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Game 27: Braves at Nats

May 5, 2010, 8:00 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
It should be another beautiful night for baseball at Nationals Park.

Let's be honest: How many of you remember the Aug. 31, 2006 trade that sent Daryle Ward to the Braves for Luis Atilano?

I had to go back and re-read my story from that night to recall the details of a deal that at the time looked like little more than Jim Bowden dealing a veteran rent-a-player to Atlanta for the stretch drive.

Well, give Bowden credit for that one. Or at least, give credit to whichever Nats scout recommended Atilano. Even though the then-21-year-old right-hander had just undergone Tommy John surgery three weeks earlier, someone felt his chances of returning from the injury were strong.

Tonight, Atilano goes for his third win in as many big-league starts, and he'll face his former organization.

Check back for updates throughout…

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Sunny, 75 degrees, Wind 10 mph in from RF

CF Nyjer Morgan
2B Adam Kennedy
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn

Read more »

  1. Section 222 - May 5, 2010 at 8:02 PM

    After Nyjer and Kennedy, this lineup is R, L, R, L all the way down. Ah, that crafty Riggleman. He just luvs to manage.

  2. Knoxville Nat - May 5, 2010 at 8:13 PM

    And he is doing a fine job of it!

  3. Jimmy D - May 5, 2010 at 8:20 PM

    Riggleman really seems to have his stuff together. If we finish anywhere in the neighborhood of 500 this year, what sort of extension would you expect him to get?

  4. Ephesius Remsen Hammersley - May 5, 2010 at 8:34 PM

    Mark,I remember that trade that brought us Luis, great move on getting a young pitcher who we had plenty of time to wait on. One of the good moves that JB made…easy to remember those!!!

  5. Anonymous - May 5, 2010 at 9:01 PM

    No Hammer tonight? i wonder whether its just a night off to rest or something else behind this decision.

  6. Nats fan in NJ - May 5, 2010 at 9:03 PM

    According to Kilgore, it's just a night off. Riggleman wants to give the regulars an occassional break as this series starts a run of 20 games in 20 days. Next off day isn't until May 24.

  7. Princess Jazzy - May 5, 2010 at 9:39 PM

    It was pointed out in the comments section at NJ that Hammer is 0 for 9 against Hanson with 4 K's. Probably a good time for the night off.

  8. Dave - May 5, 2010 at 10:50 PM

    I just commented on Mark's CSN post about Marquis itching to get back on the mound. I can't believe it. It sounded as though Marquis really, seriously would like to start the Nats game this Saturday. No rehab, no real medical treatment or anything.Has he forgotten the last time he tried to pitch? That game-ERA of infinity? His joining the ranks of the 15 pitchers in the history of BASEBALL to start a game and not record an out?

  9. Uncle Atom - May 5, 2010 at 11:18 PM

    How many runners did Nats catchers throw out stealing last year? Has Pudge already exceeded that number in 2010? Sure seems like it, love what that guy brings to the defense!

  10. Mark Zuckerman - May 5, 2010 at 11:25 PM

    Uncle Atom: Nats catchers threw out 38 of 127 basestealers last season (30 percent success rate). So far this year, Pudge has thrown out three of five (60 percent). Nieves has thrown out only one of eight (12.5 percent).

  11. JayB - May 5, 2010 at 11:34 PM

    Mark,Do you remember back at the first Season Ticket holders lunch in Jan 09 when a fan asked Acta about playing some small ball to try to get the team going and Acta ridiculed the fan? Riggleman is soooo different than Acta. Bunting Kennedy in the first inning against Hanson is smart….get a lead…gain some confidence….Acta would never do that because of the Saber numbers but Riggleman understands baseball is much more than a spreadsheet.Recall Acta and you for that matter saying that taking infield before a game is just not done and not effective…nobody does it…..well this team does and they are polar opposites to an Acta team that had no idea where to throw or how to cover a bunt play. Riggleman often comes out to in tight games not to take out a pitcher but to talk about how to play situations….ACTA NEVER did that once…..Back in January you said that you were not ready to give Riggleman credit… about now?

  12. Anonymous - May 5, 2010 at 11:40 PM

    DESI!!!! BABALOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Mark Zuckerman - May 5, 2010 at 11:42 PM

    Jay B: I've written a few times already this season about the fine job Riggleman has done with in-game managing. He has a real knack for putting players in situations in which they can succeed, especially when it comes to late-inning defensive replacements and bullpen use. I think he's absolutely been a factor in the Nats' strong start to the season.

  14. Souldrummer - May 5, 2010 at 11:56 PM

    Mark: What's your take on the Nats aggressiveness on the basepaths, though? I like the matchups that he's played and how he's managed the rosters. I'm not always sure that we value our baserunners enough.

