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Today's Lineups

Dearest NJers, I am elated to be back, and feeling very ready. Thanks to the many who offered sympathies and kind wishes during the last few days; all were appreciated. Thanks, also, to the several Posties -- especially Sheinin and Zach Berman -- who helped with the heavy lifting over the last few days. Anyway, now I'm back. I'll have a longer post before the game with some musings and notes, but for now, here are today's lineups.

The Nats try to avoid the sweep... and one of the bleaker 72-hour stretches of misfortune you can imagine. (They've lost a starting pitcher, they've DL'd their starting catcher; they've lost games in 12 innings and six innings; and their manager described a 7 ER-5 IP start from Daniel Cabrera as encouraging, which is probably the saddest sign yet for their No. 3 starter.)



Guzman - 6
Johnson - 3
Zimmerman - 5
Dunn - 9
Dukes - 8
Willingham - 7
Hernandez - 4
Nieves - 2
Zimmermann - 1


Rollins - 6
Utley - 4
Ibanez - 7
Howard - 3
Werth - 9
Victorino - 8
Feliz - 5
Ruiz - 2
Park - 1

By Chico Harlan  |  May 17, 2009; 10:37 AM ET
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Next: The Rotation Puzzle


Thanks, Chico. Good to have you back.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 17, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back Chico!

Any word on whether Detwiler will take Olsen's place in the rotation, or will he just make the spot start and go back down?

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | May 17, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Great to have you back, Chico, thanks for the post.

Posted by: Section220 | May 17, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Good to have you back Chico!

Now to baseball...I understand organizations love to promote the guys they drafted as opposed to the guys they acquired from other teams sometimes. I also like Detwiler, and hope he does well. I am happy for him.

That said JD Martin, Craig Stammen, and Tyler Clippard all deserve their shot in the majors now. I understand the whole 40 man roster thing, is why Detwiler gets his chance, but who are we really protecting on this 40 man roster? Just give us the best players and be done protecting all these players who might perform someday... while keeping down the players that are performing now...

I got to see JD Martin pitch in Buffalo last year (he was part of the indians organization) and the place was buzzing when he came in. Everyone was talking about what a great prospect he was and how he would be in Cleveland soon... I was stunned when I learned the Nats had acquired him and pleased to know that he was doing well this season, but I'm seriously wondering why he as well as Stammen and Clippard are still in Syracuse with all of our pitching problems

Posted by: PNatsFan | May 17, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

By the way, that is a good looking lineup. Could be some adventures in the outfield today, but that's a lot of stick one through six.

Posted by: Section220 | May 17, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Glad to see Elijah Dukes back!!!

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | May 17, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

i am just a simpleton who knows nothing about baseball,so maybe the experts can explain this to me: what is "encouraging" about giving up 7 runs in 5 innings? i am assuming that manny's genius is seeing something that only he and phil wood can see.

Posted by: MrMadison | May 17, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

J.D. Martin is a career minor leaguer. He is an organization player acquired to have enough players for the PROSPECTS to play against. At his age he would have been in the Majors already if the scouts thought he had the talent (especially the Indians). Seth Bynum is another example. Don't rely on minor league statistics they are meaningless. Read Brian Olivers blog and you all might learn a thing or two.

Posted by: natsguy | May 17, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

The Nats ought to be considering bringing up some real PROSPECTS like Balestar, Zinicola, and Stammen. If they are going to learn they might as well learn in Washington. At least they will get consistent coaching here. St. Clair is a good pitching coach when he has something to work with.

Posted by: natsguy | May 17, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

...and their manager described a 7 ER-5 IP start from Daniel Cabrera as encouraging, which is probably the saddest sign yet for their No. 3 starter...
Manny better stay in baseball, 'cause he'll never make it as a defense attorney...

I can hear it now: "Your honor, yes, my client did shoot the gun...but he missed...the court should be encoraged by that..."

Posted by: TimDz | May 17, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

As others have said, welcome back, Chico. As others have also said, you have our sympathy and our support.

As someone who was at Nationals Park Saturday to watch Cabrera's "encouraging" start, the only way it could be considered encouraging would be if it helped the Nats brain trust realize that Cabrera is not going to be the pitcher they'd hoped for and if it encourages them to cut their losses and cut him loose.

Posted by: greggwiggins | May 17, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

MrMad- Agreed. He's probably referring to the <1 BB/IN, which is a sad thing to be encouraged about. That said, isn't a vote of confidence from Manny the surest sign that DCab is about to get DFA'ed? What did he say about Lastings in the days before the demotion?

(I should add that I don't blame Manny for this... he has a roster that he has to use, and throwing fragile guys under the bus publicly won't help their next start. If we blame someone for sending DCab out there every 5 days, first blame Leatherpants, and then Rizzo for riding it out.) Here's hoping Detwiler throws strikes, settles in, and Olsen's return sends Cabrera on his way.

Posted by: natinbeantown | May 17, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure Brian has never said anything remotely close to "minor league stats are meaningless, don't pay attention to them."

