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Nationals Journal: June 14, 2009 - June 20, 2009

Nats 5, Toronto 3

After tonight's game, Manny Acta was strolling down the lower-level tunnel at Nationals Park, having just finished his press conference. A grinning Stan Kasten pulled him aside. Acta, with this four-game winning streak under his belt, was smiling, too. Just...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 20, 2009; 11:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (69)
 
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Colome Exits With Injury

[UPDATE, 10:24 p.m.] -- Colome left the game with a right quad strain. He is being listed as day-to-day. --- Here in the top of the 11th, where our game is tied at 3, relief pitcher Jesus Colome was pulled...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 20, 2009; 10:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (77)
 
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Pre-Game Notes: Willingham, Olsen

For the last week, Josh Willingham has dealt only with grief. He was back home in Florence, Ala., where on June 13 his younger brother, Jon, was killed in a car accident. He was there for the funeral. He stayed...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 20, 2009; 7:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (166)
 
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Lineups From Nats Park

Please note, Josh Willingham is indeed back with the team. But the Nats are letting him get slowly re-acclimated after a week away from anything baseball related. Toronto Scutaro - 6 Hill - 4 Wells - 8 Rolen - 5...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 20, 2009; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Willingham Reinstated; Patterson Optioned

The Nats made a roster move this afternoon, officially clearing space for OF Josh Willingham, who is returning from the bereavement list after the death of his younger brother. To make room for Willingham, the Nationals optioned OF Corey Patterson...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 20, 2009; 2:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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They Won . . . Again

Can you believe it? Three in a row. The Washington Nationals' outlasted the Toronto Blue Jays, 2-1, in 11 innings for their third consecutive victory. It matches their longest win streak of the season, from May 7-9. "It's a step...

By Mark Viera  |  June 19, 2009; 11:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (56)
 
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Notes On Today's Matchup, Plus Acta Quotes

The Washington Nationals are aiming for their third straight win. Can you believe it? A victory tonight would tie the Nationals' previous season-high win streak. They won three in a row from May 7-9. Since that high point, Washington has...

By Mark Viera  |  June 19, 2009; 7:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (193)
 
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Tonight's Lineups

Toronto Scutaro - 6 Hill - 4 Wells - 8 Rolen - 5 Lind - 7 Rios - 9 Overbay - 3 Barajas - 2 Tallet - 1 Washington Guzman - 6 Johnson - 3 Zimmerman - 5 Dunn -...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 19, 2009; 3:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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The Longest Rain Delays

I'd promised yesterday to investigate whether yesterday's 5:26er was the longest-ever rain delay, but that query runs direct into a serious problem: Major League Baseball doesn't keep track of rain delay statistics. Nor do many others, evidently. Thus, all curious...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 19, 2009; 11:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (50)
 
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Nats 3, Yankees 0

Tonight was all about waiting. (By the time Joba Chamberlain threw the first pitch tonight, Manager Manny Acta had already eaten three square meals at the ballpark.) But in some cases, waiting is OK. By the end of the night,...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 18, 2009; 10:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (93)
 
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The Running Rain (And Game) Thread

[UPDATE, 6:31 p.m.] -- Just to bring this full-circle, the rain delay lasted, officially, five hours and 26 minutes. Incredible. I'll try to find out where this ranks among the all-time longest rain delays. The first pitch tonight came at...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 18, 2009; 3:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (261)
 
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Thursday Afternoon Tidbits

While we're waiting for the rain to stop in New York, here are a couple of items to chew on. The Nationals will offer two new food options soon soon. From the news release: The Washington Nationals will introduce two...

By Alexa Steele  |  June 18, 2009; 3:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Getting Lucky -- For Once

[UPDATE, 1:51 p.m.] -- The rain is still falling heavily. There's been no estimated start time, nor does one look imminent. Every so often, an announcer has come on the PA system and explained that every effort will be made...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 18, 2009; 12:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (46)
 
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Today's Lineups (*)

(*) subject to an actual game being played. It's still pouring. The Nats, hunkered down in the visiting clubhouse, are going about their business under the presumption that this thing will start around 2:30 p.m. or 3. If at all....

