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On the bats of Zimmerman and Willingham, Nats pick up series win

Ryan Zimmerman crushes HR #23
Photo by Ian Koski / Nats Daily News

Not everything was at it seemed to be at the Nationals game this afternoon.  What was expected to be a fairly full house to watch Stephen Strasburg, was a half-full park of enthusiastic fans.  What was expected to be a show of dominance by Strasburg, was an effective, but not errorless, five inning outing by Strasburg.  Four protestors ran onto the field in the bottom of the fifth to protest the decision to hold the All Star Game in Arizona next year, and were eventually lead off the field.

But, in the end, it was a win.  Not a pretty win, by any stretch of the imagination, but home runs from Josh Willingham and Ryan Zimmerman lead the Nationals to a 5-3 win and a 2-1 series win over the Diamondbacks this afternoon at Nationals Park.  Stephen Strasburg would put in five innings of work, with 85 pitches thrown, and seven strikeouts, all swinging.  He was having some command issues, though, and after getting ahead in the count, he would sometimes struggle to finish the job.  That’s part of his learning process, and something he’ll need to master. Continue reading

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Nats drop embarrassing game to Diamondbacks, 8-2

Manager Jim Riggleman takes the ball from Jason Marquis
Photo by Anthony Amobi / Nats Daily News

The Nats have a hard choice right now.  Jason Marquis’ last two starts are little better than his April ones.  Tonight he pitched just 4 innings, but gave up 5 runs on 7 hits, walking 2 more.  Asked after the game tonight, manager Jim Riggleman said, “his sinker just wasn’t down.”  It showed.  Miguel Montero blasted him for a 2-run homer in the 2nd, and Gerardo Parra added a solo shot later in the inning.  That would be all the Diamondbacks would need, but they kept up the offense just to stay engaged.  Kelly Johnson added a homer in the third, and Montero slapped a second bomb in the fifth.  Riggleman wasn’t comfortable talking about Marquis’ fate tonight, but one has to think the Nats have to be thinking about what possible utility he has at this point.  There aren’t a lot of options for them down in Syracuse, and Jordan Zimmermann isn’t quite ready yet, nor are Yunesky Maya or Chien Ming Wang.

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