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Game 34: Nats at Mets

May 12, 2010, 2:30 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats and Mets play the rubber game of the series … if the weather cooperates.

NEW YORK — Good morning from Citi Field, where the tarp is on the field (as you can see in the above photo). It started raining last night and has continued through this morning.

The forecast, though, looks pretty decent. There's only a 10 percent chance of showers through much of the afternoon, picking up to 30 percent later on.

Assuming this one gets going without a hitch, the Nationals will be fielding an unusual lineup. Josh Willingham gets the day off, as do Ian Desmond and Ivan Rodriguez. That leaves Cristian Guzman starting at shortstop and batting fifth, with Willie Harris in left batting sixth.

Craig Stammen gets the start against Mike Pelfrey, hoping to make last night's meltdown a distant memory.

Check back for updates throughout…

Where: Citi Field
Gametime: 1:10 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Chance of rain, 50 degrees, Wind 11 mph in from RF

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

Read more »

  1. U-Hoo - May 12, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    Not liking the prospects today — they have the better pitcher, and we're basically playing with six offensive players.Apparently, the Mets do not abide by the "day-after-night-game, rest-the-catcher" principle.

  2. Anonymous8 - May 12, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    Aw, its a new day!

  3. Souldrummer - May 12, 2010 at 2:58 PM

    @U-HooIsn't one of their catchers on bereavement leave? I think that they've brought somebody up for about a week, but they may not trust him with their staff or with key offensive bats as they go all out for a momentum building series win.

  4. Souldrummer - May 12, 2010 at 3:03 PM

    @MarkI'm calling last night the Zuckerman game after your blogpost on the 2005 meltdown stirred up bad karma amongst the faithful and roused the sleeping boogeymen from 2nd half of 2005. I actually liked the post and support more of that kind of history stuff that others in the Natmosphere are not as qualified to offer but the coincidence from last night is horrid unless having exorcised some demons we go on to a new high water mark in the next two weeks for so. Anyways, I posted on Federal Baseball about my thoughts on what to do with Brian Bruney. Here's the link: course, I'd be honored by any of your thoughts over there about Bruney but I'm interested on what you want them to do (think that's bring up Storen) and what you think that they will actually do on that one. Will continue to read your stuff religiously and thank you for all of your work. Praying that I can find my own job and source of income so that I can contribute at some point later on in the season. I'd also be interested in any suggestions for nonmonetary ways that college students and folks down on their luck can contribute to your efforts.

  5. cadeck13 - May 12, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    Souldrummer,I'm keeping you in my prayers too for finding a good job! Keep the faith :) I enjoy your posts!

  6. Bowdenball - May 12, 2010 at 3:58 PM

    My boss would like to thank Jim Riggleman for my increased productivity today, as I see little need to watch a game that the team doesn't feel the need to try to win.I get that Hammer needs to rest. I get that Desmond needs to rest. But you don't rest them on Pudge's rest day. This lineup has two productive hitters, one decent leadoff man and six holes. The only possible chance for a win is a masterful showing from Stammen. Go get em, you handsome devil.

  7. Anonymous - May 12, 2010 at 4:01 PM

    @Mark Did anyone in the media ask Riggleman about pulling Olsen (WAY TOO) early? I really think it is the first big mistake he has made this year. Obviously he is entitled to a mistake after such a great start, but I can't believe the media didn't call him out on it? In my opinion, it was clearly the turning point in the game and completely wrong with the state of the Nats bullpen. I hope he learned from it.

  8. Mark Zuckerman - May 12, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    Hey guys, both Riggleman and Olsen talked this morning about last night's game and pitching change. The two spoke with each other this morning and cleared the air a little bit, though the way Riggleman described it earlier, he had no problem with Olsen being upset at being taken out. Riggleman also strongly believes he made the right decision to pull Scott when he did. I'll have more details from both shortly.

