The Washington Times - July 1, 2008, 03:33PM

I’m referring to the literal dark clouds that are currently hovering over Dolphin Stadium, looking like they’re ready to burst at any given moment. The grounds crew has strategically placed various tractors and golf carts all around the infield tarp, hoping to keep it in place when this storm hits. Of course, since this is South Florida, it’ll be sunny again in 15 minutes, so don’t worry about tonight’s game behind rained out. Figuratively speaking, you could argue there has been a dark cloud hovering over the Nationals all season. The latest blow, of course, came yesterday when it was discovered Chad Cordero has a torn labrum and will miss the rest of the season (and possibly a good chunk of 2009). Then the man who has filled in so admirably for Cordero all year, Jon Rauch, served up game-tying and game-winning homers last night in a 6-5, 10-inning loss to the Marlins. Oh, and that left the Nats 1-9 against Florida this year. But perhaps the sun will come out soon, again literally and figuratively. Collin Balester makes his big-league debut tonight, and that could prove to be a momentous event for this franchise. Balester has been the organization’s top pitching prospect for several seasons, and though Ross Detwiler beat him out by one spot in Baseball America’s rankings last winter, he remains the top high-level prospect and he possesses perhaps the best all-around “stuff” of anyone in the system. That said, don’t get your hopes up too much. Plenty of big-name guys have endured disastrous debuts, and there’s no telling how Balester will perform tonight. My guess is that Manny Acta would be happy to get 5-6 innings and four or fewer runs. We’ll see. Here’s the lineup that will join the tall right-hander tonight… CF Bernadina SS Guzman RF Dukes 1B Young 3B Belliard C Lo Duca LF Pena 2B Lopez P Balester