Nick Johnson's Return To DC Spoiled By Upstart Nationals!!!!
For the first time since September 23, 2008, the Washington Nationals beat the Florida Marlins, but it took a six-run eighth to tie and overtake the Fish, who were 9-0 against DC in 2009 before blowing a 4-0 lead in the nation's capital tonight. Florida right-hander Josh Johnson held the Nationals to just two hits through seven shutout innings, but in the home-half of the eighth, Washington rallied with three-straight singles by Willie Harris, Alberto Gonzalez and Wil Nieves, and a two-run double by Ronnie Belliard that made it 4-2 Florida, knocking Johnson out when a moment ago he'd been cruising. Renyel Pinto replaced Johnson, and gave up an RBI groundout to Nyjer Morgan making it 4-3 and Marlins' right-hander Kiko Calero surrendered a single to Cristian Guzman that scored Ronnie B. and tied it at 4-4. A Josh Willingham pop-up later, Adam Dunn stepped to the plate against lefty Dan Meyer and launched a 93 mph fastball off the outside edge to deeeeep left and GONE!!! SHAKE N BAKE!! SHAKE N BAKE!! SHAKE N BAKE!!! Adam Dunn hits an opposite field 2-run HR to give the Nationals a 6-4 lead after eight.
Mike MacDougal came on in the ninth and struggled his way to his 9th save of the season, giving up a double and a one-out walk before getting a DP grounder out of Jeremy Hermida to DC shortstop Cristian Guzman, who stepped on second and fired to first to end it. Nationals' starter J.D. Martin was out in the fifth, having thrown 99 pitches and surrendered three runs, but the bullpen holds it close, with Jason Bergmann and Ron Villone limiting Florida to just 1 run on 4 hits in 3.2 IP and giving the Nationals the chance to eventually rally...
Nationals win, 6-4 Final.
Miss The Game? The DC Faithful Were Watching.
Check Out The SB Nation's Florida Marlins Blog: Fishstripes: Open Thread And Ichthyomancy: Marlins at Nationals 8/4.
(ed. note - "...ichtyomancy =...")
ichthyomancy - Federal Baseball.com English Dictionary, Vol: 2 :
Ichthyomancy \Ich"thy*o*man`cy\, n. [Gr. 'ichqy`s, -y`os, a fish
+ -mancy: cf. F. ichthyomancie.]
Divination by the heads or the entrails of fishes.
A BACKPAGE YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS:
• Adam Dunn Lied To Us!!! SHAKE N BAKE!! BREAK UP THE SHIFT!!!
• The Expos Curse: Broken?
• "Cool Hand" Up Next
For The Completists, Full Game Report After The JUMP...
Nationals now 35-72. (Countdown To 100 Losses Stuck At...28.)
BACKPAGE: (Under Construction)
• Adam Dunn Lied To Us!!! SHAKE N BAKE!! BREAK UP THE SHIFT!!!
A few weeks back, when the Washington Nationals invited a group of bloggers to visit Nationals Park and meet with the team, we were given the opportunity to interview a few players, Adam Dunn amongst them, and when I finally dared to get a question in, I took the chance to ask the one question** one of the Federal Baseball.com regulars, (the estimable Doghouse) wanted answered:
Q: Federal Baseball: "I just had a question for Adam (Dunn), one of the readers on my site wanted to know if you'd changed your hitting approach, at all, we noticed you hitting a lot more singles and opposite field...?"
"Yeah, I was uh, yeah, I've been working on that a lot, trying to hit, you know, a lot more singles this year and, um, you know, just trying to slap the ball to left, and things like that, you know try to use my speed game more...HECK NO, MAN!! (LAUGHTER)...Nah, you know, I don't know I think, it's a lot of little mechanical things, and you kind of work on and continue to work on, and just kinda allowing me to uh, you know, do that, I'm not trying to hit singles."
Dunn may not be trying to hit opposite field singles, but in the last two nights, he's hit two huge opposite field HR's and I'd swear I saw him aiming for the Crawford Boxes last time the Nationals visited the Astros, but maybe it's Dunn's little secret, maybe he wants other teams to keep playing the shift, Heck! Maybe he just wants pitcher to keep giving him fastballs on the outside edge that he can power over whatever fence you put in front of him. The Big Donkey, The Bigger Wilkerson, or Big Wilky, For Short, Big Walky, The Dunn-K!, call him what you will, and come watch him hit 40, cause even when he starts a game with 3 K's he can end it with a Dinger, and even 122 K's can be forgotten!! SHAKE N BAKE!!
