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Tonight's Lineups (With Notes)

Ryan Zimmerman sat in the home clubhouse today and spoke about how the University of Virginia's baseball program helped catapult his career. Of course by that point, Zimmerman's feelings for his college were self-evident. On Thursday, it was made public that the Nationals' the third baseman, who in April signed a five-year, $45 million contract, had donated to his old program $250,000, aimed to improve the team's facilities.

"I just like to support the people that got me where I'm at," he said.

As Zimmerman spoke, several televisions in the clubhouse were broadcasting UVA's Super Regional game against Ole Miss. Zimmerman hasn't gotten much feedback from current Cavaliers players or coaches because, as he joked, they happen to be "a little busy right now."

"You don't do that kind of stuff to try and get reaction," he said. "You do it to make something better, because you have the ability to do it."

*

Pitcher Scott Olsen, on the disabled list since May 18 because of shoulder tenditinis, was back at Nationals Park today to throw a bullpen session. But it's only a stopover before Olsen, within a few days, begins a rehab assignment with Class A Potomac. The left-hander is expected to be ready by mid-June. (Olsen again declined comment, saying he'd speak to the media once he came off the DL.)... Outfielder Josh Willingham, battling a viral infection, is out of the lineup for the fourth consecutive game, but took batting practice this afternoon -- a sign he's close to a return. He could be available to pinch-hit in today's game...

*

Austin Kearns is back to square one, trying to fix his swing. His form from the first three weeks of the season -- when he separated his hands from his shoulders when swinging -- has abandoned him. And it shows. Kearns has gone an astonishing 53 at bats (19 games) without an RBI. In that span, he's hitting .170 and slugging .208. Said Acta: "He started the season very well separating his hands from his body and having better swings, and he got back to his old habits a little bit, so him and Rick [Eckstein] have been working diligently to going back to where he was the first three weeks of the season."

*

For this weekend series, begin today, the Nats are hosting their annual "Thanksgiving in June" food collection, which benefits the Capital Area Food Bank. And, of course, anybody who gets the food. Fans are encouraged to donate non-perishable food items, bringing them to the center field gates at Nats Park beginning 2-1/2 hours before game time.

*

New York

Cora - 6
Castillo - 4
Beltran - 8
Wright - 5
Murphy - 3
Tatis - 7
Martinez - 9
Schneider - 2
Redding - 1

Washington

Guzman - 6
Johnson - 3
Zimmerman - 5
Dunn - 7
Dukes - 8
Kearns - 9
Bard - 2
Hernandez - 4
Martis - 1

By Chico Harlan  |  June 5, 2009; 5:30 PM ET
 
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Next: Mets 3, Nats 1

Comments

How can Manny Acta keep putting Austin Kearns in the starting lineup. The guy can't hit a lick.

Posted by: bupbups | June 5, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the FO is hoping with more reps, he'll break out of his slump and become more tradeable?

Posted by: Juan-John | June 5, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

There must be something really wrong with Willingham - He's 5/13(.385) with 2HR & 4RBI vs. Redding & he's not in the lineup?

Posted by: BinM | June 5, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

>How can Manny Acta keep putting Austin Kearns in the starting lineup. The guy can't hit a lick.

I think the better question would be why he EVER hits higher than 8th in the lineup. But you're right - it's been a long time since I've seen a big leaguer that clueless at the plate. They get ahead with breaking stuff away, then they buzz the fastball on the inside corner and see ya. Or vice versa. Doesn't matter what the sequence is, that's where he's going to be pitched.

Posted by: Brue | June 5, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Kearns is tradeable... as long as the Nats pay his entire salary and don't ask for anything of value in return... hmmm....

Posted by: rumbly45 | June 5, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

No Reyes, no Church, no JJ Putz (all on DL) - the Nationals have to jump on this game early & keep the hammer down, imo.

Posted by: BinM | June 5, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Willingham can't play right field and Dunn is a total disaster out there. Kearns has the best chance of cstching the ball and throwing it in. He has made some great throws in the not too distant past.

I don't understand why they keep putting Hernandez at second. His hitting is not good enough to make up for the fact that he doesn't know how to play the position. Go with Harris or Belliard.

I say we take two out of three from the Mets.

Go Nats!

Posted by: longhorn64 | June 5, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

"This team will likely have to sacrifice some offense to get better on defense and in the bullpen."

How can this be worth it? The last week the problem has not been defense, it's been all offense. Healthy offense seems the only hope this team has for the year.

