First things first: You had to be impressed with the speed by which last night's game ended and the Lifehouse concert started. I'd been told it would take 20 minutes from last pitch to first chord, and it was exactly 20 minutes.The evening has to be judged a success, from the walk-off nature of the victory over the Mets, to the efficiency of the postgame production. I'd expect more postgame concerts next season.
Today's start by Livan Hernandez was announced as his final start of the season, so as to create some opportunities for the pitchers joining the team this month. Hernandez's duties for the rest of the month will include mentoring the younger arms, pinch hitting, and possibly some middle relief. He's also open to returning in 2012 as a middle reliever, but only for Washington.
The Nationals may have some competition for Hernandez's services next year. It's rumored that the Marlins - to be re-christened Miami Marlins in 2012 with the opening of their new ballpark - would like to bring Hernandez back to finish his career where it began. He makes his winter home in Miami, so it makes some sense, but it's probably safe to assume that he doesn't feel the same comfort level there that he would here. After all, his boss when he was with the Marlins was Wayne Huizenga, not current owner Jeffrey Loria. He might sell a few extra tickets in South Florida, but it seems pretty clear his heart is in D.C.
Young pitching is a major strength of the Nationals, but as I've stated here previously, it's far too soon to declare that Hernandez isn't still one of your five best starting pitchers. A year ago, the Nats announced a new contract with Hernandez right around the time of his final start of 2010. History may not repeat itself today, but I don't believe we're seeing the last of this guy in a Nats uniform this season.