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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 with a tough 5 IP, 6 ER game from Shairon Martis, who stuck the Nats in an early deficit, very much in that typical Cabrera-Olsen style of April and early-May. Joel Hanrahan then allowed three runs in the top of the ninth, further hammering away at Washington's chances for a comeback.

Among some of the lowlights:

* Martis threw 38 pitches in Toronto's four-run first inning.

* The Nats had at least two runners on base in four of the first five innings, but failed with timely hitting.

* Hanrahan turned a 6-2 deficit into a 9-2 deficit, inflating his ERA to 6.61.

* Eight of Toronto's nine runs scored with two outs.

Now, for a new entry in the What's Wrong With Washington category. Ryan Zimmerman. He's now in an 0-for-17 slump. In each of the three games this series, he went 0-for-5. (Before this series, he'd gone 0-for-5 in just two games all year.) His average is now down to .293. I'll be writing about the slumping Zim with much more detail in my game story, but that's the general sketch of his woes.

"He's a little bit lost right now," Manny Acta said. "He's chasing, going out of the zone a little bit and taking some breaking balls that he was handling when he was hot. Obviously it's a totally different scenario. When he was going through that streak, he was just locked in. But he'll be right back, he'll be back into it... Right now, he's just got to go one at bat at a time and not try to put the whole slump away with one swing."

One other item to discuss here:

* This is kind of curious. Major League Baseball's official registry of transactions notes that Tyler Clippard, a reliever with Class AAA Syracuse, has been promoted to the big leagues. As such, you currently find his name on the 25-man roster. (There are 26 names here.) However, I am told by a reliable front office source that Clippard has not been called up, and has been involved in no transaction whatsoever. Not sure how Clippard's name surfaced on the transaction list, but the Nationals have no immediate plans to bring the right-hander to the big leagues, even on tomorrow's off day. And certainly, they haven't done so already.

One possibility of what maybe happened: It's quite possible the team was prepared to call up Clippard if it had needed to place Jesus Colome on the DL. Colome tweaked his right quad last night, and this morning tested the injury by throwing in the bullpen as a few front office members watched his form. But Colome came away from that trial just fine, and appeared in this afternoon's game. A source up in Syracuse indicated to me that Clippard had been put on alert if Colome wasn't able to go.

By Chico Harlan  |  June 21, 2009; 6:04 PM ET
 
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Comments

Hey gang, I'm reposting...more will follow after I read the excellent stuff I will no doubt read here. Too bad the team don't play as well as you all comment...i.e. entertainingly and well!: ...yea DFA "I Stink" and at least send Gascanrahan to AAA. And even tho the throw from "I Stink" was weak-Bard was-as usual set up in a poor position to make the tag. Too far from the line. Is he capable of making a play at the plate? Also-any ideas on why Gonzalez was at 2nd for Hernandez? Ah,,,,,,2 series vics-AND Manny actually came outta the dugout!Go Nats!

Posted by: zendo | June 21, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Carrying over my thanks to gilbert for his Harris items. Those were great! Thanks for the heads up, BinM.

In the pregame show they had a feature on the fake umps and said that the team had lost every game where they were in attendance. After the top of the 1st I was calling for somebody, anybody, to find them and get them on a plane back to DC pronto! And y'all know how I felt about their routine. :-D

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 21, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

"The team" being the Jays, of course.

Lots of issues coming to a head in the game, but OTOH, who would have thought at this point last week that we'd have taken back-to-back series from the Yankees and Jays?

Was good to see Willingham back and interacting with his little boy on the pregame. Hope that being on the field again and playing with his little one brought him some respite from his grieving process.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 21, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

The fact that Manny bats Kearns fifth and then brings in "GAS CAN HANRAHAN" to thwart any hopes of a Nats comeback this afternoon is reason enough to give Acta his walking papers but consider this; Clint Hurdle the now fired Colorado Rockies manager was only twelve games under .500 when he was shown the door,since then the Rockies have won something like seventeen of nineteen and have willed their way back into the NL West, tell me how in the name of Casey Stengel you keep this clueless knucklehead of a manager around.

Posted by: dargregmag | June 21, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Hanrahan is out of options. To get rid of him you would have to waive him and he would be picked up. You all might hate him but others in MLB don't.

You guys sure loved Manny last night. Not so much tonight.

What have they done for ya lately.

Posted by: natsguy | June 21, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

So where is everyone? Out enjoying Father's Day? No posts for over two hours.

Posted by: twinbrook | June 21, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Did I miss something or did Acta really let Martis bat in the bottom of the 5th, then brought in Colome to start the top of the sixth. Why let Martis bat if you're going to replace him anyway????

Posted by: gramps4 | June 21, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

In the pregame show they had a feature on the fake umps and said that the team had lost every game where they were in attendance.

"The team" being the Jays of course.
*******************************************

Hmm. Are there any fake umps among the millions of fans in Red Sox Nation? Perhaps we can take up a collection to bring them here for the upcoming series. I'm sure StanK would welcome them with open arms.

Posted by: BGinVA | June 21, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Hanrahan is out of options. To get rid of him you would have to waive him and he would be picked up. You all might hate him but others in MLB don't.
Posted by: natsguy

who ever wants him can have him. it's not hate, just time to move on.

Posted by: sjt1455 | June 21, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Ya know, if the Lerners really were cheap, they'd hire some of you DFAistas to run the club. You'd have the entire roster shipped out of here within a month, and be fielding a team of low A-ball players who would play for peanuts.