(ed. note - " ** = Alright, full disclosure, two people here at Federal Baseball.com wanted questions answered, but the other one was ROSCOE, and he told me to ask Dunn, "Colt McCoy is coming back for his senior season, can the Horns go all the way and take down the Gators?")
• The Expos Curse: Broken?
The last Montreal Expo, Nick Johnson was traded last Friday, and was on the Marlins when the Washington Nationals beat them for the first time this season? Coincidence? Irony? (No, and ninety percent of what people call irony isn't either...sorry, pet peeve...that and celebrities saying things are 'surreal'...but I digest...") Some folks around here apparently believe that now that the last player in the franchise's history to don the powder blues (really pinstripes by Johnson's time) and the eMb is gone things will finally change in NATSTown™. Doghouse wrote about something called the "Curse of the Expos, Divined by the Boxing Priest", which he first read about on the now defunct Bad Nats blog:
Le Malediction de les Expos...Est-Il Pour Vrai? (Pardonnez-moi, j'a seulement étudié le français dans le lycée.)
Doghouse, our resident escaped physicist, went back to his favorite blog, Bad Nats, yesterday seeking the cause of the Nationals' ills, and he seems to think he may have come up with something, it's called the Curse of the Expos, and it was divined by the Boxing Priest...
(ed. note - "It'll probably help if you read these two Bad Nats' posts..."):
• Bad Nats' archive - "Ohh Doggies
In explaining the curse in last night's GameThread, Doghouse wrote:
"It’s the curse of Les Expos. The Nats won’t have a winning season until all the former Expos are gone. Sadly, the curse is at its height now that only one remains. Most sadly of all, that one is NJ. If we ever want to win, we may have to trade Nick Johnson."
I always thought, Rob Dibble was right and the Nationals only had to let Teddy win a race to turn things around, but is it going to take the trade of "Two-Spot" Johnson to bring a winning team to DC? Well, the Boxing Priest said so...
Has it been lifted? Now that Nick Johnson has been traded? Will good times take over in NATSTown™? ENATSTown© was abuzz tonight, with many wondering if the curse had been lifted. Will the trade that sent the Last Expo out of DC be the difference...Or maybe the curse of the Expos is just now where it always belonged, with Florida Marlins' owner Jeffrey Loria, who almost single-handedly ended baseball in Montreal and was rewarded with another franchise...Enjoy it, Jeff!!!. Sorry, Nick.
• "Cool Hand" Up Next
@ Washington Nationals
Wednesday, Aug 5, 2009, 7:05 PM EDT
Rick VandenHurk (1-0, 2.65) vs John "Cool Hand" Lannan (7-8, 3.41)
Partly cloudy,rain. Winds blowing out to right field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 85.
Complete Coverage >
Florida Marlins At Washington Nationals. Game 107 Of 162.
D.C.’s J.D. Martin and Florida’s Chris Coghlan face off in the first AB. Coghlan lines a full-count fastball to right and Elijah Dukes misplays it into a triple. Nick "Two-Spot" Johnson rips a single by Adam Dunn for a Trademark Single™ and a 1-0 lead. J.D. Martin hits Hanley Ramirez. Nyjer Morgan charges in on a line drive but comes up short, but he makes a strong throw to third for the force on Nick Johnson, who had to wait and see if Morgan made the catch. Martin walks Dan Uggla, then gets serious, striking out Jeremy Hermida on three straight pitches, and popping up Cody Ross to escape a long first...Josh Johnson cranks it up to 96 to get Nyjer Morgan swinging through a two-strike fastball. Cristian Guzman hits a weak pop to short center for a one-out single. Josh Willingham lines a single over second. Josh Johnson busts a two-strike slider inside on Adam Dunn to get a swinging K. Elijah Dukes rips a fastball to center, deeeep and caught by Cody Ross.
