Adam Dunn’s two home runs and five RBIs powered the Washington Nationals to their fourth straight win on Friday night, 8-3 — sending Atlanta to their fourth straight loss and dimming their chances for a post-season birth. It was Dunn’s 36th and 37th home runs of the year, as the big slugger has now accounted for 101 RBIs on the season. Dunn’s homers were greeted with standing ovations from Nats’ fans, who chanted “Sign Adam Dunn” during the game. Dunn’s power display helped Jordan Zimmermann to his first season win, as the big righty pitched five innings of three hit baseball, lowering his season ERA to 5.76. It was the kind of outing that the team has been hoping that Zimmermann would provide as he recovers from Tommy John surgery in 2009. Willie Harris added an exciting inside-the-park home run to help the Nats win decisively. The largest crowd of this home stand, some 22,000-plus, watched the fireworks provided by an energized Nationals’ line-up. Tyler Clippard, Joel Peralta, Sean Burnett and Miguel Batista closed out the game for the Nationals, who have now won 66 games on the season.
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: You don’t need to be an investigative reporter to know that Craig Stammen is not happy being a reliever — it’s written all over his face. The righty has been solid out of the bullpen over the last month, the only real blip coming during “the Nyjer Morgan game” against the Marlins back on September 1, when Stammen yielded six in 3.1 innings of work. When he gets the ball down in the zone he pitches effectively, and he’s done so impressively out of the pen a number of times. Truth is, the Nats seem to be doing some of this in reverse (though there’s no absolute tradition in creating a starter), by using an assignment to the bullpen as a kind of demotion. Of course the Nats would deny that, but that’s sure the way it looks. And our bet is that Stammen feels that way. Maybe it’s time he got another chance . . .
Tim Kurkjian says that the Cubs are giving serious consideration to hiring Ryne Sandberg as their manager, though the actual decision is more than a month away. There’s a glitch, however: the Cubs (Kurkjian reported on Baseball Tonight), are worried that dumping such a poor team on a rookie manager like Sandberg might not go over too well, as those close to the club acknowledge that the team could be in line to lose upwards of ninety games next year — a year of retooling and shedding contracts. It’s not like Sandberg is simply a fan favorite or doesn’t deserve the job: when he said he wanted to manage, some four years ago, the Cubs’ front office told him to go get some experience. So he did. This year he was voted Pacific Coast League manager of the year. Then too, the Cubs are suddenly filled with kids, a lot of whom Sandberg knows well. And c’mon really, what’s the worst that could happen — that the team stinks, loses 84 games and finishes fifth in their division?