The Nationals salvaged a weekend in the Lone Star State with an 8-2 victory yesterday over the Rangers, led by Brad Wilkerson’s 4 RBI and a solid start by Sunny Kim. After dropping back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday, the Nats continue their 9 game road jaunt with a visit to Pittsburgh, playing .500 ball (3-3) on the trip. Ace Livan Hernandez takes the hill tonight in Pittsburgh against Mark Redman.
Of course, the big news on Friday was that MLB handed suspensions to the major participants in last Tuesday’s “Pine Tar Wars” in Anaheim: Angel reliever Brendan Donnelly was suspended for 10 games, and both managers got hit with 1-game suspensions and $1,000 fines. Old Frank felt this was too harsh and appealed; he has a hearing today via conference call with MLB suits to plead his case. Nat’s right fielder/loose-cannon Jose Guillen, who was escorted off the field during the incident by three teammates and later tied Wednesday’s game with a profanity-laced 2-run homerun, was fined $500 for his involvement in the on-field fracas. The fine wasn’t levied against Jose for referring to Angel’s manager Mike Scioscia as “a piece of garbage” in post-game comments Wednesday night. While he should be commended for coming to the defense of his manger it’s a little surprising, and a little troubling, that Guillen, who claims that all his problems are in the past, was by all accounts still seething about Scioscia almost 24 hours after Tuesday night’s fireworks. When you consider that by all accounts he was in the wrong last year when he flipped out on Scioscia after being pulled for a pinch runner late in the season, with his team battling for the playoffs, it seems that much more troubling. So far, so good in DC, but for how long?
Coming around? In his last 10 games, Christian Guzman is batting .321 (9-28) with 2 HR & 3RBI, raising his average to .207.
Nats have benefited from the contributions of two Ranger cast-offs in recent days: Ryan Drese was stellar in his debut on Wednesday (8IP, 2H, 0R, 4BB, 3K), and recent call-up Travis Hughes (taking the place of DL-bound T.J. Tucker) picked up the slack for Sunny Kim yesterday and earned his first career win with 1.1 shutout innings of 1 hit ball.
Obviously it’s much too early to judge the Ohka for Spivey trade, but let’s take a quick look at who’s got the upper hand so far: Spivey is hitting at a .138 clip, with 4 hits and 8 strikeouts in 9 games. Meanwhile, Tomo Ohka threw a complete game shutout last Tuesday night in his first outing since being traded to the Brewers (but keep in mind it came at the expense of the AAA Devil Rays). Ohka faces actual big league talent tonight when his Brewers take on Greg Maddux and the Cubs.