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How the Nats could beat Lincecum

May 26, 2010, 5:30 PM EST


Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Nyjer Morgan needs to get on base for the Nats to have a chance tonight.

SAN FRANCISCO — The Nationals may not face a stiffer challenge all season than they will tonight, with two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum on the mound for the Giants against rookie right-hander Luis Atilano. Lincecum is as good as anyone in the sport right now, and he enters this one with a 5-0 record, 2.35 ERA and a ridiculous 75 strikeouts in 61 1/3 innings. Atilano, meanwhile, has begun to look human after his out-of-nowhere arrival last month. He's allowed nine earned runs in his last 9 1/3 innings and has put 20 men on base during that span.

So we might as well write this one off, right? Well, maybe not. There's no such thing as a sure thing in baseball, where any team can legitimately beat any other team on any given night. Lincecum has taken the loss in 17 of his 99 career games. He's going to lose No. 18 eventually. Why not tonight?

So it's a bit implausible, but certainly not out of the realm of possibility. Here, then, are five reasons the Nats COULD win tonight's game…

1. The Nats own Tim Lincecum. OK, that may be exaggerating it a bit. The guy is a career 1-0 with a 1.77 ERA against Washington. But Lincecum did have a sub-par (by his lofty standards) outing against the Nationals last June, allowing four runs (two earned) on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. The Nats proceeded to win that game 10-6 thanks toRead more ยป

  1. N. Cognito - May 26, 2010 at 5:51 PM

    Side trip to Haight-Ashbury.Now we know what Mark can do when he's on LSD. ;)

  2. Mrs. Z. - May 26, 2010 at 6:07 PM

    Mark on LSD? Dream on…

  3. Bowdenball - May 26, 2010 at 6:09 PM

    He's going to lose No. 18 eventually. Why not tonight? It was cool the way your answered your own question in the picture accompanying your post.

  4. Traveler8 - May 26, 2010 at 6:26 PM

    Also, as the song says, we've got heart! is reason # 6.

  5. K.D. - May 26, 2010 at 6:31 PM

    Anyone can be beat, and the Giants haven't seen Atilano. Just have to believe!

  6. Chris - May 26, 2010 at 6:48 PM

    I'd vote for "with a crowbar."

  7. Bote Man - May 26, 2010 at 8:13 PM

    6. Food poisoning – the Nats should send over to the Giants a lunch buffet with day-old seafood, then wait for game time roster changes.

  8. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me - May 26, 2010 at 8:15 PM

    Mark, I share your optimism, and my bong water needs changing too. I am really underwhelmed by the Giants' offense (and entire team, except for starting pitching, really) and they might not score more than two runs. Amazing Willie could get lucky with a couple of guys on base. Nationals, 3-2.Hey, man, have you tried these little tabs? They're like far out, man.

  9. upperdeck4 - May 26, 2010 at 8:23 PM

    Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today– Mark Twain

  10. natsfan1a - May 26, 2010 at 8:28 PM

    um, is "With an Uggla Stick" an option? :-)Granted, we're not the Phillies but I watched a game this year where they came back late against the SFO 'pen after the skipper had lifted Lincecum. hmmm, maybe it was the Phillies' judicious use of binos? :-D

  11. natsfan1a - May 26, 2010 at 8:30 PM

    The game in question:http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/recap?gid=300428126

  12. court - May 26, 2010 at 9:10 PM

    The MadDog has tweeted that SJS will debut against the Pirates, not the Reds. He's set up to pitch the 8th if he stays on a 5 day schedule. Ladson also says that the Nats will give 5 or 6 days notice.So the team gets two sell-outs while only having to use SJS once… win-win-LOSE (for those of us with tix for the 4th)

  13. Keith - May 27, 2010 at 5:05 AM

    From Bratislava – just listened to the last couple of innings. Mark – you were right!

  14. Hendo - May 27, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    Am picturing Mrs. Z rolling her eyes as Mark bounces around the house all full of himself this morning. Nice call, btw.

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