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There is no real link between Emilio Bonifacio and Adam Dunn, other than absurdity itself. Dunn has 279 career home runs (counting one today) and a .518 slugging percentage. Also, he stole exactly one base last year. Bonifacio, meantime, had zero career home runs (well, before today) and slugged .337 for the Nats last year. Dunn is built like a lumberjack. Bonifacio is built like a sprinter. You might not be able to find two players in baseball with more opposite skill sets.

But for the moment, Dunn represents the face of what the Nationals have. Bonifacio represents exactly what the Nationals lack.

What they have: power, a capable lineup, some defensive shortcomings.

What they lack: speed, range up the middle, a well-suited leadoff man.

Somehow, Dunn and Bonifacio happened to be the two starring characters of today's game, a 12-6 Opening Day loss. Bonifacio tortured his ex-mates with a career game. Four hits. Three stolen bases. One inside-the-park home run. This, from a guy who never in 2008 had gotten more than two hits or one stolen base in a game.

Dunn, meantime, provides formidable muscle to Washington's lineup -- and yes, it's easy to overlook this in a game with so much defensive/pitching ugliness, but still, Washington scored five off Ricky Nolaso. When the Nats were down big early (6-0, 8-2), they had the firepower to at least make it a game... briefly.

By Chico Harlan  |  April 6, 2009; 9:49 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Opening Day Semi-Live Blog
Next: Defense Wins Championships, Loses Openers


"Meet the new Boss - Same as the old Boss".

Different year, same result - the Marlins own us in their stadium. Guys like Hanley Ramirez, Hermida, even Dan "butt" Uggla, they can beat us; but Boni-F'n-acio; who'd a thunk?

Posted by: BinM | April 6, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone remember how we did in our first five games last season? Anyone remember how that worked out?

It's one game, cheer up fellas.

Posted by: soundbloke | April 6, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

One more prediction: Bonnifacio will not win the mvp this year. He absolutely tore us up today and he may get us again tomorrow, but by Wednesday he will have to face a righthanded pitcher and he'll likely come back to earth.

It was still a good trade. But, I went out and claimed Emilio off the waiver wire in my fantasy league anyway.

Posted by: natbiscuits | April 6, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

It was still a good trade. But, I went out and claimed Emilio off the waiver wire in my fantasy league anyway.

Posted by: natbiscuits | April 6, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Haha - I did the same thing! But I'm sure he'll revert to his old form soon enough (and, since I just picked him up, that will probably happen sooner rather than later!).

Posted by: BGinVA | April 6, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Not sure if anyone else mentioned this elsewhere, but it's 10:38 PM, and Nationals Enquirer staff just stumbled upon today's game being replayed in HD over on MASN HD. They're losing 8-5 in the sixth at the moment, but at least it's a little easier on the eyes. Gee, thanks, MASN!

Posted by: TheNationalsEnquirer | April 6, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Chico, Tracee, Boz, Dave, or Amy:

Will one of you please tell the MASN crew that they were wrong during ST and wrong yesterday in re Bonifacio’s strong side? Could they look it up, before they report the same error over the next three games? Knight and Holliday repeated the wrong info yesterday as well. Thanks!!

“He's left-side dominant right now, and he's still a work-in-progress with the right hand, (Rizzo!)

“A switch-hitter who is more effective from the left-side of the plate, Bonifacio … .” (

“He's actually been better swinging left-handed than from his natural right side of late … .” (

.264 LH (.337 OBP, higher than Lastings Mendoza last year)
.167 RH
Combined: .240

He’s faster to first batting LH (duh).

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 7, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

For what it's worth, nova_g_man, Charlie and Dave had it right on the radio. Like they always do. Crap and Dribble, not so much.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | April 7, 2009 12:17 AM | Report abuse

It's worth a lot and thx , jd schulz; i wish i could hear them; i can't get the signal from here; from what other NJ posters have written, i imagine them to be entertaining, funny, professional; the sloppy reporting on MASN disturbs me more than it should, i guess,


For what it's worth, nova_g_man, Charlie and Dave had it right on the radio. Like they always do. Crap and Dribble, not so much.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | April 7, 2009 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 7, 2009 12:52 AM | Report abuse

Ex-Nats had a good opening day.

"Felipe Lopez, making his debut in Sedona Red, and veteran Tony Clark each homered twice and both switch-hitters hit them from each side of the plate. It was the first time two teammates had ever done it on Opening Day and it was the first time in the regular season since New York's Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams on April 23, 2000."

