Last night's game was so much fun to watch. No errors, no men left on base, a complete game shutout from John Lannan. Perhaps most impressive, in a weird way, was the fact that Lannan had only one strikeout. Although one strikeout is not a good thing, it means that the Nationals' defense played the way they should. There were definitely times when I felt a missed throw or a dropped ball coming, but it just didn't happen (except for that foul ball at the end of the game) -- the Nationals looked like a real baseball team last night, for the first time in a long time.
John Lannan certainly looked good last night, but I'd say that he's a ways away from being an ace. He certainly does have that potential, but right now I'd say he's more of a jack or a 10.
With the trade deadline quickly approaching, teams seem to have an interest in a number of Nats players, Josh Willingham and Adam Dunn being two of them (yes, the same Adam Dunn whom Rizzo said would not be traded). From most of the articles I've seen, the Nationals are asking too much for their players, and why not? It's better to come down on trades than it is to undervalue players and not get every cent of value from them. The only way I could see this hurting the Nats is if they got the reputation of being bad traders, discouraging other teams from deals with them, but I think that's still a ways off.
According to MLBTradeRumors, "the Red Sox had a scout watch Nick Johnson this weekend."
More stuff worth reading after the jump...
Speaking of trades, it's time for a Lastings Milledge/Joel Hanrahan trade update! Since moving to the AAA Indianapolis Indians, Milledge has hit .433 through 9 games, stolen 2 bases and has a .550 OBP, and he was named International League Batter of the Week. Hanrahan has given up 3 ER through 4.3 innings, so it looks like the change of venue hasn't done much for him. Nyjer Morgan has been playing well, adding a spark to the Nationals, and Sean Burnett has allowed just 1 ER in 8.1 IP with the Nationals. We've yet to see Milledge return to the bigs, but for now it looks like the Nationals got the better end of the deal. And to think I was skeptical! Shame on me!
Tyler Clippard, who looked great in the game on Sunday, likes being a reliever. I'm glad to see him getting some playing time, and I hope he'll get more and more as the Nats' starters begin to phase out at the end of the season.
Chico Harlan did a nice Q&A with injured catcher Jesus Flores. I liked him, and I hope he gets better sooner rather than later (but not soon enough that he re-injures himself).
The Washington Times reports that although there hasn't been much progress made on the Strasburg situation, that doesn't mean there is any ill will on either side of the negotiations. Can we please stop talking about this until the middle of August? If he's not signed, there will be a lot to write, and if he is signed, there will be a lot to write. We don't need to be writing about it until something actually happens!