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Nationals Take Lead, Guzman Watch Continues

Base hits by Nick Johnson and Ryan Zimmerman put runners on base for Adam Dunn's three-run first-inning home run. That was the way the lineup was designed to work. Manager Manny Acta said before the game that he had hoped to be able to place Johnson in the second spot of the order because Johnson can reach base and bolster the middle of the lineup.

Here are some more pre-game notes before the game becomes too deep that the notes are antiquated...

- Cristian Guzman might return for Saturday's game against the Florida Marlins from his strained hamstring.

"Today he could probably pinch hit in an emergency," Acta said. "I think, to be on the field, we're probably thinking day after tomorrow depending on how he does in his drills because he did a lot better than yesterday."

Also on the injury front, Ronnie Belliard is cleared to play.

-Expect closer Joel Hanrahan to pitch tonight - even if this is the eighth game without a save opportunity.

"It's not about having the save," Acta said. "It's about going out there, especially a guy like him who has had a history of having problems with command. He needs to be out there as much as possible."

- As you have noticed by now, Anderson Hernandez led off in Guzman's absence. (And Lastings Milledge's absence, for that matter.) Acta said in spring training he did not want Hernandez in that role. Nonetheless, Hernandez is in that role.

"He's done it in winter ball enough," Acta said. "I just didn't want to put all that pressure on him in the big leagues. This is his first opportunity since 2006 with the Mets where he's going to be playing everyday. We've done, with a few of these guys in the past, thrown them into the fire like we did with Flores last year, like we did with Milledge because of the injuries or whatever. Since this year we didn't have that, I didn't want to put him in that spot right away. It was something that will take time if he was doing well in the bottom of the order, and I felt like he was ready to do it, I would drop him in the order. He has the ability to do that stuff."

- Acta is not ready to panic about his troubled starting rotation after seven games. They are in their second cycle through the rotation (although Jordan Zimmerman has yet to pitch), but Acta considered the struggles part of the process.

"What happened is they're having it at the beginning of the season," Acta said. "They could have done well at the beginning and then taken it in the second or third week of the season. I want to see them go through three or four times to have a better evaluation of it."

By Zach Berman  |  April 16, 2009; 7:31 PM ET
 
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Next: Silly Game

Comments

Martis looks a little zoned in first time thru. Hope he gives us 6.

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 16, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Dibble is such an idiot.

Texas leaguer. Look it up.

Posted by: kevinx | April 16, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

hey no nmaking fun of Rob, he tells it like it is while at the same time letting you know how much he wants this team to win, I enjoy him alot!

Posted by: skippy1999 | April 16, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

That was a nice throw by Kearns.

Posted by: kevinx | April 16, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

I like Dibble being a homer and an optimist. But he makes some gaffes sometimes that are just painful.

Posted by: kevinx | April 16, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Give examples if your going to hate on Dibble. If not keep it to yourself.

Posted by: theredskin | April 16, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Well I have no doubt he probably has made a few mistakes, but his passion for this team and willingness to call them out when they are doing things wrong makes me give him a pass.

Posted by: skippy1999 | April 16, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

I agree

Posted by: theredskin | April 16, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Shairon Martis= good

Posted by: rachel216 | April 16, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm surpirsingly pleased with Dibble, really thought I'd hate him.

Need some more runs for Shairon and the pen

Posted by: Kev29 | April 16, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

In like the third inning, he called a pop fly to second base a "Texas leaguer" and then they got into a discussion of what exactly is a Texas leaguer. That is a term I would expect a Little Leaguer to know.

Like I said, I like that he is a homer and I like that he is enthusiastic about the potential of this team. But gaffes like that are just rough.

***To save anyone a trip to wikipedia:

The (Texas) League's name is well known due to its association with a particular aspect of the game. A bloop single that drops between the infielders and outfielders has been called a Texas Leaguer since the 1890s, despite no evidence that it originated in the Texas League, or was any more common there than elsewhere.

Posted by: kevinx | April 16, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Manny was going to PH for Martis after only 83 pitches!!!!! Best pitched game to date and he wants to yank him out!! I'd fire him on the spot. What a waste of space.

The only thing between a disaster and Martis going back in was Gonzalez making an out.

And now he yanks him with nobody on, with the last batter popping up helplessly. That is absolutely ridiculous. If he's not injured, that's a fireable offense. Like he needed one. unbelievable

Posted by: Brue | April 16, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

I feel like bustin loose

Posted by: Kev29 | April 16, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

sure feels better not having milledge in the dugout, mugging.

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 16, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

How many times has Dunn had a multi-homer game, anyone know?

Posted by: skippy1999 | April 16, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

New-posted...
Nice start from Martis tonight. HR from Willingham - YES!


Posted by: BinM | April 16, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: BinM | April 16, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

We're looking like a real baseball team tonight.
We're going to the 9th with a lead!

Posted by: usmc53 | April 16, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

@brue:

What, you're now channeling JayBeee? LOL.

