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Apr 7, 2010, 1:45 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jason Marquis makes his Nationals debut tonight against the Phillies.

After an Opening Day of frustration — and a day off of even more frustration — it's time to get back to baseball. The Nationals return to the field tonight for Game 2 of 162, again hosting the Phillies (and undoubtedly many of their fans).

Jason Marquis takes the mound for his Nats debut, hoping to put together a better performance than John Lannan did on Monday, not to mention a better performance than he put together himself most of the spring.

Marquis struggled through most of the Grapefruit League season — his final spring numbers included a 9.15 ERA and an astounding 42 baserunners allowed in 20 2/3 innings — but he did make some strides as March came to a close. Following his second-to-last outing of the spring, he said he was starting to "feel more like Jason Marquis." (You can decide whether that's a good thing or not.)

Marquis has been a pretty consistent performer over his career. As you know, he's won at least 11 games each of the last six years, though that stat has a lot to do with the fact he played for six playoff teams. But even his peripheral numbers have been pretty consistentRead more »

  1. Anonymous - Apr 7, 2010 at 2:11 PM

    If you think Marquis struggled during spring training, wait until today when he pitches against real major league hitters! And, the Philly fans will be it prime condition after being fueled by all the newspaper articles they have been reading about themselves!! Yes, we will be 1-8 after our series with NY. If figure we should take one game in NY by mistake.

  2. John - Apr 7, 2010 at 2:36 PM

    It may sound alarmist, but tonight's game will say alot about this team. After 4 miserable Aprils and after being humlidated on Opening Day, the question is how will this team respond. The Phillies success is directly proportional to how they beat up on the Nats. The Phillies are treating this series as a way to jump start their season. They are going to go full out. Will we? What is the committment to winning? Or are the players just willing to be bowled over and collect a pay check.

  3. Positively Half St. - Apr 7, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    I am not ready to proclaim doom, and I am sure that the overall tenor of the conversation will be calmer and sweeter if we beat the Phils today. Hamels is a good pitcher, but he is not Halliday, and Halliday has spent his career making many teams look foolish.As for our series against the Mets, I think we should have hopes of taking 2 of 3 from them.

  4. PDowdy83 - Apr 7, 2010 at 3:01 PM

    Mark, why are people allowed to post under the name Anonymous? It is one thing if you are a regular poster on Nats sites to bash the team, but if you are too lazy to put your name on a post why even bother saying anything at all?

  5. Mark L - Apr 7, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    I agree with Pdowdy83

  6. Anonymous - Apr 7, 2010 at 3:42 PM

    I don't have a Google account (and don't want one). I would resiter here and set up a user name if I could, but the only option that works for me is anonymous.Tell me how to do it and I will.

  7. Mark Zuckerman - Apr 7, 2010 at 3:45 PM

    For those who don't know, you don't have to register with Google or anyone else to avoid the anonymous username. When posting a comment, just select "Name/URL" and use whatever name you'd like. You don't need to include a website address or anything. Hopefully that will help cut down on some of the anonymous postings.

  8. Anonymous - Apr 7, 2010 at 4:01 PM

    Please don't restrict anonymous comments. There are plenty of sites like the Post, WNFF, and the MLB boards that require log-ins and many others like Nats320 that prescreen comments, it is useful to have one of the major Nats websites allow nameless bashing of the team without having to create a dummy log-in.Of course if it gets out of hand and Mark has to spend an hour a day deleting personal attacks then I understand that at some point control takes priority over hosting a free-for-all.Signed: 100% Fake Stan Kasten

  9. alm1000 - Apr 7, 2010 at 4:08 PM

    Back to basball indeed. GO NATS!I have to admit I am drawn to the blogs on OD like a fly to a fire. I am, and will remain mad. I was a full STH in 05 and 06 and I guess I saw the writing on the wall sooner than others.I don't have a google profile either, just sign in as ALM1000.

  10. Aeoliano - Apr 7, 2010 at 4:27 PM

    @John,Nothing to be "alarmist" about. This is not Jim Bowden anymore. Mike Rizzo has stacked the minors with arms. These pitchers have to ALL know that if they start off the way they did last year they will be REPLACED and pronto. I don't think Rizzo will have the patience for it. He has patience but its limited (see Elijah Dukes). For position players that seems less likely to be the case. Most of what they have in the minors have already had their chance either here or other places. Or are trying to come back from some career adversity like an injury. HOWEVER, even though they are even more difficult than ever to put together, Rizzo does not seem afraid to make trades.

  11. Bonzai!!! - Apr 7, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    The Nats have a history facing Cole Hamels. Even if Marquis gives us a mediocre performance, I'd be more concerned if we don't get some good hits and runs on Philadelphia's pitching. The Nats have ZERO excuse for getting shut-down by a rivals' second best pitcher whom they've faced numerous times before. At least Halloday was new, so presumably, he had the advantage.

  12. Anonymous - Apr 7, 2010 at 4:33 PM

    A periculum by any other name still smells. And it doesn't smell sweet.

