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[April 7th] -- You just get that feeling, don't you? As badly as we want the Nationals to do well this year, as much as we've tried to un-earth every conceivable scenario where they might make another run to 81, the Nats look lost as they continue to lose.

I'm not saying that the boys aren't doing their best; they are. And that's the problem. The Nationals are like a little economy car whose only hope of reaching interstate speed is to have every engine part finely tuned and working in unison. If one piston is mis-firing, if one tire is a little bald, they'll never get above 50 mph. The Astros (like many other teams) are more like a luxury car, built with top-of-the-line parts that'll cruise down the interstate at 75 mph regardless of how many parts are out of tune.

Right now, Brandon Watson and Brian Schneider are killing the Nationals. Add Ryan Zimmerman's sudden problem with strikeouts (seven in a row at one point), and the remaining players just aren't strong enough to carry the load. If Nick Johnson was Carlos Delgado, if Royce Clayton was Miguel Tejada, than the "one swing" principle would allow the team to cheat out enough wins to end the season with a respectable record. But these Nats don't have those kind of players.

It's not time to get worried. Yet. The Phillies, with more stars and $35 million more in payroll, have started the season 0-4. But it's going to get worse before it gets better. After facing Tom Glavine and Pedro Martinez, the Nationals will go up against Roy Oswalt and Andy Petite this weekend. Six games, four star pitchers.

Tony Armas pitched very well, giving up two earned runs in five innings while striking out three. Jason Bergman looked out of sync, and Gary Majewski looked lost. And what of poor Alfonso Soriano? He hit a ball half way up Tal's Hill in the deepest part of centerfield, only to be caught by Willie Taveras. And we thought RFK would rob him of his power.

NATS NOTES: Jose Vidro continues to impress, hitting a homer for the Nats' only run of the game ..... Ryan Zimmerman looked horrible striking out (three times) -- the worst I've ever seen a major league player look swinging a bat ..... Royce Clayton made a great defensive play, diving to his left to come up with the ball and throw the runner out ..... Does Nick Johnson look slower this year? He b-a-r-e-l-y made to second on a ball hit to the wall in right center field ..... Brandon Watson got his second hit of the season and promptly got picked off of first by Brandon Bracke ..... Preston Wilson didn't look like the 'old' outfielder the Nationals traded for last summer .... Jose Guillen got hit again, the third time in three days. X-rays were negative and he is day-to-day.

Our pitching sucks, out bullpen sucks;Soriano, Watson and Schneider aren't hitting and Zimmerman is having a hard time at the plate. Guillen will be killed before the all-star break, and I don't know what to say about Nick.
The sad part is the best thing we have going is Vidro
Well, I think it is time to worry. I watched this team in Viera and I have now watched five games since they came north. This is a team that can't hit, can't hit in the clutch, can't run the bases and can't bunt. It is a team with weak starting pitching and questionable relief pitching. At the end of spring training, I concluded that the Nats could finish this season behind the Marlins and I have't seen anything since then that gives me cause to change my mind.
I am also a little worried about the team right now, but I will give them a pass for last night's game considering they didn't arrive in Houston until 5:00 in the morning yesterday. I still think that eventually our line-up is going to prove superior to what we had last year, so it will really be the pitching that makes the difference. Right now there does not appear to be any reason to be optimistic about how our starting rotation or bullpen are going to perform this season.
I agree, anonymous; this offense will end up being better than the one we had to live with last season. That doesn't mean, however, that it's a good offense .... it's just better than horrible.
Farid, What offense? Have you been watching these guys? The first, seventh, eighth and ninth spots in the order are automatic outs. And the way Zimmerman is fading, you might include him in that sixth spot too. Over the first half of last season, when the Nats won 63% of their 81 victories, there was a lot of clutch hitting, then it disappeared. This season is a continuation of the futile hitting of the last half of last season.
I hope you watched tonight's game, phil.
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