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Improbabilities

The Nats were down 4-0 this afternoon, sleepwalking, really. And they could be forgiven, too; they'd gotten into town last night around 2 a.m. John Lannan couldn't find the strike zone and the Nats couldn't hit Cubs' pitcher Jason Marquis.

Then, the Nats pulled the quickest U-turn of their season.

I'll leave it up to you to pick the most improbably of these events...

- Washington scored a combined seven runs on two hits -- a Willie Harris grand slam and an Aaron Boone bases-loaded double.

- The Nats scored six runs in one inning.

- Ronnie Belliard went 4-for-5, continuing a stretch since Aug. 14 in which he's 18-for-31... yes, 18-for-31.

- John Lannan had 30 pitches after the first inning and still hung on to pitch into the seventh and earn the win.

- Harris hit two home runs, the first multi-home run game of his career. Mind you, this is a guy who's been in the majors since 2001, and only four times, counting this one, has he had multi home-run seasons.

By Chico Harlan  |  August 22, 2008; 6:07 PM ET
 
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Comments

A very happy afternoon here in my office overlooking Lake Michigan! Go Nats!!

Posted by: Chicago Nats Fan | August 22, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

You play 162 games, chances are, you'll get at least one like today's.

Now if only they could get, say, THIRTY more that end just like this one before the end of September... :-)

Posted by: Juan-John | August 22, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

We owe it all to clean living and Willie Harris.

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 22, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

"...Posted by: Chicago Nats Fan"

Whoa! There's three of us!

Posted by: mrm0to | August 22, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

WILLE HARRIS DESTROYED THE PERIODIC TABLE, BECAUSE HE ONLY RECOGNIZES THE ELEMENT OF SURPRISE!

Posted by: Underpants | August 22, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Happy birthday to ME...a fine present for a soggy day in the south. Willie Harris for president.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 22, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Any doubt that Super Willie is the MVP of this club?

Posted by: CapPeterson | August 22, 2008 6:26 PM | Report abuse

3 of you? Can't be. That would put us over the 9,000 households. GO Nats!

Posted by: 6th and D | August 22, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Game Stars CBS Glogger
Washington Nationals -
Ronnie Belliard: 4-5, 3 runs scored, 2 rbi, 2 doubles, home run.
Willie Harris: 2-4, 3 runs scored, 6 rbi, 2 home runs.

...and the routine outfield assist.

Posted by: cat daddy | August 22, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

For the record, a good portion of my afternoon here at work has been shot.

Posted by: Patty | August 22, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

@Patty

but doesn't the win streak make the day sweeter?

Posted by: natsscribe | August 22, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

I'll tell my boss Willie Harris made me watch since it was going to be his first multi-HR game.

Posted by: Patty | August 22, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Let it be know that August 22nd will now be known in Washington as Willie Harris day. take the rest of the day off and tell Fenty he needs a key.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 22, 2008 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Wrigley field with wind was blowing out to center at 15 mph and their #5 pitcher, whom Cards fans called "Bipolar Betty," was on the mound. I bet some of those LLWS teams could have pulled off a win.

Posted by: grumpy grumps | August 22, 2008 6:55 PM | Report abuse

@grumpy grumps

Go rain on someone else's parade. It's L'il Willie's world and we're along for the ride.

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 22, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

I bet some of those LLWS teams could have pulled off a win.

Posted by: grumpy grumps

Perhaps. Maybe the Nats should order up double-flap helmets (a la Mr. Willie Harris) for the whole team to complete the effect.

Posted by: cat daddy | August 22, 2008 7:03 PM | Report abuse

My day off is Friday so I got to watch my Nats(yes i still pull for them even though they make me crazy) i love it when they beat up on the front runners so today was glorious, the wife was out and it was just me and a ice cold one.Willie Harris for VP!!!!!.

Posted by: DARGREGMAG@AOL.COM | August 22, 2008 7:03 PM | Report abuse

That was a lot of fun....


What is it with Ronnie Belliard? Just when you think you need someone else there, he gets hot again. Like he wants the job next April.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | August 22, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Lannan got more run support today than he has gotten in the rest of his starts combined

Posted by: Michael | August 22, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Happy birthday to you, SC Nats Fan!

Cap Peterson, that's a no-doubter, methinks.

Sorry, Patty, but it was worth it, right? ;)

I like the double-flap helmet idea, cat daddy!

p.s. I think that grumpy grumps may have missed nap time. :D

DARGREGMAG@AOL.COM, great post! (I love it when they beat up on the front runners, too.)

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 22, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

What is it with Ronnie Belliard? Just when you think you need someone else there, he gets hot again. Like he wants the job next April.

Posted by: Fisch Fry

And that's the type of player the Nats need now more than ever. I'm glad he got the extension last year.

Posted by: cat daddy | August 22, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Oops, I put my post script in the wrong place.

Also, I think that I'd go with the first of Chico's items, given the way things have been going with RISP. Have to admit that after we scored our first two runs my immediate thought was: at least they won't be shut out today. O me of little faith...

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 22, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Glorious! Victorious!

