On The Hill...
Jason Bergmann's (1-5) with a 4.60 ERA in 60.2 innings pitched over 10 starts and 1 relief inning so far in '08, and the Washington Nationals are just (1-10) in games in which the 27-year old right-hander has appeared. Baltimore right-hander Jeremy Guthrie, 29, has a (4-7) record in 17 starts and 108.2 innings, while posting a 3.64 ERA on the mound for the Orioles, who are a game over .500 at (8-9) in games Guthrie's started.
This will be Bergmann's first time facing the Orioles. In 6 Interleague games, the Neptune, NJ native, who has pitched exclusively for the Expos/Nationals in his 4-year NL-based career, is winless at (0-2) in 2 starts and 6 appearances, allowing 12 runs on 27 hits in 19.1 innings.
Guthrie's faced Washington once this season, (3 times total in his career), allowing just 1 run on 5 hits over 7.0 innings, but receiving no support in a 2-1 loss to the Nationals back on May 18th. Selected off waivers by Baltimore from Cleveland, where he was a former 1st Round pick back in 2002, Guthrie beat the Nationals on May 19th of 2007, allowing 1 run over 7.0 innings, and then dropped the second start that season, in which he also lasted 7.0 innings and gave up just 1. That's 3 runs over 21.0 innings in case you werent counting, and that's a 1.29 career ERA against DC.
Nationals' #'s Against Jeremy Guthrie...
Cristian Guzman - 2 for 9, .222 AVG, 1 HR, 1 RBI.
Felipe "Future-O" Lopez - 2 for 9, .222 AVG, 1 2B, 1 RBI.
Wil Nieves - 2 for 3, .667 AVG.
DY - 4 for 9, .444 AVG.
ESPN.com' Hall of Fame Baseball Reporter Peter Gammons Recognizes Jesus Flores And Elijah Dukes...
In the most recent post by ESPN.com baseball analyst and writer Peter Gammons on his blog at espn.go.com entitled, "Biggest first-half surprises and disappointments," Mr. Gammons recognizes DC catcher Jesus Flores (along with Cubs' backstop Geovany Soto) as the 9th of 10 biggest suprises of the first 81 games of the '08 season, writing:
"9. Catchers Jesus Flores, Nationals, and Geovany Soto, Cubs: Flores was a Rule 5 pick out of the Mets' system, Soto a converted third baseman. They have hit and emerged as leaders of their pitching staffs."
In spite of holding the worst record in the Majors at the midway point, the Nationals escape inclusion in the second list Mr. Gammons presents, "What players have most disappointed you", (probably because not much was expected out of the Nationals)...Well, they almost escape, but in the last line, under a subheading, of players who received votes, but not enough to warrant inclusion on the list, Mr. Gammons slips in a subtle slight, when he mentions Derek Jeter, "...whose .731 OPS ranks eighth among shortstops -- below Cristian Guzman and the underrated Ryan Theriot."
But Peter Gammons makes up for it in his final list, "What players will make a surprising contribution in the second half", when he includes, at #4, #34, DC outfielder Elijah Dukes, who has impressed everyone in DC, and is only now starting to gain recognition from the national press solely for his on-field accomplishments.
The (Last Of The Expos') Kids Are Coming...
Just as the Nationals and Orioles were getting started last night, MLB.com's Bill Ladson posted a story entitled, "Balester to make Major League debut", at the Nationals' official site, in which Mr. Ladson wrote:
"The Nationals have decided that right-hander Collin Balester will skip his scheduled start at Triple-A on Sunday and make his Major League debut against the Marlins on Tuesday."
The Montreal Expos' 114th Pick in the 4th Round of the '04 Amateur Draft, the 6'3'', right-handed, Balester is well on his way to his best season in the Minors, with a (9-3) record and 4.00 ERA in 15 starts and 78.2 innings pitched, including 8 wins in his last 10 appearances, and a (4-0) record through four June starts, with Balester allowing 22 hits, 7 ER's and 6 walks, with 19 K's in 22.1 innings pitched. Balester, a native of Huntington Beach, California, turned 22 on June 6th...Welcome to DC, Mr. Balester!
(ed. note - "Also on his way up from the Double-AA Harrisburg Senators, it's outfielder Roger Bernadina! to replace injured centerfielder Lastings Milledge, who was placed on the DL almost immediately after being injured in last night's game against the Orioles.")
Check the NatCast if you're heading to Nationals Park...
"It's the old days. The bad days. The all-or-nothing days. They're back. There's no choices left and I'm ready," - Marv, "Sin City" It's a rubber match, an old time Sunday showdown, with Washington and Baltimore once again at odds. Nationals Park, 1:35 pm EST. Bergmann vs Guthrie. Orioles vs Nationals. The Final '08 Interleague Matchup Between The Regional Rivals...Who's Watching the Nationals?