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Nationals Journal: April 26, 2009 - May 2, 2009

Shairon Martis: Pitching Nonpareil

"I never thought I'd throw a complete game, but now I've had it, I know there's more coming." - Shairon Martis Today, Shairon Martis threw the sort of baseball game that comes around only when everything works. Baseball isn't fertile...

By Chico Harlan  |  May 2, 2009; 4:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
 
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My Favorite Pujols Story

First, big thanks to nunof1 and others for pointing me to MASN on my cable system. nunof1's "Brigadoon" description was spot-on: There it was, rising out of the mist, on Channel 74 -- baseball! So many thanks. So Mr. Pujols...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  May 2, 2009; 2:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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A Little Draft Talk

With baseball's amateur draft just more than a month away, no team has more to look forward to -- and no team has more to prepare for -- than the Washington Nationals. They hold both the first overall pick and...

By Chico Harlan  |  May 2, 2009; 1:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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This Afternoon's Lineup

St. Louis Schumaker - 4 Rasmus - 7 Ludwick - 9 Duncan - 3 Ankiel - 8 Molina - 2 Thurston - 5 Barden - 6 Pineiro - 1 Washington Guzman - 6 Johnson - 3 Zimmerman - 5 Dunn...

By Chico Harlan  |  May 2, 2009; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Cards 6, Nats 2: A Few Post-Game Notes

Not even Plan Z could produce a win tonight, but we can forgive Jordan Zimmermann. He's a rookie, which just about assures that tonight's start -- the first semi-rough outing of his career -- won't be the last rough outing....

By Chico Harlan  |  May 1, 2009; 10:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
 
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Two Heinies, Two Zimmermans, One Willingham

A very small sample of unscientific evidence suggests that NJ-related hype of Ryan Zimmerman's hitting streak does not provoke curses -- in fact, we may have a reverse-curse power -- so I hesitate not for even a moment to mention...

By Chico Harlan  |  May 1, 2009; 6:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
 
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Friday Night's Lineups

St. Louis Schumaker - 4 Thurston - 5 Pujols - 3 Duncan - 7 Ludwick - 9 Ankiel - 8 LaRue - 2 T. Greene - 6 Wellemeyer - 1 Washington Guzman - 6 Johnson - 3 Zimmerman - 5...

By Chico Harlan  |  May 1, 2009; 3:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
 
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Friday's Mid-Day Reading

It's a short list today; your editor is sleepy after simultaneously watching the Bulls-Celtics, the Nats and "Bull Durham" in what was -- for her -- the wee hours of last night. All three ended pretty much as expected. Before...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  May 1, 2009; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
 
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Five Wins, Five Questions

April is over. April is over. I suppose you can take that one of two ways -- either as a sign that the Nats can start fresh in a new month, or as a reminder that the Nats still have...

By Chico Harlan  |  May 1, 2009; 9:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (127)
 
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Video of Boz on WPLWIC [Update]

I give up. Let me try embedding the &*(&*^&*$#@ thing and see if that will work. Here is video of Boz's appearance yesterday on "Washington Post Live," now known as "Washington Post Live with Ivan Carter"! (Wipplewick for short...) Remember,...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  May 1, 2009; 5:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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"Over And Over And Over And Over"

I just filed my game story, which should probably come attached with a surgeon's general warning. This is just brutal, brutal baseball. Tonight's game featured 11 walks by Nats pitchers. A few didn't end up being costly, but that's not...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 30, 2009; 11:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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Beimel Is Healthy And Waiting To Return

No longer is Joe Beimel hurting. He's just itching. On the disabled list April 21 with a left hip flexor strain, the Washington Nationals' best relief pitcher now has an entirely healthy left hip flexor and a gnawing desire to...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 30, 2009; 7:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (80)
 
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Thursday Night Lineups

Here they are; Chico will join you soon... Cardinals: Schumaker - 2B Rasmus - RF Pujols - 1B Duncan - LF Ankiel - CF Thurston - 3B Larue - C T. Greene - SS Boggs - RHP Nationals: Guzman -...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  April 30, 2009; 5:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Minor League Report