Posted by: Section506 | June 5, 2009 5:14 PM |

--------

506, sorry I didn't respond earlier. If we're talking trades, I don't think we're focused on this year. You have to focus on the fundamentals and pitching and defense come first. The Nats could have an offensive nucleus of Zimm, Dunn, NJ or Willingham, Flores, Hernandez, W. Harris as a utility man, and whoever you play in CF and at SS and be okay. Especially if the pitching keeps it close and you don't make mistakes in the field. Then, I would add a quality OF in the offseason to make the lineup better. Kasten promised they'll spend more money in the offseason and that would be the logical step after a few trades between now and then.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 5, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

For some reason, and I can't figure out why, Kearns just will not shorten his swing and with 2 strikes won't choke the bat a bit. It's like groundhog day with him, so predictable. Eating his contract might be the only way out.

Posted by: cokedispatch | June 5, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

"If we're talking trades, I don't think we're focused on this year. You have to focus on the fundamentals and pitching and defense come first, etc."

Okay, I can get behind this. I still value offense higher than defense -- no team with a great defense and an average offense with average pitching is a perennial contender, but plenty of teams with average defense and great offense and slightly above average pitching or average defense average offense and great pitching are perennial contenders.

Posted by: Section506 | June 5, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

"Kearns just will not shorten his swing and with 2 strikes won't choke the bat a bit. It's like groundhog day with him, so predictable."

I've noticed this too, it's perplexing. He basically gives himself only two strikes to work with, whereas Jesus Flores -- doing exactly what you suggest -- gives himself four or five strikes.

Posted by: Section506 | June 5, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

coked: I fear that unless Kearns' gets hot at the plate, the Nationals are saddled with him for the year. It's fairly clear that Eckstein hasn't been able to get through to him fully (He moved him off the plate, but Kearns still gives up on pitches above the waist on the inside half).

The team will likely ride him out for '09, then buy him out for '10.

Posted by: BinM | June 5, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

506, good stuff. I would point out one more thing: when talking offense, I think it's important to focus on on base percentage and, especially, runs. It may sound sill, but a lot of times, the first stat people pull up is batting average. It comes down to how many guys get on base and how many come home. That's why I think this is a good, but not outstanding, offensive team right now.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 5, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

You're completely right on the importance of OBP for offense and, I would add, SLG. That's not to say you want all Adam Dunns, of course, you need some on-base people and then sluggers to drive them in.

AVG is probably least important of the big three offensive stats, but it's so ingrained that we have the best "feel" for what it means, which is why even big time nerds like me fall back on it.

Posted by: Section506 | June 5, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

506: Any perennial contender needs to be slightly-to-well above average in two of the three categories (Pitching/ Offense/ Defense), particularly in the NL. Some historic cases in point...


1960's - LA Dodgers & St.Louis Cardinals (Very good pitching, good defense, average hitting + speed).
1970's - Cincinnati Reds & Pittsburgh Pirates (Very Good Hitting, good defense, average pitching).
1980's - Philidelphia Phillies (Very good hitting, good defense, average pitching) & LA Dodgers (Very good defense, good pitching, average hitting).

Posted by: BinM | June 5, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

As Earl Weaver said, "Pitching, defense and three-run homers."

Posted by: baltova1 | June 5, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Man am I steamed! My MASN2 Verizon FIOS feed was unavailable again tonite, as had happened earlier this week. Other channels were working fine, including MASN1. After futzing around a bit, I decided to call Verizon to check on it. After the automated system had reset and initialized my set-up box, to no avail, I was kicked over to a live agent. He informed me that they were no longer carrying MASN2 in my area due to low demand. I'd received no notice of this and told him that I'd subscribed to FIOS TV to see the Nationals, which seemed to shock him (he said something to the effect that some people evidently wanted to watch the games, even if it was the Nationals). He also informed me that MASN1 was available, to which I replied that I didn't want to watch the Orioles. Anyway, according to him a couple of places in Fairfax County still carry it, but not my neighborhood. Lucky me. #$@%^!! I grumbled and threatened to cancel my TV package, which didn't seem to faze him at all. I am royally P.O.ed. So if you are in Fairfax County and suddenly can't pick up Nats games on FIOS, that may be why. grrrr.....

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 5, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

One thing we're good at this year: making crappy pitchers look good. That was an easy first inning for Tim Redding.

Posted by: BGinVA | June 5, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Manny's arguing!!!!!!

Posted by: BGinVA | June 5, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

"I don't understand why they keep putting Hernandez at second."

I believe he's in there to throw Beltran out at third. Neither Harris nor Belliard has the arm to make that throw.

Posted by: joebleux | June 5, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Well, the umps screwed us again.

Posted by: BGinVA | June 5, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

I am so sick of getting jobbed byt the umps...WTF!!!

Posted by: Naugatuck-Nats | June 5, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Poor defense and even poorer umpiring cost us a run. The story of our season so far...