  9. natsfan1a - May 12, 2010 at 4:19 PM

    Souldrummer, ditto what cadeck said. Hope that something turns up for you soon. Until then, we've got you covered on the NI contributions front. :-)

  10. Anonymous - May 12, 2010 at 4:22 PM

    Thank you for the quick response Mark. I will be very curious to read why Riggleman thinks it was the right decision after 80ish pitches with our bullpen.

  11. Anonymous - May 12, 2010 at 4:27 PM

    Today's lineup is very reminiscent of our 2008 and 2009 lineups. After our #5 hitter, the opposing pitcher can count on 4 easy outs.

  12. Souldrummer - May 12, 2010 at 5:00 PM

    @allThanks for support and I'm confident things are moving in good directions.

  13. alm1000 - May 12, 2010 at 5:17 PM

    I also dont understand why 2 players have to be given the same day off as Pudge. This is crap. I dont like crap.

  14. Aeoliano - May 12, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    Poor Stammen. Riggleman leaves him twisting in the wind. I hope someone calls him on it after the game.

  15. Aeoliano - May 12, 2010 at 5:23 PM

    Guz need the rest not Desmond. Guz looked awfully slow Riggs …

  16. Matt - May 12, 2010 at 5:32 PM

    On the other hand, the Desmond error was really the key in the 8th inning blowup last night. According to the Mets announcers, he made some lame excuses after the game. It's possible the Desmond benching is Riggleman sending a message.

  17. rmoore446 - May 12, 2010 at 5:34 PM

    We need an early lead in case the game is shortened by rain. Maybe all the understandable questions about the bottom of this lineup will be turned into unexpected success.

  18. Doc - May 12, 2010 at 5:35 PM

    Game 3 with the Metsies, bases loaded with Nieves up–sounds like the Nats are going backwards!

  19. rmoore446 - May 12, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    Jeeze, has Roger ever gotten wood on the ball after two strikes???

  20. Bowdenball - May 12, 2010 at 5:46 PM

    Stammen at the plate saves our incompetence from the RF spot. Perfect. Love that guy.I don't care how much praise people want to lavish on Rizzo and friends for the Nats' fast start and new attitude. It is absolutely inexcusable for a major league baseball team to have such pathetic offensive production out of RF. I don't care if Willie Mays is out there playing defense for us- if he's hitting like my dead grandmother, it's not worth it.

  21. Section 222 - May 12, 2010 at 5:51 PM

    Here here Bowdenball! I don't know about yours, but my dead grandmother wields a mean stick too. It seems pretty clear that Bernandina and Maxwell are not major league hitters. Sad, but true.

  22. rmoore446 - May 12, 2010 at 6:17 PM

    Actually, Bowdenball, Willie Harris' walk moved the two runners to second and third and resulted in two runs on Stammen's hit. That's not incompetence in my book…but then I'm not a glass half-empty kinda guy. I wonder from your "name" and criticism of Rizzo if you are missing our former GM?

  23. Carl in 309 - May 12, 2010 at 6:27 PM

    Did Bernadina just homer? Cool! Contributions from everywhere!

  24. rmoore446 - May 12, 2010 at 6:28 PM

    Jeeze, the bottom 5 in the order are doing the damage so far today. I nearly fainted at Bernadina's homer

  25. Carl in 309 - May 12, 2010 at 6:28 PM

    Gotta love the bottom part of the order today. Stammen with two hits and three RBIs. Still early, but these guys are not giving up.

  26. Bowdenball - May 12, 2010 at 6:30 PM

    Bernadina goes deep. Now I've seen it all.Where does that put us at now on production from RF? Something like .200/.290/.350? Are they now outstripping average MLB production from the P spot?

  27. Bowdenball - May 12, 2010 at 6:34 PM

    romoore446- not quite. I'm just a regular old guy who understands that the season is 700 plate appearance long, and 175 or so plate appearances old, and that a walk or two, or even a homer or two for that matter, doesn't excuse production that would barely be acceptable from a pitching spot, let alone from a corner outfield. Pretty sure I'm not alone in that assessment. And I'm a glass half-full guy most of the time, too- just not on-line. Don't want the powers that be who read this stuff- and they do read this stuff- thinking we're all satisfied!And the screen name is ironic. The day that bum left town is among my top five days as a Nats fan.

