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Lineups -- and general demeanor

There are some guys on this team that are sick of losing. Really sick of it. I suppose that should be obvious, but because baseball's so daily, so relentless, sometimes I swear you can't tell.

What does that mean, that it'll stop? Of course not. Not necessarily. But if things don't turn around soon, I think we could see some guys with some rather frank public remarks.

Injury updates: Paul Lo Duca tried to hit, felt better, but now has problems throwing. He's out of the lineup, available in an emergency.

Shawn Hill set to start tomorrow. He's optimistic it'll be the first of 30 or so starts. Are you?

Felipe Lopez will play second base and lead off today, and he'll play shortstop tomorrow. "I need to get Felipe some at-bats," Manny Acta said. "We're struggling offensively."

The bench guys, in general, feel like they need more action. They're certainly not getting it done in pinch-hitting roles.

Wil Nieves: Drew raves for his game-calling and defensive performance last night, though he beat himself up over Hanrahan's last wild pitch. "Tremendous," Acta said, "and it doesn't surprise me."

John Lannan: He said his slider was as sharp as it's ever been last night, and it was the first time he had thrown a backdoor slider to right-handed hitters. Very effective. He's excited.

Lineups:

Washington:
Lopez -- 4
Guzman -- 6
Zimmerman -- 5
Johnson -- 3
Milledge -- 8
Kearns -- 9
Pena -- 7
Estrada -- 2
Redding -- 1

Florida:
Ramirez -- 6
Uggla -- 4
Hermida -- 9
Willingham -- 7
Jaconbs -- 9
Helms -- 5
Rabelo -- 2
Amezaga -- 8
A. Miller -- 1

Whatever you've been doing when you watch the games recently -- mix it up.

By Barry Svrluga  |  April 18, 2008; 5:50 PM ET
 
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Next: Bienvenidos a Miami!

Comments

I'm hoping it's the first of 30 starts for Hill, but can't possibly believe it. And lately I've been watching the Caps while watching the Nats (sprinkling in the Masters for good measure). Lots of going backwards by both teams and several golfers. Let's hope the home teams can right their respective ships...

Posted by: mo | April 18, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Amidst this grueling stretch there is a silver lining, albeit a dull silver lining. It's always exciting to see the young talent get opportunities to shine. Lannan put on a show last night. Here's wishing Shawn Hill the best tomorrow.

Posted by: Willy | April 18, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Barry, I've written e-mails to Washington Post Live and others have done the same on message boards and in the comments section for NJ, you do a great job covering the Nats. Don't leave the beat! The olympics and the Skins don't need you.

We know you have season tickets and at the same time I know that beat writers have to tell it like it is, but it seems like you really do like this group of guys and you are pulling for them. That's awesome.

You get my patented "stud of the day" award.

Posted by: Section 111 (Formerly 223 @ RFK) | April 18, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

As a gift to all of you, I have decided to watch this game. The last one I watched? Oh, that was just the one on Sunday.

(Don't mock me. I'm six hours ahead, so it requires a significant sacrifice of sleep. But I'm willing to take that one for the team, so to speak.)

Posted by: Budapest, Hungary | April 18, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Hopeful but not optimistic about 30 starts for Hill. For the simple reason that the pain was mysterious and that it's not really fixed, he's just working around it.

Knowing he's pitching through regular pain makes me feel like he's just a time bomb ticking. I'm already waiting for the other shoe to drop and he hasn't started yet.

Still hopeful, though, as always.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 18, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

"the bench guys, in general, feel they need more action"

That statement actually made me chuckle.

If any of them hit above .250 I would make them starters, even .225!

Posted by: Dale | April 18, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Barry -- the next Mike Wise.

Shawn Hill -- the next John Patterson. (alas)

Posted by: swanni | April 18, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

I shall mix up my game viewing and check out tonights game through a kaleidoscope.

That way if its a loss, it will be a pretty loss.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | April 18, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse

I shall watch the game while standing on my head - or not. hmmm, actually, I usually listen to the game on the radio (no cable), but tonite I will watch on TV 20. So I suppose that's mixing it up. Go Nats!!!!!!!

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 18, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

I would love to see Hill get 30 starts, but I'm not very optimistic that he will.

Posted by: LANats | April 18, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Amidst this grueling stretch there is a silver lining, albeit a dull silver lining. It's always exciting to see the young talent get opportunities to shine. Lannan put on a show last night. Here's wishing Shawn Hill the best tomorrow.
--------------------------------------

Pitching is much better than it was last year at this time, which is why it's puzzling that this team isn't playing better. Maybe Lopez will create a little spark. Belliard really hasn't added anything as of yet.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 18, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Prayin' for a win!

Maybe I can catch some on the interweb.

Go Nats!

Posted by: Patty | April 18, 2008 7:03 PM | Report abuse

"Paul Lo Duca tried to hit, felt better, but now has problems throwing."

*NOW* has problems throwing? you sure he didn't sustain that bruise a few weeks ago?

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZING!

Posted by: 231 | April 18, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

I plan to neither watch nor listen to tonight's game. That way if the Nats win I'm pleasantly surprised later. If they lose, I've spared myself of three hours of more torture.

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 18, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Off to a good start!

Posted by: BSG | April 18, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

I'll mix it up by watching the TV muted and listening to Charlie Slowes rattle my speaker while chatting on my laptop. That should induce enough pain to justify the amount of alcohol that I have stocked up for this weekend.

