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Free of the Phillies, the Nationals head home

The Nationals' exhilarating, 7-5 victory today over the Phillies may run neck-and-neck with another a source of happiness for the Nationals. They could flee Citizens Bank Park and bid farewell to the Phillies. They won't play, see or even think about them until July 30, 106 days between now and then.

The Nationals escaped Philadelphia with another victory, one that snapped an eight-game losing streak at Citizens Bank Park, and for now they are 2-4 this year against the Phillies. Since they have been outscored 50-29 in those six games, that's something they feel very good about.

"They've beaten us up pretty good," said Ryan Zimmerman, whose pinch-hit home run gave the Nationals the lead in the eighth inning. "To kind of comeback and, I guess you could say, steal one, it feels pretty good."

The Nationals have neither hit nor pitched particularly well this season. They have been outscored by 23 runs, better than only the Pirates and Astros. "We haven't really got out of the blocks yet," Manager Jim Riggleman said. And yet, they're 4-5.

"Once everything starts clicking, once everyone starts hitting, once we start getting people out, it's going to be what I thought we would be last year," Adam Dunn said.

As Riggleman said, "I don't think we've played that good of baseball."

The Nationals didn't light the world on fire during their first road trip, but they have survived a stretch of playing the Phillies six times in nine games. The erased the embarassment of Wednesday's 14-7 loss. ("Brian Westbrook ran a punt back," Dunn said.) The Nationals still managed to steal a game from the National League champs today, and they also managed to leave an impression.

"When I look at the Nationals team, they are very capable of scoring a lot of runs," Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel said. "Their center field is a true burner. He can get on, tell you he's going and make it. They got some power. They're going to score some runs. Believe me, they've improved. Their problem is pitching. If they pitch some, they've got a good chance of winning some games."

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 15, 2010; 8:33 PM ET
Categories:  Jim Riggleman , Ryan Zimmerman  
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Next: Another save, another adventure for Matt Capps

Comments

Hendo says the Blue Jays might be interested in Bergman. Just speculation, but
http://tinyurl.com/y6v7thk

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 15, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

I am thinking about going to watch the home stand series at Nationals Park. Brewers don't look full strength, and I think we can steal at least one game - maybe two.

Anyone know how quick those $5 Grandstand seats go on the weekends?

Posted by: CapitolWill | April 15, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

What I really need to know is how I can get the Charlie Slowes calls from the archives. The MLB site always has the TV call, which is just not as good. That doesn't even have to be a knock on Carpenter and Dibble- a radio call just has to be better, since they can't lean on the video.

Thanks,

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | April 15, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

if the pitching can just come around..

Posted by: DLESMonday | April 15, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

I don't mean to blaspheme, but God Bless Ryan Zimmerman. He is so much better than this team I feel bad for him.

Posted by: markfromark | April 15, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

They Live!! They Live!!

Posted by: mgmt101 | April 15, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

OK. I'm doing it. The Nats are going to win 75 games this year. And if they only win 50 ... I will still love them. Better than being a Philly fan. Damn, I'm trying to be positive, but I hate Philly sports fans.

You know. The Nats are going to win the World Series one day. And it's going to be awesome. And they are going to have sucked for less time than the outrageously massive amount of time that the Phillies sucked. As much as I would love Utley if he was a Nat, he's getting older by the day. And Howard sucks. Sorry.


Posted by: FriendofalltheWorld | April 15, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Re: "I don't mean to blaspheme, but God Bless Ryan Zimmerman. He is so much better than this team I feel bad for him.
Posted by: markfromark"

Yes indeedy, God Bless Zimm. But then again, but despite a slow spring, Dunn is there with him too and proving a pleasant surprise at 1B. And SS is on his way. And Soren for a closer next month. And the Hammer is a good piece of the team. And Desmond is looking pretty good. And Morgan may come back to last year's level. And Pudge has been clutch. And Kennedy seems solid. And Gonzolez had some excellent D plays at 3rd while filling in.

