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Reports (major and minor)

The Nats aren't on pace to lose 100 games. And Felipe Lopez isn't on pace to make many good impressions. Read Yanda's coverage here and here.

And here's the minor league report. Aaron Seuss creates a whole new stylistic potential for this thing, by the way.

This Week's Top Headline

BY GOLLY, BAEZ!: Potomac OF Edgardo Baez was named the Single-A California/Carolina League All-Star Game MVP, after hitting an opposite-field solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning that lifted the Carolina League to a 3-1 victory at BB&T Coastal Field in Myrtle Beach, SC on Tuesday night...Baez's blast snapped a 1-1 tie and proved to be the game-winning run...the 21-year-old is the second Washington prospect to be named his league's All-Star Game MVP, joining INF Bill Rhinehart who earned MVP honors representing Hagerstown at the Single-A South Atlantic League All-Star Game last week...Baez leads the Carolina League with 52 RBI and ranks among league leaders in doubles (t-3rd, 22), home runs (t-4th, 12), slugging percentage (4th, .527) and total bases (5th, 128).

Triple-A Columbus Clippers
International League West Division
43-35, 2nd Place, 2.0 Games Back

COLLIN'S MAULIN': RHP Collin Balester is 8-1 in 10 starts beginning May 2...the 22-year-old has allowed 2 earned runs or less in his last 5 starting assignments, going 4-0 with a 2.85 ERA (9 ER/28.1 IP) in that span...Balester, selected in the 4th round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, is 9-3 with a 4.00 ERA in 15 starts overall...his win total is tied for 2nd in the International League...per Baseball America, the Huntington Beach, CA native entered the season rated as the No. 3 prospect in the Washington system.

Double-A Harrisburg Senators
Eastern League Southern Division
43-33, 2nd Place, 2.5 Games Back

LOOK, IT'S HIM...IT'S ZIMM!: RHP Jordan Zimmermann owns a 2.01 ERA (5 ER/22.1 IP) and a .164 (13-for-70) batting average against in his last 4 starts...he has allowed 3 earned runs or less in 8 of his 9 starts with the Senators since being promoted from Potomac on May 4...the 22-year-old went 3-1 with a 1.65 ERA (5 ER/27.1 IP) 5 games (4 starts) with the P-Nats...overall, he is a combined 5-2 with a 2.64 ERA and a .194 BAA in 14 appearances (13 starts) with Harrisburg and Potomac...Zimmermann was a second-round selection in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.

SETH NOTICE: INF Seth Bynum has hammered Double-A pitching since being promoted to Harrisburg on June 20 games with the Senators, he's batted .322 (19-for-59) with 5 doubles, a triple, 2 home runs, 8 RBI and a .394 on-base percentage...the 27-year-old began the season with Single-A Potomac, where he hit .266 (47-for-177) with 13 doubles, 6 home runs and 30 RBI in 50 games...Bynum was signed as a non-draft free agent in May 2004 out of Indiana University.

Single-A Potomac Nationals
Carolina League Northern Division
First Half: 42-28, First Place, 7.0 Games Ahead
Second Half: 5-1, First Place, 3.0 Games Back

HE MUST BE A LEO: According to Zodiac lure, Leos love attention and will do anything to get it...this month, INF Leonard Davis has received plenty of attention, swinging one of the hottest bats in the minors at a .447 (34-for-76) clip with 7 doubles, a triple, 5 home runs and 14 RBI in 23 games...Davis has a .512 on-base percentage and .763 slugging percentage in June, while crossing the plate 27 times in 23 contests...the only player in all of the minors who has a higher June batting average is Triple-A Albuquerque (Marlins) OF John Gall at .477...additionally, he has hit safely in 26 of his last 29 games, going 43-for-100 (.430) with 6 homers and 21 RBI in for the season...overall, Davis has batted .342 with 13 home runs and 35 RBI in 59 games...he is 2nd in the Carolina League in batting average and home runs...selected by the Nationals in the 8th round of the 2004 Draft out of Fresno City College (CA), the 24-year-old is playing his 5th season in professional baseball.

Single-A Hagerstown Suns
South Atlantic League Northern Division
First Half: 34-35, 5th Place, 6.5 Games Back
Second Half: 5-2, T-First Place, 0.0 Games Back

WILL-EMS POWER: RHP Colton Willems is 1-0 with a 0.87 ERA (2 ER/20.2 IP) in his last 3 outings...including 6.0 innings of one-run ball on Tuesday vs. Lake County (Indians), the 19-year old is 2-1 with a 1.91 ERA (8 ER/37.2 IP) in 6 starts beginning May 26...Willems, selected in the first round (22nd overall) of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, began the season rated as the No.9 prospect in the Washington chain according to Baseball America.

