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Game Thread: San Francisco Giants at Washington Nationals- 2008 Game 64 of 162.

On the Hill...

Garrett Mock makes his Major League debut this afternoon pitching for the Washington Nationals against Barry Zito and the visiting San Francisco Giants in the third of a four game set in DC's Nationals Park. Mock, a 6'4'', 215 lb right-hander out of Houston, Texas, and the University of Houston, was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks and then-D-Backs' Scouting Director Mike Rizzo, who is now the Nationals' Assistant GM and Director of Baseball Ops.

Acquired along with Matt Chico* in the August 7, 2006 trade that sent Livan Hernandez to Arizona, Mock's posted a (3-2) record with a 3.06 ERA in 11 starts and 61.2 innings pitched over which he allowed 21 ER, 5 HR's, and 13 walks with 51 K's to tie for 2nd on the Columbus Clippers in K's, with prospect Colin Balester and behind only Tyler Clippard, who is expected to be called up to face the Giants on Monday, and has collected 59 K's this year at Triple-AAA.

When the Nationals brought Chico and Mock back in return for Hernandez, DC GM Jim Bowden told Washington Post sports writer Barry Svrluga, as recounted in an article entitled, "Hernandez Is Traded To Arizona":

"...Mock and Chico immediately join Colton Willems, a first-round pick this season ('06), as two of the Nationals' top three pitching prospects."

In an article at at the time entitled, "Nats deal Livan Hernandez to D-Backs for prospects", GM Jim Bowden is quoted, by the anonymous news services, stating:

"Our goal is to trade for pitching, pitching, pitching...And hopefully top pitching prospects that are close to the big leagues."

Chico won a starting spot the next Spring, and now Mock is set to make his Major League debut after four seasons working his way up through Arizona and now DC's systems. (Colton Willems is in Double-AA Hagerstown, and he's (4-4) with a 4.60 ERA in 11 starts.)

Heading into '08's Spring Training,'s Bill Ladson spoke to Garrett Mock for an article entitled, "Excited Mock out to prove he belongs", in which Mr. Ladson noted Mock's enthusiasm as he started camp finally healthy after several seasons dealing with an injured left knee. Mock told Mr. Ladson, that he wanted a shot to show he could pitch in the Majors:

"Hopefully all my dreams will come true and I get to play in the big leagues," Mock said. "I hope to stay for a long time. You are not going to find too many people that enjoy baseball the way I do."

This afternoon starts the fulfillment of Garrett Mock's dreams. Whether or not he'll stay for a "long time" will be determined in large part by how he performs for a team that is struggling to score runs and often succumbing, these days, to big game-changing rallies before the offense can even get up and running.

The Giants throw some guy named Barry Zito.

Nationals' #'s Against Barry Zito...

Cristian Guzman - 1 for 20, .050 AVG, 2 BB, 7 K's.

Felipe Lopez - 3 for 8, .375 AVG, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI.

DY - 5 for 25, .200 AVG, 1 2B, 1 RBI.

The "If They Were Playing" List...

Ronnie Belliard - 11 for 30, .367 AVG, 1 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI's.

Paul Lo Duca - 4 for 9, .444 AVG, 1 2B, 1 RBI.

Nick Johnson - 3 for 4, .750 AVG, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI's.

* = Matt Chico Update -

Washington Times writer Mark Zuckerman has a note, at the end of his article entitled, "Too much celebration", about Washington lefty Matt Chico, who was sent to Triple-AAA Columbus after struggling in DC, and it appears that Mr. Chico might not be headed back up to DC any time soon:

"An MRI taken on Columbus left-hander Matt Chico revealed loose bone fragments in his throwing elbow. Chico will be evaluated in the District and could face surgery."

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

1:35 pm EST, the Nationals' youth movement officially begins, even if Mock just stays for this start, it'll be nice to get a look at a much-discussed prospect. The Nationals have now dropped four of five on the homestand, with just tonight and tomorrow at home against the Giants before they head out to Pittsburgh for three starting Tuesday.