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One year ago

Scheduling note: Because Stan Kasten is holding an "informal media roundtable" (at which I'm sure he'll offer little if any insight into things such as next year's season ticket base and his offseason strategy for improving the team) at 1 p.m., the chat has been moved till 2:15 p.m. Please join me then.

One year ago today - Sept. 19, 2006 - the Washington Nationals fielded the following starting lineup against the Atlanta Braves:

Alfronso Soriano - 7
Felipe Lopez - 6
Ryan Zimmerman - 5
Nick Johnson - 3
Austin Kearns - 9
Jose Vidro - 4
Brandon Harper - 2
Nook Logan - 8
Beltran Perez - 1

They beat the Braves 9-2 to move to 66-85 on the year. We know the fate of all those players. Soriano left for the riches of the Cubs and finds himself in a playoff race. Johnson is home in Sacramento, approaching the Sept. 23 anniversary of the accident in which he broke his right leg, and he hasn't played since. Vidro was traded to Seattle was had been in a pennant race until recently. Harper struggled to hit .180 with Class AAA Columbus this year, and Perez - and emergency starter if there ever was one - never quite got it together for Class AA Harrisburg this year.

Last night, the Nationals featured this lineup:

Nook Logan - 8
Felipe Lopez - 6
Ryan Zimmerman - 5
Wily Mo Pena - 7
Austin Kearns - 9
Ronnie Belliard - 4
Robert Fick - 3
Brian Schneider - 2
Joel Hanrahan - 1

Where are the upgrades? Where's the progress? Who in that group provides a true boost over the lineup from a year ago?

With that, the Nationals went out and beat the Mets, 9-8, to move to 68-83. They have 11 games remaining. They need to win three of them to match last year's 71-91 record. They must go 4-7 to better that mark, which, it seems to me, would be a remarkable achievement.

Just a random thought.

Here's another: Felipe Lopez drove in his first run since Aug. 12 last night. That's a stretch of 31 games played in and 27 starts without an RBI. Sheinin was at the game last night (you'll see his sidebar on Team Tension, the Mets, in the $.35 edition) and he figured out for me that that's the 11th-longest streak of starts without an RBI by a position player in the last decade. For what it's worth.

Ronnie Belliard, Felipe Lopez, Cristian Guzman, shortstop, second base, 2008. Discuss.

I'll get you something meaty mid-day. I hope you're enjoying this spoiler thing against the Mets. Here's what Belliard said: "We want to take it to the Phillies, too."

By Barry Svrluga  |  September 19, 2007; 12:16 AM ET
 
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