Reds Visit DC...
Sorry, Kids. Ken Griffey, Jr. is not going to be in DC this weekend. And Nationals' Fans, Rejoice! Adam Dunn's here, but he's only visiting!! The Nationals failed to make any significant moves before yesterday's 4:00 pm EST trade deadline, but after last night's loss to Philadelphia, DC might have surprised a few (anyone who has not been watching the Nationals) when they released catcher Paul Lo Duca and Felipe Lopez and called up Emilio Bonifacio to make his Nationals' debut and Elijah Dukes who returns in "record" time from what many thought might be a 4-6 week stay on the DL following arthroscopic knee surgery in the second week of July...
I'm not sure who's going to being playing short tomorrow for Washington? Bonifacio out of position at short and Belliard at second? Or is Guzman's thumb healed enough for him to return at short with Bonifacio at second, Zimmerman at third(when his hand heals), and Kory Casto or Ronnie Belliard at first depending upon who's pitching against the Nationals? And does Super Dukes take over for Willie Harris in left for the Dukes, Milledge, Kearns outfield? Or is Dukes gonna work his way in slowly with Harris "thrilling" fans with his exciting brand of baseball lately? Don't all of these combinations sound better than anything that included "Lo Duca in left", or "Lo Duca at first?" (ed. note - "That's it, Lo Duca's gone and I'll try to never mention him again...Big Hand for Wil Nieves for winning the backup spot!!)
Bill Ladson's got some lineup updates, as he reports, in his article entitled, "Nats release Lo Duca, Estrada, Lopez":
"Bonifacio will now become the everyday second baseman, while Dukes will reclaim his position in left field."
I guess that answers all my questions...Wait? Who's playing short? And Zimmerman's day to day? Who's gonna play third?
On The Hill...
DC lefty "Opening Night" Odalis Perez has 6 career starts against Cincinnati with a (3-1) record and a 2.11 ERA in 42.2 innings pitched against the Reds to whom he's allowed 29 hits, 10 ER, 3 HR and 7 walks with 33 K's collected. At home in '08, however, Odalis is (0-4) in 9 starts, posting a (relatively-low-considering) 2.44 ERA and giving up 41 hits in 44.1 IP, but only surrendering 12 ER's on 5 HR's with 13 walks and 33 K's.
Since the beginning of June, Perez has struggled to a (1-4) record in 7 starts and 31.1 innings on the mound, with a 1.92 ERA in 2 June starts, and a 5.92 ERA in 5 July appearances. Perez got 15 runs of support in his only win since late May, a 15-6 victory over Atlanta on July 20th, but in his other three July starts, the Nationals have been outscored 13-0....13-0?!!
Reds' starter Homer Bailey has the kind of baseball name that you'd expect to find on a collectable card from the turn of the last century, but he's in just his second season with the big club in Cincy in 2008, and making just the 15th start of the 2004 1st Round Pick's fledgling career.
(0-4) in 6 '08 starts after putting up a (4-2) record in 9 starts last season, Bailey's also seen his ERA go up a run from an already high 5.76 in '07, to a 6.52 ERA in 29.0 innings pitched this season. 6'4'' and over 200 lbs, the 22-year old right-hander out of LaGrange, Texas has a 28-21 record in 77 starts and 411.1 minor league innings, but he's giving up a ton of hits at the major league level, 44 in 29.0 IP this season (after allowing 43 hits in 45.1 innings in '07), with 13 walks against 11 K's, since joining the Reds back on June 5th this season.
Homer Bailey's never faced the Nationals or any player currently on the DC roster. Welcome to DC, Homer...
Reds' #'s Against Odalis Perez...
Adam Dunn - 1 for 13, .077 AVG. 1 HR, 1 RBI.
Edwin Encarnacion - 2 for 3, .667 AVG, 1 2B.
Jeff Keppinger - 1 for 2, .500 AVG, 1 HR, 1 RBI.
The One Trade DC Did Make...Alberto Gonzalez, SS, Joins The Nationals from NY via AZ...
And two hours or so after I start this Game Thread, I think I might have my answer about who starts tomorrow at short...According to another Bill Ladson article from earlier this afternoon entitled, "Nats acquire shortstop Gonzalez", in which Mr. Ladson writes:
"Gonzalez is expected to report to Washington on Friday and be in uniform for the series opener against the Reds. He most likely will get some starts at shortstop, because Cristian Guzman is out..."
And in a post entitled, "The Fully Contextualized Jim Bowden Q&A, trade deadline ed.", Thursday night at the Washington Post's "Nationals Journal" blog, writer Chico Harlan talks to DC GM Jim Bowden about the Trade Deadline, which had passed less than three hours earlier, and quotes Mr. Bowden, (who responds to the question, "What do you think of Gonzalez? Why do you like him?") by stating :
"Alberto Gonzalez: Major League defensive shortstop. Mike Rizzo, (and scouts) Kris Kline, Bill Singer, Ed Durkin know him really well. They scouted him since they signed him. Major League shortstop. .250 or .260 hitter, but can really play shortstop with a gun. Hard to get middle infielders that can do that."
So if I were to make a guess...Belliard, Gonzalez, Bonifacio, Casto, left to right around the infield, and Super Dukes, Lasto and AK in the outfield with The Jesus behind the plate when the Nationals take the field behind Odalis Perez tomorrow night at 7:35 pm EST...Who's Watching the New Nationals??? Any lineup predictions?
OUCH!!-In-Retrospect Quote of The Day...
Again from Chico Harlan's "Nationals Journal" post, "The Fully Contextualized Jim Bowden Q&A, trade deadline ed.", in which Mr. Chico asks, "Q: How is this going to effect Felipe(Lopez)?" to which Mr. Bowden responds simply:
(ed. note - "At least Felipe Lopez went out swinging last night, and I have no hard feelings at all about Lopez, just a feeling that he always should've been better, and I'd be willing to bet that he'll have a new home and contract soon...So Long, Felipe.")
Check the NatCast if you're heading to Nationals Park...