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Nationals Journal: July 5, 2009 - July 11, 2009

Nats 13, Astros 2

I'm back up in the press box now, looking back over tonight's scorecard. There is dark pencil everywhere -- heavy shading, hits denoted next to every Washington starter's name, and a particular HR-HR-HR sequence in the sixth inning that seems......

By Chico Harlan  |  July 11, 2009; 11:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (63)
 
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Burnett And The Rest Of The Bullpen

This month, several members of Washington's bullpen have endured a brutal backslide. Take away Tyler Clippard (who's appeared in just two games in July), and here are the respective ERAs this month. Joe Beimel -- 4.50 Jason Bergmann -- 5.40...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 11, 2009; 6:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (67)
 
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Today's Lineup

OK, we're back at Minute Maid Park. I've got my hand on the Nats' lineup -- still waiting on Houston's -- and it looks like Manny Acta is going for the L-R-L combo in the middle, as Adam Dunn has...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 11, 2009; 3:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Reading Material

Here's the gamer from the latest loss. 25-60. Sure, the Rockies -- the first team Washington encountered on this road trip -- are perhaps the hottest team in the NL. But the Astros have quietly caught fire, too. Yesterday's win...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 11, 2009; 11:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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Beimel: "It's Beyond Embarrassing."

The final score tonight: Astros 6, Nats 5. The corresponding sensation: How much worse can it possibly get? Narrow defeats always leave room for plenty of regrets, but jeez -- * The Nats came back from a 4-1 deficit, held...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 11, 2009; 12:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (51)
 
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The Rise Of Derek Norris

Today I had the chance to chat with Nats' catching prospect Derek Norris. We spoke by phone just a few hours before his team's Class A game in Greensboro, N.C. I'll try to do a few more of these sorta...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 10, 2009; 7:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (117)
 
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Zimmerman On Leave For Grandmother's Funeral

Ryan Zimmerman is out of Washington's lineup for the first time all season because of a death in his family. Zimmerman's grandmother, Ilene Lois Zimmerman, 82, passed away Wednesday in Pinehurst, N.C. The memorial service is tomorrow at 2 p.m....

By Chico Harlan  |  July 10, 2009; 6:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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An Off Day For Zimmerman

Up here in the press box at Minute Maid, I just got hold of the Nats' lineup for tonight's game. And one name is noticeably missing: Ryan Zimmerman. The Nats' third baseman almost never takes off days; not once this...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 10, 2009; 4:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (71)
 
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Reading Material

Here's the link to the WaPo's main Nats page, where you can swallow the blue pill (and read about the win in the suspended game) or the red pill (and read about the loss in the regularly scheduled game). The...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 10, 2009; 9:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (93)
 
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Astros 9, Nats 4

Certain outfielders around the league could wear racing presidents costumes or drape potato sacks around their legs and still patrol the real estate about as well as Adam Dunn. Listen, I enjoy Dunn, and I think he's been a bargain...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 10, 2009; 12:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (42)
 
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"The Winning Pitcher Is Hanrahan, Now 1-3"

The Washington Nationals today completed a game that lasted 11 innings and took precisely 65 days, five hours and 40 minutes. Between the first pitch and the winning run, the Nationals replaced six members of their bullpen, traded their pitcher...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 9, 2009; 7:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (68)
 
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Oh, The Possibilities

Last time we saw the Astros -- oh, about 65 days ago -- a hard rain was driving away any chance of an extra-inning conclusion in a 10-10 tie. After both sides waited 1:16, umps suspended the game. That was...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 9, 2009; 6:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
 
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From Minute Maid

Sorry for my Manuel Zelaya-like disappearance from the NJ territory today. Thanks to Tracee for rising to power while I boarded a crack-of-dawn flight in Denver, waited on the tarmac, waited some more on the tarmac, spent two hours in...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 9, 2009; 3:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (52)
 
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Lannan Leftovers for Breakfast

Hello, folks, how've you been? Chico's traveling this morning and so I thought I'd stage a bloodless coup of Nats Journal. I had a few leftovers in my notebook after interviewing John Lannan for today's column that I thought I'd...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  July 9, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (107)
 
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Rockies 10, Nats 4

In today's pitiful attempt to avoid a sweep at Coors Field, the Washington Nationals used a first baseman ill-suited for first (or any other position), a starting pitcher who probably belongs in the minors, at least two relievers (Ron Villone...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 8, 2009; 7:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (57)
 
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He's Not Fast, But He's Not On The DL.

