What The DC Faithful Are Watching, Hearing...
The Washington Nationals dropped a 4-1 decision to the St. Louis Cardinals tonight in Nationals Park as the two teams tried to make up a rained-out May 3rd meeting only to have it twice interrupted by sudden downpours and eventually called with the Cardinals up in the bottom of the seventh and ahead by three. DC righty Collin Balester made his return to the majors, and took the loss, (0-1), having allowed 3 runs on 3 hits, one a HR, in 3.0 IP before the first storm hit...The Nationals' streak of two-straight wins was ended...
...But all I could think about this afternoon and evening as I waited through the rain delays, was the "tweet" that went out last night from Baseball Prospectus' writer Will Carroll, who wrote:
"Hearing that Nats offered GM job to someone and got turned down. Rizzo should have that job already, but if true, sets up weird winter."
I looked everywhere today for stories which corroborated Mr. Carroll's twitter note, but no one else was reporting that the Nationals were actively looking at GM possiblities, that is, until MLB.com's Bill Ladson published his interview with Nationals' "principal owner" Mark Lerner tonight, in an article entitled, "Q&A with Nationals owner Mark Lerner", in which Mr. Lerner sets the record straight, stating, "Let me be clear...":
"We have a responsibility to conduct a proper search for both positions, (Manager and GM) and that may entail going beyond our own gates. We will not be rushed or pressured into a decision that so significantly affects our future. In the end, whoever is appointed manager and general manager, they will be the best."
...The "Acting" GM Mike Rizzo isn't sitting idly by as the Nationals try to decide what to do with their GM and field manager positions, however, in fact, reports out of San Francisco have the Nationals sending scouts to watch San Fran's Double-A affiliate, the Connecticut Defenders, with an eye towards a trade according to SFGate.com writer Henry Schulman, who wrote in Thursday's pregame post entitled, "Today's lineup; plus Nats scouting Connecticut":
"'I’m also told that a Washington Nationals scout made a special trip to Norwich, Conn., to watch the Giants’ Double-A team.
"I’m not going to take the leap and say the Giants are focusing on left-handed first baseman Nick Johnson, because nobody has told me that. The Nats have other parts a contender might want, including Adam Dunn and lefty relievers Joe Beimel and Ron Villone."
?'s For The DC Faithful...
• Didn't "Acting" DC GM Mike Rizzo say just a few weeks back that he would not trade Adam Dunn? Oh yeah, here's a link, it was in an a post at the Washington Post's D.C. Sports Bog by Dan Steinberg entitled, "Rizzo: We Are Not Trading Adam Dunn."
• If the Nationals were to go outside of the organization to hire a new GM, that would be the end for Mike Rizzo in DC right? Can you imagine Mr. Rizzo taking a step back?
• Did you read the rumors of the Cubs' interest in "Dirty" Joe Beimel? Chicago Tribune writer Dave Van Dyck notes in a Cubs Bits post entitled, "Chicago Cubs' Ted Lilly pronounces himself ready for Saturday start" that the:
"...Cubs may be interested in Nationals' lefty reliever Joe Beimel, who is 0-5 but with a 3.38 ERA in his first 41 appearances. According to one report, the Nationals have been scouting the Cubs' minor league teams, and Beimel is available."
• The Nationals are scouting the Giants' and Cubs' systems, with rumors flying and only 7 days remaining until the July 31st deadline. Did you read the article Federal Baseball's J. Quinn found yesterday about another July 31st Deadline? ESPN.com's Jayson Stark points out, in an article entitled, "Biggest myths about the trade deadline", that July 31st:
"...is the deadline for Japanese teams to acquire foreign players for the rest of this season. So if Scott Boras is serious about sending Strasburg across the Pacific, this would have to be the week.
But if Boras is only using the Strasburg-to-Japan gambit as a bargaining ploy, we should know that by the end of next week."
So that means, seven days until the Nationals get to call Scott "Maximum" Boras' first bluff...
• Did You Miss Last Night's Game? The DC Faithful Were Watching...
• Check Out The SB Nation's St. Louis Cardinals blog, Viva El Birdos' GameThread.
• Here's Last Night's Box Score Again In Case You Missed It Above, Cardinals win, 4-1 final.
Nationals now 28-67.
(Partial) GAME REPORT...
St. Louis Cardinals At Washington Nationals. Game 95 Of 162.