Now, if Manny Acta would mix up the lineup to see if something else will work, since what we have now is less than optimum.

Posted by: Bote Man | April 18, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

I've been sitting upstairs to watch the games recently. Tonight? Downstairs. Made that change before I even read this and Felipe gets a leadoff double followed by a walk to the Guz. Must be working! ;)

(I think the last time I watched a game downstairs was Opening Night, FWIW.)

Posted by: JennX | April 18, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Nieves is beating himself up about that WP? Wow! I could see 'maybe' being upset about the first one, as it was a routine shorthop that was swung at, but not that second one, it went over his head!

Posted by: natrat | April 18, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

natsfan1a-- it's on channel 20 tonight. no cable necessary!

(btw, it baffles me that so many of you die-hards don't have cable or even TVs... if only to be able to watch our team every night!)

Posted by: JennX | April 18, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Barry Svrluga is an excellent writer with a remarkable gift for telling a story while reporting salient facts in context. He is also an extremely amusing fellow. I thought his quiz was not only an intersting way to report how poorly the team is playing but also an accurate reflection of the state of the club. For the crumudgeons who criticize the approach as unprofessional I can only respond: "thpphhhhtttt".

Barry please keep up the good work and be sure to mentor your replacement on the gift of snark. Great stuff1

Posted by: NatBisquit | April 18, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

...Great stuff!...

Posted by: NatBisquit | April 18, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Anyone know why Carpenter isn't calling the game with Sutton? Who's this dude doing play-by-play?

Posted by: Section 138 | April 18, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Did Charlie Slowes just use the phrase "hitting streak" in reference to one of the Washington Nationals?

*faint*

Posted by: i hate walks | April 18, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Did Charlie Slowes just use the phrase "hitting streak" in reference to one of the Washington Nationals?

*faint*

Posted by: i hate walks | April 18, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

....Curmudgeons.

Posted by: NatBisquit | April 18, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

JennX --

I don't have cable either (the rabbit ears on my 42" LCD looks kinda funny, but so what).

I have Verizon FiOS and I absolutely refuse to get the TV service until MASN is included in the most basic package. I _will not_ pay an extra fee to watch my local baseball team. That's just un-American.

Thanks for giving me the chance to air that :)

Oh, I noticed in some bulk snail-mail I got last week that Cox cable subscribers have to do the same. Also un-American. Sheesh.

Posted by: i hate walks | April 18, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Not to split hairs here (and I clearly don't have enough to do so...), but did anyone else notice that Estrada missed about four pitches? It didn't matter when there wasn't anyone on base, but that concerns me, especially as the game goes on...

Posted by: TimDz | April 18, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Bob Carpenter is off this weekend. Johnny Holliday is working with Sutton.

Posted by: BSG | April 18, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Did WMP just BARK at the fans on the left field line?

Posted by: TimDz | April 18, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Bob Carpenter is off this weekend. Johnny Holliday is working with Sutton.

Posted by: BSG | April 18, 2008 7:46 PM

-------------------------------

Thank you, BSG. That was KILLING me. Not sure why.

Posted by: Section 138 | April 18, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse

To i hate walks, MASN is included in the normal tier of FIOS programming. It's not in the true basic (essentially local channels only), but I didn't think anyone ordered that anyway. It's called Fios TV Premier, but it's essentially what you'd get with basic cable (CNN, ESPN, etc).

On another note, I am much happier listening to Johnny Holliday than Bob Carpenter tonight. Many fewer bad jokes and puns.

Posted by: mo | April 18, 2008 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Q & A ... very funny.

On shaking things up ... I am listening on my laptop in a hotel in Madision.

Was wandering around the area today and am happy to report that I saw hats w/curly Ws in a hat shop on State Street. (No, they were not Wisconsin Ws.) When I expressed my happiness and a little bit of surprise, the guy in the hat shop said the curly W hats have been selling fairly well.

Go Nats! America's team!

Posted by: dcbatgirl | April 18, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

What's that? 10 strikeouts? For a second night in a row? From a NATIONALS pitcher??


Add that to the list from last night, cats and kittens. Maybe the pitching really is better this year. . . .

. . . and then they blow the lead. Sigh. SIGH.

Posted by: Atlanta | April 18, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

whimper

Posted by: Positively Half St. | April 18, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Wow...there's something new...a blown lead in the 6th inning...
Crap...

Posted by: TimDz | April 18, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

What's that? 10 strikeouts? For a second night in a row? From a NATIONALS pitcher??


Add that to the list from last night, cats and kittens. Maybe the pitching really is better this year. . . .

Posted by: Atlanta | April 18, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Wow...there's something new...a blown lead in the 6th inning...
Crap...

Posted by: TimDz | April 18, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

I think Willingham's homer was my fault. I just came home and put the game on mlb audio, like I always do, and a few minutes later they took the lead.

I'm going to turn it off and go to the grocery store.

Very sorry.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 18, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Bases loaded with one out...Zimmerman up...needs to jump out of his slump now...

Posted by: TimDz | April 18, 2008 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Zimm did not need a "big hit" he just needed a long fly ball -instead we get weak ground ball. Somebody needs to tell that young man to relax.

Posted by: lowcountry | April 18, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

YESYESYESYESYESYESYES!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: TimDz | April 18, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Way to do it NJ!!!!!

