After Opening Night in the nation's capital against Atlanta, the Washington Nationals traveled to Philadelphia, where DC took two of three from the Phillies, winning the first two and losing the last, a loss that began a brutal 9-game losing streak which left the Nationals 3-9 before they'd end the slide and claim their fourth win. The next time the two teams met, in the first of a three-game series on May 19th in DC's Nationals Park, right-handed starter Tim Redding led the home team to a 4-0 victory over the visiting Phillies, bringing the Nationals' record up to 20-26...(the last time to date in '08 that Washington was within 6.0 games of a .500 record.) The Nationals dropped the next two games of that May series to the Phillies to leave the season matchup standing at 3-3 after 6 of the 18 games to be played between the NL East "rivals"* in the '08 campaign...
On The Hill...
Collin Balester has yet to face the Philadelphia Phillies in the first four games of the the 22-year old right-hander's MLB career. Balester lost his one home start to Houston, giving up 11 hits in 4.2 innings, over which he allowed 6 runs, 4 earned, and 1 HR with 3 K's, a 7.71 ERA and a .423 BAA in his DC debut. Last time out, on the road in Frisco, Balester received no decision in a 6-4 Giants' win in which he was on the hook for 6 hits and 3 earned runs, with 2 walks against and 2 K's for in 5 innings. Overall, the 2004 4th Round pick by the Expos is (1-2) in 2008 with a 5.75 ERA, 11 K's, a 1.48 WHIP, .265 BAA, 22 hits allowed, 13 ER's and 2 HR's surrendered and 8 walks offered in 20.1 innings pitched.
Balester's opponent, Philly righty Brett Myers, has faced the DC franchise 28 times in his 7-year career, 18 times as a starter, (and all for Philadelphia) with a (7-8) record, 4.89 ERA, 1.39 WHIP and .274 BAA the Nationals/Expos since Myers' debut on July 24th 2002. So far in '08, Myers has two starts against DC, in which he's posted an (0-1) record with a 4.91 ERA in 11.0 innings pitched, and away from home on the year the starter is (0-6) in 10 starts, with a 7.91 ERA, 1.99 WHIP, and .338 BAA in 52.1 innings.
Myers hasn't won a start since May 30th at home against Florida, and before that it was April 17th at home against Houston. Myers is (3-9) in '08 with a 5.82 ERA, 49 walks, 90 K's, a .279 BAA and a 1.57 WHIP. The 27-year old former 1st Round pick out of Jacksonville, Florida, is (1-6) in his last ten starts, with the Phillies (1-9) over the same stretch. The Phillies themselves, however, are 5-5 in their last 10, 56-49 heading into DC, and just one-half game out of first at the start of this three game set in the nation's capital.
Nationals' #'s Against Brett Myers...
Austin Kearns - '08 - 2 for 3, 1 2B, 2 RBI's. Career - 7 for 18, .389 AVG, 2 2B's, 4 RBI's.
Paul Lo Duca - '08 - 0 for 2. Career - 11 for 36, .306 AVG, 1 2B, 2 HR's 2 RBI's.
Felipe Lopez - '08 - 1 for 4, 1 2B. Career - 8 for 25, .320 AVG, 4 2B, 2 BB, 3 K's.
Cristian Guzman - '08 - 3 for 6. Career - 8 for 22, .364 AVG, 1 RBI.
Ryan Zimmerman - '08 - 1 for 4, 1 2B, 1 RBI. Career - 10 for 24, .417 AVG, 4 2B's, 1 3B, 1 HR, 12 RBI's, .792 SLG, 1.256 OPS.
Collin Balester Breakdown...
Balester vs Lefties - (.206 BAA, 1.68 WHIP, 8.1 IP, 7 H, 1 HR, 7 BB, 4 K's.)
Balester vs Righties - (.306 BAA, 1.33 WHIP, 12.0 IP, 15 H, 1 HR, 1 BB, 7 K's.)
- In this series, the Philadelphia Phillies (56-49) and 2nd Place in the NL East, will throw Myers, Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick, who are a combined (20-20) in 2008. The Nationals, (38-67), have Balester, Tim Redding and John Lannan lined up over the next three games, who together are a combined 3.0 games under .500 at (14-17) on the season.
Nationals' Trade Talk...
I don't know who to trust on the internets, any schlub with a computer can write a blog, (winks), so when I see a rumor I tend to take a look around and determine if there's any substance to the claims...Like the rumor I just read at mlbtraderumors.com in an article entitled, "Red Sox Have Little Interest in Tejada", where the author, Tim Dierkes writes:
"10:39pm: Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle says the Red Sox have 'almost no interest' in Tejada. Other teams are considering Tejada, but a trade is unlikely.
8:18pm: It's possible the Tigers are also in the mix for Tejada. They are among many teams scouting the Astros (the Nationals, Mets, Rangers, and Giants are others).
Confused for a moment as to why the Nationals would be scouting Tejada, (as I thought I had read), I clicked the "It's possible" link and was led to Jose De Jesus Ortiz's Houston Chronicle article entitled, "Boston could be in the mix for Tejada as the trade deadline nears", where Mr. Ortiz writes :
"The Washington Nationals, New York Mets, Texas Rangers, San Francisco Giants and Detroit Tigers had all planned to watch the Astros’ game against the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night...(and)...the Nationals have told folks all their players are available except Ryan Zimmerman."
I'm going to go ahead and assume that this is merely hyperbole on the part of the writer, since I doubt Jesus Flores, Joel Hanrahan, Garrett Mock, Lastings Milledge, Elijah Dukes, or even a few others are going to be made available, (Bowden wouldn't...Would he?), and of the few that might be, I'd think Paul Lo Duca is probably second-most likely to leave...The one player I think will join PLoD in departing DC, (and so far 9 of 21 votes cast in federalbaseball.com's current poll agree), is right-hander Tim Redding, who even got a mention towards the end of today's XM show, "Baseball This Morning", during which one of the hosts, (either Mark Patrick or Buck Martinez) mentioned Redding as a pitcher to watch as contenders look to fill out their rotations before Thursday's deadline...
7:10 pm EST start for the first of three with Philly.
Check the NatCast if you're heading to Nationals Park...
Balester vs Myers. DC vs Philly. The 1st Capital vs The Nation's Capital. Franklin vs Washington. Briere vs Ovechkin? Schmidt vs Zimmerman? Blasphemy vs Humor? It's the first of three...Who's Watching The Nationals?
(ed. note - " * = "Because no one really thinks of the Nationals as rivals. And whenever a Nationals' fan brings up the idea of a rivalry, the other team's fans tend to get all condescending, and like "Floyd" in "True Romance" that's one thing we'll not suffer...")