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Nationals Journal: September 27, 2009 - October 3, 2009

Nats 6, Braves 4

It makes for an unconventional spectacle, watching a last-place team play its 161st game of the season while relying on players like Ian Desmond (in Class AAA Syracuse until September 7), Justin Maxwell (in Syracuse until August 31), Ross Detwiler...

By Chico Harlan  |  October 3, 2009; 8:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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Pilates for Nyjer, an MRI for Guzman

Nyjer Morgan is back home in San Francisco now, completely detached from the final days of the 2009 season, excluding some passing curiosity about the stat races. "Hey," Morgan asked in a recent telephone conversation. "Am I still second [in...

By Chico Harlan  |  October 3, 2009; 3:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
 
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Lineups From Turner Field

Sorry it took a while to post today's lineups. I'll have a post w/ some assorted news and notes in a few minutes. Washington Harris - 8 Dukes - 9 Zimmerman - 5 Dunn - 3 Willingham - 7 Desmond...

By Chico Harlan  |  October 3, 2009; 3:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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A Five-Game Winning Streak

I dare say that no 103-loss team in Major League Baseball history has ever been as hot as the Washington Nationals. The Nats defeated the Braves on Friday night 6-3. They've now won five in a row. No team in...

By Chico Harlan  |  October 2, 2009; 11:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (45)
 
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Lineups From Turner Field

Washington Maxwell - 8 Dukes - 9 Dunn - 3 Zimmerman - 5 Willingham - 7 Desmond - 6 Gonzalez - 4 Nieves - 2 Hernandez - 1 Atlanta McLouth - 8 Prado - 4 Jones - 5 LaRoche -...

By Chico Harlan  |  October 2, 2009; 3:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (53)
 
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Some Appreciation for Tyler Clippard

For the last few months, Washington's season has been as much about discoveries as results. Discovering young players, future pieces, etc. (Or, in some cases, discovering that certain young players aren't cut out for the job.) This is the way...

By Chico Harlan  |  October 2, 2009; 11:18 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (46)
 
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Nats 2, Braves 1

In Washington's 2-1 victory against the Atlanta Braves on Thursday, the Nationals had seven hits and two extra-base hits, both doubles from Ryan Zimmerman. They found themselves in a precarious bottom-of-the-ninth jam, with runners on the corners and two outs....

By Chico Harlan  |  October 1, 2009; 11:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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Maxwell, Detwiler and a One-Liner From Riggleman

On September 15, Justin Maxwell -- hitting .204 at the time, still looking over-matched against big league pitching -- found himself in the Washington Nationals' starting lineup against Phillies ace Cliff Lee. Hitting coach Rick Eckstein and first base coach...

By Chico Harlan  |  October 1, 2009; 6:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (58)
 
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Lineups From Turner Field

Washington Harris - 7 Desmond - 6 Dunn - 3 Zimmerman - 5 Morse - 9 Orr - 4 Maxwell - 8 Nieves - 2 Mock - 1 Atlanta McLouth - 8 Prado - 4 Jones - 5 McCann -...

By Chico Harlan  |  October 1, 2009; 3:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
 
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En Route to ATL

Back in the technological dark ages, before in-flight wi-fi, I couldn't have penned this blog entry. So thank Delta. We're living in a great age now. In no earlier era could a baseball writer have researched Justin Maxwell's career bases-loaded...

By Chico Harlan  |  October 1, 2009; 10:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (47)
 
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Maxwell Hits Grand Slam Walk-Off

As a parting gift, the Washington Nationals delivered pleasure -- no complications. The final scene of the 81st and final home game of the season was unlike any moment that preceded it, perfect and delirious, the one-minute attempt to undo...

By Chico Harlan  |  September 30, 2009; 9:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (83)
 
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Riggleman and Rizzo Talk Future

With the Nats settling in for their final home game of the season, the pre-game gab sessions with Jim Riggleman and Mike Rizzo dwelled on some bigger-picture questions. Will Jim Riggleman be back next year as manager? (He'll be a...