Posted by: TimDz | April 18, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Thataboy NJ

Posted by: lowcountry | April 18, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Dat's MY Nickie!!!! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!!!!

Posted by: Juan-John | April 18, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

wow..there's something new....a big comeback in the 7th inning!

Posted by: joNAThan | April 18, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

FINALLY! A CLUTCH HIT!!!

(wild celebrating in the JennX household!)

Posted by: JennX | April 18, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Now I don't care if they lose. I just needed to see ONE bases-clearing double by MY Nationals to renew my faith in this season, whether it be a losing or a winning one, I don't care.

Hhhhhhhhhh...

:-) :-) :-) :-)

Posted by: Juan-John | April 18, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Someone should call NatsNut and thank her...

Posted by: Wigi | April 18, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Just keep it downstairs JennX. And somebody should check to make sure Budapest is still awake (not that we're desperate for a win or anything)

Posted by: lowcountry | April 18, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Yell it out loud jennX...

Posted by: TimDz | April 18, 2008 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Oh, don't worry. I'm still here. Exhausted and SO ready for bed, but I'm here for the long haul. I'm just as desperate for a win as the rest of y'all.

Posted by: Budapest | April 18, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Barry - you need to let the team know the lengths that some of these people (Budapest, JennX, NatsNut) are going to in order to break this streak.

Posted by: lowcountry | April 18, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Redding could be really good if he could get through more than 5-6 innings. Looked great up until the 7th

Posted by: ExtremeNats.com | April 18, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Listening to Mr. Bang Zoom tonight. Kinda a change.

Way to go Nick da Stick!

I for one, like Carpenter. As I was walking up from the parking lot to the last game at RFK I saw him and he shook my hand along with a few other fans. He seemed genuinely bummed that (at the time he thought) he wouldn't be back. I'm glad he is.

Posted by: nattaboy | April 18, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

staying firmly glued to my downstairs seat here... :)

Posted by: JennX | April 18, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Careful Jenn...that could be painful...

Posted by: TimDz | April 18, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Way to go FLop! Get him across Zimm

Posted by: lowcountry | April 18, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse

C'mon, Wookie, shut 'em down...

Posted by: Juan-John | April 18, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Wish I had used my real log-in for that call.

-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

A combination of good pitching and our hitters having a break-out game leads to a big Nats victory tonight. Lock it in.

Posted by: (419 + 1) * 0 | April 18, 2008 5:01 PM

Posted by: (419 + 1) * 0 | April 18, 2008 9:59 PM | Report abuse

a come from behind WIN? WHODATHUNKIT???

Posted by: TimDz | April 18, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse

That'll do, boys. That'll do.


And thank God, now I get to go to bed. GOODNIGHT, Planet NJ.

Posted by: Budapest | April 18, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Goodnight, Budapest!

That sure makes doing ecotoxicology homework on a Friday night much more palatable. :)

Posted by: JennX | April 18, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

yeeeeeeehaw

gotta love dem curly Ws

Posted by: nattaboy | April 18, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

ATTABOY, Wookie!!

I swear, after Nickie's bases-clearing double, I did the same amount of dancing in my apartment as that after-midnight game when the Nats beat the Fish last year after a Zimmerman GW homer.

This win psychologically for me clears out the remaining baggage from that game last August when the Chief couldn't protect a 5-run, seven-inning gem by Shawn Hill against Colorado, who, if they had lost THAT ONE GAME, would NEVER have gotten to the post-season.

GO NATS!!!!!

Posted by: Juan-John | April 18, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Hah! I KNEW last night was a positive! Things WILL turn around - they ARE turning around!

Oh, ye of little faith, Barry!

Michael

Posted by: Michael | April 18, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

OK, we are 2-3 in the last five. Much better than 9 losses in a row. Keep it going boys. I needed that almost as much as you did.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | April 18, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Where the heck is NatsXtra PostGame tonight?

Posted by: Baldino | April 18, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

It worked???

I just got home again and came here first. Did we seriously win???

Posted by: NatsNut | April 18, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

A win?!? A win!! Pretty decent game, too. More great pitching - and some bats came alive!

Posted by: samantha7 | April 18, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Happy days are here again : < ))

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | April 18, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

PlanetNJ owes you a big round of thanks, NatsNut. ;)

Posted by: JennX | April 18, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

I have Comcast, and can never find Nats Xtra when the game is on 20. Where should I be looking - does anyone get it? If not, why do they say they are broadcasting it?

Posted by: Traveler | April 18, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

We'll see you in November NatsNut!

Posted by: lowcountry | April 18, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Holy Smokes! I'm bummed I missed it all, but whatever. We won!!! We won!!!

Posted by: NatsNut | April 18, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

I was driving from NYC to Boston tonight...I get on the MassPike and start scanning AM radio...1500 AM has Nats-Marlins on! What?! In Central Massachusetts?! I couldn't believe it. As soon as I heard the score, I really couldn't believe it! Understanding the importance of the situation, and utterly terrified of driving out of range of this station, I took the next exit, parked, and listened to the final 2 innings. A win! GO NATS! Already a great weekend.

Posted by: Nat Gas Futures | April 18, 2008 10:28 PM | Report abuse

"I have Comcast, and can never find Nats Xtra when the game is on 20. Where should I be looking - does anyone get it? If not, why do they say they are broadcasting it?"

