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Game Thread: Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs - 2008 Game 131 of 162. "One Game To Decide It All...Can DC Win Season Series Against Baseball's Best? (Sorry, Cubs' Fans, This Is The Kind Of Stuff I Have To Cheer For...)"

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4/25 - Nationals 5 Cubs 3

4/26 - Nationals 0 Cubs 7

4/27 - Nationals 2 Cubs 0

8/22 - Nationals 13 Cubs 5

8/23 - Nationals 2 Cubs 9

8/24 - 1:10 pm EST, The Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field, Cubs Park, Chicago, Illinois.

On The Hill...

Hailing from Neptune...New Jersey, 26 years-old, standing 6'4'' and weighing in at 216lb, Jason Bergmann (2-9, 4.50 ERA in '08), is (2-6) in 10 starts and 1 relief appearance against Chicago's Cubs, allowing 62 hits, 27 ER's, 12 HR's and 15 walks with 49 K's and a 2.84 ERA over 63.1 innings. Bergmann's got just one start in Wrigley over his 4-year MLB career, a 6-4 loss on May 4th 2007, in which he lasted 6.0 innings, giving up 8 hits, 5 runs, (4 earned), 1 HR, and 2 walks. The HR was by Derrek Lee, who hit a two-run blast with soriANO! on in the 3rd frame...

The Nationals are 3-7 in Bergmann's last 10 starts, Bergmann's (1-4) over the same stretch, having allowed 27 hits and 21 runs (15 ER) in 22.1 IP in August. (1-1) in 4 starts this month, Bergmann's walked 11, K'd 14 and posted a 1.70 WHIP with a 6.04 ERA and a .300 BAA against the Reds, Rockies, Mets and Phils...

Upon acquiring Rich Harden (8-2, 2.04 ERA) from the Oakland Athletics, the Cubs' Manager Lou Piniella told MLB.com writer Carrie Muskat, as quoted in an article entitled, "Cubs acquire Harden in six-player deal":

"'I like our team,' Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. 'I like it even more now with this addition.'"

What had Mr. Piniella so excited was the acquisition of a 6-year veteran with a (36-19) record 15 starts into his 6th MLB season. Harden was (5-1) with a 2.34 ERA in 14 starts for the A's before trade, and he's (3-1) in 7 starts and 42.0 IP since joining Chicago, with the Cubs 5-2 in his appearances, in which he's allowed just 26 hits, 7 ER, 5 HR's and 14 walks while striking out 59 with a 1.50 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and .173 BAA...

Harden's never faced the Nationals. He's 2-0 in 3 August starts...and he hasn't let up a run in the last 12.0 innings he's pitched...including the 7.0 scoreless against the Reds last time out, in which he struck out 10 and allowed just 2 hits...

Cubs vs Rutgers University's Favorite Son, Jason Bergmann...

Derrek Lee - 2 for 3, .667 AVG, 1 HR, 2 RBI's.

Aramis Ramirez - 2 for 6, .333 AVG, 1 2B, 1 RBI.

Alfonso soriANO! - 2 for 7, .286 AVG, 1 2B, 1 RBI.

Daryle "D." Ward - 2 for 3, .667 AVG, 1 2B, 1 RBI.

Nationals' #'s Against Rich Harden...

Ronnie Belliard - 0 for 4

Cristian Guzman - 0 for 3

Willie Harris - 0 for 5

Oh Lord? I Miss Dmitri Young...

DY vs Rich Harden - 4 for 4, 1.000 AVG, 1 RBI.

Speaking of DY...The Estimable Doghouse Pointed This Out And I Followed Up On...

...Dmitri Young's being cleared to resume "baseball activities", which will start in Florida, according to Mark Zuckerman's post, "Good News About Dmitri" at the Washington Times' "Chatter" blog, where Mr. Zuckerman reports:

"According to GM Jim Bowden, Young (who was placed on the DL after the All-Star break when his blood sugar level spiked) is scheduled to report to Melbourne, Fla., tomorrow evening to start getting into baseball shape."

(ed. note - "A month or so of DY at first would be a sight for sore eyes...Hurry, Tuck the Arm in close, knock the helmet off and get back up here, DY.")

THE STRASBURG FILES...

Washington Post Sports Columnist Thomas Boswell is reporting from the 2008 Olympics in his article entitled, "With losses Nats could stand to land Strasburg", where he had just watched 2009's projected #1 Draft pick, pitcher Stephen Strasburg against the Cubans yesterday in Olympic competition. Strasburg, 20-years-old, gave up 6 hits, 1 HR and 3 runs, (2 earned) in 4.0 inning pitched against a roster he describes in Mr. Boswell's article as having, "A lot of their players (who) could be in the big leagues right now," and Strasburg critiques his own performance further in the article, as Mr. Boswell quotes him saying, (at various points in the article):

"'My stuff was [just] okay’...’I was up in the zone a little. I could have used my change-up a little more’...’They're a really good team that will hit a mistake’...’They do a good job of taking pitches. They're disciplined. But if I'd executed better, I'd have been all right. The worst pitch I threw all night [a high slider] was hit out of the park.'”

But as interesting as Strasburg's insight was, it was Mr. Boswell's writing that left the biggest impression, including his last paragraph, which fairly well sums up the state of the Nationals', uh...Nation?:

"Strasburg may pitch in a different kind of Series someday. Could it be for a Washington team that's lousy now? With the Nats' luck, it might be Seattle, Washington."

And Even The Site That Prints Whispers...

MLBtraderumors.com picked up on DC's fascination with the projected #1 pick in Sarah Green's post entitled, "A Closer Look At Strasburg", even linking back to federalbaseball.com's previous edition of the "THE STRASBURG FILES", (we're linked in the first sentence, under "attention"), which also links to ESPN.com's Buster Olney's blog post entitled, "How with the Rays use their not-so-secret weapon?", in which Mr. Olney mentions the Thomas Boswell article referenced above and then cautions excited DC fans:

"Of course, there is one catch there -- Strasburg's advisor is Scott Boras, and if the Nationals thought the asking price of Aaron Crow was high, well, they ain't seen nothing yet.”

For A Chicago Perspective on the series finale, check out the SBN's Cubs' blog:

Bleed Cubbie Blue.com

Well there's something to look forward to, thanks, Mr. Olney. Today's game in Wrigley gets underway at 2:20 pm EST, with Bergmann and Harden dueling on the raised dirt mound. Washington looks to seal the season series win, while the Cubs probably couldn't care less about DC, other than the fact that they're a team they should beat to maintain their lead in the central...Well I care! Who's Watching The Nationals?