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Game 38: Nats at Rockies

May 16, 2010, 4:15 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The sun is shining at Coors Field … at last.

DENVER — What a gorgeous day for baseball at Coors Field. Finally. The rain has cleared. The clouds are gone and there is abundant sunshine for today's series finale between the Nationals and Rockies.

This could be as close to a must-win game as the Nats have faced in some time. Not that a loss would be devastating; they'd still head to St. Louis with a 20-18 record. But that would constitute the first three-game losing streak of the season, heading into a tough series against one of MLB's best clubs.

A win today, however, would salvage a four-game split with the Rockies and put the Nationals at 21-17 heading to St. Louis, where even a two-game sweep at the hands of the Cardinals wouldn't be crushing.

Couple of interesting notes about Jim Riggleman's lineup today: 1) Adam Dunn has his first day off of the year, probably because of a bad matchup against Rockies left-hander Jeff Francis. 2) Mike Morse is in, but not in right field; he'll start in Dunn's place at first base. 3) Cristian Guzman is your starting right fielder for only the second time in his career. Riggleman hinted a few days ago he'd consider doing that, particularly against a left-hander. Guzie is hitting a stout .419 against lefties this season; he HAS to be in the lineup somewhere.

Check back for updates throughout…

Where: Coors Field
Gametime: 3:10 p.m.
TV: Ch. 50-HD, MASN2-HD
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Sunny, 62 degrees, Wind 6 mph in from RF

CF Nyjer Morgan
SS Ian Desmond
RF Cristian Guzman
3B Ryan Zimmerman

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  1. randomdude2228 - May 16, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    Weird lineup… Trying to max out righties, I know, but still.

  2. David - May 16, 2010 at 5:12 PM

    Mark is this Jeff Francis first start since 2008? I know he had surgery and missed 2009 but I can't find anything on him except 11.2 in Tulsa, not much of a rehab? I can't expect that they will let him pitch more than 5 inning. Nothing against Gonzalez but I think Guzman should be at 2nd and Bernadina in right. I know he is a lefty but Coors field has a very big right field. Maybe there will be changes later in the game when Francis reaches his pitch limit.

  3. Bote Man - May 16, 2010 at 5:17 PM

    Who has the Bruney death watch?

  4. Anonymous - May 16, 2010 at 5:22 PM

    I say he's gone after the road trip. Let him go home and pack his things and leave with dignity.

  5. BinM - May 16, 2010 at 5:23 PM

    Bote – I'm in for 5/18; Dead man walking.

  6. David - May 16, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    Never mind I found this on Rotoworld.comJeff Francis (shoulder) is scheduled to make his first start since September, 12 2008 on Sunday.Francis tossed seven scoreless innings in his final minor league rehab start with Double-A Tulsa on Tuesday and is eager to contribute to the major league club. The 29-year-old left-hander missed the entire 2009 season after left shoulder surgery.

  7. Doc - May 16, 2010 at 5:37 PM

    Real Nats should have Francis' ass kicked out of the game by the 3rd!! Gooooooo Nats!

  8. NatsNut - May 16, 2010 at 5:45 PM

    Mark, I really appreciate the details at the head of your game thread posts. I couldn't remember the start time and came here first to find it. Plus where it is on TV in case I happen to be in front of one. It's a small thing, but appreciated.

  9. Mark Zuckerman - May 16, 2010 at 6:02 PM

    Thanks, NatsNut. I actually just remembered that today's game (like all Sunday games) is also on Ch. 50, in addition to MASN2.

  10. Anonymous - May 16, 2010 at 6:03 PM

    Anybody else think that Dunn might be headed for right field? Morse is better defensively at first and has about the same pop at the platoon that's out there now.

  11. Mark Zuckerman - May 16, 2010 at 6:05 PM

    Anon: Um, no. The Nats are committed to Dunn at 1B, and he's committed to playing 1B. He's far better there than he is in the outfield.

  12. Kemp - May 16, 2010 at 6:24 PM

    I have a beef with today's lineup. If Dunn is having a sick/off day today, then why not keep A-Gon on the bench, stick Kennedy at first, move Guz into 2nd and put Morse in right? I understand trying to put another righty in there, but how much do you give up, defensively, with Guzman in right as opposed to Morse?

  13. NatsNut - May 16, 2010 at 6:59 PM

    I've said this before and I'll say it again. If I never, ever, ever, never see Adam Dunn in the outfield again, I will be a happy fan.

  14. Sec314 - May 16, 2010 at 9:06 PM

    Morgan cannot hit lefties. I wonder if Bernadina could learn to do so and play CF when the Nats face one.

  15. Anonymous - May 16, 2010 at 9:31 PM

    Don't you have to pinch hit for Olsen there with two men on and nobody out in the seventh in a 1-1 game? Especially with Clippard rested and ready to go?

  16. K.D. - May 16, 2010 at 9:35 PM

    Pudge is too jumpy right now, at least that means he is probably feeling good. He needs to settle down.

  17. Anonymous - May 16, 2010 at 9:48 PM

    Oof. Dunn was available to pinch hit for Olsen in the 7th?

  18. Anonymous - May 16, 2010 at 10:04 PM

    It could be that Batista is sacrificed. He hasn't exactly been the best pitcher the Nats have seen recently. He is more likely to clear waivers and land in Syracuse. While Bruney is kept in the mop up role to fix his problems. It is possible that Bruney is actually attempting to get put on waivers? Not sure but it sure looks that way at times to me. Glad to see all the whiners have stopped blathering about the FOX deal with the MLB. Old crotchety types in wheel chairs and walkers I imagine.

  19. Knoxville Nat - May 16, 2010 at 11:25 PM

    Bruney continues to think he ia a major league caliber pitcher but the stats don't back up his arguement. Do you think he would care to go to arbitration again after the start he has had this saeson?And for Anonymous, I am not in a wheel chair or need a walker but I can be "crotchety" at times but I still hate this dam Fox deal and wish Joe Buck would go suck a lemon.

  20. A DC Wonk - May 16, 2010 at 11:29 PM

    So, why _did_ Olsen bat for himself with bases loaded in the 7th? Why not a pinch hitter then . . . even a double play 6-4-3 would have scored a run!Anyone?

  21. Doc - May 17, 2010 at 12:17 AM

    Olsen batting: Riggs thought he could lay down a bunt, and stay around to pitch the next inning. Other than that there was no reason. I can never understand why pitchers aren't taught to bunt–I mean it's not that hard.

  22. A DC Wonk - May 17, 2010 at 12:37 AM

    lay down a bunt with bases loaded?

  23. Scooter - May 17, 2010 at 6:31 AM

    Wonk: not loaded; first and second. He was bunting. Did you watch? He bunted foul for strike three.And c'mon, Doc, you must know that they try and try to teach these guys to bunt — I mean, it's like the second-biggest part of their job. Some of them just [stink] at it.





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