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Vets out of the lineup and lower in the lineup

The daily collaboration of odds and ends...

* SS Christian Guzman took batting practice before today's game and could return to the lineup within the next day or two, Manny Acta said. Guzman is even a candidate to make an appearance later tonight -- at least if all feels good after BP.

* With Estrada, it looks like the team is trying to repeat the Garrett Mock experiment and turn a minor league starter into a major league reliever -- and perhaps for more than just the short-term. When the Nats had a bullpen role to fill because of the Luis Ayala trade, the team's minor league talent evaluators recommended Estrada.

So, into the pen he goes. For the first time in his life.

Said Acta: "We are also trying to develop a couple of guys that can pitch out of the bullpen, so we've got to take a look at guys like him and Mock."

* Lastly, Austin Kearns. You'll notice he's batting seventh tonight, which satisfies a lot of the public sentiment, if I've got any sense of the pulse here. (Note: He's hit into four double plays during the current losing streak, bringing new meaning to the term "clean-up hitter.")

The real question with Kearns is, where on earth did the power go?

I asked Kearns. He said he's just trying to rediscover his rhythm. The bat speed is there, and has been since he returned from midseason elbow surgery. But the groove is not. Acta, for one, has noticed Kearns hitting way to many ground balls, a sign that he's late getting into a hitting position.

Kearns entered this year with 2,392 career ABs and 95 home runs -- an average of one homer every 25.2 ABs.

This year, Kearns is averaging one homer every 49.2 ABs, a ratio consistent both before and after his injury. (Before: 150 ABs, 3 HRs... Since: 145 ABs, 3 HRs.)

By Chico Harlan  |  August 19, 2008; 6:56 PM ET
 
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Comments

newposted....

lessee...the nats sign guzman to a $16 million extension. then he suffers a so-called "minor" injury that has caused belly-ard and orr to play SS for most of the past week. to top that off, he's hitting like .167 since signing the deal. if this isn't natsluck, i don't know what is.

Posted by: natsscribe | August 19, 2008 7:02 PM

Posted by: natsscribe | August 19, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

All right Willie!

Posted by: brent | August 19, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

L'il Willie Style!!!!!!!!

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 19, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Big Willie Harris!

Zim just crushed one foul, this might be a high scoring game...

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | August 19, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Kearns power stayed with the Reds in that band box they play in. The D-Backs will find that out the Dunn before he ends up here.

Posted by: ChrisC | August 19, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Great post, DJ. Cracked me up.
______________________

The Nats' lineup only strikes fear in the Nats' fans. Can Kearns bat 10th? Maybe we should go with 8 players and have a vacant sign a SS. It would be sick to endure all this losing and have the Padres or Mariners lose more games and get Strasburg. Whew, I fell better now.

Posted by: DJ | August 19, 2008 7:14 PM

Posted by: NatsNut | August 19, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I just saw an ad for the Nats Dodgers series on ABC. First time I've seen any TV ads for the Nats outside of MASN. My wife accused me of changing the channel. Maybe it's sad that an MLB team needs to advertise, but at least they are branching out.

Posted by: Maybe Things are Changing | August 19, 2008 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Point of Theology -- being in purgatory is a good thing. It means you are saved, and that things are bad now SO THAT they can get better.
And a case of Tuscan red for every drunk in Ravenna if this is the last baseball team either one of these guys plays for, barring career-ending misfortune.

*****************
Just heard on XM….Kennedy and Dibble called the Nationals “purgatory” and a last stop for players like Milledge and Dukes who burned their bridges with real teams...
Posted by: JayB | August 19, 2008 5:53 PM

Posted by: Dante Alighieri | August 19, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

I think getting slammed by Kennedy and Dibble is really not getting slammed at all.

Milledge and Dukes are reasons I have hope for the future. And yes, that is sad.

Posted by: Other Marc with a C | August 19, 2008 8:00 PM | Report abuse

I think Zimmerman is due

Posted by: TimDz | August 19, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Very prescient TimDz.

Posted by: Sec 204 Row K Seat 11 | August 19, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Chris C -- If you look at Dunn's splits, his power numbers are virtually the same at home as they are on the road. Just sayin...

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | August 19, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

belly-ard can leap? who knew?

Posted by: natsscribe | August 19, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

I love listening to the Philly fans boo Rollins.

Posted by: BSG | August 19, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

werth's HR seemed to be inevitable, didn't it? more natsluck.

Posted by: natsscribe | August 19, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

This must be how it was like for fans of the 1962 Mets. At least the Nats have (barely) won more than 40 games.

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 19, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

lidge sure took all of the suspense out of the ninth inning, didn't he?

Posted by: natsscribe | August 19, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

werth's HR seemed to be inevitable, didn't it? more natsluck.

Posted by: natsscribe

I was a bit more grieved by these things called, "sac flies". Who knew one could score runs off these type of plays? I assumed they were extremely rare and only strikeouts and weak double-play grounders were the norm...

Posted by: cat daddy | August 19, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Kennedy and Dibble know what they are talking about. When they call the Nationals "purgatory", it's a clear signal that the Nats are the laughing stock of baseball. In Fact, even before the season began, baseball people were aghast that the Nationals did not do more to improve the team when they got the new ballpark. Now management has wasted that great opportunity to build the fanbase. Unfortunately, there's no Ovechin on the Nats who can bring the fans back. I say we boycott the games until Bowden is fired and the Lerner's open their wallets behind a real GM. BTW, Kasten can go, too.

