The Washington Times - July 26, 2009, 12:27PM

It was a bit of a lazy morning here at Nationals Park, with players trickling in looking a bit dazed and plenty sleepy. That’s what happens when your game the previous night didn’t end until 1 a.m. But at least the Nats won — a 13-1 trouncing of the Padres. Imagine what the mood would be like if they lost.

Several small news items to report as everyone drinks their coffee and prepares for the series finale…


— Nyjer Morgan is out of the lineup today, his second day off this weekend after he started every previous game since his acquisition from the Pirates. Turns out he’s battling a slight tweak of his left hamstring. It’s nothing serious, Morgan insists, and he wishes he was in the lineup today. But Jim Riggleman didn’t want to take any chances, especially after the quick turnaround from last night, so Morgan is on the bench and Willie Harris is leading off and starting in center field.

— Also in the lineup today is Anderson Hernandez. This is the first game Hernandez has started since the All-Star break, and thus since the managerial change. As Riggleman discussed yesterday, the organization has made the decision to get a better look at Alberto Gonzalez while also giving Harris and Ronnie Belliard playing time at second base. That’s left Hernandez as the odd man out, fighting at this point to stick around as a utilityman.

— John Lannan is on the mound today, looking to continue his impressive run. Over his last nine starts, he’s 5-2 with a 2.60 ERA. He’s also recorded eight quality starts and on four occasions has pitched into the eighth inning. You probably already knew all that. What you may not know is that this will be his 58th career start. That actually ranks second in Nationals history, behind only Livan Hernandez (who made 59 starts from 2005-06). So Lannan is about to take over the lead, an impressive feat given how young he is. Here’s a real trivia question for you: After Hernandez and Lannan, who has made the third-most starts for the Nationals since the franchise arrived in 2005? Answer below.

— For all the attention we’re giving to Stephen Strasburg and his ongoing negotiations with the Nats, perhaps we should be paying more attention to the club’s other first-round draft pick, Drew Storen. The 10th overall selection, who signed one day after the draft and got right into the pipeline, has been nothing short of dominant. Over his last seven appearances between Hagerstown and Potomac, the right-hander has tossed 10 scoreless innings, allowing one hit. He’s got 20 strikeouts. And zero walks. In fact, Storen has yet to issue a walk as a professional. In 18 total appearances, he’s got 31 strikeouts and zero walks. Wow.

— Your new running rain delay total for the season: 2,022 minutes, or 33 hours and 42 minutes. That spans 17 games that have been delayed this year. That’s an average rain delay of 1 hour and 58 minutes. Wow.

— Trivia answer: Jason Bergmann, who has made 50 starts for the Nationals over the last five years, trailing only Livan Hernandez (59) and John Lannan (making his 58th today).

Today’s lineups…


CF Willie Harris

1B Nick Johnson

3B Ryan Zimmerman

LF Adam Dunn

RF Josh Willingham

C Josh Bard

SS Alberto Gonzalez

2B Anderson Hernandez

P John Lannan


SS Everth Cabrera

CF Wil Venable

LF Chase Headley

3B Kevin Kouzmanoff

RF Kyle Blanks

1B Oscar Salazar

2B Luis Rodriguez

C Eliezer Alfonso

P Chad Gaudin