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Our new ace!

Well, not really. But Pedro Astacio did completely mystify the Braves last night, tossing a two-hitter. In 89 pitches, Astacio walked no one, finding the plate 66 times. It was a very impressive performance. As had been noted previously by multiple sources, the Nats were in danger of becoming the first team in history not to have a pitcher credited with a complete game over the course of a season. Strike that.

Here's a bit of Astacio trivia for the early morn': Prior to this season, Astacio had thrown 11 complete-game shutouts. This was his twelfth. Did you know:

  • One-third of those 12 were thrown within the first two months of his big league career (four in 11 starts in 1992)?
  • Half of those (six) had been accomplished by the end of his first full big league season, 1993?
  • Two-thirds of those (eight) had been compiled by the end of 1995?
In other words, this was Astacio's fourth shutout in the past eleven seasons: one in '97, one in '01, one in '02, and now last night.

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All this attention on Brian Schneider's meltdown on Sunday should not deflect from Damian Jackson's own Sunday meltdown. As reported by the Post:

The other incident Sunday involved utilityman Damian Jackson, who tossed a chair before the game. Jackson said he did not want to comment.

Jackson tossed a chair? Does that make him a Moneyball type of player?

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As Nats Farm Authority notes, the Nats just signed another high-round draft pick: New York native Glenn Gibson, a lefty hurler (like his father Paul, who pitched in the bigs). Among high-round picks, that leaves the Nats with Sean Black (second) and Stephen King (third) unsigned. Reportedly, Black and the organization are "not close" on a price, and as NFA notes, we're getting down to the wire with Black and King, who are about to start college classes, which would mean the club would lose their draft rights.

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Joe Hamrahi of Baseball Digest Daily recently interviewed Stan Kasten. Among the insights gleaned in this interview:

There are a few things I took away from today?s conversation with Stan Kasten? First, it?s reasonably safe to say that the Nationals are much more confident in their ability to draft quality players. That speaks volumes about what Kasten thinks about Mike Rizzo, the new Assistant GM and VP of Baseball Operations. Whether the trade rumors we heard at the deadline were true or not, the bottom line is that the draft picks Washington will receive, should they fail to sign Soriano, are more valuable to the organization, now with Rizzo in place, than the players the team would have received in a trade.

Furthermore, while I'm here, I'll make a Federally-approved Big Announcement: I will be contributing to Baseball Digest Daily on a weekly basis. (Joe was gracious enough to ask, and I decided to accept. I just have to, you know, finish my first piece.) BDD is a very nice site, so even aside from what I contribute there, I recommend you check it out. Joe gets some excellent interviews.