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Game 44: Orioles at Nats

May 22, 2010, 4:25 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats try to get out of their rut this afternoon against the Orioles.

Jim Riggleman, like most managers, lives by the adage that "momentum is only as good as your next day's starting pitcher." He said it yesterday afternoon, only to watch as Scott Olsen (ailing from a tight left shoulder) struggled and was pulled after three innings, setting the tone for last night's 5-3 loss to the Orioles.

Thus, the Nationals enter today's rare 4:05 p.m. start (due to the fact Fox is televising Yankees-Mets in primetime) under .500, having lost seven of their last eight. Clearly, their momentum is careening downhill at this moment.

But all that can change if Craig Stammen takes the mound today and gives the Nats a quality start. After a nice, three-week stretch in which he allowed three earned runs or less in four straight starts, Stammen has regressed some his last two times out (though he's still only allowed four runs each of those two starts).

Check back for updates throughout…

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 4:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM, WTEM-980 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 74 degrees, Wind 12 mph RF to LF

CF Nyjer Morgan
SS Cristian Guzman
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn

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  1. BinM - May 22, 2010 at 4:43 PM

    Not crazy about Guzman at SS, but he's the teams hottest hitter this month.

  2. Jack T. in Florida - May 22, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    Definitely not excited about Nook Morgan (or is it Nyjer Logan?) in CF either

  3. JayB - May 22, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    Riggs at it again….do what little he can to get his Vets into games under the pretense of resting Ian D. He is the teams second best player. Play him and end the bromance with Guz….his range is pathetic…last night he let a very playable ball roll through the right side and did not even keep it in the infield to save a run. Guz at second base if you have to Riggs but SS….never again in my view.

  4. NatBiscuit - May 22, 2010 at 5:25 PM

    The Nationals are near the top/bottom (most) in errors again this year. While the fielding has improved immensely over the beginning of last year, the team does have challenges defensively. Its easier to overlook because the young talent of Desmond and Bernadina, the professionalism of Dunn, Kennedy, and Rodriguez, and the spectacular playmaking ability of the entire outfield pluz Zimmerman. But, a lot of the errors are mental: not looking the ball into the glove, making a throw when there is no chance of a play, not rushing a play. When your offense is also not working you have to make compromises and play the better hitters but long term they need complete players who are fundamentally sound. Could be some of the same players they have now, but this is the majors not double A. These players need to focus. BTW, Dunn is playing pretty well defensively around the bag but if has to keep coming off the bag and up the line to catch Zimmerman and Desmond throws he's going to end up breaking a wrist when he collides with a runner.

  5. Anonymous - May 22, 2010 at 6:19 PM

    Man people like to beat dead horses around here. Morgan is in a slump, but you don't get out of a slump by sitting on the bench. Would you rather see Willie Harris out there again?And there is no point to even try to reason with JayB, just a waste of time.

  6. David - May 22, 2010 at 6:41 PM

    actually willie hits with a little power, he's always hit for low average but when he gets a hit it's usually very productive, hence his RBI totals, i have no problem with him being in the lineup…

  7. Anonymous - May 22, 2010 at 7:20 PM

    "doesn't hit much but the hits he gets are productive." ??? Are you auditioning for a job in the booth? just kidding.

  8. JayB - May 22, 2010 at 7:52 PM

    Morgan is in a mental slum….his decision on the bases and in CF are the problem here…if he was just in a hitting slum I would agree he needs to play his way out. The biggest harm he is doing to the team is his bad baseball decisions….he can not even hit a cut off man or not get double off first on a soft liner….That is cause to sit him for a week until he gets his mind straight again.

  9. Anonymous - May 22, 2010 at 8:00 PM

    Wow JayB, how racist can you get? Twice you say Morgan is in a slum? Why not just go all out and say ghetto? Cuz you can't spell such a big word?

