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Good, Bad, and Ugly: Washington Nationals Weekend Roundup

NEW YORK - APRIL 26:  Jesus Flores #3 of the Washington Nationals singles to score Josh Willingham in the third inning of their game against the New York Mets on April 26, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Dave NicholsSenior Analyst IApril 27, 2009
NATIONALS' CATCHER JESUS FLORES HOMERS TWICE OVER THE WEEKEND AGAINST  THE METS
In their first trip to CitiField against the New York Mets, the Washington Nationals fell Friday, 4-3, and Saturday, 8-2, and won 8-1 behind Jordan Zimmermann, Jesus Flores, and Austin Kearns on Sunday.
FRIDAY:  Johan Santana dominated the Nats once again, allowing one run on six hits and one walk, striking out 10 in six innings. Scott Olsen battled, going six and giving up three runs—two earned—on nine hits and two walks, striking out four.

Nick Johnson homered off Santana, and Flores hit a two-run shot in the top of the ninth to get within one run, but Francisco Rodriguez retired Alberto Gonzalez, Alex Cintron, and Anderson Hernandez to save the game.
SATURDAY:  Daniel Cabrera needed 86 pitches to get seven outs, and he allowed five runs on six hits, four walks, and a wild pitch with just one strikeout. The Nats also had three errors that led to runs, and the Mets just kept taking what the Nats gave them.

Elijah Dukes drove in Washington's two runs.

The Mets were credited with just four RBI for their eight runs.
SUNDAY:  Jordan Zimmermann earned his second win of the season in his second start, going five-and-one-third innings, allowing one run on six hits and two walks, striking out five.
His performance was followed by Michael Hinckley, Garrett Mock, and Kip Wells, who allowed just one walk and no hits between the three of them.

Flores and Kearns each homered, with Kearns' shot a bomb to the center field batter's eye off Mets starter Oliver Perez. The Nats scored eight, but it could have been even worse, as they stranded 11 runners. Ryan Zimmerman extended his hitting streak to 15 games.
THE GOOD:  Jordan Zimmermann. Not only was his performance good enough to make him a winner in his first two big league starts, but he wasn't satisfied with his effectiveness. He told the Washington Post that he wasn't happy with his control, that his fastball was "all over the place," and "It was a constant battle all day long."
Good for him. Don't settle.
THE BAD:  Saturday's defense was atrocious.
Elijah Dukes flat dropped a fly ball, and let another sail past his head as he lost it in the bright sunshine—while his sunglasses were on top of his head. Normally reliable Nick Johnson tried a first-to-third throw that ended up in left field. And Wil Nieves, who hadn't been asked to play defense since April 10, short-hopped one into second that ended up in center field.
THE UGLY:  Daniel Cabrera. He threw 86 pitches for seven outs. Four more walks. one strikeout. His fastball was 89-90 all day. Chico at Nats Journal has some remarkable quotes from Randy St. Claire regarding Cabrera's lack of velocity. If you're a Nats fan, it's a must-read, and indicative of the huge mistake the Nats made signing Cabrera.

He's not doing what he's being told to do by his manager and pitching coach.
NEXT GAME:  The Nats start a three-game series in Philadelphia tonight at 7:05 p.m. Shairon Martis (2-0, 4.11) faces Joe Blanton (0-2, 7.31) in the opener.

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