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Game Thread: Arizona Diamondbacks at Washington Nationals - 2008 Game 91 of 162.

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On The Hill...

Arizona right-hander Brandon Webb was (9-0) with a 2.56 ERA in his first 9 starts from the beginning of the '08 campaign through May 15th, but since then the Diamondbacks' 29-year old right-handed sinkerballer is just (3-4) in 9 starts with a 4.48 ERA in 54.2 innings pitched, allowing 60 hits, 27 ER, 6 HR's, and 14 walks, while striking out 51 batters.

One of the 3 wins for Webb after May 15th was against Washington when the Nationals were in Arizona on May 31st, with Webb throwing a complete game shutout, and allowing 6 hits with 8 K's in a 4-0 D-Backs win. Over his 6 seasons with the Diamondbacks, Webb's faced Washington 7 times, 6 as starter, and he's (3-2) with 2 CG's, 2 SO's, and a 3.13 ERA in 46.0 innings pitched. On the road, Webb's (6-3) this season, with a 2.70 ERA and 1.11 WHIP, giving up 19 ER's in 10 starts and 63.1 innings pitched away from home, and surrendering just 3 HR's and 18 walks with 55 K's while holding batters to a .219 BAA.

DC lefty "Opening Night" Odalis Perez (2-5, 3.78 ERA) has faced the D-Backs 20 times in 10 MLB seasons, posting a (5-5) record with a 3.45 ERA in 18 starts and 104.1 innings pitched against Arizona. The D-Backs have 99 hits off Perez over those starts with 40 runs scored, 13 HR's hit and 23 walks taken, while they've K'd 69 times and hit just .250 off the 31-year old veteran.

Perez spent a few weeks of June on the DL, and hasn't won a start since May 28th in San Diego. (0-1) in his last three startsf, the Nationals are (1-2) in those outings, though Perez has allowed just three runs over his last 13.2 innings pitched. At home in Nationals Park, "Opening Night" is (0-2) in 7 starts, but he's put up an impressive 2.27 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in DC, with just 9 ER's, 4 HR's and 11 walks against him and 25 K's and a .253 opponents' BAA in his favor...

Nationals' #'s Against Brandon Webb...

DY - ('08) - 1 for 4, .250 AVG. (Career) - 3 for 15, .200 AVG, 1 RBI.

Felipe Lopez - ('08) - 1 for 4, .250 AVG. (Career) - 10 for 33, .303 AVG, 1 2B, 1 RBI.

Paul Lo Duca - (No '08 stats vs. Webb.) - (Career) - 6 for 24, .250 AVG, 2 RBI's.

Austin Kearns - (No '08 stats vs Webb.) - (Career) - 7 for 18, .389 AVG, 2 2B 1 HR*, 4 RBI's.

Ronnie Belliard - (No '08 stats vs Webb) - (Career) - 6 for 23, .261 AVG, 3 RBI's.

(ed. note - * = 1 of only 2 DC HR's off Webb.)

The "If They Were Playing" List...

Ryan Zimmerman - ( No '08 stats vs Webb) - (Career) - 2 for 10, .200 AVG, 1 RBI.

Lastings Milledge - ('08) - 2 for 3, .667 AVG, 2 SB. (Career) - 3 for , .375 AVG.

Nick Johnson - (No '08 stats vs Webb) - (Career) - 3 for 7, .429 AVG, 1 2B, 1 HR*, 2 RBI's.

(ed. note - ( * = of course, the other HR off Webb.)

I Always Ask, "Who's Watching The Nationals"...Turns Out There Are Only 8,999 Of Us Out There...

In a "Big League Stew" blog post, "by 'Duk" entitled, "The Washington Nationals: Fine programming for shut-ins", Duk reports on the "Sports Business Journal's" estimate that just 9,000 DC households are tuning in to watch the Washington Nationals on MASN or MASN2, which the writer compares to the, "325 K households a game..." that take in a NY Yankees' broadcast. (ed. note - "Couldn't he find a more apt comparison?") But, nonetheless, 9,000 is a staggeringly low total viewer estimate.

Which...once again begs the question...Is this why 2 teams have left DC? (ed. note - "Check out the 'Comments' section of "Duk's" article, there are some people sticking up for the Nationals, but what I was really left wondering after having read the article and its responses, was...What does one of the commenters mean when he/she says that, "If someone had just built an [expletive] stadium..." in Montreal they would have a following, ratings and a fanbase...But what I want to know is what expletive he/she could've used with an "an" before it? Any guesses? (ed. note - "PG rated guesses or abbr. cusses only, please.")

The Kids Are Gonna Keep Coming...

According to Washington Times writer Mark Zuckerman in an article entitled, "Change is underway for the Nats", Collin Balester, Garrett Mock, Tyler Clippard and Roger Bernadina aren't the only prospects who are going to get a call to DC at some point this season, with Mr. Zuckerman writing:

"Other potential September call-ups include Harrisburg outfielders Mike Daniel and Justin Maxwell, catcher Luke Montz and pitchers Jordan Zimmermann and Adrian Alaniz and Columbus reliever Zechry Zinicola."

Mr. Zuckerman then quotes DC GM Jim Bowden who comments on both the rash of injuries the Nationals' have suffered and the rosters spots that have become available as a result, allowing/forcing the Nationals to develop talent at the Major League level, with Mr. Zuckerman writing that, "...the organization thinks it will be worth the growing pains," and Mr. Bowden adding:

"'I'd much rather go through them (growing pains) now in a year like this than I would in a year where you're contending to win,' Bowden said. 'You can't really do it then. So we really need to take advantage of this opportunity.'"

There's that positive spin I was looking for...Here's each of the potentinal new Nationals' profiles from

Mike Daniel (LF, AA-Harrisburg)

Justin Maxwell (OF, AA-Harrisburg)

Luke Montz (C, AAA-Columbus)

Jordan Zimmerman (RHP, AA-Harrisburg)

Adrian Alaniz (RRP, AA-Harrisburg)

Zechery Zinicola (RRP, AAA-Columbus)

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

First pitch tonight is just after 7:10 pm EST in Washington, DC. The Nationals dropped two of three on the road in Arizona in late May, and they've lost 5-straight overall including the long holiday-weeked four-game sweep at the hands of the Cincy Reds'. DC's Nationals look to snap that streak now that they're back home, and their first chance to do so is about to get underway...How many of the 8,999 of you are watching tonight???