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Game Thread: Washington Nationals at Colorado Rockies- 2008 Game 114 of 162.

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On The Hill...

Lefty vs Lefty again on the mound as the Nationals' "Opening Night" Odalis Perez takes on the Rockies' Jeff Francis. In 17 starts and 18 appearances against Colorado in his 10-year career, Perez is (6-7) with a 3.87 ERA in 109.1 innings pitched opposite the Denver-based baseball team. Francis has faced Washington 3 times as a starter in his 5-year career in Colorado, and he's (1-0) with a 5.29 ERA in 17.0 innings pitched against DC.

Odalis Perez is (3-4) in his last 10 starts, with Washington 5-5 over the same stretch, but Perez has won 2 of his last 3 outings, leaving the 31-year old left-hander (4-8) with a 4.16 ERA and 74 K's in 106.0 '08 innings pitched. Francis, 27, the Rockies' 1st Round pick, 9th overall in 2002, has a (3-4) record in his last 10 starts, and Colorado's dropped 7 of the 10 Francis' starts since May 13th, bringing Francis' '08 totals to (3-7) and a 5.67 ERA in 100.0 innings. Francis is making his first start since going on the DL on June 29th with inflammation in his left (pitching) shoulder...

Nationals' #'s Against Jeff Francis...

Ronnie Belliard - 2 for 6, .333 AVG.

Jesus Flores - 1 for 3, .333 AVG.

Austin Kearns - 3 for 11, .273 AVG, 1 HR, 1 RBI.

Lastings Milledge - 2 for 2, 1.000 AVG, 1 RBI.

Pete Orr - 2 for 3, .667 AVG.

Odalis Perez - 2 for 4, .500 AVG.

Ryan Zimmerman - 6 for 9, .667 AVG, 2 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI's.

Odalis Perez vs The Rockies...

Garrett Atkins - 3 for 7, .429 AVG.

Jeff Baker - 1 for 3, .333 AVG, 1 2B, 1 RBI.

Clint Barmes - 9 for 12, .750 AVG, 4 2B, 1 RBI.

Nationals Might Not Sign Their '08 1st Round Pick Or Their 3rd, 4th or 5th Round Picks...

According to MLB.com's Bill Ladson's article entitled, "Kasten: Nats not likely to sign all picks", four of the Nationals' top five '08 draft picks are still unsigned just 9 days away from the deadline to ink DC's prospect selections.

Mr. Ladson reports that DC GM Jim Bowden, "...said last week," that, "...negotiations with (Aaron) Crow, the Nats' top pick weren't going well." Crow's situation is the only one that's discussed in-depth in the article, as first Mr. Ladson, and then Nationals President Stan Kasten explains:

"The Nationals feel that Crow's salary should be similar to what pitcher Ross Detwiler received. Detwiler, the team's first-round pick in 2007, received a $2.15 million signing bonus.

"'The Crow case is a little interesting. In some respects, that decision is easier than all. It's kind of pretty well determined,' Kasten said. 'We know what the Chad Corderos, the Ryan Zimmermans, the Chris Marreros and the Ross Detwilers received. We know what their value is. We know what the No. 10 pick [in the first round] is already getting. The feeling is, [regarding Crow] it's between No. 10 this year and what Detwiler's contract was. That's the appropriate value. It's fairly easy to figure out.'"

On August 16, 2007, MLB.com's Bill Ladson wrote another article entitled, "Nats agree to terms with McGeary", which announced the Nationals' signing of Jack McGeary, their 6th Round pick in the '07 Draft, which meant that, in Mr. Ladson's words:

"The Nationals have now signed each of their first 20 selections from the 2007 draft."

The contract that Washington agreed to with McGeary included a $1.8 million dollar signing bonus (considered 1st Round money), as well as a free ride to Stanford courtesy of the Nationals, which was meant to compensate McGeary, who was thought to be a 1st Round talent, but who had dropped, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson in another article entitled, "McGeary, Nats happy to work out deal", "...because teams thought he would be difficult to sign and go straight to school," Mr. Ladson writes.

What happened within a year? Last year the Nationals went out of their way and worked a unique deal to sign a 6th Round pick, and this season, Washington goes from signing 20 of 20 Draft Picks to being unable to sign 4 of the top 5? (At least they have 2nd Round pick Destin Hood inked.) Washington Post writer Chico Harlan wrote back on July 14th, 2008, in an article entitled, "Top Five Picks, Team At Odds Over Bonuses", that:

"To sign last year's draft picks, the Washington Nationals used a mix of creativity and money. In some cases -- most notably with sixth-round pick Jack McGeary-- the team awarded signing bonuses far exceeding those recommended by Major League Baseball which uses a pick-by-pick scale to guide teams' payments."

Do you think Crow expects to be expects to be awarded a "signing bonus far exceeding" the MLB-recommended compensation? Don't give up hope, Nationals' fans. As Mr. Chico writes, quoting Nationals' Principal Owner Mark Lerner, who concludes optimistically:

"'Jim and the guys are negotiating, and a lot of them will be right up to the deadline, Aug. 14, Aug. 15 -- they might be midnight signings,' Lerner said."

Nine more days to get some picks inked...We'll have to try to keep updated on the negotiations...

The Colorado Fans' Perspective: the SBN's Rockies' blog...Purple Row

9:05 pm EST start time tonight for the third of four for Washington in Colorado. Perez vs Francis. Lefty vs Lefty. When's Guzman coming back? How about Dukes? AG? (Who's AG? Alberto Gonzalez!)...Washington's won 4 of their last 5...Can DC win a road series after sweeping the Reds last weekend...Who's Watching The Nationals? Live from Coors Field...