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Good, Bad & Ugly: Washington Nationals Weekend Update

Dave Nichols@@DaveNicholsDSPSenior Analyst IMay 18, 2009

WASHINGTON - APRIL 19:  Daniel Cabrera #45 of the Washington Nationals pitches against the Florida Marlins at Nationals Park April 19, 2009 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON LOSES FOUR STRAIGHT TO DEFENDING CHAMPS, FALL TO 11-25


THE RESULTS: Nats lost all three games over the weekend to complete a four-game sweep to the Phillies. In all four games the team scored five or more runs. The Nats are now 11-25 on the season.

SUNDAY: Leading entering the eighth inning, the Nats fell 8-6 when Anderson Hernandez lost the ball on a throw from Jesus Colome, fielding a sacrifice bunt. Two runs scored on the play, and the Phils would add another to escape with the win.
Jordan Zimmermann was again roughed up in the first inning, giving up three runs early. he finished five innings, allowing five earned on seven hits and three walks. He struck out six.
Adam Dunn drove in two runs with a double, and Cristian Guzman went 3-for-5 with three runs, raising his average to .381. He still has not walked this season. Nick Johnson reached base four times, with two hits and two walks and scored twice.

SATURDAY, GAME TWO: In the bottom half of the double-header, Daniel Cabrera stunk again. He allowed three in the third and four in the fifth, losing to the Phillies 7-5 in a rain-shortened five-plus innings.
Cabrera's bottom line: 5 IP, 7 ERs, 8 hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks, 2 HRs. He is 0-5 with a 5.95 ERA on the season, with 32 BBs and just 16 Ks in 39.1 IP.
Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard homered for the Phils. Josh Willingham and Ronnie Belliard had two hits apiece, and Willie Harris drove in two runs with a triple.

SATURDAY, GAME ONE: Stop me if you've heard this one before: Philadelphia scored two runs in the eighth inning and beat the Nats 8-5 in the "day" part of the "day-night" double-header.
Nats-killer Raul Ibanez homered twice off fellow lefty Scott Olsen and went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and three runs scored. Olsen, who left the game injured and was placed on the 15-day DL with tendinitis, went five innings and gave up five earned runs on nine hits and two walks. He struck out only three and allowed three home runs.
Ryan Zimmerman hit his ninth home run of the season, a solo shot off Brett Myers, and added another RBI later in the game. He went 2-for-4 with one run and two RBIs.

THE TAKEAWAY: 22 runs in three-and-a-half games and four losses to show for it. One of the starters goes on the DL with another rookie inserted into the rotation. Three rookies, a second year man, and Daniel Cabrera. That's the rotation.
The much-maligned bullpen continues to be atrocious. It's stunning to me, and most long-time baseball fans, just how poorly this bullpen performs. But is it any wonder?
Tavarez, Wells, Villone, heck, even Beimel; none of them had a major league contract at the beginning of spring training. Read that again: NONE OF THEM were wanted by any other franchise in Major League baseball.
What started this season as one of the youngest pens in the bigs now is one of the oldest. It's so bad, when Steven Shell and Mike Hinckley were DFA'd, they both opted for free agency rather than stay with the organization in Triple-A.

THE GOOD: The team is still hitting. Guzman leads the NL in average; Zim is sixth. Dunn is ninth in OBP and slugging and eighth in OPS. Zim is sixth in slugging and ninth in OPS. It's just a shame it's all going to waste.

THE BAD: Jordan Zimmermann's first innings. After three first inning runs Sunday, J-Zimm's first inning ERA is 19.50. After that, it falls to 3.54. The team needs to figure out what's wrong with his pre-game warm-ups and fix it.

THE UGLY: "I just feel really bad. I feel the worst I've ever been in my life." Daniel Cabrera, May 16, 2009. We feel much the same way, Daniel.

NEXT GAME: The Nats start a four-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who enter play in sixth place in the NL Central at 16-21, tonight at 7:05 at Nationals Park. Ross Detwiler makes his first ML start against Ross Ohlendorf (4-3, 3.77).

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