  10. An Briosca Mor - May 22, 2010 at 8:02 PM

    I think even the Carpenter and Dibble haters among us would have to admit that their favorite days of the baseball season (aside from Opening Day) are the first days back after a weekend of MASN's combined broadcast booth abomination.

  11. Anonymous8 - May 22, 2010 at 8:12 PM

    Literally 3 batters into the game and Nyjer has already screwed up. Unbelievable.

  12. dj in Fl. - May 22, 2010 at 8:19 PM

    JB,There is no place on this site for your behavior.There are plenty of sites on this world wide web featuring bad behavior. Take it there if that is the kind of person you are, but straigten up on here.

  13. DJ - May 22, 2010 at 8:19 PM

    Any update on Ross Detwiler and when he begins his rehab?

  14. JayB - May 22, 2010 at 8:28 PM

    Facts are facts…Morgan's head is not in the game again….who called it?

  15. Anonymous8 - May 22, 2010 at 8:41 PM

    Morgan's head and his approach at the plate. He bunted under the ball in the 1st and popped it up.One ball hit to him and he booted it.Pathetic.On the good side, this team can win without him.

  16. Anonymous8 - May 22, 2010 at 8:49 PM

    Good hustle on the groundout by Nyjer. That is one positive I can say about him and of course his contribution of the Silver Elvis wig.

  17. natsone_va - May 22, 2010 at 9:03 PM

    Man I hate this Baltimorons!!! Especially the announcers.

  18. natsone_va - May 22, 2010 at 9:04 PM

    Oh, but I love Dibble.

  19. Anonymous8 - May 22, 2010 at 9:04 PM

    HAMMER TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Anonymous - May 22, 2010 at 9:14 PM

    I swear to god he's become Lastings Morgan.

  21. Michael J. Hayde - May 22, 2010 at 9:16 PM

    I'm as high on Nyjer as any fan, but I can't believe I just saw that. I hope Riggleman benches him for that display.

  22. Anonymous - May 22, 2010 at 9:16 PM

    Take Nyjer out now. You have to be kidding me. This guy is a joke. A complete joke. Every time it is hit to him. First of all, he should have caught it. Second, he misses it and turns a double into a 4 bagger.How much of this do we have to endure?

  23. JayB - May 22, 2010 at 9:17 PM

    Mark,Foli is in the dug out in uniform? I though that was not allowed….what coach if missing?

  24. Bob Neuman - May 22, 2010 at 9:18 PM

    I have lost my patience with Nyjer…tragic collapse.

  25. Sec3MySofa - May 22, 2010 at 9:19 PM

    Now, that is not a slump. Fifteen years ago, I'd have said that was 'roid rage. Nowadays, it's just knuckleheaded.

  26. Anonymous - May 22, 2010 at 9:21 PM

    Are you guys watching the tube gonna turn this off? Maybe there's Gilligan's Island rerun on. This ain't major league play.

  27. Sec3MySofa - May 22, 2010 at 9:24 PM

    Maybe get Nyjer some lasik…

  28. JayB - May 22, 2010 at 9:24 PM

    This has been coming for over a week. If you watch the games and know what you are looking for you could see this coming. AGAIN…Morgan needs to sit a week

  29. Les in NC - May 22, 2010 at 9:24 PM

    Now watch as he proceeds to get picked off…C'mon Riggs shut him down!

  30. Michael J. Hayde - May 22, 2010 at 9:30 PM

    Nice as the single was, it was clear that Morgan's still angry, and that's going to lead to more errors. Keeping my fingers crossed, but this looks like a big mistake on Rig's part. I'll be very interested in his post-game comments on this.

  31. Mark Zuckerman - May 22, 2010 at 9:31 PM

    JayB: John McLaren is not with the team today, he had an excused absence for a personal matter. So Foli is allowed in uniform in the dugout to serve as bench coach for this game.

  32. Chris - May 22, 2010 at 9:32 PM

    Guzzy has had a nice game. But I guess if you watch games and know what you're looking for you could have seen it coming – so it's no surprise.

