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Game 32: Nats at Mets

May 10, 2010, 7:40 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Citi Field hosts the Nats and Mets for the next three games.

NEW YORK — There's no question Luis Atilano has been a real find for the Nationals. How many of you had ever heard of him when the season began? (I'll be honest: I barely paid attention to him all spring, until one day in late-March when I realized he was still in camp and team officials were saying positive things that made me think we could see him in the majors this year.)

As impressive as Atilano's first couple weeks in the big leagues have been, the real test for the rookie right-hander starts now. His first two times out, opponents really had no idea what they were dealing with. Now, the word has begun to spread. There's more video of Atilano facing big-league hitters, and everyone has a better idea how he tries to approach them.

Thus, don't be surprised if hitters start to adjust to him and perhaps enjoy a little more success. We saw glimpses of that the other night against the Braves, who strung together six runs against him. Now the onus is on Atilano to make the necessary adjustment. This is a crucial step in the process for every rookie pitcher. It's one thing to be successful your first couple of times out, when no one has a clue what you throw. It's quite another to be able to sustain it.

Tonight, we'll get a chance to see whether Atilano has what it takes to stick up here in the majors.

Check back for updates throughout…

Where: Citi Field
Gametime: 7:10 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Sunny, 58 degrees, Wind 16 mph in from LF

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

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  1. Anonymous - May 10, 2010 at 7:52 PM

    I assume Bernadina is in right?

  2. BowdenBall - May 10, 2010 at 8:04 PM

    So … Ian Desmond has a higher batting average than Kennedy, a higher OBP than Kennedy or Guzman (not to mention Bernadina), and a much higher slugging percentage than Kennedy or Guzman (not to mention Bernadina). And he's been hot lately, going .333/.400/.667 over the last week Can someone please explain to me why the kid is still batting eighth for a National League team? Are we feeling guilty about winning all these one-run games, so we feel like we should give back a few runs over the course of the season by having a #2 or at worst a #6 or #7 hitter bat in the #8 spot?Signed,The Committee for Batting Order Sanity

  3. Jeff Wang - May 10, 2010 at 8:16 PM

    Batting order don't count. You could probably bat your 2-3-4 hitters 2-1-3 and it would end up over the long run be the same.Signed,The committee of batting stat heads.

  4. Anonymous - May 10, 2010 at 8:54 PM

    Jeff, that's an interesting idea, that batting order doesn't count. Got any data to back that up?

  5. Cwj - May 10, 2010 at 8:57 PM

    Wasn't the 8th spot in the order once referred to as "second cleanup"? Anyway, I'm assuming Riggs knows a bit more about setting up the batting order than I do, so I can't really say why Desmond is batting 8th.

  6. Jack T. in Florida - May 10, 2010 at 9:03 PM

    His 20K's may gave something to do with it.

  7. Dave Nichols - May 10, 2010 at 9:29 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. K.D. - May 10, 2010 at 9:33 PM

    Do you think perhaps Lannan should try throwing to Pudge? Just to switch it up.

  9. Aeoliano - May 10, 2010 at 9:33 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Aeoliano - May 10, 2010 at 9:34 PM

    I just hope Walker doesn't start "walking" hitters as a result. He has pitched well … when you exclude the home runs with men on.

  11. Aeoliano - May 10, 2010 at 9:36 PM

    To the Committee For Batting Order Sanity: Sometimes you are just left wondering about Riggleman? Miguel Batista comes to mind. Makes a great bullpen den mother and shoe shiner but as a pitcher its like watching Joel Hanrahan. And then there is the recently disclosed fact that Riggs didn't realize that Clippard does not pitch so well with men on?But in this particular case: see who is batting in front of him tonight? Roger Bernadina right? And just before that one of the majors' batting leaders Ivan Rodriguez … right? He seems to have a penchant for driving in runs when he bats after Bernadina. I for one am glad to see it back again. Of course you could wait for the pitcher to drive in Bernadina and Pudge?

  12. Doc - May 10, 2010 at 10:24 PM

    Good luck to Lannan! But I don't think that his problems are that simple. He was getting hit long before his sore arm became an issue.

  13. Big Oil - May 10, 2010 at 10:40 PM

    Batting order = largely irrelevant

  14. Cwj - May 10, 2010 at 11:42 PM

    I don't think Clippard pitches any different with inherited runners on base. But he's a fly ball pitcher, so perhaps not wise to bring him in with runners on second or third.

  15. Anonymous - May 10, 2010 at 11:56 PM

    Mark. This is totally off the subject, but I have noticed Pudge wearing a bracelet on his throwing hand. Can you tell me what it is?

  16. Anonymous - May 11, 2010 at 12:46 AM

    Big Oil – Your URL doesn't say that batting order is irrelevant. It only says that the old-school notion of batting order is wrong.

  17. Anonymous - May 11, 2010 at 1:46 AM

    Go, Pudge Go!

  18. NatsNut - May 11, 2010 at 1:46 AM

    Mark my words. Mets' current record is hanging by a thread. Wright ejected the other day, Reyes today. If their team is that angry they will tank.

  19. Spike94wl - May 11, 2010 at 1:49 AM

    Mark, I am in COMPLETE argreement with you about Taveras! If he can't score on that play, we need to get another player he can. He's only here to do one thing: RUN!Not that it matters anymore because as I was writing this Pudge hit a single and scored him, but still…

  20. Dryw - May 11, 2010 at 2:25 AM

    Headfirst slide? What headfirst slide? Didn't see nothin' here….

  21. Aussie Gus - May 11, 2010 at 2:25 AM

    Mark, any chance you can give each player on the 25 man roster a grade out of ten for the season thus far? I'd be interested to see your thoughts, and if someone gets 5 or below, who could replace them?

  22. rmoore446 - May 11, 2010 at 2:42 AM

    Hey, Mark, I just checked and the Nats also won their 18th game of the year in 2009 in New York. It was against the Yankees and came on June 17th. That's a solid reminder of how much has changed with this team.

  23. Les in NC - May 11, 2010 at 2:43 AM

    Way to go team!Another close one, but we'll take it! Only 2 more wins (for this stretch of nine games) and we'll be atleast a .500 club on May 19th (with the cavalry only 2-3 weeks away)!

  24. Carl in 309 - May 11, 2010 at 2:45 AM

    Well, that was a heart attack finish. But it'll look gloriously easy a day later! The Nats can't wait too much longer for Storen to appear. Our bullpen depth is pretty shallow, especially when we can't "clip & save"!

  25. rmoore446 - May 11, 2010 at 3:11 AM

    The new lefty Slaten looked pretty good but I am also ready to see Storen up to the big club. They both throw strikes and that's the first measure of a reliever. We can use them both. Meanwhile, I think it is time to send Bernadina to Syracuse. Another 0 for 4 with two Ks and his bunt attempts were pitiful.

  26. Dryw - May 11, 2010 at 3:12 AM

    Well, hello Curly W! Why don't you go and join your friends in the books!

  27. Anonymous - May 11, 2010 at 3:15 AM

    What's the record for lowest run differential in wins?

  28. Anonymous - May 11, 2010 at 3:42 AM

    batting order does matter, you want your best hitters to hit more often…over the season consistently batting 8th as opposed to 2nd can cost a player serious ABs. desmond has more potential and i think he should see some time higher in the line up…though i would hesitate to change things up while we are playing someone consistently.

  29. Mark Zuckerman - May 11, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    Aussie Gus: Seems a little early to be handing out player grades, don't you think? That's the kind of thing that's usually reserved for the All-Star break.





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