Remember how great Mark Hendrickson was at the beginning of the year? And how we were crediting a psychiatrist, or a change in delivery, or a fistful of magic beans and some pixie dust as the reason for hope?
Any remaining pixie dust was, like Hendrickson, blown away last night in Washington DC, as the Dodgers got pounded by the second-worst team in the NL, a team whose run production was smaller than all but one other NL team (the Cardinals). The remedy for the Nationals' ills, after being shutout by Brad Penny and Derek Lowe, was to meet Lurch with a two-run home run in the first inning, en route to 5 ER in 4.1 innings and another early exit from Hendrickson. Hendy has given up an average of five earned runs in each of his last five starts, and has not pitched seven full innings all year. If the Mark Hendrickson experiment can't work against the Nationals, against whom can he pitch?
And for the Dodgers, whose punchless bats led to the end of Rafael Furcal's 15-game hit streak, there is now a logjam at the top of the NL West with San Diego and Arizona elbowing in on the Dodgers' territory. It would normally be beneficial to be facing the Pittsburgh Pirates for four games--beautiful ballpark, sub-.500 team--but a weather report predicting four days of thunderstorms may make for a long weekend for the Dodgers. I hope Russell Martin (who hit his fifth home run Thursday) slept well on the plane from DC. We'll need him.