WASHINGTON, D.C. — Last night the Washington Nationals gave out t-shirts that had my nickname for Ryan Zimmerman — Mr. Walkoff. By the end of the night, one of them in the clubhouse had DONKEY written in place of Zimmerman on the left sleeve. The Big Donkey, Adam Dunn, had taken the role from the ailing Zimmerman. In the bottom of the 9th of a 1-1 game, Dunn deposited a 2-0 fastball into right-centerfield seats to beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 2-1.
Dunn is without a contract for next season and the conventional wisdom is that the Nats have little interest changing that, sighting his defensive liabilities. Fans in Nationals Park were not concerned by that as “Sign Adam Dunn” chants appeared at every at bat. A game-winning homer against a hated rival has a way of motivating not only fans, but the writers that cover the team. Mark Zuckerman made the case for Dunn here (Nats Insider). Dunn is a popular in the clubhouse and Zimmerman has not been shy about his desire to see Dunn stick around. Dunn seems to be worried only about the things he can control (The Post).
By the way, Dunn also knocked in the only other Nats run in the 1st inning. Nyjer Morgan walked, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error (I think, I was in line). Small ball! This is what we expected out of Morgan all season, but rarely saw.
Jason Marquis and Roy Oswalt dueled on the mound. Marquis scattered 7 hits over 6 innings, giving up a Raul Ibanez home run to open the 4th. Otherwise, Marquis pitched out of trouble with regularity, a rare sight in his lost season. He recorded 7 strikeouts. Oswalt, who the Nats have had success against, gave up only 2 hits before leaving after five innings to rest up for the playoffs. The Phillies bullpen kept the Nats hitless until the 9th. Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen each had two strikeouts for D.C. In the top of the ninth, Storen walked Brian Schneider, who was pinch-run for by John Mayberry. Ivan Rodriguez threw out Mayberry at second and Storen got two Ks, ending the Phillies late threat.
I did not get a Mr. Walkoff t-shirt, if anybody has an extra, please let me know.
As a going away present to Stan Kasten, I went with 3 Phillies fans.
I paid off 2 of the 3 half-smokes I owed the Ombudsman.