Sunday, July 20, 2008

Can You Believe This!!

"Can you believe THIS!!" shouted Dave Jageler on The Flagship Radio Station of Our Washington Nationals. Willie Harris had just slammed out a liner of a home run that put Washington up 12-2 over The Atlanta Braves in the bottom of the 4th inning. Driving around this Sunday afternoon running errands in our car--Sohna and I just started laughing. Then came The High Five. A couple driving beside our car started staring at us--wondering what we were up to.

Yeah Dave, we could believe it--because Our Manager Manny Acta had placed in his lineup this Sunday some hungry ballplayers. Professionals looking to either find their way back into the Big Leagues in a meaningful way, or wanting to protect their position on Our Team. And for some reason--FLop also came along for the ride. Maybe The Washington Post should trash him publicly more often--asking for his release?

This one was a laugher, a 15-6 blowout that found Washington winning a series for the first time since sweeping in Seattle last month. And sent Our Nats on a joyful flight across the country to beautiful San Francisco to begin a three game set with The Giants at AT&T Park. You think the beer tastes a little colder on that five hour flight this evening? You believe Our Washington Nationals will be landing in The City By The Bay in good spirits? Yes, they will and they should because did not only Our Number 1 lead the way this afternoon, so did Ryan Langerhans, Austin Kearns and Jesus Flores. Players that might still have futures wearing a home uniform next season at New Nationals Park.

When things go bad and the many injuries get you down--this is the time to find out whether others can lead the way--providing depth--giving hope--taking away from the despair. Who knew that Willie Harris would be such a spark plug? Playing regularly over the past month, this man has shown he is more than just speed. Multi-talented with the drive to hustle on every single play. Like Elijah Dukes--Our Number 1 has proven to be better than advertised. Whether he has a future in Washington is whole other story. But, you can't say Willie Harris is not exciting to watch right now. A journeyman looking to find a new home. No wonder The Baltimore Orioles thought so highly of his talents a few years back.

The same holds true for Ryan Langerhans. Twice to my recollection, Our Number 29 has been passed through waivers by Our General Manager and accepted a outright Minor League Assignment in AAA. He had THE CHOICE to elect Free Agency but WANTED to play here. Langerhans understood there is opportunity--the chance to find yourself again in The Nation's Capital to play Big League Ball. Now--with NO ONE ELSE AVAILABLE--everybody else being injured--Manny Acta had no other choice himself, but to play Our Number 29 in the field. Everyone knows, Langerhans can field--what many have not found out--is whether Ryan can hit consistently. Well, at least after this weekend against his former team, The Braves--Langerhans deserves an extended tryout. He earned it with a stellar three games. No question, I have always had his back--but now Ryan is slowly showing the quality talent he may well possess to others. He can help Our Team, not only now--but in the future--whether as a starter, fourth outfielder or late inning replacement. Good for him. Ryan Langerhans is taking advantage of opportunity arisen.

The chance to resurrect his career which Austin Kearns has quickly done since returning from elbow surgery. Hitting for power, driving pitches the other way, playing the game right--Our Number 25 looks like a completely different ballplayer. The type of talent many saw early in his injured, but productive years in Cincinnati. Today, five runs scored, three hits and a two run homer. Since returning on July 3rd--Kearns has hit safely in 10 of 13 games, had five multi-hit games, driven in 11 runs and batted a robust .329. Our Number 25 playing for more than just pride--Austin Kearns is playing for his future--maybe ours as well.

The "Wait 'Til Next Year" that Jesus Flores decided on his own--NOW WAS THE TIME. Our Number 3 must have been mighty pissed that he was sat down for the first two games after The All Star Break in Atlanta. Today--Jesus showed his worth--once again--with a 5 for 6 day, two runs scored, two runs batted in. This after pinch hitting an RBI single earlier in this series against The Braves. Yeah, I understand that JimBo is trying to showcase Johnny Estrada, but does it really matter? Estrada's contract is minimal--whatever he returns in any potential trade will, most likely, not be much. Please, let's not stunt Jesus Flores' education, just to get a Low Grade Minor League Prospect that will end up being filler for Our Minor League Teams. No one is going to give up anything worthwhile for Johnny Estrada straight up. If he returns anything, it will come in a package deal. Let Jesus Flores play and if Our Number 3 sits after August 1st with Estrada and Paul LoDuca on the roster--we then have a problem.

As for Felipe Lopez's 3 for 4, three RBI day this afternoon. It's about time. One day does make up for nearly 2/3rds of his season wasted by a talented individual that many time shows little passion for the game. FLop is the most confusing player for Our Washington Nationals. Our Number 2 could be so good--yet many times--does not seem to care. Sadly.

