Friday, May 15, 2009, 7:05 PM EDT
Joe Blanton vs John Lannan
Mostly cloudy,rain. Game time temperature around 75.
?'s For The DC Faithful...
• The Nationals Bat Around In The Bullpen, And Go Back To The Original Closer, (ed. note - "Do I even have to ask if you think it's a good idea?")
• "Cool Hand" Or "Opening Day"?
• Does That Forecast Really Say Rain? Make Sure You Check The Natcast.
• Are You Disappointed Zimmerman Won't Be Trying To Extend The Streak?
• Cabrera And Olsen Tomorrow? Really?
This YesterDay In Washington Baseball History...
(The Continuing Attempt To Educate A Montreal Fan About DC Baseball History...)
(ed. note - "Before moving on to tonight's matchup with the Phillies, which I'm posting early because I'm heading down to DC, I thought that in light of recent Zimmerman-related events, I would be remiss if I didn't take a moment to note an anniversary of some significance in DC Baseball History which took place yesterday...")
According to the "This Day In Baseball" column in yesterday's edition of the Newark-Star Ledger, 95-years ago yesterday, on May 14, 1913, the Washington Senators' legendary hurler, Walter "Big Train" Johnson's streak of 56.0 scoreless innings pitched came to an end when the St. Louis Browns finally forced a run across the plate in the fourth inning of game held in Sportsman's Park, in St. Louis.
In 1913, Walter Johnson was awarded the first of two MVP Awards he received in his 21-year-career with the Senators, in recognition of the fact that he'd finished (36-7) with a 1.14 ERA and a 0.78 WHIP in 36 starts, 12 relief appearances and 346.0 total innings pitched in which he allowed just 56 runs, 44 earned, 9 HR 's (0.2 HR/9) and 38 walks (1.0 BB/9) with 243 K's (6.3 K/9), and just 3 wild pitches.
Johnson's 36 wins in 1913 gave the then-25-year-old pitcher 151 career W's seven-years into his Senators' tenure. Seven years later to the day, on May 14, 1920, the 32-year-old "Big Train" recorded win #300 of his Hall of Fame career.
Tonight's Starting Pitchers...
#56 / Pitcher / Philadelphia Phillies
Dec 11, 1980
#31 / Pitcher / Washington Nationals
Sep 27, 1984
Blanton vs DC, Lannan vs Philly...
The Washington Nationals have connected for 16 hits, 4 HR's, 9 runs scored and a .356 AVG in 10.1 innings hitting against Philly righty Joe Blanton so far this season. The teams split Blanton's 2 '09 starts, with the 28-year-old product of the Oakland A's' system earning a W in an 8-2 win on April 16th in Nationals Park, and the Nationals taking a 13-11 decision in Citizen's Bank in which Blanton received no decision after surrendering 8 hits and 6 ER in 4.1 IP.
(0-1) in one start against Philadelphia this season, John Lannan allowed 9 hits and 6 runs, 3 of them earned, in a 7-1 loss to the Phillies on April 28th in Citizens Bank, and in two starts against the eventual World Series winners last season, Lannan was (0-2) at home in Nationals Park, in 11.2 IP in which he gave up 14 hits, 2 HR and 10 runs total, (8 of them earned).
Lannan's on a two-start winning streak after having dropped 3 of his first 5. Blanton takes the mound in DC tonight having won only 1 of 6 '09 starts, in which he's posted a 6.82 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP in 34.1 IP...(ed. note - "Zim owns Blanton...)
The Nationals vs Joe Blanton...
Ronnie Belliard - 3 for 8, .375 AVG, 1 2B, 1 RBI.
Elijah Dukes - 3 for 13, .231 AVG, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI.
Adam Dunn - 3 for 9, .333 AVG, 1 HR, 3 RBI's.
Cristian Guzman - 3 for 9, .333 AVG, 1 RBI.
Willie Harris - 2 for 6, .333 AVG, 1 HR, 1 RBI.
Anderson Hernandez - 2 for 6, .333 AVG.
