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The Nationals' first win is a rare one

The Nationals got their first win yesterday, and perhaps even more happily, they said goodbye for now to the Phillies. Since 2007, the Phillies have beaten the Nationals 41 times in 57 games, a .719 winning percentage; only the Padres (13-5, .722) have a better winning percentage against the Nats over that span. The Phillies have ascended to the top of the National League and the Nationals have sunk to the bottom, and their games against one another have served as both a reason and reflection.

So maybe avoiding a sweep in their opening series against the Phillies was actually a significant victory. With Roy Halladay to contend with for a full season, the Nationals will have to take advantage of the eminently hittable back end of the Phillies rotation. The Nats bullpen deservedly got credit for yesterday's win. But the Nationals offense also knocked out Kyle Kendrick in just four innings, and those five runs eventually allowed Matt Capps and Co. to have a late lead. The Nationals at least showed the Phillies they can beat them, which will help Monday when they play again in the home opener at Citizens Bank Ballpark.

A brief programming note: We're trying to find the best way to dole out links every morning, so feedback would be much appreciated. This is our first crack:


Zach Berman covered for me yesterday and detailed how a bullpen built this winter preserved the Nationals first win.


Syracuse 8, Lehigh 7: Pete Orr went 3 for 4 with a walk-off single; Roger Bernadina went 2 for 5 with a home run; J.D. Martin allowed two runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings; Justin Maxwell went 0 for 4 with a walk.

Altoona 5. Harrisburg 1: The Senators managed two hits, both singles; Chris Marrero went 1 for 3.

Potomac was rained out and will play a doubleheader today against Salem.

Hagerstown 1, Hickory 0 (six innings): Destin Hood went 2 for 2; Steven Souza went 1 for 2 with an RBI double; Daniel Rosenbaum allowed two hits while striking out seven in 5 1/3 innings.


Matt Capps was a bulldog yesterday.

Nationals pitchers had walked 17 before yesterday, and pitching coach Steve McCatty was getting sick of all the free passes. The Nats had four walks yesterday, all from their bullpen.

Willie Harris wore the silver Elvis wig given to the player of the game.

Mets shortstop Jose Reyes could return tomorrow against the Nats.

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 9, 2010; 9:13 AM ET
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Next: What Matt Chico's assignment says about the Nationals farm system


Here's hoping we get some momentum going in New York, and that the Phils' bats cool off!

Nice work by the 'pen and some timely hitting, plus some luck for Gentleman Zim's go ahead RBI.

Posted by: poncedeleroy | April 9, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I saw that about Reyes when I was watching some of the Cubs-Braves game on MLB Network. Just ducky.

Thanks for the MiLB links in addition to the others.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 9, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

p.s. I wasn't rooting for them, but the good thing about the Cubs win is that now Lou can shave that stubble. The look wasn't really working for him, IMO. :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 9, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

The results from the minor league are great , also from time to time will be nice to see the stats of the most important players down in the farm . As Nats fans we need to keep an eye in the minors .

Thanks , keep the good job .

Posted by: pellot313 | April 9, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Adam...I like the addition of the Minor League blurbs and would second the motion of getting stats from the better known prospects.
Even better would be an occasional post regarding the progress (or lack thereof) of some of the younger prospects- McGeary and Smoker come to mind, especially Smoker, as he was taken out of high school and we really haven't heard much about him other than he was injured a couple of years ago.

Posted by: TimDz | April 9, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Maxwell has really lost his mojo...and Orr continues to be a great AAAA player.

Keep the minor league reports coming!

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | April 9, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Adam, et al --

I like the way the links are presented. One suggestion from me would be to maybe put in parentheses which publication the link will take me to. For example:

Matt Capps was a bulldog (Nats Insider) yesterday

There are some sites I can't access from work and if I know ahead of time, then I won't waste any time clicking the link.

Also, the Hagerstown link takes me to the P-Nats home page.


Posted by: erocks33 | April 9, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

@erocks: When you place the mouse over the link, the address shows up at the bottom of your browser.

Posted by: TimDz | April 9, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Good to see the Nats hold on. I turned the game back on just as Capps was starting to deal to Victorino. Let's remember that the Phillies are a d@mn good team. Losing 2 out of 3 to them, when two of those games are against their aces, is not the end of the world. 70 wins should be the goal; 75 wins will be a pleasant surprise; 81 wins will be a cause for celebration.

Posted by: Handsome_John_Pruitt | April 9, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Big fan of the minor league reports, thanks. Keep it up!

Posted by: gretchenrose | April 9, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Adam, like the minor league links!

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | April 9, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

I might suggest checking out how Tarik handles links over at Caps Insider. His system seems to be pretty friendly and easy to read.

Posted by: AtomicOvermind | April 9, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Adam, setup looks fine. As long as you keep the emphasis on the minor league. There's going to be plenty of news from Harrisburg.

Posted by: Stu27 | April 9, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

+1 on the Minor League info and to use Caps Insider as a template for morning updates (now whether you can have them up at the ungodly hour that Lindsay manages....)

Posted by: stantonpark | April 9, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Love the minor league links. Big fan.

Posted by: machencm | April 9, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I'm actually thrilled at the Nationals' 1-2 start against the Phillies.

Assume for a moment that both Jason Marquis and John Lannan pitched to their career ERA's -- the team would have still lost both games.