Posted by: disgusted | August 19, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

... which satisfies a lot of the public sentiment, if I've got any sense of the pulse here.

Posted by: or at least the more vocal segment | August 19, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Ted Lerner = a cheap Abe Pollin

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Right-hander Luis Ayala, who was acquired Sunday for a player to be named later from the Washington Nationals, said he was "very excited" to join the Mets. "It's a great organization," he said.

Ayala made his Mets debut when he came on for Perez with one out and two on in the seventh inning. Ayala knocked down Omar Infante with his first pitch, which drew cheers, then retired Infante and Brian McCann on popups to end the inning and leave the mound to a standing ovation.


http://www.nj.com/mets/index.ssf/2008/08/new_york_mets_wagner_suffers_s.html

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

It is the longest skid for the Nationals since they moved to Washington before the 2005 season, and the franchise's worst since the Montreal Expos dropped 11 games straight from June 23-July 4, 1991.

With 36 games remaining, Washington will need a decisive turnaround to avoid another unwanted milestone. The Nationals must finish 19-17 to dodge the club's first 100-loss season since the Expos went 55-107 in 1976.

Posted by: AP | August 19, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

LOS ANGELES—Dodgers left-fielder Manny Ramirez, sent to Los Angeles in a three-team trade two weeks ago, said Monday that he "really likes" the Red Sox's new blue-and-white uniforms. "I like it more than the red," Ramirez told reporters following the Dodgers' 8-6 win over the Phillies Monday. "I'm also happy that they shortened the Green Monster, and painted it blue, because that wall was too tall before. And I'm really enjoying the easy schedule we've been playing lately." Although Ramirez admitted he didn't appreciate having "that vampire from the Yankees" [Joe Torre] hanging out in the dugout all the time, he did say that he "completely approves of David Ortiz's new mustache" while gesturing towards Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent.

Posted by: Onion item | August 19, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Kevin Kennedy and Rob Dibble are complete morons and blowhards. I'm surprised they even used a word with as many syllables as "purgatory." They still think Barry Bonds is getting a raw deal. Even their colleagues on the XM baseball station make fun of them.

Posted by: nattybo | August 19, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

is it just me or is every new NJ entry sounding more and more like it belongs in the obituaries?

Posted by: von_bluff | August 19, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Despite the fact that they're on sports talk radio!?? Who knew?
******************
Kevin Kennedy and Rob Dibble are complete morons and blowhards.
Posted by: nattybo | August 19, 2008 10:45 PM

Posted by: As opposed to the Internet, which is full of deep insight | August 19, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

I think it's just you, VB. Obituaries usually don't call people morons and blowhards, even when they were, and carry on endlessly about what a cheap bastard the undertaker is.

Posted by: Sec. 2, But I could be wrong | August 19, 2008 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Or repeat the same gd clip from the onion, or Keith Law or some other blowhard, every third post for a month?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Another 0-5 night for Bonifacio. I am so glad the Nats traded for our 2B of the future.

The Nats should just realize that Willie Harris is a superhero and make him the everyday 2B for next season

Posted by: Willie Harris' Superpowers | August 19, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Actually, most of the guys on XM's baseball station are pretty insightful and interesting.

Posted by: nattybo | August 19, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

I'll have to take your word for it, Nattybo, but I'm willing to do that.

Posted by: ce | August 19, 2008 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Player of the Game
Ronnie Belliard,4-4(.267),double(18),1 RBI(38)

Belliard is batting .440 (22-for-50) in August

Posted by: cat daddy | August 19, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Maybe if they move Bonifacio up in the order, have him hit one spot earlier...

...
8. pitcher
9. Kearns
10. Bonifacio

WAIT, THAT'S IT--rotate the order, bat all 11 (or whatever they've got left standing).

OK, maybe not.

Posted by: Just a thought... | August 19, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Another 0-5 night for Bonifacio. I am so glad the Nats traded for our 2B of the future.

The Nats should just realize that Willie Harris is a superhero and make him the everyday 2B for next season

Posted by: Willie Harris' Superpowers

Not a bad idea, but for this year, Manny has to bat Emilio 8th if he's going to be in the lineup. Let him walk and steal in front of the pitcher. Moving Kearns down(and hopefully out) has taken too long to figure out.
Is Willie good enough to be a starting 2B? Or, is his being pegged a super utility player going to keep him in that role?

Posted by: cat daddy | August 19, 2008 11:33 PM | Report abuse

All I know is Willie is a heck of a lot better than Emilio Bonifacio. The kid is completely overmatched at the Major League level, something the Diamondbacks probably already knew.

I agree that if you are going to play EB he needs to bat 8th. He has proven he can't lead off, at least not at this point in his career. It just isn't working for the kid right now

Posted by: Willie Harris' Superpowers | August 19, 2008 11:36 PM | Report abuse

The conventional wisdom used to be to not bring up a player too fast and throw them in the fire or risk damaging their confidence. Maybe Emilio can handle it or maybe not, but it's got to weigh on the guy to fail with the bat all the time.
But, with Willie at 2B, that puts Lan... Langer... I can't even type that out... in LF and I don't want to see that happen.

Posted by: cat daddy | August 19, 2008 11:49 PM | Report abuse

We've been up for some time now.

Posted by: New posts | August 20, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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