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Through Four: O's 2, Nats 0

First, a little ode to good defense.

Let's set the stage: Corey Patterson is in center field this afternoon. In the fourth, with two outs, the Nats were already behind 2-0. Shairon Martis had two really efficient innings (1-2-3s in the first and third) and one hiccup (a two-run homer by Nolan Reimold in the second).

In the fourth, Martis was again facing Reimold. A runner was on second, two outs.

Reimold bolted a liner to the left-center gap, toward the warning track. It was the exact sort of play you only make with a perfect jump and a direct route. Take that away, and it ends up looking like a routine double -- because indeed, the ball was really well hit. But Patterson played it perfectly. He caught the ball just before he knocked into the wall. It wasn't one of those oh-my-god highlights, but a play any pitcher will be thankful for.

As a result, Martis has a respectable line so far: 4 IP, 2 R.

Meantime, the Nats are dead quiet offensively. Just one hit, an Elijah Dukes double, through four.

By Chico Harlan  |  March 19, 2009; 1:58 PM ET
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Next: Eighth Inning: O's 4, Nats 1


Is there any chance that Corey can make this team?

I liked him as a Cub -- he had a great first 1/2 in '03.

Posted by: franklennox | March 19, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"Is there any chance that Corey can make this team?"

Only if Dusty Baker were the manager.

Posted by: dclifer | March 19, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

This kinda stuff does give me nagging concerns about Milledge. Between the poor route-running, weak arm, and continued baserunning mistakes, I'm getting kinda worried about the kid. His talent is unmistakeable, but...

Posted by: Section406 | March 19, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

"he had a great first 1/2 in '03."

That's sarcasm, right?

Posted by: fischy | March 19, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

"Every pitcher is a crapshoot, as far as arm health is concerned. Hill might be more so, but they didn't give him a chance."

Four seasons in the majors, in which he was only able to deliver 37 starts and 206 2/3 innings pitched. He was paid over $1M for that. Say what you want, but no one can say that they didn't at least give him a chance.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 19, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

@nunof1: Wow, that was a dodge worthy of a good politician. What is your basis for claiming Hill would have only been owed $193,750 if cut at the end of Spring Training? Are you just assuming it is pro-rated? If I thought I'd get a reply from Chico I would ask him too. As it is, I'll have to settle for you. I think you are kidding yourself. You know the Lerner's history. Do you HONESTLY believe money was not at least A motive, if not THE motive (as I claim)?

@sec307: One final note. In addition to his 5.25 ERA last year, it was 5.55 in 2007. I see a pattern here, regardless of league. Are you honestly defending Cabrera's track record. I'm not saying I want Balester either. I'm saying they should have kept Hill around and given him another chance.

Posted by: kfisher32 | March 19, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

"I liked him as a Cub -- he had a great first 1/2 in '03."

What's Joe Charboneau up to? I liked him as an Indian -- he had a great season in '80.

Posted by: SkinsMasonNats | March 19, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

@kfisher32: I don't have a reliable source for the different dates and the amount of pro-rating of salaries, but I've seen it discussed multiple places on the internet today. I'm not saying you should believe what I seem to suggest over what Chico seems to suggest. That's up to you.

And I'm not saying money wasn't a consideration at all. I'm just saying it didn't drive the decision. It's eminently clear that a roster spot needed to be opened yesterday for Beimel. They could save some money by releasing Hill now rather than later, so why not? Who else would have been a candidate for release other than Hill? The only one I can see is WMP. Well, I'd say there's a good chance he'll be gone soon too to make room for someone else. So if he'd been released yesterday instead of Hill, they'd still be needing to release Hill before the end of ST anyway. He wasn't going north with the parent club only being able to pitch an inning every other week, and he was out of options and couldn't have been sent down. There was literally nowhere else for him to go.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 19, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

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