Continued from page 1

How about that, Brian Schneider?

“For sure,” the gum-chomping catcher agreed. “At the beginning of the year, when the last thing we needed was to get down, he didn’t panic and he was always positive.”

And despite two shellings in Toronto so far this weekend, there is reasonable hope that matters will get better. Starters John Patterson, Shawn Hill and Jason Bergmann should come off the DL soon, and perhaps first baseman Nick Johnson will be fully recovered from his broken leg sometime this summer.

Meanwhile, position players like Dmitri Young, Ryan Langerhans, Nook Logan and Robert Fick continue to make contributions while Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Church, Austin Kearns, Felipe Lopez, Cristian Guzman and Schneider lead the way. On the mound, unknown starters Jason Simontacchi, Micah Bowie and Matt Chico are somehow turning in quality innings and starts and handing over most games in good shape to setup man Jon Rauch and closer Chad Cordero.

These Nats are fun to watch because everybody likes overachievers — and the manager deserves a large chunk of the credit.