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Nationals Journal: June 21, 2009 - June 27, 2009

Stammen Moves To Pen (And Post-Game Comments)

Washington Nationals rookie Craig Stammen, long before he heard anything from those in the front office, knew the team faced a decision. There were two options, he presumed. With tenured starter Scott Olsen (shoulder tendinitis) about to come off the...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 27, 2009; 11:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
 
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Bard Emerging As Nats' Regular Catcher

About 1-1/2 months ago, Washington Nationals hitting coach Rick Eckstein approached Josh Bard and suggested that the catcher change his swing. Bard's swing, Eckstein said, had too many moving parts, too many variables that could betray him. "It was hard...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 27, 2009; 7:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (75)
 
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Tonight's Lineups

Washington Harris - 8 Guzman - DH Zimmerman - 5 Dunn - 3 Willingham - 7 Bard - 2 Belliard - 4 Kearns - 9 Gonzalez - 6 (Martis - 1) Baltimore Roberts - 4 Jones - 8 Markakis -...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 27, 2009; 6:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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A Few Small Notes From Camden

Just a few small news nuggets for your afternoon. (I'll post the lineups from Camden Yards shortly.) Dmitri Young, who has been on the disabled list all season because of hip and back injuries, has started his rehab assignment with...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 27, 2009; 3:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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In The Aftermath Of A Loss, Two Questions

By the time Ross Detwiler and Joel Hanrahan were finished with their respective workdays last evening, the Nats' chances were basically finished, too. Detwiler (5+ IP, 9 H, 5 ER) couldn't keep his pitches down in the zone. Hanrahan (1/3...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 27, 2009; 7:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (129)
 
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It All Falls Apart For Washington

BALTIMORE, June 26 - On Friday night, a video screen at Camden Yards showed Baltimore Orioles' mascot running around downtown Washington. In the video, the outsize oriole turned a District resident into an Orioles' fan by giving him a jersey...

By Mark Viera  |  June 26, 2009; 8:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Olsen To Return Next Week

BALTIMORE, June 26 - Although there is no firm timetable for his return, Scott Olsen is likely to rejoin the starting rotation when the Washington Nationals travel to face the Florida Marlins for a three-game series early next week. "It...

By Mark Viera  |  June 26, 2009; 7:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (94)
 
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Today's Lineups, and Michael Jackson

BALTIMORE, June 26 -- Thanks to the brutal traffic, I just arrived at Camden Yards. But my esteemed colleague Dave Sheinin, already in the clubhouse, passed along this nugget: Nick Johnson would be in today's lineup. Johnson exited Thursday's game...

By Mark Viera  |  June 26, 2009; 3:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (52)
 
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Taking One On The Shin

Before he dug in for a first-inning at bat yesterday, first baseman Nick Johnson had actually become one of Washington's most durable players. He had started 65 of the team's 70 games, and appeared in 69 of them. (So much...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 26, 2009; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (123)
 
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Zimmermann Defeats Red Sox, Smoltz

John Smoltz joined the Boston Red Sox in the hope of a reinvention. He has been a starter, a closer and a starter again. He has learned to throw sidearm. And in this latest incarnation, he was looking for a...

By Mark Viera  |  June 25, 2009; 11:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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Johnson Exits With Shin Contusion

UPDATE | 7:36 p.m. After being hit by a pitch by Boston's John Smoltz, Nick Johnson has left the game with a left shin contusion. Smoltz drilled Johnson with a pitch in the first inning. Adam Dunn has moved from...

By Mark Viera  |  June 25, 2009; 7:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (42)
 
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Kasten's Statement of Support, and Talk About Bats

During an afternoon speaking engagement today at the National Press Club, Washington president Stan Kasten gave his firmest-yet support of Manny Acta, expressing hope that he can "serve as long-term manager here." Acta's job security has swung wildly in the...

By Chico Harlan and Mark Viera  |  June 25, 2009; 6:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Kasten At Press Club

This afternoon, Nats team president Stan Kasten spoke for one hour at the National Press Club. The first 30 minutes, during which he delivered a speech about the "three metrics" of Washington's bright future, mined mostly familiar territory. There was...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 25, 2009; 3:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (51)
 
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Some Guy Named Smoltz

The big item of the night between the Boston and Washington is that John Smoltz is making his Red Sox debut. Smoltz's 21-season tenure with the Atlanta Braves ended in an ugly fashion. After Atlanta failed to sign him as...

