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Game Thread: Washington Nationals at Florida Marlins- 2008 Game 86 of 162. "Day 2 Of The Balester Era..."

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On The Hill...

"Opening Night" Odalis Perez (2-5, 3.87 ERA) has faced Florida once this season already, back on April 20th in Dolphin Stadium, throwing 6.0 innings of 5-hit, 1-run ball against the Marlins, with the one run unearned, 3 walks allowed, 7 K's, a 1.33 WHIP and a .208 BAA for the game. In his 10-year Major League career, Perez has pitched against the Fish 11 times, 8 as a starter, going (2-2) with a 3.55 ERA in 50.2 innings, over which the veteran lefty's allowed 51 hits, 20 ER's, 17 walks and 3 HR's for a career 1.34 WHIP and .268 BAA against the Marlins.

The one win Odalis earned in Miami Gardens, Florida in April, is one of only two wins Perez (2-3, 5.35 ERA) has collected in 7 starts away from DC this season. Of the 11 HR's Odalis has served up in '08, 7 have been hit on the road, and Perez has given up 23 ER, 20 walks and 52 hits in 38.2 innings for a 1.86 WHIP with opponents hitting .327 against "Opening Night" on tour.

Ricky Nolasco, the Marlins' 25-year old, 6'2'' third-year right-hander out of Corona, California, leads the Marlins in wins so far this season, posting an (8-4) record and a 4.05 ERA in 95.2 innings pitched in '08. 6.0 of those innings came against DC back on May 9th, when Nolasco (and the Marlins) beat the Nationals 7-3, with Nolasco allowing 4 hits and 1 of the earned runs, with 2 walks and 6 K's. In 5 starts and 7 appearances in his career, Nolasco's (4-1) with a 3.77 ERA against DC, having been hit 24 times for 12 ER's in 28.2 innings.

Nolasco's win over the Nationals earlier this season was on the road in Washington, and in fact, 5 of Nolasco's 8 wins (5-2, 4.37 ERA in 10 starts) this season came outside of Miami...But at home in Dolphin Stadium, Nolasco's posted a (3-2) record and 3.50 ERA in 5 starts and 7 appearances, with 6 HR's launched and 17 runs (14 earned) scored against him in 36.0 IP, where he's walked only 7, for a (1.17 WHIP) while striking out 26, and holding visiting teams to a .257 BAA.

Nationals' #'s Against Ricky Nolasco...

Cristian Guzman - 1 for 4, .250 AVG.

Paul Lo Duca - 5 for 9, .556 AVG, 2 RBI's.

Felipe Lopez - 1 for 11, .091 AVG, 1 HR, 1 RBI.

Pete Orr - 2 for 7, .286 AVG, 1 3B.

The "If They Were Playing" List...

Lastings Milledge - 2 for 3, .667 AVG.

Ryan Zimmerman - 2 for 14, .143 AVG, 1 2B, 1 RBI.

Nick Johnson - 3 for 12, .250 AVG, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI.

Early Returns On The Nationals' New Kids...

Before Collin Balester (1-0, 1.80 ERA) appeared in and earned the win in the first start of his MLB career, MLB.com's Bill Ladson quoted, in an article entitled, "Balester getting accustomed to Nats", DC Skipper Manny Acta, who broke down expectations for the 22-year old in his debut and for as long as he remains on the big league roster, telling Mr. Ladson:

"'He has one of the best fastballs in our system,' Acta said. 'That being said, control is going to be a key for him. In the past, he has shown that he can throw the ball over the plate. Except that here, it's not only throw it over the plate, it's sometimes on the edges of the plate.'"

As for 24-year old Roger Bernadina, MLB.com's Bill Ladson also talks to Mr. Acta in an article entitled, "Bernadina learning as he goes in bigs", where Acta provides an early analysis of Bernadina's performance (and shows his own excitement for watching these players "arrive" in the Majors):

"'He looked good [in his first game],' Nationals manager Manny Acta said. 'He got the first hit out of the way, and he looked good in the outfield. Got a bunt down, tried to steal a bag. It's out of the way, and he understands this is baseball.

'He's going to have to make some adjustments when people adjust to him, but he's getting an opportunity. He's playing his dream out.'"

Memo: To All MLB Pitchers Who Don't Read Federalbaseball.com - STOP HANGING PITCHES TO ELIJAH DUKES!

Last night Dukes was 3 for 5 with 1 HR, and 3 RBI's. Monday, Dukes was 1 for 4 in the first of three in Florida, so with a little of the old "addition", Duke is, for now, 4 for 9 with 2 HR's and 4 RBI's two games into the series. Dukes' June was the best month (outside of HR's) of his (admittedly nascent) two-year Major League career, as DUKES!! finished the month batting .292 in 27 games and 106 at bats, scoring 14 runs on 31 hits, 4 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR's, and 15 RBI's, with 16 walks and 5 stolen bases.

The Marlins' Fans' Perspective, Check out the SBN's Marlins' blog:

FishStripes

It's a 12:10 pm EST start early this afternoon for the rubber match of the three game series between the Nationals and Marlins, so there should be plenty of dolphin-blue and orange empty seats in Dolphin Stadium as Odalis Perez and Ricky Nolasco square off on the hill. It is Florida though, so there's a 60% chance of rain according to the latest forecast...