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Who should start? And who will?

Manny Acta today found a silver lining, as he is known to do, in missing two-thirds of the lineup -- and the closer -- he scrawled on opening day.

"It is an opportunity for these guys," Acta said. "If they want to be in the big leagues, here's your shot. Show it to us. It also gives us a time to take a look at them and see who is going to survive up here, and really who is going to be part of our future here. There's always something to be gained from it. Obviously I wanted to have my third, fourth, fifth, sixth(!) hitter back, and my closer. But there's opportunity for those guys, and for us to evaluate those guys."

Now, he was referring primarily to the Langerhanses and Casti (the plural of Casto, of course) on the club. But the latest opportunity will come Sunday, when someone from Class AAA Columbus will replace, for at least one start and maybe two, Odalis Perez.

Acta allowed the pitcher for Sunday will come from Columbus, but said that narrowed the field to 11 pitchers -- which would include Mr. 756 himself, Mike Bacsik. You know better, NJ readers. Really, the pool is almost certainly four: Tyler Clippard, Mike O'Connor, Garrett Mock and Colin Balester. The first two have major leage experience; the second two, who are two of the Nationals best prospects, do not.

The Nationals probably don't want to yo-yo a prospect to spend a week at most with the big club. But it's possible. Your collective insititutional knowledge far exceeds mine, so: Who should start, and who do you think will?

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 4, 2008; 7:17 PM ET
 
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Next: Doubleheader Thursday; Clippard Sunday?

Comments

I think that O'Connor has not earned another shot to start. Of the others, I would say that Clippard has pitched the best, with his sub-3.5 ERA, but he is pitching as I write this. He would have to go on 3 days rest to pitch Sunday.

That said, Balester is 6-3, Mock is 3-2, and both have nearly identical WHIPs , Innings Pitched, and hits allowed. Mock's ERA is only 3.06, though. I think that we deserve to see one of them, for a taste of the Plan.

On the other hand, Larry Broadway pitched a few innings for Columbus....

Posted by: Positively Half St. | June 4, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

I think Mock over Balester only because he is on the 40 man all aready. Then again, it could be Clippard.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | June 4, 2008 7:40 PM | Report abuse

I want to see Clippard! I want to see Mock and Balester too, but I think chances are slim with them since they've never been up before. I think it's more likely than not that O'Connor could be given another crack. Very interesting indeed.

Posted by: Patty | June 4, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse

I don't think pitchers "Earn" s shot at a spot start, I think they should (and do, mostly) look for who gives you the best shot at winning that start.

By that standard I think you go with Clippard, he is the "hot hand" right now (although that is debatable and I don't have any stats to back up my guess.

Posted by: estuartj | June 4, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

No more O'Connor....Balester pitched last night so Sunday would be his regular day to pitch. Why not? Time to start seeing some of the youngsters.

Posted by: joNAThan | June 4, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse

If we're really going to take the hot hand we should start Adrian Alandiz....16-2 as a pro? Sounds more like a boxer's numbers than a pitcher's.

Posted by: estuartj | June 4, 2008 8:27 PM | Report abuse

The Gnu Post ate this one. It is a question of deep significance:


I was in Annandale for the earthquake a couple of weeks ago. It let out a mighty explosive sound and felt like the earth was opening. Today, while y'all were chatting, I was watching tornadoes from a powerless office (emergency mood-lighting only) - in Annandale. Question: Is it me, or Annandale? I have never thought of Annandale in terms of Sodom and Gomorrah, but the Wrath of God seems to be circling 'round it - or 'round me. Was it my dumbass suggestion that Manny should have called the game last night before handing over the lineup cards so that we could have a double-header today? Is my love of baseball idolatrous? Is it my guilty pleasure in the Examiner's baseball page, with it's report card on the various players and managers?

Posted by: flynnie | June 4, 2008 8:11 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Columbus limited Tyler Clippard to two quick innings in tonight's ballgame in anticipation of him being called up to start Sunday's game.

Posted by: Tom | June 4, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Kyle Lohse should start. But we didn't sign him cuz we didn't need another pitcher.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 4, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

flynnie, Annandale is definitely hated by God. And for good reason.

