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I love baseball; don't get me wrong. But I watch ten to twelve games a season that make me wish that civilization would end immediately. Tonight's 5-2 victory over the Marlins was one of those games. The boxscore claims the game only took 3:17, but I have to think they were using Uranusian time for that calculation. I swear Florida reliever Renyel Pinto was on the mound at least twice that long, and he only retired five batters. The CBS Sportsline game recap captures the drudgery that was this game:

Washington could have scored plenty more, when you consider that Willis allowed eight hits and five walks, hit a batter and threw two wild pitches. And there's this: Marlins relievers tacked on six more walks. And this: The Nationals put their first batter on base in every inning.

Yet they scored only five runs. And that's the problem, I suppose. If the Nats had broken through for something like nine runs, or a dozen of 'em, it would have been fun. But to leave fourteen runners on base? (Not to mention Florida's 10 LOB.) To see 176 total pitches in eight turns at bat? This game was ripe for a laugher, and instead it was a yawner.

Which isn't to say I'm ungrateful that the Nats won, of course. And for that we can thank Ramon Ortiz, the bullpen, Ryan Zimmerman, and Alex Escobar, who actually did contribute something with runners on, skying two sacrifice flies.

* * * *

Jose Guillen is optimistic for a quick rehab from Tommy John surgery, reports, and he wants to be a part of a Frank Robinson-led Nats team in 2007. Robinson, for his part, admires Guillen's willingness to gut it out in pain, be a man, stay in the lineup, etc.:

"It was tough to see him struggle, period," Robinson said. "But knowing him, you know he was going to go out there. He was going to go out there if he had to kick the ball into the infield. You admire him for that. He's what you call a gamer -- he wants to play and he wants to win. There's nothing wrong with that."

No, nothing at all. I appreciate the sentiment.

On the other hand, sentiment is often empty. Let's just take a cursory look at how Guillen fared battling assorted injuries---and worse. So let's take a gander at his numbers, say, from last September 1 to the present: 314 AB, .201/.273/.357 (9 HR, 47 RBI).

Mercy. Guillen has been only ten percent better than Cristian Guzman's 2005 season---as a corner outfielder, mind you, not even a horrible shortstop. Oh, and you know that awesome arm that Guillen has? Well:

Guillen played in only 69 games this season because of assorted injuries, but the one that put him down for the rest of the season occurred when he tore his ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow against the Marlins on July 18. Guillen now says that he was having elbow problems since Spring Training. Known for having a strong arm, Guillen had problems throwing on target to the bases.

Simply stated, there's nothing admirable about continuing to run out a guy who can't hit and can't throw. And this is an organization that will bury a player for half a season after 60 bad at-bats, remember. One supposes the treatment depends on the player.

* * * *

I'd say that Jim Bowden should've tried trading Guillen to the Reds, but . . .

. . . they've already been there and done that, of course.

Speaking of Cincy, reports that Wayne Krivsky and Bowden spoke on Wednesday and---reading between the lines---the conversation was not entirely amicable:

"I said some things I wanted him to hear," Krivsky said Wednesday afternoon. "Then he countered and I countered and so forth and so on.

"He feels like he complied and I think we feel there's some gaps."

Krivsky also appears a bit pissy over Bodes' claim that he did not receive a call from the Reds (can't blame Krivsky for that) and for Bodes' press release that was "critical" of Krivsky (seems to me that Krivsky's coy complaints over that are a bit disingenuous, since he's been doing the same thing via Cincy media channels). At any rate, beyond interpersonal disputes, the most important nugget of the article might be this:

Krivsky might file a grievance with Major League Baseball against the Nationals, claiming that Bowden knowingly sent Cincinnati damaged goods. However, Krivsky kept his intentions to himself.

"I'm not going to talk about that," Krivsky said. "I don't know what we may or may not do."

According to the Commissioner's office, Cincinnati may have no recourse on the dispute. Spokesman Richard Levin said that clubs often ask for physicals as a condition for trades to be made, and the teams usually sort out their own disagreements before the league gets involved.

"It's essentially buyer beware," Levin said.

In a way, I sort of wish Krivsky files a grievance. I'd be curious to see an investigation into what actually happened here---not that MLB would release its findings to us in the public, of course.

* * * *

Say hello to the Nats' newest minor league roving fielding instructor, Lenny Harris. He's a respected guy, and I'm sure it's a fine choice, but let's get down to brass tacks here: Harris is a former Red, i.e., a Bowden-era Red.

What is more, I'm wondering if the guy still carries a glove. Harris, of course, made his name by belonging to the "professional pinch-hitter" sub-class of the "professional hitter" species. Can you name the last time Harris compiled even 300 at-bats in a single season?

Really, try.

It was 1996, folks. Harris survived nearly a decade longer as a bench player. In only three of the subsequent nine seasons did he even get 200 at-bats. Essentially, he's the all-time-leader in pinch hits because that's all he could do for a very long time. But I suppose there's a reason why he kept on keeping on in that manner, and hopefully it rubs off on the Nats' minor leaguers.

* * * *

I've been meaning to link to this post for days now, but Nats Triple Play features an interesting discussion between two of its members---Nate and Dave---concerning the decision not to trade Alfonso Soriano, and how it relates to a fascinating (and Federally-approved lengthy) article on the ArmChairGM website. Banks of the Anacostia provides a follow-up.

* * * *

Random nuggets from the club's post-game notes:

  • The Nats are 7-1 at RFK since the Grand Re-Opening. (Must be the brisket!)
  • TR is now 0-8 in the Presidents Race.
  • The Nats have won two straight under a full moon, to even their seasonal record in four games this season under such a circumstance. The franchise is 4-6 under a full moon since moving to DC. Nick Johnson is hitting .833/.925/2.086 during full moon games.
  • Okay, I made up that last stat.
  • Reliever Micah Bowie a "mild left latissimus doris strain."
That's a strained upper back to the rest of us. He must've injured it on his last pitch, when he literally fell off the mound. Robinson told the AP that Bowie would be out a few days.