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Nationals Journal: May 2, 2010 - May 8, 2010

Adam Dunn: 'We would have lost this game last year'

While Matt Chico got much of the attention following a 5-4 victory over Florida on Saturday at Nationals Park, another compelling story line continues to be how Washington is able to extracate itself from seemingly dire situations. In this case,...

By Gene Wang  |  May 8, 2010; 6:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Game 30 discussion thread: Nats vs. Marlins

The Nationals made it official this morning by calling up LHP Matt Chico from Class AA Harrisburg to start against Florida at Nationals Park. This will be Chico's first big league start since May 21, 2008, and he'll be starting...

By Gene Wang  |  May 8, 2010; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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Today's lineups

Both the Nationals and Marlins have a quick turnaround from last night, with today's first pitch scheduled for 1:05 p.m. at Nationals Park. Here are your lineups: Nationals Cristian Guzman, SS Adam Kennedy, 2B Ryan Zimmerman, 3B Adam Dunn, 1B...

By Gene Wang  |  May 8, 2010; 11:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Justin Maxwell sent to Syracuse

The Nationals optioned outfielder Justin Maxwell to Class AAA Syracuse to make room for Saturday starter Matt Chico, dealing another setback Maxwell's burgeoning career. Maxwell, an Olney native and Maryland alum, started the season in Syracuse and was called up...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 7, 2010; 10:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Strasburg live-blog: Triple-A edition

8:45 p.m.: Props to the Syracuse crowd. With two outs in the sixth, and a 3-2 count on Gregor Blanco, most of the fans at the stadium were on their feet, recognizing this would be Strasburg's final batter. After Blanco...

By Dave Sheinin  |  May 7, 2010; 7:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Game 29 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Braves

The Nationals will have their hands full tonight with Hanley Ramirez. Always dangerous, Ramirez has been particularly tough on Nationals pitcher. Against Craig Stammen, tonight's starter, Ramirez is 6 for 7 in his career. In their series last weekend, Ramirez...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 7, 2010; 6:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
 
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What happens when Mike Morse returns?

Now playing with Class AAA Syracuse, outfielder-first baseman Mike Morse has healed from the calf strain that landed him on the disabled list during the first week of the season. "I'm sure he's ready to go," Manager Jim Riggleman said....

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 7, 2010; 6:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Matt Chico will start Saturday

The Nationals will call up Matt Chico from Class AA Harrisburg to replace John Lannan in their rotation Saturday, completing Chico's long road back to the major leagues after undergoing ligament replacement surgery. This spring, Chico hoped to compete for...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 7, 2010; 6:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  John Lannan , Matt Chico , Pitching rotation  
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Justin Maxwell's new glasses

Last week, Nationals trainers had Justin Maxwell take an eye exam, and the results confirmed what they assumed might be the case: Maxwell needed glasses. Maxwell's glasses -- which look a lot like Tyler Clippard's -- arrived today and he...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 7, 2010; 6:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Justin Maxwell  
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Mike MacDougal to Harrisburg

Reliever Mike MacDougal, who saved 20 games for the Nationals during his stint as the Nationals closer, was assigned to Class AA Harrisburg. MacDougal had been rehabbing in extended spring training in Viera, Fla. The Nationals signed MacDougal to a...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 7, 2010; 6:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Today's lineups

Coming off perhaps the most riveting game of their season, the Nationals will try to avenge being four-hit by Chris Volstad down in South Florida last weekend. Today, they'll try again with this lineup. Nationals 1. Nyjer Morgan, CF 2....

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 7, 2010; 3:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
 
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Scott Olsen's near-gem had a supporting cast

Any no-hitter is full of secondary heroes. Scott Olsen nearly made history last night, and two players would have helped him get there more than any others. His catcher, Ivan Rodriguez, had caught two no-hitters in his career, a perfect...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 7, 2010; 1:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Scott Olsen has been a keeper

The Nationals had a choice to make about Scott Olsen in spring training, when he was recovering from major shoulder surgery that repaired a torn labrum last year. They could keep in the organization and pay him his full $1...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 7, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
Categories:  Pitching rotation , Scott Olsen  
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Game 28 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Braves

The Nationals have only lost three series all year, two to the Philadelphia Phillies and one over the weekend to the Florida Marlins. With Scott Olsen facing Tim Hudson, the Nationals will try to win their sixth series of the...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 6, 2010; 7:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (86)
 
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What's up with Nyjer Morgan getting caught so much?