2008 has been a frustrating season for Our Washington Nationals and Our Fans, but some individual performances by some may turn out to be invaluable for 2009 and beyond. There is some light at the end of that dark tunnel--believe it or not.

So Yeah Dave--"I Can Believe This"--when players that WANT TO BE THERE are performing on the field of play. Good call by the way on the radio.

Final Score--Our Washington Nationals 15 (The Most Runs Scored Since Baseball's Return to Washington), The Atlanta Braves 6. "HotLanta" turned DC's Way this weekend. If Austin Kearns' drive to right that became the final out of Game One on Friday Night--had fallen in--we would be talking SWEEP.

Curly "W" Number 38 providing a Fun Flight across the country for Our Manager Manny Acta's Team tonight--thanks to Players That Care. Professionals who are hungry--leading they way. Not giving up--when others may have lost sight or focus. Could they possibly remain hot still--in the Coldest Summer City In America on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday--in San Francisco, California? How I wish that Sohna and I could be there. We LOVE SAN FRANCISCO.

And we still Love Our Washington Nationals for all the good, the bad and the ugly they can provide. The African Queen and I are still onboard for the ride. Besides, Charlie and Dave always make it fun listening--not matter the final score. Believe That!!

Game Notes & Highlights

Odalis Perez was terrible today. Good thing Our Washington Nationals staked him to a large lead. Our Number 45 didn't deserve the win today. But what comes around, goes around in Baseball. Perez did earn his 3rd win of 2008. I would rather see someone else on the mound every fifth day--honestly.

As Mark Teixeira stepped to the plate in the bottom of the second inning for Atlanta--Sohna asked me about this slugger that Charlie & Dave mentioned On Air--being a Baltimore Native. Not long after describing his gold glove talents at first base and his prodigious slugging power--Mark Slammed Out his 19th Homer of 2008. When Teixeira hammered out Number 20 off "The Human Rain Delay" in the 9th--I told The African Queen that this man is a FREE AGENT after this season. Only 28 years old--he would be an intriguing possible buy in the upcoming off season market--if Our Washington Nationals decided to actually go in that direction. Sohna found that possibility interesting--despite how much we both like Nick Johnson.

Finally, The Atlanta Braves Manager Bobby Cox got ejected today for the sixth time this season. Cox is The Career Leader in being tossed from games. I would love to see Our Manager Manny Acta protect his players a little more as well--when the game gets a little out of line. No, Our Number 14 doesn't have to run out there and blister someone at the drop of every baseball or bad call and get ejected--that can be stupid. But, there are opportune times when his presence means more to his players than he may realize. He needs to have their backs.

PS--I just love this picture by The Associated Press Photographer John Bazemore. Great Action Shot of Jesus Flores being tossed out at home plate. Corky Miller recording the out with flair. Award winning possibility in my humble opinion.

Today's InGame Photos--(AP) John Bazemore


Anonymous said...

That's the way to start off after the All Star break!!! Way to go!!!

Steven said...

Great post. When The First Great Nationals Team arrives, your site is going to be so much fun.

Steven said...

I mean, it's fun now. But it's going to be so much MORE fun! :)

Anonymous said...

By the way in addition to being a superstar Mark Texiera comes from a class act family that if you knew their story you would be even more impressed with Mark (another Mt Saint Joe grad).

By the way hope all is well with your family.

Anonymous said...

Manny must be listening as he decided to use other guys in a fresh bullpen and only used Manning for 1 out instead of sending him out for some more.

Anonymous said...

Uh, wasn't Mike Hargrove (pre-manager days) the original human rain delay?

Anonymous said...

The Yankees are in the market for a 1st baseman after the season and Texeira and OF/1B Pat Burrell are the 2 that are at the top of the Free Agent 1B list and the Yankees will take one of them and the Mets will want a shot too. Our leftovers to choose from is going to be Adam Dunn and hopefully we pass.

What is more likely in the short-term is Texeira will be dealt out in a trade very soon on a short-term rental.

Yes, we need a Power Hitting 1B that can stay healthy so maybe JimBo will surprise us.

Let's get Orlando Hudson at 2nd base and another quality reliever as those may be within reach for us.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Anonymous at 9:35PM: The Human Rain Delay is a part of all the nicknames we have used on Nats320, since the very beginnings of this blog. Nicknames are big here. Jesus Colome is the slowest worker on the mound. Jesus Colome is called The Human Rain Delay, by not only me, Don Sutton, Our Radio Team, Half The Pitching Staff, most of the Organization. Well documented and continually mentioned here. I don't care about Mike Hargrove's name beforehand. He has nothing to do with The Nationals. Here--Colome's moniker is all a part of the fun we have. Everyone knows it. Where have you been?