Posted by: BGinVA | June 5, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

I should have said that I can't get MASN1 in my rant. In the heat of the moment I mixed up the channels. At any rate, I can't watch the Nats.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 5, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

@1a1: That bites; I don't think FIOS coverage falls under Fairfax County DCCCP (Div. of Cable Communications / Consumer Protection) overview, but you might file a complaint there just to make a case.

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/consumer/IQext/CSW_acs.asp

Hope you get some help.

Posted by: BinM | June 5, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, BinM. I'll look into that.

As you may recall, the radio signal is virtually nonexistent at night in my neck of the woods.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 5, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Well that buys Kearns another week's worth of starts. Fantastic.

Posted by: RickFelt | June 5, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Well that buys Kearns another week's worth of starts. Fantastic.

Posted by: RickFelt | June 5, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

I see Willingham is on the bench again.
I know he is somewhat of a defense liability, but with Guzzie, Zim and Dunn mired in a batting slump - you would think Manny would put Willingham in so that we would have someone who might be able to drive in some runs.

Posted by: bigmook | June 5, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Is just me, or does Tim Redding look "bigger" than he did last year - sort of "puffy" - "puffed up" all over the way Bonds looked after he started taking...

Posted by: bigmook | June 5, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

@1a1: I'm sold on the mlb.com package - I've been listening to Charlie & Dave via their feed on my lame Vista (basic) home system all season. It's a little out-of-synch with the TV coverage, but it's just like the "old days" on the radio otherwise.

Posted by: BinM | June 5, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, BinM. I might need to go that road. I just have to get over my resistance to paying for radio broadcasts over the Internet, when I should (IMO) be able to pick them up over the local airwaves. grrrr....

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 5, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to re-introduce an old "kangaroo-court" idea for this team - Milking the count / outs.
If a batter swings at the 1st pitch in an AB and produces an un-productive (no run scored or runner advanced) out, -$200; 2nd pitch = un-productive out, $100; 3rd pitch = un-productive out, $50; 4th pitch = un-productive out, $25. For the 5th pitch & beyond, no "court" fine.

Take the total fines collected over the season & donate it to Greater DC (DC-MD-VA) youth charities for stuff like Little League ballpark improvements, team sponsorship, equipment, whatever. Use it to build community spirit & faith that the team is trying to "give back" to the communities that buy tickets & support the team.

Posted by: BinM | June 5, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

@1a1: If Dan Snyder hadn't bought up all the sports-focused bandwidth in the area, you & I wouldn't be reduced to this as our only possible options.

Posted by: BinM | June 5, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

How the heck have we not been able to light up Tim Redding, you know the Tim Redding that is (or at least was) 0-2 with a 9.20 ERA?

Posted by: BGinVA | June 5, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

should have known that double play was gonna come @

Posted by: rxs85 | June 5, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

I suspect Willingham is not risking the weather after battling a virus. More than likely that was at the behest of management.

Posted by: periculum | June 5, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

guzman, Zimmerman and Johnson are still hitting in the .330 range. That's not a slump. Albeit their average with men on base may not be all that great. Its Dunn and the power numbers that have taken a dive.

Posted by: periculum | June 5, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Anderson who?

Posted by: joebleux | June 5, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

This team is so hard to watch sometimes.

Posted by: Brue | June 5, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

The Nats let Tim Redding go and sign Cabrera?!? Yeeks...

Posted by: Juan-John | June 5, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

"The Nats let Tim Redding go and sign Cabrera?!?"

All part of The Plan.

Posted by: twinbrook | June 5, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Stan the man and his plan.

Posted by: periculum | June 5, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Bellie sure didn't look like he wanted to be up there. What a horrible at bat.

Posted by: twinbrook | June 5, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

I've been one of the people who've cut Manny a lot of slack this year, but keeping Hanrahan in the closer's role makes absolutely no sense. I can only hope the front office is forcing him to do it, otherwise it's insane. I don't care what he does here, it's dumb to put him in this role.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 5, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Hello, Hanrahan. Goodbye, possible victory...

Posted by: BGinVA | June 5, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I take that back. Nice 1-2-3 inning by Hanrahan!

Posted by: BGinVA | June 5, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Good inning, Joel.

Let's get some hits

Posted by: Kev29 | June 5, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Good inning, Joel.

Let's get some hits

Posted by: Kev29 | June 5, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse
***************************************

Our offense forgot how to get hits.

Posted by: BGinVA | June 5, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

$*@!(^$)(!@$&()!@&$!

Posted by: BGinVA | June 5, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Now 0-7 in extra innings this year...

Posted by: BGinVA | June 5, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Oh No, Mets take lead, thanks Joel.

Posted by: alm1000 | June 5, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Forget what I said earlier Hanrhan, you still stink.

Posted by: BGinVA | June 5, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Let's say we get swept by the struggling Mets this weekend. There's no way Manny can still be here to manage the next series (and Hanrahan better not be around to pitch, either). This is getting really frustrating, and I am really sick of it.