John Baker, Fish catcher, pops up to short to start the second. Josh Johnson K’s staring at a curve. Chris Coghlan grounds out to Guzman...Willie Harris pops out to short. Alberto "The General" Gonzalez K’s swinging. Wil Nieves grounds out to end another quick frame for Josh Johnson...Nick Johnson pops out to Willie Harris at third. Hanley Ramirez works the count full and walks with one down. Jorge Cantu grounds back to the mound, Martin throws to first. Dan Uggla takes a two-out walk. Jeremy Hermida grounds to short, Guzman throws to first to end the Marlins’ third...J.D. Martin pops out behind first. Nyjer Morgan K’s flailing at a 98 mph fastball outside. Cristian Guzman grounds back to the mound.
Cody Ross takes a 3-2 fastball to deep left and GONE!!! 2-0 Marlins. John Baker flies out to Nyjer Morgan. Josh Johnson destroys a fastball from J.D. Martin and sends it into the visitor’s bullpen for a 3-0 lead. Chris Coghlan singles, but the great Nick Johnson grounds into a double play to end the top of the fourth...Josh Willingham lines a one-hopper to Hanley Ramirez, who throws to first. Adam Dunn K’s pointing to the third strike with his bat instead of swinging. Elijah Dukes K’s chasing a 2-2 slider.
Hanley Ramirez pops out to Alberto Gonzalez. J.D. Martin surrenders a single to Jorge Cantu and walks Dan Uggla and he’s done, Jason Bergmann heads to the mound from the pen. Jeremy Hermida K’s looking, Cody Ross K’s chasing...Willie Harris K’s swinging through a 95 mph two-strike fastball. Alberto Gonzalez breaks his bat in half, slamming it in frustration after another swinging K. Wil Nieves flies out to Hermida in right to end the fifth.
Florida catcher John Baker lines to center and almost over Nyjer Morgan’s head. Josh Johnson gets a 1-2 bender on the outside edge for a backwards K for Bergmann!!! Chris Coghlan grounds to Adam Dunn at first, and Bergmann’s through the sixth...Jason Bergmann lines out to right. Nyjer Morgan lines out to second. Cristian Guzman grounds out to second to end the sixth...Jason Bergmann issues a leadoff walk to Nick Johnson, who uses his Discerning Eye™ to take a base. Bergmann pops up Hanley Ramirez and gets a fly ball to left from Jorge Cantu. Dan Uggla strokes a two-out single to short, but too deep in the hole, Guzman bounces a weak throw and there are two on with two down. Bergmann out for Ron Villone. Jeremy Hermida’s up. RBI line drive to right, Dukes throws in as Nick Johnson scores. 4-0 Florida. John Baker flies to right to end the top of the seventh...Josh Willingham pops out to first. Adam Dunn K’s swinging. Elijah Dukes grounds to short, Hanley Ramirez throws wide, but Nick Johnson grabs it. 4-0 after seven.
John Baker flies out to Nyjer Morgan in center. Josh Johnson K’s chasing. Ron Villone gives up a two-out single to Chris Coghlan, who drops a blooper into the left-center grass. Nick Johnson pops up behind second, Adam Dunn...drops it, but he throws to first to nail Coghlan as he tries to get back...Willie Harris drops a broken bat single into short right. Alberto Gonzalez follows with a single to center. Wil Nieves sends a weak liner sailing into right, bases loaded, no outs. Ronnie Belliard takes a hanging slider to left center for a two-run double, 4-2 Marlins!!! Josh Johnson out, Renyel Pinto vs Nyjer Morgan. Morgan grounds out to second, Nieves scores, 4-3 Fish. Cristian Guzman vs Kiko Calero. Guzman rips a single through second, by Uggla and Johnson and into right, Belliard scores, 4-4 ballgame. Josh Willingham pops out to Nick Johnson foul of first. Adam Dunn will get a new pitcher, Dan Meyer. Lefty vs Lefty. Adam Dunn takes a 93 mph fastball deeeeeep to left and GONE!! GONE!! GONE!!! SHAKE N BAKE!! SHAKE N BAKE!!! Two-run HR!! 6-4 Nationals!!!!! Elijah Dukes grounds out to third!!!
Mike MacDougal comes on to close it. Hanley Ramirez K’s swinging through a 96 mph fastball upstairs. Jorge Cantu drops a single in in front of Nyjer Morgan in center. Cantu takes second. MacDougal walks Dan Uggla. Jeremy Hermida grounds to short, Cristian Guzman has it, steps on second, throws to first, and the Washington Nationals beat the Florida Marlins for the first time this season!!!
Nationals win, 6-4 final.
Nationals now 35-72.