It costs the Nats nothing to give Hanrahan an extremely long leash. He's not going to learn anything pitching against minor leaguers. If he figures it out this year, you have a guy who's nearly unhittable when he's on, and could be a staple of our bullpen for another six years. If he doesn't figure it out, nothing lost. It's not like we have a platoon of relievers from our farm system beating down the doors to get to the majors -- if there were, we wouldn't have Tavarez, Villone, Wells, etc.

Posted by: joebleux | June 21, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, you think they're pissing off the opposition much?
***************
In the pregame show they had a feature on the fake umps and said that the team had lost every game where they were in attendance. After the top of the 1st I was calling for somebody, anybody, to find them and get them on a plane back to DC pronto! And y'all know how I felt about their routine. :-D

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 21, 2009 6:56 PM |

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 21, 2009 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Thank you joebleaux

Posted by: natsguy | June 21, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Maybe some of DFA'istas need to read NFA and learn something from Brian Oliver.

Posted by: natsguy | June 21, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

WHY IS HANRAHAN STILL ON THE TEAM.

EVERYBODY KNOWS HE'S A BUM

EXCEPT MANNY ACTA!

Posted by: navcompt | June 22, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse

If you had read joebleux's on-the-money post, you'd know why, navcompt

Posted by: nats24 | June 22, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse

This team pronounced that people who failed in the bullpen would not be occupying a spot on the roster. Numerous pitchers were DFA'ed, or sent back to the minors. Hanrahan has been given second, third and fourth chances. Joebleux and others have to admit that Hanrahan can not be trusted to come in the the ninth inning, or in any tight situation. The over six ERA tells a compelling tale, not to mention the opposing batting average. Hanrahan is hittable and he is very wild.
If the Nats are going to progress as a team there must be another solution to this roster spot. Perhaps Olsen will take it (although I cringe while writing these words).

Posted by: driley | June 22, 2009 5:50 AM | Report abuse

It's hard to follow all the subtleties when you live an ocean away, but could someone, anyone, tell me why Austin Kearns is still starting on this team, much less batting fifth?

I will grant that he has a good throwing arm in RF but starting rightfielders should not be allowed two seasons below the Mendoza line.

I remember when the old Senators started Eddie Brinkman at SS for a thousand years. Dude generally hit about .199 but played great defense... But he played SS and batted 8th (pre AL DH).

Posted by: khrabb | June 22, 2009 6:16 AM | Report abuse

>It's hard to follow all the subtleties when you live an ocean away, but could someone, anyone, tell me why Austin Kearns is still starting on this team, much less batting fifth?

The same reason that Manny still has a job - a guaranteed contract. But of course the team decides to keep both of them on this year without committing to extending their contracts. Because hey - nobody in their right mind would extend their contracts, right? But they think it's alright to let them help ruin this season.

Posted by: Brue | June 22, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

From Chico's game report: "Zimmerman was batting .348 one month ago, .310 entering this series, and .299 entering the series finale. His 0-for-5 day dropped the number to .293."

At what point is Zimmerman no longer the clear choice to represent the Nats at the All Star Game? Who's next on the list? NJ?

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | June 22, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps so, but then you'd have to run a poll to determine which commenter from NJ should represent the Nats.

---

At what point is Zimmerman no longer the clear choice to represent the Nats at the All Star Game? Who's next on the list? NJ?

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | June 22, 2009 8:06 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 22, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

...and new posted...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 22, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Zimmerman is just coming back down to earth - he has never shown that he is anything more than a .280 hitter with decent power and RBI, certainly not the best 2 or 3 hitting 3B in the NL. This will be the problem heading into the rest of the season - you had players hitting way above the career norms that when they returned to normal the pressure was put back on the pitching. To their credit, they haven't been terrible lately, but yesterday was a prime example of what will happen when that line is crossed. This is still a 110 loss team, and the offense and defense are the big problem, and it's the kind of problem that will also expose your pitching not only for their inexperience, but also their weaknesses (high pitch counts, etc). A whole bowl of not good.

Posted by: bendersx6 | June 22, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

I am not prepared to give up on Joel Hanrahan. When he's on he is as unhittable as any pitcher in the league. We have to learn what factors are causing his inconsistency (and in his case it is "inconsistency," unlike, say, Daniel Cabrera, who was quite consistent but absolutely horrible all the time).

Zimmerman is another problem. Lately he seems unable to see the ball and unable to discern whether the pitch on the way is a breaking ball or a fastball.

Maybe he needs glasses? Or maybe his slump has made him a head case. Perhaps he could be put on the road to recovery simply by drinking a beer before the game.

I would change the lineup as follows:

1. Guzman
2. Harris
3. Johnson
4. Dunn
5. Zimmerman
6. Dukes/Willingham/Kearns
7. Hernandez/Gonzalez/Belliard
8. Nieves/Bard
9. Pitcher

Remember, Dunn is in a slump, too, but his seems more related to the extraordinarily enormous strike zone that home plate umpires are consistently giving pitchers when he's at bat. I know he's a big guy so the high-low thing might be semi-justified, but they're extending the strike zone on him from batter's box to batter's box and that just ain't right.

Zimmerman, on the other hand, is watching a whole lot of really FAT pitches go by without lifting his bat. Something's wrong there.

And while Kearns remains in his nearly 2-year-old slump it is easy to forget the runs he saves us with his magnificent fielding. That sort of thing wins games as often as he might with his bat.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | June 22, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I got a good laugh from the "Umps" behind home plant. They were not abusive, profane or drunk, just having a good time. It is a very original idea.

Posted by: chopin224 | June 22, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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