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Still Waiting [UPDATED]

[UPDATE, 8:51 p.m.] -- The scheduled start time is now 9:15 p.m.

---

Since we've been sitting here, the rain has not exceeded a mist. The folks here at Nationals Park are not awaiting the passing of a rain system; no, they are awaiting the arrival of the system... and then its passing. According to one radar view, that system hasn't even reached the Beltway yet. And more systems seem to be grouped behind it.

The Nats simply want Jordan Zimmermann to enjoy a smooth debut -- uninterrupted. They want him to warm up and deal with no rain delays.

Is that possible tonight? Who knows. But right now, it seems unlikely they'll have any chance to start this thing before 9 p.m. At best.

Some other notes...

* The three bullpen newcomers -- Garrett Mock, Jason Bergmann and Kip Wells -- are all more or less in the same bullpen category. They're "middle guys." That was Manny Acta's terminology.

"Those guys that came in, they all kind of fall into the middle guy category right now," Acta said. "We have [Joe] Beimel well-defined, he can pitch our eighth inning, and [Joel] Hanrahan to close the games. Kip Wells was starting over there, he's stretched out. Bergie has done that in the past here. Eventually we're looking at Mock -- we feel that Mock has a chance to be a pretty solid seventh-, eighth-inning guy, because he has that repertoire... and he can go through righties and lefties. So it's a good addition. I think every one of them can go multiple innings.

* Is Hanrahan on a short leash? "No, not at all," Acta said. "There's no such thing as a short leash for two blown saves. I think even the great Mariano Rivera has blown saves back-to-back in the past."

By Chico Harlan  |  April 20, 2009; 7:55 PM ET
 
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Next: Zimmermann, Scoreless Through Three

Comments

from previous post....

This is what I mean by the Lerners having a shotgun where their sense of public relations and fan goodwill is concerned. The karma the team gained by signing the FotF to his longterm deal is being negated by not postponing tonight's game so that more fans would come out to see Z-nn's debut. The teams are both off on Thursday with the Nats in New York on Friday and the braves heading to Bowdenville, er, Cincinnati. It's probably costing the Lerners more to have the park open tonight rather than taking a mulligan. As a further goodwill gesture to the fans, everybody who bought a ticket tonight should be the Lerners' free guest tomorrow. But, that just seems too much like right....

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 20, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 20, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

I see Manny is determined to go down in flames with "Hang It Up There" Hanrahan, at least on the record, as his closer. Someone please tell him it's not weakness to have to change a preconceived plan or in this case his sacred bullpen pecking order. Manny, your team is 60-112 in its most recent 172 games. For God's sake, man, stop being so inflexible. Insanity is repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting different results.

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 20, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

without the rain delay, espn may be carrying jzimm's debut instead of the florida-pittsburgh game (plenty of good seats available at pnc park). oh well the nats are beaten out the fish yet again.

Posted by: surly_w | April 20, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

I thought the team didn't have anything to do with calling the game. Isn't that on the umps or officials or something. ??

Posted by: NatsNut | April 20, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Fairly certain that before the game starts, the home team decides and once the game begins that power is then transferred to the umps

Posted by: amorris525 | April 20, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

8:23pm first clap of thunder in Spencerville.

Posted by: 6thandD | April 20, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Technically, it's the home team, although the league/commissioner's office doesn't mind expressing its opinion on occasion. Once the game starts, it's the umps'.

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 20, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

ok, makes sense.

hey, surly-w. great moniker!

Posted by: NatsNut | April 20, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

This is another example of an inexperienced (using that rather than cheap rookies) ownership who would rather have a game start at 10:00 PM then called by 11:30 just to make sure that the tickets cannot be used for a real game. I can see why Centerplate bailed. Yes they bailed rather than the story that the Lerners are trying to selll.

Posted by: navboss | April 20, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

"first clap of thunder in Spencerville"

Great title for a mystery story...

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 20, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Does WMP signing with the Mets change the Nats contractual obligations to him?

Posted by: RicketyCricket | April 20, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

How is keeping the "closer" responsible for two of the three blown saves going to alleviate the "incompetence" of the bullpen?

Posted by: MikeH0714 | April 20, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

P Nats postponed tonite. W Nats...only game in town.

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 20, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

because it's only two games. Back-to-back, ugly, poorly executed, but only two games. IIRC, Frank Robinson got a hit in his first at-bat, and then went 0-23. What a bum he turned out to be. How could they not send him down??
Honestly. Summa you people...
_________________

How is keeping the "closer" responsible for two of the three blown saves going to alleviate the "incompetence" of the bullpen?

Posted by: MikeH0714 | April 20, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 20, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

navboss,

what could possibly be the economic rationale for playing the game tonight instead of a make-up game down the road?

Posted by: kevinx | April 20, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

and while we're waiting ... Caps 3-0 after 2.

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 20, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Well i've clicked over to Versus and am watching Caps/Rangers Caps lead three-zip going into the third period,call the game dammit!!.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 20, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Whoa, easy there, big fella. Don't go spiking the haterade barrel with logic.

**************
navboss,
what could possibly be the economic rationale for playing the game tonight instead of a make-up game down the road?
Posted by: kevinx | April 20, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 20, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

radar looks like they might get started by 9:30 or so.
Hey, plenty of great seats available! About 30,000, I'm guessing. Of course, by the time the curtain is lifted and the gambling wheel shut down, anyone with any sense has already left town.

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 20, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Apples and oranges. Robinson had more than one role, and we all know his fielding was sterling. Had he made an error or two every game during that hitless stretch, you can bet he'd have gone down to triple A for a spell.