My gut tells me that it's O'Connor we'll see for the start. Known entity that we're no longer so concerned about throwing off with a spot start. After him, it's Mock, because of the impact on the roster.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 4, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Of course, if there's a rain out tonight, then you bump everyone back a day and don't even worry about the hole...

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 4, 2008 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Steven OCH - from "The Awfulness of Angel Berroa"

Its maddening to watch Berroa play: the errors, the baserunning mistakes, the endless strikeouts. And he isn't Adam Dunn either, someone who works the count and is willing to suffer the consequences; no, he's a free swinging hacker who's not afraid to swing at a ball that bounces.

Angel Berroa is hitting .240/.262/.332 in 2006. He's drawn six walks this season, in 268 PAs. Six.

In the last week, he's hitting .063/.118/.063. As we close June, Berroa's thrown up a .218/.253/.230 line on the month, doing his part to throw a wet blanket on the Royals' miraculous attempt to have a .500 month. One more split stat: on the road, Berroa's perhaps the worst player in baseball, hitting .177/.204/.234.

How did we get to this point? You don't see many players collapse during their age 24 through 28 seasons.

Sure, Berroa probably didn't deserve the Rookie of the Year award in 2003, but he wasn't an indefensible choice either. There was the weird anti-Japanese issue to deal with, as well as the fact that Berroa did play a premium position and did lead the Royals to an exciting 83 win season. Even in 2003, a .287/.338/.451 line isn't cheap, especially when you factor in a still decent baserunning set (21/26) and a defense that hadn't cratered.

Posted by: flynnie | June 4, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Why haven't they called the game yet? This is shameful.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | June 4, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse

506-Bill Bray is trying to hold a 1-0 lead against the Phillies in Philadelphia! Who you rootin' for?

Posted by: flynnie | June 4, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse

It would be Lohse's regular day to start. Go ahead and make the deal SOCH - put up or shut up as they say.

I'd like to see Clippard but I thin 506BM might win the pool. What's the status of the game? The MLB page changed from its game homepage back to the generic one - but I see no information. Is it still a delay?

Posted by: lowcountry | June 4, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

I completely agree about Adrian Alaniz, but he needs to at least be promoted to AA Harrisburg first.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | June 4, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Adam Dunn just dropped a fly ball to put Chase Utley on 2d. Bray had the 2d out. Now the tying run's on 2d with Ryan Howard up.

Posted by: flynnie | June 4, 2008 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Bill Bray strikes out Ryan Howard! "That's a nasty pitch from Bray! Howard couldn't have hit that with a boat oar!" And now, that managerial genius is taking Bray out lest he have to face the right handed Pat Burrell. Dusty, leave him in! Bill Bray is special!

Posted by: flynnie | June 4, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

@lowcounty--I'm not sure I follow.

@flynnie--yeah he really is awful. But I'll say this--if we'll flirt with Angel Berroa, the we definitely have room to take a shot on Bill Hall.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 4, 2008 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Interesting tidbit from Keith Laws blog:

"Discord in Washington? Word is the scouting department and special assistant Bob Boone want to take California prep catcher and Gatorade national player of the year Kyle Skipworth, while the GM wants to take a college player who'll move faster through the system, with his eyes on Missouri right-hander Aaron Crow."

Then theres this nuggest from John Manuel's (of BA) chat on ESPN:

"Nats are in on Gordon Beckham, 1Bs Smoak and Alvarez, and calif. prep C Kyle Skipworth. Personally, I think Skipoworth's ceiling is as high or higher than any in this draft. If the Nats got him at 9, that would be a coup. All that said, if the Nats take a 1B and Crow is there and they don't take Crow, I think that would be a mistake. Crow might be better than half their big league rotation right now."

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | June 4, 2008 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Barry thought that Bray would be the part of the Kearns-Lopez trade we'd come to regret. He's been struggling, but it's good to see him doing well tonight.

Posted by: flynnie | June 4, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Alaniz is a very soft tosser with very good command. Guys like that often hit a wall as they move up. Plus he is very old for his level. So let's not get too excited about him just yet.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | June 4, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

SOCH - the point is that you've already made your point about Lohse. No need to beat a dead horse.