THE CAT WITH THE BAT: That Sun out in left field (Aaron Seuss), he's playing great ball...with doubles and homers, always answers the this month alone, hitting .299 (20-for-67)...numbers like that will keep him off the pine...2 homers this month, that makes 10 for the year...13 RBI (in June), as he shifts to high gear...streaks he can do, with hits in 6 straight...has hits in all except 3 in his last 28 (games)'s rarely enough, he prefers to take 2 (22 doubles this season)...not bad for the kid from Cal Baptist U...a 27th rounder in 2007...for the Suns of H-town he's been a gift sent from heaven.

EVEN STEPHEN: INF Stephen King has hit safely in 38 of 46 games overall, batting .314 with 14 doubles, 4 homers and 24 RBI...King, a 3rd round selection from the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, is 19-for-57 (.333) with 2 homers and 21 RBI with RISP...after striking out in 38% (64 K/169 AB) of his at-bats through the first 46 games last season, he has improved his strikeout rate, fanning just 20% (38 K/188 AB) of the time in 46 games this season.

Short-Season Single-A Vermont Lake Monsters
New York-Penn League Stedler Division
3-6, 4th Place, 2.0 Games Back

SHOWING HIS FEATHERS: RHP Brad Peacock tossed 7.0 innings of one-run ball, striking out 6 and walking one in his most recent start Sunday vs. Lowell (Red Sox)...the 20-year-old, selected in the 41st round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA and a .154 batting average against in 2 starts with the Lake Monsters.

Gulf Coast League Nationals
Gulf Coast League East Division
2-2, T-3rd Place, 1.0 Game Back

ALL SMILES: Including a 2-for-4 game with a 3-run triple yesterday at GCL Cardinals, INF Smiley Gonzalez has posted multi-hit and multi-RBI efforts in 3 of 4 games to begin the season...overall, he is batting .444 with 2 doubles a triple and a team-leading 7 RBI...the 18-year-old signed with the Nationals as a non-drafted free agent July 2, 2006.

By Chico Harlan  |  June 28, 2008; 9:00 AM ET
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Next: Tonight's lineups


Balester should be here by next year, that seems to be the consensus, but what about Jordan Zimmermann? Does he get up for the call ups in September for a visit? Does he start next year in AAA or does he have a shot at the big team?

Posted by: TimDz | June 28, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Smiley Gonzalez...a possible replacement for Guz in two years at age 20, could it be?

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | June 28, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

SC Nats Fan

Wouldn't that be grand. I continue to hold out hope that we have a Jimmy Rollins, Grady Sizemore or Albert Pujols buried somewhere in the minors who is hitting 270. If I am correct I don't think anyone of these guys was an exceptional minor leaguer. Maybe it is Gonzalez, Baez or Rhinehart. Who knows.

Posted by: mjames | June 28, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Lopez doesn't understand his situation? He doesn't understand the game!! The last out last night should have been at second with the ball hit to short and a man on at first. I don't think Lopez even attempted to get there. As a coach physical errors you can accept, mental errors no. A 9 year old can be in position to make the play. Mental errors will get your out of the Majors faster than physical ones. The differences between Majors and Minors is 90% mental concentration.

Posted by: kgwcoach | June 28, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Concerning Lopez it seems the only person who appears to be uninformed is Lopez. Very simple Felipe - you do not hustle you do not play.

Actually in my opinion I do not think Lopez ever really wanted to play for the Nats. I know Kearns did not want to come. I still think Kearns would be more comfortable playing for the Reds. It turns out that the Reds got the better of the trade. The Reds knew about Lopez and quite frankly so did Bowden. Bowden knew he was a floater. Another bonehead move by this dolt.

Posted by: mjames | June 28, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

i will wonder if manny has actually been blunt enough to tell flopez, "you don't hustle, you don't play. you consistently make stupid mental errors, you don't play."

i hope he's made that clear. maybe he has and flopez is too stupid to get it. or maybe he should be more direct.

Posted by: 231 | June 28, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Even worse than the announcers in my opinion...

What's the deal with the stupid Orioles mascot being at Nationals Park???? What kind of team lets in the visitor's mascot???? They even let him on the field!!!! WHAAAT???

