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Game Thread: Washington Senat...Texas Rangers at Washington Nationals- 2008 Game 77 of 162.

Isn't it about time these Texans left DC? Yes, I'm talking about the Texas Rangers, who last night laid a whuppin' on the Nationals, the likes of which we haven't seen around here since at least last Tuesday when the Twins put a poundin' on the Nationals out west and north a bit in Minnesota.

On The Hill...

This afternoon, Washington turns to the calming influence of one John "Cool Hand" Lannan, who takes a (4-8) record and 3.36 ERA to the mound, but hasn't added a win to that total since May 18th against the Orioles, and has lost four of his last five starts with one no-decision, though he hasn't allowed more than three runs in any of those five appearances. The Rangers? Well, somehow, Texas has turned former Philly starter Vicente Padilla into a bonafide #1, who is (9-3) with a 3.73 ERA in 15 starts and 91.2 innings pitched so far this season.

Lannan's lost three straight starts, giving up a HR in each start with a combined 6 runs allowed over 19.0 innings pitched, over which the Nationals have provided just one run per game in support, in 4-1, 3-1, and 2-1 losses to St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Minnesota. Vicente Padilla's won two straight starts, and three of four, and the 30-year old right-hander hasn't suffered a loss since April 24th, with the Rangers 9-1 in Padilla's 10 starts since then.

In 10 starts and 14 appearances over his 10-year MLB career, Padilla's pitched 67.2 innings against the Washington franchise, with 31 K's and a 3.99 ERA. On the road this season, the former D-Backs and Phillies' starter is (6-1) as a Ranger, allowing 60 hits in 52.2 innings, and surrendering 25 ER's, 10 HR's and 22 walks with 41 K's. Lannan's only experience in Interleague play came this season against the Orioles, where he was able to win on the road, so he's so far undefeated under American League rules, but this one's taking place in DC, where NL Rules stand, but Lannan's just (1-4) in 5 starts, with an ERA, 5.76, that's more than double his 2.33 mark on the road...

Nationals' #'s Against Vicente Padilla...

Elijah Dukes - 1 for 2, .500 AVG, 1 HR, 1 RBI.

Paul Lo Duca - 2 for 17, .118 AVG.

Pete Orr* - 3 for 3, 1.000 AVG.

DY - 3 for 10, .300 AVG, 1 RBI.

Felipe Lopez - 2 for 5, .400 AVG, 1 2B, 2 RBI's.

The "If They Were Playing" List...

Austin Kearns - 2 for 6, .333 AVG, 2 2B.

Johnny Estrada - (ed. note - "Yes, he's a National.") - 1 for 11, .091 AVG, 3 RBI's.


Tony Batista - 5 for 10, .500 AVG, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 RBI's.

* = According to an uncredited report at entitled, "Nationals option Mock, Sanches to Columbus", the Nationals have optioned starting pitcher Garrett Mock and reliever Brian Sanches to Triple-AAA Columbus, and in their stead Washington's added infielder and hustler extraordinaire, Pete Orr, as well as a replacement right-handed reliever in the person of one Steven Shell.

So far in '08, Pete Orr, one of the late cuts this Spring, has hit .267 with 14 doubles, 8 triples, 2 HR's and 30 RBI's in 65 games for the Columbus Clippers. Shell, (3-2, 2.62 ERA) has made 4 starts for Columbus, but he's been used mostly in a relief role, with 22 overall appearances, allowing 17 runs, 5 HR's and 14 walks in 58.1 innings on the mound.

THE BLAME GAME - (A Favorite) Decides Whether Or Not To Blame This One On...

DC Manager Manny Acta?

Writer Steve Yanda's writing the "Nationals Journal" blog for Washington Post Staff Writer Chico Harlan this weekend, and in Mr. Yanda's final post entitled, "Postgame wrap-up" he asks DC Manager Manny Acta about the decision to pinch hit Kory Casto with two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth inning of last night's game, (as opposed to a veteran bat like Aaron Boone's) to which Mr. Acta responds:

"It was only the sixth inning," Acta said. "We needed a contact hitter with a good eye at the plate," especially against Frank Francisco, who likes to throw the fastball."

Kory Casto lined out to end the inning, and the rally, and the Rangers put it out of reach in the top of the next frame, so Boone's bat was never put to use in the end...But you can't know that in the sixth? Though Casto was hitless in his last 3 games? Is Acta to blame? I don't think so...


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

The finale of the three game series with the former-Senators, also known as the Texas Rangers, gets underway at just past half-past one o'clock tomorrow afternoon, 1:35 pm EST. "Cool Hand" Lannan vs Vicente! Who hits one out? Dukes or Milledge? Jesus Flores? Who will be the Sunday Hero? Who's watching the Nationals?