Last night, 22 year-old Nationals rookie Collin Balester did something no starting pitcher in the franchise has done in nine years: Win his major league debut, as he gave up one run over five innnings. Balester thus bridged the gap between himself and the immortal Dan Smith, who won his debut on June 8, 1999 as an Expo. Smith went on to finish that season with a 4-9 record and a 6.02 ERA. It was his first and last season as a starting pitcher. Hopefully Balester’s future is brighter.
But if nothing else, at least he knows how to blackmail the team punching bag, the pint-sized Paul Lo Duca: