The Washington Times - July 18, 2009, 08:09PM

The Nationals decided to break out the bats for a change tonight. They touched up Cubs starter Randy Wells for a pair of runs in both the first and second innings on a total of six hits. Ryan Zimmerman (sac fly) and Adam Dunn (RBI double) drove in the first two. Nyjer Morgan and Nick Johnson drove in the next two with two-out singles up the middle in the second, with Morgan helping by advancing to second on a high throw home on his base hit. Smart baserunning.

On the other end of the spectrum, Adam Dunn got hung up between third and home on a grounder to short in the third and wound up in a rundown that cost the Nats a run. Even though they’ve scored four so far, they probably could and should have more.


Fortunately, Jordan Zimmermann is on top of his game. The rookie has recorded four strikeouts so far, and though he was touched up for a two-run triple by Ryan Theriot, Zimmermann has otherwise looked really sharp so far.

Meanwhile, a couple non-game-related items…

— Jim Riggleman says he doesn’t plan to use a designated closer for right now, and will mix and match with Mike MacDougal, Joe Beimel and perhaps Sean Burnett depending on the situation. “We’d like to feel that there are a few guys out there that can get comfortable getting outs, period, between the seventh and ninth,” the interim manager said. They’re all crucial situations. We’ll just see who’s more comfortable getting that third out eventually, or if two or three of them get comfortable.”

— I mentioned earlier that the two logical candidates to start Monday in place of Scott Olsen are Collin Balester and Shairon Martis. Well, I wouldn’t count on either of those guys getting the call, because Martis started last night and Balester is starting tonight for Syracuse. Obviously neither can return to start again on Monday. The only two options now, it would seem, are Ross Detwiler (who was just sent down and was 0-5 up here) or J.D. Martin, who is 8-3 with a 2.66 ERA and has pitched quite well. The only hangup? Martin isn’t on the 40-man roster.