  28. rmoore446 - May 12, 2010 at 6:40 PM

    Well, Bowdenball, glad you decided to follow the game after all today. It's a pretty good one. Your boss should understand. As for RF, I'm not happy with the production from that spot either. I look forward to Morse getting up here, if nothing else develops. But my biggest gripe is relief pitchers who come in and immediately put men on base and squander a lead. That said–half full coming back–I am very happy with all the improvements that have us with a winning record.

  29. Bowdenball - May 12, 2010 at 6:47 PM

    rmoore446: I was fooling myself, and I knew it. I couldn't possibly ignore a Nats game with the team 18-15 and looking to take a series from the Mets and move into second place alone. Even if they ran out Austin Kearns, Nook Logan, Aaron Boone and Felipe Lopez out there, I'd be following along every inning.I've been upset about the RF situation since they let Dukes go. Not because they let him go … but because they obviously had at least been considering it in the offseason (it happened so fast, it can't have come out of nowhere) and hadn't bothered to provide an alternate plan. It was by far my least favorite decision- or set of decisions- in the generally positive Rizzo era.

  30. Janner33 - May 12, 2010 at 7:12 PM

    Did i just hear "Bruney in the bullpen?" Is that a joke?! OMG the team's decision makers frustrate me sometimes! We can't afford to take the "get right back on the horse" approach with Bruney!! We've done this with Bergmann for 2 years!

  31. Anonymous - May 12, 2010 at 7:14 PM

    Bowdenball if you have 12 problems you can't solve them ALL at once, you have to prioritize which ones you fix first. I think team chemistry was higher on the list that RF production. There are still a lot of holes, but so far (IMO) they have made the proper effort to fix the top priority ones. I can live we the RF situation for a few more months, while the complete higher priority fixes.

  32. Matt - May 12, 2010 at 7:17 PM

    Speaking of RF, that was an absolute circus catch. Wow.

  33. joe - May 12, 2010 at 7:23 PM

    It is true that the production in right field has been poor, but I think you have to get as many at-bats for Bernadina as possible. If there were no possibility of the Nats contending, I'd think the best move would be to force-feed Bernadina and Maxwell as platoon partners, and see if one of them seizes the job. We don't want to be wondering in December whether the Nats need a right fielder or not, so we might as well find out now. Mike Morse might turn out to be the kind of player who hits 290 with 35 doubles in a full time role. However, even though I'd like to see what Morse can do with significant playing time, I'd be reluctant to pursue that if it takes away from Maxwell's development. However, if the Nats hang around the pennant race, and Maxwell doesn't turn a corner by late July, then Bernadina & Morse platooning in right field is more reasonable. Even so, I haven't seen Morse play right field very much, and it looks to me as if Maxwell is a fine defensive player.

  34. alexva - May 12, 2010 at 7:31 PM

    Bernadina and Maxwell should be getting all the at bats in right to see if they can hit MLB pitching. Ultimately, however, they are both CF'ers and since I'm not sold on Morgan I think we need to pick one of the three to start in CF in 2011. Trade one of the others and keep the third as 4th outfielder.

  35. Jeff Wang - May 12, 2010 at 7:54 PM

    why the F was Jose Reyes trying to bunt? isn't that carrying moneyball a bit too far?

  36. Bowdenball - May 12, 2010 at 8:22 PM

    Anonymous- sure you can. If they thought Dukes might not be the answer during the offseason- and they clearly must have- they could have brought in a free agent to provide some sort of production out of RF. There were some available, and the Nats certainly have the money. Please, please don't get me wrong, overall I'm very happy with the direction of the team this season. But I'm not going to give the front office a pass on the RF debacle just because they're doing a good job elsewhere. I pay a small fortune to watch this team play, I feel justified in asking for major league quality play at every position. Sure we've saved a few runs compared to the MLB average on defense in RF this season, but we've given away DOZENS compared to the MLB average in RF. That's not OK to me, and I cringe every time I read something suggesting it's OK to Rizzo or Riggleman.

