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Good Morning! or, Good Morning?

Whew, that was some baseball last night. As you can read here, Ryan Church took the loss hard, and Manny Acta seemed more disappointed than usual. If you haven't seen the replay of Rollins's triple-turned-into-game-tying-four-base-romp, get yourself to a TV before the re-runs of SportsCenter end. It's remarkable on about 17 different levels. (I think it was No. 7 on the "Budweiser-Hummer-Coors Light-Chevy Top Plays brought to you by Secret Deodorant," which is ridiculous considering Howard's homer was No. 1. Rollins's play made Howard's homer possible.)

Couple things: Yesterday afternoon, Acta said Brian Schneider would catch today because John Lannan is making his debut. But he said last night that would be "too much to ask" after Schneider caught all 14 innings, so it'll be 22-year-old throwing to 22-year-old this afternoon, with Jesus Flores behind the plate.

There's a bit more on Lannan in the notebook here, and a very weary podcast here.

President Bush in town today. (I guess I could say that an awful lot from RFK, no?) Chance he could stop by the ballpark on his way out of town, we're told. Don't know yet.


Lopez -- 6
Belliard -- 4
Zimmerman -- 5
Young -- 3
Kearns -- 9
Church -- 7
Flores -- 2
Logan -- 8
Lannan -- 1

Rollins -- 6
Victorino -- 9
Utley -- 4
Howard -- 3
Rowand -- 8
Burrell -- 7
Helms -- 5
Barajas -- 2
Eaton -- 1

Nationals bullpen is in shambles today. They can't use Traber (who'll start over the weekend) or Saul Rivera (who threw three innings last night) or Luis Ayala (who has thrown back-to-back days). They sent Booker down after last night's game (which was a move planned before he gave up Howard's homer), but that leaves them with Schroder, King (back-to-back days too), Cordero and Rauch.

Think the pressure's on young John Lannan? This is in teresting, I think. Hope you have a chance to tune in during work today. If not, I'll try to get you some mid-game updates. Enjoy.

By Barry Svrluga  |  July 26, 2007; 10:44 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Lannan speaks
Next: Dmitri?


Okay, everything is up in the air for this afternoon - if the two newbies do well, hurrah, if not, well, they're new and have to start somewhere. I can't be disappointed today.

Posted by: Traveler | July 26, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Hope the Phillies fans aren't too hard on our youthful batterymates (yeah, right, like that's gonna happen)...

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 26, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Crazy days in Nats town for sure. Here's my hope for our lineup on July 26, 2008

1. Felipe Lopez 2B
2. Christian Guzman SS
3. Ryan Zimmerman 3B
4. Wily Mo Pena LF
5. Nick Johnson 1B
6. Aaron Rowand CF
7. Austin Kearns RF
8. Brian Schneider C
9. Ross Detweiler P

Posted by: Paul | July 26, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Barry, went to the Nats site to look at the Rollins run (didn't really want to see that), but FYI there's an interesting little tidbit there about a possible 2-year contract with Young...

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 26, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse


Can you ask why Acta is so inflexible with Flores use.....He has proven himself, he belongs....Brian S. is not having any magical effect on the is not going anywhere....stop acting like Flores is so catcher, at 1st and LF.....lets see what he can do......PLEASE ASK ACTA

Posted by: Confussed by Manny... | July 26, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

That hurts. Guys actually drive the ball with men in scoring position, Cordero looks like he's put together an entirely uneventful save and then....ouch! Mayhaps the impressive thing is that the Nationals actually stayed in it for another three innings plus after that. At least that's the brightest face I can put on it.

Posted by: Salty Dog. | July 26, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Ladson wrote that Young is close to signing a 2-year extension with the Nationals.

Barry, true?

Posted by: Ashburn | July 26, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Wow. That's great news about the Hook's contract on Let's true.

Paul, I like your line up. I'd insert Dimitri for Willy Mo and flip-flop Rowand and Zimmerman, though. Rowand's older, more proven, and can handle the middle of the order pressure. In the 6 hole, Zim would flourish. The weak link is Lopez in the lead off spot.

