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Philadelphia pregame

Greetings, Nats fans. This is Mark Viera -- no relation to Meredith, never been to the team's spring training in Viera, Fla. -- and I'll be shepherding the Journal for the next three nights.

So. Let's get started.

What can I say that hasn't already been said? Washington needs something positive after that awful six-game slide. There's a distinct possibility to see something of value tonight because rookie RHP Collin Balester (1-2, 5.75 ERA) is on the bump. His last outing was one of his best this season, even though he didn't get a win, and he's one of those young arms the Nats front office is excited about.

Something else to keep an eye on: Washington's lineup has mashed Phillies RHP Brett Myers (3-9, 5.82 ERA) over the course of his career. This stuff may end up coming out later in the dead-tree edition, but check some of the numbers for your pregame reference:

Austin Kearns: .389 (7 for 18)
Paul Lo Duca: .306 (11 for 36)
Felipe Lopez: .320 (8 for 25, 4 2B)
Ryan Zimmerman: .417 (10 for 24, 4 2B, 1 HR)

We'll see if it makes a difference tonight. I'm hoping to post some information here later, so check back. Here are your lineups:

Rollins -- 6
Victorino -- 8
Utley -- 4
Howard -- 3
Burrell -- 7
Jenkins -- 9
Dobbs -- 5
Coste -- 2
Myers -- 1

Harris -- 7
Belliard -- 4
Zimmerman -- 5
Kearns -- 9
Flores -- 2
Milledge -- 8
Lo Duca -- 3
Lopez -- 6
Balester -- 1

By Chico Harlan  |  July 29, 2008; 6:51 PM ET
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go nats!

Posted by: billy ray cyrus | July 29, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Carrying over...

Last year Kyle Lohse returned Matt Maloney who is now considered the #8 prospect in the Reds' system. I would think that Tim Redding, given his injury history would not get as much. At best he might get someone comparable. I don't see how Nelson, the #4 prospect in a stacked system is parted with for Tim Redding. I'd love to see it happen, but I think it would be a steal for the Nats.

Let's hope the past v. Myers is prelude

Posted by: #4 | July 29, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Guess Guz being back after his short rest didn't work out.

I like Lopez batting 8th if he has to be in the game.

Let's see some good stuff out there Colin, I penciled you in as our #3 pitcher for '09 back in April so its time to make me look smart!

Posted by: estuartj | July 29, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see Willie Harris leave during the 5th inning, traded to a contender. I'd miss him, but not for long.

I would also like to see Felipe Lopez leave during the 5th inning. I don't care where he goes after that.

Finally, I would love to see Paul LoDuca leave during the 5th inning, traded to the Marlins. I hate the Marlins, and am ambivalent to LoDuca.

I think we would actually survive the last 4 innings without the 3 of them.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | July 29, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Don't trade Harris! He's Batman!

Posted by: SF Fan | July 29, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

where have all the game bloggers gone? or does this misery not warrant much company?

Posted by: natsscribe | July 29, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

can someone PLEASE do something about this "on the run tune your thirst" commercial airing in nats radio broadcasts? it is the most annoying spot that airs during games.

Posted by: natsscribe | July 29, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

FLOP strikes again! You just knew he'd get doubled up there.

Posted by: Offense/offensive | July 29, 2008 7:56 PM | Report abuse

You know it's bad when it's the pitcher who has the only hit so far.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 29, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Ugh! boy, am I sorry that I ever decided to pick up Willie Harris to my fantasy team.
And what's the record for the most consecutive innings without scoring a single run because the way things are going, it looks like they're not going to be scoring for a while....

Posted by: Anonymous | July 29, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, why would manny want to pitch hit for Balester, the hottest hitter on the team?

Posted by: dale | July 29, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Are ya'll seriously hating on Willie Harris ALREADY??? He was crapping gold just a few days ago.

Sheesh. Ya'll ARE a tough crowd.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 29, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

welcome back NN. the first lady of the blog has been missed.

Posted by: natsscribe | July 29, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

on zimm's baserunning gaffe...where was he going? what was he thinking?

Posted by: natsscribe | July 29, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

If you're still watching and haven't signed the petition, I'm not sure what you're waiting for! Fire Bowden.

And buy your Fire Jim Bowden t-shirt here:

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | July 29, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Aw. You gotta give him credit for being aggressive. He was probably tired of hanging on first for so long.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 29, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

It's time for Manny to light a fire in the dugout--literally.

Posted by: Dale | July 29, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

We're getting shut down, completely, by Brett freaking Myers. I feel a little sick to my stomach.

Posted by: Offense/offensive | July 29, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

If that had been Lopez we'd all be going batsh!t, at least Zim showed that he was p!ssed off at being so dumb.

