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Lineups, but more news to come

So much for educated guesses. This is interesting. Here's today's lineup.

Watson - 8
Lopez - 6
Zimmerman - 5
Young - 3
Kearns - 9
Church - 7
Belliard - 4
Schneider - 2
Bergmann - 1

Still 90 minutes before I talk to Manny Acta about the decision, but I think it's a sound one. Lopez, who was the leadoff hitter to start the year, has that .285 OBP we talked about in the earlier post. This gives Watson a chance to do what he has been doing, and it adds a little punch to the bottom of the lineup in Belliard.

And let's use this as a little plug for Belliard. When he arrived at spring training, I couldn't believe that Acta and Bowden said this guy could play a great defensive second base. I hadn't watched him a whole lot with the Indians, and while I saw the Cardinals a lot in the postseason last year, he was in and out of the lineup.

But the guy is a player. Just a baseball player. Plays a deceptively good - and I'd say it's a "smart" - second base, is serviceable at shortstop and would be able to play third, I assume, if Zimmerman ever let him. He's hitting .297 with eight doubles and 17 RBI in 185 at-bats. In fact, I'd argue that he's valuable enough that if you can't trade him - and there's obviously a chance that will happen - he might be worth signing as a utility guy for the future. This team is going to have to have a bench to compete in, say, 2009, and who's to say you can find another guy who can play all four infield positions - and hit, too.

Just a thought.

Here's the Braves' lineup:

Harris - 7
Renteria - 6
C. Jones - 5
A. Jones - 8
McCann - 2
Francoeur - 9
Johnson - 4
Thorman - 3
Hudson - 1

That group has scored a total of one (1) run in the past five games. That is stunning. Listening to ATL sports radio (yuck) I was struck by the level of concern down here about this squad. John Smoltz was on what I assume was a paid appearance on air ripping the media for blowing the whole squabble between him and Chipper Jones out of proportion.

Let's take a look at some June stats for the Braves:

Runs - 70 (16th of 16 in N.L.); Nationals at 89 (T11th)
Batting average -- .252 (13th); Nationals at .273 (sixth)
On-base percentage - .301 (16th); Nationals at .321 (10th)
Slugging percentage - .365 (16th); Nationals at .399 (12th)

Smoltz, when asked on the radio interview I heard driving in, said playing the A.L. wore out the Braves, and that getting back to the N.L. schedule should help fix some things. A side-swipe at the Nationals? Take it how you will. Smoltz pitches Wednesday. He has lost twice to the Nationals this year. Could it happen again?

I'll get you injury updates when I have them. Guzman is not likely to be good.

By Barry Svrluga  |  June 25, 2007; 3:18 PM ET
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Next: Guzman likely out for year


Gooz no good? Oy.

Posted by: Wes Mantooth | June 25, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

I have been shameless about plugging Belliard, who I would love to see remain on the team! Will be interesting to hear about Guzman - guy can't catch a break. Ok, back to catching up on podcasts and crazy roster changes over the past week while I was internetless (oh the humanity)...

Posted by: misschatter | June 25, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Smoltz, per Barry: ". . . playing the A.L. wore out the Braves . . ."

I would just give anything to be a fly on the wall in the manager's office at RFK if Manny ever heard one of his players utter an excuse like that one.

Posted by: Hendo | June 25, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I need a Colome update.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 25, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse

...but, of course.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 25, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Uh-oh. I thought Guzie's injury was less severe than Colome's.

Posted by: Andrew S. | June 25, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

No, Guzzie's was just less interesting for speculation.

Posted by: Willie Gandebol | June 25, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Guzman done for the season. Say it ain't so....

Posted by: gi11is | June 25, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I won't be at another Nats game until July 4th but I wanted to pass along a couple of "where to go" suggestions to those of us who'll be visiting Pittsburgh this weekend.

That includes you, Mr. Svrluga.

As others have mentioned in the past, you've gotta have a sandwich -- get extra napkins -- from Primanti Brothers (

The other, only partly in honor of Ryan, is the Church Brew Works (, a brewpub in a 105-year-old desanctified church. The brewing equipment is where the altar used to be. The booths were once pews. Both the beer they make there and the menu selections are excellent. My personal favorite from the bar is the Pious Monk Dunkel.

(By way of bona fides: have I ever mentioned that I write a magazine column about beer? Barry Svrluga gets paid to go to baseball games, I get paid to drink beer. I suspect there might be times each of us would envy the other.)

Posted by: Section 502 | June 25, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe I'm saying this, but: That's bad news.

Posted by: Eyewitness | June 25, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Guzman out for the year makes me sick to my stomach. Damn. I wonder if Belliard gets traded (which is why they signed him) who will take over at 2b (or even SS)??

Maybe Bowden is going to pull the trigger on another trade now. He likes to do that.

Posted by: Andrew S. | June 25, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Last year, when Guzman went on the permanent DL, I coulda cared less.

This year, CRAP!!

Posted by: Juan-John | June 25, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

very well said about belliard. big fan!

Posted by: belliard is a stud | June 25, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Re: Pittsburgh dining:

It's been a couple of years, but if it's still there please go to Isaly's for a terrific Chip-Chopped Ham Sandwich. The ham is sliced oh-so-thin and is terrific!

BTW, Klondike ice cream bars were originated at Isaly's!

And of course, when at PNC Park (a GORGEOUS stadium!), make sure to pick up some pierogies. Nobody makes them better!

Wish I was going this weekend! If driving to the stadium, park downtown and walk across Clemente Bridge to the stadium. You'll be glad you did. What a view! (or you could take the ferry directly to the stadium). Man, did they do that stadium right.

Posted by: e | June 25, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

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