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Twelve point five disjointed thoughts

One: Tonight's win reminds me how fickle a baseball season---heck, a baseball game---truly is. Forty-eight or so hours after being humiliated in the first game of a four-game set, the Nats can now do no worse than tie the series. Less than an hour after Roy Oswalt seemed inpenetrable, he had balked in a run, and then the Astros suffered a core meltdown in the eighth.

Two: MASN play-by-play man Bob Carpenter noted that the Nats were "the best nine games under .500 team in baseball." That may well be, except it would require an extra two wins for it to be so; the Nats are now 18-29.

Three: Most valuable Nat so far, at least offensively? According to VORP, it's Jose Vidro, contributing 17.8 runs above-replacement (entering tonight's action). Johnson ranks second, followed by Soriano, followed by a big chasm. Jose Guillen, he of the .255 on-base percentage, ranks last currently, seven runs below-replacement.

Four: Twenty-four percent of Alfonso Soriano's fly balls so far have left the park, about double his rates in 2004-05.

Five: Ryan Church to the Yankees? Meaning no disrespect to Church, I find it humorous when good teams raid the discarded pieces of bad teams. Remember back in '03 when the Cubs turned over half the Pirates' lineup? For what it's worth, I agree with the unnamed Nats' officials who think Church could use a change of scenery.

Six: Damian Jackson has earned some extra starts in center, Frank Robinson says, and while it's clear that he's merely riding the hot hand of the week, it's also true that Robinson has been treated to some sweet play from Jackson. The three homers within a week were a pleasant (and utter) surprise, but tonight Jackson also made a difficult twisting, backtracking catch in dead center. That said, he'll be back to utility status within a week.

Seven: The radio guys noted that Santiago Ramirez hit 99 mph on the radar gun during the seventh inning tonight. On the other hand, they also appeared a bit skeptical concerning that reading. And, on the third hand, what's a guy who can throw ninenty-nine doing making his big league debut at the age of twenty-seven?

Eight: Mike O'Connor did it again; he even cut down his walk rate this time out. At what point do we believe that he's going to stick around for awhile?

Nine: Capitol Punishment notes that Bowden is cozy with some brain-mapping guy. Pays him lots of dough, too. I took the online test Chris linked to, and for what it's worth, it says I'm "concerned with others? welfare; responsible, reserved, patient, practical, friendly, orderly, inquisitive regarding people, harm-avoiding; conscientious, thorough, loyal; service-oriented; gross motor skilled." I'll be honest, though: I just put in whatever answers I figured the chicks would like the most . . .

Ten: Doug Harvey wants you to make the call: Are the Lerners cheap or practical? Do they prefer an above-ground rather than undergroup parking deck because they don't want to kick in the extra cash (upwards of $20-30 million), or because they legitimately want to see the park open on time in 2008?

Eleven: Kasten made some front office hires today, and one of them, executive vice president-appointee Bob Wolfe, says the sale should be finalized in "three or four weeks." One can only hope Lernasten time is less evocative of Uranus (time) than Selig time.

Twelve: In honor of Mayor Williams' signing of the DC Council's futile legislation in the Comcast/MASN mess, I'd like to announce that I've recently promulgated legislation requiring the Commonwealth of Virginia to pay me $2 billion. The bill is not legally binding on the state, however.

Finally, one more thing. Have you ever noticed that . . .