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Nationals Journal: May 3, 2009 - May 9, 2009

Two Recommendations, And A Rizzo Q&A

Folks, sorry for the absenteeism during the daylight hours today. To make up for it, here are two Official Nationals Journal Recommendations. Recommendation No. 1: Watch Stephen Strasburg throw against a bad Mountain West Baseball team. It's good fun, and...

By Chico Harlan  |  May 9, 2009; 8:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (70)
 
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Today's Lineups

Washington Guzman - 6 Dukes - 8 Zimmerman - 5 Dunn - 3 Willingham - 7 Kearns - 9 Flores - 2 Belliard - 4 Lannan - 1 Arizona Lopez - 4 Young - 8 Upton - 9 Reynolds -...

By Chico Harlan  |  May 9, 2009; 6:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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More Strasburg

Chico is driving across the desert, trying to make it to tonight's game. I think he'd agree, however, that last night's events make today's trip worth the trouble. He's filed a story on the no-hitter for Sunday's paper. Please take...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  May 9, 2009; 12:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
 
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Strasburg Throws A No-Hitter

OK, we're going with a verbal play-by-play for the top of the ninth inning here at Tony Gwynn Stadium. To heck with the chance for a jinx; maybe Stephen Strasburg can dismiss that same as he's dismissed all those Air...

By Chico Harlan  |  May 8, 2009; 11:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (71)
 
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The Unhittable (So Far) Stephen Strasburg

Here's a little update from the campus of San Diego State, where right-handed college junior Stephen Strasburg -- the presumed No. 1 pick in the June amateur draft -- is pitching against Air Force... --- Every time Stephen Strasburg takes...

By Chico Harlan  |  May 8, 2009; 10:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
 
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Tonight's Lineups

Or lineup, rather. This was e-mailed to me by Nats PR man John Dever. Not sure of the lineup Arizona is trotting out there. I will try to update later. Washington Guzman -- 6 Johnson -- 3 Zimmerman -- 5...

By Chico Harlan  |  May 8, 2009; 7:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
 
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A New Year, A New Offense

Maybe I was getting carried away, swept up in the natural adrenaline of a tight deadline and a tight ballgame. But somewhere in my final game story last night, I dropped the word "vintage" to describe Washington's offensive barrage. Evidently...

By Chico Harlan  |  May 8, 2009; 2:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (61)
 
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Friday Morning Reading

Here is Chico's final game story from last night, which appeared online only. Everywhere they go, the Nats create turmoil! No wait, everywhere the Nats go, turmoil already exists. Oh well, close enough. The D-Backs have a new manager in...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  May 8, 2009; 10:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
 
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A Long, Crazy, Wild Win

Earlier this afternoon, as Mannywood lost its star, Dodger Stadium felt like a stage for the absurd. Take 4:30 p.m. local time, for instance: Manager Joe Torre and GM Ned Colletti stood behind a podium positioned behind home plate. Tower-stacked...

By Chico Harlan  |  May 8, 2009; 3:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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Zimmerman Extends Streak To 25

Ryan Zimmerman, in his first at bat today, stroked a line drive single to center. The hitting streak jumped to 25. A trend continued. Since the streak became large enough to recognize, it's downright remarkable how often Zimmerman has gotten...

By Chico Harlan  |  May 7, 2009; 10:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (109)
 
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Manny On Manny

Acta shares some thoughts on Ramirez Q: Your reaction to Manny Ramirez? It is sad. To me, it's sad, because this guy is going to get his name tainted basically now forever, and this guy is one of the greatest...

By Chico Harlan  |  May 7, 2009; 9:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Tonight's Lineups

I'll try to post again before the game starts, but in the meantime, I gotta scramble to put together some reaction to the Manny saga. For now, here are tonight's lineups. This might be the most succinct way to illustrate...

By Chico Harlan  |  May 7, 2009; 8:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Attending The Circus

Late last night, around the time he stepped in for his last at bat -- a two-RBI double in the sixth inning -- Manny Ramirez was simply a feared hitter, causing complications only for the Nationals pitchers who faced him....

By Chico Harlan  |  May 7, 2009; 6:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Nats Cut Hinckley, Call Up Ron Villone

The Nationals, looking for yet another way to Band-Aid their bullpen, today swapped left-handed relief pitchers, designating the struggling Mike Hinckley for assignment and selecting the contract of veteran Ron Villone. Villone, 39, will be added to the 40-man roster....

By Chico Harlan  |  May 7, 2009; 4:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
 
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Looking For Help for Nats' Bullpen

If Washington's bullpen keeps this up, more changes are coming. Heck, more changes might be coming before the Nats' relievers even have a chance to keep to keep it up. The bullpen's daily collapse is about as reliable as the...

By Chico Harlan  |  May 7, 2009; 12:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (93)
 
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Thursday Morning Reading Lite

Just a quick hit for now. Boz is chatting this morning at 11 a.m. In case you missed it, check out Chico's late gamer, his notebook, and Jeff Nelson's feature on Danny Espinosa of the P-Nats. The Nats' next opponent,...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  May 7, 2009; 10:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Wild Pitchers, Wild Pitches

I'll post in greater detail -- and with greater reflective prowess (powered by an a.m. coffee) -- tomorrow morning... when people are actually reading this blog... but here are some quick-hit items to take away from tonight's 10-3 loss. A...

By Chico Harlan  |  May 7, 2009; 2:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (53)
 
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Rizzo And Boras Share Some QT

Depending on how Stephen Strasburg negotiations go this summer, Nats acting general manager Mike Rizzo and Strasburg's advisor/agent Scott Boras figure to spend a lot of quality time together. Well, tonight they're already getting a head-start. Guess the pair sitting...

