Posted by Dave Nichols | Wednesday, September 29, 2010 | , , , , | 0 comments »

THE RESULT:  It became a constant refrain, whether or not Adam Dunn was actually at bat Tuesday night or not.  Between innings.  On a put out at first base.  On random occasions.  But especially when the Nationals potential free agent first baseman came to bat.

"Sign Adam Dunn!"

The chants were never louder than in the ninth inning, when he came to the plate to lead off in a 1-1 tie.

"Sign Adam Dunn!" 

And on a 2-0 pitch from veteran right-handed reliever Jose Contreras, Dunn delivered.  He sent his 38th home run of the season half-way up the second deck above the out-of-town scoreboard in right center field, a majestic blast that had "no doubt" written all over it.

"Sign Adam Dunn!"

So the Washington Nationals beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1, before 19,117 thanks to a player that may make his final appearance as National at home tomorrow night.  Fans got to see a walk-off on "Mr. Walk Off" T-shirt Tuesday, even though it wasn't birthday boy Ryan Zimmerman.
The Nats have a lot of big decisions over the winter, but the biggest one is what to do with Dunn.  The team gets an exclusive window to negotiate with him once he files for free agency, but they've essentially had that luxury all season long. 

And ever since a season ticket holder luncheon before spring training, when the question was raised publicly, Dunn has been open about his desire to return to the Nationals.  And the team has professed their admiration for the big slugger. 

But at this point, he's going to free agency, and he'll get offers, and it'll be up to the Nats to decide whether or not to reach or exceed those offers.

And no amount of chants or cheers, or feel-good home runs, will affect those negotiations.

The win lifts the Nats record to 68-90 with four games remaining.

THE GOOD:  Jason Marquis continued his strong finish to the 2010 season.  In his last start, he went six innings and allowed seven hits and one walk, striking out seven.  His only blemish was Raul Ibanez' home run, the 249th homer Ibanez has hit against the Nats in the last four years.

Tyler Clippard struck out two in two scoreless innings and Drew Storen got the win (4-4), striking out two in the ninth inning.

THE BAD:  Lots of 0-fers, so I won't even bother.

THE UGLY:  0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

THE STATS:  9 Ks, 3 BBs, 0-for-7 with RISP, 5 LOB, 1 GIDP.

NEXT GAME:  Wednesday, the final game of the season at Nats Park.  Ross Detwiler (1-2, 2.52) makes his final start of the season against Joe Blanton (8-6, 4.94) at 7:05 pm.