Nick Johnson - 4 for 8, .500 AVG, 1 2B, 3 RBI's.
Austin Kearns - 2 for 6, .333 AVG, 1 2B.
Josh Willingham - 1 for 4, .250 AVG.
Ryan Zimmerman - 5 for 11, .455 AVG, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR's, 5 RBI's.
Lannan vs The Phillies -
Pedro Feliz - 5 for 9, .556 AVG, 1 HR, 3 RBI's.
Ryan Howard - 4 for 14, .286 AVG, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI's.
Jimmy Rollins - 5 for 15, .333 AVG, 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI's.
Chase Utley - 8 for 14, .571 AVG, 2 HR's, 5 RBI's.
Shane Victorino - 6 for 14, .429 AVG.
Jayson Werth - 3 for 11, .273 AVG, 2 HR's, 2 RBI's.
Braves Collecting Former Expos/Nationals' Starting Rotation...
Did anyone notice Tony Armas pitching in the Braves' system recently? Will he possibly join Javier Vazquez for the '09 edition of the '99 Expos' Dream Rotation? The SBN's Braves blog, Talking Chop had a post on his surprise appearance in Mississipi earlier this week.
Sky Kalkman of Beyond the Box Score, the SBN's blog with "Statistics Gone Mad", came to the conclusion that the Washington Nationals are the unluckiest team in baseball in a post earlier this week entitled, "Finding The Lucky and Unlucky Teams So Far in 2009".
Back Where We Started...
I posted a story, after DC lefty Joe Beimel blew a save Tuesday night in San Francisco, entitled, (in part) "Joe Beimel Fails Closer Audition", in which I guessed that Beimel would return to his set-up role since he hadn't looked comfortable closing, and the next morning MLB.com's Bill Ladson was reporting, in an article entitled, "Back to the drawing board for Nats' pen", that DC Manager Manny Acta had decided to give "Wild" Joel Hanrahan another shot at nailing down the closer's role with the team, after he was pulled from the spot earlier this season after blowing 3 saves. In Acta's own words, as quoted by Mr. Ladson:
"We have tried just about every one of those guys. At the end of the game you usually need a guy who can strike guys out...(and Hanrahan's)...got more strikeouts than innings. He's had a few good outings. He hasn't walked a guy in, I think, his last five or six innings. So, give him an opportunity."
In Wednesday's win in the finale of the San Francisco series, however, it was Kip Wells who came out for the ninth after having recorded the final two outs of the eighth when Joe Beimel gave up a leadoff double, a one-out single and a run in what was then a 4-2 game. It took Wells just 4 pitches to get the Nationals out of the eighth, but he surrendered a leadoff triple and a run scoring double to start the ninth before retiring the next three Giants in order for his second save of the season...So who's going to come out the bullpen (Duck Pond) if the Nationals have a lead late in the game tonight?
Or will it be the People's Champion, Jesus Colome closing games for DC? Washington Times' writer Mark Zuckerman reported in an article entitled, "'Back to square one", that the Nationals sent Rule 5 Pick Terrell Young back to Cincinnati, which, "...clears a spot on the Nationals' 40-man roster, which the club will use to purchase the contract of Jesus Colome from Triple-A Syracuse", when he's available to return today. Colome was (0-2) with 3 saves and a 6.10 ERA in 9.0 G and 10.1 IP, in which he's allowed 10 hits, 10 R, 7 ER, 4 HR's and 2 walks with 9 K's collected. Jesus Colome is coming...
In Case You Missed It While The DC Faithful Were Resting Yesterday On A Nationals' Travel Day...
Doghouse, Federal Baseball.com's resident escaped physicist posted a link to this visual illusion which shows why it's so hard to hit a curve. (The illusion, created by Bucknell professor Arthur Shapiro, was original posted from livescience.com)
For The Phillies' Fans' Perspective, Check Out The SBN's Phillies Blog:
Check the NatCast if you're heading to Nationals Park...
Who's Watching The Nationals?