  13. Aeoliano - Apr 7, 2010 at 4:41 PM

    BTW, I think the "start" today for Mike Morse may show just how much patience Mike Rizzo has.

  14. Slopitchtom - Apr 7, 2010 at 4:45 PM

    Let's stay positive. No reason the Nats can't take 1 game out of 3 in both series against the Phils and 2 of 3 from the Mets. A 4-5 start through the first 3 series would be respectable showing and I believe is acheivable.

  15. BowdenBall - Apr 7, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    Mark, thanks for the tip about posting without a Google account.Question for you: Do you think this posting schedule will be typical for the usual 7 PM game starts? That is, a game preview first thing in the morning? Or did you just have this one ready to go since yesterday was an off day? Just curious.

  16. Mark Zuckerman - Apr 7, 2010 at 5:06 PM

    BowdenBall: I'm kind of doing trial-and-error here, so I don't know for sure what the typical daily posting schedule will be like. But my intent is to have something new up on the site just about every morning in advance of a night game. Might be a preview, might be a look back at something from the previous night, might be totally unrelated to either. But I'd like to have something posted and not just leave the site dark all day before I get to the park.

  17. Tcostant - Apr 7, 2010 at 5:27 PM

    All post season, I was posting my bullipen concerns here, I still worried. This is not a good pen.P.S. Thanks for posting how I can add my user name.

  18. Aeoliano - Apr 7, 2010 at 5:34 PM

    Guess Nats fans have to hope that JZimm recovers and gets back to where he was and what he was starting to be … and then you have Strasburg and Zimmermann … maybe that's going to be better than Halladay and Hamels.

  19. Steve M. - Apr 7, 2010 at 5:43 PM

    Mike Morse starting in RF

  20. bdrube - Apr 7, 2010 at 5:59 PM

    "Yes, we will be 1-8 after our series with NY. If figure we should take one game in NY by mistake."Okay, I'm not anonymous and I've posted here before…and I completely agree with anon that if we get blown out again tonight 1-8 to start the season would be just about right.

  21. NatinBeantown - Apr 7, 2010 at 6:05 PM

    Desmond in the two-hole. Morse in right. Me like. If we're going to win this year, it's gonna be with this kind of lineup. Go Nats!

  22. Tuna - Apr 7, 2010 at 6:13 PM


  23. Creepy Pete - Apr 7, 2010 at 6:16 PM

    Will StanK ever take questions from fans? He needs to be held to account for the opening day disaster.

  24. jackt in Fla. - Apr 7, 2010 at 6:22 PM

    I spent a $450 day flying up to Opening Day to see the bullpen totally implode and hear a bunch of drunken Philly fans chant all day.But I'll be back for the Rockies and Dodgers series as well as the Cincinatti series in June and the Frisco series in July. By then the bullpen will be entirely different, the rotation will have three new starters and there will be a true right fielder. It is going to get alot better.

  25. Doc - Apr 7, 2010 at 6:22 PM

    Go Morse! I've been a fan since he came up last fall. His minor stats, and lack of MLB opportunities, are similar to Jayson Werth's. Hope he smacks a big one to-night!

  26. Natsochist - Apr 7, 2010 at 6:31 PM

    NatinBeantown, me too. It doesn't make any sense to put Desmond in the 8-hole, especially with Guz out of the lineup and his hot bat from the Spring.Mark, for the record, you and Kilgore made Yahoo!'s Big League Stew today, along with Kilgore. Nice to see a non-Nats blogger that agrees Kasten blew his handling of this one.On a more positive note, here's hoping Marquis returns to last seasons first-half form!

  27. Aeoliano - Apr 7, 2010 at 6:52 PM

    I guess it didn't escape management's notice that in 2009 Morse had better stats in the minors offensively than did Jason Heyward #1 prospect. Heyward's was exclusively in high A and AA. Morse exclusively in AAA.

  28. Anonymous - Apr 7, 2010 at 7:08 PM

    To think next season when Stasburg, JZimm and Marquis are penciled in every 5 days, we can say that John Lannan is the X factor in our rotation. Give me a break!!! If we had anyone currently on the mound 1/2 as good as Cole Hamels we would not have lost 100 games last year.

  29. Princess Jazzy - Apr 7, 2010 at 7:20 PM

    Mark, could you please follow up on the article that appeared in the Post that states that the Nats have a $100,000 buyout for Riggleman at the end of this season? Is the clock ticking for him? With this team as currently constructed, doesn't bode too well for him.

  30. Aeoliano - Apr 7, 2010 at 7:28 PM

    " If we had anyone currently on the mound 1/2 as good as Cole Hamels we would not have lost 100 games last year."I think Jordan Zimmerman was there until his elbow gave way. He may be better. Hopefully, we'll get to find out.

  31. greg - Apr 7, 2010 at 7:51 PM

    allow me to continue to giggle hysterically at the continued notion that you can compare heyward's numbers as a 20yr old in A/AA with the numbers of a 27yr old in AAA. if you really think morse is comparable to heyward, i've got a bridge to sell ya.





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