And a great play at the wall by Willie!

Posted by: estuartj | July 29, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

why bring up mock, stick him in the bullpen and then pull him after a 14-pitch inning? he's used to starting and a game like this is one where not only can he gain valuable experience against a good-hitting lineup but could the rest of the bullpen a break during the last two or three innings? manny, stop being a slave to the "one and done" philosophy with the relievers.

Posted by: natsscribe | July 29, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse


It is not Bowden fumbling on second, or hitting pop flies and ground outs or doubling up runners. A new GM won't get these guys to hit. You should just sign the petition to get rid of the entire starting lineup save the pitchers.

Posted by: Dale | July 29, 2008 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Dale--I'll sign your petition if you sign mine :)

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | July 29, 2008 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Why don't they just put the same starting lineup that they had in Atlanta a week ago? At least they'll score a run.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 29, 2008 9:04 PM | Report abuse

But, man, how about that pitching?

So what happened to the "fire Lenny Harris" brigade, just wondering. Offensive woes are our number one problem, but the calls for cutting Lenny just mysteriously stopped two months ago.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 29, 2008 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Funny you should ask, 506. I was just thinking about him awhile ago. But I've already made my arguments. They haven't changed but I don't necessarily need to beat that drum anymore.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 29, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Intern Viera is batting .500.

Balester showed value. Yeah, Viera.

Myers with a shutout through 7. Boo, Viera.

I wonder what the Mendoza line is for Intern prognastications?

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | July 29, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse


speaking of beating a dead horse...

Posted by: natsscribe | July 29, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Fire Lenny Harris was always kind of silly. Don't get me wrong, I don't think he's any good at his job. But does anyone *really* believe that this debacle is Lenny Harris's fault? It's like blaming the wait staff on the Titanic. I'd say it's 2% his fault, tops. I mean TOPS. Really, I think if you had the best hitting instructor in MLB history (which is who exactly? aren't they all just guys who stand there and clap?) this team wouldn't be any better.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | July 29, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

That's a terrible analogy, Steven. A better infantile comparison would be that it's like firing the watchman of the Titanic. Sure, he could have kept better watch, but if the ship didn't have a faulty design there wouldn't be an issue anyway.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 29, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Nope. Nuh-uh. I'm not biting. Not arguing Lenny Harris anymore. (damn you, 506)

Posted by: NatsNut | July 29, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

the drought is over. now tie this game, dammit.

Posted by: natsscribe | July 29, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Willie Harris can make it rain.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 29, 2008 9:18 PM | Report abuse

balester is still on the hook for the loss. c'mon guys.

Posted by: natsscribe | July 29, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

SoCH...your shameless website and t-shirt plugs are not only incredibly annoying, they violate the rules of the board.

Your posts are valued as they relate to Bowden's term as general manager. Your self promotion, however, should be offered somewhere else.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | July 29, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

I've never seen one run come by so *hard.* The team must be spent.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 29, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

LDO--I'm just trying to have fun here. If you wanna be mad at someone, don't take it out on me.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | July 29, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

A relentless campaign to get someone fired is just having fun?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | July 29, 2008 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Anyone up for a walk off?

Posted by: TimDz | July 29, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse


Please continue to have fun. But, please refrain from marketing your blog on the NJ. Thats all I am asking.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | July 29, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse


By submitting content, you are consenting to these rules:

1. You agree not to submit inappropriate content. Inappropriate content includes any content that:

contains advertising or solicitation of any kind

give it a rest, please.

Posted by: natsscribe | July 29, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Hanrahan has been NASTY in July!

Posted by: homer | July 29, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: TimDz | July 29, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

father flynniegan,

i will be awaiting your daily sermonette of hope and optimism.

Posted by: natsscribe | July 29, 2008 9:40 PM | Report abuse

When do we play the Braves again?

Posted by: Offense/offensive | July 29, 2008 9:40 PM | Report abuse

What are we, chopped liver??

"welcome back NN. the first lady of the blog has been missed."

Posted by: The other ladies | July 29, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Zimmerman, Kearns and Flores vs. Lidge

Did anyone ever think they could do better than ground out, pop out, fly out?

We keep making bad opposing starting pitchers look good. That is our job as Nats hitters.

Please bring in the youngsters.

Posted by: Dale | July 29, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

The pitching from the 4 youngsters tonight was outstanding. Something to look forward to. The offensive side? Offensive indeed...

Posted by: Sec 317 | July 29, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Hurry up September 1. Can't stand to watch this anymore. Totally overestimated the drawing power of the new stadium. Was interested in a partial plan, then thought I'd go see selected games. Now, I'll wait till they play something other than "dead from the neck up" baseball. Can't even sit through an entire game. Thank goodness for the clicker. Sorry for the morose post.

