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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hanrahan hammers and Logan, Zimmerman hit Houston hard 11-6, grab 4th place in N.L. East OR Wandy wonders, "Hey, wha' happen?"

Memo to Nationals Manager Manny Acta: Who was that guy wearing #7 and hitting in the number 2 spot, and what on earth did you do with Nook Logan?

Logan went 5 for 6, with 3 R.B.I.'s and raised his batting average to .287, as the Nats clobbered the Houston Astros 11-6. Logan's 5 hits represented a new career high, and the only thing that kept him from getting a 6th hit was due to a broken bat. I think that if Logan HAD gone 6 for 6, the league office would be investigating him for possible steroid abuse. This is NOT the Nook Logan that we've been watching all season, but since the All-Star break, Logan has really picked up his game. He didn't look quite as sharp over the recent homestand, but then almost none of the Nats did. Still, abandoning the switch-hitting experiment seems to have cleared his mind and made it easier for him to just play, not think so hard, as he implied was a key to his recent success.

Not to be forgotten, Ryan Zimmerman was a double away from hitting for the cycle, and might have done exactly that in the 9th inning, but he was walked. Zimmerman went 3 for 5 with a walk and 4 R.B.I.'s. He homered, tripled and singled. Fun to watch!

Starter Joel "The Hammer" Hanrahan had a pretty fair outing, going 5 innings and allowing 3 runs and 3 walks on 7 hits. He threw 60 strikes on 92 pitches (65%). Not so good to have to go to the bullpen in the 6th inning, but what the heck, they were rested. Jésus Colomé, Ray King, Luis Ayala and Chris Schroeder managed to hold the Astros to 3 runs on 7 hits, with the last 2 coming in the 9th inning.

Ryan Report: Church went 0 for 1 in a pinch-hitting role, Zimmerman had the aforementioned 4 R.B.I's on 3 hits, nearly cycling, Austin Ryan Kearns went 0 for 3 but was walked twice, and Joel Ryan Hanrahan went 0 for 2 at the plate but did alright on the mound.

Other Nats hits came from Dmitri Young (1 for 2, walked twice), Wily Mo Peña (1 for 5 with an R.B.I.), Ronnie Belliard (1 for 4 with an R.B.I. double and a walk), Brian Schneider (2 for 4 with a double and a walk), and Tony Batista (1 for 3 with an R.B.I.). Nook Logan, as mentioned above, had a career night, 5 for 6 with a double and 3 R.B.I.'s.

The Astros starter, Wandy Rodrigues, had a pretty incredible home record at Minute Maid Park this season, having not lost at home since May 30th, and was 6-2 with a 1.67 E.R.A. at home. Given that the Nats and the Astros entered Tuesday night's action with identical 56-69 records, it's my guess that Rodrigues, who took the loss, was left to ponder the immortal words of Mike Lafontaine.

So the Nats have rebounded well so far from their 1-5 homestand and have a chance to win this road series on Wednesday night with Mike Bacsik starting against Woody Williams. Now that they've grabbed sole possession of 4th place in the National League East for the second time in 2 weeks, thanks to their winning and the Florida Marlins losing, perhaps they can try to hold onto it this time.

Congratulations to Ryan Zimmerman once again, for getting another day in his major league career being on a team that isn't in last place. For the time being. Let's all hope that this is the last time Ryan is ever on a last place team again.

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