Wednesday, July 05, 2006

NIH: Patterson and Astacio pitch, NIH says nothing!

Well, been a nice long holiday weekend for the NIH, filled with not covering a few stories that I probably should have covered, because I was busy enjoying what was basically a four day weekend (or felt like it, even though I worked Monday). So, it's time to do a little catch up.

Astacio Watch: The timing was right for me to be keyed into the progress that Astacio has been making on his way back to the majors. With the elbow injury to Hill being more serious than originally thought, Astacio's return to the majors was pushed up to this past Monday, easily earning a win behind the explosive Nationals offense that day. When his day was done, the Nats were sitting on a fat 8-1 lead that would only get padded at that point. Astacio managed just two strikeouts in the effort, but also only surrendered one walk and three hits (though one a homer). A solid outing of 71 pitches, cut short as there was no need to over stress him, and because this could really be seen as a rehab start, just with the major league club. Astacio is staying in the rotation now that he's back, so should be seeing action in the second of three games against the Padres this weekend.

A longer outing would be key. But then, these are the Nationals. Longer outings would be key even from our guys who've been healthy all season.

Patterson Watch: JP wasn't quite so lucky with run support, but then again, that's really been the story of his career in Washington. Last season's king of the no decisions got another ND yesterday after an outing that featured five innings of efficient ball, needing only 67 pitches to get the fifteen outs. This included a first inning where he needed just 10 pitches to dispatch the Fish in order. Unfortunately, he was robbed of the win by a blown save recorded by Rauch in the 7th, so the win ultimately went to Cordero, who at 4-3 has a record that some of our starters could envy.

Possibly the best part of JP's start, he pounded out five strikeouts during that period with just one walk surrendered. He seems to have his stuff back, but the training staff obviously didn't want to overwork his arm after it went dead the last outing. He could probably also be said to be on rehab with the major league club. We need all the hurlers we can get right now. Patterson will next see action Sunday afternoon in the closer against the Padres.

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