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July 5, 2009 [LINK / comment]

Nationals please the home fans

In Washington this weekend, Nationals got the upper hand of the Braves, managing to win consecutive games for the first time in two weeks. This afternoon, Scott Olsen went 8 2/3 innings, giving up only one run until somebody named McClouth hit a two-run homer, after which reliever Mike McDougall took over on the mound. After a nerve-wracking single and a walk, they got the third out to finish the game, winning by a score of 5-3 for the second day in a row. Olsen hit two singles and drove in a run, managing to surpass John Lannan's fine eight-inning performance yesterday. Key to victory: Keep your starting pitchers in the game for at least eight innings, to take the pressure off the shaky bullpen. The Saturday game was the third out of four Fourth of July home games that the Nationals have won, and the first in Nationals Park. (They were out of town this time a year ago.) Unfortunately, attendance for the three-game series with Atlanta was mediocre, exceeding 30,000 only once.

Dunn reaches #300, fast

The highlight of Saturday's game was Adam Dunn's home run in the seventh inning, a long blast that almost reached the back of the second deck in right-center field. It was his 22nd homer of the year, and the 300th of his career. He is "the 13th player to reach the 300-homer plateau before the age of 30," which means he is on the inside track to reach 500 lifetime homers, and maybe even 600 if he avoids any serious injuries. At the midpoint of the 2009 season, he is on track to hit at least 40 home runs for the sixth year in row. See article and Dunn's historical stats. I didn't realize that he had hit exactly 40 home runs in each of the last four years. That's gotta be a record in itself.

All Star rosters, 2009

Congratulations to Ryan Zimmerman on being selected (as a reserve player) for the 2009 All Star game, his first such appearance. He is the only Washington player to be so honored this year, and frankly I was a little surprised, given his recent slump. Obviously, his 30-game hitting streak got people's attention. Cristian Guzman is among those who are in the running for the NL "Final Vote." See and ESPN, from which I extracted the following table, adding my own picks. It's the first time I have voted more than once in the "democratic" All-Star selection system, and I was perhaps more "biased" than usual. Obviously, Albert Pujols deserved a place, both for his sustained excellence and for the sake of the fans in St. Louis where the All Star Game will be played, but I'm dubious about Derek Jeter, who is in a rut, relatively speaking. Congratulations are also due to Baltimore's Adam Jones, one of the youngest players ever to qualify for the "Midsummer Classic." Comparing to last year's roster, you can see that my picks were not as consistent with the "mainstream opinion" as in the past.

National League
Pos. Player Team My 1st vote My 2nd vote
C Yadier Molina Cardinals McCann, B., ATL McCann, B., ATL
1B Albert Pujols Cardinals Johnson, N., WAS Johnson, N., WAS
2B Chase Utley Phillies Hudson, O., LAD Hudson, O., LAD
3B David Wright Mets Zimmerman, R., WAS Zimmerman, R., WAS
SS Hanley Ramirez Marlins Guzman, C., WAS Guzman, C., WAS
OF Ryan Braun Brewers Braun, R., MIL Braun, R., MIL
OF Raul Ibanez Phillies Ibanez, R., PHI Hawpe, B., COL
OF Carlos Beltran Mets Beltran, C., NYM Beltran, C., NYM
American League
Pos. Player Team My 1st vote My 2nd vote
C Joe Mauer Twins Posada, J., NYY Posada, J., NYY
1B Mark Teixeira Yankees Cabrera, M., DET Cabrera, M., DET
2B Dustin Pedroia Red Sox Cano, R., NYY Hill, A., TOR
3B Evan Longoria Rays Young, M., TEX Longoria, E., TB
SS Derek Jeter Yankees Bartlett, J., TB Bartlett, J., TB
OF Jason Bay Red Sox Hunter, T., LAA Damon, J., NYY
OF Ichiro Suzuki Mariners Suzuki, I., SEA Suzuki, I., SEA
OF Josh Hamilton Rangers Jones, A., BAL Jones, A., BAL

Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 05 Jul 2009, 8: 19 PM

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