Posted by: BinM | April 16, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

I know, I truly only follow this team because of JT but I am on pins & needles no, I will be soooooo happy to see them win!

Posted by: skippy1999 | April 16, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Great gooogly-mooglins - AGonz just went yard. 6-2, Nats in the 8th.

Posted by: BinM | April 16, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

YES! 1-7!!

Posted by: rachel216 | April 16, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

This is some good baseball by the Nats, can I see this every night?

Posted by: rachel216 | April 16, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Nardo steals 2nd, then scores on a Hernandez base-hit; at long last, Ladies & Gentlemen, your 2009 Washington Nationals.

Posted by: BinM | April 16, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

We knew our hitting would be much better this season. Add in a quality start and no fielding gaffes, and *poof* we are a team that can win some ball games.

Posted by: kevinx | April 16, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Send down 'Last'ings, hopefully earn 'first' win?

Posted by: patchss | April 16, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

I really appreciate Charlie & Dave after driving up to NJ tonight and listening to the first 6 innings on the Phillies stations. No enthusiasm, little or no knowledge of the Nats players. I think they referred to Martis by name twice, calling him "the right hander." They never generated any suspense or interest in the game.

Posted by: ramgut | April 16, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

coinkydink minus milledge?

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 16, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Finally!
Fireworks and a curly W sound so good.

Posted by: patchss | April 16, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Finally!!!!

Posted by: skippy1999 | April 16, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

I was glad to see Milledge sent down, but you can't say the quality start or all the timely hitting and home runs was because of a lack of Milledge.

Posted by: kevinx | April 16, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Finally. I wasn't rewearing any clothing or failing to bathe until they won, but I needed this to be able to even say anything here.

Let's build from here.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | April 16, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Bang-Zoom & all that - finally. Happy-happy, Joy-joy!

Posted by: BinM | April 16, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back +1/2St.

We need your wit & observations here, win or lose.

Posted by: BinM | April 16, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it was Chico, whose absence was the key to victory...

Posted by: psubman | April 16, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Amazing how smart Manny is when the staff doesn't give up 8 runs.

Posted by: joebleux | April 16, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Chico, Lastings, and Johnny Holiday all absent.

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 16, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps it was the stars & stripes uniforms? Too bad they won't wear them very many more times...

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | April 16, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

I liked the fact that Manny made Philly waste a pinch hitter by bringing in a lefty with one out - can't understand why anyone would fire him over that - finally, a win!!! like to see us string a couple more together but the Marlins are playing really well (my pick to win the NL East - you could look it up)

Posted by: sjm3091 | April 16, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

That's funny, PHS! My strategy was not to watch after I read here that they'd taken a lead in the 1st. I clicked over to the channel now and then to check in until the game was over (then watched some of the post game). Does this mean that I can't watch any more games this year? I had the same thought about the S&S unis, nervous.

Also, Dibble is growing on me. I kinda like him.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 16, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

kearns is back at it, albeit with a fair amount of bad-break, hard-hit outs, but still willingham needs his at bats. Dukes should never sit unless he needs a day off.

Posted by: bford1kb | April 16, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Dibble:

I thought I was going to absolutely hate him as a commentator. Certainly would have been beaten up by him in highschool. However, I have bee pleasantly surprised by the levity he brings. He certainly makes gaffes (occasionaly is enlightening), but he is similar to the Diamondbacks' color guy, Mark Grace, in the down-to-earth quality of his remarks.

But what I REALLY LIKE about him is that he has had a bit of a negating or calming effect on Carpenter. Carpenter seems like much less of an ass paired with dibble than he did with Paciorek or Sutton. Perhaps he isn't trying to be as funny because he realizes Dibble has him beat in that category. Don't know, but I am pleasantly surprised by Dibble.

Posted by: kfisher32 | April 16, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

I didn't see the game. Did Acta actually let a pitcher who was PITCHING WELL go 6? 6?!?!?! His hand must have been forced. Was he really going to yank him after 83 pitches? I'm shocked. Ditch this dunce.

Good to see Kearns raise his average to .174, that should keep him in the starting lineup for a couple more painful weeks.

Good win though. Up to 7th in the NL in BA. Dukes is the best player in the game.

Posted by: RickFelt | April 16, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

...but you can't say the quality start or all the timely hitting and home runs was because of a lack of Milledge.

Posted by: kevinx | April 16, 2009 9:41 PM
---------------------------------------------

Are you sure about that? The Nats' top 3 batters went 7 for 12. Do they do that with Milledge there? Plus, Dukes made 4 putouts. Didn't you feel a lot better about those, with him there instead of Milledge? Not to mention how much more confident Martis might have been -- and the Nats hitters, too.

Posted by: fischy | April 16, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

No Milledge. First Victory. I'm sure its a coincidence. How refreshing to see players actually get a hit when runners on base. How nice to see a center fielder run AT rouitne fly balls and catch it without drama.

