- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 5, 2008

After two days of storms in Washington, Nationals Park already has started to show signs of wear. About four hours before last night’s game with the Cardinals was set to begin, high winds pushed in the chain link fences that make up the back of the 400 level, causing the Nationals to block off three sections.

- Ben Goessling

BY THE NUMBERS

18 Consecutive batters Nationals closer Jon Rauch had retired heading into last night. It is the longest current streak in the major leagues, though the Royals’ Joakim Soria and the Braves’ Tim Hudson each had 23-batter streaks this season. The last time a Nationals/Expos pitcher had a longer streak was when Livan Hernandez set down 28 straight in July 2004.

TODAY’S GAME

Cardinals RHP Mike Parisi Record, ERA: 0-2, 6.38

Nationals RHP Tim Redding Record, ERA: 6-3, 3.71

Time: 7:10 p.m. TV: MASN2

CHAT EXCERPT

Each week, Mark Zuckerman answers questions from readers in a live chat on washingtontimes.com. To participate, click on “chats” in the media toolbar, then select “Nationals chat.”

Question: Mark, I’m digging the new Web site. As the offense continues to struggle, how long can we go on with Lenny Harris as hitting coach? My thoughts are if one player struggles, it can be the player. But when an entire team struggles, there have to be other reasons, i.e. the coach. We are now 11 games below .500 and not improving. How much longer can Jim Bowden and Manny Acta continue on and not make a change?

Answer: Ah, the token Lenny Harris question of the week. Look, it should be obvious to everyone by now that Harris is being watched and evaluated very closely. The team’s offensive performance this season speaks for itself. Does that mean he’s out of a job either sometime during the season or at the end? Only Jim Bowden (and Manny Acta, to an extent) knows that. I do know this: The only way Harris can ensure this isn’t an issue at all would be for the Nationals as a whole to start hitting much, much better. And there’s only so much he can do about that as a hitting coach.

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