Damn it's hot. And even though we're suffering from a throbbing headache, nausea, dizziness, confusion, and fits of unconsciousness (all reputed to be the warning signs of heat stroke), The Nationals Enquirer STILL answers the latest installment of the Nationals.com mailbag. The correct answers are available on Nationals dot com; we apologize in advance for the weak effort on this one. Blame it on the heat.
Keep those e-mails coming to Nationals beat writer Bill Ladson, and we'll keep copying and pasting them over here and giving our half-assed answers. Thanks a bunch.
Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez have not been good. Can we expect better play from them? How can the Nationals consider trading Alfonso Soriano? He and Ryan Zimmerman have been the only reliable players this year.
-- John S., Alexandria, Va.
Please, oh please, John, give me a break with that crap. It's four games, John. Four. Re: Soriano. We'd love to see him stay, but he's indicated that he wants to test the free agent waters in the offseason -- and he'll command a hefty price. Too risky a gamble NOT to move him. Soriano is arguably the biggest prize in the Trading Deadline sweepstakes this year (save for Bobby Abreu), and somebody out there is gonna ante up their top prospects to get him. Nats have to move him.
Overall, the eight-player trade the Nationals made with the Reds looks good, but I was surprised to hear that Bill Bray was included in the trade. I thought that the Nationals were going for a younger team, and Bray certainly looked like he was coming along.
-- Zach, Washington, D.C.
We're sad to see Bray go too, and admittedly we're still not completely sure that this was the best move for the Nats long-term. But in order for the deal to get done, the Reds had to have Bray. Saul Rivera just wasn't gonna seal the deal.
Since the Nationals have acquired Kearns, who do you think the Nationals will trade next?
-- Nick C., Lynbrook, N.Y.
Regarding Saturday's game against the Pirates: In the top of the 9th, manager Frank Robinson didn't pinch hit for reliever Roy Corcoran. Why? He had three relievers in the bullpen and plenty of pinch hitters, who have done a great job as a group this season. Instead, Frank concedes the out, thereby allowing the Pirates to walk Soriano and take the bat out of his hands
-- Brian P., Washington, D.C.
Even with two relievers available (Cordero & Rivera), we would've liked to have seen him pinch hit for Corcoran, too; it didn't work out very well, did it?
Is it just me, or does it seem that every time the Nationals score some runs to get back into a game, the opposition scores runs the very next time it is up? Is this a coincidence or is there a reason for this madness?
-- Steve C., Syracuse, N.Y.
There is a reason for this madness; and it is known as sucky pitching.
What is the deal with Ryan Church? Why is no one showing him any love?
-- Craig H., Lexington Park, Md.
Can't help but believe that there's more the story here than we're being told when it comes to Church -- soon to be known as "Player to be Named Later" any day now.