Results tagged ‘ Adam Dunn ’

Nats Caravan Day 4: Blogging from the Bus

Notes from NatsTown is blogging from the bus throughout the Nationals’ 2010 Winter Caravan.

Today is the fourth and final day of the 2010 Winter Caravan.

10:16 a.m.–As we were walking to the elevator, Adam Dunn appeared out of nowhere and jumped like Michael Jordan onto Josh Willingham’s back. Needless to say, they both fell to the ground like a bag of bricks.

“That definitely felt like 260 pounds,” Willingham said. It might have been the first time Dunn has sneaked up on anyone.

10:29 a.m.–Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow. We just left Nats Park. It is only fitting that the Caravan experiences some weather related problems after the Nats had a billion (22) rain delays during the season. This Caravan operates on the same motto as the United States Postal Service. Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow will stop this Nats Caravan.

Our first stop is the Children’s Hospital and then we are heading to the PG Sports Complex to sign a few autographs. We are concluding the 2010 Caravan at White Flint Mall.

CH Riggleman.jpg
CH Ryan Zimmerman.jpg11:11 a.m.–As Brian Bruney colored, “You would be the best kindergarten teacher if you didn’t play baseball,” Dibble said. That is tough to debate.

11:32 a.m.–“I can’t lose weight,” Dunn said. Piece of advice: “If you lose weight, you lose bombs.”

11:33 a.m.–“Dunn can you smile for me so I can take a picture of you,” a lady asked. “I can smile with best of them,” he said. “That is a beautiful smile Mr. Dunn,” she replied.

11:39 a.m.–Tuneesha Watson has a granddaughter in the ICU that wasn’t able to attend. She filled in perfectly. She collected an autograph from each player for her granddaughter. “It is so cool to have the players here today,” she said. “The kids will remember this forever.”

CH Nyjer Morgan.jpg12:01–We have left the Children’s Hospital.

1:13–The snow continues to fall but the wheels keep on turning.  It definitely made the trip longer… we are right by Fed Ex Field and the traffic is as congested as if it there is a Redskins game today.

1:36–Dunn threw his phone to Zimmerman as if it was a football.  It landed well short and hit the ground. “My phone is unbreakable,” Dunn said. Zimmerman threw it back. It hit the wall…a chair… and finally stopped moving when it hit the ground. It was safe… and it’s definitely unbreakable.

PG Check Giving.jpg2:17–The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation granted the Forestville Boys & Girls Club with $5,000 to assist with programming and equipment needs. The Forestville Boys & Girls Club is an organization with a 49-year history of teaching boys and girls the fundamentals of baseball.  Their work has enabled thousands of children and teens to engage in tournament competition and to learn the values of teamwork and embrace the game of baseball.

PG Standing By the kids.jpg“We are honored to partner with the Nationals organization on this extremely important project, and extend our heartfelt appreciation for their support of our County’s youth,” said Samuel J. Parker Jr., Chairman of the Prince George’s County Planning Board.  “We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship as we work together to teach our young people the fundamentals of leadership and responsibility through the fundamentals of the game of baseball.”

PG Signing Line.jpg3:02–Our boy Robert Probst from Dover, Del., wasn’t deterred by the snow and made the trip to the autograph session. If you remember from Day Two, he drove to Woodbridge on Thursday night. “I told you I would be here today,” he said. “There is nothing that could have stopped me.” He is also like the USPS. He left his house at 11 a.m. and it took him three and half hours to drive the 80 miles. See ya at NatsFest Robert.

3:34–We are now departing the PG County Sports Complex… and it continues to snow.

3:46–The electronic sign on 495 reads: “EXPECT MAJOR DELAYS… CHOOSE ALTERNATE ROUTE.”  Right at this moment the traffic is flowing freely (sounds more like a description of a river)… if only we knew what was ahead of us.

Road Traffic.jpg4:08–The Beltway just became a parking lot. We are seven miles away from our destination.

Road Crash.jpg4:40–We have gone two miles in 32 minutes… one of the few crashes.

Road Deer.jpg4:49–This picture doesn’t do justice but there were at least 20 deer prancing and dancing in the snow as if Santa was coming.

4:58–Riggleman made a trip to the front of the bus to talk to Harold the bus driver and possibly call in a reliever to speed things up. He returned to reveal the problem. “I think I found out what the problem is,” Riggleman said. “Traffic jam.”

Road Mustang.jpg5:03–Yeah, that car is stuck. It might have been the highlight on the journey. To its credit the car was more determined than The Little Engine that Could. There was just one problem–this car couldn’t. The Mustang tried to get out about every 30 seconds. We kept cheering for it… it didn’t exactly help.