I'm totally anti-violence, but the they only should have invited him in on baseball bat night.

That is beyond uncool.

Posted by: RFK Sec 315 | June 28, 2008 8:44 AM


You're on crack right? No seriously, you must be on crack to have forgotten the times Screech has been at Camden Yards or even the last series up in B'more where Screech and his crew "invaded" the Inner Harbor.

Put the crack pipe down and step away fella.

Posted by: O's Exec | June 28, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

As for the game, again kudos to the Nats. They played with much more energy than the O's did and deserved the W.

The O's didn't do themselves any favors by leaving 19 runners on base and your number 3 hitter, who is hitting a whopping .230, goes 0-3. Or that your number 4 hitter is hitting a robust .240 and goes 0-4. The defense let Cabrera down but he didn't do himself any favors by giving up walks. As the saying goes, "walks'll kill ya."

But kudos to the Nats, for one night, they were better than the O's. Now, overall are they a better team in 2008?

Anyways, as I said last evening I won't be watching tonights game (Snoop Dogg and 311 are more of a priority) so win or lose don't expect me to be on here posting. This is pretty much directed at those johnny-cool-guy posters last night who were trying to "call me out" for not showing up to post after the O's lost (even though I did). I can take my lumps like a big boy.

Posted by: O's Exec | June 28, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Anyone know of a good bar to pre drink at near the new stadium? Thanks.

Posted by: Skinz | June 28, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Skinz, I recommend checking out 8th Street on Barracks Row. Quite a few decent bars there and you can hop on the N22 to get dropped off at the stadium, which runs right down there.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 28, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Os exec - Mora peaked at 32 (2004), had 3 declining years after that, and this year has collapsed. Was a nice story for a while (late bloomer, the multiple birth). Singing a 3 year deal with a no trade at age 34 when his average had already started to drop was dumb. You still might be able to get a bit for him from a team that thinks he'd might have a burst of good play moving to a contender, but he is signed for next year at $9 million with an option he might ask you to pick up if he waives the no trade. I don't see Minnesota taking that on. If you are the O's Exec who signed that deal, I can understand how you were run out of town.

Posted by: PTBNL | June 28, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Is Martis thought of as a rotation guy or a closer / set up candidate?

Posted by: PTBNL | June 28, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Thanks 506.

Posted by: Skinz | June 28, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

No prob, Skinz. There's an Irish bar there down real close to the barracks that I usually go to, but the name always throws me off, because it's like a mashup of a couple of bars in Alexandria. I Metro to Eastern Market and walk down 8th Street from there.

You know, Boz is pretty right about this:

"In baseball, being crazy is sometimes good. It helps you imagine things that don't exist. After all, five years ago, who thought the Orioles would come to Washington to play against a National League team in a packed, sparkling new park beside a neglected river in a forgotten part of town that has already started to boom.

"Then, almost nobody thought it was possible. Now, you can barely get a ticket."

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 28, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Smiley Gonzalez...a possible replacement for Guz in two years at age 20, could it be?

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | June 28, 2008 10:07 AM

Smiley??? Really??? We don't call him Esmailyn, no mas?

Posted by: Fisch Fry | June 28, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone really ever had a problem getting a ticket other than opening night? Even last night, 5000+ unsold. Cheap seats do go, but if you are willing to pay $30? Wednesday, I bought 4 in section 112 for $100 ($40 face).

Boz guesses around 110,000 this series. <36,000 last night, so 37,000 plus tonight and in the Sun tomorrow? I'll take closer to 105,000.
"'Then, almost nobody thought it was possible. Now, you can barely get a ticket.'"

Posted by: PTBNL | June 28, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

PTBNL, c'mon now. You're just being facetious. You know "sold out" wasn't his point.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 28, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut - not trying to be facetious & never said he said it was sold out. I don't think being > 1/8 below capacity sold means getting a ticket is tough.

I think creating the impression that it is more difficult to get a ticket than it really is may discourage people from showing up for big series, like this one, the Cubs, and St. L. I don't know how else to take "you can barely get a ticket" to mean that there is difficulty getting seats. $5 and maybe $10 - sure. But getting into the Park? No problem.

Posted by: PTBNL | June 28, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut - the 39K tonight makes Boz's guess look better than mine. PTBNL, demonstrating the art of

Posted by: Crow eating | June 29, 2008 12:07 AM | Report abuse

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