Posted by: lowcountry | June 4, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Seriously? Is the prospect of a businessman's special really that bad?

Posted by: Postpone the game, Lerners | June 4, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

They said the same thing about a a guy who came up with the Cubs once - whatever happened to him?
_________________________________
Alaniz is a very soft tosser with very good command. Guys like that often hit a wall as they move up. Plus he is very old for his level. So let's not get too excited about him just yet.
Posted by: Coverage is lacking | June 4, 2008 9:41 PM

Posted by: lowcountry | June 4, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse

the game has finally been postponed

Posted by: natsinthevalley | June 4, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Leo Mazzone happened to him. Greg Maddux isn't just a soft tosser, is he lowcountry? Fastball at 91-92, great command, and he called himself a "mindless heaver" when he was at the Cubs. Speaking of Braves, I was sorry to hear about Smolzy. What a competitor!

Posted by: flynnie | June 4, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

What happened to Greg Maddux, lowcountry, is that he had already won 45 games in the big leagues *before* he turned 24. And anyway, there's no need for you to be a smartass, all I said was let's not get too excited just yet about Alaniz--who is 24 and still toiling in A ball.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | June 4, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Double header tomorrow? I'm feeling a need to work off-site already!

Posted by: flynnie | June 4, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Also true, flynnie, good point. Alaniz reportedly tops out at 84-85. Which was never the case with Maddux in his prime.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | June 4, 2008 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Seriously re: Bray--I think he may end up the most valuable player involved in that trade.

@lowcountry--I've said before that Lohse would have been a good signing for this team, but it's even more evident as our supposedly solid 5 breaks down. I'll bring it up again when Hill goes down for the year and when Bergmann's loses his release point for a few weeks and goes back down and when Odalis completes his morph into Jerome Williams....

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 4, 2008 9:59 PM | Report abuse

ESPN says the game has been postponed...any mention on TV or radio of a makeup day?

How about a double header? If thats the case, it'll suck if I have to cancel appointments to get to Nats Park early for game 1 tomorrow. But I've got to keep my priorities straight.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | June 4, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Or maybe a double header on July 7th as some sage suggested previously, since the Cardinals have to be in Philly on the 8th? Week of the 4th, double-header, sounds sweeeet!

Posted by: flynnie | June 4, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

1:10 tomorrow!!! 7:10 tomorrow night!!!

Posted by: flynnie | June 4, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Maddux was being a little modest about his time with the Cubs - I used to watch him. I like the idea of pitchers who know how to pitch - I see some of that in Lannan. But If it takes Leo Mazzone to help Alaniz, I could be amenable to that as well.

Indeed, very sad about Smoltz. It'll mark the end of an era if he's done.

Posted by: lowcountry | June 4, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Come on up, lowcountry! Let's watch a double-header tomorrow!

Posted by: flynnie | June 4, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Bonneville ought to run that Church of Latter Day Saints ad extolling patience during Nats games. And the one about abolishing brain pain. And the one about dealing with anxiety. I've been listening to some dreadful radio in the hopes of listening to some not dreadful baseball. Who's going to the double header? Do we get to hang around the park or are we banished to Half Street between games?

Posted by: flynnie | June 4, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Oh so very tempting. I afraid that I'm going to have share the experience with Charlie and Dave as usual though.

I'll be in town next month.
_______________
Come on up, lowcountry! Let's watch a double-header tomorrow!
Posted by: flynnie | June 4, 2008 10:06 PM

Posted by: lowcountry | June 4, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

"I'll bring it up again when Hill goes down for the year and when Bergmann's loses his release point for a few weeks and goes back down and when Odalis completes his morph into Jerome Williams...."

...and I'm sure you'll let us know repeatedly that you called it, too. You'll probably also let everyone know when one of these nuggets of wisdom makes its way into the insiders blog in the fish wrap.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Maddux threw low-90s when he came up with the Cubs, and he has always had supernatural late movement on his pitches. His "stuff" was overpowering in a way the speed gun didn't catch.

Letting him go was the last straw for my early days as a Cubs fan growing up in Chicago.

