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Zeros and other numbers

Lots of zeros so far. No team has a run through four. Bergmann hasn't allowed a run in 11 innings since his call-up. Hamels is working on another solid outing, coming off a complete game shutout in his last start. Of course it helps that Hamel's fourth-inning jam -- first and third, one out -- coincided with a Wily Mo Pena at bat. (Fly to center to end inning.)

Just one observation as I look at the lineups.

The Phils lead the majors in home runs. Here are their respective home run totals, 1-9...


Now the Nats


By the way, if you're wondering about the missing power of Austin Kearns. He's still day-to-day. An MRI revealed no serious damage, and the team expects to have him back within a few days. Still, he's taking this one entirely off -- no swinging, no BP. That's how he gets to celebrate his 28th birthday.

By Chico Harlan  |  May 20, 2008; 8:16 PM ET
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Next: We can talk offense, assuming it exists


This is embarrassing. Utley himself has nearly outhomered the Nats starting line up.

Posted by: leetee1955 | May 20, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Bob and Ray were just telling some story about Debbie Taylor having the trivia answer. Then they referred to her giving advice to "Wade" and chuckled as if Wade was involved in baseball.

I find record of a Wade Taylor who spent a couple months with the Yankees in 1992. Does anyone know any details about this?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 20, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Looks like a pretty good pitcher Bowden inherited from the Expos.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 20, 2008 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Bergie!!!!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 20, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

O's - 10
Yank's - 0

Mmmm, I love me some crab cakes.

Posted by: O's Exec | May 20, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

you expect us to be impressed that you are beating the yankees? ha.

Posted by: natsinthevalley | May 20, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

What O's Exec is really thinking: "hey, I'm glad we're winning, but really I'm just glad we're not losing 30-3."

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 20, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

I feel sad that they walked DY (.235!) to get to Milledge. What lack of respect!

Posted by: SF Fan | May 20, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Sigh. And of course the decision works out...

Posted by: SF Fan | May 20, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Great job of blocking the plate by Flores. Dobbs was there at least 2 seconds before the throw and still didn't score. Now let's make it count!

Posted by: MKevin | May 20, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Tremendous play by Flores. Remind me again why he needed more time in the minors?

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 20, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

can someone tell me why they didn't walk dobbs to set up a double play?

Posted by: c-ville | May 20, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

If Wily Mo faced Brad Lidge 100 times I'm saying he strikes out 98. (Twice Lidge would hit him.)

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 20, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

just how you'd draw it up, right? you need 1 run, LF and RF are next two batters...


Posted by: c-ville | May 20, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

I just looked at all Elijah's at bats...

He's swung twice tonight.

That's some real ballplayer right there. .048 average? No problem, I ain't swinging. Dawg.

Posted by: NattyDelite! | May 20, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

crazy thing is -- it's worked! .500 OBP for tonight...

Posted by: c-ville | May 20, 2008 9:43 PM | Report abuse

I know c-ville! And two stolen bases!

Now can Felipe drive him in?

Posted by: NattyDelite! | May 20, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse


that's what I've come to expect.

Posted by: NattyDelite! | May 20, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse

we'll take that as a no... bummer. dukes at leadoff?

Posted by: c-ville | May 20, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Lidge is walking everyone in the park, can't get get the slider over.... And Flop swings at the first pitch. Oy.

Oh well. 0.50 ERA against the Phils is pretty hot.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 20, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse

And our best hitter on deck...

Posted by: c-ville | May 20, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

So bitter

Posted by: Jason | May 20, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse


Nats hits: FIVE. Phillies hits: FOUR.

And the Phillies STILL manage to win?!?

Bergmann pitched a gem. Flores kept us alive with blocking that plate.

WHEN are those outfield bats gonna wake up?!?

Posted by: Juan-John | May 20, 2008 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Well that was a let down. I hate one pitch outs. What a wasted AB. Lidge left two balls that should have been raked (the hanger to Dukes and the 1-0 Fastball to Mack). Either of those could have been drilled for extra bases. Still had a chance to tie but... well... you know. A tough set of pitchers tonight but it wasn't like they didn't have their chances. What in the world can you do when it seems like your entire team is struggling offensively at the same time? How much longer does Lenny Harris have to turn this around?

Posted by: MKevin | May 20, 2008 9:55 PM | Report abuse

At some point you have to start thinking that the odds of the entire team (with the exception of "I Can See!" Guzman) falling into such an extended slump is not just random bad luck but has to be related to the hitting instructor. I am sure Lenny Harris is a great guy, great family, cute kids, loves his dog, and takes out his elderly neighbor's trash every week but sometimes you "gotta do what you gotta do" and if that means deep sixing the "hitting" coach then so be it.

Posted by: Nats Fan in KC | May 20, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Wow, darn good game. I feel like really lucky, I'm pretty sure we watched the best baseball game in the majors tonight. Perfect fielding, some phenomenal pitching, and only one egregiously bad caught stealing call.

Seriously, that was a great game. Next time it'll be us on top. Congrats, Bergie, 2 for 2 quality quality starts on your return.