Anonymous said...

Screech's Best Friend said... I don't care about Mike Hargrove's name beforehand.

BTW, his real name is Dudley Hargrove and of course everyone growing up called him Mike! lol

Anonymous said...

Now back to the Nationals. Tuesday will be the 100th game in our season and we will hopefully finish that game with a 39-61 record.

Our goal should be to play .500+ ball the rest of the year and finish with some dignity after this tough season. Wouldn't it be nice to end up with at least 70 wins.

The remainder of our season has to be a try-out for next year so we need to part ways soon with 2 of our 4 catchers and bring up some more Minor Leaguers and see how they do.

By the way, since Roger Bernandina went to AAA he is batting .417 so some good came of his short stay at the Bigs.

Anonymous said...

A second to your comment that Charlie and Dave make the show worth listening to no matter what.

Anonymous said...

Great way to start off the "unofficial" second half.

Great to see some offense. I was at the game on April 30 when the Nats couldn't hit Jurjens to save their lives, but managed to score one run (Mackowiak doubled and scored in regulation) and Hill went 8 innings (1 run) before the Braves collapsed after taking the lead in the 11th (3-2 win for the Nats). Jurjens and Hudson did not own the Nats this weekend.

The Braves pitchers were terrible this weekend, just as Seattle's were in the Nats last series sweep. I hope the hot hitting can survive a trip to the west coast. Good thing they start with Zito. He is very beatable (even though the Nats couldn't do much with him in DC).

The Lerners are not going to pay $10 M for Johnson and Young and pay free agent money for Tex in 2009. No getting around those numbers.

And the Lerners are not going to release Estrada unless they can get out of paying him the rest of his $1 M. Same goes for LoDuca and his $5 M. No trade (remember that nobody else wanted either of them last winter, and neither's stock has gone up since) = four catchers on the roster through the end of the season.

Let's score some runs despite dragging these anchors along.

Anonymous said...

Good news! We don't have to face Ray Durham in SF as they just traded him. Ray went 8 for 17 against us when the Giants were in DC in early June this year!

We also don't have to face Tim Lincecum as he pitched on Sunday.

Now only if they can trade Randy Winn before the series starts (lol).

Dave said...

SBF, when I saw the headline of this post, I thought you might be referring to the Washington Post's (lack of) coverage of this huge game for the Nats.

To judge by this morning's paper, you would not know the Nats just scored more runs in a game than they have since they came here from Montreal. You would not know they took the series from Atlanta.

You would, however, see HUGE coverage of some football player the Redskins acquired early on in their training camp. Training camp, for heaven's sake.

The Washington Post's coverage of major league baseball is shameful. Thanks to you, SBF, and all the other baseball bloggers for covering it in some detail.

Anonymous said...

Not only that dave, but as of last week the Redskins officially own the other sports talk radio station in town, so you can forget about radio coverage of the Nationals beyond Charlie and Dave. Phil Woods' show has been axed already.

As for the Post, what on earth is Sheinin thinking? Get rid of Rauch, Redding, Guzman and sign Barry Bonds with "ground rules"?!?

Yes, the blogs are all we have.

SenatorNat said...

This was the series where things may have turned a big corner for the Nationals and their future. For one, it sounded the end of the Estrada nonsense - the ball that got under his glove was pathetic - giving up a run - he looked silly.

Two, as SBF points out, perhaps Kearns and Langerhans could be servicable outfielders for the time being...

Three, Willie Harris is definitely a sparkplug in center, and as a lead-off hitter.

Four, with Z-Man at third, starting this week, it means Harris; Guzman; Zimmerman; Kearns; Flores; LoDuca; Belliard; and Langerhans can be the normal line-up. Good fieliding, decent speed, and a little bit of pop. This could be a steadily improving lineup, too, as LoDuca, for example seems ready to break-out and hit, and he is gaining familiarity with first. While Belliard's average is low, he still comes through in the clutch. (Lopez hit well yesterday, again in a NO CLUTCH situation - I would not release him, as he is a capable reserve infielder.)

Five, Milledge is on his way back, it would seem, which means Estrada can be sent packing.

Starting pitching remains decent to good - and weak spots in the relief corps (Ayala and Colume) can be overshadowed, hopefully, in the final 62 games by more confident Hanrahan, Manning, and Shell.