Hey Mark, maybe Zimm isn't so alone after all? We can maybe hope, yes? If the owners will spring for some pitching? Have to have that, though, and everybody knew it last year and instead they went for the walking wounded. Who may yet come through. I'm being Pollyanna, aren't I.... But I do so hope that they pull something together.

Posted by: NatsFly | April 15, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Adam,

Did you see this? Do you know anything further? It sounds kind of serious?

Washington Nationals placed RHP Garrett Mock on the 15-Day disabled list retroactive to April 11, 2010. Cervical spine injury.

Posted by: periculum | April 15, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

peric, from several posts back:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/nationalsjournal/2010/04/nationals_place_garrett_mock_o.html

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 15, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

World Series

Posted by: Cartaldo | April 15, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

@+1/2St./kevincostello:

I think on Gameday Audio on MLB.com you get access to many or all archived games, but with a subscription. I've had one for 2+ years and it's pretty inexpensive for all that you get (pre-season, all regular season games for any team, post-season).

Posted by: samantha7 | April 15, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

@CapitolWill:

Except for opening day, I don't think those $5 grandstand bargains ever really get sold out. Just make sure you're there an hour before the game, and you'll be fine. Enjoy the game. I'll be in Section 222 Friday night when we hope to make it two in a row. I love Mad Capps...Bourbon and Maalox for my friends, bartender!

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | April 15, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

@Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me

Thanks for the notice. I'll try and get there a early. Someone told me beer is half off before first pitch.

To be honest, I had dugout seats for the Phillies series and I hated the tickets. Everyone was getting in and out of the seats, talking to people across the way, etc.

... I even saw one guy drinking wine! Who the hell goes to a ballpark to drink wine?!

Looking forward to the nosebleeds after that experience. I might poach a seat at the Red Porch bar.

Posted by: CapitolWill | April 15, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

I hope so, CW, but Braun's looking like he's mounting a serious threat (4-5 tonite, inc. 3rd HR). If Zim's back in the fold in full, then I'd think we gotta good chance. Otherwise (flipping the coin) Still, I'll be there tomorrow eve, cheering our boys!!!

----------------------------------------
I am thinking about going to watch the home stand series at Nationals Park. Brewers don't look full strength, and I think we can steal at least one game - maybe two.

Posted by: CapitolWill | April 15, 2010 9:17 PM

Posted by: HotNats | April 16, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

National's record...4-5
INDIANS record 3-6!!!!!! Go Acta!!

Posted by: Pete433 | April 16, 2010 6:55 AM | Report abuse

Time to tee one up for old pal CiL:

Why, on a day the Nats managed to beat Philadelphia, does the news not appear on the front page of Washingtonpost.com, even as a text link? It is not shown as local news, nor as sports news. Sports links are that Shanahan looks forward to minicamp, and that the Wizards will have a lot of changes in the off-season. Even acknowledging the importance of the Redskins around here, those two non-news stories are pretty thin gruel compared to the results of an actual Nationals game.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | April 16, 2010 7:11 AM | Report abuse

Samantha7-

Thanks. I guess I don't want to pay another subscription beyond XM, but I might change my mind, since I will be out of town this week.

Positively Half St. (+1/2St.)

Posted by: kevincostello | April 16, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Dunn is . . . proving a pleasant surprise at 1B. And the Hammer is a good piece of the team.

Well, we will find out over time how well a team with one lousy and one mediocre fielder can do. Rizzo may yet turn Billy Bean's metrics on its head. Then again, maybe not.

Posted by: JohnRDC | April 16, 2010 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Hey Mark, maybe Zimm isn't so alone after all?

All those guys have strengths, but with the exception of Morgan they also have big flaws, either defensively or age wise. Zimm is the only position player on the team, except perhaps for Morgan, who is an all around star. And there is still no right fielder.

But they are often to a pleasant, if kind of shaky, start.