Posted by: baseballphotosbycheryl | April 7, 2009 1:08 AM | Report abuse

I hate FLop and wish him the worst.
That said, I stick to this philosophy: I'd rather get stomped than lose 3-2. It's one loss either way, and the latter eats your heart out. But, gawd, you gotta love the 3-run-homer (thank you, Adam), even if it was that guy Weaver's stock-in-trade.

Posted by: nats24 | April 7, 2009 1:52 AM | Report abuse

Well, Opening Day, I s'pose. Dolphin Stadium came alive today despite being less than full.

Things you won't read about amidst the buzz: Bonifacio standing still at 3B as a sharply batted ball sailed right THROUGH his glove; no Gold Glove for him!

Zimmerman unable to pick up a bunted ball, and also his errant throw across the diamond that allowed Carroll to advance to 2B.

The presidents' race featuring Clinton, Bush, and Reagan.

It was the first inside-the-park HR that I have witnessed in person, and that was pretty exciting despite the fact that it was hit by a guy jettisoned by the Nats after posting an OPS+ of 70 last year. You can thank Milledge for that little gift.

Is there some kind of jinx on D.C. baseball??? At least I have the Marlins to follow down here in south Florida.

Posted by: BoteMan | April 7, 2009 2:22 AM | Report abuse

>The presidents' race featuring Clinton, Bush, and Reagan.

Really? The Marlins are doing a knockoff of the Nationals' presidents race? Bush 41, I presume? God the comic possibilities of that are endless. Prying Clinton away from South Beach. Reagan with Alzheimers walking around aimlessly. Bush skydiving in. Ketchup as a vegetable night. It's gold, Jerry. Gold!

And I'd look forward to the late-season game when there would be more presidents on the field than fans in the stands.

Posted by: spamcastin | April 7, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse

"It's only one game. I won't call my team sloppy after one game," manager Manny Acta said. "It's a game played by human beings." ------Yet again Acta Babies the team...The Message is clear even's OK Lastings, miss all the team meeting you need to, you do it your way. Swing at the first pitch of the game, show everyone that your going to do lead off your way.....and everyone else, say loose, not worry about your game....your a expectations are lower than you could imagine.

The bright side…..Dunn’s comments show he understands the problem and is willing to lead if anyone is willing to follow him and not Acta. If you missed it Dunn said enough to make it clear to me at least the team was not ready to play…they were riding on their starting status and they better get their head out of their ass and come ready to play BASEBALL….not Actaball.

Posted by: JayBeee | April 7, 2009 7:46 AM | Report abuse

"I'm not an 80-to-100-walk guy," Milledge said. "I'm going to be an aggressive leadoff hitter like [Cristian Guzman].

Christian Guzman's lifetime OBP.... .307...

So his goal is to be the worst leadoff hitter in MLB?

Posted by: rumbly45 | April 7, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

The problem with godawful defense is that it is contagious on a team. We see slop at left field, slop at center field, slop at second base--what's next? Oh, noooo, not you too Zimmerman.

This is one of those things that can be tied directly to Manny. He sends a message by whom he starts and his comments. In this regard, Jaybee, I am in your corner. And yes, Milledge swinging at the first pitch was another not so subtle message, this one sent by Milledge. Most of the horrors of last season flashed across my vision again yesterday.

Milledge caught heck for the Bonafacio home run but the reality is who placed him so shallow in the field? Second, we know from last year that Bonafacio could not hit a curve ball, so who called for selection of pitches to Bonaficio?

Posted by: driley | April 7, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

... yesterday, I made my case against trading within one's own division.

... today, I look at the name Emilio Bonifacio, and I rest my case.

Go Nats!!

Posted by: natscanreduxit | April 7, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse


You are spot on with your assessment.

Posted by: mjames0 | April 7, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Re. Dunn's comments as referenced by Jaybee, they are included in today's Boz column.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 7, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

What part of Bonifacio makes him a "well-suited leadoff man"? Is it his lack of being able to get on base even a third of the time, or his terrible percentages at stealing bases?

Come on, the Nats have holes, Bonifacio wouldn't make any of them smaller...

Posted by: CharlieF | April 7, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Long, long season. Let's see what Bonifacio is hitting in August . . . if he's still the starter that is.

Posted by: johnnybaconbitz | April 7, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

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