Guzman is officially on fire! 4 for his last 7 with 2 doubles and a walk. Either he's come back to life or he's probably due to go 0 for his next 20. How about this "vote of confidence" from his manager:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Frank Robinson remembers when a teammate with a batting average of .1995 skipped the final game of a season to make sure he'd go into the books at .200 -- because statistics are rounded up.
The Washington Nationals manager said Friday, he would keep Cristian Guzman out of the lineup for Game 162 if the shortstop finds himself in that situation this year.
``Don't tell him,'' Robinson said. ``Yes, I would. If he was at .1995, I would sit him.''
Guzman was in the lineup Friday night against the Atlanta Braves, with his average above .200 for the first time since June 30. He began the day at .202, thanks to a 3-for-4 performance against Florida on Thursday night.
Guzman didn't want to speak before Friday's game, but Robinson said he thinks it would give the player a psychological boost to finish above .200.
``Everybody wants to finish off the season as well as they can,'' the manager said. ``If you're at .299, you'd rather be at .300 -- just a different sound to it, different ring to it.''
Guzman came into 2005 with a .266 career average, having hit .274 last year and a high of .302 in 2001 for Minnesota. He signed a $16.8 million, four-year deal as a free agent in the offseason.
``This is kind of strange -- an individual who's been as successful as he has and as consistent as he has in the American League has struggled this much and this long over the course of this season,'' Robinson said. ``I've never seen anything like it before in my days.''
Robinson wouldn't say which teammate had preserved that .1995 average. But on the 1968 Baltimore Orioles, Curt Blefary didn't play in the season's final three games, leaving him with 90 hits in 451 at-bats -- a .19955 average.
Which went down in the books as .200.
THAT's what it will finally take for Guzman to get some significant time off? That's some good job security when you can have a Slugging Percentage of .288 and OPS of .535 and still remain the primary starter. I'm sure he won't be this bad next year (or will he?), but he's lucky Frank Robinson is one tolerable manager to put up with his performance.