Posted by: Section: Home on the couch | July 29, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

"Lo Duca thinks lack of starts hurts value." Really Paul? You think the lack of starts is hurting your trade value, as opposed to the .598 OPS you're sporting?

Posted by: PJ | July 29, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Well you guys are completely uptight and no fun at all. I don't blame you given the state of your team, but you really should lighten up.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | July 29, 2008 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Shouldnt that be "our" team? I thought you were a fan and didnt have an agenda.

Next on your agenda, SoCH, should be to fire Ed Wade. Lidge looked dominant again tonight. Maybe you can make a couple bucks off those t-shirts as well.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | July 29, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Zimmerman, Kearns and Flores vs. Lidge

Did anyone ever think they could do better than ground out, pop out, fly out?

Please bring in the youngsters

Dale? - those are our youngsters.. Zim and Flores are our youth movement.

or do you want to see the 08 draft choices all signed tomajor league contracts.. what the hell, lets start the arbitration clock on see a few games in Sept..

Posted by: Media Guide Momma | July 29, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Arbitration clock relates to service time and 1/3 of a season isnt going really effect arbitration eligibility or salary down the road. The issue with bringing up minor leaguers is they have to be added to the 40 man roster and once the end of spring training rolls around in 2009, they have to be optioned back to the minors. So for young guys that may not be promoted to the majors for another couple years, your risk losing them to the Rule 5 draft or holding them on the 40 man roster for several years. In hindsight, its been an issue with Maxwell and Detwiler, both of whom havent progressed as expected this year, and Josh Whitesell, who was on the 40 man and protected but later waived and now productive for the Diamondbacks AAA team.

But in reality, what does it hurt? The Nats are the first team to have a .00000% chance of reaching the playoffs this year. There are no financial commitments beyond 2010, so why not bring up the kids and see what they can do. I don't see LoDuca, Lopez, Langerhans, Orr or Ayala on this team in 2010 so why not clean house now? DFA them off the 40 man roster and bring up Martis, Estrada, Schroder, Bernadina and Bonifacio before Sept 1 (okay, maybe not Martis since he will be in the Olympics). There are multiple players in the minors having productive years who appear to be old for their league. Time to promote them and determine if they are major league caliber or just organizational filler.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | July 29, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Oh come on, give SoCH a break. He's hardly been around at all recently, and I, for one, miss his humor and his analysis. Maybe the T-shirt promotion violates the NJ rules (big deal), but suggesting you check out his blog certainly doesn't. People make recommedations of sites to visit all the time. And seriously, if you haven't checked it out, you should. He does a pre-game analysis that is a whole lot more interesting than the lineups posted here by interns.

There are comments here that are a whole lot more tedious than SoCH's (O's exec anyone?) Save your outrage for this godforsaken team we are all destined to stick with through thick and thin and thin and more thin.

By the way, SoCH and others are right that the Nats' hitting isn't Lenny's fault. But he still should have been fired long, long ago. Just another reason that Jim Bowden should be fired. There has to be accountability for the failure of this team to live up to its potential, even with its bad luck.

Posted by: Section 222 | July 29, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Ok, tough loss (again), but on the plus side Balester and company was only 1 pitch away from potching the shutout they need to get a victory.

Posted by: estuartj | July 29, 2008 11:31 PM | Report abuse

26 scoreless inning streak broken c/o error by Utley and hustle by Flip! Nats continue to honor Our Nation's History by scoring less than the lowest team average (3.4) runs! West Coast Offense continues!

The Nats have "Home Run Willie Harris".

In the Dead Ball Era, such a lack of power in the game led to one of the more ironic player nicknames in history. Frank Baker, one the best players of the dead-ball era, earned the nickname of "Home Run" Baker merely for hitting two home runs in the 1911 World Series. Although Baker led the American League in home runs four times (1911-1914), his highest home run season was 12, and he finished with 96 home runs for his career.

The Nats have Ronnie Belliard.

The best slugger of the dead-ball era was Philadelphia Phillies outfielder "Cactus" Gavvy Cravath. Cravath led the National League in home runs six times, with a high total of 24 for the pennant-winning Phillies in 1915, and seasons of 19 home runs each in 1913 and 1914. Cravath, however was aided by batting in the Baker Bowl, a notoriously hitter-friendly park aided by a short 280-foot (85 m) distance to right field.

Let's re-create the "Baker Bowl" for tomorrow night, which should be celebrated as "Dead Ball Era" Night! All fences should be brought in to 280 feet. The Nats pitchers should be allowed to throw the "emery pitch" in order to increase the chances of the no-hitters needed for victory. Fans will be treated to an authentic, competitive experience!