Not looking forward to seeing a lot more Meyers in the future.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 20, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Is it the hitting coach or is it the hitters? Can Pena, Milledge, Kearns, or Dukes really hit major league pitching? Bring up Escobar, damnit!

Posted by: Brewer | May 20, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

So why does ESPN have Cole Hamels' face up even though he didn't win the game. It's as if Bergman wasn't even in the game. Hello!!!!

Posted by: Ed | May 20, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Btw, Hamels is still 0-1 vs the Nats.

Posted by: Ed | May 20, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Sure, like it is easy to "deep six" the hitting coach and bring in a replacement in Mid May and everyone raises their batting average 50 points. In the end it is the batters who swing at pitches out of the strike zone that are the problem, and how is Willie Harris going to fix that other than shooting at them? Some of our hitters, like Flores tonight, just looked like toast and basically were an out before they got into the batter's box. At least Dukes got two walks and looked fearless stealing bases in the ninth. It is obvious that this lineup will suffer for runs as long as there is no true #4 hitter with power. Nice work Bergmann and Rivera, it was a pleasure to watch good pitching tonight--for both teams.

Posted by: Dale | May 20, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse

I said Meyers above, when I, of course, meant Hamels. I'd love to see more Meyers.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 20, 2008 10:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad you brought it up again, Nats fan in KC, and I'm surprised it's been a sleeping topic for so long.

Seriously. All our guys hitting this bad points to one thing. Lenny Harris.

No need to fire the guy straight up if they want to be more patient. I can live with Manny/Jim's patience with Lenny. But they need to get some kind of assistant hitting coach, at the very least (NOW) who the players respond to to. Did I say NOW? because I meant NOW.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 20, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

ed, while bergmann pitched a good game, hamels (at least statistically) pitched a better game.

both gave up 0 runs. both pitched the same number of innings. hamels had 11 Ks to bergmann's 5. hamels had 2 BBs to bergmann's 3. hamels gave up 4 hits to bergmann's 5. hamels threw a higher percentage of strikes.

that's not a put down on bergmann, but it's not unreasonable to put hamels up top. not only were his stats better, his team won.

Posted by: 231 | May 20, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

"Bob and Ray were just telling some story about Debbie Taylor having the trivia answer. Then they referred to her giving advice to "Wade" and chuckled as if Wade was involved in baseball.

I find record of a Wade Taylor who spent a couple months with the Yankees in 1992. Does anyone know any details about this?"

Wade Taylor, Debbie's husband, is a scout for the Nationals.

Posted by: An Briosca Mor | May 20, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Steven on Capitol Hill:

How 'bout Flores' 3 K's tonight? Including one to lead off the 9th, and another - looking - in the 4th with two men on. I don't care if he IS hitting .330 since his return - he was decidedly un-clutch tonight. His run-saving block of the plate was meaningless given Flores' utter lack of anything at the dish tonight. So, let's not go anointing Jesus as the Nats starting catcher just yet....

Posted by: The Borg | May 20, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, ABM.

NatsNut, you're right that Lenny Harris is what the non-hitting outfielders have in common (funny, we are now specifying outfielders, since Zimm, Lopez, and Boone are all hitting now, not that we'd give credit to Lenny...).

But let's look at it more closely (stats not including tonight's game):

Dukes: .042, 24 AB
Pena: .214, 84 AB
Millege: .241, 162 AB
Kearns: .187, 150 AB
Harris: .176, 51 AB
Mackwiak: .176, 39 AB

So, we should fire the batting coach, because 4 out of 6 outfielders have had under 100 at bats and aren't hitting? That doesn't really sound right.


- Dukes goes 2 for 4 tomorrow, he's at .107, a 65 point jump.
- Milledge was .267 in the last 4 games before this one, with two timely doubles and much more poise at the plate. Couldn't be working with his hitting coach, could it? Was it to Lenny Harris's credit when he was hitting everything at the beginning of the season?
- Harris and Mack have both been pinch hitters/defensive replacements with only a few at bats. They've really warmed up to the role after initially struggling. Help from the hitting coach?
- Kearns and Pena both look bad. There's not much positive to talk about either. The best you can say is that Kearns was playing hurt.

Finally, a lot of good batters look foolish when a pitcher pitches like Hamels did tonight. I think we foolishly expect a bit much from our little Nats sometimes. Better batters than Wily Mo have flailed uselessly at Lidge's "sinker".

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 20, 2008 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Chico! Great gamer! I particularly liked, "the Nationals, masters of binary code baseball."

Posted by: flynnie | May 21, 2008 1:18 AM | Report abuse

flores gets #3 on web gems

Posted by: 231 | May 21, 2008 1:30 AM | Report abuse

How'd firing the hitting coach work out for the Padres:"The San Diego Padres fired Merv Rettenmund as their hitting coach Tuesday and hired Wally Joyner to replace him.

