a 2009 NL East Preview: 2009 MLB National League East Notebook
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2009 MLB National League East Notebook


Elijah Dukes tried to do the right thing. Instead he did the wrong thing and the Washington Nationals did the right thing.

In an effort to give back to the community, Dukes attended a fund raiser on behalf of the Glen Falls Little League on April 18. However, he ran late that afternoon and got to the ballpark late for the game against Florida.

The Nationals fined him $500 for being late, but the Little League said it was going to pay the fine for him because of his selflessness. However, the Nationals warned Dukes that if he was late again, he would be sent back to the minor leagues.

Now, if you’re Dukes, you scored big with kids who look up to you. You gave of yourself because you wanted to show that you supported their enthusiasm to play baseball.

Dukes has been known for displaying a wild temper. That’s part of the reason why Tampa Bay gave up on him after the 2007 season.

But if you’re the Nationals, you also scored because you also showed the kids that every person must be accountable for your actions and take responsibility. Since the incident, Duke was in a 4-for-14 (.286) streak.


Further proof that baseball can be a humbling game. The Florida Marlins were celebrated as the story of the season by jumping off to an 11-1 start.

Then there was that trip to Pittsburgh when everything went upside down. The Pirates swept the three-game series to drop the Marlins to 11-4.

The bats have cooled off.

Dan Uggla is hitless in his last 21 at-bats, Emilio Bonifacio is in a 6-for-42 tailspin, while Hanley Ramirez really hasn’t gotten going this year. He’s in a 10-for-49 black hole.

But that’s baseball.

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It just doesn’t look right when you see Garrett Anderson wearing a uniform other than the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Anderson’s time with the Angels goes back to when they were called the California Angels. From 1994-2008, Anderson hit 272 home runs and had 1,292 RBIs in his brilliant career there. But the Angels turned him loose as a free agent. The Braves signed him

However, Braves fans aren’t seeing in him in their uniform either.

Anderson is a candidate to land on the disabled list with left quadriceps strain. He had missed the last three games. Manager Bobby Cox thought if things didn’t improve by Friday, Anderson would go on it. Anderson is just hitting .200 (5-for-25) in 10 games.


Left-hander Cole Hamels started the series finale against Milwaukee on April 23. As starts go, this was a pretty big one for Hamels.

He has gotten off to a very poor 0-2 start with an 11.17 ERA. He was decent in last Friday’s start against San Diego when he threw six innings and gave up five runs.

But his fastball is only topping out at 90 mph, which is not where many thought it would be. That’s led to opponents hitting four home runs off of him. He is a power pitcher and had a career-high 196 strikeouts last year.

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The Mets have baseball’s best bullpen ERA at 2.18. And really the starting pitchers should be blessing them for that.

In the first 14 games, a starting pitcher has taken a start at least six innings only three times. Johan Santana has two. Livan Hernandez, a free agent signing, has the other.

However, that kind of trend will tax a bullpen beyond belief and quickly take it out of the pennant race by mid-July.

And then there won’t need to be any remorse expressed by Mets fans because their team blew a lead late in the season.



By Kevin Lonnquist
MLBcenter.com Staff Writer

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