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Game 31: Marlins at Nats

May 9, 2010, 2:30 PM EDT


Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats will look to take this weekend series from the Marlins.

Happy Mother's Day, everyone. Hope all the moms out there have a wonderful day, whether at Nationals Park or elsewhere with family members.

I'll actually be spending this day with my wife and her family, so I'm skipping today's series finale against the Marlins. Figured it was probably a wise move, since I'm leaving town tomorrow morning for the week, making the first two legs of the Nats' road trip (New York and Colorado, skipping St. Louis).

The morning news from the ballpark, though, is that reliever Doug Slaten is having his contract purchased from Syracuse. The 30-year-old lefty dominated at Class AAA, not allowing a single run to score in 17 innings of work, while striking out 17 and only walking one. Pretty impressive.

Slaten's addition, though, requires the Nationals to remove someone from the 40-man roster. That someone is actually Matt Chico, who surprisingly has been designated for assignment. But before you get worried, I'm told this move is only procedural and that Chico will remain in the organization and actually be placed back on the 40-man roster within days. Not sure of the details how this works — I've never heard of something done quite this way — but I am assured it's all on the up-and-up.

So with that, I hope you enjoy the game. Feel free to converse with each other in the comments section, and I'll talk to you tomorrow from New York.

(Oh, and to the wonderful Lois Zuckerman of Scottsdale, Ariz.: Happy Mother's Day!)

MARLINS AT NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m.
TV: Ch. 50-HD, MASN-HD
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 62 degrees, Wind 20 mph LF to RF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (16-14)
CF Nyjer Morgan
2B Adam Kennedy
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn

Read more »

  1. Anonymous - May 9, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    Lots of smart moves Mark! Happy Mother's day to all of the moms. Hopefully, Livan delivers a nice Mother's day present to his mom in the form of a Nats win!

  2. Doc - May 9, 2010 at 3:00 PM

    Happy Mother's Day MarkMeister, to you and your family. Your mother has to be very proud of her son's successes.

  3. Carl in 309 - May 9, 2010 at 3:44 PM

    Joining in the celebration of Mother's Day, and commending Mark for his wisdom. Enjoy the abbreviated road-trip (though sorry you won't be reporting from St. Louis).On the matter of the Nats roster moves, I find myself wondering if the skill and foresight (hopefully) exhibited by the Nationals front office in our new Rizzo era isn't one of the necessary three components needed for a successful MLB team (the other two are money and luck). Conventional wisdom has had it that money is the key to success. Clearly the example of the Mets on one hand and the As on the other should give pause to that view (I would also suggest that Red Sox have been competitive in spite of their income disadvantage compared with the Yankees in what was once one of the smallest parks (33K several years ago)). That suggests front-office smarts–particularly given the affirmative leadership of a Billy Beane–can play a compensating role in pushing a team forward beyond their financial means.I wonder if the Nats don't enjoy the prospect of putting two of my three legs of success forward at once: front-office smarts, championed by Stan Kasten, and engineered by Mike Rizzo; together with an eventual money making machine with future (re)grown attendance and a strong affluent fan base.As an aside, I just read an excellent book on umpires: Bruce Weber's "As They See 'Em"–after next yelling at a call, take time to pick up this remarkable insider/Plimpton-esque account of the third group of on-field players in baseball.

  4. Jaumiusk - May 9, 2010 at 3:55 PM

    Mark: Bernadina, RF, I hope is what you mean.

  5. Les in NC - May 9, 2010 at 6:16 PM

    How does he do it?How/why is this year's Livan so incredibly better than previous years? What has changed in his mental approach or pre-game preparations that makes him so good?Whatever it is, here's to an entire season of it!Livan has already earned his salary by a long shot IMO! I hope his incentives are all vested by the end of the year (whatever they may be)!

  6. bumsfan4 - May 9, 2010 at 7:47 PM

    Given our bullpen today, presumably with no Clippard and no Capps, Livo is eating innings and performing heroically.

  7. Les in NC - May 9, 2010 at 8:24 PM

    another game coming down to the wire…Clipp did a great job only allowing the 1 (inherited) runner to score after the bases were loaded with nobody out. It could have been real bad….Now who wants to win THIS one for us?

  8. Les in NC - May 9, 2010 at 8:25 PM

    I guess that would be the Hammer!It's Hammer time!

  9. Anonymous - May 9, 2010 at 8:45 PM

    Anyone else think that Clip's stats might be a bit deceiving? He's inhereited 17 runners and allowed 9 of them to score and the only reason he has so many wins is because he's blown 4 saves! One has to wonder if Clip is more lucky than good…

  10. Anonymous - May 9, 2010 at 9:14 PM

    @ 4:45, Clip's K/9 rate is ridiculously high, and that is considered to be the best predictor of future success, so no, I'm not sure his stats are that deceiving (although, wins are always a worthless statistic). Now, Livo, on the other hand…

  11. Anonymous - May 9, 2010 at 9:19 PM

    Upper decks were arctic conditions but i'll take the outcome.

  12. Anonymous - May 9, 2010 at 9:22 PM

    Dibble was all over Clipp and inherited runners yesterday.