5:25–3.6 miles away. I would be surprised if we arrive by 6 p.m.

5:45–“We are still 2.2 miles away,” Willingham said. “Does anyone have a DVD we can watch.”

6:04–We are sooooo close yet so far away. We just drove in a circle around the mall.

6:13–We made it. It only took 2 hours and 39 minutes to travel 22.2 miles.

Mall Signing Line.jpg
Mall Ol Roy.jpg7:17–The Caravan is over. It was a fantastic four days. Be sure to make it to NatsFest tomorrow.

30 Players in 30 Days: Adam Dunn

Adam Dunn

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Today is Adam Dunn’s birthday. Happy Birthday Adam!!!


The Nats were rolling on June 19. The starters were wheeling and dealing with a 3.11 ERA for the month of June and they had just returned from a series victory over the Yankees in the Bronx. Next up: the Toronto Blue Jays at Nationals Park. The game didn’t involve a rain delay but it was a rollercoaster ride of highs, lows and missed opportunities. The two clubs combined to go 2-for-15 (.133 BA) with runners in scoring position. The Jays left 13 men on base while Washington left 16. But in the bottom of the 11th with the game tied 1-1 and the bases loaded, Adam Dunn drove an 0-2 fastball to right field for the game winning hit.


It was the Nats first walk-off win and extra inning victory of the season. Dunn got it done all season long. He led the Nationals with 15 game winning RBI and 30 go-ahead RBI. He has a great batting eye and is extremely patient at the plate. He saw an average of 4.32 pitches per plate appearance, good for fourth in the Majors. He wasn’t signed to make spectacular plays with his glove. The Nats didn’t expect stellar defense out of Dunn–a trade off for the tape measure blasts to right–but he was a pleasant surprise in the field after moving to first base when Nick Johnson was traded to the Marlins on July 31. At the plate, he was a tenacious, home run-raking, RBI-producing clean-up hitter–your best bet is to walk him. He was on pace to hit over 40 home runs for the majority of the season but finished just short of the mark with 38 bombs. He wasn’t able to extend his streak to six straight 40 home run seasons, but he didn’t care. He cares more about wins than individual numbers. He finished the season with a .267 average, 105 RBI, 116 walks and an on-base percentage of .398.


Last offseason, the Nationals were looking for a power bat. They found one in Dunn. Dunn is entering the final year of his two-year contract and at the young age of 30, he could have a monstrous 2010 season.


Adam Dunn Final Stats






































Nats end season with seven game winning streak

The 2009 regular season is in the books for the Nationals. They ended the final week with a bang. They won the last seven games, sweeping the Mets at Nationals Park with a Justin Maxwell walk-off grand slam and the Braves at Turner Field. Of course, baseball has a stat for everything and the Nationals became the first team in Major League history to lose the first seven games of the season and win the last seven games.


Game 162 lasted four hours and 18 minutes, went 15 innings, with a combined 41 players used, 425 pitches thrown, 26 hits and only three runs. That’s baseball. The Nats took a 2-1 lead when Alberto Gonzalez singled to center to score Elijah Dukes in the top of the 15th.


It was a meaningless game that meant everything. With Pete Orr playing third base, Mike Morse playing first base and Jorge Padilla playing left, the Nats made game 162 a memorable moment.


“This is going to be my strongest memory,” reliever Ron Villone said. “I haven’t been involved in a World Series, but I’ve never been in a game on the last day of the season like this — the way we turned things around. We didn’t accomplished what we wanted, but we went out there, battled and left it all out there.”


The Nationals are hoping the 2010 season brings many more winning streaks like this one that closed out the 2009 campaign, more dramatic victories and October baseball to NatsTown.


It may happen sooner than you think.


The storm clouds–literally (22 games totaling 2,460 minutes of delayed, suspended and postponed baseball) and figuratively–will eventually roll away from Nationals Park. The 2010 season is next and the forecast is favorable.


True, the Nationals didn’t look like a contender in 2009. Still, there is a growing sense of progress within the Nationals organization that has spawned optimism about 2010. So how does a team with consecutive 100-plus loss seasons turn it around? Well, it helps to first see them as a 71 win team, the pace the team has kept since the All-Star Break. That turns the math from calculus to simple subtraction. The magic number to win a wild card or a division varies each year but 90-91 wins almost certainly secures a spot. Plenty of teams have improved 20.0 games in one season. It is less of a feat than the 31.0 game improvement completed by the Rays in 2008, they too had the worst record in the Majors the year before.


