The Nationals lost again this afternoon, this time a 3-2 comeback win by Florida on the bat of Alfredo "The Amazing" Amezaga, leaving Washington 2-10 against Marlins after the two teams have played 12 of the 18 games they'll play this season. DC dropped three straight to Florida back on April 7th-10th, and settled for just one of the three games they played in Miami one week later from April 18th-20th. Back home in the nation's capital in the second week of May, the 9th-11th, the Nationals were swept again at home as the Marlins left town with three wins, to go 6-0 so far in Nationals Park in '08, and now, with today's win, the Marlins improved to 4-2 in Dolphin Stadium. (ed. note - "You're welcome. Have second place on DC, Florida. Washington will take '09's #1 Pick! and spoil it all in September...")
Today's game...started well for Washington, with Paul Lo Duca singling in two runs off Marlins' starter Ricky Nolasco for an early 2-0 DC lead. "Opening Night" Odalis Perez retired the first nine batters he faced for a 2-0 lead after three, and those of us here at federalbaseball.com thought things were going well...
Now maybe we only have to eat half his (Lo Duca's) salary to get someone to take him…" - Doghouse ("When in doubt, blame PLoD.")
Unfortunately, the Nationals' offense dried up after those early runs. The right-hander Ricky Nolasco retired 15 of the next 16 DC batters, (allowing only Willie Harris to reach base in the third on an error by shortstop Hanley Ramirez), and in the bottom of the sixth the Marlins finally came through with support for their starter when Robert Andino hit an RBI single to drive in Hanley Ramirez, who had double and moved to third on a wild pitch from "Opening Night" Odalis Perez...
Highlight reel material from both Willie Harris, diving in left center for a sliding catch to steal extra bases off the bat of Cody Ross, and Roger Bernadina who layed out in center to rob Wes Helms hold the Marlins' to one run in the 8th. Check out the highlights with MLB.com's GAMEDAY.
Odalis Perez, (2-5) - 6.2 IP, 5 hits, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K's, 3.78 ERA.
What to do with Charlie Manning? Before giving up the go-ahead home run today to Alfredo "The Amazing" Amezaga, (who hadn't homered since 5/28...His only other HR!), Manning was already struggling in his first 19 games in the Majors, giving up 10 hits, 8 ER's, 2 HR's and 13 walks with 20 K's in 16.1 relief innings for DC since debuting on 5/24.
With the blown save and the loss this afternoon, Manning drops to (0-2) with a 4.96 ERA in 20 G's...And this from a pitcher who, in 11 games at Triple-AAA Columbus, was (0-1) with a 2.61 ERA in 10.1 innings pitched, over which he allowed just 7 hits, 3 ER's, 2 HR's and 6 walks with 12 K's. What to do with Charlie Manning? Who could come up to replace Manning? Bascik? Hinckley? Martis? O'Connor? Detwiler? How's Detwiler doing?
The Tallest Pitcher in MLB History, Jon Rauch...
...gets a mention in the most recent edition of USA Today Sports Weekly, dated June 2-8, in an article by Paul Petera and Ron Shandler of BaseballIQ.com entitled, (in the online edition), "Overachievers are this season's true fantasy All-Stars", in which one or both of the writers names Jon Rauch the "Runner-Up", behind only Cubs' reliever Kerry Wood, in a list of, "...players who have succeed their preseason projected values," in this case, as closers.
...and finally there's a quote from Manny Acta in the USA Today team notes section, in a post entitled, "Inside Pitch", where DC Manager Manny Acta makes a comparison between an old Expo and the newest Nationals' arm:
"'Very impressive," manager Manny Acta said. 'We haven't had an arm come through our system like this since Javier Vazquez (with the Montreal Expos). It's exciting.'"
Nationals now 34-52.