Nyjer Morgan was caught stealing again Wednesday night, making him only 6 for 12 this season in stolen base attempts. Morgan is tied for the league lead with Matt Kemp, having been caught stealing six times. Manager Jim Riggleman said...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 6, 2010; 6:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Adam Dunn's contract extension: No talks, and no worries

As the season turns one month old today, the Nationals and first baseman Adam Dunn have yet to make much progress toward a contract extension, something both sides said this spring they wanted to complete. Dunn had hoped to finish...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 6, 2010; 6:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Adam Dunn  
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Today's lineups

Jason Heyward is out for Atlanta, and the Nationals will roll out a pretty typical lineup. Roger Bernadina is the right fielder du jour. Nationals 1. Nyjer Morgan, CF 2. Adam Kennedy, 2B 3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B 4. Adam Dunn,...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 6, 2010; 3:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Nationals minor matters

Nationals Director of Player Development Doug Harris dropped by Nationals Park yesterday, and as always he graciously shared some insight and information on the Nats farm system. *Class A Potomac catcher Derek Norris, widely rated as the best position player...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 6, 2010; 12:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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Who Ian Desmond reminds Davey Johnson of

Ian Desmond, the rookie, and Davey Johnson, the lifer, first met this spring in Florida, before Desmond had become what he is now, when he thought maybe he'd play outfield some days. Desmond wanted to know about playing different positions,...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 6, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  Ian Desmond  
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Game 27 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Braves

Manager Jim Riggleman decided to rest Josh Willingham's not so much for the sake of giving Willingham a break, but more so to get Willie Harris some regular playing time. Willingham "certainly doesn't need a day off," Riggleman said. "It's...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 5, 2010; 7:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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Sean Burnett could be the seventh-inning solution

The Nationals need a reliable bridge from their starting pitcher to their dynamite "Clip-n-save" back end of the bullpen. Quietly, left-hander Sean Burnett may be emerging as the reliever who assumes that role. In his last his six outings, a...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 5, 2010; 6:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  bullpen  
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Could Jason Marquis fill in for John Lannan?

The Nationals need a starter for Saturday to fill in for John Lannan, who will skip at least one start. Jason Marquis, currently on the disabled list, has his choice for the job: himself. "I would to," Marquis said. "I'm...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 5, 2010; 6:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Jason Marquis , John Lannan , Pitching rotation  
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Today's lineup

Manager Jim Riggleman said yesterday he wants to sprinkle in some days off for Nationals regulars as the Nats embark on a 20-games, 20-day stretch. Today, Josh Willingham rests against Braves fireballer Tommy Hanson. Willie Harris take left field and...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 5, 2010; 3:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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Nationals minor league report

THEY CALL HIM DR. GLUV: In two Nationals Minor League Reports this season, Nats p.r. maverick Bill Gluvna has successfully executed 30 of 35 attempts at witty puns. ... the Bowling Green State University product leads the Nationals p.r. staff...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 5, 2010; 2:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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A conversation with Frank Robinson

Frank Robinson has done a lot in baseball, maybe as much as anyone else, but yesterday he did something new in the game: He walked through the basement of Nationals Park. Robinson attended a Nationals game yesterday for only the...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 5, 2010; 9:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Steve McCatty remembers Ernie Harwell

Baseball tonight lost legendary Detroit Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell, by all accounts one of the finest gentleman and ambassadors the sport had to offer. No one on the Nationals knew him better or felt his impact more than Steve McCatty,...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 4, 2010; 11:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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Adam Dunn 'hoping to come in one day and feel terrible'

Adam Dunn went 1 for 3 in Washington's 6-3 victory over Atlanta Tuesday night at Nationals Park, and although his one hit was was a home run deep to center field, he nearly missed hitting two more. Dunn's fifth home...

By Gene Wang  |  May 4, 2010; 11:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Adam Dunn  
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Livan Hernandez's high pitch count not a major concern

Among the first questions for Manager Jim Riggleman after a 6-3 victory over Atlanta tonight at Nationals Park had to do with Livan Hernandez's high pitch count. Riggleman didn't seem particularly bothered Hernandez threw 123 pitches, including 41 in the...

