Nats gaining ground on once untouchable Phillies

The Nationals stunned the Phillies Saturday night in the bottom of the ninth courtesy a dramatic 3-run homer by Ryan Zimmerman, 7-5. The Nats are now 4-4 against the Phillies this season with 10 games left in the series, after going a miserable 3-15 in 2009.

Washington has now won six of their last nine games against teams with above .500 records. The Nats have also won four of their last five games during this homestand when they found out phenom Stephen Strasburg was going to be scratched to begin the week.

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And remember Roy Oswalt made his Phillies debut Friday? Yup, 8-1 Nats win that night. Many ahve said Oswalt was the best trade deadline deal. It still may be. But Friday the Nats shocked the Phils and Oswalt and now have won two in a row against the Phils.

What I like most though about the recent changes on offense is the hunger I see from this lineup. Shortstop Ian Desmond and right fielder Roger Bernadina lead this young, upstart starting nine as guys to me that want to be here.

The biggest news today off the field occurred before the game's first pitch when general manager Mike Rizzo did not trade first baseman Adam Dunn. Rizzo said that "sometimes the best trade you can make is the one you don't make." He said they did not get offered equal or greater value for Dunn's services.

Now it is time to consider a long term deal for Dunn to stay with the Nats. Zimmerman has used the Phillies 3-4-5 hitters as an example of the core he likes in D.C. between himself, Dunn and Josh Willingham. Get the core in place and build around it. With the way the Nats have decided to stand pat with Dunn and Willingham, it appears the team is closer to getting the young guys in place to male a run next year.

Another news item today that was announced at 5:45 p.m. was the addition of 28-year old Cuban righthander Yunesky Maya who was 48-29 with a 2.51 ERA in six seasons for Pinar Del Rio. Rizzo says Maya will head to Florida today to be evaluated by Spin Williams.

So if Maya is major league ready as Rizzo believes, how about a rotation of say, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Ross Detwiler, Scott Olsen and Maya. That does not take into account what you have seen from Livan Hernandez and Craig Stammen this season.

Could Chien-Ming Wang and Jason Marquis come back healthy you have few pretty good answers. The Nats could be close to stockpiling starters that might interest teams in 2011 and attract free agents.

Rizzo also said today on MASN's Nats Xtra that shortstop Danny Espinosa is "a half year to a year away" from being major league ready. An Ian Desmond to Espinosa double play combination could be tough to beat in years to come.

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