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Nationals Journal: August 23, 2009 - August 29, 2009

The Extreme Pitch-To-Contact Team

Watching the Nats' 9-4 loss against St. Louis on Saturday night triggered a digression about the whole pitch-to-contact approach -- which is, for Washington's soft-tossing starters, either the optimum approach or the only option. (Do you like your Kool-Aid strong...

By Chico Harlan  |  August 29, 2009; 11:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (43)
 
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The Center Fielder, the Lineups

Willie Harris became a starting center fielder this week only because Nyjer Morgan fractured his left hand, and that's no way to do it, Harris said on Saturday. Utility players crave regular playing time, sure, but they'd rather earn it...

By Chico Harlan  |  August 29, 2009; 6:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (70)
 
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Reading Material

Here is the gamer from Friday's Pujols walk-off game. This was one of those games, by the way, where I could have written 1,800 words instead of 800. The Smoltz-Lannan pitcher's duel made for riveting sport. When Willie Harris led...

By Chico Harlan  |  August 29, 2009; 12:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Cards 3, Nats 2

The short story of Friday night's 3-2 Nats loss against St. Louis goes like this: Albert Pujols decided it was time for the game to end, and so it ended. With the count 1-1 in a tie game in the...

By Chico Harlan  |  August 28, 2009; 11:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
 
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The Bench, the Lineups

* This might be self-evident, but I point it out nonetheless. Injuries, trades, etc., sure have taken a toll on Washington's bench. Remember the beginning of the year, when the Nats had Willie Harris, Josh Willingham, Bard and/or Nieves, Ronnie...

By Chico Harlan  |  August 28, 2009; 7:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (85)
 
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Nats Call Up Pete Orr

Sorry for not posting this earlier. I just arrived at Busch. With Nyjer Morgan now on the DL, the Nats on Friday added utility infielder Pete Orr to the 40-man roster and promoted him from Class AAA Syracuse. As part...

By Chico Harlan  |  August 28, 2009; 4:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (83)
 
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More on Drew Storen

Hello, folks. Chico's traveling this a.m. so I thought I'd take the opportunity to post a few Drew Storen leftovers. I got to sit down with Drew away from the ballpark and we had a good long chat. He's a...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  August 28, 2009; 7:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (62)
 
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Morgan Out for Season With Broken Left Hand

Nobody on the Washington Nationals can run as fast as Nyjer Morgan, steal as many bases, cover as much ground in the outfield, drop down as many bunt hits, or cause as many headaches for opposing pitchers. But somehow, the...

By Chico Harlan  |  August 27, 2009; 6:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (109)
 
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'Perfect-Perfect' Livo Wants to Be Back in 2010

Livan Hernandez loved the 2005 season. He led the National League in innings pitched, earned a trip to the All-Star Game, and carried the Washington Nationals into an August playoff chase. Hernandez said on Thursday that he has played for...

By Chico Harlan  |  August 27, 2009; 1:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (149)
 
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Lineups From Wrigley

The tarp is on, the temps are in the low-60s. But the radar indicates a window of opportunity to get this game in this afternoon. Stay tuned. Right now, there's nothing more than a mist. Washington Morgan -- 8 Guzman...

By Chico Harlan  |  August 27, 2009; 12:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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Vintage Livan. Vintage Bullpen.

If the baseball Gods were sentimentalists, the Nationals would have won Wednesday night, and the storyline would have been simple: See Livo, swinging through the old saloon doors. See Livo, gutting out six innings, throwing 116 pitches, K'ing Derek Lee...

By Chico Harlan  |  August 27, 2009; 12:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (43)
 
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A Need for Pitchers; A Plan to Juggle Them

Ultimately, the Nats got Livo. Good enough. He walked into the visiting clubhouse at Wrigley Field on Wednesday afternoon, and it just felt like he belonged. Only a veteran can walk around like that. A few players (Ronnie Belliard, Cristian...

By Chico Harlan  |  August 26, 2009; 7:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (118)
 
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Lineups From Wrigley

Got the Nats lineup here. Still waiting on Chicago's. Washington Harris - 8 Guzman - 6 Zimmerman - 5 Dunn - 3 Willingham - 7 Dukes - 9 Gonzalez - 4 Nieves - 2 Hernandez - 1...