The reality is the Phillies offense is formidible and their rotation is excellent.

The Nationals need to feast against the Mets and other bad teams (feels strange referring to the Mets as a "bad team")to balance their record in 2010.

If they do well against the poorer teams and don't get swept by the good ones, then a 73-75 win season is still possible.

I think, however, that it is going to be a tale of two halves.

The first half, with Garrett Mock in the rotation, will be difficult. But things will change when Stephen Strasburg, Chien Ming Wang, Drew Storen and Jesus Flores join the club.

There is little doubt in my mind that the second-half club will have a record over .500.

And I am sooooo happy the Phillies didn't keep both Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. Could you imagine facing Cole Hamels against your number-three starter?

Sheesh .....

Posted by: rushfari | April 9, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I'm all in for the minor league report keeps everyone abreast of this team's prospect's progress. My wife want's me to drop the mlb subscription say's we can't afford it even though our daughter just received a full four year academic scholarship to Skidmore College in Saratoga,NY. man! talk about your penny pinching.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 9, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Every once in a while there should be a link to one of Chico's articles ... ~evil smile~ need to keep him in the loop.

Posted by: periculum | April 9, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

We appreciate the minor league info. Destin Hood's performance yesterday is especially positive. He's a high upside outfielder who is a couple of years away, but it would be great to see him at Potomac at some time this season. Burgess and Hood really need to make progress. We are so lacking in OF talent.

Posted by: souldrummer | April 9, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I'm all in for the minor league report keeps everyone abreast of this team's prospect's progress. My wife want's me to drop the mlb subscription say's we can't afford it even though our daughter just received a full four year academic scholarship to Skidmore College in Saratoga,NY. man! talk about your penny pinching.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 9, 2010 11:25 AM

Hold your ground dargramps. Don't let the wife push you around (this is, of course, coming from a divorced man, mind you...)

Posted by: TimDz | April 9, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Great debut, Danny Rosenbaum! Go Suns, Go Nats and GO XAVIER!

Posted by: Kev29 | April 9, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Phillies 1-4 hitters leave town hitting .455, .500, .417 and .400. Good news is, there's no where for them go but down!

Posted by: slewis1 | April 9, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

love the minor league recaps!

Posted by: ablaskey | April 9, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

They need to put their numbers on the silver Elvis wig/helmet like the Caps.

Posted by: homerific | April 9, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

You have to love the optimism the Nots fans have after facing a pitcher who will relinquish his spot in the rotation to Blanton once he's off the DL.

The article failed to mention how the Nots' bullpen nearly blew the game. Considering the Nots haven't won @ the real Citizens Bank Park in 2 years (CPB South is the alternate name for Nationals Park when the Phillies are down here), I wouldn't get too cocky. Halladay looks forward to mowing down the Nots next week. LOL!!

Posted by: jworrell03 | April 9, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Listened gleefully last night to the Mets drop another to the Marlins on Sports Radio 66 WFAN, New York. After the game the Mets fans calling the Steve Sommers Show sounded like they are looking for that bridge to take the final leap from.

Some even conceeded that the Nats could come to CitiFiled this weekend and take 2 of 3. Now its the Met fans talking 2 and 12 starts based on their schedule. Ah, the joys of mediocrity!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | April 9, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

jworrell: NOTS fans....I get it...the Nats are not so good, so you call us Nots...

Hope you didn't use up any of your remaining 9 or ten brain cells coming up with that.

Posted by: TimDz | April 9, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

To jworrell03:

Why would your number three pitcher relinquish his spot to Blanton. Let's be honest, your rotation ain't that good after Halladay, especially if Hammels struggles again like he did last year.

Are Nats fans cocky? No. But if you're looking for cocky, look in the mirror?

Your pain after losing last night's 6-5 heartbreaker is obvious in your post. I feel so bad for you. LOL!!

Posted by: gibson0 | April 9, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Let me see if I can get a handle on this, because it's such sophisticated and subtle rhetoric that it will be a real challenge for me.

If one were to use terms like Sillies, Fillies, Phoolies, and so forth to describe the other team in question, that would be equivalent to saying "Nots," right? Gee, I hope I got that straight. Now I need to go take a nap and recharge those brain cells. :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 9, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

gibson, if you are going to goad the Philly fan, at least have an idea of what you're talking about.
Phillies #3 starter is Joe Blanton, who will be out for a few more weeks on the DL. They left the rotation intact and plugged in Kyle Kendrick, who is long relief or a AAA candidate.

Hamels may or may not be really good again, we'll see.
JA Happ is potentially really, really good.
He was 12 - 4 last year, with a 2.93 ERA.
That is, a better ERA than any Nats starter last year.
And he's their number 4.

No problems giving the Philly team their props. They were lousy for most of 50 years. They are really, really good now. One day, they'll suck again. Happens to everyone.

Posted by: Sunderland | April 9, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

natsfan1a1: well played...

Posted by: TimDz | April 9, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Sunderland, in all fairness, it was a lot longer than fifty years. And that's not even counting the A's.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 9, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

1a, he could go pull the wings off flies, but then what would he do for company?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 9, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

keep the updates/scores from our farm system coming - love to see how those guys are developing

Posted by: dls5kk | April 9, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, NOTS for NATS. So that's what happens when you try to post while drunk.

Posted by: PrincessJazzy | April 9, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, TimDz. hehe.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 9, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

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