The Rays aren’t the only team to complete a 180 degree turnaround in one season. In 1999, the Diamondbacks improved 35.0 games. The Giants improved 31.0 games in 1993. Since 1991, seven NL teams and two AL teams completed the climb from cellar to Division Champion. The Nats would gladly settle for the Wild Card. Nationals President Stan Kasten keeps 1991 close to his heart. It provides an immediate rebuttal to anyone who says it can’t happen. He references the 1991 Braves when looking at the Nationals future. He joined both franchises, the Braves in ’87 and the Nationals in ’06, at a similar stage in the building process–the bottom. He is using the same building principles and philosophies with the Nats that helped orchestrate an unprecedented 12 straight division titles from 1991-2003 under his watch with the Braves.


In 1990, the Minnesota Twins finished last in the AL West Division with a 74-88 record and the

Atlanta Braves finished with the worst record in the Majors at 65-97. In 1991, two teams went from worst to first, the Twins won 95 games and the Braves won 94. It took seven games to determine the World Series Champion.


There is a stark difference between opportunity and achievement–it separates a team from a 70-

92 record from a team with a 92-70 record. The Nats know that. They know what has to happen if they want to be celebrating with champagne at the end of September.


The bullpen is bolstered.

This will be the Nationals main priority. They had 20 blown saves and posted a 5.71 ERA at the All-Star break. They have revamped the relief corp and there is only one bullpen pitcher left from Opening Day. They only blew five in the second half of the season.


“I think it’s a major point of emphasis for the offseason,” General Manager Mike Rizzo said. “We have gotten better. We have many more capable hearts than we did at the beginning of the season. But I’m certainly not satisfied with it.”


Sean Burnett and Tyler Clippard have been nice additions. Mike MacDougal has provided stability out of the closer’s role that was missing earlier in the season. Who stays, who leaves is still a question mark but a bullpen makes or breaks a potential playoff ballclub in September.


The young guns lose… young.

Kasten points to future Hall of Fame pitchers John Smoltz, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine’s collective sub-.500 record their first two years in the Majors when talking about young pitchers struggling early in their careers–almost all pitchers experience growing pains.


“I think our young pitchers have kind of grown up right in front of our eyes and offensively we have hit our stride,” Adam Dunn said. “It’s going to be fun next year… It’s going to be a lot of fun.”


The Nationals have watched their young guns John Lannan, Jordan Zimmermann (out for the

2010 season), Ross Detwiler, Shairon Martis, Craig Stammen, J.D. Martin, Collin Balester and Garrett Mock experience it firsthand. But all of them have shown signs of promise this year. The starters posted a 3.86 ERA in the month of June. At least three of them need to lose the “young”

moniker in 2010.


The defense turns hits into outs.

The Nats will be searching for a free agent field general up the middle. Their defense has drastically improved since the All-Star break but their shortstop-second baseman combo committed the most errors in the Majors this season. That isn’t a formula for success. “It’s hard to win,” Ryan Zimmerman said, “when you give the other team more than 27 outs.” Dunn has smoothly transitioned to first base and Zimmerman is a Gold Glove caliber player at the hot corner. Nyjer Morgan solidified a place in center field for the coming years and covers more ground than Rock Creek Park.


What is good gets better.

The Nationals defining moment of the 2009 season happened off the field, tucked behind home plate, adjacent to the Lexus Presidents Club, in the press conference room at 4 p.m. on April 20. The soft-spoken, clean-cut Zimmerman–with the stroke of a pen–became a National for the next five years. Add Dunn and Josh Willingham to the mix and you have a ferocious heart of the order that will carry the offense. “We’ve got a lot of guys that are in their prime offensively and if we can continue to make progress in pitching and defense,” Dunn said, “that’s the formula to go from last to first.”


Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen become the wild card.

Someday the 2009 First-Year Player Draft might be viewed as the turning point for the Nationals. Time will tell but it has left a strong first impression. The Nationals used their 2009 compensation pick (No. 10 overall) to draft Storen, a closer, who had a sensational first season in the Minor Leagues. Strasburg and Storen will pitch in the Arizona Fall League this October and will get a chance to make the team out of Spring Training. During the 1991 season in Atlanta, left-handed pitcher Steve Avery was the X-factor. The third overall pick in the 1988 First-Year Player Draft went 3-11 in 1990. He had a sensational sophomore season as a 21-year-old and went 18-8.


A veteran pitcher arrives.

The team picked up the rubber armed Livan Hernandez to eat innings in September. Will he pitch for the Nats in 2010? The Nats believe the additions of Dunn, Willingham and Morgan will attract a veteran pitcher and persuade them that it is the beginning of a good, exciting ballclub.