By Chico Harlan  |  May 6, 2009; 11:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
 
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The Nats' Bullpen Gets Some Glamour

The Nationals need bullpen help. In the world of fiction, they're getting it. In fact, their newest bullpen member is probably more famous -- and certainly more well-paid -- than the rest of the staff combined. Not sure about his...

By Chico Harlan  |  May 6, 2009; 10:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
 
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Tonight's Lineups From Dodger Stadium

Washington Guzman - 6 Johnson - 3 Zimmerman - 5 Dunn - 7 Dukes - 8 Kearns - 9 Belliard - 4 Flores - 2 Cabrera - 1 Los Angeles Furcal - 6 Hudson - 4 Ramirez - 7 Ethier...

By Chico Harlan  |  May 6, 2009; 7:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Minor League Report

Here is Bill Gluvna's weekly minor league report, a veritable Gluv Song to the Nats' prospects. NATIONALS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT This Week's Top Headlines THE TOTAL PACKAGE : Potomac Nationals SS Danny Espinosa ranks among Single-A Carolina League leaders in...

By Chico Harlan  |  May 6, 2009; 6:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Pitchers Drafted in Top 10: Not a Reassuring History

The Nationals have the Nos. 1 and 10 overall picks in the draft on June 9. So, I thought you folks would enjoy having the definitive FACTS on what has happened in 44 years of drafting to help you form...

By Thomas Boswell  |  May 6, 2009; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (76)
 
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Unfinished Business

Until July 9, the Nationals will have at least one thing in common with the Caps: an NHL-ish record. They are now 7-17-1, on pause for the next 64 days, awaiting the resolution of their suspended game from yesterday. The...

By Chico Harlan  |  May 6, 2009; 10:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (74)
 
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Wednesday Morning Reading

Morning, all. Yanda's gone back to less frustrating pursuits (one assumes), Chico is heading west and we await our first 10:10 start of the season. Well, first scheduled 10:10 start of the season. Some of these rain-delayed games felt like...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  May 6, 2009; 9:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Nationals Game Suspended Due To Rain

One quick clarification: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, all statistics compiled during today's game -- which was suspended due to rain in the bottom of the 11th with the score tied 10-10 -- are official. Therefore, Ryan Zimmerman did,...

By Steve Yanda  |  May 5, 2009; 7:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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While The Rain Falls At Nationals Park ...

The giant white tarp has been spread out across the infield diamond. The teams have retreated to their respective clubhouses. And since there's not a whole lot else to do here in the press box, here's an interesting tidbit: Should...

By Steve Yanda  |  May 5, 2009; 4:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
 
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Lineups

Astros: Bourn - CF Keppinger - 2B Berkman - 1B Lee - LF Tejada - SS Pence - RF Rodriguez - C Blum - 3B Oswalt - P Nationals: Guzman - SS Johnson - 1B Zimmerman - 3B Dunn -...

By Steve Yanda  |  May 5, 2009; 10:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (203)
 
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Offense Comes To Life Late In Nats Win

Following Washington's 9-4 comeback win over Houston tonight, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman described Astros starter Brian Moehler as "one of those pitchers that kind of nibbles." The Nationals could get to Moehler, but they were going to have to wear...

By Steve Yanda  |  May 4, 2009; 11:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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TV Update

One quick note as first pitch nears: The television broadcast for tomorrow's game (scheduled to start at 12:35 p.m.) will be shown on MASN, not on MASN2 as was originally scheduled. This is due to the April 15th game against...

By Steve Yanda  |  May 4, 2009; 6:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (95)
 
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Lineups

The tarp remains on the infield, but the rain has stopped here at Nats Park. So assuming a game is played this evening ... Astros: Matsui - 2B Bourn - CF Berkman - 1B Lee - LF Tejada - SS...

By Steve Yanda  |  May 4, 2009; 5:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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Leading Off (The Morning Reading), Lastings Milledge

For the past couple weeks, Lastings Milledge has been living out of a hotel room in Syracuse. His new manager, Class AAA skipper Tim Foli, does not view him as a leadoff man, and has been filling out lineup cards...

By Chico Harlan  |  May 4, 2009; 8:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (114)
 
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Chatter Up: Chico

Quick reminder: Chico's chatting tomorrow at noon. This news from Astros Land: Houston relief pitcher Doug Brocail left Sunday's game against Atlanta after straining his left hamstring on a play at first base in the eighth inning. First baseman Lance...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  May 3, 2009; 6:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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More On The Rainout

The Washington Nationals kept waiting for a window, a clear patch that would allow for baseball. The guesswork kept everybody dancing. Groundskeepers covered the infield with a tarp, then removed it, then again unfurled it. Washington team officials announced a...

By Chico Harlan  |  May 3, 2009; 4:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Running Weather/Game Thread

UPDATE, 3:29 p.m. - This afternoon's game has been rained out. --- UPDATE, 3:18 p.m. -- Just some guesswork here, but there's a chance this game is getting called off. The grounds screw is hammering stakes into the tarp, holding...

By Chico Harlan  |  May 3, 2009; 1:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
 
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Nats Sign Reliever MacDougal

Mike MacDougal is a former all-star relief pitcher. These days he's a long way from regaining that form, but the Washington Nationals signed the right-hander today simply as another modest option for a struggling bullpen. MacDougal, 32, will be assigned...

By Chico Harlan  |  May 3, 2009; 12:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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The Lineups -- If Applicable

At this point, it looks improbable that this afternoon's game (scheduled for 1:35 p.m.) begins on time. Right now, we've gotten no word about either a delay or a cancellation, but a tarp is on the field at Nats Park....

By Chico Harlan  |  May 3, 2009; 11:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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