Earlier this morning Joe posted the first in a series of posts about Chien-Ming Wang's (presumed) return to the majors, expected in the next 10 days or so. His writing inspired me to do some research and investigating on what the Nats were doing that day, when Wang had his final big league start before injury. It was July 4th. 2009 and the Nationals were playing the Atlanta Braves here at home in Nationals Park...
8 - Morgan
3 - Johnson
5 - Zimmerman
7 - Dunn
9 - Willingham
6 - Guzman
4 - Hernandez
2 - Nieves
1 - Lannan
It's always a spectacle when the Home Town team is playing in DC on the 4th - and they sure put on a show for the 23,708 in attendance. The Nationals won the game 5-3 on some heroics by the superstars of the team; Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn, and Josh Willingham. Though it would be some of the other characters that struck my eye.
John Lannan had one of his best starts of the year, giving up just 3 runs in 8 innings to shut down the Braves bats. Mike MacDougal came in for the ninth to lock it down - despite walking two.
Yes it was the big stars that got the job done. Adam Dunn launched his 300th career home run to lead off the 7th. The next inning, proceeded by a Ronnie Belliard single and a Josh Bard walk, Zimmerman knocked home both with a single of his own after a Morgan SAC and a Nick Johnson walk. And in true station-to-station fashion Dunn singled home Nick Johnson, and Willingham singled home Zimmerman.
The Nats certainly had a different lineup than just 2 years ago, with only Lannan and Zimmerman still remaining.
It's amazing how things can change in such a short amount of time!
Feel free to use the Comments section to lament the loss of the not-so-power-hitting-anymore Adam Dunn, the oft-injured Willingham, or the pure speed of Bard and Belliard. Enjoy the afternoon Rubber Match against the MLB-worst Astros!