“We have to have a special type of veteran pitcher, who is willing to give of himself as a

teacher and mentor type of guy,” Rizzo said. “We have to get a team-oriented person, a person that is going to give his time and his knowledge. It’s not an easy task.”


The Nats task isn’t easy. Baseball teams can’t be built overnight and turnarounds aren’t instant, seamless and easy. It takes time, a lot of it. The Rays endured 10 consecutive seasons of losing. The Braves had seven straight losing seasons before 1991. But then it clicks and it will click eventually. So consider yourself warned because the future is bright and the Nationals are primed to put Washington back on the baseball map in 2010.



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Know your Nats: Adam Dunn

You asked, and Adam answered. Notes from NatsTown sat down with first baseman Adam Dunn during the previous homestand with the questions you submitted. Check it out and see if your question was answered.

042109-208 adam dunn.JPG1.     
Jana Robbins, Woodbridge, VA: What did you do with your days off? You have made this year exciting.  Thanks!
Well, Jana what I do on my days off, normally if they’re at home,  spend time with the wife and kid and do whatever they want to do. But I definitely get a lot of rest and play a lot of X-Box.

2.       Joey Robbins, Woodbridge, VA: What kind of gum do you chew out there when you play?
Joey, when I play I choose the sugarless Double Bubble. This one right here [takes gum out of his mouth].

3.       Carol O’Hagan, Stafford, VA: How many packs of gum do you go through in one game?
Carol, I don’t know how many packs of gum I go through a day but I probably go through, probably 15 or 20 pieces in a game. I chew a lot of gum.

4.       Kimberly Everts, Hagerstown, MD: Growing up, who was your baseball idol? Do you model your play after anyone in particular?
Kimberly, to answer your question about my baseball kind of role model growing up, I try to patent my game. I was a big fan of Larry Walker. For some reason, I don’t know why, I just liked the way he played. 

5.       Lucas Pillar, Great Falls, VA: Have you ever considered bunting for a base hit when the other team has the over-shift on? With only one infielder on the left side, it seems like they are asking you to send a hard bunt down the third-base line. When they start defending against it, it will open up space on the right side.
Lucas, to answer your question about bunting, I do think about it but I’m not that good of a bunter so I figured if it’s a good enough pitch to bunt it, I’ll pop it up and be really mad at myself.  So that’s probably a pitch that I probably could have maybe hit a homer.

6.       Robert Floyd, Furnace Mountain, VA: I’m really curious as to your thought process when you come to the plate.  Are you thinking home run, or just hit it hard?  Does your approach vary, depending on situation, pitcher or pitch count?  I’d love to know what you’re thinking when you stand there at the plate and hold your bat up in the air – that has to freak pitchers out.
Robert, to answer your question about when I’m at the plate, kind of what I’m thinking, it kind of depends on the pitcher and the situation. If we’re down by one late in the game and I’ve got a chance to tie it, put us ahead, I’m going to try to tie or put us ahead. If not, if we need baserunners, I’ll try to work a walk or try to get a base hit.

7.       Cassie Little, Ocean City, MD: I’m an Alan Ashby Fan too. I have seen numerous times on the Jumbotron that your favorite player was Alan Ashby because of his hair… you have grown your hair out a little bit but not to the extent that he did but can we count on you growing a fro and having a mustache like him for next year
Cassie, Alan Ashby was my favorite player growing up. I actually have becom
e really good friends with him. But to answer your question about my hair, growing out like his, absolutely not. That was more of an 80’s mullet.

8.       Neil Hendricks, Blacksburg, VA: How much video do you watch of opposing pitchers? Do you tailor your strategy based on who is pitching or do you have a general strategy when you hit?
Neil, to answer your question about how much video I watch, I try not to because it always looks a lot nastier and the pitchers look a lot better than they normally are on video. All I want to know is what they have and kind of their tendencies in counts, what pitches they throw.

9.       Jeanie Barlett, Bel Aire, MD: What are your predictions for the upcoming College Football season? Now that Sam Bradford is out do you think Colt McCoy can lead the Longhorns to the title?
Well Jeanie, to answer your question about College Football, I think even if Sam Bradford was healthy and the tight end wasn’t out for the season, I think Texas would still kick their butts. I think it’s going to come down to whoever wins in the SEC and Texas.

10.   Cary Kisner, Vienna, VA: Is it safe to say that you would have owned Rob Dibble had you and he played at the same time?
Cary, that’s a very good question about me and Rob Dibble. I think asking him, he would probably say that he would own me but I would like to beg to differ.