By Gene Wang  |  May 4, 2010; 11:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Livan Hernandez  
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Game 26 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Braves

The Nationals will have one standout spectator on hand tonight: former manager Frank Robinson, now working in the commissioner's office, is in attendance. I ran into Robinson coming down the elevator this afternoon, and he had some kind things to...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 4, 2010; 7:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
 
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Jason Marquis is in a rush to return

Jason Marquis began throwing this weekend and plans to throw off the mound tomorrow, a regimen so far that has convinced he may return far sooner than the six weeks originally laid out by the Nationals. Marquis said his arm...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 4, 2010; 6:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Jason Marquis  
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Updates on Wang, Flores, Detwiler, Willems, more

Updates and bits of news came tumbling out of Mike Rizzo's press conference today. Here is a quick rundown of what to know. Before the game, I'll have a longer post on Jason Marquis and his belief that he could...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 4, 2010; 6:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Chien-Ming Wang , Cristian Guzman , Ian Desmond , Ryan Zimmerman  
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Mike Rizzo on Stephen Strasburg's promotion

Mike Rizzo held a news conference to discuss Stephen Strasburg's promotion from Class AA Harrisburg to Class AAA Syracuse, where Strasburg will make his debut Friday against the Gwinnett Braves. Here's just about all of what Rizzo had to say,...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 4, 2010; 5:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Stephen Strasburg  
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John Lannan to miss next start

Nationals No. 1 starting pitcher John Lannan will miss his next start because of discomfort in his left elbow. Lannan said in the dugout before Washington's game against visiting Atlanta tonight that he began feeling pain during his fourth start...

By Gene Wang  |  May 4, 2010; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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Today's lineups

The Nationals will get their first regular-season look at Jason Heyward, the Stephen Strasburg of Hitters. Nationals 1. Nyjer Morgan, CF 2. Cristian Guzman, 2B 3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B 4. Adam Dunn, 1B 5. Josh Willingham, LF 6. Ivan Rodriguez,...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 4, 2010; 3:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Stephen Strasburg promoted to Class AAA Syracuse

With Stephen Strasburg's estimated time of arrivial in the major leagues roughly one month away, the Nationals promoted their top prospect to Class AAA Syracuse today. Strasburg will make his debut Friday in Syracuse against the Gwinnett Braves. Strasburg, last...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 4, 2010; 12:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
 
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A final thought on the Nationals chemistry

I hope the story I wrote for today's birdcage liner, about the Nationals' improved team atmosphere, does not obscure the most important reason why they Nationals are winning more. Mostly, the Nationals are better because they have better players. Their...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 4, 2010; 9:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
 
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Mike Rizzo scouts, meets Bryce Harper

Nats GM Rizzo scouts Harper, meets catching prospect face-to-face

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 3, 2010; 9:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
 
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It's a long way back to the majors for Matt Chico

Since the last time left-hander Matt Chico pitched in the major leagues for the Washington Nationals -- May 21, 2008 -- the following things have happened: *Chico underwent ligament-replacement surgery in his throwing elbow in July 2008. *He turned 25,...

By Dave Sheinin  |  May 3, 2010; 3:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
Categories:  Matt Chico  
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Matt Capps takes home April relief award

By this point last season, the Nationals bullpen could be fairly targeted as the primary reason behind their epically rancid start to the season. Through 25 games, Nationals reliever had blown eight saves in 11 chances. By this point, the...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 3, 2010; 2:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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One take on John Lannan's start to the season

Leading statistical baseball analysts, using figures and formulas that probably make uninitiated, casual fans feel as if they're doing algebra homework, have long been puzzled by John Lannan's success. Lannan became a legitimate front-line starter by inducing a truckload of...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 3, 2010; 12:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
Categories:  John Lannan  
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For Brian Bruney, a frustrating end to a bad week

Manager Jim Riggleman wants Brian Bruney to become a viable, late-inning reliever.

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 2, 2010; 5:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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Strasburg live-blog: Goodbye, Harrisburg?

6:23 p.m.: There won't be any word tonight about Stephen Strasburg's next start, according to the Nationals. For now, the Senators are operating under the assumption he will start for them, as scheduled, on Friday. At the very least, he...

By Dave Sheinin  |  May 2, 2010; 1:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Game 25 discussion thread: Nationals at Marlins

Few teams, if any, contributed more to the Nationals 205-loss misery over the past two years than the Florida Marlins. The Nationals went 9-26 against them in 2008 and 2009, and some of those 26 losses were among the most...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 2, 2010; 12:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
 
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The tough draws continue for Willie Harris

Willie Harris will start today for the first time since April 23, a layoff owing partly to his banged-up right knee and partly to a crowded right field platoon. The Nationals have been leaning with higher frequency on the young...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 2, 2010; 12:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Today's lineups

The Nationals have not lost consecutive games since April 14, and they'll have a difficult task continuing that streak today. The Marlins will throw their ace, Josh Johnson, who has a 3.19 ERA while holding opposing batters to a .217...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 2, 2010; 12:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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