I have the same problem. Help? Thanks.

Posted by: Baldino | April 18, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Thank goodness it didn't go into extra innings. I don't think that I could have stood on my head for 5 hours. ;-) Thanks for the info on FIOS TV, guys. I've been trying to make a case for it to my husband for a couple of years but have not yet succeeded. I was yelling at the tv *before* Nick's bases clearing double - "break the cycle - you will not strand the bases loaded again." After he did it, my husband came down to the basement to see what all of the shouting was about. Maybe it's the full moon?

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 18, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Baldino,just found it on 42 - no sure why there is a delay. Other nights it doesn't seem to come on at all.

Posted by: Traveler | April 18, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Nat Gas Futures,

I like your dedication. (It's also something I'd do.)

Posted by: samantha7 | April 18, 2008 10:33 PM | Report abuse

and John in Mpls must be at Burger King?

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 18, 2008 10:33 PM | Report abuse

"Baldino,just found it on 42 - no sure why there is a delay. Other nights it doesn't seem to come on at all."

Thanks for the info. It finally appeared on 42 for me too...Just in time for it to end! Oh well... NATS WON!!

Posted by: Baldino | April 18, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Hey, scanning the comments here, it looks like we owe you thanks too, JennX! You did a great job watching downstairs! And Budapest, think of us when you yawn tomorrow! and Nat Gas Futures, too. Thanks everyone, hugs all around.

Oh. And the team. Thanks Nats... :)

Posted by: NatsNut | April 18, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Virtual high five coming at you...

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 18, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Y'all are hilarious. Nat Gas Futures-- I cracked up picturing you pulling off the highway in fear of losing the signal because, like samantha7, I would do the same thing!

Posted by: JennX | April 18, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse

I know it's a little late (just checking in), but I had to flip from 20 to MASN (102 on Fairfax County COX) to catch Nats Xtra.

Posted by: BSG | April 18, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Okay, so, for what would you do to win, who was it who said give Belliard the night off and bat Felipe Lopez in the lead off spot?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 18, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

And apparently Lopez will get the start at short in tomorrow's game. And, FYI, Paul LoDuca was put on the DL to make room for Shawn Hill. Hill will start tomorrow.

Posted by: BSG | April 18, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

HOw bout some love for Felipe? He had a great game, was all over the bases, scored 2 runs, went 3-5, should've had 4. Nice dive into first for a single. For all the crap we give the guy, i'm here to give him a big attaboy. Great win tonight, great game by Redding, Johnson and all the boys tonight. This is the kind of game that can turn things around.

Hooray beer! HOORaY NATS!!!

Posted by: BigRoy | April 18, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Checked out GameDay and it looked like they put Harris in for Redding right before we got the lead back. I guess Redding still got the win. Awesome.

Did ya'll know GameDay now embeds a video link on some of the plays if you go back inning by inning? Very cool.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 18, 2008 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Wait, John would not have been at Burger King. I'm so confused...

At any rate - attaboy, F-Lope; attaboy, Redding; attaboy, Nick, attateam, Nats!!

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 18, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Just got back from the Artmosphere Cafe where I couldn't hear or see the game and by the time my friend and I left the postgame show was over. See where I missed NJ's big night. Will be in the house for Hill's start tomorrow, especially since Paulie Walnuts has been DL'ed to make room.

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 18, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Didn't know that about GameDay. Thanks, NatsNut!

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 18, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Yes, that's good info about GameDay. My thanks, too.

Posted by: samantha7 | April 18, 2008 11:14 PM | Report abuse

By the way, the Marlins are in first place (actually, I believe they slipped into second by losing tonight), but they only drew 13,000 fans tonight. Looking at their history of pathetic attendance numbers, plus the fact that the Orioles have also had a couple of games in the 10K range, I don't think we should be complaining about our attendance. We'll get good crowds in the months ahead, starting with the Cubs series next weekend. How the heck can they justify buildling a new stadium for the Marlins when they obviosuly don't have much of a fanbase?

Posted by: BSG | April 18, 2008 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Ok, tonight was date night with the wife, a nice dinner and some jazz on U Street. So I'm late to the party. I know the final score because I caught it on the radio while retrieving the car. But I don't know the how's and why's yet. I will say this: When I read the lineup my initial reaction was "Wow, how great would it be if that really worked." Millz, AK and Pena is potentially explosive, almost like a second top of the order. Now I am going to read the posts and watch the highlights. More later.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 18, 2008 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I'm at least partially up to speed having read the comments. Nothing like a win to calm the NJ waters. Thoughts;

Mike Wise is no Barry. No offense to Mike, just a style preference on my part.

Hill with 30 starts? You know what, I'm getting on that train. We deserve at least one surprise positive development.

Budapest - Thanks! And a question: Buda, Obuda or Pest? Fisherman's Wharf, perhaps?

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 19, 2008 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Waitaminnit -- did I read the ESPN bottom-screen crawl right:

Redding had TEN strikeouts?!?

TEN?!? as in, ONE-ZERO?!?

Posted by: Juan-John | April 19, 2008 12:29 AM | Report abuse

NatsGasFutures, much respect. I'd have done the same thing. Go Nats Go

Posted by: Trapper John | April 19, 2008 12:35 AM | Report abuse

Gee, the Nats looked like a normal baseball team last night instead of ...well... the Nats.