  33. Joe - May 22, 2010 at 9:32 PM

    Here's a puzzle – in case it becomes necessary – who is on the farm that can serve as a backup catcher? Jamie Burke appears to be listed as on the 7-day DL, but doesn't appear to have seen any playing time.

  34. Anonymous - May 22, 2010 at 9:33 PM

    Where is CWJ who was the Nyjer supporter with some Anon. This has been over a week of horrible play. Nicest guy in an interview. As soon as the camera is off, he becomes MAJOR LEAGUE A-HOLE.When is Riggles and Rizzo gonna FLUSH the TPlush toilet?

  35. JayB - May 22, 2010 at 9:38 PM

    Guz at SS is what is wrong not Guz playing get a clue…he has already let another ball go right by him up the middle. His lack of range up the middle is very well documented Chris.

  36. Sec3MySofa - May 22, 2010 at 9:40 PM

    Well, either Riggleman pulls him right then, or he doesn't and deals with it privately. It doesn't matter what he says, I suppose–Pudge is out and the bench is already short in a close game, whatever. It's his prerogative, but man … I've seen Ponce de Leon 48+ players sat down for that.

  37. Chris - May 22, 2010 at 9:44 PM

    I know JayB, just givin ya a little good-natured ribbing. Desmond started 9 games in a row at short prior to today, so I'm ok with Guzzy playing once in awhile – especially if it means Kennedy is in the lineup at 2B. Adam is a true pro and deserves to play.

  38. Sec3WatchingThisGameGetAway - May 22, 2010 at 9:47 PM

    What Would Frank Have Done? 1. Pulled him off the field right then and there. Personally. By the ear.2. Left him in to finish the defensive half, and traded him during the bottom of the fourth.3. Waited til he got back in and cussed him out so bad his grandchildren would be born insecure.

  39. Anonymous - May 22, 2010 at 9:59 PM

    Can someone posit an outfield lineup for tomorrow?

  40. Sec3Booing - May 22, 2010 at 10:04 PM

    Anon 5:59, sure. Any of us can. Still have to wait for Riggleman's, though.

  41. Les in NC - May 22, 2010 at 10:04 PM

    Why pinch hit there for Walker? Bernadina was at 3rd with nobody out, even if Walker K's we have 2 more outs to get Roger in.The bench is already depleted… I dont understand the move. Someone give me some insight?

  42. Anonymous8 - May 22, 2010 at 10:05 PM

    SEC3, agreed. No doubt. Riggleman will take care of Nyjer just won't do it in the dugout like he did with Sammy Sosa in 1997.Another note, Nyjer will rename himself with a new nickname. I am thinking NO BRAIN-ER or Tony FLUSH (already suggested). What do you all think?Look how Adam Jones backed up Markakis on that missed catch?Nice hit Bernadina!!!!!!!!!!

  43. Sec3again - May 22, 2010 at 10:06 PM

    Les, I think AG has your insight right there.

  44. Sec3ADAMDUNN - May 22, 2010 at 10:12 PM

    Good point, Anon8. I'd forgotten that one.

  45. Chris - May 22, 2010 at 10:12 PM

    @ Les1. Tyler Walker sucks. We still have Clip, Slaten, Burnett and possibly Bautista available in the pen. And we still have Morse and Willie to pinch hit.2. We've been terrible lately with RISP. No way you can sacrifice an out there, especially when you're down.

  46. Chris - May 22, 2010 at 10:13 PM

    and now Capps enters the picture. I wonder if we'll see Drew next inning.

  47. Anonymous - May 22, 2010 at 10:13 PM

    GREAT hustle by ZIM!!!!! Dunn comes through in the clutch!

  48. Doc - May 22, 2010 at 10:22 PM

    After throwing his glove, it may be time to flush Tony Plush!

  49. Anonymous - May 22, 2010 at 10:29 PM

    Need security runs in the bottom of the 7th!!!!!!!!