  13. Anonymous - May 9, 2010 at 10:08 PM

    If you can, watch the A's – Rays game.Braden's got a 'good' game going on – middle of the 8th……

  14. greg - May 10, 2010 at 12:32 AM

    Mark, what do you think of Tim Kurkjian's prediction of June 8 instead of June 6 for Strasburg?===Our colleague Tim Kurkjian is on record as guessing June 8, when the Washington Nationals will be at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and you know what? That date makes complete sense. There is one off day built into the Syracuse schedule this month, and I think they'll use that to give Strasburg a little extra rest. That would put him in line to pitch either on June 3 or June 8. The Nationals' game on June 3 is at Houston, and you'd have to believe Washington would want Strasburg's first game to be in Washington. By throwing the right-hander against the Pirates at home in a midweek game, they'll have a perfect storm for possible success in place: An enormous and welcoming home crowd and a subpar team on the other side of the field.

  15. greg - May 10, 2010 at 12:47 AM

    another thought… david dejesus. he's a little older than i'd want to target, but… he's $4.5m this year, $6m option for next year. plays good defense, has bounced around a high 700s OPS for his career, and was 818/781 the last two years and 807 so far this year. plays all three OF positions…oh, and it's rumored KC has made him available.

  16. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 10, 2010 at 1:57 AM

    @Greg:DeJesus in May,Jesus in June,Can we now just hope,for a Phillies' swoon.

  17. Nervous Nats Fan - May 10, 2010 at 2:40 AM

    Mark, It seems like every time you take a day off, something incredible happens in baseball. Last time, it was a no-hitter, today a perfect game.

  18. Souldrummer - May 10, 2010 at 3:03 AM

    Hopefully, one of the positive tradeoffs of the independence that you've carved out for yourself is that you can take a day off for Mother's Day and not have to worry about what the boss says.

  19. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 10, 2010 at 3:18 AM

    And in Alumni News:The New York Yankees have placed Nick Johnson on the 15-day disabled list with a right wrist injury.Who could have ever seen this coming?

  20. Anonymous8 - May 10, 2010 at 12:24 PM

    So Philly travels to Colorado and as their luck continues, they don't have to face Ubaldo Jimenez on this trip, and of course the Nats have to on Friday when the Nats are in Colorado.

  21. natsfan1a - May 10, 2010 at 1:59 PM

    Atta boy, Livo! Another nice win for the Nats.I had to go out after the game ended, so I missed the end of the Oakland no-no. I did see highlights later. Very moving footage of Braden and his grandma after the game. Oh, and just one word to A-Rod in light of his earlier comments re. a pitcher "with a handful of wins." 'Hah!' (you could look it up) :-)

  22. Anonymous - May 10, 2010 at 2:35 PM

    Re Kurkjian's speculation that Strasburg's first start in DC might be delayed due to an off day in the Syracuse schedule, he needs to take a closer look. The day after that off day there's a doubleheader due to a prior rainout, and Strasburg's regular turn falls on that day. He will need to pitch one of those doubleheader games unless they insert an extra pitcher in their rotation to give him a day off. And if one of the points of having him in the minors in the first place is to get him used to pitching every five days, why would they be giving him extra off days anyway? Forget the June 8th speculation. Get your tickets now for June 6th.

  23. Mark Zuckerman - May 10, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    My quick take on the Strasburg speculation. I do think June 8 is a possibility. It would not be all that difficult for the Nats to push him back two days (even with that doubleheader in Syracuse). They'd throw a spot starter out there in a heartbeat, that's not a concern. The Nats are more concerned with setting up Strasburg to debut when it makes the most sense. A Sunday afternoon against the Reds would be fine, but a Tuesday night against the Pirates (the day after they possibly draft Bryce Harper No. 1) sure makes a lot of sense from a PR standpoint.I'll also say that in the last couple days, I've begun wondering whether it's possible he could be up before the end of May. If he dominates his first three starts at Syracuse, he would line up perfectly to start Saturday, May 22 against the Orioles. Not saying I believe that's the most-likely scenario, but I don't think it's completely out of the realm of possibility.

  24. Mark Zuckerman - May 10, 2010 at 3:20 PM

    Oh, and for the record, just in case Kurkjian's theory proves true, I wrote the following on March 8 in Viera, the day before Strasburg's spring training debut…"Some front-office execs have even gone so far as to extrapolate when the appropriate date for Strasburg's major-league debut might be. Let's see, if he pitches every fifth day from here on out … how does June 8 against the Pirates sound? Think that might turn an otherwise pedestrian Tuesday night on South Capitol Street into something a tad more significant?"

  25. Grant - May 10, 2010 at 8:10 PM

    Mark,I was at this game yesterday, so I didn't hear any commentary there may have been on this issue. But Nyjer was playing CF in long pants yesterday. I've never seen him do that before. Any idea why the high pants and stirrups weren't on display yesterday?

  26. Mark Zuckerman - May 10, 2010 at 10:29 PM

    Grant: I asked Nyjer about it and he said he wears long pants only on Sundays. Compared it to Tiger Woods always wearing red on Sundays. Though, considering the Nats wear red socks, it would make more sense if Morgan wore long pants all week and then rolled them up to show off his red socks on Sunday. But what do I know about fashion?

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 75 57 --
ATLANTA 69 64 6.5
MIAMI 65 66 9.5
NEW YORK 62 71 13.5
PHILADELPHIA 61 72 14.5
Through Wednesday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Mariners, 10:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Mariners, 9:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Mariners, 4:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 4:10 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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