Six straight in the loss column for the Washington Nationals...and now a 6'9'', 240 lb, lefty named Mark Hendrickson is taking the mound as the Florida Marlins look to sweep the Nationals in their own Park, Nationals Park on the Anacostia. The Nationals send "Opening Night" Odalis Perez to the mound looking for his first win in Washington, after pitching 5.0 innings with no decision in the Nationals' Opener, and then 4.0 innings in a loss to St. Louis in his first two starts, which have left Odalis Perez (0-1) with a 6.00 ERA.
Mark Hendrickson, a veteran of seven Major League seasons with the Jays, Rays and Dodgers, came to Florida as a free agent in mid-January, and earned the Opening Day starting nod from Marlins' Manager Fredi Gonzalez who stated, in an article by Sports writer Mike Phillips of the Miami Herald entitled, "Marlins' Hendrickson to Start Opening Day", (ed. note - "Yeah possessive apostrophe!") that:
"'He deserves to be the Opening Day starter because of the way he has pitched.
'He surprised me how well he has been able to change speeds and keep hitters off balance, and how well he has been able to make adjustments to the hitters.'''
Hendrickson gave up 7 hits and 6 ER in 5.0 innings against the Mets on Opening Day, a game the Marlins, and Hendrickson in particular, lost, and in his second start of the season against Pittsburgh, Hendrickson gave up 5 hits and 3 runs in 5.1 IP, to earn a win, as Florida outscored the Pirates 7-3. In his career against the Nationals, Hendrickson's pitched 18.1 innings in 5 appearances, (3 as a starter), giving up 23 hits, 11 ER, 2 HR's and 10 walks, while striking out ten for a 5.40 ERA against DC.
Odalis Perez has faced the Marlins 9 times in his career, 6 times as a starter, and he's got a (2-1) record and a 4.15 ERA against the Fish in 39.0 IP from the hill, having allowed 40 hits, 18 ER, 3 HR's and 14 walks, while striking out 18.
Nationals' #'s -
On Wednesday night...
Cristian Guzman - 2 for 5, 1 HR, 1 RBI, .326 AVG
Lastings Milledge - 2 for 4, 1 R, .316 AVG
Ryan Zimmerman, Nick Johnson and Austin Kearns - 0 for 11, 6 LOB combined. And at the moment, Nick Johnson's .267 AVG, is the highest AVG from the 3-8 spots in the batting order. What do you expect the two hard-hitting left fielders Wily Mo Pena and Elijah Dukes to add offensively?
Joel Hanrahan? "Unhittable" Hanrahan??
2.0 IP, 2 hits, 3 runs, 3 earned, 2 walks...and now Hanrahan's ERA is at 9.00.
The Nationals have to avoid losing tonight, or they'll be just one game away from matching the longest losing streak last season(8) within the first 11 games this year.
Shawn Hill Update -
Washington Post sports writer Barry Svrluga reports, in his latest post on the "Nationals Journal" blog entitled, "Shawn Hill: Columbus on Sunday", that the right-hander expected to be the Nationals' ace is going to make at least one more start in the Minors before returning to DC. Hill's first start was a success in Class-A Potomac, but Mr. Svrluga writes about Nationals' Manager Manny Acta's many, many reasons for scheduling another rehab start:
"Manny Acta, who was there last night, had this to say:
"'We need to see him [against] better competition,' Acta said. 'We want him to see better competition. Obviously before last night, he pitched in our controlled environment that we had in Florida, and last night was a real type of game, and he didn't even see a lefty the whole game. And also, we want him to get his pitch count up. He only threw 69 pitches in the game.'"
So no Shawn Hill this weekend against Atlanta, and MLB.com's Bill Ladson raised a good question, in his article following Hill's first start entitled, "Hurler Hill makes Minors rehab start", where Mr. Ladson writes of Hill's impending return:
"Manager Manny Acta said if Hill is activated, Washington will not carry six starters. The current starting staff -- Odalis Perez, Jason Bergmann, Matt Chico, John Lannan and Tim Redding -- has pitched adequately, so the Nationals might have to make a tough decision on one of the five."
So that's obviously the poll question...
Check the NatCast if you're heading to Nationals Park.
7:10 Nationals vs Marlins...game three of three...
If Shawn Hill Returns...Who's Out Of The Starting Rotation?
This poll is closed
Matt Chico (0-1, 5.56 ERA)
Tim Redding (1-1, 0.82 ERA)
Jason Bergmann (0-1, 10.45 ERA)
Odalis Perez (0-1, 6.00 ERA)
John Lannan (0-1, 2.70 ERA)