On The Hill...
Shairon Martis' (0-1, 3.60) second start in the Majors comes tonight in Miami, Florida, where the Washington Nationals take on the Florida Marlins, and starter Scott Olsen, in the next-to-last series of the season between the two teams, with the final three in '08 September 23-25th in DC. With Washington 26.5 games out of first and the Marlins now 8.5 behind NY, the games mean little, except to the Nationals, who look to recover from the way the Marlins have embarrassed them this season, winning ten of the twelve games they've played thus far.
Martis, Washington's 21-year-old right-handed rookie took the "L" in his MLB debut, throwing 5.0 innings and allowing 4 hits and 2 ER's with 5 walks and 2 K's in a 2-0 Nationals' loss to the Braves. According to MLB.com's Bill Ladson's article after Martis first start entitled, "Martis outpitched in Nats debut", the young pitcher was pleased with his own performance:
"'Today, I think I did pretty well. I threw five innings,' Martis said. 'I was really excited. I had some butterflies in the first inning. After that, I had more confidence. Having (Catcher) Luke (Montz) was very good, because we have been together for three years. We know each other pretty well.'"
Tonight, Martis faces Florida lefty Scott Olsen, who's lost six-straight stretching back to his last win on July 19th in Philadelphia, Olsen's 6th of the season which had him at (6-4) in '08 before the losing streak (and three no-decisions) dropped the Marlins' starter's record to (6-10) on the season.
In his 4-year career with the Marlins, Olsen's faced the Nationals 11 times with a (5-3) record against DC and a 4.08 ERA in 64.0 innings pitched over which he's allowed 63 hits, 34 runs, (29 earned), 9 HR's and 40 walks with 41 K's, a 1.61 WHIP and .264 BAA. Olsen's (2-0) in 3 '08 starts against Washington, with Florida 3-0 in his outings...
Nationals' #'s Against Scott Olsen...
Ronnie Belliard - 8 for 22, .364 AVG, 1 2B, 2 HR's, 5 RBI's.
Aaron Boone - 3 for 5, .600 AVG, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBI's.
Cristian Guzman - 4 for 7, .571 AVG, 1 HR, 1 RBI.
Lastings Milledge - 6 for 21, .286 AVG.
Ryan Zimmerman - 4 for 26, .154 AVG.
Nationals' Pen vs The Marlins...
Jesus "Everyday" Colome vs...
Mike Jacobs - 1 for 3, .333 AVG, 1 HR, 2 RBI's
Josh Willingham - 2 for 3, .667 AVG, 1 2B.
Hanley Ramirez - 2 for 8, .250 AVG.
Charlie Manning vs...
Alfredo "The Amazing" Amezaga - 1 for 1, 1.000 AVG, 1 HR, 2 RBI's.
Saul "Sa-ool" Rivera vs...
Jorge Cantu - 3 for 5, .600 AVG, 2 2B, 1 RBI.
Wes Helms - 3 for 4, .750 AVG, 1 3B, 3 RBI's.
Mike Jacobs - 2 for 6, .333 AVG, 1 2B.
Hanley Ramirez - 4 for 8, .500 AVG, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI's.
Dan Uggla - 4 for 7, .571 AVG, 2 2B, 2 RBI's.
Josh Willingham - 5 for 11, .455 AVG, 1 RBI.
"Wild" Joel Hanrahan vs...
Alfredo "The Amazing" Amezaga - 2 for 4, .500 AVG.
Mike Jacobs - 1 for 3, .333 AVG, 1 HR, 2 RBI's.
Dan Uggla - 1 for 2, .500 AVG, 1 HR, 4 RBI's.
The New York Media Matrix...
Washington Post writer Chico Harlan rounds up, "All the news that's fit to print -- and more", in his most recent post at the Post's "Nationals Journal" blog, where Mr. Harlan wades into the wake of Elijah Dukes' emotional outbursts last night in Shea Stadium, collecting and commenting on the varied accounts of the on-field antics which included walking toward Mike Pelfrey on the mound after a pitch way inside, giving a two-handed chopping salute to the crowd and exhorting the fans to boo louder before blowing them a kiss on the way to the dugout after his last AB. (ed. note - "Anyone who doesn't believe that there is a genuine antipathy developing between the Nationals and the Mets, can just read the Comments section of Mr. Harlan's post to see just how riled up the DC faithful have become.)
And Over In Jersey...
One account Mr. Harlan didn't collect was in an article written by Newark Star-Ledger sports writer Jeremy Cothran entitled, "New York Mets' Pelfrey at odds over HBP", which Mr. Cothran starts by writing:
"Mike Pelfrey is a sturdy 6-foot-7, but even he blinked twice at the sight of Elijah Dukes glaring menacingly at him."
Mr. Cothran recounts, as several of the other articles did, Pelfrey's claims that he was in no way intending to hit Dukes, and how surprised he was at the DC outfielder's reaction and what Dukes had to say as he challenged the Mets' pitcher, but Mr. Cothran argues that with Pelfrey's approach to pitching inside he had better be prepared for similar future confrontations, as Mr. Cothran observes:
"As Pelfrey becomes more successful as a pitcher, word is starting to spread around the league that he is someone who operates aggressively on the inner half of the plate. His sinker can cut inside and out, and sometimes he's not going to have full command of the pitch. And since a 95-mph pitch smacking skin or bone doesn't feel too good, Pelfrey has learned he's going to deal with upset ballplayers."
As for Dukes' actions, Mr. Cothran concludes that it was, "...a show that wouldn't have been out of place in professional wrestling."
1B in '09? Today's Big ???
Before this season, the big question was who would be starting at first, Nick Johnson or Dmitri Young? In another Chico Harlan article at washingtonpost.com entitled, "GM Bowden Has His Say On the Future", Mr Harlan reports that DC GM (Jim):
“Bowden said that his team should not go into 2009 with Nick Johnson and Dmitri Young -- both of whom have spent this year either injured or unable to perform -- as its lone options at first base.”
So what other options are there? Ponying up for Mark Teixeira? Finally giving Larry Broadway a shot? Promoting Chris Marrero? 23-year-old Bill Rhinehart hit .269 with 39 doubles, 18 HR's and 89 RBI's combined playing first at three-levels of the DC system this season. Chris Marrero hit .250 in 70 games at Class-A Potomac before an injury. Can Rangers' first baseman Hank Blalock be signed, if available? (Texas has a $6.2 million dollar option on the 27-year old Blalock.) Who else is out there? Richie Sexson? Giambino? How's about Wilkerson? Give Kory Casto a chance? Paul Lo Duca wasn't that bad at first...
For A Florida-Based Perspective On The Weekend Series, check out the SBN's Marlins' blog:
Tonight's game gets underway in Dolphin Stadium, in front of thousands of empty Dolphin-blue and orange seats. Martis vs Olsen. Elijah Dukes wants to clear that scoreboard...Who's Watching The Nationals?