Posted by: 6th and D | August 22, 2008 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Wait and see. Nats will do well in September, just well enough to lose the first pick in the draft. It's been a tough year, taking the concept of 'can't win' to a whole new level.

Posted by: JeevesWait | August 22, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Thanks 1a....it was indeed a glorious afternoon. Would it be to much to ask for a 3 game streak?

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 22, 2008 7:50 PM | Report abuse

My oh my....

I started watching when it was 4-0 and I caught all of the Nat's scoring. What a lucky day for me! Of course I loved all the home runs, but what really thrilled me was seeing Bonaficio actually looking like a good lead off hitter with his chip shots to the left side of the infield. It is amazing what getting the leadoff hitter on base does for this offense. I guess clutch hitting won the lottery today.

Posted by: Dale | August 22, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Do you really think it's a coincidence that Obama is announcing his running mate tomorrow, a day in which Willie Harris will be in the state of Illinois?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 7:56 PM | Report abuse

No chance, Anon. Willie Harris would announce Obama as HIS VP.

Posted by: Sec. 3, MC | August 22, 2008 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Willie Harris is The One.

Posted by: Orpheus | August 22, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Or was that Morpheus? I always forget.

Posted by: Keanu "Ted" | August 22, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

jerry manuel is actually trusting "gasoline alley" ayala to close for the mets, who lead houston 3-0 in the ninth.

Posted by: natsscribe | August 22, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

We can hope, SC Nats Fan.

======

Thanks 1a....it was indeed a glorious afternoon. Would it be to much to ask for a 3 game streak?

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 22, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

hmm, maybe he did need a change of scenery.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 22, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Small sample size alert:

The Nats are 2-0 since we got back to 25 players available

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | August 22, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Re: Dmitri's reporting to Melbourne this weekend for baseball activities -- does our GM have some flood damage crews and a few electricians ready to go? For starters, how are the roads and airports in the area? And how deep was the water in Space Coast Stadium?

Posted by: 422 | August 22, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Obama would not be willing to share the stage with Willie Harris. Obama thinks he is the chosen one, but Willie Harris is the one who can bring us change

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Uhhh... Day game on a Friday means a night on the town for our boy Chico huh? The way I see it since gameday was over around 6ish and there's been nothing new from our fearless beat writer we should be expecting an in-depth, feature length gamer laden with fresh insight and secrets of the road straight from the players we know very little about.

I'm just saying... there's been plenty of time for new content since the final out. Where's our boy from Pittsburgh?

Posted by: Since when do we work 1/2 days? | August 22, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

jerry manuel is actually trusting "gasoline alley" ayala to close for the mets, who lead houston 3-0 in the ninth.

Posted by: natsscribe

The Nats and some ex-Nats seem to all have had a good day today.

Ayala went 1.1 innings the other night and got the save tonight. Schneider had a 2-run homer and Church, "perhaps the team's best player" got a "sustained standing ovation" for returning to the lineup.

"Felipe Lopez finally gets a hit on the board. He reaches first base with a smile and a small chuckle as he knows he won't be getting made fun of the rest of the night for going hitless." The Cards are pounding Atlanta 18-2...

Jury's still out on the hitless new catcher for the Marlins through 7.

Posted by: cat daddy | August 22, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Even with all of the night games either completed or well underway, 2 of the 3 top performers on the ESPN.com MLB scoreboard page are Willie Harris and Ronnie Belliard...no one's topped their performances from earlier today. Way to go guys!

Posted by: BSG | August 22, 2008 11:30 PM | Report abuse

The Nats stink, but I'd rather be a Nats fan than a Mariners fan. They actually thought that they had a chance at the playoffs this year and traded for Berdard which blew up.

I think we will come in 2nd for the Strasburg sweepstakes. We are having a terrible season, but thank goodness we have the Nats and not the Mariners

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Todays activities at Space Coast Stadium...water polo.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 22, 2008 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Hey 1/2 day, looks like Harlan knocked out just what you asked for already.
Great in-depth gamer with personal insight into he who is the professional ballplayer named Harris.
Sheesh, tough room...

Posted by: cat daddy | August 22, 2008 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Dmitri can practice his synchronized swimming with Nick Johnson

Posted by: hahaha | August 22, 2008 11:34 PM | Report abuse

"2 of the 3 top performers on the ESPN.com MLB scoreboard page are Willie Harris and Ronnie Belliard..."

That's pretty cool, BSG. Great day for the two coolest guys on the team.

Posted by: cat daddy | August 22, 2008 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Seattle gets the W and the Nats still lead the Strasburg sweepstakes. A good day indeed.

Posted by: a win and no ground gained | August 23, 2008 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Elijah Dukes homers (1) on a fly ball to left center field.

Casto K, K

Posted by: Jim B | August 23, 2008 2:33 AM | Report abuse

c487t

Posted by: ma301zda | August 23, 2008 5:43 AM | Report abuse

Work was hectic, relentless and all consuming this week, and actually had me trotting down the sidewalk on Friday afternoon, pink and plump as a Christmas pig bent on survival. So I taped the game, and, to quote Dale, My, oh my! This sure is fun! I've replayed the top of the 6th four times already - such fun! Willie's assist for out 3 on an arrogant Mark DeRosa trotting towards second like he was entitled by G-d to a double - well, the icing on the cake!

