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Game Thread: Washington Nationals at Washington Senat...Minnesota Twins- 2008 Game 74 of 162.

It's a 1:10 pm EST start time in Minneapolis, Minnesota's Metrodome, home of the AL Central's second-place Twins, who welcome the Washington Nationals for the finale of the three game Interleague series, with the Nationals looking to salvage a win and avoid being swept out of town by the Twins, whose pitching has dominated both night's contests. A DC win will also give the Nationals a winning record in the nine game road trip tomorrow's game concludes...

On The Hill...

Shawn Hill (1-3, 4.61 ERA) on the mound for the Nationals, earned his first win of the '08 campaign last time out, on the road in San Diego, where the 27-year old, 6'2'' right-handed sinker-baller beat the Padres, in spite of allowing a season-high 12 hits in 5.0 innings of a 7-6 Washington win. Shawn Hill's never faced the Twins, and he's only faced one player on the Minnesota roster, pitcher Livan Hernandez. Hill retired Hernandez in the only 2 at bats in which they've met.

Twins' lefty Glen Perkins (2-2, 4.57 ERA), Minnesota's 1st Round Draft pick in 2004, is a local boy, now 25-years old, out of Stillwater, Minnesota, and the University of Minnesota, where the 5'11', buck-ninety hurler threw 216.2 innings over two seasons, compiling a 19-5 record as a Golden Gopher before the Twins came calling and made Perkins their pick.

In 5 Minor League seasons, at all levels of the Twins' system, Perkins has a 16-22 record in 73 starts and 75 appearances with a 3.50 ERA in 368.2 innings pitched. In parts of three seasons with the Twins, Perkins is (2-2) with a 3.84 ERA in 8 starts and 31 outings. The only player currently on the Nationals' roster that Perkins has faced? Elijah Dukes, who went 0 for 2 against the Twins' left-hander last season.

Lo Duca's Debut At First...

After nearly re-breaking his just-healed right hand while reaching into the base path to catch a throw to first, Paul Lo Duca later commited a fielding error, and could have been charged with one or two more last night in his Nationals' debut as a first baseman. 1 for 7 in his first two games back, (0 for 4 last night), Lo Duca's now batting .208 on the season with 4 doubles and 4 RBI's in 18 games and 53 at bats.

Mock's Back On The Mound On Saturday...

According to Washington Post sports writer Chico Harlan's article entitled, "Acta Hopes Mock Steadies In 2nd Start", the Nationals will recall Garrett Mock to replace the injured left-hander Odalis Perez, who'll be missing his third straight start Saturday with "shoulder tendinitis". Mock's first Major League start came against San Francisco on June 8th, with Mock throwing just 4.1 innings, over which he allowed 7 hits, 4 ER's and 3 walks. Mr. Harlan quotes Nationals' Manager Manny Acta in the article, who expresses a belief that Mock will be more composed on the mound:

"'Well, this is going to be his second time around,' Manager Manny Acta said. 'He'll come over here, and he won't have that nervousness of the first start. Hopefully he feels more at home and can give us a solid outing.'"

Mr. Harlan's article also reports that, "Pena Is Benched Again", with Nationals' Hitting Coach Lenny Harris telling the Washington Post writer that outfielder Wily Mo Pena's:

"'...just missing balls that he was hitting out of the ballpark [last year]. He feels like he's struggling so bad that he wants to hit home runs like he did last year. He's trying hard. He just needs to relax more.'"

When Wily Mo Pena will return to the lineup? No one offers any info?

1:10 pm EST. Game three in Thunderdome the Metrodome. Hill vs Perkins. Perkins v Hill. The Nationals look avoid getting swept afte having swept the previous series against the Seattle Mariners. It'll be up to Hill...Who's watching the Nationals?