Allow me to give JimBo credit--he never refused to offer a contract to one of the greatest pitchers of all time because he had just signed Jamie Navarro and felt he no longer needed him.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 4, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

that was me at 10:13 SoCH...and I'd interpret my post as mean spirited after review...that was not the intention.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | June 4, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

@LDO--no worries. I WILL remind you when I called it!

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 4, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

I did not mean to imply that Alaniz was the next Greg Maddux. Only that we should give him a chance as well as credit for doing what pitchers are supposed to do - get guys out and, by consquence, win games.

I will say in Alaniz's defense, however, that I think he is throwing about 20-25mph harder than Jamie Moyer these days!

Posted by: lowcountry | June 4, 2008 10:24 PM | Report abuse

For the true baseball buffs out there, I don't have any idea. Please complete the sentence, circa 1988:

"Greg Maddux is the next _________"

I bet there's a lot of really interesting comparisons about players we make comparisons to now. Anyone know any?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | June 4, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Good question, 506, I like it.

My answer: Catfish Hunter.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | June 4, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Keep us posted on your plans, lowcountry. Maybe we can put something together.

flynnie, glad to hear that you weathered the storm.

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 4, 2008 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Good question, 506 - good answer CIL. I was going to say Mickey Lolich.

natsfan1a - I'll be in town for the Houston series. I'll let you know as all the details come together.

Posted by: lowcountry | June 4, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Not sure of the rules or if this is the place, but I can't get off tomorrow.

Anybody want a pair in 105, second row, at the STH face price, obo.

Would really much rather let Nats fans have them than putting them on stubhub or something.

Posted by: Corey | June 4, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

i will be at both games!! hooraaaay for a doubleheader

Posted by: love | June 4, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Something totally off topic but I just noticed that Vidro is batting 4th and hitting .225 for the Mariners. Ouch!

But then again, he probably would be batting clean up if he was still with the Nats.

They should give Clippard a shot.

Posted by: Expos Fan | June 4, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Duly noted, lowcountry.

Also, new post (and Expos Fan may be psychic).

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 4, 2008 11:13 PM | Report abuse

A bit late, but I just wanted to point out that if you're getting clever with Casti (and it is, thanks), then the plural should be "Langerhansen."

********
Now, he was referring primarily to the Langerhanses and Casti (the plural of Casto, of course) on the club.

Posted by: Good thing nobody's reading this now | June 5, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

i wasn't around to respond to this one last night, SoCH, so i'll respond now.

===


A rumor is just a rumor. I just shared cuz it's fun to BS. If it's at all true, it would be outrageous. But a rumor's just a rumor.

Then, for whatever reason, you feel compelled to jump in and defend Bowden, as you have many times.

Yeah, you say, "I don't like him," but then you say he shouldn't be fired, that it's unfair to say he should, that anyone who says he should be fired has some axe to grind and is just out to get him, etc. I don't get that.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | June 4, 2008 8:15 PM
===

a) i wasn't objecting to sharing the rumor, that's cool. it just gets tiresome that everything's an opportunity to say "look how much bowden sucks", even when it's not a fact but just an unsubstantiated rumor and may have nothing to do with bowden whatsoever. as i keep repeating, there's plenty of legit stuff to b1tch about, why make up stuff.

b) i wasn't defending bowden. please reread if that's confusing. there's a difference between calling someone out for BS when they attack him and defending the person being attacked. i was commenting on your position about a specific rumor, not saying bowden was good.

c) please point out any place i've ever said "bowden shouldn't be fired," or anything like that. i've said i don't dislike him as much as you, but i've never said he should be the GM here. really, go back and look, you won't find it. nor have i said anyone who said he should be fired "has an axe to grind" or "is out to get him." i've responded to *specific* comments criticizing specific events/signings/trades by saying they were overcriticized.

maybe i'm coming across wrong in the written word, so let me make it clear. i'm not a bowden fan. i don't think he should be our manager and i hope they hire someone new this offseason. i agree that his overall record with this team (and i really don't care what he did with the reds, just what he's done here) isn't up-to-snuff and we could do better. we could also do worse (i.e., brian sabean). i just get tired of specious arguments and ad hominem attacks on the guy, even if i don't like him.

Posted by: 231 | June 5, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

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