This is the second straight season the Padres changed hitting coaches in midseason. They fired Dave Magadan on June 15, 2006, and replaced him with the popular Rettenmund."
July 31, 2007

They are not able to hit and are 13 games out. They are worse, far worse off now. But they fired several hitting coaches!

Posted by: flynnie | May 21, 2008 2:04 AM | Report abuse

And where's David Magadan now? Hitting coach of the Red Sox, who hired him when San Diego fired him. So that's why San Diego is in last place and the Red Sox won the series!

Posted by: flynnie | May 21, 2008 2:37 AM | Report abuse

It's pretty much a certainty that the Nats couldn't be "far worse off" if they fired Lenny "I'm not Willie" Harris. Can't get much worse.

Posted by: natty by nature | May 21, 2008 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Last night we just got beaten. It was a great game and we had real hope to hold onto all the way into the last out. That counts for a lot, to me.

I was impressed by Dukes on the bases and his patience at the dish. Lastings' throwing accuracy is even better than I initially thought.

Peña still swings like a lumberjack and Milledge has no strategy in the box. He needs to spend a few weeks sitting next to Nick Johnson. Milledge is still not getting a good jump, but he seems to be reading the ball better.

Oh, and the difference in what you (I) can see from the $24 seats and what you (I) can see from the $5 seats is tremendous. Like, faces and stuff!

Posted by: i hate walks | May 21, 2008 7:18 AM | Report abuse

Yea I liked the "binary code baseball" too. Nice gamer Chico.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 21, 2008 7:59 AM | Report abuse

OK here goes....this team is driving me nuts...

First off you have an MAJOR LEAGUE OUTFIELDER BATTING .038??? He finally gets on base with a hard fought walk, and shows GREAT SPEED on the bases, then the next guy pinch hits with a .174 average....he walks...Pinch runner...what is he pinch running for? To steal second!!!!!....Does he get a chance? NO!!!!!! Flopez swings at first pitch (even though the previous two batters walked) and grounds out...C'mon!!!!!! didn't any of these guys play little league????

Posted by: BRONCOS7 | May 21, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

"Nice gamer Chico."

Whoever writes the headlines for the gamers in the print edition needs to be fired, even more so than Lenny Harris needs to be fired. I watched the game last night, a classic pitcher's duel that went down to the very last out with the tying and winning runs on base. Pretty exciting game. So what's the headline on the gamer in this morning's paper? "Punchless Nats Waste Another Solid Start". While technically true, that headline bears such little resemblance to the game I watched last night that I have zero interest now in reading the story below it. Why doesn't the Post just print a stock "We Hate the Nationals, They Suck (Part x of 162)" headline over the gamer every day and be done with it? "If you don't get it, you don't get it." We get it, Post.

Posted by: An Briosca Mor | May 21, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

At least Lastings is hitting to the opposite field, although that may be easier when the ball is coming at you as fast as Hamel's. Lenny has been working on that, and Milledge is getting better. And with Flores hitting .316, slugging .553 and OBP .435 (after slumping in the minors - thank you, Lenny!) I can't fault Manny for letting him swing with a chance for a walk-off hit. A seeing-eye single ties the game, a Flores double wins it. It was a great game, but I'm ready for Stan's 2009 juggernaut to appear tonight, with Nats batters arising like Lazarus, who once was dead.

Posted by: flynnie | May 21, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, this isn't "coverage is lacking" this is "coverage is lame." Why the decline from last year? It's like the Post thinks it's football coverage and you have to win every game, or something.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 21, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Good Mornin' ABM! Hard to get past that goose-egg if you're a headline writer, who did salute JBerg's quality start. The game was infuriatingly winnable. At least Colome didn't walk in the winning run. Didn't that happen in Philadelphia? Dukes didn't look like Satan, like when he was rung up at Shea. And Baseball Genius Boz has guaranteed us that the hitting will skyrocket to average, we can bank on it, he said, just don't day-trade on it, like I've been doing, emotionally if not fiscally.

Posted by: flynnie | May 21, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

And 506, thanks to you for being the first to point out that "we were watching the best game of the night" to those of us who taste death with every loss. Pitching like Hamels' will prolong a slump. I couldn't believe how he cut down Aaron Boone w/risp on three pitches. Nasty stuff. And with what JBerg was throwing, the Phillies must feel so damn lucky this morning!

Posted by: flynnie | May 21, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Did someone above seriously suggest intentionally walking Greg Dobbs to get to Jimmy Rollins???

Posted by: Chris | May 21, 2008 8:46 AM | Report abuse

There's 2 reasons to make a change at the hitting coach.

First, Lenny Harris got the job because he was in the right place and the right time when Mitchell Page had to leave because of personal problems. Lenny wasn't courted to be the hitting coach and doesn't have a resume as a hitting coach other than being a solid major leaguer. I had not problem giving him an opportunity to prove himself.

Secondly, he is not getting the job done. The hitting is pretty much a disappointment across the board.
Guys like Pena who seemed to progress last year - are regressing. Kearns hasn't developed, and so on.

Posted by: Sec 114 Row E | May 21, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

New post.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 21, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

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