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Game Thread: Washington Nationals at Colorado Rockies- 2008 Games 114-115 of 162. "DC Double-Header Game Thread...Plus...Super Dukes and Balester America..."

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On The Hill...

Here's yesterday's report on the Odalis Perez/Jeff Francis matchup. As of 11:50 pm EST Wednesday, there are conflicting reports about who will start which game tonight (Thurs.), but the when?...Is 3:05 pm EST for the first game of the afternoon/evening twin-bill. The game Perez doesn't pitch in will feature Jason Bergmann on the mound for the Nationals opposing either the Rockies' right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez or lefty Jeff Francis...

Bergmann's one and only career start against Colorado came on September 7, 2006 here at Coors Field in Denver, but...it didn't last long, as the then-24-year old Bergmann bowed out after just 3.2, allowing 5 hits, 5 runs, 1 HR and 3 walks, while also striking out 5...Leaving Neptune, NJ's favorite son with a 12.27 ERA, 2.18 WHIP and .385 BAA, uh, against the Rockies.

Now 26, Bergmann's (1-6) in 8 starts and 9 appearance on the road this season, with the one win coming back on May 15th in New York’s Shea Stadium...I'm tired of talking about Bergmann losing...The Nationals beat the Reds the last time Bergmann took the mound, breaking a five-game streak of losses in Bergmann starts, and Washington's been shut out 4 times when Bergmann's pitched, (1-0, 4-0, 3-0, 2-0), lost four 1-run games he began, and they should have won, rather than lost two, (if not three), of three scoreless appearances Bergmann threw in May immediately after being recalled from Triple-AAA Columbus...

Bergmann's (1-8) in '08 with a 4.33 ERA and 71 K's, 25 walks, a 1.30 WHIP and a .270 BAA after 16 starts, 18 appearances and 99.1 innings pitched...

...Signed as an amateur free agent out of Nagua in the Dominican Republic in 2001, Ubaldo Jimenez didn't debut with the Rockies until September 26, 2006. Jimenez's first start against the Nationals came the next season, on July 19, 2007, in RFK Stadium, where he threw 5.0 innings of 4-hit, 2-run ball, receiving no decision, but collecting 5 K's from DC batters. Later in '07, Jimenez welcomed Washington to Coors Field, opposing and defeating Tim Redding while throwing 7.0 innings in a 3-hit, 1 ER win.

Now 24, and coming off a (5-1) July during which Ubaldo Jimenez posted a 1.74 ERA, a 1.06 WHIP and a .201 BAA in 41.0 innings, (over which he allowed just 29 hits, 8 ER and 3 HR's while walking 15 and striking out 29)...Jimenez started August with a 7.0 inning, 2-hit shutout of the Marlins on the road in Miami. After starting the season (1-7), Jimenez is (7-2) in 9 starts since he broke a six-game losing streak on June 21st by beating the Mets right here in Coors Field...Now (8-9), Jimenez has lowered his ERA from a season-high 6.46 early in the season to a respectable 3.61 ERA after 24 starts and 142.0 innings heading into today's start...

...(ed. note - "And at 12:01 pm EST, Washington Post writer Chico Harlan makes it official in a Nationals Journal post entitled, "Details on the Doubleheader", in which Mr. Chico reports:

"The starters:

Game 1: Jason Bergmann (1-8, 4.33) vs. Jeff Francis (3-7, 5.67)

Game 2: Odalis Perez (4-8, 4.16) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (8-9, 3.61)"

** - Mr. Harlan also has a link to where Barry Svrluga fans can get a$29.95 photo of the Great Svrluga...on the Great Wall.

Nationals' #'s Against Ubaldo Jimenez...

Willie Harris - 1 for 3, .333 AVG, 1 3B, 1 RBI.

Ryan Zimmerman - 1 for 6, .167 AVG, 1 2B, 1 RBI.

Austin Kearns - 1 for 4, .250 AVG.

Ryan Langerhans - 1 for 2, .500 AVG, 1 SB.

Rockies vs Bergmann...

Matt Holliday - 1 for 2, .500 AVG, 1 HR, 2 RBI's.

Troy Tulowitzki - 1 for 2, .500 AVG.

Willy Taveras - 1 for 1, 1.000 AVG.

Super Dukes Goes Down...Doctors Guess 4-6 Weeks...Dukes Could Be Back By Monday...They Don't Know Dukes!!!

According to MLB.com's Bill Ladson, in an article at the Nationals' official site entitled, "Dukes headed to disabled list", the Nationals placed Elijah Dukes on the 15-Day DL with what Mr. Ladson calls a "right calf strain" which could cost Dukes four to six weeks out of an already-injury-shortened '08 campaign. Dukes, or Super Dukes, as he's come to be called, isn't like other players...(when it comes to healing), a fact which Nationals' Manager Manny Acta acknowledges in Mr. Ladson's article:

"'You can't put a time frame on him because he is a quick healer,' Acta said. 'It's very tricky, because the calf is a tough injury. Anytime you push off the leg, you put pressure on it. It takes longer than a lot of people think.'"

Of course...Manny Acta did tell MLB.com's Bill Ladson just the other day, in another article entitled, "Dukes tardy, then hobbled, in busy day", upon Dukes initially injuring his calf:

""It's not a pull or anything, so hopefully he'll be fine [on Sunday],' Acta said. 'We'll see how he his when he shows up [on Sunday], but it was nothing more than a charley horse.'"

So...

Balester America...

The most recent newsstand edition of Baseball America's magazine form of extensive baseball coverage features a column by Washington Nationals' correspondent Lacy Lusk entitled, "Here To Stay" which focuses on DC right-hander Collin Balester's ascent to the Majors this season, where the Nationals intend on giving the 22-year old a long look.

Balester seems to understand the cautious approach the Nationals took in breaking their franchises' former 4th Round pick, (in '04), up at a convenient point for all parties concerned, telling Ms. Lusk:

"I like that I had to wait a little longer to be able to stay here for a while instead of just getting called up right way and having to go back down...I want to stay here for the rest of my career. I don't just want to be here for this year."

In breaking down Balester's pitching, Ms. Lusk writes:

"Balester's fastball tops out at 94 mph. Balester's secondary pitches may determine just how long he stays this summer and beyond."

An analysis with which Balester himself would seem to agree:

"'My curveball is good, but I've got to start throwing my changeup a lot more, ' Balester said. 'Other than that, I just have to keep battling."

Pick up the latest issue of Baseball America's newsstand edition, Lacy Lusk's article alone is worth the price...and...How else are you going to find out about Nationals' prospect and Canadian Olympian Matt Rogelstad?

3:05 pm EST start for Game One, with the second to follow shortly after the conclusion of the opener. OK so it's officially Bergmann vs Francis...Perez vs Jimenez...Nationals vs Rockies. .268 Team BA for Colorado (3rd in the NL) vs .244 AVG for DC (16th of, uh 16)...Who's Watching The Nationals? The Double-Header? Who's Watching the Nationals? The Double-Header...