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On to Philadelphia

The Nationals have a pretty good feel about them right now. The effect of back-to-back wins, perhaps especially when an old master flies in from Miami and slings seven scoreless, can be pretty vast. Just Saturday morning they were 1-3 and it seemed much worse; it felt like they had lost a couple on the off day.

The Phillies, fresh off sweeping the Houston Astros, have a way of preventing and eradicating any kind of positive vibes, especially when they play the Nationals. The Nats are 17-41 against Philly since 2007, but they get to miss Roy Halladay this time around. Today is the Phllies home opener, so at least the Nationals have experience playing in the conditions. The match-ups:

Today (3:05): Jason Marquis vs. Cole Hamels

Wednesday: Craig Stammen vs. Kyle Kendrick

Thursday: Scott Olsen vs. J.A. Happ

Bringing in Olsen to pitch Thursday is smart in that the Nationals will save John Lannan from facing the Phillies in two of his first three starts. Lannan's struggles against the Phillies make it a good idea to instead let him take a shot at the Milawaukee Brewers on Friday.


The Nationals made it to .500 for the first time in 736 days as Livan Hernandez showed the rest of the Nationals starters how it's done. "They can watch that and say, 'Yeah, I've got to change speeds a little bit, mix it up a little bit and throw strikes,' " Manager Jim Riggleman said. "That's what you're supposed to do, and I'm sure some our guys took notice."

Stephen Strasburg made his professional debut and earned the win despite a couple uneven innings. In five innings, he allowed four runs (one earned), surrendered four hits, walked two and struck out eight. Dave Sheinin writes Strasburg's performance underscored why Strasburg is so hyped and why he is starting in Class AA.


Lehigh Valley 6, Syracuse 5: Syracuse lost in the ninth inning after three straight walk-off wins to start the year. Justin Maxwell went 2 for 3 with two walks and three runs. He's hitting .333. Shairon Martis allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings.

Harrisburg 6, Altoona 4: Drew Storen pitched 1 1/3 innings, striking out two and retiring all four hitters he faced.

Salem 10, Potomac 7: Tim Pahuta went 3 for 5 with a home run. Catch Derek Norris has still yet to play, out with soreness in his wrist, a complication from surgery he had after breaking his hamate bone.

Hickory 5, Hagerstown 2 (10 innings): In his first start of the season, Jack McGeary allowed two runs on five hits and one walk while striking out five in five innings.


Do you ever wonder how the ramifications of service time came to matter so much? This piece explains all -- including Stephen Strasburg's situation -- and argues the rules need to change.

The Altoona Mirror provides the local view of Strasburg's first start.

Strasburg is ready.

Or maybe he's not.

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 12, 2010; 9:11 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Strasburg live-blog: This time it counts
Next: A deeper examination of Strasburg's debut


Hey Adam, next time you talk with Rizzo, could you please tell him to wear a Nats cap whenever he's going to be sitting in the sun for three or four hours? Not just to show support for our guys, but also because he's bald and there's no good side to having pre-cancerous lesions. He's already showing age spots up top. Thanks.

Posted by: gilbertbp | April 12, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

From Redleg Nation:

I’m not sure if Reds fans knew this or not, but a guy by the name of Aroldis Chapman started for the Bats yesterday. As Chad stated in yesterday’s Titanic Struggle Recap, Chapman pitched 4.2 shutout innings, allowing 5 hits and a walk while striking out 9.

I post that at the risk of depressing periculum all day (I know buddy, what could have been...). It is interesting that he didn't get nearly the hype that Strasburg did yesterday.


Posted by: kevincostello | April 12, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Chapman did get some attention, as ESPNews was alternating between showing Strasburg's and Chapman's half innings on tv yesterday.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 12, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I will maintain my irrational optimism until such time as the Nationals no longer have a winning streak.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 12, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse


The what could have been pitching lineup for the 2011 season if we were spending money on baseball.

1. Jesus
2. Chapman
3. Zimmerman
4. Wang
5. Lannan

That makes me cry :{

Posted by: hansenjo | April 12, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 12, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

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