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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 pitching ability, but hey, when did that ever become a prerequisite for membership?

Here's the deal: Today at Dodger Stadium, numerous representatives from Sony were on site, touring the visitors' clubhouse and chatting with some of the Nationals. Turns out, they were doing some wardrobe research for James L. Brooks' latest film. It's currently in pre-production, but filming, the representatives said, will begin in June. And the film's main protagonist? He plays a relief pitcher on the Washington Nationals. And the actor playing that relief pitcher? Rumor says, it's Owen Wilson. (Actually, I was told it's definitely Owen Wilson; it's just a matter of finalizing the contracts, etc.)

The film was described to me as a romantic comedy. (So they better keep ninth-inning scenes to a minimum.) But it will be filmed primarily in Washington, D.C., and it will include scenes at Nationals Park.

For more gossip about the film, click here.

OK, now for some actual bullpen news, non-Hollywood style...


*

On April 27, Joel Hanrahan blew a save and took the loss. The next day, he lost his job as the Washington Nationals' closer. But since bottoming out, Hanrahan, pitching in mostly non-pressure situations, has taken a few quick steps to regain his confidence and, all the while, regain a little share of his old role.

With four consecutive scoreless appearances, Hanrahan has again become an option for Manager Manny Acta in eighth- and ninth-inning situations. Though the Nationals received the most immediate boost for their bullpen today by activating Joe Beimel from the disabled list, the team still believes that Hanrahan -- if steady, not shaky -- is its most valuable long-term bullpen arm.

When Hanrahan was originally lowered in the bullpen depth chart, veterans Julian Tavarez and Kip Wells earned (or received by default) responsibility for late, close games. Neither has done much to keep that role -- something Acta emphasized when explaining why Hanrahan will now be reinserted into the closer-by-committee group.

"[Hanrahan] has pitched well enough for us the last three outings where we think he's fine," Acta said. "Plus, the guys that took over for him, it's not like they have been lights-out."

Since April 28, Hanrahan has pitched four times, a total of 3-2/3 scoreless innings. His latest appearance -- a three-hit inning Tuesday in a tie game against Houston -- was his trickiest. But in a strange way, even that escape reinforced his confidence.

"[Tuesday] was kind of a funny day," Hanrahan said. "I got away with some stuff finally. It was the first time all year I've gotten some breaks. Any time you give up three hits in an inning, you're probably not supposed to get away from that inning with a zero."

By Chico Harlan  |  May 6, 2009; 10:00 PM ET
 
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Comments

You watch - this movie will find many ways to make fun of how terrible the Nats are.

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 6, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

24!

Posted by: BGinVA | May 6, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Woohoo ZIMM! Way to get it out of the way early.

(I scared my cat with my cheering.)

Posted by: JennX_ | May 6, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Kershaw is pretty nasty.

Posted by: usmc53 | May 6, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Too bad Zimm's single wasn't a double. With Guz running, we'd be up 1-0. Oh well.

Posted by: usmc53 | May 6, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Okay AK, I've been saying I like it when you're in the lineup. Time to deliver.

Posted by: usmc53 | May 6, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

I didn't mention this in the blog post, but Kershaw's home/road splits this year are remarkable. He's a different pitcher at Dodger Stadium.

At home: 0-0, 14 IP, 1 ER
On the road: 0-2, 14 IP, 16 ER

Worth noting, as we watch...

Posted by: chicoharlan | May 6, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Dangit, I get the feeling that was the best opportunity we had against Kershaw, in that he might be one of those pitchers who settles in after a shaky 1st. He indeed is pretty nasty, usmc. Thanks also, Chico for that interesting add-on, I'm watching till the end, for better or for worse!

Posted by: HotNats | May 6, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

C'mon, Chico, no one could possibly be more famous than the Legendary Joe Beimel. Number 97!

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | May 6, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, if you are gonna load the bases with no outs and only give up 1 run, I guess I'll take it.

Posted by: amorris525 | May 6, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Nice job by Cabrera to get out what could have been a huge inning for the Dodgers.

Posted by: BGinVA | May 6, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Coulda used those 2 outs.

Posted by: usmc53 | May 6, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

That $12.95 I forked over for MLB Gameday audio now paying for itself several times over -- watching MASN and listening to Vin Scully.

Scully (after Guz boots double-play): Manny Acta must have a stomach made of cast iron to watch these Nationals day after day...

"Cabrera, wild as anything this side of Barnum & Bailey"

Posted by: joebleux | May 6, 2009 10:58 PM | Report abuse

I hate listening to Carpenter say things that jinx us.
"Wouldn't it be nice if Cabrera had a 1-2-3 inning right here??"

Shut up.

Posted by: usmc53 | May 6, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Kearns-Belliard-Flores. Dare I say that there could be a run in there??

Come on boys!

Posted by: usmc53 | May 6, 2009 11:11 PM | Report abuse

No kidding, Joe.

Jesus, Vin Scully is amazing.

I just listened to him weave together LA's home win streak, the Titanic, and the birth of the seventh-inning stretch while calling Manny's AB.

No beat is missed.

It's beautiful. I'm in awe of this man.

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 6, 2009 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Will the bullpen hold a lead in the flick?

Posted by: jbartelloni | May 6, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Amen, JiM.

I thought for a minute I'd jinxed us, then I remembered that Charlie Steiner always comes in for the middle innings...