Johnson's double with the bases loaded was like a beautiful girl sending you a drink at the bar.

Posted by: Dale | April 19, 2008 6:49 AM | Report abuse

Change is Good!

Acta finally did something to show the team he is in the game too......He came out of the dugout and showed his team some life. Totally appropriate on that bad call. Just think if he had not what message he was sending the team! Acta also showed much more attitude on the bench. The cuts to him on Masn feed showed some animation, both smiles and anger/frustration with strikeouts.

Zimmernam finally showed some anger and frustration with loosing. Calls on him were fine but I think everyone on the bench got the vib that enough is enough and finally Zim was going to lead tonight.

Lopez earned his money! He looked great. He hit, he ran, he looked like he was a member of a team on the bench when others came back in. He sad next to Zim and Johnson.....not a small change for him people, I watch these thinks, never seen him sit next in that company. Big change. Big Change.

Wil N needs to stay on this team. A catcher who can catch....what a concept. Gives everyone in the field hope that they can hold a lead.

Just one game but some very different looks going on last night.

Posted by: JayB | April 19, 2008 7:03 AM | Report abuse

Some of us thought it would be a good time to thank the loyal following at NJ (no, we don't call this Nerds Journal). Last night was something that we think can be a foundation for a nice series. We're as tired of the Marlins as you all.

Anyhow, thanks for the support, you don't know how much it means. And we'll try to keep it rolling!

p.s. - We thought we'd be up early enough to beat you all to the punch, but we still got beat by a couple diehards!

Posted by: natsonthebus | April 19, 2008 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Not sure what to make of this....After reading Boz Chat this AM I find that he and I are on the same page on several issues. Milledge is no CF and has terrible instincts there. Management of the 25 man roster has been very poor. Catching decisions and Lo Duca are hurting the whole team. A few others.....Not sure I want to be on the same page as Boz....I watch a bunch more Nats baseball than he does......I could be all wrong about everything.......

Posted by: JayB | April 19, 2008 7:56 AM | Report abuse

There's no way that one of the leading baseball writers in the country could watch as many games or know as much about baseball as you, so I'm puzzled also.

Posted by: natsworld | April 19, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

That hemlock I took when the Nats gave up the lead in the third game at Shea had a kick like a mule! Just woke up. What happened? Is Nick still striking out with the bases loaded? Is Felipe still the reason the Nats are losing? Is Kyle Lohse still all that the Nats need to win the World Series? Does Manny have to start screaming and lose all his macho dignity in the clubhouse to get the team to win?

Posted by: flynnie | April 19, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Shawn Hill? 30 starts in one season? That would surpass the number of starts he has had his whole career...all four years of it.

I give him four starts before he is back on collecting a paycheck on the DL.

Posted by: NatsNQ | April 19, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

By the way, has anyone noticed that Potomac is tearing it up in Class A?

However, Ross Detwiler is still in Class A and he's NOT tearing it up? Wonder if the Nats are getting concerned about him?

Posted by: swanni | April 19, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

When I said Barry is the next Mike Wise, that was a compliment, folks. I see Barry becoming a columnist at the Post, covering national issues with baseball (hopefully) being his niche.

Posted by: swanni | April 19, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for your assessment, Joseph Pulitzer. Mike Wise is obviously a bum, what with the NYT and WP on his resume.

Posted by: fishbait | April 19, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Thanks natsonthebus! Know that despite our occassional lamentations and invectives here, we're behind you guys all the way. Great game last night - keep it going (and get those bunts down on the ground!)

Posted by: lowcountry | April 19, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Does Leonard Anthony "Lenny" Harris still have a lifetime batting average of 269, with 212 pinch hits, the most in the history of major league baseball? Does he still know nothing about hitting and needs to be fired ASAP for the team to win? Should the Nats be pinch-hitting at .250 to be acceptable, which would be an MLB record?

Posted by: flynnie | April 19, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

uh, that would be a no on all counts - it's curly W time. Yay! (but then your posting was probably tongue in cheek)

Check out today's gamer and report back. Also see the announcement a few threads back about our upcoming Nats Journal gathering. :)

---

That hemlock I took when the Nats gave up the lead in the third game at Shea had a kick like a mule! Just woke up. What happened? Is Nick still striking out with the bases loaded? Is Felipe still the reason the Nats are losing? Is Kyle Lohse still all that the Nats need to win the World Series? Does Manny have to start screaming and lose all his macho dignity in the clubhouse to get the team to win?

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 19, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

I'm all for keeping the Nats on the bus as opposed to throwing them under it. ;) Go Nats!

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 19, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Bob L: Aha! Someone familiar with this fair city. Buda, of course. Only those hipster troublemakers live in Pest.

Posted by: Budapest | April 19, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Mixed bag last night in the minors. Bergmann got knocked around pretty bad at Columbus, but J. Zimmermann (The Zim Reaper) had a good outing going 5 inning without giving up a run, 6k and 2BB. His ERA for his first 3 starts is a nice .61!

In Hagerstown Colton Willems caught a tough break, taking the loss despite giving up just 1 run in 4.2 innings (Hagerstown eventually lost 2-0), he did struggle a bit giving up 3BB and 4 hits while striking out 4. He had a tough first start, but his ERA for the season is 2.87 and he has 12k to 5BB. On the down side his BAA is .254 which is almost exactly the same as last year in SS Vermont (.251), he's still only 19yo (despite seeming like he's been here a long time).