A closer HAS to *close.*

And I'm not saying Hanrahan should be sent down, but he shouldn't be the closer until he gets some major-league confidence. Beimel's got that confidence; make him the closer, Hanrahan a set-up guy.
________________________________________
because it's only two games. Back-to-back, ugly, poorly executed, but only two games. IIRC, Frank Robinson got a hit in his first at-bat, and then went 0-23. What a bum he turned out to be. How could they not send him down??
Honestly. Summa you people...
Posted by: CEvansJr | April 20, 2009 8:45 PM

Posted by: MikeH0714 | April 20, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm in the District and it just started coming down hard.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 20, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

@MikeH0714

hanrahan is this year's recipient of this year's "luis ayala golden gasoline can" award.

Posted by: surly_w | April 20, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Is there anyone at the stadium? Anyone at all?

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | April 20, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Just started pourin' rain in Silver Spring. Why didn't the team call this game and make it up on Thursday? Glad I'm at home eonite.

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 20, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

@ Boo: St. Croix as in Virgin Islands...I posted that I watched the first two and the team lost...I missed most of this one and they are leading 3-0.

I offered myself as a sacrifice to "go away" if my fellow posters sent me away...to St. Croix...

Posted by: TimDz | April 20, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Does Z-nn facially resemble a young David Cone?

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 20, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

TimDz

i think you're on the wrong blog. at least you won't get swept.

Posted by: surly_w | April 20, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Sorry....got my posts mixed up...trying to multi-task between Caps and Nats journals...I need a beer

Posted by: TimDz | April 20, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut

You're not there to witness history tonite? Z-nn needs his mom.

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 20, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Turn on MASN. They're playing.
Znn has great stuff.

Posted by: usmc53 | April 20, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Flores just threw out Zimmermann's first baserunner, at 3rd base, in the 2nd inning

Posted by: destewar | April 20, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

usmc53

lots of us prefer to roll with charlie and dave rather than masn.

Posted by: surly_w | April 20, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

The kid has confidence, that is for sure.

96 with command. That sure is tasty.

Posted by: kevinx | April 20, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Acta HAS to bench Dukes right now. I love Dukes but that is a teachable moment and if he does not put Maxwell in right now then he is not up to the Job of MLB Manager.

Posted by: JayBeee | April 20, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

most of the nats other starters only hit 96 in their dreams.

Posted by: surly_w | April 20, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

surly_w:
No problem. I was just passing the word that the rain delay was over.
I occasionally roll w/ Charlie and Dave myself, but you have to turn on the TV to see Zimm's stuff.

Posted by: usmc53 | April 20, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

JayBee, I disagree. Manny should chew Dukes out and tell him that that kind of garbage will cost him his job, but leave him in the game. It's still Manny's job to put the Nats in the best position to win, and having Dukes in the game accomplishes that.

Posted by: usmc53 | April 20, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

I agree, USMC. Don't punish the team because Dukes got lazy out there.

Posted by: skippy1999 | April 20, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

what'd dukes do?

Posted by: NatsNut | April 20, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Those strike calls off the outside of the plate are garbage. We're going to get jobbed all night by that.

Posted by: usmc53 | April 20, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

I guess it is half dozen of one and 6 of the other but THAT CAN NOT HAPPEN. I do not think Acta has the nats to do anything and that is the problem.

ZNN is got great stuff....96 and Control...Finally a draft pick that is working out!

Posted by: JayBeee | April 20, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

What did Dukes do?

Posted by: dcsportsfan13 | April 20, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Ball hit to centerfield dropped in front of him, instead of charging the ball he loafed it and allowed the baserunner to get to 2nd.

Posted by: skippy1999 | April 20, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Diaz hit a single into CF, and Dukes came up lazily to get it. While Dukes was waiting for the ball to roll into his glove (not paying attention), Diaz took second.

Posted by: usmc53 | April 20, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

To be fair, with all of the leg and groin problems Dukes has had he might have played it safe so as not to get hurt again on what has to be very slippery turf.

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 20, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Tear him for his bad verses!

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 20, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Boy -- Zimmermann is really living dangerously. You can't complain about a scoreless line after 3 innings -- but, the only Brave he's been able to throw it past was Francouer. And, he did get a called strike on Johnson. But, that's it. Every other Brave has connected when they've swung the bat.

Kinda freaky actually. You expect to get some swinging strikes, even with mediocre pitchers. Maybe, for all the talk of his unflappability, he is way nervous...and not as sharp as he can be.

Posted by: fischy | April 20, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

It's two crummy games.

*********************
Apples and oranges. Robinson had more than one role, and we all know his fielding was sterling. Had he made an error or two every game during that hitless stretch, you can bet he'd have gone down to triple A for a spell.

A closer HAS to *close.*

And I'm not saying Hanrahan should be sent down, but he shouldn't be the closer until he gets some major-league confidence. Beimel's got that confidence; make him the closer, Hanrahan a set-up guy.
________________________________________
because it's only two games. Back-to-back, ugly, poorly executed, but only two games. IIRC, Frank Robinson got a hit in his first at-bat, and then went 0-23. What a bum he turned out to be. How could they not send him down??
Honestly. Summa you people...
Posted by: CEvansJr | April 20, 2009 8:45 PM

Posted by: MikeH0714 | April 20, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 20, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

The MASN schmucks jinxed us.

Posted by: usmc53 | April 20, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

When did Nats Park become Coors Field East with all of the HR's? But boy did JZnn look good challenging Diaz before being taken deep.

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 20, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

We're looking like a baseball team tonight...so far.

Posted by: usmc53 | April 20, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

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