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Fireworks, of the non-Slowes variety

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Let me get this straight: Is Brian Schneider hurt? I mean, really---is he hurt? Maybe he's hurt? Could be hurt? If you were to describe him with one word, would it perchance he "hurt"?

Guess not. Nope. And it would appear Schneider has little remaining tolerance for the question.

Bang! Zoom!

I suppose I should comment on Schneider's blow-up following Sunday's loss to the Mets; that's why I get paid for this, you know. And my comment would be that this---

"I am not hurt," Schneider said. "I am sick of people telling me I am hurt. I am done with people. Because I didn't throw 50 percent this year, people say I am hurt."

[Marlon] Anderson, on the other hand, said he had no excuses for his error.

---makes little sense. Schneider makes an excuse by refusing to use a supposed injury as an excuse? Unless there's another definition for "excuse" out there . . .

All that said, I get paid absolutely nothing to comment on such matters, and that makes abundant sense insofar as I possess no inside information and rely upon no personal interaction with anybody involved. But I bring to the table some supposition and a whole lot of opinion. To wit:

  • I suppose that Schneider is really, really frustrated by a horrible season; that Frank Robinson is roughly as frustrated by Schneider's woes, more than likely being the one in the organization who insinuated Schneider was complacent; and that Schneider and Robinson aren't best buddies.
  • I opine that, as far as locker room meltdowns go, Schneider's paled in comparison to Ryan Leaf's opus.
At any rate, Schneider's tantrum gets the headline here, but all told this was a fascinating study in circling around the blame drain: 1) Robinson blames Schneider and Rauch, but not Anderson (at least as reported); 2) Schneider blames Rauch; and 3) Rauch isn't around to take the blame or shift the blame.

I guess the only guy to accept the blame was Anderson; thus, in that context, yes, I can see the writer's point. Anderson accepted responsibility for his error.

* * * *

Tonight, the Nats begin a four-game set against the newest entrant into the NL's lower class, the Atlanta Braves. Ramon Ortiz (9-9, 4.60), alleged ace, takes the RFK bump for the Nats; rookie Chuck James (4-3, 4.69) is the opposite number.

James, a 24 year-old native of Atlanta, is a lefty with an impressive minor league resume:

YR/LVL   IP       ERA      BB/SO
03/R 50.1 1.25 19/68
04/A 132 2.25 48/156
05/A+ 41.2 1.08 8/59
05/AA 86 2.09 18/104
05/AAA 33.2 3.48 10/30
06/AAA 33.2 2.67 6/25

I've left off a single inning James tossed at Rome earlier this season while he was rehabbing a strained hamstring; my apologies.

James received a two-appearance, five-inning cup-o-joe for the Braves last season, so this is his first big league experience in earnest. So far, not so bad. But see if you can spot the wacky figure in here:

IP       H        HR       BB       SO
55.2 50 13 19 38

If you noticed that James is surrendering 2.1 homers per nine innings---or 47 over the course of a 200 inning season---then the chicken dinner is yours, my friend. (His minor league homer rate is unremarkable.)

Soriano alert! As you can see, James has been taterific thus far; as you'd imagine, James has been more susceptible to the longball against righty batters (slightly so---2.23 HR/9 IP). I'd imagine that James' homer rate will even out---that, or he'll soon be joining me again in Richmond, as the R-Braves play out the string---but there's no particular reason it'll even out tonight.

Bang! Zoom! indeed.