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9/6/07 Travel Day Musings, Thoughts or Notes, Which Are All Really The Same Thing...Vol.3

     ...The Washington Nationals have taken five straight at home in RFK Stadium, and are now one win away from matching their longest winning streak of the season. From July 31-Aug 5, the Nationals took six straight at home from Cincinnati and St. Louis on a six-game homestand. The six game winning streak left the Nationals just nine games below .500 at 51-60...

     ...The current streak finds the NL East's fourth place Nationals fourteen games under .500 at 63-77 and heading out to Atlanta and Philadelphia for the next to last road trip of the season, as the team plays it's role in deciding the division as the only NL East team to play the remainder of their games within the division...

     ..."SCOUT's Summer Reverie"...After watching several Nationals pitchers debut in the last few games, my brother Scout, Braves Fan and Source for All Things Baseball, mentioned having thought back to John Smoltz's September call up way back in the the summer of 1988...

Q Do you remember Smoltz going (2-7)?

A I do remember him being bad, yeah...

Q What else do you remember? Off the top of your head?

A I remember that he was the guy they traded Doyle Alexander for, that's what I remember, I had no interest in watching him at the time. He had no control, but the best stuff ever...of a Brave at that point...

Q What was the trade?

A Doyle Alexander to Detroit for John Smoltz at the trade deadline that year I think...(Aug 12 '88 in a straight up 1 for 1 trade)

Q Doyle Alexander?

A He was the Braves best pitcher at the time, and they traded him to Detroit, they were in the hunt, Detroit that is?

Q How long did it take Smoltz to get his stuff together?

A I think it took him seeing a Sports Psychologist before he got his stuff together, but you'd better look that up before you write it, because I think they've downplayed that since...

*...According to Wikipedia.org, "Smoltz began to see a sports psychologist after...starting the 1991 season 2-11...after which he closed out the season (going) 12-2 helping the Braves win a tight NL West race..."*

A NL West race?...1991?...the Dodgers right? He(Smoltz) still had control problems, and some kind of mental excercise he did with his sports psychologist helped him focus on the mound.

Q What started this "Reverie" was the MLB debut of Nationals pitcher Jonathan Albaladejo, any thoughts on his stuff?

A He looked good to me.

Q Is that it?

A He's no Joba(Chamberlain) !! How 'bout that ?

Q That's enough out of you Scout...one more question...Any of the Braves rookie arms impress you?

A Uh...yeah JoJo(Reyes) got great stuff, Ascanio(Jose) and Acosta(Manny), both look good, I thought they'd use both at the trade deadline, but they didn't, they just traded everyone else...

Thanks Scout.

     Jonathan Albaladejo wasn't the only player to debut for the Nationals during the homestand. 2005 4th round pick Justin "J-Max" Maxwell got an at bat last night, lining out to right in a pinch hitting appearance in the fourth after coming on to replace injured starter Tim Redding in the batting order...

     ...Justin Maxwell was the Nationals second pick in the 2005 draft (following 1st pick Ryan Zimmerman as you'll be told by TV announcers ad infinitum for the rest of his DC career) after being drafted but not signing with the Baltimore Orioles (2001) and Texas Rangers (2004), and opting to play college ball in Maryland before signing with Washington and swinging his way up from Class A Hagerstown and Potomac in the Nationals minor league system...

     ..."J-Max" was in turn replaced in the lineup by the right handed pitcher Jonathan Albaladejo, a twenty-four year old free agent signing out of the Pirates organization, who had posted a 3-0 record this season with a 0.87 ERA in 15 appearances(as of Sept.1) for the Triple AAA Colombus Clippers, striking out 20 in 23.0 innings of work...

     ...Albaladejo (who is in need of a short nickname) picked up where he left off in the Minors, debuting last night with 3 K's in 1.2 innings of emergency relief as one of seven Nationals pitchers who took the mound in the Nationals win against the Marlins...

     ...also debuting with the Nationals on the homestand was left-hander Arnie Munoz, who apparently was good enough that the Nationals were comfortable trading Ray King to Milwaukee, leaving only Munoz, Mike Bacsik and Micah Bowie as the lefties in the big team's bullpen...

     ...Arnie Munoz was drafted by the White Sox in 1998, and made his Major League debut with Chicago six years later, going (0-1) in 11 appearances during which he gave up 20 hits, 16 runs, 4 home runs and 12 walks, while striking out 11 and posting a 10.05 ERA...

     ...Munoz was 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA in 51.2 innings in Columbus this season(as of 9/1) striking out 45 in 53 appearances, allowing 44 hits, but only 15 ER, and 18 walks...

     ...Munoz made his Nationals debut in Tuesday night's victory over the Marlins, replacing starter Shawn Hill with one on and one out in the seventh and getting a fly out from Jeremy Hermida for the second out of the inning in his first lefty vs lefty match up...

     ...Still waiting on the MLB debut of 2007 first round pick Ross Detwiler, though the Nationals are probably going to wait for the perfect spot to slip the rookie lefty in. I was hoping it would be as a starter in place of the injured Tim Redding, but Nationals.com writer Bill Ladson is reporting the Mike Bacsik will take Redding's spot...

That's all I got...

Nationals still 63-77.