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GameThread: Washington Nationals At Tampa Bay Rays - Game 59 or 60 of 162.

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Washington Nationals
@ Tampa Bay Rays

Friday, Jun 12, 2009, 7:38 PM EDT
Tropicana Field

Craig Stammen vs Matt Garza

?'s For The DC Faithful...

• What The .... Is A DH?

• Dukes? Success Or Failure In His Return To Tampa?

• Dunn As DH, Things As They Should Be?

• Will The Nationals Benefit Or Suffer From More Playing Time For Austin Kearns?

• Does Stammen Stand A Chance?


Complete Coverage >


Elijah SSSSSUPER DUKESSSSS - Live At The Trop!!!

When the Tampa Bay Rays traded "troubled" outfielder Elijah Dukes to DC back on December 3rd 2007, then-Senior-Now-Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, Andrew Friedman told's Bill Chastain, in an article entitled, "Rays give Dukes a new lease on life", that the Rays as a team had always been, "...committed to providing Elijah the support needed to get his personal and professional life back on track," and the Rays determined, and Dukes seemed to agree, that, as Mr. Friedman put it then, "He has made progress, and a logical next step is a change of cities and a fresh start..."

Elijah Dukes' assessment of the trade to Washington, as told to the writer, Mr. Chastain:

"'It's an important move for my career and gives me the chance to prove myself both on and off the field. I appreciate this opportunity, and I'm looking forward to meeting the fans of Washington, D.C., as we move into a brand-new ballpark.'"

In 124 games at the major league level since being given "a fresh start", Dukes has hit .261 AVG (110 for 422) as a Washington National, collecting 25 doubles, 3 triples, 19 HR's, 71 RBI's and 15 stolen bases, with 65 walks and 117 K's, a .361 OBP, .449 SLG, and an .835 OPS (117 OPS+).

In an article entitled, "Dukes, Rays to meet (for first time) since 2007 deal", at the Washington Nationals' official site yesterday, which previewed the upcoming Interleague Series with the Rays, (which is the Nationals' first series with the Rays since they welcomed Tampa to RFK in '06 (6/30-7/1)),'s Bill Ladson asked Elijah Dukes what it would be like to come back and play in the city where he got his first chance in the Majors, Dukes' response:

"'I'm cool with it. I've been playing in Florida for a long time," Dukes said. 'I'm pretty familiar with playing in front of my home crowd. I have family watching over there. It's like playing at home.'"

At "home", at the Trop, Dukes has hit .235 (19 for 81) in 24 games in his career, with 2 doubles, 2 triples, 3 HR's, 9 RBI's and 2 stolen bases, posting a .376 OBP, .420 SLG, and a .796 OPS. So far in 2009, Dukes is hitting .258 in 18 games away from Washington, collecting 3 of his 9 doubles, 1 of his 6 HR's and 13 of his 27 '09 RBI's. Asked by's Mr. Ladson for his assessment of his own work so far in the '09 campaign, Dukes told the writer:

"'I'm not satisfied with what I'm doing,' he said. 'I need to be more consistent. I'm trying to keep working and get things turned around'"

In his last 10 games heading into the weekend series, Dukes is hitting just .200 (7 for 35), dropping his season average from .277 on May 17 to .253 today, with 2 2B, 2 HR's and 4 RBI's over that stretch.

DC Manager Manny Acta provided this assessment of Elijah Dukes' progress as a professional to Washington Post writer Mark Viera for a Nationals Journal post entitled, "Acta On The Hitting Slump And Lineup Changes":

"I think (Dukes has) done a good job for us. He lost some time on the DL, but he's done a good job. Obviously every wants to hit .300 and hit all the home runs and RBIs, so far he's done well. Some of these guys have gone down a little bit, tailed off, but we weren't expecting everyone here to hit .350 like they were in the beginning. He's going to be fine. When he gets the opportunity to get on the field and not lose time on the DL, he's going to be fine because he's too talented to struggle for a period of time."

Today's Rays' Starting Pitcher Is Going To Stare At You Now...(And I Think That's A Stink Eye He's Flashing)

Matt Garza

#22 / Pitcher / Tampa Bay Rays





Nov 26, 1983

'09 Stats - (4-4, 3.55 ERA), 12 GS, 78.2 IP, 59 H, 32 R, 31 ER, 10 HR, 30 BB, 68 K's, 1.13 WHIP, .206 BAA.

vs DC - N/A

Origin Story - Drafted by Twins (1st Round, 25th overall in 2005), Traded To TB - 11/28/07 w/ Eduardo Morlan and Jason Bartlett for Brendan Harris, Jason Pridle and Delmon Young.)

Craig Stammen

#35 / Pitcher / Washington Nationals





Mar 09, 1984

'09 Stats - (0-2, 6.45 ERA), 4GS, 22.1 IP, 24 H, 17 R, 16 ER, 2 HR, 6 BB, 8 K's, 1.34 WHIP, .267 BAA.

vs TB - N/A

Origin Story - Drafted by DC - 12th Round (354th overall) in 2005 out of University of Dayton(OH).

DC Starting Lineup: My Predictions...(DH + DC = LOOK OUT NOW!!)

1 - Guz – SS
2 -Two-Spot – 1B
3 - Zim – 3B
4 - Big Dinkie – (DHBD= DH by Design)
5 - Hammer – LF (Definitely left, he was right)
6 - Dukes – RF
7- Justin Maxwell – CF (Sorry, Slump Grass)
8 - Wil "Blocker" Nieves – C
9 - General Hard Slide – 2B

Actual DC Starting Lineup:

  1. The Guzzzz - SS
  2. Nick "Two-Spot" Johnson - 1B
  4. The Big Dinkie! - DH
  7. TAWH - CF
  8. The Bard - C
  9. Anderson "Elvis" Hernandez - 2B

A Note From Doghouse Admonishing Those Who Only Vote For Ryan Zimmerman For The All-Star Game 25x's As I Recommended Yesterday:


If you've only voted for Zim 25x, you're just not trying. Vote now, vote Zim, vote often!
(ed. note - "But Doghouse? 25x's each that's all you can vote, right? ;) ")


"You can vote as many times as you want at games!

At least until your wife gets sick of you flicking chads all over that almost (but not quite) land in her beer and she makes you stop. Grab a few ballots to punch while you’re standing in line to buy beer! Bring a pencil, you only have to vote for Zim… I think I’m up to about 150…"


For A Rays' Fan's Perspective Check Out The SBN's Tampa Bay Rays Blog:


What The .... Is A DH?

Who's Watching The Nationals?