Posted by: flynnie | July 30, 2008 2:36 AM | Report abuse

More promotions in the Nats' salute to the Dead Ball Era - "Nats spitball night" in which the Nats (only) get to keep a bucket of water on the mound (more sanitary);

-Small Ball Night - Make Manny Bunt and hit & run!;

-Relentlessly Positive Night, in which Joel Osteen's upbeat sermons are played on that high def. scoreboard between innings, no matter what happens. Joel's encouraging , soothing words are played after each at bat, no matter what happens!

Russ Ford Emery Pitch Night (only to be used by the home team). "In 1913, however, pitchers started to regain control, helped by a serendipitous invention by minor league pitcher Russ Ford. Ford accidentally scuffed a baseball against a concrete wall, and after he threw it, noticed the pitch quickly dived as it reached the batter. The emery pitch was born. Soon pitchers not only had the dominating spitball, they had another pitch in their arsenal to control the batter, aided by the fact that the same ball was used throughout the game and almost never replaced." Wikipedia, The Dead Ball Era.

Posted by: flynnie | July 30, 2008 2:51 AM | Report abuse

Should've read: Nats continue to honor Our Nation's History by scoring less than the lowest team average (3.4 runs in 1908) in the Dead Ball Era!

Another idea: Go out with your wife on your anniversary night! May you all have such a spouse! Let her buy dinner at Rrrrrreestaurrrrante GUAPO! Happy Anniversary! Go home, sleep peacefully with your belly beside you, and awaken to the MASN replay, a Groundhog Day experience. Go back to sleep with happy memories of the Cinquo de Mayo platter!

Posted by: flynnie | July 30, 2008 3:06 AM | Report abuse

In honor of the Beijing Olympics, the Nats should fire up the Cement Plant to re-create the truly Dickensian air pollution in China, and have Cipro night, where, for every beer sold, the team donates a heavy-duty antibiotic to combat the respiratory infections suffered by the local press and athletic delegations sent to China. A special "Bring Back Boswell Alive" feature awards Washington's foremost baseball writer an immediate first-class ticket home in the event of a Nats' pop fly to the outfield.

Posted by: flynnie | July 30, 2008 3:25 AM | Report abuse

The Nats have lost 14 games in a row that have been decided by one or two runs. That's on Manny. With a third of the season to go his team has given up.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 30, 2008 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Cowboy up and sign your posts, you who slander and cringe without a handle! I want to know who is blaming Manny!

Posted by: flynnie | July 30, 2008 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Look at all the zeroes in the box scores and watch Manny stand in the dugout like a statue during games. He was told by ownership that this team isn't expected to win and that is how he manages them. The Lerners love him though, they love that he is willing to work cheap.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 30, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately the Nats used up all of their July offense against Atlanta. By Friday against the Reds we should be able to score again.

Posted by: Count Demoney | July 30, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. New post up.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 30, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

I've asked here before and not seen an answer: If the Nats fire Lenny Harris, who is available to replace him? Is the ghost of Charlie Lau available?

Posted by: Twinbrook, Md | July 30, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

The team's recent performance confirms what was obvious to everyone except Bowden, Manny and Kasten ( I omit Lerner because the old man does not even know he owns a baseball team). Injuries are not the reason for this team's inept performance. The team not only lacks skill but it also has accepted losing. The team has quit, plain and simple. They are lost at the plate and on the base paths. As much as I like Dukes's effort, he will not make a difference when he returns. The team has no leader among the players or the coaching staff. To protect their jobs both Bowden and Manny blame the injuries. This team was miserable before the injuries and is just as bad with injured players back. Zimmerman reminds me of Pena swinging at outside pitches. Kearns falls over the plate every time he swings. Milledge over swings on every pitch. One could go on and on. We see the same thing every game and nothing changes.

Even the fans on NJ are beginning to accept losing. One can tell by tone of the posts. I guess everyone reaches a saturation point.

I think the team's bottom could be reached on August 15th. On that date we will have maybe 80 loses and we will have failed to sign our top draft picks making 2008 a lost year.

This team is on pace to be the worst Nats/Expos team in their 39 year history.

We will eventually cut Pena and Lopez and they will realize their potential. Pena will become the Mets starting left fielder and hit 40 home runs. Lopez will become an all star again. Cordero will save 50 games for someone else.

This team did not have to be this bad in order to implement the Plan. The team is the result of trying to cut corners at the major league level. We have created a loser's environment. Players do not like playing for a losing organization. They make this known every time they play.

Posted by: mjames | July 30, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

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