Quality start. Good defense. Those things go hand in glove. I'm sure Milledge absence had nothing to do with it.

Re: Dibble, I was ready to not like him but I like him better than ANY of the previous color guys. He's sincerely rooting for the team, but yet pointing out mistakes in a 'tell it like it is' but fair manner. He's not cheap shotting players, but pointing out their mistakes honestly. He talks to his audience as if he respects them without the "Professor Sutton" preaching that got pretty wearing 160 times a year. He's refreshing.

And poor ol' Bob Carpenter seems like he's enjoying his 'get out of Sutton's jail' card too. (It only took Carpenter a couple innings before he went off on his first Scott Rolen man-crush moment of the year though. Please, Bob, make it stop!)

Posted by: raymitten | April 16, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

You know what, Negative Nellies? Shut-up.

Posted by: Section506 | April 16, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Milledge is gone. It sure would be nice if the Milledge bashers would figure that out and move on to something else. Either that, or move to Syracuse. Lastings may be feeling appreciated there without you guys around. Wouldn't want him to get a swelled head, now would you?

BTW, tonight's attendance: 20,494. Not bad, all things considered.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 16, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Dukes is the best player in the game.

Posted by: RickFelt | April 16, 2009 10:46 PM
----------------------------------------------

A bit premature, don't you think?

I know what you mean -- this particular game. However -- I've been saying, for much of the last year, that he has the potential to among the best in the game. The tools are there. He will be an All-Star, when he gets it all together, If he elevates to that level soon, in 20 years we might be debating his HOF credentials.

Posted by: fischy | April 16, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Maybe, with this win, some of the posters can come back in off the ledge now.

Posted by: grforbes | April 16, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Wow, the Nats finally win a game (and handily), Acta manages the game perfectly, no mistakes in the field, everything goes exactly as we were all hoping it would before the season started, and still the anti-Acta vitriol persists? Really, you're going to complain that he's pulling one of our 22-year-old pitchers after 6 1/3 in a tight ballgame in April? I suppose you'd rather he overuse our young starters so that when this team actually has a chance to contend we'll have to rely on the likes of Kip Wells because all our real starters blew their arms out in meaningless games? I'm all for questioning a manager's decision when he makes a mistake (I would've pulled Rivera after he plunked the second guy, too), but forgive me if in this case I can't see what there is to complain about.

Posted by: WMPete | April 16, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

I suppose you'd rather he overuse our young starters so that when this team actually has a chance to contend we'll have to rely on the likes of Kip Wells because all our real starters blew their arms out in meaningless games?


I didn't know regular season games were meaningless. I forgot that after July 1 each win counts as 2. My mistake.

BTW, Kip Wells would be our 4th best starter right now.

Posted by: RickFelt | April 16, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Since when does 86 pitches constitute overuse too?

Posted by: RickFelt | April 16, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

I was at the game tonight and it felt good to watch a win. They played a solid all around game. Maybe the shake up and few days off will help them get on a roll...hopefully.

So, I'm on the 200 level on the first base side and who do I see off in the distance? The one and only Judas Kasten walking the concourse. I yell out "Hey, Phillie fans come on down, there's plenty of tickets."
He didn't flinch and just kept on walking.

I'm sure that wasn't the only time he heard something like that tonight.

Posted by: Section505203 | April 16, 2009 11:57 PM | Report abuse

If Martis finishes the inning even without letting a runner on, he's almost certainly in the 95-100 pitch range, which is right on the cusp of overuse. And with the heart of the order coming up, you have to take him out if a runner gets on in a one run game anyway, so it's the better decision to pull him before a runner gets on; not only does it lower his pitch count but it eases any pressure on the bullpen guy you're bringing in. It was the right decision.

Also, regular season games are only meaningless when a fan of the team in question can seriously say, "Kip Wells would be our 4th best starter right now." It's a bad team. Save the young arms for when it's a good one.

I suppose everyone's entitled to their opinions, but it seems like you guys are looking for excuses to bash Acta. If he had left Martis in and 2 runs score in the inning, I'm willing to bet you guys would be roasting him for that too. Give it a rest.

Posted by: WMPete | April 17, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

I am back off the ledge. First series non-loss of 2009! Break out the Cold Duck and somebody send Martis the finest beverage Curacao has to offer. I'm guessing it'll have rum in it. Mmmmm, rum.

Since Martis has awakened me from my Nationals induced coma, I've decided to better my life and become more charitable. So, for every home run or misplayed fly ball from one Adam Dunn, I shall contribute a Bud Light bottle to my refrigerator. Baseball Cares for My Frigidaire Foundation. BACMYFF for short.

Additionally,

http://syracusechiefs.mlblogs.com/

Thats where the Milledge spam can now be directed. First win of the season. Don't spoil it for everybody.

Posted by: LosDoceOcho | April 17, 2009 1:00 AM | Report abuse

It was the blue.

Posted by: 6thandD | April 17, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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