Let's not get too excited about Flores. I might be willing to back off my statement that he should go to AAA next year, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Schneider is the guts of this team, and does have a strong effect on this pitching staff. Flores is good platoon, bat off the bench guy at best right now. The only problem is that if you want to use him as prime pinch hitter, you need three catchers on the roster. That have that now with Fick, but I'd assume (and am hoping) he's gone at the end of the year.

Posted by: #4 | July 26, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

from last thread:

Re: Young v. Batista

EVERYONE here should know I am a Meat Hook Partisan (a carnivore, perhaps? New term for someone in favor of keeping Dmitri - carnivore).

All the same, I have to point out that by the time we got to the bottom of the 9th Young had gone 0 for 4 and Batista had gone 1 for 1 with a big, big double. Given that a) he's a better fielder and b) he's just gotten a game-changing hit, let the man play.

Also, on Young news:
PHILADELPHIA -- First baseman Dmitri Young is close to signing a two-year extension with the Nationals, according to multiple sources. The move would come a few days after the team signed infielder Ronnie Belliard to an extension.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 26, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

A few more thoughts on last night(this is helpful therapy):

1. I have TiVo, and before the Nats arrived I was an Oakland A's fan exclusively. Whenever the bottom of the A's lineup came up a few years back (Terrence Long and Chris Singleton come to mind especially) I would go into fast forward mode; I knew I would never miss anything. It never failed. Nothing would ever materialize. The same policy might be said to apply to the entire Nats lineup. Yes, Belliard, Zimmerman, and Young might at odd times piece something together, but on the whole it's a good bet if you move quickly on your TiVo you won't miss much. The 10th through 14th innings last night were excruciating. Thus, the argument for Manny Acta for manager of the year. To have a team this impotent this competitive is remarkable.

2. On the other hand, Acta last night commented that "this is the big leagues" when he put forth that plays like the Rollins fiasco shouldn't happen. I haven't gone back to verify this, but hasn't he said something to that effect a number of times this year? When does the responsibility fall on him for the minor league-ish quality of play at times? Or does he simply have to play the hand he's dealt, as the job description of a major league manager doesn't include instruction and drilling on fundamentals? That work needs to have been done earlier, perhaps. I don't know whether I'm more simply raising a question or criticizing, but when you have a team this lacking in talent and performance, you better make sure that it executes the basics well. The Nats have plenty of pluck, and I'm sure Acta's positive approach has much to do with that. It's just frustrating that they can't support that resilience with better-played baseball.

Posted by: GoNats | July 26, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Incredible. A morning posting from Barry after a post-midnight game. I'll bet the soccer blog guy doesn't show such dedication.

Thanks, Barry. You're lifting our spirits already.

Posted by: lowcountrynatsfan | July 26, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for calling the Nats Talk Therapy Line. We are experiencing an usually high volume of calls, but your call is very important to us. Please hold for the next available operator (cue "Volare" Muzak)


thank you for a

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 26, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I meant to cut and paste GoNats line on the bottom of my posting. Curse you, submit button.

A few more thoughts on last night(this is helpful therapy):

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 26, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Willy Mo Pena?

You're not fooling anyone by posting with a phony name, Mr. Bowden.

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 26, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I know I'm going to get flamed here but I think signing Young to an extension is a mistake. He's playing over his head. I'd cash him out for what we can get now.

As an aside, Ladson of has an annoying habit of interjecting his own opinions as fact. He calls Young "the most important player on the Nationals." Is Young really more IMPORTANT than Zimmerman? I really appreciate you Barry for reporting fact as fact and opinion as opinion.

No Wily Mo Pena, PLEASE!!! The guy has less baseball instinct than Nook Logan. We have enough inconsistent outfielders who can't field and can barely hit.

Posted by: Ray | July 26, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Heaven forbid, but if Lannan falters early today, why can't they use Traber? If he has to go 2-3 innings today, couldn't they conceivably call someone else to start on Saturday, or have one of the Saturday games be like a Spring Training game and have Traber, Schroder, Rivera, etc all go 2+ innings?