Posted by: markfromark | April 16, 2010 7:26 AM | Report abuse

None of them are the Phils, but the Brewers, Rockies and Dodgers all have very good lineups. On the plus side, none of those teams are getting particularly good pitching so far this year either. We could be in for some more 3 1/2 hour, 9-8 type games.

Posted by: VaNat | April 16, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Hey CapitolWill, did you get the vintage? Sounds pretty civilized to me.
Interesting how a pitcher who just posted an era of over six is, to a degree, applauded. Don't get me wrong--compared to most of the pathetic starters out there Olsen looked good. The fact that, of the six players who started this season, Mock has the lowest ERA. (Other than Hernandez, of course)But it is indicative, nevertheless.

Posted by: jcampbell1 | April 16, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

The formula for making the playoffs has always been to play the good teams even and beat up on the bad teams.

So far, the Nats have beaten up on a bad team - the Mets - and while they haven't played even with the Phils, the Phils are more than just a good team.

Sign me up for 70-75 wins.

Posted by: gilbertbp | April 16, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Adam-

Anything new on C-M Wang? He will be eligible to play in the minors in May before coming off the 60-day DL on June 3.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | April 16, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Haha, wow. If you guys thought the Phillies fans were rude at Nationals Park, you won't believe what they to their own kind:

http://cbs3.com/local/Philadelphia.Phillies.Matthew.2.1636036.html

... There are no words.

Posted by: CapitolWill | April 16, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

I think the TV guys can be a bit pollyanna-ish at times, but I think they had a good point the other day: I do not think this group is playing up to its potential yet. Which means that they're out of the cellar and not even playing their best yet.

I, for one, am daring to hope for an out-of-the-cellar finish this year. Go Nats!

[I did like when they chased Philly's starter out of the game on Tuesday. As they were going to commercial, the color guy said something like, "Fans booing in Philly ... equilibrium has been restored to Major League Baseball."]

Posted by: stephen9885 | April 16, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone else think of Kirk Gibson when Zimm stepped up yesterday?

Posted by: twinbrook | April 16, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

@+1/2Street: "Why, on a day the Nats managed to beat Philadelphia, does the news not appear on the front page of Washingtonpost.com, even as a text link?"

Amen. The WaPo's problem is basically that it has at least three completely differently-organized versions: the dead-tree version with which most of us are familiar from our childhoods; this web version; and a mobilized (iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.) version.

There seems to be no connection among these with respect to how sections are organized, headlines presented, etc., etc. It makes it impossible to find something you know you've seen somewhere else.

I find the iPhone version of the paper the easiest electronic WaPo to navigate, but even that's clumsy. I don't know why it's so difficult; I see other papers (like that big one up in NYC) do it pretty successfully.

Coverage is lacking--and hard to find when it's there.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | April 16, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

twinbrook, yes, and I said as much to my tv. Evidently, AK thought of him as well (see his update to the game thread after the at-bat).

Yeah, that was a good one, stephen. I was also interested in Dibble's report of Zimm barking back at Phoolies Phans who were riding Olsen after he'd been pulled. Seems to me that Schneider did the same when Lannan was ejected from his first start after plunking Utley.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 16, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Er, that last bit was Wednesday, of course. Some week I'm having...

Posted by: stephen9885 | April 16, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Being 4-5 after six against the Phillies when our pitching was particularly awful is a great sign. Anyone notice that after opening day, we've scored 4 or more runs every game? This team can be decent if the pitching can hold. Actually thinking my spring optimism had some basis.

Posted by: Avar | April 16, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

@shepdave -- don't forget the Kindle version.

Posted by: Section222 | April 16, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

natsfan1a1 -- I hadn't seen AK's post after the homer. Very nice. Zimm should have limped around the bases.