Posted by: flynnie | August 23, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

I enjoyed reading it in the dead-tree edition while drinking my "old gal" coffee. ;-)

-------

Great in-depth gamer with personal insight into he who is the professional ballplayer named Harris.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 23, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back, flynnie. Glad that you survived the hectic week.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 23, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I enjoyed reading it in the dead-tree edition while drinking my "old gal" coffee. ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a

Heh... refilling my "cool guy" cup as I type. Not old, not old.... Not that crazy about Boswell's badly timed contribution this morning. But I, for one, would rather see the Nats play well, than play for any draft pick.

............ ) )
. /\~~/\ / /
. ( o;o } ( (
.. '~-~ ) )
. \,,,/ \,,,/
"Now he strolls through the city like a Big Ol' Alley Cat,
With a Pin-striped Suit and a Big Bad VooDoo Hat..."

Posted by: cat daddy | August 23, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Yeah Nats! Get some Gino's East Pizza while in the Windy City! (and can we leave Bark Obama out of the NJ please - I get enough of that elsewhere)

Posted by: 307 | August 23, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I'm with you on both counts, cat daddy.

Love the Chicago-style pizza! Additional dining recommendation - try an Italian beef sandwich.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 23, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I got a text message at 3am saying that Willie Harris was BO's VP choice. I was excited even though Willie Harris should be leading the ticket. Disappointed to see that the text message was a hoax.

Hope the rumors are true that Willie Harris is contemplating a independent run to the white house a la Ross Perot.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Where is our saturday morning post? Hey Chicago....WAKE UP

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 23, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

What a way for Willie to salute Ben's Chili Bowl's 50th. Coincidence? I think not. Throw in the game by one of team's "gourmands," Big Belli, and you have to say it was the Ben's mojo working for us.

Belli's hitting? Reversion to his mean on average, step up in power. PECOTA had him at .282 / .332 / .417, but only 11 HRs in 497 PAs. He's blown by that. Bill James had him at .275 / .331./ 416, with 13 HRs over 567 ABs.

A comment on Nats nation - I was in a sports bar in Arlington, waiting to catch a bus to [ahem] OPACY, and watching the Nats game, when the 6th inning rally started. When Willie hit the grand slam, I was the only one there to clap and make noise. I had to actually point to the screen and say grand slam by willie harris to take the lead. Now granted, a lot of the people there were NYY fans not interested, Cubs fans disappointed, or just alcohol fans, but sheesh. OTOH, when I said Willie, several said "Can you believe how he's hitting?" so there is hope.

Posted by: PTBNL | August 23, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

In a serious miscalculation, Willie Harris was not selected to be part of the Obama ticket today. Harris, a native of Cairo, GA, would have brought strength not only in his home state but also in the key battleground state of Virginia as well as scattered precincts inhabited by some 9000 households.

Apparently, his youth (only 30)led to some "Constitutional" objections by "lawyers" who still think that document applies to the highest office. Some advisers pointed out that Mr. Harris's ability to move through time with his speed would have allowed him to overcome this obstacle, but the "reality based" camp may have won the debate.

The leading alternative choice, Ronnie Belliard, was similarly shot down by lawyers who pointed out he was born in the Dominican Republic. Researchers could not verify if the United States occupied the DR at the time, making the issue too close of a question for the campaign to take a chance.

Meanwhile, to inject youth into his campaign, John McCain is vetting several 23 year olds, including Elijah Dukes. So far, they have not found anything on him that would raise a red flag.

Posted by: NR David Broder | August 23, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Ronnie was born in the Bronx. Still not sure whether NY was considered part of this country or the Soviet Union in 1975.

Posted by: NR Broder - correction | August 23, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Willie Harris turned down Obama's overtures to be his VP. Harris said "Man the only way I would serve with Obama is if he is my VP. Afterall I have about as much experience as he does. I'll let him try to save the world. I have my hands full trying to save the Nats."

Posted by: Keith Olbermann | August 23, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/baseballdigestdaily/2008/08/23/BDD-Live


He mumbles a lot

Posted by: Aaron Crow being interviewed live | August 23, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Few notes from Aaron Crow interview:

He said he knew Washington was going to draft him.

He said towards the last 3-4 days he was with his advisors the whole time. He let Hendricks do all the talking, but said Hendricks relayed it back to him.

Before deadline came he knew he'd be better off next year in another situation. He said he knew this before the deadline.

He said he believes any of the other 29 teams would have handled his situation better. He said something about the way the Nationals spoke to him and his family. It sounded kind of personal.

He said they had it planned out what he wanted. He knew coming down to the deadline that he didn't feel comfortable in this situation so it wasn't a difficult decision. He said over the days prior to the deadline he had his mind pretty well made up. Bottom line the guy had no intention in coming here (at least not the final week).

He said he would prefer if the Nationals stay away from him and not draft him next year. (Stupid question).

Overall the interviewer stayed away from tough questions.

Posted by: Aaron Crow being interviewed | August 23, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

c138t

Posted by: ma50zda | August 24, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

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