And as much as I love what Da Meat Hook has done for the Nats this year, I agree that this is probably the best he'll be and signing him for 2 years is not the best thing to do for this club. Trade him now while we still can get decent players in return.

Posted by: e | July 26, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Ray, are you trying to be the only contender for the "least probably athlete" title on the Washington Nationals?

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 26, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

To be fair to Ladson, he says in the Meat Sheet "Young has been the most important player on the Nationals this season."

While Ray has a point about the subjectiveness of what "most important" might mean - to a franchise, a locker room, a team bus - I don't think there's much objection that Da Meat HAS been the most important POSITIVE player on the Nats this year...

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | July 26, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

The news about Young apparently means that, for now, no other team in meeting Bowden's asking price. If he his signed, he could still be traded between now and next opening day, depending on the value of the deal.

The man is not playing over his head by that much. If "what you can get" is absurdly low", what would be the point. Would you change your mind if Nick is gone for good (adendum to above, does possible deal mean Nick is done?)?

Posted by: Section 417 Row 8 Seat 9 | July 26, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Okay, Barry brought up earlier this week the difficulty of having a poll on Young as long as we don't know what we're getting for a deal. Fair enough.

So I propose a different poll. It's a scale. chime in with what you think:

1. Trade Young for anything, even hot dog buns
2. Another 4th Outfielder is always helpful
3. Nothing like a solid up and coming utility guy or proven bench power
4. I really could go either way (probably, because I have no spine)
5. I want to see a prospect that will lead us to World Series
6. I want to see a prospect that can be called up and make a difference NOW
7. If you trade Dmitri, JimBo, I WILL show up at your house

Minus my editorializing, this is a series question. Where are you on the scale?

I'm a 6.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 26, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Dmitri Young to left field next year? Could get ugly, but the offense would really thrive.

Posted by: Jason | July 26, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I slurred, "Minus my editorializing, this is a series [sic] question"

I claim the "watched the whole thing last night" defense. I know how tired I am, I can only imagine Schneider

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 26, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Nice post GoNats.

You raise an interesting question about the role mangers play in instilling fundamentals. According to the MASN broadcast team, the Nats have been doing early work on their defensive fundamentals lately. Manny has been bringing the entire team in early to drill defensive situations, etc. This is something that few teams in the big leagues do. I saw the Orioles botch a run down one time in August and asked someone who has experience in big league ball when the last time the Orioles worked on stuff like that probably was. He replied, "Spring training". He said the only team that drilled fundamentals consistently at the time we had the conversation (about 6-7 years ago) was the Tom Kelly Twins - not surprisingly one of the most fundamentally sound teams in the Big Leagues.

I think Manny's trying to do the right things.

Also on the '08 line up. Let's find a speedy RF to bat lead off.

Posted by: #4 | July 26, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Willy Mo Pena? Aaron Rowland? I think it much more likely to see Adam Dunn in LF and Brandon Watson in CF next year.

Posted by: estuartj | July 26, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I'll allow Watson...but no Dunn. I just think Rowand is way underrated and would be great for this team. Wily Mo does appear to suck but there was an article up in Boston quoting Ortiz how he is positive one day Wily will just figure it all out and surprise everyone just like he did. I'd like to have our own Big Papi for sure.

Posted by: Paul | July 26, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

One thing to consider, if DYoung was in left field last night during the 9th inning (arguably, he wouldn't have been), there wouldn't have been any confusion over who gets the ball!

I'm guessing the offers for Da Meat aren't bringing any prospects in return. If others aren't offering, and we get nothing at the end of the season, you better believe I say sign him! We're not talking mega-millions here, and his presence in many forms is worth more than the nothing after Oct 1. Still keep shopping until August, but if no takers, sign him up!

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | July 26, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I'd agree that Rowand would be better than Dunn, but remember that by all accounts Bowden wants to make the Nats the Reds-East.

Part of this is legit, we haven't been able to do enough scouting yet (and I bet what we have done is on A & AA talent, not MLB Players) so Bowden goes with talent he knows from personal experience. The down side is it could be like Spurrier signing every UofF WR he could get his hands on, but none of them could play in the NFL.

