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July 1, 2009 [LINK / comment]
Marlins sweep the Nationals again
Just when you think the Nationals are showing signs of life, they revert to their old habit of wasting solid outings by starting pitchers and throwing away run-scoring opportunities. They take an early lead, then their batters fall silent and Manny Acta decides to entrust the game's outcome to the bullpen, which gives up late-inning runs just about every time. On Tuesday night, pitcher Craig Stammen did a fine job, and even batted in two runs with a single. Adam Dunn's 20th home run added to the feeling that the Nats were going to overcome their jinx, but then the usual sequence of events unfolded, and they lost 7-5 in a rain-shortened game. Tonight (Wednesday) it was the same old, same old. It's not the way you want to start off a new month.
Somehow the Nats can't figure out how to beat the Florida Marlins, who have won all nine games against the "D.C. 9" this year. It's just like the Red Sox beating the Yankees in every matchup between the two teams. The Nationals have now lost 23 of their past 26 games to the Marlins, who are climbing toward the top of the NL East standings. Unlike most years, however, that's not saying much. They are now ahead of the Mets and only a half game behind the Phillies. (When was the last time the Mets were below .500 this late in the season?)
Nats make a deal
And not a moment too soon! The Nationals have traded their erstwhile closing pitcher Joel Hanrahan and outfielder Lastings Milledge to the Pittsburgh Pirates for reliever Sean Burnett and outfielder Nyjer Morgan, who has impressed a lot of people with his hustle and performance. As reported at MLB.com, "In seven games, Milledge, who was acquired from the Mets in December 2007 for catcher Brian Schneider and outfielder Ryan Church, was 4-for-24 with an RBI for the Nationals."
I was dubious of that trade at the time (see December 2007), and the fact that Church and Schneider have proved their worth to the Mets leaves little doubt that this was probably the worst trade that Jim Bowden ever made. That MLB.com article notes that Cristian Guzman is also "on the trading block," because of his mediocre fielding performance this year. He's a reliable hitter, but just doesn't have enough range to snag hard ground balls. After his wonderful comeback season last year, it's a big shame.
Finally, the Nationals sent their burly and enthusiastic but uneven outfielder-slugger Elijah Dukes down to the Triple-A Syracuse farm team for some "back-to-basic" instruction. I hope he can pull it together.
Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 02 Jul 2009, 12: 17 AM
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January 5, 2009 Illegal immigration: no problem
January 10, 2009 Bush's fiscal profligacy: a recap
January 20, 2009 Inauguration Day 2009
March 13, 2009 Tax revolt in Augusta County!
March 14, 2009 Mexican Army counterattacks
March 27, 2009 Facebook: resistance is futile
April 5, 2009 RPV chair Frederick is removed
April 8, 2009 Fujimori is convicted, again
May 3, 2009 (Very) Big Spring Day, 2009
June 12, 2009 Tiger Stadium memorial update
June 16, 2009 Home runs in New Yankee Stadium
June 28, 2009 Obama's health care proposals
June 29, 2009 House votes to regulate climate
July 7, 2009 R.I.P. Michael Jackson, Superstar
July 9, 2009 Conservative defeat in Mexico
August 16, 2009 Great Baseball Road Trip 2009
August 23, 2009 Road Trip 2009: The Birds of August
August 27, 2009 R.I.P. Edward M. Kennedy
September 7, 2009 Two clutch homers end Nats' skid
October 10, 2009 Republicans reunite in Verona
October 16, 2009 Health care polemics heat up
November 4, 2009 Republicans sweep Virginia races
November 5, 2009 Yankees are the 2009 champions
November 21, 2009 Senate votes on health care
December 23, 2009 Musings on health care "reform"
December 30, 2009 Decade of creation, and destruction
December 30, 2009 Whither the Republican soul?
December 31, 2009 A (half) decade of baseball in D.C.
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