Posted by: estuartj | April 19, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Why was last night different than any other night? A blessed Passover and Orthodox Easter to all who celebrate them.

Posted by: flynnie | April 19, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Good Saturday Morning 1A! Yes, a trifle sarcastic in my posts this morning. Thanks for your glad tidings! Are we still meeting on April 27th?

Posted by: flynnie | April 19, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Let's just hope last night was not different from ALL the rest flynnie. I'd hate to think that we have forty years of wandering ahead of us.

Posted by: lowcountry | April 19, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Good morning to you, too, flynnie! Yes, we're still planning to meet then. Here's the announcement again for you and others who may be interested:

Hey, fellow Nats fans and Constituents, it's almost time for the NJ faithful's first gathering of 2008!

Date: Sunday, April 27

Time: From 11:35 AM to approx. 1:05 PM (game time vs. the Cubs is 1:35 PM)

Where: We will plan to meet at Nationals Park on the right-field side of the center field gate (which opens 2.5 hours before game time) on the main concourse level. Somebody will be posted in that area with a Planet NJ sign, name tag, or some such identifier. Our scouts plan to arrive earlier and attempt to snag a picnic table (the tables are located behind sections 142 and 143 on the main concourse level). One of our scouts has learned that the tables can only be reserved as part of a group ticket package. However, unreserved tables may be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Our fall-back plan will be to pull up cement seats in a remote area of the park. See the maps of the main concourse level seating and concessions via the links below:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/was/ticketing/seating_pricing.jsp

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/sports/specials/natspark/

Attire: Baseball casual

What to bring: Your own drinking water and food (unless you plan to buy it inside the park). A blanket in case we are not able to snag a table and need to pull up cement seats in a remote area of the park. For Nationals policy on outside food and beverages, see the excerpt below (cut and pasted from the A-Z Guide on the team site):

"All food items must be contained in single serving bags within a soft-sided container or cooler, that does not exceed 16" x 16" x 8". Metal, plastic or glass containers of any kind (except for factory-sealed, plastic water bottles, no larger than 1 liter and juice boxes) are prohibited at Nationals Park. Only one bottle of water per person will be permitted."

Your hosts include: Natsfan1a, NatsNut, Hendo, and our special guest host - John in Mpls (only he'll be in D.C., not Mpls, but I digress).

Please join us so that we can put faces to the monikers (and see some familiar faces again)!

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 19, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Glad to see all our problems are solved Flynnie........just one problem (eye role)...WMP is an automatic out. I have never seen a MLB hitter take the same swing no matter where the ball is pitched. Opposing pitchers have to be laughing all the way to the dugout. All you have to do is throw a braking ball down an away. Start it in the middle end it a foot outside and he'll swing like it is a fastball on right down the middle every time. Is that the Lenny Harris hitting coach you are raving about?

Posted by: JayB | April 19, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Three major causes of the win last night:

1) Loduca got sent down. Finally some decent roster management. I'm a Wil N fan. I'm not sure Pauly brings a lot to this club house. Just a hunch, but I sense bad vibes.

2) Manny acted. He had it out with the umpire. He told Dmitri to get a hair cut --- coded message for Young "Pull yourself together, man". He shook up the lineup. Go man go!

3) Lopez sat with Johnson and Zimmerman in the dugout. I agree. This is huge.

Drove to my place on the edge of the Rift Valley and breathed a sigh of relief. It's hard to root for the Nats in Nairobi.

Posted by: Natty Dread | April 19, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, for the re-invite 1A! Good one, low country! Hopefully JayB, did you watch WMP (a/k/a "The Weapon") in Boston and RFK last year? That's been the knock on him. But in Boston he was hitting in the pinch, and as I have tried to convey, many, many MLB all stars have to hit every day to hit at all. That's why Lenny is such a valuable hitting coach, because he is THE ALL TIME MLB LEADER IN PINCH HITTING! That earns him some patience on our part. Soriano's face would light up like a kid at Christmas when he saw a curve ball coming. He would wait and knock it into next week. Willy Mo needs to ask Alfonso what he sees, becasue he's not seeing it.

Posted by: flynnie | April 19, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

All you have to do is throw a braking ball down an away. Start it in the middle end it a foot outside and he'll swing like it is a fastball on right down the middle every time.

______________

If I could consistently throw a pitch like this, I'd be in the Nats rotation. You are describing a pitch that is unhittable and virtually impossible to lay off.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

If being good at pinch hitting is the criteria then yes Lenny is the best hitting coach ever. But if coaching other to hit is what we are measuring.....not so much......Besides it is possible one reason Lenny is the all time leader is he was not good enough to start for many years in an age when pinch hitting opportunities sky rocketed.......just saying....

Posted by: JayB | April 19, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and JayB, are you angry every morning? Do you find fault in all of your personal victories? Are you as relentlessly critical to those in your life and work as you are to this team and its ownership? Hope not. Try reading some Dale Carnegie.

Posted by: flynie | April 19, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I have high school pitchers who can throw that pitch every time....get a clue

Posted by: Right.... | April 19, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

While agree mostly with the sentiment....that was not me.....

Posted by: JayB | April 19, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

"Gratitude is the mother of all virtues."

