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Bryce Harper Hits First Bomb; Nats Earn Another Stressful Curly W

The story line of Monday’s Washington Nationals game should have been totally about Bryce Harper’s first MLB home run, an absolute bomb to straight away center. The man trotted the bases so quickly the team couldn’t even coordinate a celebration for him, but he sure did get a standing ovation and a curtain call. However, some other big events came up throughout the game.

Yet another injury plagues the Nats as the freshly called up Sandy Leon went down with a high ankle sprain on a play at the plate with Chase Headley in the fourth inning. In his MLB debut, Leon was sent to the disabled list immediately afterwards according to manager Davey Johnson in his press conference. It’s yet another blow to the team’s growing DL, and the Nats are way down the depth chart at the catching position. It may be time for GM Mike Rizzo to make a roster move to get some help there.

After falling behind 5-4 in an uncharacteristically high scoring game for both the Nats and the Padres, Ian Desmond hit a two-RBI double high off the right field wall to put the team ahead 6-5. The self-proclaimed Goon Squad, the Nats bench, lit it up for two home runs in the eighth inning from Chad Tracy and Xavier Nady, making it 8-5. And after Henry Rodriguez loaded the bases with just one out in the ninth, Sean Burnett came in for the save with a 1-2-3 double play to end the game. It was yet another not-for-the-faint-of-heart game, but they earned the Curly W and first-place status once again.

Some Thoughts:

- It’s time for the Henry Rodriguez as a closer experiment to end. He’s been inconsistent lately and has been nearly unable to throw strikes with any consistency. He’s walked five batters in the last inning of work. When he does, Joey Votto hits a walk-off grand slam. Just saying. Whether it’s a closer-by-committee or someone else gets the chance until Drew Storen or Brad Lidge return, it’s time to look at new options. We’ll look at those options in a post later today.

Craig Stammen has been absolutely outstanding this season. He still sports a 1.29 ERA and a 2.13 FIP. He’s struck out 23 batters in in 21 innings and walked just four. It is amazing, but when Stammen enters the game, it’s a relaxed feelings. Maybe he should give Henry some notes.

Ross Detwiler had his first kind of rough start of the season on Monday. He went five innings, giving up four earned runs. I brought his season ERA up to a still-incredible 2.75 and a comparable 2.98 FIP. It was a fine outing by most standards, but the Nats starters have raised the bar quite a lot this season. There are more than 20 teams out there that probably would have killed to have an outing like that from Detwiler, so in my mind, let’s just move on to the next one.

About Joe Drugan

Managing editor of The Nats Blog and co-host of the Nats Talk On The Go podcast.

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