Here you go, the weekly minor league report from resident punologist Bill Gluvna, who is up to his usual top-notch work this week. (Chico submission: YOU'VE GOT TO BE GLUVIN' IT!) NATIONALS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT This Week's Top Headline DON'T...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 30, 2009; 3:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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Thursday Morning Reading

Good morning, all. Just wanted to give you all the URL to Boz's chat at 11 a.m. I know the subject of Manny Acta's future will come up -- possibly because some of you will BRING it up. Boz will...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  April 30, 2009; 10:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
 
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A Quality Save, A Very Quality High-Five

Ahh, so that's what a save looks like. In fact, it's worth watching again, only because Julian Tavarez, after notching the final strikeout, released all of that ninth-inning pressure in the form of a spastic celebration. First, he bolted from...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 30, 2009; 8:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
 
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Kensing Arrives, Guzman Returns

The televisions in the visitors' clubhouse displayed the final innings of the New York Mets-Florida Marlins game before the Washington Nationals took batting practice on Wednesday. In a corner of the clubhouse, a Marlins suitcase rested in front of the...

By Zach Berman  |  April 29, 2009; 8:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (94)
 
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Lineups

Just returned from the Nationals dugout. Reaction to come on the Kensing acquisition. In the mean time, here are tonight's lineups: Nationals (4-15) Cristian Guzman -- SS Nick Johnson -- 1B Ryan Zimmerman -- 3B Adam Dunn -- RF Elijah...

By Zach Berman  |  April 29, 2009; 6:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Nats Trade For RHP Kensing

The Washington Nationals, attempting to strengthen their bullpen, today sent a minor league prospect to Florida in exchange for right-handed relief pitcher Logan Kensing. To acquire the 26-year-old, Washington traded right-handed pitcher Kyle Gunderson, a 2007 48th-round draft pick who...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 29, 2009; 3:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (61)
 
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Guzman Reinstated; Gonzalez to Syracuse

Sorry, ran out of a meeting to get this posted. This is the release from the Nats: The Washington Nationals today reinstated infielder Cristian Guzman from the 15-Day Disabled List and optioned infielder Alberto Gonzalez to Syracuse of the Triple-A...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  April 29, 2009; 11:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (65)
 
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Wednesday Morning Reading

I'm back from my weekend, Chico's taking the day off, and Philly native Zach Berman is philling in (pause for groaning). Meantime, Dave Sheinin's List this morning on Baseball Insider deals with the Expos' legacy. I am so So SO...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  April 29, 2009; 10:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
 
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Guzman Returning, Gonzalez Departing

Though the roster move hasn't yet been made official, following tonight's 7-1 loss the Nationals announced their plan to activate SS Cristian Guzman and option error-prone SS Alberto Gonzalez to Class AAA Syracuse. Guzman, on the DL since April 14...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 28, 2009; 10:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (50)
 
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Hamels Leaves With Injury

Here in the top of the fifth, with the Phillies leading 5-0, Philadelphia starter Cole Hamels just exited the game after injuring himself while fielding a bunt. With a runner on first and one out, Washington starter John Lannan (4...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 28, 2009; 8:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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1,727 Words On The Bullpen Shake-Up

With a sharp slider and fastball, Joel Hanrahan still fits the closer prototype -- at least physically -- better than anybody else in the Washington organization. He needs to work on the mental side, though; that's the verdict both from...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 28, 2009; 6:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Hanrahan Out As Closer, Nats To Use Committee Approach

Joel Hanrahan's 2009 tenure as the Washington Nationals' unquestioned closer lasted all of five save opportunities. During that time, he blew three victories and reversed much of the season's momentum. He combusted with enough frequency that, finally, the Nationals decided...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 28, 2009; 5:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
 