By Mark Viera  |  June 25, 2009; 3:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Reading Material

The last two nights, I've tried to figure out the number of Red Sox fans at Nationals Park. This requires a good bit of guesswork. First of all, no other fanbase has a greater affection for T-shirt jerseys; Sox fans...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 25, 2009; 8:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (148)
 
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With Two Big Innings, Red Sox Rock Stammen

Craig Stammen is the least experienced of the Washington Nationals' young pitchers, and it hurt them last night. The Boston Red Sox ransacked Stammen in two big innings and then stamped out Washington's comeback bid for a 6-4 win before...

By Mark Viera  |  June 24, 2009; 11:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
 
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Clippard Thrives in New Role; Dunn Nurses Wrist

Shortly before 4 p.m., Tyler Clippard slipped into the Washington Nationals clubhouse and only a few players and coaches even noticed that he settled at his locker. But it was hardly a surprise that Washington was in need of a...

By Mark Viera  |  June 24, 2009; 7:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
 
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Clippard Recalled; Wells DFA'd

A day after their relievers imploded in an eighth inning collapse, the Washington Nationals recalled Tyler Clippard from Class AAA Syracuse and designated Kip Wells for assignment in an effort to identify reliable options out of the bullpen. Clippard, 24,...

By Mark Viera  |  June 24, 2009; 3:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (71)
 
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Big Papi Not So Big and Scary

Fans at Nationals Park -- and I assume a hefty contingent of them will again be Red Sox supporter -- will get a chance to see David Ortiz tonight. For the last six season, Ortiz, who did not play last...

By Mark Viera  |  June 24, 2009; 2:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Time For Bullpen Makeover Pt. IV (Or Is It Pt. V?)

When Manny Acta describes a game as "a typical example of what got us where we're at right now" -- and that's what he said after last night's affair -- I'm willing to bet my house, my rollerblades, my paycheck...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 24, 2009; 9:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (118)
 
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Change Coming?

After the Washington Nationals' 11-3 debacle tonight against the Boston Red Sox, Manager Manny Acta did not seem pleased. Not that you would expect him to seem pleased after any loss, but Acta appeared particularly annoyed with the bullpen. After...

By Mark Viera  |  June 24, 2009; 12:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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Chico Returns (No, Not That Chico)

In addition to speaking about the return of Matt Chico, which you can read about below, Manager Manny Acta addressed a few other worthwhile tidbits today. He noted that catcher Josh Bard and Wil Nieves have caught each of the...

By Mark Viera  |  June 23, 2009; 6:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (87)
 
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Here Come the Sawks

Nationals Park might be sold out tonight. But it will not be because of the home team. Folks in Nationals Park are already talking about the influx of Boston fans expected at tonight's game. How many will show up? Are...

By Mark Viera  |  June 23, 2009; 3:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (85)
 
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Reading Material

Tonight's game is nearly sold out. Just out of curiosity, I ran a search a few minutes ago for remaining/available tickets. Nowhere in the ballpark can one find two or more seats together. Right now, if one goes to the...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 23, 2009; 10:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (65)
 
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Looking For A Strasburg Parallel

A few weeks ago, I ran into ESPN's Tim Kurkjian at Nationals Park. The Nats had just drafted Stephen Strasburg, the greatest thing since (take your pick) Mark Prior/Ben McDonald/sliced bread. Kurkjian mentioned that he worked for the Baltimore Sun,...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 23, 2009; 7:33 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
 
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Reading Material

Yesterday, the Nats had a winning streak. Tomorrow, they get the Red Sox for three games. Today, they have an off day -- and hopefully this reading material helps fill the gap. * The game story from Sunday's 9-4 loss...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 22, 2009; 8:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (79)
 
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Toronto 9, Nats 4

The Nats' winning streak ended today in a style that felt rather familiar. (Four wins a row might have helped the glasses get a bit rosy, but that tint only helps so much.) Washington's run of top-grade starting pitching ended...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 21, 2009; 6:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
 
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Fastballs, Nothin' But Fastballs

I've been meaning for a few days to post something about the Nats' flamethrowing one-pitch wonder, Mike MacDougal. His last few outings, I've been charting his pitch selection -- or rather, the startling lack of pitch selection. Anyway, here's the...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 21, 2009; 12:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
 
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Today's Lineups

I don't have the Toronto lineup yet, but here is the Nats' lineup card Washington Guzman - 6 Johnson - 3 Zimmerman - 5 Dunn - 7 Kearns - 9 Gonzalez - 4 Harris - 8 Bard - 2 Martis...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 21, 2009; 10:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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