Remember last night how Lastings was a late scratch?

Turns out he was late to the ballpark, and Manny benched him. If this sounds familiar, it's because it should. Same thing happened in his brief stay in Flushing.

Some quotes from the article.

"He showed up late for work," Acta said. "I love Milledge and he knows it. Out of all the rules I have, I have three rules that are unbreakable regardless of who you are. You can be the 25th guy on the team, or Ryan Zimmerman. At least, [Milledge] gets disciplined. Go ask Jim Bowden, Stan Kasten and the Lerners what would they do to me if I showed up late for work."

Milledge didn't deny that he was late to Nationals Park, but declined to give the reason. Asked what happened, Milledge said: "That doesn't matter. I was late. ... It's something I couldn't control. I take full responsibility."

Lastings, buddy. Listen to me. Your job is to play baseball. You make not shabby money for it. Hire a driver. If you're waiting on the green line, you might not make it in time. Stan Kasten was not talking to you about "Go Metro".

Potomac Update

I know Brian at Nats Farm Authority does this excellently, and I won't come close to his level of knowledge about our minor league guys, but I've got free tickets to any PNats game I want, and I've gone twice, and I wanted to share some observations.

- Seth Bynum, SS- I like this guy about 20 times more than I like Ian Desmond. Decent glove, and nice bat. Not major league starter material, but could be a good utility guy.

- Marvin Lowrance, DH- I'm guessing if you're a DH in Single A, you really suck in the field. Not with the bat though, as he's come thru with a lot of extra base hits thus far, and seems to be a big RBI guy for them. Can't imagine him in the bigs, ever.

- Chris Marrero, 1B- I know this guy is our number one prospect, but each game I've been to, he's stunk up the joint. 0fers, both times, with errors in the field. Hope he actually produces next time I go.

- Jordan Zimmermann, SP- This guy will be in the bigs, next year. Mark my words. Electric stuff, excellent command, and good composure. He'll be next year's John Lannan.

- Seth Rogelstad, 2B- I'm high on this guy, cause he can really handle the stick. Has an Utley like body, not your average short, light hitting 2b. Want to see him move up before long.

There are others, but these are the guys who stood out when I was there. Go to a game, they're cheap.

As I'm typing this, Tim Redding hit an RBI double. Unreal.

How much money is it going to take to buy some wins here. Most people are probably going to go down the easy path and say things like...

  • The Lerner's are cheap
  • Fire Lenny Harris
  • Fire Randy St. Claire
  • Jim Bowden is mismanaging the team
  • Manny Acta is mismanaging the team
Well not me folks. You can blast the organization all you want but the fact remains that none of those people play the game. Not one of them.

Everybody is looking at the middle of this lineup and saying WTF mate? Why can't these guys hit. The default answer from pretty much everyone is that its all Lenny Harris' fault. He's trying to make guys flip the ball the opposite way. I think those people overestimate the importance of a hitting coach. Hitting coaches don't make good offenses, good hitters do. Right now we're just not hitting well, and it has little to do with coaching. Ryan Zimmerman is obviously trying to do way to much right now. He's trying to be Atlas after hitting up Gold's Gym a few times, its not going to happen. Things started to look up for him last night though as he stopped check-swinging at the first pitch. If you're not going to swing at the first pitch, study the pitcher, who cares if its a strike, now you know what it looks like. And that's exactly what he did last night. As for Nick Johnson, he got off to a hot start, went into a lull (not nearly as bad as Z-man or Kearns') and finally got a hold of one last night. Right now I think it's really a case of one guys struggles spreading. If you know Kearns isn't going to get a hit, you don't have to give Nick Johnson good pitches. And I think we've seen that, Johnson is regularly getting ahead on the first two pitches but struggling to put the ball in play on those hitter's counts. I'm never the kind of guy to be gloom and doom and I don't think this type of hitting will continue all year, the players are just too good. And all the coaching in the world can't take away your talent.

