'Ham Solo No More - NBC4 Washington

'Ham Solo No More

Two slams cures what ails 'Ham

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    Josh stares off into a future, where he hits nothing but grand slams.

    This must be what it feels like to be a good team.

    Josh Willingham overpowered the playoff-contending Milwaukee Brewers 8-6 thanks to his two (yes, two!) grand slams.  His teammates chipped in six other runs and the Nats beat the sausage out of the Brewers, 14-6.

    The 'Hammer (W-hammer?) becomes just the third player in N.L. history to smack two grand slams in a game.

    Pitcher Tony Cloninger did it way back in the dark ages, and Fernando Tatis ripped two a few years back.  Tatis' two slams came in one inning, both off Chan Ho Park -- a record that's certainly never going to be broken.  Ironically (warning: Alanis Morissette definition applies), Tatis did it for the Expos who begat these Nats.  And even more strangely, Tatis himself  hit another grand slam last night, too.

    The funny thing about 'Hammer's shots is that he was earning a reputation as 'Ham Solo for all the bases-empty homers he was crushing.  His first 11 homers this season were solo shots.  Now all of a sudden, BAM!  He's had more RBI in his last five homers than he did in his first 11.

    With Friday's trading deadline looming, it begs the question of what this does to his trade value.  He's quietly putting together the best offensive season of his career and if he had had more playing time, he'd be on the fringes of MVP discussion. 

    He -- not Adam Dunn -- is leading the team in on-base percentage and slugging average.  His .298 batting average is just a point behind Cristian Guzman for the team lead.

    To think, this is a guy that was playing behind both Elijah Dukes and Austin Kearns at the start of the season.

    If anything, this latest offensive burst probably makes it harder for the Nats to trade him.  While he's playing over his head, he's still a quality bat if he hits his career averages.  And given that he still has two more seasons of team control, it'd take a pretty significant package for the Nats to give him up.

    Although if he keeps having nights like last night, there's no way the Nats would trade him.

    Chris Needham used to write Capitol Punishment.  He apologizes to Nationals Enquirer for stealing the 'Ham Solo thing.