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The Washington Nationals' Adam Dunn Era: Day Two. Live From Florida.

Olsen vs The Marlins...

Does Scott Olsen have the book on his former team? Is he upset about Florida trading him to Washington? Is Olsen going out there tonight with something to prove, or do the Florida Marlins know all the there is to when it comes to the 25-year-old left-hander out of Kalamazoo, Michigan?

Selected by Florida in the 6th Round of the 2002 MLB Amateur Draft and traded to DC after 176 starts over seven seasons in the Marlins' system, Olsen jumped from the Double-A Carolina Mudcats to the Marlins' rotation at just twenty-one years old, debuting in the majors on June 25, 2005, and since then the 6'4'' lefty has pitched all but one game at the major league level. Tomorrow's start will be his first for any team other than Florida and will, of course, be against the same Marlins...Does Scott Olsen have something to prove? Was Florida right to part with him when he was due a substantial raise? 

All we have to go on for Olsen against his former teammates is the Spring start he made against the Marlins on March 18th, '09, which was described by's Bill Ladson, in an article entitled, "Olsen can't contain opposition in loss", as, "his worst outing of the Spring." 4.0 IP, 5 hits, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K's, 4 doubles, one by his opponent on the mound tonight and that day, Josh Johnson, and one each by Emilio Bonifacio, Robert Andino and Gaby Sanchez. Bonifacio, one three players Washington traded to get Olsen and Josh Willingham, was 4 for 5 with 4 runs scored and 2 RBI's and the whole inside the park, blah, blah against John Lannan yesterday afternoon in the Season Opener, and Bonifacio was 4 for 5 with a run scored, a double, 2 triples and 4 RBI's when the teams met back in March, with 1 double and 1 for the 2 triples Bonifacio hit that day coming off Olsen. 

Florida's right-handed starter tonight, Josh Johnson, who along with Olsen, Anibal Sanchez and last night's Marlins' starter Ricky Nolasco, was part of the first rotation in MLB History to have four rookies with at least 10 wins in 2006, has dominated Washington in the 4 starts and 1 relief appearance he's made against them thus far in his career, posting a (3-0) record with 21 K's in 26.0 innings, over which he's allowed 18 hits, 10 walks and 9 runs. 

Olsen vs Johnson tonight at 7:05 pm EST. Olsen vs the Marlins. Josh Johnson puts his undefeated streak against the Nationals on the line...

I Know I Said "Just One More Season Preview" Yesterday, But...

My hometown newspaper...or at least the closest thing there still is to a "hometown" paper, the Newark Star-Ledger presented its MLB Season preview this morning to get everyone prepared in the last few hours before games started on Opening Day, and in the full page feature by Star-Ledger Staff writer Michael J. Fensom, the Washington Nationals get a mention in the NL East section under a subheading of "One More Thing", where Mr. Fensom writes, after mentioning the Nationals' low '08 win total, that:

"...the team has surely improved from its 08 debacle: It signed Adam Dunn, the best power hitter to hit Washington since Frank Howard, and could benefit from the development of younger players such as Lastings Milledge, the former Met who will bat leadoff..."

...and now I'm excited, because this is one of the rare instances in which a Star-Ledger staff writer is mentioning the Nationals without sneaking in a snide remark, or otherwise running down the nation's capital's favorite team, but then Mr. Fensom continues:

"And if the Nats are willing to spend the money, they have the No. 1 pick in the 2009 amateur draft -- and the inside track at Stephen Strasbourg, the top amateur pitching prospect since Roger Clemens." want to tell them or should I?

Speaking of Strasburg...

Washington Times' writer Ben Goessling took a look at the Nationals' minor league system yesterday in an article entitled, "Developing A System". Mr. Goessling had to reach back a few weeks for a quote from the Nationals' about San Diego State University's Stephen Strasburg, who is describe by Mr. Goessling as, "...a pitching prospect so sublime that scouts have predicted he could be in the majors by September."

That is, if Washington can sign Strasburg after selecting Mr. Goessling reminds everyone, the Nationals have two top 10 picks this year, but:

"The reason for the extra first-rounder, illustrates what might be the biggest concern with the 2009 draft: being able to sign both players."

The Nationals need to draft and sign impact players with both 1st Round selections to accelerate the development of the DC system, which Mr. Goessling points out, "...hasn't had a 1st Round pick in the Majors since Ryan Zimmerman in 2005." Ross Detwiler got one introductory appearance. Colton Willems, Chris Marrero both first round picks in '06? Detwiler in '07? or Stephen Strasburg?? Which one of those prospects do you think would make it to the Majors first?

Adam Dunn's 6th Opening Day HR? Getting To Know Adam Dunn...

In 2005, Adam Dunn hit 2 HR's on Opening Day for the Cincinatti Reds against the the NY Mets, one each off Pedro Martinez and Braden Looper. In 2006, Dunn hit one off Cubs' starter Carlos Zambrano in a loss to the Cubs. In '07 it was 2 more in each of his first two at bats, again against Zambrano. In '08 against Arizona, Dunn was held in the park by Brandon Webb and the D-Backs' bullpen. Last night in the '09 Opener against the Marlins, Dunn went deep for his 6th Opening Day HR, this one off Ricky Nolasco.  

What to expect from Dunn early? Before last night, in 168 April games over 8 seasons in the majors, Dunn's hit ..271 with a .423 OBP, 25 doubles, 47 HR's and 104 RBI's in the first month of the season...

Game Thread...I'm collecting the Best Nationals-related Opening Day quotes I hear all day today for a GAME THREAD I'll put up just before Game Time...Find Your Favorites...Game Thread up after After 5:00 pm EST...Game 2 of 162 starts at 7:10 pm EST live from Miami...

Who's Watching The Nationals?