I'm going to leave the pitching staff alone right now. They are what they are and we have to live with it. (Lannan's my boy)

If you go back a couple posts you will see me waxing poetic about the great defense that our team had been putting on display through the first two weeks of the season. Well the day Wily Mo Pena came back into the lineup, that all went to hell. I think he drugging the water cooler with suck-ness. For a guy so large, WMP moves extremely well. But, all the speed in the world can't make up for taking bad routes. Also, his running stride seems very bouncy and I think it may be causing him to look focus of ball when it's in the air. I dunno maybe I'm just imagining things. One thing I'm not imagining though is his awfulness in the field. And its spreading evidence by Belliard's gaffe last night. I actually like Belliard as a fielder as he turns double plays lightning quick. My only knock on him is that he plays it Mr. Casual a little too often. To make up for his lack of range, he's always got one foot in the grass. This gives him plenty of time to work with balls hit straight at him. In my opinion too much time. It lulls him into a false sense of security that he can just take this play off. For a team like ours, we can't afford to be taking anything for granted.

*soapbox done*

Take heart Nats fans, things are never as good or as bad as they seem. We are (numerically speaking) the worst team in baseball right now but I haven't lost faith. If you remember, many baseball pundits predicted the NL East would be the toughest division in baseball this year, and that's pretty much what we're seeing.

There's still 146 yet to play, and we can't lose em all!

Finally, someone to take the "pitching machine" mantle from RW!

Listen, we accept your apology. You have doubted, despite continued encouragement on our part. We've given you jpegs, we've given you stats, but still you doubted. It's ok, we know you're sorry.

Oh, what about?

The fact that GUZMANIA is here to stay.

The man is KILLING it right now. Here are some numbers to illustrate the obvious.

2008: In 59 AB, he's hitting .322/.542/.328 with 10 runs scored and 6 RBI on a team that has only scored 51 runs. 3 doubles, 2 triples, and 2 HR.

In his last 50 games, he's hitting .335, with a .383 OBP.

Boom, baby. We forsee the Guz getting an extension before the year is out. Or being traded for prospects. We hope the former, because we've got no one in the chute.

Word to your collective mothers! Been out for a bit but I'm back in this humpty bumpty. And so are the Nats.

After what seemed like a losing streak of immense proportions, our boys somehow tricked the Braves into letting them win a game. It wasn't without its moments though. Chad Cordero looked like...Chad Cordero. Rauch came in though, and saved his ass once again. I'd like to see a count of the number of saves Rauch has had after Cordero has already pitched in the game. I would bet the number would be surprisingly high. Or maybe not so surprisingly high. Hopefully now that they've got the taste of winning back in their mouths, this will spur us on to a little streak of the opposite variety.

Oh, one thing I forgot to mention...WMP is back baby! Seriously I think he's the only reason we won the game yesterday. He really had nothing to do with the win at all, in fact his main function in the game was to cool off the opposing pitchers by fanning them with bat. But, I chalk this win up to the awesomeness that is Wily Mo and the good vibes which he puts out. I don't have the skills to look up weird stats like this, but I'd really like to see what the franchise's record has been since they acquired Wily. (EDIT: 22-32. You're welcome - Jon) (Random question: Is Mo part of his first name, last name, or somewhere inbetween? I can't imagine that's his real middle name)

Now that I've got the recap out of the way, lets look at a recap of the first 2 weeks (approx.) of the season. I know its a small sample size but there are plenty of good things and bad things.

First up, the offense! I'll give you a hint, it's awful

  • The Nationals do have a league leader in one stat. Guz leads the league in AB's. GUUUUUUUUUUUZ
  • We're last in batting average. WAH WAH WAHHHHHHHH!
  • Bottom 5 in slugging percentage. WAH WAH WAHHHHHHHH!
  • Bottom 4 in on base percentage. WA...
  • 10th in strikeouts. So we're making contact at least!
  • 19th in walks. Perhaps we're making contact when we shouldn't...
  • Chicks don't dig our team (8 HRs)
Next we'll take a look at the pitching machines! Again, that's not a good thing
  • Bottom 4 in ERA
  • Next to last in giving up the long ball
  • Top 5 in walks given
  • 19th in strikeouts...Even a jugs machine can fan a batter or two
I told you there were some good things right? Go figure, ITS THE DEFENSE!!!
  • 3rd in the league in fielding %
  • 3 least team stole on in the bigs (lord knows why though, LoDuca has a pea shooter for an arm)
  • 3rd fewest errors

So there ya go, we can't hit for beans, our pitchers are manufactured somewhere in Oregon, and our defense is actually good!