Posted by: BGinVA | June 5, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

I think Manny will be a good Manager one day. He is a great guy and I have had good experiences with my daughter interacting with him for the last several years. I have been a Manny fan and supporter but tonight I am throwing in the towel. I don't get Joel for 2 innings or at all for what it's worth! Kearns is a joke! Again, I believe Manny will turn out to be a solid manager in the future, just not here.

Posted by: sec218 | June 5, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Crap, I really wanted to see that little Mets fan behind home plate cry - if by some chance the Nats won

Posted by: Kev29 | June 5, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Be careful driving home: 14-and-39. On our way to 110 ... 115 ... 120 losses?
And still Manny has a job! Is this a great country or what?

Posted by: jdschulz50 | June 5, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure Manny's a nice guy, and I applaud his charity work and outreach, but he is not the right manager for this team. We're to the point where we should be competing - maybe not for first place, but we shouldn't be the laughing stock of MLB with the players that we have.

Posted by: BGinVA | June 5, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

It's NOT the pitchers' fault tonight. WHERE THE HECK ARE OUR BATTERS?!?

At the start of the season, our bats were hot and our pitchers were shambolic.

Now, it's the EXACT OPPOSITE.

Seeing as the owners love Manny, the next person to go will likely be Rick Eckstein.

I HAVE to believe that at some point the law of averages will kick in and the pitchers AND batters will play EQUALLY well DURING THE SAME GAME.

AAaaaaaaarrrrrgggghhh....

Posted by: Juan-John | June 5, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

I see that the Nats are doing their "Thanksgiving in June" food drive at the park this weekend. But I think the visiting teams must think it's Christmas whenever they come to play us, as we gift wrap easy victories for them.

Posted by: BGinVA | June 5, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

"There's no way Manny can still be here to manage the next series"

Hilarious.

And you can't trade draft picks.

Posted by: joebleux | June 5, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Juan-John, fair point about the offense. But we're still going to see a lot of games come down to the ninth inning and Hanrahan can't handle that job.

Chico, if you're out there, do some digging, please. Is Manny the decision-maker on keeping Hanrahan in as closer or is the front office pushing the idea?

Posted by: baltova1 | June 5, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

kearns got 4 rbi on one swing and has 11 in his other 122 at bats, he makes me want to watch ryan langerhans and nook logan

Posted by: bford1kb | June 5, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

OK, enough with the bad stuff. We need a change of subject. We need a cause.
This isn't much of a story, but Mamie "Peanut" Johnson deserves more recognition.
http://tinyurl.com/p7xwhb
Whaddaya say we get behind something positive?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 5, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

and by "not much of a story" I meant the writeup, not her life. But you knew that.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 5, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Sec3, I think that each of the MLB teams put a living veteran of the Negro leagues on their roster in some honorary fashion last year, and Peanut Johnson is our player, I assume because she lives in the area. Fun baseball career, and what a bright look on life!

Posted by: Traveler8 | June 5, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know where I can get a job with the Lerners? I just want a place where all you have to do is show up for work, be lousy at your job and continue to cash your check! I mean isn't that what Manny is doing? Game after game it is the same BS!!! I am so tired of seeing this team underperform and no reaction from the Manager. If there was ever a man that seemed to want to be fired anymore then Acta I've never seen it. He seems to think that his job is to make out the line-up card and sit on his ass the rest of the game! This is coming from someone who was happy to see Acta named Manager and has been a supporter of his, but enough is enough. I waited 33 years to have a team back here and remember well the old Senators and as a kid lived through some pretty bad teams (loved them just the same) but the talent that this team has and to be 7 games worst then the next to worse team is crazy. This has to stop and I'm convinced that it will only get better with a change at the Manager position along with some real leadership that is obvious this club is lacking.

Posted by: prknguy | June 5, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Traveler8, that's right.
I'm trying to find out whom we can contact to urge this along. I'll forward what I get.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 5, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

and in honor of Mamie Johnson, Jackie Robinson, the sixth of June, and my friend and former manager, the late Vern Briley (USAF ret.), please spend some time today considering all the various ways Freedom Isn't Free.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 5, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

one more reason moyer can pitch effectively at 46--feliz and rollins combined have five (5) errors so far this year.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 6, 2009 12:23 AM | Report abuse

OTOH, the Phil LF and RF have both had fly balls hit their gloves this inning without getting an out.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 6, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse

chico's burning the midnight oil.
newpost

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 6, 2009 1:17 AM | Report abuse

Nice find on the Mamie Johnson article, sec3. Let us know what you find out. And my thoughts are with the remaining WWII vets and their bands of brothers who didn't make it back on June 6.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 6, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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