New month, new team, new hope
I hardly recognized any of the names in the Nationals' starting lineup this evening: Alberto Gonzalez? Emilio Bonifacio? I figured that Manny Acta was getting desperate, letting the new guys have a shot. Right off the bat (literally), the personnel shift paid off, as the Nats scored twice in the first inning and three times in the second. That was all they needed, as Odalis Perez kept the Cincinnati Reds under control, and the home team won, 5-2. Jesus Flores, Willie Harris, Lastings Milledge, and Elijah Dukes (who just came back off the DL) all had solid batting performances. Thus was the awful nine-game losing streak broken, and what better way to start off fresh with a new monthly calendar page. July 2008 will be a month to forget, and things can only get better from now on. (I think.)
It's too bad the Nationals had to let go of veterans Felipe Lopez, Paul Lo Duca, and Johnny Estrada, but they just weren't performing. No other team wanted them in a trade, so the Nationals front office released them unconditionally. Those three players will still get paid a total of $11 million under the terms of their contracts, however. See MLB.com.