Hail to the Chief! Boy, does Chad Cordero make it interesting. I can see why the Nationals would be willing to deal him, if they got the right offer. From what I've heard, though, the Nats' front office has a seriously inflated idea of the Chief's value. They missed out on a deal for Soriano because they asked too much -- and Soriano was a legitimate star. For Cordero, they have reportedly asked the Diamondbacks for Brandon Webb (a laughable proposal, in itself), AND a prospect. If the D'backs managed offered Webb for Cordero, they should be sued for malpractice. Maybe, the Nats are committed to keeping Cordero, unless they get an offer too good to refuse.
As dicey as Cordero's outings usually are, I would like the Nationals to hang on to him. He belongs in Washington. There's nothing like listening to the game on the radio at the beginning of the ninth inning, when the station introduces Cordero with "Hail to the Chief." That is the kind of marketing tradition you just can't buy. OK. So, he comes into the game with a two-run lead and loads up the bases, with two outs...and then goes to a full-count on the next batter. Thing is, Cordero got the strikeout to save the game. He gives up too many gopher balls, and he rarely blows through the ninth inning. With all that, Cordero is a top closer -- you give him away, and you have no idea when you might get another like him. Hang on to him, Nats -- he'll become a Washington institution. Maybe the team will, as well.
On the game: Bergmann struggled with his control early, throwing a few 55-footers. Still, he had great stuff, ringing up the strikeouts. The Braves couldn't touch him. Again, the starting pitching shows some potential. Also showing potential: Ronnie Belliard. He's hitting the heck out the ball, and he even flashed some nifty glove work, tonight. When Guzman comes back, Acta will not have an easy decision. My guess is Acta will give Guzman a chance to show he can play as well as he did in spring training. I would also guess that Acta won't hesitate to go back to using Belliard at second base, and Felipe Lopez at shortstop, if Guzman doesn't hit well right off the bat.
Hey, the Nats beat John Smoltz and the first-place Atlanta Braves. They deserve to enjoy it. Another sixty or seventy more like it would be nice (eighty is hoping for too much, but if they can avoid 100 losses, the season might be tolerable).
The Nationals Win!! The Nationals Win!!