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Tonight's Lineups

Washington Belliard - 4 Johnson - 3 Zimmerman - 5 Dunn - 7 Dukes - 8 Kearns - 9 Flores - 2 Gonzalez - 6 Lannan - 1 Philadelphia Rollins - 6 Victorino - 8 Utley - 4 Howard -...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 28, 2009; 4:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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A Roster Move, A Question

Let's start the afternoon with official word of the expected roster move: Today, the Nats reinstated Willie Harris from the disabled list and optioned Justin Maxwell to Class AAA Syracuse. Harris had missed the previous 12 games because of a...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 28, 2009; 3:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
 
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More About The Finish (Or, Rather, The Failure To Finish)

The reasons the Nats blew a four-lead last night are far more apparent than the steps they can take to prevent to prevent it from happening again. Before we get too deep into rehashing the meltdown, let me address two...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 28, 2009; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (167)
 
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Max Offense, Max Deflation

I'm not suggesting they sign Randy St. Claire to a non-guaranteed minor league deal or pull Rob Dibble out of the broadcast booth, but the Nationals need to somehow fix their bullpen. This might be the time for a trade,...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 28, 2009; 12:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (51)
 
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Off The DL, Arriving At A New Position

Willie Harris's recent trip to the 15-day disabled list didn't just allow recovery time for a left oblique pull. It also coincided with a position change. When the Washington Nationals activate Harris tomorrow (on the first day of his eligibility),...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 27, 2009; 6:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (167)
 
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A Quirky Hitting Streak (*)

Entering tonight's game, Ryan Zimmerman has the third-longest hitting streak in Nationals history (2005-present). He also has, undoubtedly, the strangest one. Zimmerman's streak, now at 15 games, is hanging from the thinnest of statistical threads: Every game, he does just...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 27, 2009; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Lineups From Citizens Bank

Here are your lineups for the series-opener in Philly, where the weather is topping 90. Washington Hernandez - 4 Johnson - 3 Zimmerman - 5 Dunn - 7 Dukes - 8 Kearns - 9 Flores - 2 Gonzalez - 6...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 27, 2009; 3:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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Morning Reading (And Some Numbers)

There is a rich body of literature debating the fact and myth of "clutch" situations. Can the importance of a moment really reduce strong hitters into weak hitters, and vise-versa? Hitting coach Rick Eckstein, for one, believes that clutch hitting...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 27, 2009; 8:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (62)
 
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"We Needed One Of Those"

The game story in tomorrow's print edition will focus primarily on Jesus Flores, who has a knack for situational hitting (stats, 2008 ed.: .222 batting average and .335 slugging percentage with nobody on, .370 and .609 w/ RISP), and whose...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 26, 2009; 6:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
 
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A Game Where Everything Is Working

The first five innings of this afternoon's game have turned into an unveiling. The Nats lead the Mets, 8-1. Here is the team you wanted to see, when every last component is working. No team gets this sort of seamless...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 26, 2009; 3:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
 
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The Fireballer Without The Fire

Washington Nationals right-hander Daniel Cabrera has an arm unlike almost anybody else's in baseball. There is just one complication: Cabrera is reluctant to use it. In a misdirected attempt to solve career-long control problems, Cabrera has revamped his windup and...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 26, 2009; 1:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Today's Lineups From Citi Field

Washington Maxwell - 8 Belliard - 4 Zimmerman - 5 Dunn - 3 Willingham - 7 Kearns - 9 Flores - 2 Gonzalez - 6 Zimmermann - 1 New York Reyes - 6 Murphy - 7 Beltran - 8 Delgado...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 26, 2009; 12:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Sunday Morning Reading, cont.

I have a few items to share as well, before Chico posts lineups. Filip Bondy of the NY Post Daily News has quite a scold for Elijah Dukes and the Nats. Not sure he's wrong. This is a really nice...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  April 26, 2009; 11:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Some Morning Reading

Just a little morning reading for you... I'll have the lineups shortly. Here's the gamer from yesterday's 8-2 loss at Citi Field. The NY Times describes a vindicating day for Mets' starter Mike Pelfrey, pitching on 11 days rest. The...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 26, 2009; 9:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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