Kevin Slowey crafted his second straight Quality Start, after allowing eight runs on ten hits in just three innings back on June 8th. This time he allowed a total of seven hits, six for singles, over six innings of work. The one hit that wasn’t a single was a homer, luckily just a solo, in the 5th inning. It’d be one of the two runs the Nationals would score. Slowey walked two but also struck out four, helped his cause with a pick off,  and was relieved by Jesse Crain. The same Jesse Crain that had a 4.50 ERA exactly one month ago, the same Jesse that has since brought his ERA down to 2.93 with a great month of June. It’s not yet over but to this point he’s allowed just four hits in ten and 2/3 innings of work. The only run he’s allowed this month came on a solo homer in that horrible White Sox series a week ago. It’s nice that he’s been able to take over the “go-to reliever if Matt Guerrier has pitched recently” role with ease.

Speaking of go-to, or rather who not to go to, Juan Rincon declined his assignment to AAA and elected to become a free agent. Good riddance, and I’ll leave it at that.

 

On to the offensive side of last night’s game, well where to start? Every player who had a chance to bat ended up scoring a run, with Alexi Casilla and Michael Cuddyer being the only hitters to not get a hit. Brendan Harris had a double and a triple but got just one RBI and one run scored. He also made a fielding error, just his first at SS this season, and it seems like he feels a lot more comfortable over there than at second. Not to mention, Casilla’s doing pretty dang well on the right side of the diamond.

Justin Morneau provided the big hits, tallying three RBI with his two singles. Brian Buscher drove in two with a single of his own, in the 9th. Buscher’s hitting .333 in just 21 at-bats this season, but expect to see more of him soon. According to my good friend Thor Nystrom, who talks to players and coaches to get the good dirt, Ron Gardenhire is planning on using the “three-headed…third baseman” approach. I don’t think Mike Lamb, Matt Macri, and Buscher can combine into a lion, or dragon, or some super-human being, so we have to settle with a three-headed third baseman. Hey, it scores us points in the “which team has the best oddities?” category. Lamb hasn’t met expectations, offensively, at all, so it doesn’t bother me too much to try out Macri and Buscher at the hot corner.

 

Delmon Young had a pretty interesting night, getting outs in his first two at-bats on a total of two pitches. Yet, in his next two at-bats, he saw a total of eight pitches and drew two walks. If you want to discuss the possible outcomes of an at-bat, Delmon’s first four (or, at least, one out of each pair of two) pretty much cover the most extreme circumstances. For what it’s worth, in his last at-bat he hit his 13th double of the year down the right-field line, scoring two garbage runs (the score was 9-1 after his hit).

 

The team was also helped by three Washington errors and a total of seven walks.

 

My plan for the three boxes on the right-hand sidebar is to update them each at the end of a series, because it gets surprisingly difficult to keep up with it daily, and one update every three or four games can still give you a good idea of how they’re doing it.

 

The Twins, back at .500, go for a sweep of the Nats today with Glen Perkins taking the mound. The game starts at 12:10 but check for the Twins Squeeze Play later on tonight, with a 30-minute condensed version of the game.

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