On The Hill...
With losses in 5 of his last 11 starts, and no-decisions in the other 6, Jason Bergmann has struggled to a (1-6) record in 13 starts and 15 appearances this season, while the Washington Nationals are just (2-13) when the Neptune, NJ native takes the mound. Bergmann's posted a 4.03 ERA in 82.2 IP, with a 1.29 WHIP, .261 BAA, and 88 hits, 45 runs, (37 earned), 13 HR's and just 19 walks allowed with 63 K's collected, though 30 of those 63 K's came over just 4 starts in May, (easily Bergmann's best month on the mound), during which he was (1-1) in 4 starts and 27.2 IP, with 1 CG, and the only 4 runs allowed in those games coming on 4 HR's in his 5/31 start in Arizona, a 4-0 DC loss, before which Bergmann had pitched 19.2 scoreless innings in a row, leaving the right-handed sinker-baller with a 1.30 ERA after May and arguably his best sustained run of success as a DC starter.
Bergmann faced tonight's opponent, the San Francisco Giants, earlier this year, on June 6th in DC, throwing just 3.0 innings, and giving up 10 hits, 8 runs, (5 earned) and 1 HR with 2 walks and 0 K's in a game the Giants would win 10-1. Bergmann's only other career outing against the Giants was a relief appearance in 2005 at old RFK Stadium, where he worked 2.0 scoreless innings in a 5-1 Nationals' loss, striking out 4 and allowing just 1 hit.
Tonight's start in AT&T Park will be Bergmann's first in San Francisco. On the road this year, Bergmann's (1-4) in 6 starts and 7 appearances with a 3.92 ERA. Opposing him on the mound at AT&T will be Barry Zito, the Giants' left-handed disappointment, who is just (1-8) in 10 starts at home in '08, (3-4 in 9 on the road), with a 6.66 ERA and 35 walks, 3 HR's, 37 ER's and 64 hits allowed in 50.0 innings pitched before the Bay Area crowd.
Zito matched up against DC rookie Garrett Mock during San Francisco's visit to the nation's capital in June, earning one of his 4 '08 wins for 5.0 innings of work, with 7 hits, 3 ER's, 1 HR and 4 walks allowed, and 2 batters K'd in a 6-3 Giants' win. Zito's started 4 games against the Nationals in his 9-year MLB career, all four times since joining the Giants last season, and he's (1-1) with a 3.91 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, and .244 BAA, having allowed 20 hits, 10 ER, 5 HR's and 11 walks with 16 K's in 23.0 innings pitched against Washington.
After signing a 7-year, $126 million dollar deal in late-December '06, the 30-year old Zito, who was coming off a (16-10) '06 season in Oakland, is (15-25) in 42 starts as a Giant, posting an (11-13) record with a 4.53 ERA last season, and a (4-12) '08 record so far with a 5.62 ERA, 62 K's, a 1.79 WHIP, .299 BAA, and 115 hits, 61 ER's, 9 HR's and 60 walks surrendered in 19 starts and 97.2 innings pitched...(Over Bergmann's last 19 starts, he's (5-7) for (roughly) $784,000, which...is... = to a start and a half's pay for Mr. Zito!!)
Nationals' #'s Against Barry Zito...
Ronnie Belliard - 11 for 30, .367 AVG, 1 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI's.
Johnny Estrada - 2 for 6, .333 AVG.
Austin Kearns - 1 for 8, .125 AVG, 1 HR, 2 RBI's.
RYAN ZIMMERMAN!!! - 1 for 5, .200 AVG, 1 3B.
Felipe Lopez - 3 for 8, .375 AVG, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI.
Paul Lo Duca - 4 for 9, .444 AVG, 1 2B, 1 RBI.
The "If They Were Playing" List...
DY - 5 for 25, 200 AVG, 1 2B, 1 RBI.
Aaron Boone - 2 for 14, .143 AVG, 1 2B, 2 RBI's.
Lastings Milledge - 2 for 3, .667 AVG, 1 HR, 2 RBI's.
Nick Johnson - 3 for 4, .750 AVG, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI's.
Jason Bergmann Best Watch Out For...
Aaron Rowand vs Bergmann - 5 for 13, .385 AVG, 3 2B, 1 RBI.
Baseball America: Newsstand Edition...
In the most recent edition of Baseball America's newsstand magazine, they have a list of the, "Top 25 Prospects" in baseball which is subtitled, "Midseason Snapshot", and though I was disappointed to find that there were no Washington Nationals on the list, I did quickly find DC's Class-A outfielder Michael Burgess 4th on a list of players "On The Rise", which the Baseball America writers describe as being comprised of:
"...all kinds of players who weren't in the Top 100 (prospects list) coming into the season but are strong contenders right now."
...And Michael Burgess, all of 19-years old, and one of three 1st Round Picks by the Nationals in the '07 Draft, chosen 49th overall after pitchers Ross Detwiler (9th) and Josh Smoker (31st), is also the subject of Baseball America's DC Correspondent Lacy Lusk's column in the MLB "Organization Reports" where Lacy Lusk labels Michael Burgess the "Best Player" in the Nationals' organization, writing:
"Burgess, a first-round supplemental pick last year out of a Tampa high school, hit just .245 in April but was at .265/.350/.512 overall with 15 HR's and 51 RBI's in 283 at bats...(with) power so prodigious that the 19-year-old worried about injuring fans outside the ball park during the home run derby*."
The "Biggest Leap Forward" according Lacy Lusk: Roger Bernadina
The "Biggest Disappointment" according to Lacy Lusk: Josh Smoker
(ed. note - " * = South Atlantic League All-Star Game Home Run Derby...won by Michael Burgess.)
"Zimmerman Watch: Left Coast Edition" - Federal Baseball's 24-Hour, 22 Hou...12 Hour... Intermittent Dodgy Coverage of the BREAKING NEWS! And ACTION!!......(Once Again With EXTRA! ACTION!!)...
Washington Post sports writer Chico Harlan reports that Ryan Zimmerman will be back in the lineup tonight, in an article entitled, "Nats Hoping Zimmerman Provides Boost", in which Mr. Harlan writes that Zimmerman, according to DC Manager Manny Acta, "...'has no limitations' because of the injury," and Mr. Harlan follows that up with a comment from DC GM Jim Bowden who states:
"I don't think he's coming back 100 percent ready to go. It might take a while to get the bat going, but he's such a great player."
Did DY's move to the DL hasten Zimmerman's return from his "slight labral tear"? Mr. Chico mentions that, "All along, the team had allowed Zimmerman, 23, to gauge when he felt ready," and DY's health issues simply, "...provided the green light for Zimmerman's return."
Zimmerman's back at third? Where does Belliard go? Any predictions for tonight's starting lineup? I went with Zimmerman, Guzman, Belliard and Casto around the infield with Langerhans, Harris and Kearns left to right around the outfield...though I'm guessing PLoD's gonna get in at first instead of Casto, but I'll accept that (until 7/31) as long as Jesus Flores is behind the plate...Game time: 10:15 pm EST...live from AT&T Park, with "McCovey Cove" right outside, and the SBN's McCovey Chronicles covering the action as well, so check them out to get the Giants' fans' perspective on the series...But More Importantly - Who's Watching the Nationals?