Nats extend losing streak
The good news is that the Nationals' "raw recruit" starting pitchers are pulling their own weight, to everyone's surprise. Shawn Hill, Jason Bergman, and Jason Simontacchi have all shown signs of potential excellence, holding down the opponents' run totals. Also, outfielder Nook Logan and shortstop Cristian Guzman have returned from the disabled list, offering hope that the team's anemic offense might get recharged. Victory is right around the corner!
The bad news is that the Nationals have now lost seven games in a row, breaking the team's previous record of six consecutive losses, which they did twice. Before the season started, few would have expected the Milwaukee Brewers to be such formidable opponents, but they have made life miserable for the Nats on this road trip to the NL Central Division. The batting averages of Ronnie Belliard, Dmitri Young, and Ryan Church have plummeted after reaching dazzling heights in April, and team batting average of .227 is now the second-lowest in the majors, just above the White Sox. Oh well, it could be worse...
Cordero takes leave
Washington Nationals' closer Chad Cordero has taken "bereavement leave" to be with his grandmother in Los Angeles. She has terminal brain cancer and is not expected to live much longer. This has been weighing on his mind, and apparently affected his performance on the mound. MLB bereavement leave extends for three to seven games, and Jon Rauch will be the Nats' closer for the time being. See MLB.com. Nats fans everywhere wish Chad and his family comfort in this sad time.
Patterson on DL
John Patterson has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, after doctors found fluid in his elbow. See MLB.com. Patterson has yet to pitch an entire season without suffering a major health setback, and this raises fresh questions about his career future.
Even though the Nationals have yet to win a game this month, you've got to admit: Having a losing team play the National Pastime in Our Nation's Capital is much, much better than no baseball at all!
The mail bag
From Mike Zurawski: The Oakland (?) Athletics have put a $500,000 deposit fee to back up their application for a land-use permit so that their stadium in Fremont can get built. It is not a done deal yet, however, which makes you wonder how they can spend so much money on a purely speculative basis; see insidebayarea.com. As with Washington, Miami, and other cities, it's a delicate dance of "You go first," ... "No, you go first!" This is probably out of date already, but I'm astonished by the rapid progress taking at the construction site of Citi Field, the future home of the Mets. See the photos at baseball-fever.com.
From Chris Kassulke: The Minnesota Twins unveiled design details and artists' renderings of their future stadium last month. The exterior will feature "native Minnesotan limestone." See MLB.com. All that glass reminds me of Great American Ballpark or the future Washington Nationals stadium.