By Chico Harlan  |  August 26, 2009; 4:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
 
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Welcoming Back the Old Workhorse

With respect to the Livo signing: I am a fan. Unquestionably. Granted, Mike Rizzo made this good, smart baseball move for good, smart, baseball reasons, but my reasoning here is quite different, which is why I'm a journalist and...

By Chico Harlan  |  August 26, 2009; 12:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (111)
 
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Lerner Bunny Ears and Dibble on Riggleman

From Dan Steinberg's D.C. Sports Bog, a TV interview with Mark Lerner and a Rob Dibble rantscript. So Mark Lerner did an interview with MASN's Debbi Taylor from Wrigley Tuesday night, and some fine resident of the Friendly Confines saw...

By Alexa Steele  |  August 26, 2009; 11:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Nats Sign Livo; Send Balester To Minors

Until Tuesday, the Washington Nationals relied on a rotation with too little experience and too few pitchers capable of going deep in ballgames. With one signing, the Nationals hoped to change that. The Nationals on Tuesday night signed 34-year-old Livan...

By Chico Harlan  |  August 25, 2009; 11:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (65)
 
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Strasburg Will Wear No. 37

Much remains unknown about the short path that will lead Stephen Strasburg from his current starting point to the major leagues. But at least a couple parts of the plan, in the last several days, have crystallized. The Washington Nationals...

By Chico Harlan  |  August 25, 2009; 7:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (111)
 
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Lineups From Wrigley

Washington Harris -- 8 Guzman -- 6 Zimmerman -- 5 Dunn -- 3 Willingham -- 7 Belliard -- 4 Dukes -- 9 Nieves -- 2 Mock -- 1 Chicago Theriot -- 6 Bradley -- 9 Lee -- 3 Ramirez --...

By Chico Harlan  |  August 25, 2009; 4:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
 
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Riggleman's Future

I'm in Chicago right now. I adore Chicago. I love running along Lake Michigan in the mornings. I love the food and the ballpark. Also, my last name isn't Bartman, so it's a bit easier to feel okay about friendly...

By Chico Harlan  |  August 25, 2009; 8:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (99)
 
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Today's Lineups

Brewers: Lopez - 2B Catalanotto - RF Braun - LF Fielder - 1B McGehee - 3B Cameron - CF Kendall - C Gallardo - P Escobar - SS Nationals: Morgan - CF Guzman - SS Zimmerman - 3B Dunn -...

By Alexa Steele  |  August 24, 2009; 4:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (58)
 
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Green Man at Nats Park

Courtesy of Dan Steinberg's DC Sports Bog: green man....

By Alexa Steele  |  August 24, 2009; 1:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
 
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Reading Material

If we really want to get all hyperbolic, each of the previous seven days in NatsTown can be distilled, in retrospect, into a single catchphrase. Monday: Tension. (Would SS sign?) Tuesday: Elation. (Yes.) Wednesday: Confusion. (Huh? Jerry Dipoto?) Thursday: Confirmation....

By Chico Harlan  |  August 24, 2009; 8:33 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (59)
 
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Nationals 8, Brewers 3

The Washington Nationals don't have a stopper. They don't have an ace geared to halt losing streaks. But at least while they search for that element, the Nationals, every so often, can depend on another formula to get them out...

By Chico Harlan  |  August 23, 2009; 4:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (45)
 
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Lineups From Nats Park

The Brewers are hitting P Manny Parra in the No. 8 slot. Also, the Nats scratched Elijah Dukes, who was originally slated to bat seventh and start in RF. Dukes, mired in a 4-for-35 slump since Aug. 11, spent Saturday...

By Chico Harlan  |  August 23, 2009; 12:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Links, Stories, A Few Exclamation Points

Good morning from Nats Park. First, a few links from around the league: The New York Times (with Scott Boras ghostwriting?) recommends ending the draft, calling the payment system for young players a "bargain that has distorted the game's economics....

By Chico Harlan  |  August 23, 2009; 10:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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