  50. Anonymous - May 22, 2010 at 10:31 PM

    Kennedy needs to sell that "SAFE" at 2nd better. Come on dude, you are a veteran. Fake it if you have to….

  51. joe - May 22, 2010 at 10:34 PM

    Why try to have Bernadina sacrifice, especially after a four-pitch walk to lead off the inning? Bernadina isn't likely to GIDP – granted, he's facing a lefty, but why give away the out?

  52. Anonymous8 - May 22, 2010 at 10:38 PM

    Hows about getting Bernadina to drag a bunt???? At least try for a base hit as he is a good drag bunter.Mike Morse showing why he is with the club. A good PH.Figures, FLUSH hit into a DP. Go figure. When you got a rain cloud over your head. Sheesh.

  53. Anonymous - May 22, 2010 at 10:39 PM

    I now know why Riggles didn't pull the plug on the FLUSH, he didn't want to waste a position player.Remember, a FLUSH, is a terrible thing to waste.

  54. Anonymous8 - May 22, 2010 at 10:55 PM

    Zim doing a Nyjer imitation. Stupid. What did he think, Nyjer was playing CF for the Orioles????????

  55. Sec3StillHere - May 22, 2010 at 10:58 PM

    Mark, they did show Morgan tossing his helmet. Speaking of which, thanks for the detail about the new Rawlings helmet Norris was wearing.And now Zimm is wandering around like he's playing in some other game. Did somebody spike the Gatorade??

  56. Anonymous - May 22, 2010 at 10:59 PM

    There've been some interesting aspects to this game but we'll remember only the bush league outbursts from NG. Unfortunately.

  57. Anonymous - May 22, 2010 at 11:00 PM

    Maybe Zim did that as a Team leader so Nyjer wouldn't feel bad?

  58. Sec3LetsGoCapps - May 22, 2010 at 11:01 PM

    and wow, you're right–Cristian Guzman's baserunning savvy was the only thing between them and another Daily Double!

  59. Sec3MySofa - May 22, 2010 at 11:07 PM

    And Matt Capps goes out of his way to pull Morgan out from under the bus. Classy. Professional. They must really like and respect the guy. Which should count for something here.

  60. Anonymous - May 22, 2010 at 11:10 PM

    Nyjer needs to be benched!!! He is a major D-bag, no wonder why he is SBF's favorite Nat, birds of a feather right!?

  61. Doc - May 22, 2010 at 11:18 PM

    "…cussed him out so bad, his grandchildren would be born insecure…". I love that ditty(and that's exactly what Frank really would have done). I'm gonna use it in my future recriminations (if it isn't copyrighted!!!!).It's time to add to the after game clubhouse awards. How about the Tony Flush goat-of-the game award—a golden toilet plunger–to be carried on the bus back to the hotel!

  62. Anonymous - May 22, 2010 at 11:19 PM

    I wasn't able to see the game – can someone describe the "almost triple play" ?

  63. Sec3 - May 22, 2010 at 11:22 PM

    Anon 7:19, with Guzman on 2nd and Zimm on 1st, Willingham hit a sinking liner into the R-C gap. Guzman went halfway to third and waited, but Zimm (with the play in front of him) just about ran right up Guzzie's back, near short.

  64. Anonymous8 - May 22, 2010 at 11:23 PM

    It wasn't close to a triple play. Zim just ran like it was a gapper from 1st and was past 2nd.

  65. Sec3 - May 22, 2010 at 11:25 PM

    About that time, Jones make a nice running catch on the ball, and Guzman was frantically waving Zimm back, but the ball was on its way in. It's a good thing the throw back to first wasn't muffed, though, because Zimm was barely jogging back to the bag.

  66. Anonymous8 - May 22, 2010 at 11:26 PM

    Doc, that is great. The golden plunger!!!Just listened to Riggs and he answered the tough questions well on Nyjer.





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