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Oh, Hector!

Thursday night, I posted:

Carpenter suggested the possibility Bergmann could pitch out of the stretch exclusively, even as a starter. Sutton said he couldn't remember a pitcher doing that. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I recall Frank Wills doing just that for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1989. I think I remember that because I must have watched the Blue Jays on a Saturday game of the week and Tony Kubek made mention of him doing that. I recall thinking it was strange. However, the record reflects Wills making only four starts for the Jays in '89 and four in '90, as he was mainly a reliever those years.

Angels-Red Sox is on FOX right now, and guess who's doing this very thing for the visiting team? Hector Carrasco! Duh!

Good win for the Nats today. Of course, any win is a good win, especially when the win gets you up to .250 ball. But any win is a good win does no credit to today's win, which is a good win independent of sheer gratitude for any win.

Shawn Hill continued to impress. John Patterson aside, Hill was the smart money among the starter candidates - provided Hill could remain healthy, which he has thus far. Hill became the first Washington starter to complete seven innings in a game, and he's now averaging six innings per start. He benefitted from a couple of funky plays, but he also struck out five against only one walk, and that kind of combination usually heralds success.

Offensively, . . . well, let's put it this way: With a homer and a double today, Ryan Church is now on pace for 121.5 extra-base hits this season. I presume he will not sustain quite that pace, but it must be noted the guy is hitting the cover off the ball so far (while also exhibiting sticktoitiveness against lefties and on two-strike counts). This is Church's make-or-break year, and so far he's making. As notes, Church is silencing his long-time detractors (including, well, Hopefully, this will last, as Church is providing tremendous production for an individual making near the league minimum salary, and perhaps a strong performance will enhance his trade value. With Kory Casto and Chris Snelling on hand, Church is in a sense expendable beyond this season.

Speaking of Snelling, good old Doyle hit a two-run shot today and is now in line to receive regular playing time, at least until Nook Logan returns from injury. Snelling's presence might motivate the Nats to option Casto to Columbus, either upon Logan's return or in favor of righty-swinging outfielder Michael Restovich. With Ronnie Belliard in the lineup regularly (and thriving at the moment), the bench is deficient from the right side.

Dmitri Young also homered and walked twice today. At this point, he probably has to be considered a success. He's imposed no distractions to the team, is hitting the ball with decent authority, and hasn't been awful on defense. He's awkward at times and sort of clank-gloved, but he's also made a few nice scoops on low throws.

In fact, the most pressing issue for the Nats on the offense side is the team's best player, Ryan Zimmerman. Mired in a week-long slump, Zimmerman's hitting .180. He'll come around.

After every win, the natural reaction is a positive one, perhaps overly positive. The old saying is that every team starts the season with sixty wins and sixty losses (and it's what is done with the remaining games that separates the good clubs from the bad), and while the Nats might challenge that saying on the low end, it's fair to say this team will win some indeterminate number of games before the season ends. You can't jump in glee after a one-game winning streak - even if it means the team has won two out of three, or something insignificant like that. Let's not be silly. At the same time, however, this was indeed a nice win and there will be others like this to follow. The fellas weren't going to play .111 ball for very long. What they do now, after reaching the .250 mark, remains to be seen.

Update [2007-4-14 17:1:29 by Basil]: Ascending higher than .250 ball might dispel pregame predictions such as this one from Amazin' Avenue:

El Duque takes the hill at Shea this afternoon as the tri-state area braces itself for the impending nor'easter (aka Nats' hitters flailing futilely at Duque's Eephus).

For today at least, it was something more like silence (a/k/a the Mets doing nothing against our Canadian Assassin)!