  15. Mark Zuckerman - May 6, 2010 at 12:02 AM

    Souldrummer: They have been a bit overaggressive on the bases at times, though I don't know if that's a product of calls from the dugout or guys doing it on their own. Nyjer Morgan in particular has been kind of sloppy on the bases, and I think he's mostly inflicting that upon himself.

  16. JayB - May 6, 2010 at 12:05 AM

    Mark,I also recall all your comments about taking Infield before games and how little value that had. This team knows what to do when the ball is hit to them. They do not let runners take extra bases on OF throws and they understand defensive plays…..How much of that is Riggs making fundamentals and defense a priority….how much of 2008 and 2009's 143 errors was Acta playing for 3 run homers and not appreciating "Small Ball"?… you remember his tone to that fans question?

  17. JayB - May 6, 2010 at 12:09 AM

    Mark,As you may recall I put a great deal of value on Tim Foli during spring training….what have you seen of his contributions so far?

  18. Mark Zuckerman - May 6, 2010 at 12:10 AM

    Jay B: The Nats' much-improved defense is attributable, more than anything, to the fact they've upgraded SEVEN positions in the field since the first half of 2009: Pudge behind the plate, Desmond at SS, Kennedy at 2B, Dunn at 1B (instead of LF), Morgan in CF and Harris/Maxwell/Bernadina/Taveras in RF.

  19. JayB - May 6, 2010 at 12:25 AM

    Mark, Yes talent is much better especially C and SS/2B but the type off error and poor defense that dominated 2009 was not due to lack of talent. Guzman not getting to a ball was not an error. The poor defense was so much more about not covering bases…not throwing to the right base, not know what having a plan to limit the damage of a hit ball to you…..those errors were mental in nature and that does not have anything to do with talent…it is preparation and drilling that makes a player play smart. Still if you want to hold on to the idea that Acta managing this team would have the same results go right ahead….just make sure you check the Indians box scores and standings once and a while…..He seems to have found his new Anderson Hernandez clone to lose games for him in CLE

  20. Uncle Atom - May 6, 2010 at 12:30 AM

    Nyjer, if you're gonna slide headfirst at least beat the throw

  21. yankish2 - May 6, 2010 at 12:46 AM

    I wish Jim Riggleman would quit worrying about gettting Willie Harris his AB's. The Nats will not contend with Willie Harris in the starting line up. Give Maxwell some consistent playing time to see if he is a major league hitter or AAA+.

  22. Aussie Gus - May 6, 2010 at 1:21 AM

    TYLER WALKER.. are you serious? This game is over.

  23. Anonymous - May 6, 2010 at 1:27 AM

    JayB, you're an idiot.

  24. Natsochist - May 6, 2010 at 2:29 AM

    Nieves for Bernadina? Riggs, are you out of your mind?

  25. Anonymous - May 6, 2010 at 2:50 AM

    Yeah, good insight about the defense, JayB. It's not the fact that we have better defensive player at 6 or 7 positions – it's that Riggleman made guys (some of whom aren't around any more) take infield practice last year.

  26. JayB - May 6, 2010 at 10:05 AM

    Mark,I know because I am there often much it seems at least one of your readers does not know anything about the pre game defensive work going on this year before every home game. Can you enlighten them and remind them of Foli's role that is not unique in the league but rare these days to say the least.

  27. Anonymous - May 6, 2010 at 1:32 PM

    JayB, just because Riggleman happens to be a good manager doesn't mean that Acta was a bad manager. They had totally different teams to work with. Their approaches to the game are clearly different – but that doesn't mean one is right and the other wrong. It's your constant insistence that everything Riggleman does right is further proof that everything Acta did was wrong that makes you an idiot. Give us a break and try to enjoy the team's current success without making it a constant referendum on the past, as seen from your own idiotic and warped Acta-hating perspective.

  28. Jack T. in Florida - May 6, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    Anonymous, Acta is much less involved with his players than Riggs is. His teams in Washington were very cliqueish with very little total team interaction.This team is much more together than any team Manny had. I don't hate Manny but I do not find his management style conducive to winning baseball.

  29. Anonymous - May 6, 2010 at 3:59 PM

    "Anonymous, Acta is much less involved with his players than Riggs is. His teams in Washington were very cliqueish with very little total team interaction.This team is much more together than any team Manny had."But how much of that was due to Acta and how much to the players involved? Riggleman was bench coach last year and manager the second half, yet he didn't break up the cliques. That happened when the cliquish players were replaced this year with new guys.Who's to say that Manny's style wouldn't work if he was given a team to manage that's as together as the one Riggleman has now?

  30. JayB - May 6, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    ABM is that you….did you max out your email accounts for screen names or just did we finally get to the end of your twisted imagination?





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