G.K. Chesterton

Beautiful spring morning; Felipe, Nick and Zimmerman look to be coming into form; Barry says LoDuca will end the season at .290; Lannan looked great, as did Redding; bullpen's coming together; Guzman's still hitting over 300. I sure am gratful!

Posted by: flynnie | April 19, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

if you have high schoolers who can make a perfect breaking ball every time, you've got a bunch of future major leaguers on your team. right.

being the best at *doing* something is significantly different than being good at *teaching* it. history is littered with players who were great at playing who couldn't coach or manage their way out of a wet paper bag.

WMP came back too early. it's tough to regain your timing in the major leagues. not saying he's going to break out this year, i just don't know. but he should have spent another week in the minors. desperation move to bring him up too early.

Posted by: 231 | April 19, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

"People who hope live differently."
Benedict XVI

I sure am looking forward to more wins, to NatsFan1A's gathering on April 27, to lots of happy times on beautiful summer nights in our beautifule new ballpark.

Posted by: flynnie | April 19, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

oh, and i hope the notebook today, with comments about robinson, are a precursor to convincing him to come back and be honored at the new stadium and let fans cheer him here one more time. i'm glad we moved on to manny, but that doesn't mean i don't appreciate what frank did here and who frank is. i'd like to have a chance to stand up and cheer him one more time.

Posted by: 231 | April 19, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Tim Redding, you're AWESMOME.

Shawn Hill, my worries about your arm aside, I can't WAIT for you to pitch tonight.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 19, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Great players that couldn't manage, like Frank Robinson -- 1500 games, no championships.

And Right -- keep telling yourself you're a high school coach. Eventually at least you'll believe it.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Wow ... sure is easy to change the tone of the conversations in here, just win one! Reading the comments, it sounded like a great way to do it. I'll have to watch the re-play on mlb.com later to see what went down.

If I'm reading the boxscore correctly, our pitchers gave up exactly ONE walk? (and a HBP at that!) That's awesome.

Gonna have fish for lunch today, that sushi boat last night has gotta get me an assist (with some help from JennX, Budapest, NatsNut, Nats Gas Futures, and -- oh yeah -- NICK JOHNSON). I'll have tunafish for lunch today just in case it makes a difference.

Tonight: Shawn Hill .. woot!

&&

natsfan1a -- thanks for advertising about the 27th! Who is bringing nametags?

Posted by: i hate walks | April 19, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

JayB agrees with Boswell. JayB demonstrates the same expert (ha!) command of written English as the unedited Boswell. If it's okay for people to mistakenly believe that I and this 419 person are really the same, can I believe that JayB and Boswell are actually one and the same person?

Posted by: Nelson | April 19, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Did you Boswell haters see his chat yesterday? It was a *baseball* chat, but talked mostly about the Nationals.

One guy even asked about the Orioles, Boz compared them to the 2007 Nationals, and then proceeded for another paragraph to talk about, you guessed it, the NATIONALS.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 19, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

You're welcome, guys. Hope to see you then! We don't have a designated name tag person yet, IHW. Would you perhaps be willing to take charge of that? Wigi has a cool template that we could use to print blank ones. Then perhaps we could have some pens on hand at the park so that people could add their monikers/names upon arrival.

---

Thanks, for the re-invite 1A!

Posted by: flynnie | April 19, 2008 10:19 AM

natsfan1a -- thanks for advertising about the 27th! Who is bringing nametags?

Posted by: i hate walks | April 19, 2008 10:49 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 19, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

keep lopez at leadoff please. and let it ride for a couple weeks. maybe belliard can be our hitting coach.

Posted by: longterm | April 19, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Hahaha, thank god for a win. Keep 'em coming. What's that SC Nats Fan always says? GO NATS!!! STAY HOT!!!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 19, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Loved this closing line from BigRoy last night:

"Hooray beer! HOORaY NATS!!!"

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 19, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Budapest, you do realize you must remain there until the winning streak ends. No skipping out to Lake Balaton for the weekend, OK?

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 19, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

So evidently they're coming out with a set of Star Wars Muppets action figures:

http://www.starwars.com/collecting/news/misc/news20080419.html#rss_15234

I'm not sure which of the following facts is the most troubling: the fact that there is such a thing as Star Wars Muppets action figures, the fact that there is a website dedicated to such subjects, or the fact that I somehow just came across such website.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 19, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

The pitch that Willy Mo can not hit right now is not what makes a Major League Pitcher.

Lots of guys can throw one pitch. That sweeping curve is hittable". Willy Mo needs to look for it and adjust because he is going to see it every pitch for every AB until he proves he can hit it. He should be working with a Curve Ball Machine in a cage instead of focusing on hitting BP fastballs into the stands before the game.

IMO...many good high school pitchers have that pitch they just do not have a 90 MPH fastball and a changeup to go with it.

Posted by: A Real Coach | April 19, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Great stuff from Boz in the chat yesterday, which I missed. If you did, too, check it out -- but here's a highlight:

"Okay, they can't be that bad. Or probably even anywhere near that bad. But right now, they have gone from one of the most smart, intense, high-character, overachieving satisfying teams to watch that I have ever seen in '07 __going 73-89 with almost no visible talent__ to dumb-on-fundamentals, sometimes lazy, nervous team that tries too hard, has little poise and looks like it expects to lose.