Posted by: joebleux | May 6, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

I did a double-take myself.

Steiner isn't bad, but the drop of from Vin is amazing.

Plus, there was a broadcasting error. Guz was said to be the first Nat to hit for the cycle since baseball's return to DC. If I recall correctly, Wilkerson hit for the cycle in early 2005 (before the home opener).

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 6, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Fios has the orioles on MASN and nothing on MASN 2. Where's the game?

Posted by: chipchanko | May 6, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

It's amazing how long Vin Scully has been around.
He used to work games with Red Barber in Ebbets Field in the '50s.

Posted by: usmc53 | May 6, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

chip:
I have the game on channel 79 on my Comcast Cable in downtown DC.

Posted by: usmc53 | May 6, 2009 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Yep, Scully's the best...still.

Watching other games on the MLB Extra Innings package, I have to say the Carpenter-Dibble team is far from worst. The SF team, whoever they are, carry laconic to the border of catatonic--no excitement whatsoever. The D-Backs have a great team--Mark Grace is terrific & has good chemistry with his partner, Derek something? If only someone (like Stan Kasten?) could get Carpy to stop his annoying, jinxing, wishful-thinking predictions...

Posted by: CapPeterson | May 6, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

l guess I should mention that channel 79 is MASN-2. It's weird, b/c sometimes MASN-2 is channel 20; sometimes it's channel 79.

Posted by: usmc53 | May 6, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Is it on MASN2? I think fios might not have switched it one since they expected O's/Nats to double up on the main feed but delayed O's bumped the nats to MASN2, which is currently off for me here. Radio helps.

Posted by: chipchanko | May 6, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

"That $12.95 I forked over for MLB Gameday audio now paying for itself several times over -- watching MASN and listening to Vin Scully."

Thanks for the great idea, Joe Bleux. I didn't realize you could get Scully that way. Loved your Scully quotes, too. Keep 'em coming.

Many thanks also to Ihatewalks, tmp2234, Pete 433, pryorcommitments, and all the people who wrote after yesterday's game agreeing about the horrible music at the Nats Stadium, and all the other obnoxious things there (Clint, ads, etc.) indicating those in charge 'will not breed die-hard fans because they have no feel' for the game. Let's start a movement!

It's the vulgarity of the stadium experience, Boz, not your crass demand to win, that may mean the Nats lose DC. Or at least me.

Posted by: JLNash819 | May 6, 2009 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Come on Dunn. Long ball.

Posted by: usmc53 | May 6, 2009 11:35 PM | Report abuse

CapPete,
Doesn't San Fran at least have Jon Miller doing the radio call? I actually like him quite a bit, but only hear him doing the ESPN games.

Posted by: natinbeantown | May 6, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Ok, so verizon didn't throw the MASN2 switch tonight.

Posted by: chipchanko | May 6, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

The thing that I find most amazing about listening to Scully is that he routinely digs up information about and has more interesting things to say about the players on the other team than do the announcers for that team. Even today. The man does his homework and then some.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | May 6, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

I have to call it a night unfortunately (morning meeting), so I'll leave it to you guys.

Go Nats!

Posted by: usmc53 | May 6, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Man, Cabrera is a complete wuss at the plate -- junping back from every pitch, even the ones outside. Can't believe he got walked. The guy seems to have no feel for the game, either on the mound or at the plate. Great, now he just threw a 79 MPH 0-2 curveball right down the middle for an easy base hit. This guy is hopeless. Time to bring up Balester.

Posted by: SackMan | May 6, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Carpenter just jinxed us again by saying it should be an easy inning. Guz's error was about 2 seconds later.

Posted by: usmc53 | May 6, 2009 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Cap, that's one of my favorite things about Extra Innings/Center Ice. The good, the bad, and the surprising.

The Blackhawks so far have the worst TV commentary I've ever heard. I guess you can't blame them - for the longest time, ownership wouldn't let home games be broadcast on TV. Still, they're horrific.

When it's good, though, even a bad game can be enjoyable. DC is fortunate to have Joe B. on TV for the Caps and Charlie Slowes on the radio for the Nats.

But Scully could describe my day and make it seem like I do interesting things.

I don't.

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 6, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Sloppy, sloppy defense! Even Cabrera doesn't deserve this. He must be terrified when the batter hits the ball at somebody.

Posted by: SackMan | May 6, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Natinbeantown,

Definitely not Jon Miller the day I was watching..I'll check again.

I loved Jon with O's but for my taste he's a little too sycophantic with Joe M on ESPN.

Posted by: CapPeterson | May 6, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

"Scully is that he routinely digs up information about and has more interesting things to say about the players on the other team than do the announcers for that team."

CiL, that's exactly what I was thinking earlier. Scully had a little anecdote he casually tossed off about Manny being destined to be a manager since he was eight years old because he grew in a poor neighborhood, and his father had the only catcher's mitt around, which automatically made Manny a necessity for all of the games.

I thought, why can't our guys give us stuff like that?

Posted by: joebleux | May 6, 2009 11:57 PM | Report abuse

I called Fios and they claim it's a blackout game. That doesn't make sense. The guy on the phone didn't even know about MASN2 brigadoon.

Posted by: chipchanko | May 7, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

new post

Posted by: MoMonroe | May 7, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Good one, joebleux.

I can see why Manny would bring in Hinckley with the bases loaded since he's shown such good control recently. Brilliant.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | May 7, 2009 12:15 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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