By Chico Harlan  |  September 30, 2009; 4:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (64)
 
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Lineups From Nats Park

The Nats go for the sweep. I'll post New York's lineup when I get it. Washington Harris - 8 Dukes - 9 Zimmerman - 5 Dunn - 3 Willingham - 7 Bard - 2 Desmond - 6 Gonzalez - 4...

By Chico Harlan  |  September 30, 2009; 1:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
 
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The Five-Year Anniversary

This is a day late, but because almost everything is free on the Web, at least it's not a dollar short. On Sept. 29, 2004, Major League Baseball announced the relocation of the Montreal Expos. Their new home: Washington, D.C.,...

By Chico Harlan  |  September 30, 2009; 8:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (54)
 
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"That's Definitely a Web Gem." (Nats 4, Mets 3)

This one, Elijah Dukes said, "feels good, especially as far as finishing strong." The long-term meaning of Nats 4, Mets 3 probably didn't outlive the post-game handshakes on Tuesday. But it told us something about Washington's late-season ability to grind...

By Chico Harlan  |  September 29, 2009; 10:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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A Jesus Flores Update

Tuesday afternoon, a clubhouse attendant stopped by the locker of Jesus Flores and handed the injured catcher a 2009 Washington Nationals team poster. Flores quickly penned his autograph in permanent marker. Then he continued talking about a season he wants...

By Chico Harlan  |  September 29, 2009; 6:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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Lineups From Nats Park

Interesting lineup for the Nats. Wil Nieves returns from a hammy pull. Elijah Dukes bats second for the first time since early May. Josh Willingham, average down to .265, gets a day on the bench. Mike Morse starts for the...

By Chico Harlan  |  September 29, 2009; 3:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Valentine: I'm 'Committed' to ESPN -- At Least For Now

New ESPN baseball analyst Bobby Valentine, speaking via conference call Tuesday from Japan, said he is "totally committed" to his new job as a Baseball Tonight panelist, beginning with the upcoming postseason. However, he acknowledged his interest in eventually returning...

By Dave Sheinin  |  September 29, 2009; 1:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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The Mike Morse Power Surge

GMs lose their jobs for making too much out of September performances, so let's not make more than it's worth of Mike Morse's recent torrid stretch. Chances are, Morse won't bloom at age 27 into the next Adam Dunn. (Though...

By Chico Harlan  |  September 29, 2009; 8:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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Nats 2, Mets 1; Detwiler Gets First MLB Win

This was Ross Detwiler's final chance. He took the mound Monday against the Mets with an 0-6 record, winless in 12 starts. Frankly, he was sick of the losing and no-decisions. Among the 165 starters big leaguers who'd made at...

By Chico Harlan  |  September 28, 2009; 10:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Run Support, A Meeting For Support

Tonight we've got Ross Detwiler making his final start of the season. The September call-up version of Detwiler has been stellar: In his two starts this month, he's gone 10-2/3, allowing four earned. He says he's more relaxed his time...

By Chico Harlan  |  September 28, 2009; 6:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
 
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Lineups From Nats Park

I'll post the Mets' lineup once I get it. Washington Maxwell - 8 Desmond - 6 Zimmerman - 5 Dunn - 3 Willingham - 7 Morse - 9 Bard - 2 Gonzalez - 4 Detwiler - 1...

By Chico Harlan  |  September 28, 2009; 3:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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The Ongoing Bullpen Saga

When Team Riggleman on Monday night begins its final homestand of the season, its manager will have 10 relievers at his disposal, and unfortunately this toolkit is best used for self-inflicted pain. By now, of course, NatsTown residents are so...

By Chico Harlan  |  September 28, 2009; 11:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Braves 6, Nats 3

And still they lose. Admit it, you knew they would. You knew the Washington Nationals would go down, because that's what they always do. They got another quality start from Livan Hernandez. They got back-to-back homers from Ryan Zimmerman and...

By Chico Harlan  |  September 27, 2009; 6:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (47)
 
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Lineups From Nats Park

Atlanta McLouth - 8 Prado - 4 Jones - 5 McCann - 2 Anderson - 7 Escobar - 6 LaRoche - 3 Diaz - 9 Lowe - 1 Washington Harris - 8 Desmond - 6 Zimmerman - 5 Willingham -...

By Chico Harlan  |  September 27, 2009; 12:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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