  37. Bowdenball - May 12, 2010 at 8:23 PM

    "Dozens on offense", that should read.

  38. yankish2 - May 12, 2010 at 8:29 PM

    I now understand why the Pirates traded Nyjer Morgan. The more he plays the worse his fundamentals get. Not taking charge in centerfield on popups, throwing to wrong bases, not being able to slide properly. Sorry to say right field is not our only problem. Be warned front office.

  39. alexva - May 12, 2010 at 8:35 PM

    Your future CF just put them back on top

  40. Knoxville Nat - May 12, 2010 at 8:35 PM

    Bernie, Bernie!!!!

  41. Bowdenball - May 12, 2010 at 8:35 PM

    And I will continue to rant about RF production as long as it keeps getting results like this!!!!! Go Roger!

  42. SpringfieldFan - May 12, 2010 at 8:40 PM


  43. Carl in 309 - May 12, 2010 at 8:49 PM

    I give up–this last game in the Mets series looked like our least favorable match-up, and who would have predicted that the bottom half of the Nats line-up–led by Bernadina and Stammen–would be the offensive heros. And who says the set-up guy can't win 20 games! Just keep winning series! Now, is it too much to hope that after Colorado finishes up with a double-header today that they'll be too tired to put up a fight tomorrow?!

  44. Anonymous - May 12, 2010 at 8:50 PM

    Richard Section 312–For all of you who despaired after last night not only take heart from today's great win, but always remember what Earl Weaver once said: "This ain't football we do this every day."

  45. Jack T. in Florida - May 12, 2010 at 8:50 PM

    yankish2said…. you are absolutely correct. I was in Miami last week and watched Morgan break back on almost ever ball hit (Lastings Milledge anyone?) and take circle routes to balls hit in the gaps. He clearly has flaws.

  46. Bowdenball - May 12, 2010 at 8:52 PM

    Carl: As long as we're asking, how about if they also take at least one off the Phils in that doubleheader, too?I feel personally responsible for this one. My RF production rant clearly lit a fire under Bernadina. You're all welcome.

  47. Section 222 - May 12, 2010 at 8:54 PM

    I choose to think that Roger heard me and Bowdenball dissing him and decided to show us what fools we are! Thanks Roger. Keep it up!

  48. Carl in 309 - May 12, 2010 at 8:56 PM

    @Bowdenball: Well, if you're responsible, rant away. Could I suggest hanging on the top third of the order for tomorrow?Certainly is better when they win!

  49. natsfan1a - May 12, 2010 at 9:30 PM

    I thought the Elvis wig looked very nice on Roger. Way to bounce back, Nats!

  50. An Briosca Mor - May 12, 2010 at 9:40 PM

    So how many times has the right fielder ended up wearing the Elvis wig already this year? Bernadina and Harris at least once each, if not more. And how many times do we think Dukes would have worn it by now if they hadn't cut him? Not as many, that's for sure. If at all.That's all that matters in this RF situation. Just win, baby.

  51. David - May 12, 2010 at 9:47 PM

    Tyler Clippard the second coming of Elroy Face.

  52. Jeeves - May 12, 2010 at 10:51 PM

    I am so frustrated trying to post on this site. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. I wrote about the abilities of Bernadina and Maxwell and how they had to be given a chance. They are both good defensive players with speed and potential offensively. They, of late seem to be the blogger's whipping boys. (That, despite the fact that Bernadina's batting average is higher than most of the regulars)Alexva knows what she is talking about–to differentiate from a number of others.

  53. Jeeves - May 12, 2010 at 10:53 PM

    Oh, frustrated, despite the fact that I love your coverage, Mark.

  54. Anonymous - May 12, 2010 at 11:46 PM

    Very early in this thread I wrote that our last 4 batters in the lineup were easy outs.For the record, I apologize to Roger Bernadina!





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