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[August 28th] -- The first part of the Nationals' current roadtrip gave us a glimpse of how good this team could be in a season or two. The current part, however, is more reminiscent of how things have been in the past. You know, The '20's, the '30's, '40's, '50's, earlier this season .....

As always, wins and losses are meaningless at this point; we have to look between the lines of the boxscore to see what's happening that's good .... and what's not so good.

Mike Bacsik pitched another poor game, giving up 5 runs in 5 innings, but that's not a bad thing, as his future with the Nationals - if he has any - is in the bullpen. That he didn't pitch well isn't a harbinger of anything good or bad. He's a warm body doing his best. His personality will be missed in the coming years, but not his arm.

Ryan Zimmerman is back. After a half-season of looking lost and bewildered, the kid is back on schedule to becoming the Nationals' first home-grown superstar. He hit is 22nd homer last night and continues to look good at the plate. Zimmerman is now on pace to bat .273 with 26 homers and 95 RBI's. I must admit, I was beginning to have doubts as to whether Zimmerman was going to be a offensive force in the years to come. I thought that - perhaps - he'd be another Graig Nettles, a guy with a superb glove and a "good enough" bat. Looks like I was wrong.


Wily Mo Pena is showing us that he just may become the player we thought Austin Kearns would be. Kearns was supposed to be a 30 homer - 100 RBI guy for years to come, but it seems that much of his potential was inflated by that teeny-weeny ballpark in Cincinnati. It appears that Pena has the power to hit homeruns everywhere and anywhere. I wouldn't be surprised next year to see Pena bat 5th and Kearns 6th.

That Pena is a better hitter than Kearns doesn't mean that Kearns can't be productive. I wouldn't be surprised if Pena bats .265-40-100 next year. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if Kearns hits .270-23-80 for the Nationals next year. If the guys in the middle of the lineup hit as expected/hoped, Kearns will provide all the production the team needs in right.

This 'N That: Remember this year's first round pick, that lefty pitcher that who's been overshadowed in the news the last couple of weeks by the signings of Josh Smoker and Jack McGeary? Name was Detwiler as I remember .....

Ross Detweiler's first game for Potomac was "okay," giving up 2 runs in 4 runs. His second game, against Wilmington, was horrid, allowing 7 runs in 2 innings. Since then, he's been near perfect. After allowing just 3 hits and no runs in 6 innings against Kinston, Detweiler pitched 6 innings a couple of days ago against Myrtle Beach, giving up just 2 hits while striking out 3. Looks like he's back on track to get a look-see with the big club this September.

Justin Maxwell continues to make a comeback with the Nationals after pulling a rib cage muscle while sneezing. His batting average dropped to .203 before a late season surge has seen his average rise to .262. He hit his 10th homer two nights ago; he is now hitting .282-24-76 for Hagerstown/Potomac along with 24 stolen bases. Man, I just wish he was a bit younger. At 23, he's hitting against kids 3-4 years younger than he is.

Shairon Martis, the 20 year old right-hander obtained form the Giants last year for Mike Stanton, is now 13-8, 4.47 for the P-Nationals. In 143 innings, he's given up just 146 hits, an excellent ratio for the low minors (and a very good ratio for the major leagues). Martis has the makeup (and the youth) to learn his trade in the minors and still get to Washington a young man.

While several of the Vermont Lake Monsters' stud pitchers have had a rough going of it lately, Colton Willems continues to shine. He pitched 5 innings last night, giving up six hits but no runs, and dropped his ERA to 1.84.

Its good to see Zimmerman doing well....and I really hope your right about Wily Mo Pena. I think we pencil Wily Mo in Lf next year, Kearns in RF(yuck) and maybe Andruw Jones in CF. With a line up of Zim, Jones(Id take Dunn too), Wily Mo, and a healthy Johnson and Guzman we could be a decent team next year....and just maybe contending for a Wild card spot in 2009 if a few of the young studs (Marrero) stepping up.
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