Posted by: twinbrook | April 16, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

He did look a little tentative rounding the bases, but not Gibson gimpy. :-)

Something else to savor (which I just realized) - the Mets are all alone in the cellar today.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 16, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Re gimpy Zimm, I was watching the game with my son, and when Zimm came to the plate he said "Well, if his leg hurts he will just have to hit a home run so he can run the bases slowly." And so he did. We laughed, and laughed and laughed! How unusual is that for a Nats game?

Posted by: NatsFly | April 16, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Re: The Post... Meh, the Web front page is increasingly being used as a national and international news source. With local content being pushed to it's own home page - New York Times does the same thing.

Zimm and the Nats have a nice chunk on the print sports page (under the Caps)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/fpImages/fp_sports.jpg

And a photo and score at the bottom of the A section cover - not bad

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/print/asectionfrontimage.html

Posted by: Kev29 | April 16, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

CapitolWill wrote: Haha, wow. If you guys thought the Phillies fans were rude at Nationals Park, you won't believe what they to their own kind: http://cbs3.com/local/Philadelphia.Phillies.Matthew.2.1636036.html

... There are no words.
========================================
I went to CBPark twice a couple of seasons ago and spoke with one gentleman (yes, a Philly rarity) who said, and I quote, "Most of these 'fans' are morons, mongoloids to be exact." I guess it's really true.

But, I attended the last game of the 2008 season on the day the Phillies cliched the NL East title. Sitting in the 1st base upper deck bedecked in my Nats finery, I wasn't lambasted, per se. There were polite but pointed references to my support of a losing team [to which I replied that I attended the Phillies 10,000th all time loss...tell ME about losers]. However, the Nats were getting clobbered, and when we finally got a hit, I jumped up and yelled as if I was at a home game. From about 3 rows back came the comment, "Sort of lonely, isn't it? Like Christian day at the Colosseum."

Gotta love those Philly Phans.

Posted by: luv2bikva | April 16, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

My friend just sent me this email with the subject line, "Nationals fans are hard core!"

Vomit is my kryptonite, so I won't linger on this story. But wow.

-----

Haha, wow. If you guys thought the Phillies fans were rude at Nationals Park, you won't believe what they to their own kind:

http://cbs3.com/local/Philadelphia.Phillies.Matthew.2.1636036.html

... There are no words.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 16, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Except for opening day, I don't think those $5 grandstand bargains ever really get sold out. Just make sure you're there an hour before the game, and you'll be fine.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me

Those $5 seats have magically disappeared at some games I've been to (this is the Lerners and StanK were talking about). So I second that 'hour early' recommendation.

And beer is not "half price", but it is $5 (probably Miller Lite) at the Scoreboard Walk bar before first pitch on Thursday/Friday/Saturday. Front Office doesn't like watching people drink in the Bullpen across the street. You could also do a $20 seat under the scoreboard that comes with a beer voucher.

Posted by: Kev29 | April 16, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, some of the Philly fans are extremely obnoxious, but they do actually have a large number of *true* baseball fans, ones that abhor the antics of that idiot that puked on the little girl.

Alway looking for a silver lining, I found this portion of that story truly touching:

"The Vangelos thought the night had been completely ruined ... But a great fan caught a ball and he gave it to my daughter."

Getting a foul ball is truly a wonderful experience, but getting one for your daughter (or son) is even better!

Posted by: erocks33 | April 16, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Forget about the Phillies. Yea we can't beat em. OK we all know that. Let's just get today's loss over with quickly and all move on with our lives. Hopefully we can begin to make some hay with the next 3 series at home.

Posted by: dovelevine | April 15, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

You were conspicuously silent in the game chat thread and this one. "Wah, wah, wah! We can't win! We're not a major league team!" I swear, some of the people here actually ROOT for us to fail so they can swagger about being right, but they sure can't face up to being wrong. Must be Democrats.

Posted by: MikeH0714 | April 16, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Must be Democrats.

Posted by: MikeH0714 | April 16, 2010 10:29 AM

Leave it at the Teabagger Rally, fellow Nats fan.

Posted by: Kev29 | April 16, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

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