Your background on Martin is a little off. He's a 26-year-old former #1 draft pick who's had injury problems and in the last year is finally getting a chance to string together some healthy time after Tommy John surgery.

He was rumored to be a possible rule-5 pick this year, but that didn't happen. He left Cleveland and came to DC because he felt it was his best chance to get a look in MLB.

He's not a superstar or really even a prospect, but he could certainly be this year's Steve Shell.

Posted by: sbiel2 | May 17, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

in the position we are now in, why waste time with Cabrera?
Maybe the question is why leave prospects in the minors?
Either leave DC each game until his arm falls off or DfA him now and lets see what else we have - we are not challenging for a playoff spot so lets use the rest of the season to see what works and what doesn't. Cabrera doesn't work and I am convinced that Olsen has been hurt for more then just the past few weeks. We do have 3 nice pieces in the starting rotation - I hope Rizzo can fix the bullpen and we can finally have a team that is competitive in all aspects of the game - certainly can't complain about our offense and I love having Johnson healthy and batting before Zimm

Posted by: sjm3091 | May 17, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

If there's something to be encouraged about, its that if there is a Plan, we're finally on track after Bow-Bo's circus last year. We've got a current rotation (Lannan-Zimm-Martis-Detwiler-DCab) that is 24, 22, 22, 23 and 27. We have young "building blocks" at C, 2B, 3B, CF. We have a couple of genuine stars in Dunn and RZ, and solid regulars in Guz and NJ.

The losing is tough, but this is way better than losing with awful "placeholders" eating half the roster last year. We're back on track, just a year behind where most of us thought we'd be at this point.

Posted by: natinbeantown | May 17, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

So-called career minor leaguers playing at AAA are the kind of guys a team like the Nats should be bringing up to make a spot start, and see if they have anything to offer. If not, no big loss. They should not be bringing up "prospects" from AA like Detwiler who are not ready and need work at the proper level to develop. And before the 40-man roster defense is invoked, let's remember that Dmitri is occupying one of those 40-man spots, for no reason whatsoever.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | May 17, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

from gammons column today:
Eastern League scouts all love Jhonatan "The Onion" Solano, the 23-year-old Harrisburg catcher who is hitting .298 for the Nationals' Double-A club. Why "The Onion"? Solano couldn't get signed playing at home in Barran Quilla, Colombia. He heard about a tryout across the border in Venezuela, but because he didn't have a visa, he climbed aboard a truck carrying onions, hid out beneath the produce, smuggled his way into Venezuela and got signed.

Posted by: sec231 | May 17, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Whats going on with Colin Balester? I haven't heard anything about him this season at all.

Posted by: kingtutts | May 17, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back Chico, and apologies to other N.J.ers, as I posted this earlier on the last piece. After working last night as a 911 dispatcher I'm too tired to think new thoughts, so: Ya know, gang...this is so depressing. Talking with my pal and baseball buddy Greggo the Cop-we are DEFINITELY the worst team in baseball ...again. Remember, picking number one is for ALL rounds of the draft. Assuming we occupy the same position for 2010 as we do now, any comments from the NJ bunch as to how many real prospects we need to acquire to at least have some hope for the distant future? We figure 10 at a minimum....hope Rizzo is up to the task. Meanwhle, put Max in center,Dukes in right, plan on intensive off-season 1st base work with Dunn (Ilove NJ, but do you think we're really gonna keep him for next year?), keep the Hammer as no. 4 and just outright DUMP "I Stink"....aka Austin Kearns. Eat the salary. I"m tired of hearing about what a stand-up guy he is, how he is defensively a great player, a positive guy in the personal animosity here and I wish it coulda worked out better but....maybe we could trade him and Dimitri to Fort Worth for that pitcher guy, um, Aaron Crow. I realize alot of this is just venting, but after averaging 20+ games in our first 4 years, I've yet to go once this year. I really like Dukes, but I ain't sure he's the answer in center, so lets let JMax take a shot. And oh yea, WHERE is our Don Baylor? Someone who not only gives a dang-which I believe or guys do-but who translates that into a clubhouse culture of accountability and passion. One last note on this Sunday morning babble-Manny, I've been on yer side , still am...sorta...but LET YER STARTERS PITCH....put away your book and use the seat of your pants-just a bit(See Cito Gaston)! And Randy-I've watched you turn dreck into useful dreck for years but....guys, do you REALLY think it's his fault? And thru this dreadful start, WHERE HAVE THE LERNERS BEEN? A public appology would be nice.Unless Mr Ted aims to recreate the horrendous teams of his youth-if so, congrats-a job well done! I'm still clinging to my fantasy of the Lerners and the Snyders swapping ownerships, but given that it ain't likely, off-season we better buy some major league talent...Jeez, off-season already? GO (please God!) NOTS!!! er, a, Nats

Posted by: zendo | May 17, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

"The Nats ought to be considering bringing up some real PROSPECTS like Balestar, Zinicola, and Stammen."

