. Maicer Izturis would then plate Cabrera and give the Angels a 10-6 lead... Scott Shields would then shut the door on the Mariners, pitching two shutout innings to give Speier his second win of the season. With the victory, the Angels now lead the Mariners by four games in the American League West race. Jered Weaver takes on "King" Felix Hernandez in game three of the series beginning at 4:35 ET/1:35 PT.


Lastly, and sadly, the Boston Red Sox lost to the New York Yankees by a 5-3 count last night at Yankee Stadium. The Sox lost in spite of the presence of Tiger Woods (who earlier in the day rang the bell on Wall Street)... I don't know who Tiger was pulling for - hopefully NOT the Yankees! In spite of the loss, the Sox still carry a sizeable seven game lead over the Yankees in the AL East race.


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