A rare match-up

Just a few stream-of-consciousness thoughts on the Nats and other things:

The first question I asked as a Nationals beat writer was in March 2008 before a Nationals-Tigers spring training game. I asked Manny Acta if facing Justin Verlander in the spring was any kind of barometer to see where his team was at, and he downplayed the significance of it, as most managers do about any match-ups in the spring.

Today, the Nationals face Verlander for real, for the first time. Only three players on their roster (Willie Harris, Adam Kennedy and Ivan Rodriguez) have faced the Tigers ace, though Rodriguez obviously knows him from their days together in Detroit. It’s a nasty matchup for the Nationals in a game they’d have to win to maintain a shot at winning this series and salvaging a .500 road trip.

Surprisingly few players in the Tigers’ young lineup have faced Livan Hernandez; Magglio Ordonez went 2-for-2 with a homer and a walk off of Hernandez when he was with the Twins in 2008. Gerald Laird is 2-for-4 against Hernandez. Miguel Cabrera has 57 plate appearances against Hernandez, but a modest .713 OPS against him.

Watching Spain-Switzerland this morning, I think I’m starting to get into this World Cup thing a little. The final 30 minutes had plenty of action, and watching Spain try to prevent the upset was exciting. I typically am a big World Cup guy, but I’ve been more muted about it this year, because I feel like such a fraud watching soccer once every four years. Maybe I’ll come out of this, and the soccer fix will last this time. I’d like it more if there was high-quality soccer around here, but with enough international matches on cable channels now, I think this could continue. Maybe.

Speaking of unusual experiences, I’m thinking about making the PC-to-Mac leap. I’ve just about had it with my Dell Inspiron - it’s only two years old, but between chronic trackpad issues, goofy .dll errors on startup and generally slow performance, I might be in the market to make the leap. My computer programmer dad, who regards the PC-Mac debate like some people regard Ford-vs.-Chevy, didn’t cut my sister out of the will when she made the switch, so it might be OK. Any advice from Mac users out there? Or am I just getting caught up in the hype? Having a Mac would make me so much cooler.