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Didn't Make the Paper, Vol. VIII

Really quickly, because we have a chat at 1 p.m. today. Wednesdays will be the weekly chat day from now on. Hope you enjoy.

Some talk in the comments on why Ryan Church was benched on Sunday for not running out a grounder, while Robert Fick was allowed to play earlier in the Florida series when he bunted and didn't run hard to first. It's a good question, so good that I asked Manny Acta about it after Sunday's game. It did not, however, make it into my game story in the $.35 edition, which is why we all thank the powers that be for DMTP.

Here's Acta's explanation:

"The other play was a bunt play where he probably thought that a throw was going to first base or whatever. This one was no excuses for anything. It was just a tough groundball in the hole."

Fick told me earlier that he had just had a "brain cramp," and that he was watching the play develop. "It wasn't a hustle issue," he said. Acta agreed. Two innings earlier, Fick made a heads-up play by tagging from first to second on a fly ball to deep right, a play lots of guys wouldn't have made.

Church has handled it very well. Jim Bowden said yesterday that Church saw him and said, "Memo received." And what did he do last night? Went 2 for 4 with an RBI double. Church now has nine doubles, a total bested in the NL by only Chase Utley and San Diego's Khalil Greene. Only Greene, Utley, Carlos Beltran and Jimmy Rollins have more extra base hits in the NL than Church.

One other item: Ryan Zimmerman made another error last night, this one on a two-hop throw from Church in the eighth inning. The ball went through his legs.

"I was doing everything I could to center the ball and block it," Zimmerman said afterward. "I thought I had it."

All in all, a tough night for Zimm. He had a good at-bat his first time up, drawing a walk against Jamie Moyer. He hit a decently hard grounder to third his next time up. He smashed a hard liner directly at left fielder Pat Burrell his third time up. And in his final at-bat, he drilled a ball back up the middle that was easily an RBI single -- except Utley, the Phillies second baseman, was playing almost behind the bag. He snared it and turned it into an unassisted double play.

"Utley always plays there, right?" Zimmerman joked afterward. He knows he is having better at-bats than he did a week ago. He just wants a little more to show for it. "It's just frustrating," he said.

Long-term problem? I really, really doubt it. The hits will come.

OK, almost time for the chat. You can access it here. Also, please please please continue the discussion about former Nationals below (or here). I love that stuff, and love when you guys let your opinions fly.

John Patterson vs. Jon Lieber in a few hours. Looking forward to it, I am.

By Barry Svrluga  |  April 25, 2007; 12:36 PM ET
 
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Next: Hamels and Hill on the hill

Comments

I'm looking forward to the matchup as well, though that could change fairly quickly once the game starts.

Patterson had better have something at least remotely approaching a quality start soon, or they may need to seriously think about a temporary demotion to the minors to find out whatever is wrong and help him get right.

Posted by: Mike M., Arlington | April 25, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

With Bergmann and Chico playing well and the minor league affiliates having pitching success, Patterson needs to show why he's a #1 "ace".

Posted by: Dorf | April 25, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

um, Chico? Perhaps you meant Bergmann and Hill playing well ...

----------------------------------
With Bergmann and Chico playing well

Posted by: e | April 25, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

yeah, hill

Posted by: dorf | April 25, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Philadelphia is not the place to have a bad outing. Even with Bergmann pitching well yesterday, it seemed like every fly ball was to the track.

John Patterson: Use the force!

Posted by: Wigi | April 25, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Barry, great blog! I enjoyed reading the article on where they are now. How about the Post doing a story on the old Senators. It would be nice to read about what they think about the return of baseball to DC, whether they've been to games at RFK, how the Nats should commemorate the history of the franchise, and comparisons between then and now. I'd be interested to read about Frank Howard, Del Unser, Paul Cassanova, Pedro Ramos, Camilo Pasqual, etc. Those are names that come to mind. Thanks!

Posted by: nats fan | April 25, 2007 7:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm afraid I cannot join the Robert Fick fan club, which seems to consist at this point of at least Messrs. Svrluga and Acta. Of course, the Nats can't win any which way, so maybe it doesn't matter whether Fick stinks up the place.

Posted by: JohnR (VA) | April 25, 2007 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Robert Fick is a classic hard-nosed get-your-pants-dirty kinda player. He hustles and plays the game "the right way." I will give him a pass on his brain cramp...this time. I suspect we won't see anything like it again.

I am more perturbed with the Zimman's explanation of "doing everything I could to center the ball and block it." It went thru his damn wickets for goodness sake. That's not how you block a throw...you get down on one knee if necessary. There is no excuse for that ball getting going into the dugout. I suspect he was focusing on making a play on one of the trailing runners and didn't watch the ball into his glove.

Posted by: Section 214, Row 10 | April 26, 2007 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Nats Fan - Join the Washington Baseball Historical Society - we do all kinds of artciles like this in a weekly newsletter - send a note to me at sjw71490@yahoo.com

I enjoyed reading the article on where they are now. How about the Post doing a story on the old Senators. It would be nice to read about what they think about the return of baseball to DC, whether they've been to games at RFK, how the Nats should commemorate the history of the franchise, and comparisons between then and now. I'd be interested to read about Frank Howard, Del Unser, Paul Cassanova, Pedro Ramos, Camilo Pasqual, etc. Those are names that come to mind. Thanks!

Posted by: natswriter | April 26, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

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