Posted by: estuartj | July 26, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

You are right that Madson says "most important player on the Nationals this season." I still think that is an opinion that we could debate, not a fact, and has no place in a news article about a possible extension. Personally, I think Ryan Zimmerman is the most important player on the Nationals last season, this season, and in many seasons in the future.

I think others make good points resigning Dmitri -- you can't look at it in a vaccum. Nick Johnson and what we would get in return are both factors, as is the amount of money it would take to resign him. Another point is that people here really seem to like him a lot and I think this franchise has already let too many popular players go (Jamie Carroll for instance.) But as for me, I still think trading him, assuming we could get a decent prospect, would be the way to go.

Posted by: Ray | July 26, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Hey all, new thread posted - specifically about Young.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I am a big fan of Da Meat. However, we should not be paying more than 2.5 to 3.0 million per year for his services. I have heard mention of 4 or 5 million per year. Does anyone know what kind of money is involved?

Posted by: Mr. 300* | July 26, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I dont' think bowden knows what he's doing period... he traded Jamey carol to the rockies for what $500k in cash? one of the better bench players we've ever had... same thing with marlon anderson last year. Now we hear rumors that he's going after strikeout demigod dunn? Willy mo pena is a younger dunn...

What the team needs is another Johnson batting wise, a patient hitter who can make opposing pitchers work... Rowand fits that bill, so too does the japanese player (forgets his name) whose coming in after this season (I would love for the nats to go after him...)

btw... looking at that replay from last night... Church had it, he was in a much better position than langy was. I dont' care of langerhans called him off, I seriously doubt he would have caught it.

Posted by: highboom | July 26, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Its Ladson not could I make that mistake about the most important Nats beat writer?

Wily Mo Pena is NOT Adam Dunn, believe me. Wily Mo Pena has the baseball talent of Michael Jordan. He's one of those guys who have 'tools' but no game. I still think Dunn would be a great addition here. He actually HITS home runs (as opposed to Wily Mo, who looks like he could but doesn't.) Dunn would be a better player here in this 'never say die' enviornment than he currently is in the Griffey-led Cincinnati clubhouse.

Not sure how much of this Rowand love is due to his good series against us. He's having a career year this year and there's just something about him that I am not convinced about. I think he's closer to Ryan Freel numbers long term.

Posted by: Ray | July 26, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Love re-signing Da Meat. Can't go wrong there. If you don't doubt that Johnson will be back at 100%, you haven't been paying attention. VERY unlikely he'll be back this year, now have to worry if he can make it back at all. That would be tragic but you have to consider it at this point. The Meat is fantastic insurance. He's not that far over his career average of .292.

Wily Mo, no. Don't we already have like 5 guys that have 254/24/68 for career averages?? Granted he has the potential to do more but so do Kearns and Church and me for that matter. Why take a guy w/ 5 years in the majors and mediocre numbers? If we're going to free agents, let's wait until we are ready to pay for a proven 285/30/100 guy.

Dunn is better, 240/40/94 but is that worth $10m? career OBP is only .380 which is pretty average maybe below, can't remember. I never know what to think of a guy w/ low average but strong power numbers. Is that more valuable than a .300 hitter w/ 70 RBI?

Posted by: mlwagnercpa | July 26, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Hey... Logan and Langerhans BLOW... how's about calling Watson back up and letting the kid play... how about letting ALL the kids play (Casto 4th outfielder, Zinicola in the bullpen, Broadway pinch-hitting off the bench and spelling Young at first). I mean, how is Bowden gonna know if any of these guys can play if he isn't willing to bring them up and give 'em some innings!?!?!? I simply do NOT see the point of playing Logan and Langerhans... it's painful, really.

I'm happy they brought up Lannan and Hanrahan... but only once injuries made it absolutely necessary.

Bowden needs to go. He should have traded Cordero for Humber. He should have traded Soriano last year. He should have traded Young and Belliard. He shouldn't have traded for Kearns and Lopez.

Posted by: Kevin Spacey | July 31, 2007 6:28 PM | Report abuse

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