Skip Schumaker goes the other way with a double to left that hugs the line. A fly ball to left from Colby Rasmus would have been unproductive, if Adam Dunn doesn’t drop it as he goes to throw in after catching it, Schumaker takes third, and scores on Mark DeRosa’s groundout. 1-0 Cards. DC right-hander Collin Balester gets Ryan Ludwick looking to end the top of the first....Nyjer Morgan takes a 1-0 pitch from Cards’ starter Adam Wainwright to left for Rick Ankiel to catch. Wainwright comes with a two-strike change (or slider?) and gets Cristian Guzman swinging for the second out of the inning. Joe Thurston fields and throws in one motion to beat Ryan Zimmerman to first.
Collin Balester throws a 2-1 fastball right down the pipe, Rick Ankiel unloads and lifts it to right over the out-of-town scoreboard and gone. 2-0 Cardinals. Ryan Zimmerman takes a short hop and then throws to first after fielding Yadier Molina’s grounder. Joe Thurston gets a wicked two-strike bender from Balester and he’s done swinging before it drops into Bard's mitt for strike three. St. Louis' shortstop Brendan Ryan lines to Nyjer Morgan in center to end the Cards’ second...Adam Dunn lines to left center to beat the shift for a single. Nick Johnson grounds weakly to third, Joe Thurston to Skip Schumaker to DeRosa at first, double play. Josh Willingham takes a two-out walk. Alberto Gonzalez grounds back to the mound, off Wainwright to Schumaker to first to end the second. 2-0 Cards.
Ryan Zimmerman throws out the opposing pitcher on a routine grounder. Skip Schumaker beats Nyjer Morgan’s throw in from center for a line drive double. Nick Johnson steps on second before Colby Rasmus can get down the line....Josh Bard singles to right field to start the Nationals’ third. Balester bunts too hard and Wainwright cuts down the lead runner. Nyjer Morgan lines sharply to left, Balester to second. Cristian Guzman gets fooled by a two-strike bender up high. Ryan Zimmerman lines out to left to strand two and end the third.
Collin Balester walks Ryan Ludwick and the skies open up...45 minutes or so later, Tyler Clippard takes over on the mound for Balester, and gets Rick Ankiel swinging for the first out of the fourth. Yadier Molina singles to center, Ludwick moves into scoring position. Clippard gives up and RBI double to Joe Thurston, who lines to right for a 3-0 Cardinals' lead. Clippard walks Brendan Ryan to get to the pitcher. Ryan Zimmerman catches a pop fly foul of third from Adam Wainwright for the second out. Skip Schumacher takes a bases loaded walk and it’s 4-0 Cardinals. Colby Rasmus flies out to Nyjer Morgan in center to end the Cards’ fourth...Adam Dunn rips a leadoff single through short. Nick Johnson lifts a 1-0 pitch on the outside edge to left for Ankiel to catch. Wainwright gets WIllingham swinging over a curve. Alberto Gonzalez grounds out to DeRosa at first to end the fourth, finally.
Tyler Clippard throws a high two-strike fastball through Mark DeRosa’s bat. A diving Adam Dunn can’t come up with a line drive single to left from Ryan Ludwick. Ankiel gets a 92 mph fastball upstairs for a swinging strike three. Yadier Molina sends a jam shot out to second, Guzman fields and throws to end the Cards’ fifth...Josh Bard goes down swinging at a tailing fastball outside. Pinch hitter Anderson Hernandez gets Wainwright’s curve on a 1-2 count and he K’s. Nyjer Morgan and Cristian Guzman hit back to back singles in front of Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman grounds out on the first pitch he sees. 4-0 Cardinals.
Ron Villone blows Joe Thurston away for a swinging K. Nyjer Morgan flies in to catch a pop-up off Brendan Ryan’s bat. Adam Wainwright K’s trying and VIllone’s through a scoreless frame...Adam Dunn doubles off the wall in right to start the Nationals’ sixth. Nick Johnson K’s looking at a high curve. (If Nick didn’t swing, Ump?) Hammer gets another two-strike curve and K's. Alberto Gonzalez lines to right, and Ryan Ludwick comes up empty on one he should catch. Dunn scores. 4-1 St. Louis. Josh Bard grounds weakly to first to end the sixth.
Skip Schumaker grounds out to Alberto Gonzale...and the Rain is back...and the game ends...
Cardinals win, 4-1 final.
Nationals now 28-67.