Even on his best days, Josh Bard moves at dial-up speed. But now that the Nats' catcher is dealing with a sore right groin -- first aggravated while planting on first base in a June 27 game at Baltimore --...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 8, 2009; 2:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (94)
 
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Today's Lineups

Washington Morgan - 8 Gonzalez - 6 Zimmerman - 5 Dunn - 3 Willingham - 7 Kearns - 9 Hernandez - 4 Nieves - 2 Detwiler - 1 Colorado Fowler - 8 Barmes - 4 Helton - 3 Atkins -...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 8, 2009; 1:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Rockies 5, Nats 4

Sometimes, because my mind words about as well as Cristian Guzman's glove, I think about nonsensical things. I dream about a 2009 Washington Nationals Commemorative Calendar. (Though it would probably have be on sale for the 2010 year.) Anyway. I...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 8, 2009; 1:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (100)
 
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Dunn Is Staying Put In DC

Halfway through the most perplexing season of his nine-year big league career, Adam Dunn has dealt with enough losing and seen enough promise to arrive at one conclusion: He wants to stick around for the improvement. He wants to see...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 7, 2009; 7:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (124)
 
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Tonight's Lineups

Washington Morgan - 8 Johnson - 3 Zimmerman - 5 Dunn - 7 Willingham - 9 Guzman - 6 Bard - 2 Harris - 4 Zimmermann - 1 Colorado Fowler - 8 Barmes - 4 Helton - 3 Hawpe -...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 7, 2009; 6:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Boswell: Time For Roster Overhaul

The Nats began the season with no speed, no defense and no relief pitching. And there you go. That's the recipe for one of the most ill-conceived 25-man rosters in recent memory. Boswell's latest column explains, and provides some thoughts...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 7, 2009; 1:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (70)
 
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Reading Material

Pitcher's duels -- and 1-0 games in particular -- always give the losing team something to lament. The margin of defeat is so scarce, and oftentimes, the number of opportunities to win/tie are so few -- so you remember the...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 7, 2009; 10:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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Rockies 1, Nats 0

Final score from Coors: Rockies 1, Nats 0. The scoring was over and done with before you could even twitter about it. Not that I won't try: "Bot 1: C. Barmes H to RF. T. Helton 2B to LCF, C....

By Chico Harlan  |  July 6, 2009; 11:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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From (Suddenly Sunny) Coors Field

About an hour ago, just as the Nats were getting ready for batting practice, some gunmetal-gray thunderclouds came hurtling over the Rocky Mountains. The grounds crew came out, covering the field with a tarp. The Nats took indoor BP. For...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 6, 2009; 8:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
 
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Your News, In Less Than 140 Characters

Sorry for being out of touch for a few hours there. Was taking the ol' DCA-Denver flight, so here I am now at the press box at Coors Field, sitting about 5,200 feet high, looking out over sunny skies. So...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 6, 2009; 4:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
 
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On Handling the Starters

Here is a list, free of context: June 6, 2009 -- John Lannan, vs. NYM (9 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 96 pitches) May 2, 2009 -- Shairon Martis, vs. STL (9 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 110 pitches) July...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 6, 2009; 8:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (85)
 
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Nats 5, Braves 3

Exit notes from today's 5-3 Nats' win against the Braves 1.) Viva Scott Olsen. Just when you thought Washington's season had run out of strange turns, along came this latest bend: This 25-year-old lefthander, beaten by all comers in his...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 5, 2009; 5:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (63)
 
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Zimmerman Is Nats' All-Star Representative

For the first time, Ryan Zimmerman will represent the Nationals as an all star. Zimmerman, 24, today was named to the National League all-star team, adding another highlight to a season that already includes a 30-game hitting streak and a...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 5, 2009; 1:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
 
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Today's Lineups

Atlanta McLouth - 8 Prado - 4 Jones - 5 McCann - 2 Escobar - 6 Anderson - 7 Diaz - 9 Kotchman - 3 Lowe - 1 Washington Morgan - 8 Johnson - 3 Zimmerman - 5 Dunn -...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 5, 2009; 12:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Who Is Washington's All-Star?

By this afternoon, we'll know which player(s) Washington will send to the all-star game. This year, it's not an easy call. Cristian Guzman benefits from playing a position that doesn't have many other candidates, but c'mon, the guy has a...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 5, 2009; 10:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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