It never gets old! Back by popular demand, The Nationals Enquirer answers the latest installment of the Nationals.com mailbag! The correct answers are available on Nationals dot com; now we'll give it a shot.
Keep those e-mails coming to Bill Ladson, and we'll keep copying and pasting them over here. Thanks a bunch.
Given the team's recent and unexpected success, do you think general manager Jim Bowden and manager Frank Robinson will keep their jobs? -- Andrew M., Middleburg, Va.
To begin with, I think it's only fair that since both Bowden and Robinson were served up big ol' heaping slabs of blame pie when the Nationals were sputtering along for a while back there, they now both deserve some credit for the team's recent good fortune. How much credit? Enough to save their jobs? I wouldn't go that far. It's June 12th, after all.
It's a sprint, not a marathon.
We're talking about two entirely separate situations - Bowden's fate is no longer tied to Robinson's, and vice versa. Or something like that. Last year, they needed each other. This year? Not so much.
Bowden is probably safe - at least for one more year. All signs seem to point to him sticking around for a while, that is, if he can beat that DUI rap.
Robinson? It would take a miracle (read: a playoff berth) in order for Robinson to keep his job. And as fun as the last few weeks have been; it's probably not happening.
Can you please explain why Alfonso Soriano continues to lead off and is not being put in the middle of the batting order? -- Eric S., Lexington, N.C.
If you can name a better lead off hitter on the current roster then I'll tell you why Alfonso Soriano continues to bat lead off.
I watched a couple of the Nats-Phillies games this past weekend, and I was a bit startled by Sal Fasano's mustache. What's up with that? -- Thomas B., Washington, D.C.
Good question. Hey Sal, Pete Vuckovich called - he wants his mustache back.
Since Soriano had a very poor defensive rating as a second baseman, do you think that he will eventually be a better defensive outfielder than he was a second baseman? -- Breanna G., Laurel, Md.
I recently went to a Nationals-Braves game in Atlanta, and the guy who impressed me the most was reliever Bill Bray. Do you think that he'll be up for good?
-- Asher K., Birmingham, Ala.
If the Nationals are in contention for at least a Wild Card berth, what will the Lerner group do? "Rebuilding" and "stacking the Minors" are code words for trading everyone. The Nats could get some great young players for guys like Soriano and Jose Vidro, but I'd rather go to a playoff game at RFK Stadium this year! -- Michael D., Washington, D.C.
Patience, my friend, patience. Build it right, and there will be playoff games galore for many, many years to come.
Are you as worried about the bullpen as I am? Livan Hernandez pitched great last Saturday, but I could see that he was done before Pat Burrell hit the home run. I think Robinson didn't take him out because he had a lack of trust in his bullpen. -- Brooks E., Boston
How can we find out about the signings of the Nationals' Draft choices? I would like to know where they end up and be able to follow their careers as they try to make the big club. -- Kevin C., Fairfax, Va.
All I know is that you won't find what you're looking for here.
What has been wrong with Jon Rauch over the last week? How does he correct it? I thought he was over his food poisoning. Also, what are the health states of Felix Rodriguez and Santiago Ramirez? Will they be returning to the team soon?
-- Brian P., Washington, D.C.
Rauch? I think it has something to do with his beard. F-Rod & Ramirez? Ladson says they're both cooked.
I just read that Ryan Church is batting under .200 since being sent to Triple-A New Orleans. Are the Nationals about to give up on him? -- Jonathan P., Woodbridge, Va.
About to give up on him? Jonathan, I think that happened a while ago.
Don't you think hitting coach Mitchell Page should work with Church, who did better in 2005 than Marlon Byrd? Why isn't Church Page's No. 1 project?
-- Jerry, Jupiter, Fla.
Why are you dragging Marlon Byrd into this? What was your question again?