By Chico Harlan  |  June 18, 2009; 12:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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A Wet Thursday

[UPDATE, 10:29 a.m.] -- Initial indications from the Yankees are that this game has a chance to begin at about 3 p.m. The team sees a "window of opportunity" sometime around then to maybe get this thing under way. But...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 18, 2009; 10:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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Maybe I Was the Problem

Yesterday was my first day in my new role, and therefore, Alexa Steele's first day as baseball editor. The Nats bucked all odds and won a game. I am trying not to see a connection but if I was the...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  June 18, 2009; 8:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
 
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Nats 3, Yankees 2

Tonight was cool. Classic and tense, in that rowdy, loud, kind of obnoxious Yankee Stadium way. Or let me clarify: Tonight, Yankee Stadium was loud until the final swing. With runners on first and third and one out in a...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 17, 2009; 11:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
 
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A Minor Trade, And Why it Matters

On the surface, the trade the Washington Nationals pulled off late Tuesday night -- they dealt left-handed pitcher Mike O'Connor to the San Diego Padres for a player to be named later -- had few implications. O'Connor was in the...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 17, 2009; 6:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (140)
 
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Tonight's Lineups

The Nats go with defense tonight. Here's what Manny Acta said about the lineup: "It's basically the fact that we're facing a right-handed pitcher, so we'll get Corey Patterson in there, we'll get Willie Harris in there and have Dunn...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 17, 2009; 6:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Among The Worst

The Nationals ought to be salivating tonight at the chance to face Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang. The guy's five starts this year have yielded outings of 3-2/3 IP, 1 IP, 1-1/3 IP, 4-2/3 IP, and 2-2/3 IP. As a starter,...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 17, 2009; 3:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (43)
 
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Reading Material

Before spending the next few days at Bethpage State Park for the U.S. Open, Boz stopped by Yankee Stadium last night and pondered the Manny Acta situation. "Why is Manny still managing?" has become a complex question, but Boz has...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 17, 2009; 8:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (121)
 
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Man, Things Are Getting Predictable

Credit where credit is due: "Nats with a one-run leading heading to the 7th. Why do I feel they're going to lose this game, say, 5-3?" - posted by jdschulz50, at 9:04 p.m. So, no need for even a drumroll....

By Chico Harlan  |  June 16, 2009; 11:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
 
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More About (And From) Manny Acta

The Nationals, so long as they keep playing like the Nationals, have no right to expect much stability or certainty. Those in the clubhouse -- and even those in the front office -- know this. They know that wins, and...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 16, 2009; 7:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (133)
 
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Tonight's Lineups

More to come soon... Note the interesting lineup. Manny Acta says having Dukes at No. 4 is just a one-game experiment, a way to keep the two lefties (Dunn and Johnson) farther apart in the lineup. Dunn will be back...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 16, 2009; 6:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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From Yankee Stadium

I just arrived by way of the B Train at the most majestic cathedral $1.5 billion can buy. I'd seen enough pictures of the new Yankee Stadium that nothing from my quick walkaround really surprised me. But I like the...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 16, 2009; 2:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (54)
 
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Reading Material (And A Video Of 502-Foot Homers)

Let's just start the morning with a hodgepodge of material. Cool? * It's probably best to take life one phenom at a time, but hey, who ever said that following the Nationals was good for your health? Plus, by now,...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 16, 2009; 8:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (96)
 
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Recap Of A Day Where Nothing Happened

These days for Manny Acta, the job extensions come day-by-day. This latest extension means Acta will get another day to manage, another series, and another chance. The Nationals today retained their manager and said nothing publicly about his job security,...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 15, 2009; 8:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (73)
 
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Acta's Still the Manager...

... at least for now. Chico just landed in New York and is walking down 5th Avenue, making and taking calls. He wanted me to jump on and tell you all that it looks like Manny will be the manager...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  June 15, 2009; 4:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (90)
 
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A Decision Awaits

Soon enough, we'll know Manny Acta's fate. Why would the Nationals fire him? Because they've lost six of seven games, and 24 of their last 29, and 45 of their last 61, and 147 of their last 222. Because they...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 15, 2009; 8:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (342)
 
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Another Snakebitten Loss

The Nationals have now played 61 games. They've won 16 of those games. They have a .262 winning percentage, same as the 1962 New York Mets had after 61 games. They are on pace for somewhere between 119 and 120...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 14, 2009; 6:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
 
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Today's Lineups, And More On Acta

This is the second time since February that a sense of inevitability -- and a day-to-day apprehension -- has fallen on the Nationals. Earlier this year, everyone was counting down the final days for GM Jim Bowden, the dead man...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 14, 2009; 1:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (65)
 
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The Trevor Holder Selection

Good morning from the Trop. I'll update everybody on the Manny watch a bit later this morning. In the meantime, consider this a brief detour; I'd meant to post this yesterday. I wrote a bit about Trevor Holder, the team's...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 14, 2009; 10:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
 
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