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$48 Million Payroll 5 -- $102 Million Payroll 1

Termel Sledge Scoring Around Mike Piazza

All is right with the world again. Livan Hernandez, one of the top pitchers in the National League for almost a decade, is again pitching like the Nationals ace we all thought him to be. It didn't start off too well, though. Again.

Just like last week against the Mets, Hernandez was knocked around in the first inning. Luckily, he fared better tonight in the clutch, giving up only the one run. That is all the Mets would get. While Hernandez didn't dominate the Mets for the remaining seven innings, he pitched well enough to keep the New York hitters off balance, ultimately scattering 9 hits and 2 walks as he won his third game of the season.

Jae Seo was not the same pitcher that embarrassed the Nationals last weekend in New York. Seo gave up three runs in five innings, all on homeruns. Jose Guillen, Brian Schneider and Livan Hernandez all went yard in solo fashion to give the Nationals a 3-1 lead. Mets manager Willie Randolph did the Nats a favor my pitching Seo in this series. Hoping to see a repeat of last week's masterpiece, he inserted the Korean native and bumped Pedro Martinez. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Vinny Castilla, continuing to be the Nationals most surprising free-agent signing, again showed that he's not "Coors Light" away from Denver. Castilla blasted a ball that just missed getting out, plating the last two runs of the game and giving the Nats their final margin of 5-1.

Offensively, the Nationals continue the weak hitting of the past week, getting only five hits .... Brad Wilkerson and Nick Johnson were both hitless, something that hasn't happened all season .... Jose Guillen hit his first homerun since the Atlanta game nearly two weeks ago .... If I'm right, that he's a streak hitter, look for a couple more during this weekend series .... On the positive side, the Nats struck out only twice .... Christian Guzman made another error on another ho-hum throw .... A trend? .... He did get another hit, and was robbed of a second. The Nationals are again a game over .500 at 12-11 .... The pitching staff is looking better and better each game .... Without exception, each starter is now capable of going to the mound and pitching a shutout, regardless of the opponent.
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