Now, to the actual game...
(As an aside, Jim Bowden should take a celebratory lap around XM Headquarters on his segway with the success of Atilano, Dunn, and Clippard this evening. Thanks to @AdamKilgoreWP on the Twitter for the inspiration.)
Luis Atilano looked good. Period. 6 IP, 1 run on 5 hits and 2 errors behind him. He also had a strikeout and ended with an 1.50 ERA in his first ever MLB game. He threw an incredible number of first pitch strikes, got a lot of ground ball outs, and got out of the few jams he got in with negligible damage. He even swung a good bat, making the opposing pitcher, Haeger, throw a lot more pitches than you'd generally like to throw to the opposing pitcher. This is exactly what you want to see from the guy who's probably going to be replacing your $7.5 million starter for at least a few weeks. My hat is off to Luis.
Adam Dunn's freezing cold HR streak is over, for his 2nd and 3rd home runs of the year. His first hit the TOP deck in right field. That, my friends, is a blast. His second (thank you, Jerry Crawford for the 2nd RBI on that homer) was a high drive to the Scoreboard Pavilion. His batting average is still a cool .204, but his on-base percentage is a sexy .386.
In one of the most bizarre baseball plays Capitol Baseball has ever seen, Willie Harris gets the epic fail of the evening. In the bottom of the 8th inning, with the bases loaded and 1 out, Willie Harris goes up hacking on a 3-0 pitch from a guy who couldn't hit the strike zone if it was the size of a blimp. He runs to first, and reaches safely on a fielder's choice force out at home. He then decides to walk off of the field of play, and into the dugout, violation of Rule 7.08 Subsec. J, and is called out. I don't have any idea what was going through Willie Harris' head, maybe he thought there were 3 outs? Maybe he thought... I don't even know. But it was boneheaded, and he certainly won't be getting the Silver Elvis wig this fortnight.
Finally, the quick rundown of other notables from Game 17:
- Tony Plush has twice as many triples (4) on the year as doubles (2), and one of each of those tonight. That's just... wow. The man is a sports car with legs.
- Tyler Clippard has turned into "Set-up Man Extraordinaire." He's the Nats wins leader (3-0), meaning he keeps the team in games to allow for big comebacks; he's appeared in 8 games, pitched 13 2/3 innings, has 2 holds, and 18 Ks. He's become the true rock of the bullpen early on.
- Pudge left the game early with lower back tightness. Hopefully it's nothing, otherwise, the Nats going to be really hurting behind the plate.
Stay tuned this weekend for the first post with images from Capitol Baseball's seats in Section 409.