I like that the defense is actually doing their job when they can. So pretty much it all comes down to the fact that we need to hit better and pitch better. Wow, it's all so simple! Again, this is a small sample size and looking at these stats after an 9 game losing streak is probably a little disingenuous, but they are what they are. Following Nostradamus' predictions for the 2008 MLB season, our offense will get better, so will our pitching (not much I'm afraid), and our defense will fall off a bit. Pretty much meaning we're about the same place we were last year, maybe a little better. This big difference this year is I don't expect lightning to strike twice with our pitching staff. I mean as many times as we trotted out Mike Bacsick last year, we really should've lost more of his starts than we did. Tim Redding looks like he's going to be the only guy from last year who still has some left in his tank. I'm still holding out for Bergmann but things don't look so good on that front. There are arms in the minors tho so at least there's light at the end of the tunnel. I just hope we don't contend enough that Bowden gets crazy and trades away some of those arms to try and get in the playoffs. Let's get real though, that's not going to happen. The contending part that is, I really do believe trader Jim is that crazy.

I'm promise it won't be so long until the next post. Unless the Nats go on another 9 game streak of teh suk, then I'm going to electronically defecate on this blog and not return until we win back to back games.

Hey folks. Back for a trip, and ready to blog. After a hot start, the Nats have lost three straight, and are currently trailing the Cards 2-0 in the third inning. The ol' can't hit with runners in scoring position bug has returned from last year, and I hope it leaves quickly. However, a stat of note, the Nats currently lead the Majors in extra base hits.

So, we've got that going.

Lannan looking strong, if not completely accurate. Curve looks good, fastball isn't locating as well as he needs it.

Either way, tomorrow the Nats return to the glorious Nats Park, which I was lucky enough to be in last Sunday. Wonder if there are tickets...go if there are. I'll be in class.

Also, Ankiel is a stud. Still can't get over the fact he used to pitch.

Oh yeah, our last post was post 200 for Nats Report. So happy birthday, blog.

According to the Wash Times via Nationals Enquirer John Lannan is on his way up to Washington. He further speculates that this means a trip to the 60-day DL for Shawn Hill. While Hill does have great stuff and I wish he were healthy, I'm also excited to see Lannan back up with the big club. Things are setting up for the Nats to be a force next year with experienced young players.

Bowden right now thinks he is the genius of our time. Because he's predicting that lightning will strike twice. Of course I'm referring to his genius plan of moving a second baseman out to left field.

That's right, todays starting left fielder will be Felipe Lopez!

There are a few crucial differences between this move and the one two years ago that saw Alfonso Soriano make the move to the grass and the upper echelon of outfielders. The first of which is that Soriano never had problems hitting the ball. The guy raked the day he set foot in Washington and continued to do so until the day he left. Felipe Lopez however continues to look uncomfortable at best at the plate. He credits this to a lack of AB's (It's not). The second difference is that in 2006, we really didn't have a better option out there than Sori. This year, aside from injuries, that is not the case. Both Wily Mo and Elijah Dukes can ably play left. Currently both are injured but their injuries don't appear to be serious and they should be back shortly. Thus, I really think this whole Flop left field experiment is just temporary anyways. That said Ronnie Belliard is struggling out of the box after a white-hot spring training. It wouldn't be a stretch to see Flop get a few games back at his usual 2B position when Dukes/WMP come back.

I view this move with healthy skepticism but I've been wrong before. Just don't expect another Sori to happen (not that anyone in their right mind would).

A tip of the cap to Tim Redding as he kept the Phillies lineup off-balance all night. This is exactly the type of game that the Nats were winning in their inaugural season and just the kind of game they usually lost last year.

I kept dreading it all night, about the 6th inning is when things got really tense on my couch. Especially after Zimm hit that home run. The M.O. last year was that we'd score a run and then give up 4 in the bottom half. Good thing that didn't happen today.

We're well on our way to my prediction of the playoffs!

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