We assumed that tests would come for Acta and Bowden. But they are coming fast. Trading Schneider replaced one of the core personalities, and one of the major supports for the pitching staff, with Lo Duca, who's hurt and has tons of baggage, and tons of Estrada. Neither can throw. Fascinating: Lo Duca can hit and call a game, but not throw or catch. Estrada can hit and catch, but not throw or call a game. Flores can hit and throw, but not field or throw (yet). And Nieves can throw, catch and call a game, but probably can't hit .180. Quite a combination.

But Milledge is hitting close to .300. However, he has the worst instinct in CF of anybody who's been out there since '05. Acta thinks he's a CF. Most others think he's a corner outfielder."

Posted by: Boz L. Head | April 19, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Geez, I left for an hour and I'm still basically talking to myself. Well then, I'm going outside as well. Great day. I'll be back towards the end of the game.

Hey Flynnie, what are the four questions going into tonight's matchup?

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 19, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Well, Bob L, if you happen to wander in: Lake Balaton was last weekend, so no worries. You spend a lot of time in the Republic of Hungary?

Good to see Lopez shaping up. Here's hoping it continues.

Posted by: Budapest | April 19, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Bob, you're headed in the right direction. Just got back from an outing with the top down. Felt pretty darn good.

Would love to hit the Pfitz tonight for some P-Nats; alas, they're calling for rain, so it'll have to be some other time.

Posted by: Hendo | April 19, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

This is a kudo to JayB and his yearning for free agent signings - while I generally disagree, I've been turning this in my head for awhile and wish the Nats had done the following instead of trading for Milledge and signing LoDuca.

Instead, I wish they'd have shelled out the big bucks for Tori Hunter (who wanted to come here), Fukodome (this is a huge assumption he would have come here - but just for arguments sake..), and Livan (who REALLY wanted to come here).

Then, either live with Flores or sign a back-up right-handed veteran catcher for this year.

OK, so if the Nats did this they go into major debt, but get --- likely 22 - 25K season tickets sold, thus putting the attendance issue to bed for at least a year, national buzz, attracting more attention to the new park, and these line-ups:

Vs. LHP:

Lopez
Guzman
Johnson
Hunter
Zimmerman (who IS NOT a #3 hitter, no how, no way on ANY team)
Fukodome
Kearns
Flores (or FA vet)
Pitcher

vs. PHP:

Lopez
Guzman
Hunter
Johnson
Zimmerman
Fukodome
Church
Schneider
Pitcher

With Livan, you get 230+ innings and a day of rest for your bullpen, which will be needed for the other 4 guys.

This then gives a bench -- the platoon guys at C and RF and Belliard, Young, and Boone or heck, even D'Angelo Jiminez, who knew how to get on base, something only Johnson does now. Also Dukes or Langerhans.

You would still have top-of-the-lineup weaknesses and an inexperienced and injury prone rotation, but, this is a team not likely to go 4-12 and likely to be at least on the fringes of the play-off race into August. Had the Nats done that, no question they draw 2.75M plus and they would still have every prospect, save Milledge, in the fold.

Too late now, but a FA push will likely be needed to maintain the season tix base next year and have a team able to contend.

Posted by: natswriter | April 19, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

The Plan assumed a new stadium would be the draw this year and it just might well be as the weather gets better and the locals figure out that you can get to Nationals Park by driving to RFK and taking the bus and parking continues to come on line. But, if you look at all the new stadiums that have come on line the past ten years the one thing that makes a difference in attendance is the play of the team on the field. Good teams earn good attendance. Thus the Plan's error was not making absolutely sure there was a decent product on the field when the new stadium opened. Depending on non-baseball fans to buy season tickets because of the great entertainment experience a new stadium will create was a crazy assumption. Do you think Yankee Stadium is full every night with people looking for a high level entertainment experience? I think not. It is filled with 56,000 baseball fanatics. St Louis is the same way. They are just a much nicer crowd. Hopefully, Manny and the players wil right the ship and their play will improve and fans will have a team to root positively for.

Posted by: Tom | April 19, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I like it alot....Milledge is not the CF of the future anyway. Still need to find that person. Man this team would be so much more fun to watch with Hunter and Fukodome playing everyday! Thanks Natswriter for giving me a bit of a smile.

Posted by: JayB | April 19, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Some dude just came to our front door trying to get us to sign up for Nationals season tickets! The team actually has people going door to door. Crazy!

Posted by: JennX | April 19, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Correction: not season tickets. It was some kind of buy two tickets, get 10 free deal or something? The guy who came to our door the second time (ahem) was not very articulate in describing the deal. I think he was scared off by my jaw-wired-shut attempts to talk. :)

Posted by: JennX | April 19, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

A kudos. Singular. Means "laurel wreath" in Greek. It's used as a collective noun, mostly, in English. The Greek plural might be kudae, but this isn't Greek.

You're welcome.
********
This is a kudo to JayB ...
Posted by: natswriter | April 19, 2008 1:42 PM

Posted by: Mr Inbetween dead languages | April 19, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

JennX, was he insisting you pay cash?

Posted by: CE | April 19, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Silence.
And a deeper silence
when the crickets hesitate.

Posted by: L Cohen | April 19, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Caps game.
And a long offseason
unless they hold the 2-1 lead thru the 3rd period.

Posted by: not LC | April 19, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

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