No game tonight, 12-games shy of the 100-loss mark and holding, and sitting just one game behind the Padres for Worst-Place in baseball; seems as good a time as any to break open the latest edition of the Nationals dot com Mail Bag. You know the routine: keep those emails coming to Nationals' beat writer Bill Ladson over there, and we'll keep copying and pasting them over here and giving our half-assed answers. Thank you.
Is Ryan Zimmerman a .290 hitter and a 30-homer, 100-RBI guy or am I expecting too much?
-- Tony L., Amelia, Va.
Tony, you're expecting too much. Wouldn't you be happy with a .275, 20-25 homer, 85-90 RBI guy who plays stellar defense? We would be.
Do you think the play at the plate involving Phillies second baseman Chase Utley and Nationals catcher Jesus Flores was a dirty play?
-- Brendan W., Montclair, Va.
Let's ask it another way: if it had been Elijah Dukes flying into Chris Coste, would we even be having this conversation?
The fact that you compared Adam Dunn to Dave Kingman is, frankly, way off the mark. Try looking at on-base percentage instead of average. Dunn is a beast. He would be able to play first base just fine.
-- Jon, N., D.C.
Hold on a second! I think you've got the wrong mailbag! We'd love to see Dunn installed at first as much as the next guy; it's just that his price tag doesn't make sense. (See, Mark, we told you we'd ease up on the "Cheap!!11!!" jokes. Now, where's that check you promised me?)
Will Larry Broadway be getting a September callup? Don't you think it's about time the Nationals' front office gave him a chance on the big stage?
-- Dyer T., Sanches, N.M.
Seems a shame that a guy with a name like "Larry Broadway" couldn't make it in the big leagues, with one of the greatest Baseball Player Names of all time. Oh well, with a name like that, there's always porn...
With Shawn Hill out for the season, is it possible we might see him move to the bullpen next season and beyond?
-- Mike H., Washington D.C.
Sadly, Hill seems to be heading down the lonely road to Patterson-ville.
Given all of the injuries this season, and the youth of this team, I think Acta has done a masterful job keeping the players on an even keel. There have been no explosive temper tantrums that I know of and the team seems to remain positive on the field.
-- John B., Burke, Va.
Ah! But you're forgetting the Dukes-Acta incident, John. But yeah, your point is well taken: Manny's soft-touch and hug-it-out approach seems to be just what this team needs at the moment.
Why haven't the Nationals given Willie Harris a full-time position? He is doing a great job offensively and defensively.
-- Carrick H., Falls Church, Va.
Let me guess: you're Willie's kid, aren't you? Willie Harris has been an unexpected bright spot this year; it'll be great to have him anchoring the Nats' bench in 2009.
How about Emilio Bonifacio? Do you think he will be a legit leadoff hitter in the future for the Nats?
-- Patrick, Fairfax, Va.
Honestly, why even bother letting Bonifacio swing away? If he bunted every at-bat he'd hit .500!