Know your Nats: Adam Dunn


052009-236 adam dunn c.JPGHere at Notes from NatsTown, we want to give YOU the opportunity to get to know some of your favorite players both on and off the field. Next homestand, slugger Adam Dunn will be answering YOUR questions–ask anything and everything. Submit your question(s) along with your name and city to us via e-mail at
from now until noon on September 8th and we will post his answers
immediately. Check back and see if your question is answered! If your
question is selected, you will receive a free gift from the Nationals.

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Coghlan – LF

Maybin – CF

Ramirez – SS

Cantu – 1B

Baker – C

Uggla – 2B

Ross – RF

Helms – 3B

Johnson – P (RHP, 13-4, 3.08)



Harris – CF

Guzman – SS

Zimmerman – 3B

Dunn – 1B

Willingham – LF

Dukes – RF

Orr – 2B

Nieves – C

Hernandez – P (RHP, 7-9, 5.26)


Capture the Caption: Submit your caption to or in the comments section. The winning caption receives a free Nationals T-shirt.
josh willingham.JPG

Know Your Nats: Adam Dunn


052009-236 adam dunn c.JPGHere at Notes from NatsTown, we want to give YOU the opportunity to get to know some of your favorite players both on and off the field. Next homestand, slugger Adam Dunn will be answering YOUR questions–ask anything and everything. Submit your question(s) along with your name and city to us via e-mail at from now until noon on September 8th and we will post his answers immediately. Check back and see if your question is answered! If your question is selected, you will receive a free gift from the Nationals.

Know Your Nats: Adam Dunn

052009-236 adam dunn c.JPGHere at Notes from NatsTown, we want to give YOU the opportunity to get to know some of your favorite players both on and off the field. Next homestand, slugger Adam Dunn will be answering YOUR questions–ask anything and everything. Submit your question(s) to us via e-mail at from now until noon on September 8th and we will post his answers immediately. Check back and see if your question is answered! If your question is selected, you will receive a free gift from the Nationals.

Nats look to continue the streak at home



Gonzalez – LF

Fowler – CF

Helton – 1B

Tulowitzki – SS

Hawpe – RF

Atkins – 3B

Barmes – 2B

Iannetta – C

Jimenez – P (RHP, 10-9, 3.47)



Morgan –  CF

Guzman – SS

Zimmerman – 3B

Dunn – 1B

Willingham – LF

Dukes – RF

Gonzalez – 2B

Nieves – C

Stammen – P (RHP, 3-6, 5.24)

Home Sweet Home:

The Nats are 10-3 at home since they were swept in a four-game series against the Cubs from July 16th to the 19th. The .769 home winning percentage is tied for third in the Majors since July 20th.

The Nationals have won an MLB-best eight straight games here in DC to establish the club mark for most consecutive wins at Nationals Park, which opened last year. Here is a look at the Nationals’ top win streaks in DC since baseball returned to the Nation’s Capital in 2005:

Rank   Win Streak     DC Ball Park             Dates

1.         12                    RFK                            June 2-25, 2005

T2.        8                    Nationals Park           July 25-present

T2.         8                    RFK                            July 21-August 5, 2007

MacDougal is a safe bet:

062009-248 mike macdogual 1.JPGIn 25 appearances since ascending into the Nationals closer role by recording the final two outs in a 3-2 win on June 17 against the Yankees, Mike MacDougal has successfully converted 13 of 14 save opportunities. He can thank his confidence in his ferocious fastball for the turn around, the pitch he throws almost every time. It is quite the contrast to the start of the 2009 season. MacDougal started the season with the White Sox but struggled to hit his spots and threw his slider more than 50 percent of the time. That changed when he was released by the Sox and signed a Minor League deal with the Nationals. He pitched for the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs when then Chiefs pitching coach Steve McCatty, now the Nationals pitching coach, told MacDougal to have faith in his fastball. It saved his season. He has a 2.27 ERA (8 ER/31.2 IP) and a .218 (24-for-110) batting average against in 33 games with the Nats.


The Best Days of Summer:

The Nationals are 11-4 in the month of August. Washington’s .733 winning percentage in August ranks third in MLB behind only the Cardinals (11-3, .786) and Yankees (12-4, .750). There are still 14 August contests to play and the Nationals are just four wins shy of clinching their first winning month since going 15-12 in September of 2007. They won nine games in May, June and July.

Getting it Dunn:

Adam Dunn has recorded 15 game-winning RBIs this season and trails only the Giants Bengie Molina (18). Since the beginning of the 2008 season, Dunn’s 31 GWRBI are ranked third in MLB:

Rank   Player                         GWRBI (2008-09)

1.         Prince Fielder              33

2.         Bengie Molina             32

3.         Adam Dunn               31