Let's get something straight - the dude's name is Balester. He has not "star"red at anything yet except the fantasies of a few on Nats boards. He was lousy in spring training and has been lousy in AAA. He was conceded a job at the start of the spring and he blew it so bad the team decided to rush its top pitching prospect instead.

Stammen? Pitched Friday, so the team either would have had to hold him back 3 days (two if they gave him his first start against the Phils, 4 if they waited until Tuesday for the spot start, or short rest if they let him start last Friday for Syracuse). He's gotten off to a nice start in terms of record and ERA, but I'm not so sure he's likely to have more success in MLB than Detwiler. He pitches to contact (3.15 k/9 in AAA) and contact with Dunn, Dukes, Guzman, etc... behind you can be adventuresome. His track record is for getting shelled when he gets bumped a level (look at his post promotion stats the past 3 years). His ERA has been helped by a freaky low BABIP and having runners stranded after he leaves with men on base. What leads you to think that will keep up with this bullpen? His FIP in Syracuse is closer to 4.40. In other words, he's been more lucky than good.

Detwiler, OTOH, has more strikeouts than innings pitched and has nearly a 3:1 k/BB ratio. Neither gives up many homers, but Detwiler is less dependent on his fielders or his bullpen bailing him out (FIP of 3.31, but at a lower level). I'd have preferred him to start today to give JZ extra rest, but both Pitt and Philly have enough lefty hitters to make them good platoon match ups, and I suppose the management think starting against Pitt is less pressure than a start today.

Eventually, Stammen will likely get his shot. They could even do a game of sending Detwiler down after his start, call up a reliever for 4 days, then add Stammen to the roster and give him the next Olsen fill in start. There's some flexibility on that. Stammen could go one Wednesday or Thursday and push Crab and Zimmermann back a day (and maybe Lannan, too).

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | May 17, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Nice to have you back Chico. Hope Dukes isn't rushing back to soon. Should Dets do well tomorrow, might there be a chance he could stick for an encore? I also have a feeling the Olson arm troubles will linger longer than the 15 day dl. D. Cab needs to visit Dr. Phil and Oprah. Zimmerman needs soothing reassurances that he's isn't in this thing alone. Guzman needs to take a pitch now and then. Is Willingham that much of a detriment in right that he has to play left so Dunn can play right...huh? Nationals relievers need to wear hardhats. Umpires need to call the book strike zone, not that crackerjack box I've been seeing. Other than that and a 100 other things, its all good.

Posted by: cokedispatch | May 17, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm far less concerned about a spot start for an AA pitcher than asking him to hold down a rotation spot.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | May 17, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

So who at MASN thought it was funny to showcase the lack of knowledge of the fans coming to the game in that stupid pregame segment? Do they really want to highlight the fact that we have people buying tickets who don't what a full count is, among other things? Brilliant.

Posted by: baltova1 | May 17, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

If statistics were important in Minor League Baseball there are several major leaguers who would never have made it. Cal Ripken and Mike Schmidt had terrible stats in the minors. But the FO's were looking at bat speed, speed, instincts, arm strength, and power etc.

The minor leagues have bad fields, bad lights, and hard travel which play down the importance of statistics. They are most interested in talent not numbers.

Posted by: natsguy | May 17, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

it's good that manny finally seems to have moved on with kearns, he should be the fifth outfielder, calling what cabrera did encouraging is not okay, 32 walks in 39 innings, he should never pick the ball up again, 26 earned, 13 unearned

Posted by: bford1kb | May 17, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: BGinVA | May 17, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Never a dull moment with this offense.
This could be a 11-10 game.
Go Nats!
Never give up, never surrender!

Posted by: patchss | May 17, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I have no interest in making this a pissin match, and i agree that minor league stats can be decieving.

However, as sbiel mentioned JD Martin is 26, not exactly old and had injury problems which he has recovered from. His talent must be pretty good if he was picked No 35 overall. He is doing very well in Syracuse.

I love Brian Oliver's blog and do learn good info from it. Just a thought, Brian offers a lot of minor league (and now even College Draft) stats on his blog.

I'll offer that maybe you should do some RESEARCH on a player that named to be called up, before just offering a snarky "you know nothing, I know everything, Minor league stats don't matter, go read a blog" comment.

JD Martin is deserving because he has near first round "stuff". I've seen it and so did the scouts who picked him #35 overall in 2001. He also ranks 2nd in K's in Syracuse.

CoverageIsLacking summed up my point much better. "So-called career minor leaguers playing at AAA are the kind of guys a team like the Nats should be bringing up to make a spot start, and see if they have anything to offer. If not, no big loss. They should not be bringing up "prospects" from AA like Detwiler who are not ready and need work at the proper level to develop."

I hope Detwiler has success and makes it, but he hasn't looked as good as Martin or Stammen this year. This move doesn't make a lot of sense except for jca-CrystalCity's point that Stammen and Martin just pitched and they are looking for a 1 start and done type thing without making too many changes on the 40 man roster.

Posted by: PNatsFan | May 17, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

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