Nats should be able to win 25-28 games, something like 66-96 for the season: very disappointing BUT - silver lining is that team brass will feel the pressure to acquire Orlando Hudson and Matt Holiday or (God forbid) Adam Dunn. Resigning Guzman should be a priority, and I think they will treat it as such. And signing Z-Man to fair contract, despite his injury affected season also a prudent move. Nats need to play at .500 in 2009, and two key free agent acquisitions could be the trick.

Hail to Snyder Productions and 24-7 wall-to-wall coverage of the Burgendy & Gold. All Tango.

Anonymous said...

SenatorNat said... silver lining is that team brass will feel the pressure to acquire Orlando Hudson and Matt Holiday or (God forbid) Adam Dunn. Resigning Guzman should be a priority, and I think they will treat it as such. And signing Z-Man to fair contract, despite his injury affected season also a prudent move.

Many good points and I like most of them.

I have been on the Orlando Hudson bandwagon since the beginning of the season when it was evident that we needed help at 2nd, and Arizona wasn't going to re-sign him.

Matt Holliday outside of Colorado Rocky Mountain High is a different ballplayer and his contract is up after the 2009 season so the 1 year rental isn't worth it unless you can sign him long-term. His averages are career .267 and .301 this year outside of Colorado. Still better than anyone in our current outfield.

I remember when the Cardinals got former Expo Larry Walker in a mid-season deal in 2004 and Larry's production dropped .44 points going from a .324 hitter in Colorado to .280 in St. Louis. I would expect anywhere that Matt Holliday goes he will see a sizeable drop in BA.

I truly see our 3 biggest needs for next year is another good starting pitcher, a power hitter at 1B, and a clutch hitter w/ strong batting average.

An outfield of Elijah Dukes, Lastings Milledge and Austin Kearns staying healthy can look real good and Willie Harris as a reserve OF. Zim, Guzy, a new 2nd Baseman, and a power hitting 1B is what will get us there.

This kind of looks like our projected 2008 with the exception of changes at 1st and 2nd base.

Now its up to JimBo to execute the plan and better flexibility conditioning and some luck.

On your LoDuca at 1B for this season, I saw him swing for the fences on Saturday and the ball traveled 290 feet into the LF's glove. He has no HRs this season with diminishing returns. Based on last year's production, he should have 3 HRs this year. How can you have a 1B who can't hit HRs? Time to find a fill-in at the Minor League level!

SenatorNat said...

Andrew - very good points, all. I would still prefer Matt Holiday to Adam Dunn. In either case, they actually have to be able to play first base. LoDuca is gone after this season, unless he has figured out a way to emanulate Jason Giambi and get strong again somehow...

Dmitri Young is going to be a real quandry for the Nats in the off-season - he is a natural DH for an AL team, but his health and diet are serious concerns for any team looking into acquiring him; we may have to keep him on the roster next year due to no takers...Only now is the team insisting that he get into a health regimen - LONG OVERDUE for the good of himself and the team, obviously.

These guys need not return in 2009: Lopez; Estrada; LoDuca; Perez; Ayala; Orr; Langerhans. Waiting for Nick Johnson to have a normal season is increasing unrealistic.

It will be very interesting to see if Shawn Hill can be repaired somehow for 2009. Cordero's arm-speed another huge if for planning the relief corps from back to front.

Lannan; Flores; Dukes; and Milledge can play in the majors without a doubt. All other young players, including Ballester complete question marks. And, as SBF himself says, not that many position players down on the farm, really. Morero still a year away, for example.

As you say, Nats need a front end starter for the rotation: not an easy commodity to pick-up for a rational price...And, the two hitters, of course.

Fifth year is a charm. All good.

Anonymous said...

SenatorNat said...
Andrew - very good points, all. I would still prefer Matt Holiday to Adam Dunn.

LoDuca is gone after this season, unless he has figured out a way to emanulate Jason Giambi and get strong again somehow...

Classic line on LoDuca emulating the Giambino (LMAO)!!!!!

More good points but I hang on to Langerhans as a bench player pinch hitter if he has worked out his issues on the offensive side of the ledger. He hustles on every play which is nice to see on this team talking about emulating!

Dmitri circa 2007 would be nice to see again. The man knows how to hit.

The Nick Johnson issues goes to does the past predict the future????

I like the idea of Matt Holiday at 1B most days as he can give you some pop too along with a good BA. I know JimBo says Nick Johnson has a higher OBP, but again----who can play 155 games a year???? Bigger question is what do we have to give up to get him, and I say you don't do it unless you can sign him long-term.

Anonymous said...


One problem with Holiday (aside from his Coors/road split factor). It would exacerbate the right-handedness of our projected regular lineup. If we're going to go out and get a bat, a left-handed or switch hitter would give the lineup some very needed balance.