Saturday bits and pieces
Saturday. Your day off. A day when I give much of the Journal staff time to head to the beach, particularly when I'm on the road. (Don't call the Journal offices between now and July 5. You'll just get our answering service, as most of the staff was granted a long holiday weekend.)
But a couple left-over pieces. (Working up a big Journal post for Monday morning that picks up on a theme that's been discussed by some of you, but we'll leave that for then.)
Â· First off, anyone who thinks the gamer on-line is the (sports writer term ahead) "write-thru" is off base. Somehow, they posted my (sports writer term ahead) "running" story on the Web site (the one thrown together and filed right as the game ends), and the one that is more crafted and reported and, well, hopefully, better is in the $.35 edition. I hope - for you Web readers - they post the write-thru soon, because it delves into something we've talked about a bit here, Ryan Zimmerman's ability (or, for right now, inability) to carry this team. I think it's an important topic, and a few teammates and Acta had some interesting things to say. UPDATE: OK, they finally put the write-thru up there. Here it is. (You guys are learning a lot about how the sausage is made today. It ain't pretty, let me tell ya.)
Â· We talked yesterday about the platoon of Nook Logan (.218/.253/.299) and Ryan Langerhans (.228/.339/.413 with Washington) in center field and atop the order. Well, get ready to see a lot more Logan. The Opening Day center fielder hasn't had more than one plate appearance in a game since June 18, but beginning with Tom Gorzelanny today, the Nationals face five lefties in the next six games.
But again, Acta isn't married to this platoon. He makes it sound downright temporary. "I'm not having a platoon just because it sounds cool," Acta said. "I'm searching for a center fielder/leadoff hitter that can help this team win."
In fact, he makes it sound like if Felipe Lopez gets a couple hits, he'll be thrown back atop the order.
"We're going to give those guys a shot leading off," Acta said, "but to me, right now with the people we have here, I already talked to Felipe - the ideal guy to be a leadoff hitter here is Felipe Lopez. We're just hoping for him to get back at it and feel good and he'll be leading off again."
One small point as it pertains to the lefty/righty platoon thing: Since coming over to the Nationals in May, Langherhans has 15 plate appearances against lefties, and he is hitting .286/.333/.643. Hmmmm.
Â· Jason Bergmann, who goes tonight, is allowing opponents a .170 average. He doesn't qualify for the league leaders because he missed six weeks. The leader in that category is San Diego's Chris Young, who is allowing hitters a .197 clip.
Â· You need a reminder of the offensive woes? OK, I'll give it. Nationals are last in the National League in the following categories: Runs (296), home runs (47), on-base percentage (.311), and slugging percentage (.364).
Â· Fielding: Acta said yesterday that he was pleased with the team's development on defense. Overlooked last night was Austin Kearns's excellent throw in the first to cut down a run at the plate. (Your N.L. leader in outfield assists? That would be Alfonso Soriano with 10.) But if you're looking at season-long stats, the Nationals' defense hasn't been that great. The Nationals have 55 errors in 79 games, tied for fourth in the N.L. Their fielding percentage of .981 ranks 13th in the league. They do, however, have 83 double plays, third-most in the N.L. That number is directly related to the fact that Jose Vidro no longer plays second base for this club.
All right, that's it for now. I hope they replace the gamer on line. Here's the notebook and this page has both the podcast and a video clip from "Washington Post Live" of Sheinin discussing the trade deadline, etc. I'll get you some lineups when I'm at the park (which, by the way, I can see from my hotel room here at the Renaissance. I highly recommend taking in a series here. Great setting).
Ad, at 2:30 p.m., here's your lineup:
Logan -- 8
Belliard -- 4
Zimmerman -- 5
Young -- 3
Kearns -- 9
Church -- 7
Lopez -- 6
Schneider -- 2
Bergmann -- 1
Talk to you later.
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