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Game Thread: Washington Senat...Texas Rangers at Washington Nationals- 2008 Game 76 of 162.

On The Hill...

Washington right-hander Garrett Mock's (0-1, 8.31 ERA) got one start in the Majors under his belt, and though his performance wasn't an overwhelming success, it was apparently enough to earn him another look with "Opening Night" Odalis Perez still experiencing shoulder issues and the Texas Rangers expecting someone to throw pitches to them in the tops of the frames, while Rangers' lefty Kason Gabbard (1-3, 4.94 ERA) does his job in the bottoms...(and no I didn't hit "K" instead of "J" back there)...

(K)ason Gabbard, 26, was acquired by the Rangers in what is beginning to look like a lopsided deal with the Boston Red Sox, who sent Gabbard, David Murphy (26 yo., .272, 20 2B, 10 HR, 48 RBI's) and Engel Beltre (18 yo., .278 AVG, 12 2B, 7 3B, 3 HR, 23 RBI's, 9 SB at Class-A Clinton), to Texas in exchange for "troubled" closer Eric Gagne, who has long ago moved on from Beantown.

Gabbard's one win this season came all the way back on April 4th in Los Angeles, where he beat the Angels with 7.0 innings of 7-hit, shutout pitching in an 11-6 Rangers' win. Since then, Gabbard's lost 3 of 9 starts, with, obviously, 6 no-decisions, though Texas has won a slim majority, 5 of the 9 games which Gabbard's started.

After losing his Major League debut at home against San Francisco on June 8th, in a game in which Garrett Mock, 25, allowed 7 hits, 4 ER, and 3 walks in 4.1 IP, Mock returned to Triple-AAA Columbus, and continued his successful season as a Clipper as if the quick trip and exit in DC hadn't fazed him at all, stepping back on the mound at home against the Indianapolis Indians and throwing 7.2 innings in a winning effort that saw Mock allow 7 hits and 3 ER's with 7 K's.

The Elijah Dukes Story Continues...

Elijah Dukes' batting average started at .241 last night in the first of three with the Texas Rangers, but after Dukes went 5 for 6 with 1 2B, 1 HR, and 2 RBI's while knocking in the winning run in extra innings, Dukes raised his '08 average to .270 with 6 doubles, 2 triples, 2 HR's, 14 RBI's and 8 steals in 122 at bats.

According to writer T.R. Sullivan's article entitled, "Rangers fall to Nats in 14 innings", at the Texas Rangers' official site, last night's starter Kevin Millwood told the writer:

"'I guess if it wasn't for Elijah Dukes, this would have been an easy game for us."


Ryan Langerhans goes down to make room for Mock. ('s Bill Ladson)

...I noticed Zech Zinicola's name in Columbus' box score from last night, and a quick look at his '08 stats show that after 8 games in which Zinicola was (2-0) with a 0.00 ERA, 3 saves and 15 K's in 12.1 IP at Class-A Potomac, Zinicola then moved to Double-AA Harrisburg, where he was (3-2) with a 2.89 ERA and 6 saves in 15 appearances and 18.2 IP, in which he collected 13 K's, earning a call to Columbus, where Zinicola's now added 1.0 scoreless and 1 K to his resume...Might Zech Zinicola complete the climb this September? Two years ago, there was talk he was already close?

...and Zech Zinicola's name turns up in the LA Times, (a google search locating an article entitled, "Mike Carp is hitting big at Binghampton", which is part of LA Times' Staff Writer Bob Cuomo's weekly "Minor League Spotlight" feature) in which Mr. Cuomo writes of Zinicola:

"...the Washington Nationals' sixth-round pick in 2006 from Arizona State (he joined the Sun Devils after playing at Arlington High in Riverside), is the closer for the Harrisburg Senators. He picked up his sixth save of the season Wednesday night, despite giving up three hits and a run in 1 1/3 innings of the Senators' 9-8 victory over the Trenton Thunder. On Thursday, the right-hander was promoted to triple-A Columbus...In all, he made 15 appearances for the Senators and was 3-2 with a 2.89 ERA."

Check the NatCast if you're heading to Nationals Park...

Game time 7:10 pm EST in Nationals Park, as the Nationals look to take two straight from Texas, and the Rangers look for split in the 2nd of 3 in DC. Mock vs Gabbard. What will Elijah Dukes do today? Who's watching the Nationals?