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The homestretch

Three weeks from this morning, you will wake up, and there will be no Nationals game. Not that night. Not the next night. Not till next April.

(By the way, did the Redskins win yesterday? I couldn't tell from today's paper.)

Nats record: 64-79. Nats pace: 73-89. My prediction: 62-100. I'm not looking so good right now. I would think that if Acta can get them in that 73-75-win range, he'll get a healthy number of third-place votes for manager of the year. (Arizona's Bob Melvin would appear to be running away with it, no?)

Teams with worse records than Washington this morning: Florida, Pittsburgh, Houston, Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Chicago White Sox. Teams with same record: Cincinnati.

I'm not in Florida this week - Amy Shipley, who lives in Miami, filling in for me down there - but I'll keep posting to the Journal, continuing the position-by-position breakdown (we have some interesting ones left - center field, the bullpen, the rotation - and I think I'll even throw in some manager and front office entries eventually). But I thought, with three weeks left, it might be good to discuss what your most pleasant and unpleasant surprises of this year were.

I'll just throw a few out there in no particular order. But this list is just a conversation-starter. You tell me what you think.

· Dmitri Young. Anybody see this coming?
· Dmitri Young's two-year, $10 million extenstion. Anybody see that coming?
· Shawn Hill
· John Patterson
· Manny Acta - what did you expect, and are you getting it?
· Nook Logan
· Ryan Zimmerman's defense - 23 errors
· Ryan Zimmerman's offense - 23 homers
· Felipe Lopez - is he really better than this? (.262 career hitter coming into the year, .244 now)
· Jon Rauch - the setup guy for years to come?
· Ronnie Belliard - would you feel comfortable if he was the everyday second baseman again? (Not saying he will be.)
· Jesus Flores

Yes, this is a way for me to be able to sidestep an actual thought-out post. But depending on your answers, it could inform what I post about for the rest of the season.

As for the Journal's future - don't worry, we'll keep it going after the season. I'll be on the road all during October for the playoffs, so I'll bring you Nationals news in the Journal, as well as some thoughts from the playoffs.

Here's the gamer from yesterday's feel-good win, as well as the notebook, which addresses Felipe Lopez's unwillingness to talk. Podcast is there today, but will be on a three-game hiatus while I'm away from the team.

Anyway, have at it, and I'll get you good position-by-position breakdowns in the next couple days.

By Barry Svrluga  |  September 10, 2007; 11:12 AM ET
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