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Tuesday, August 22, 2006


So sorry

The Nationals are not making it easy for me to find something to write about. Only so often can I write “Nationals lost, here’s how” (not that I’ve actually ever used those words before).

Well, here’s something - a question and answer about Damian Jackson in the Mailbag segment on Nationals.com.
Isn't it time the Nats stop using outfielder Damian Jackson in important situations? Sunday's three-error performance was atrocious.
-- Robert L., Leesburg, Va.

No, I do not. Not playing Jackson will only make it worse. He made the errors, in part, because of lack of playing time. I have to commend Jackson for coming forward on Sunday and admitting that he was at fault. He didn't make any excuses.

Well, Rob, not to disagree to violently with Bill, but I believe that Damian should be immediately dropped from the team. What’s the point of continuing to employ him? Was there reason to have ever employed him? The answer to that question is: no. Jackson has made $2.23 million in his career from 1998-2003 according to Baseball-Reference (notice: he played in the majors in 2004 and 2005 and is currently in the majors, his salary for those years is not included in the $2.23 million). According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, Jackson is making $700,000 this year, so it’s just 2004 and 2005 that are unclear. He has played at least 6 years in the majors and has made at least $2.93 million dollars. The time has come for Jackson to retire. Except for the few games he played in the majors as a 24 year-old in 1998, Jackson has never shown that he could play at the major league level, or should play at a major league level. He was somehow good enough for a series of teams to allow him to play in the majors and he has become a multi-millionaire for his efforts. There is no reason to believe that Jackson has any real future in the majors, and so he should immediately retire and go off an play with his millions, or whatever is left. He is currently a multi-millionaire 32 year-old man, in the prime of his life. He has money and youth, why waste it showing how poorly he can play baseball?

Right, sorry, I was supposed to mention last night’s game, right? Ok, the Nationals lost. There, happy? No? Ok, so sorry.

Strange as it might seem, Traber actually pitched a quality start for the Nationals. Unfortunately, though Traber gave up just 3 runs in his 6.2 innings of work, and all three runs in the 7th inning, the Nationals were able to manage just 1 home-run against the Marlins. The Marlins won 3-1.

The game was tied 0-0 until the top of the sixth when the Nationals jumped to a seemingly unsurmountable lead when Soriano hit his 41st home-run of the year, giving the Nationals a 1-0 lead. Traber kept the Marlins from responding in the bottom of the sixth, and all was going well, until . . .

With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, the Marlins loaded the bases. Traber got Ramirez to ground out to lead off the inning, and struck-out Uggla for the second out. Then Traber stopped being able to pitch. He walked Cabrera and Willingham and then hit Helms to load the bases. Then Traber got Ross to foul out. So, struggling, Traber got out of the sixth inning successfully, but was not so fortunate in the seventh inning.

Olivio grounded out to start the inning, but trouble started immediately thereafter when Traber put Hermida on base by hitting him (Traber would hit two batters in the game, the other team hit none). Traber was able to get another out, but only by getting Abercrombie (PH for pitcher Sanchez) to sacrifice himself, moving Hermida to second. Two out, Hermida at second, sixth inning was more scary at this point, no? Ramirez then up. He hits a triple and Hermida, with no bases available for him to stand on, heads home and is safe across the plate. 2 out man at third base, tie-game. Uggla singles, Ramirez scores, Marlins ahead by a run. Robinson pulls Traber and Rauch takes over. Cabrera singles, Uggla scores and Cabrera to second on error by Soriano. Marlins up 3-1. They win 3-1.

box score
Washington Times recap
Left-hander Billy Traber gave the Washington Nationals quality pitching, but it was not good enough to compensate for inferior hitting.

Washington Post recap
It's as if they're playing basketball, and they go to the free throw line, where they haven't made a shot in a month. Or perhaps they're golfers with the yips, unable to stride confidently to three-foot putts and knock them solidly into the back of the cup. For the Washington Nationals, the free throws clank off the back of the rim, the gimme putts lip out, and there's almost no chance they'll get a key hit with runners in scoring position.

Reliver Jason Bergmann against RHP Josh Johnson (11-6, 2.84).
Unlike Bergmann’s last start, where he faced a fellow starting reliever, this time Bergmann faces a starting pitcher, one who has an era of 2.84 and has won 11 games. Johnson currently has an era of 5.06 in August and pitched only 1 quality start in 3 August starts (5 runs given up in 3 innings on August 5th, 4 runs given up in 6 innings in his last start on August 16, and 0 runs given up in 7 innings pitched on August 11th).

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