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No protesting this win

May 29, 2010, 6:50 AM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Josh Willingham continued his hot streak with a three-run homer.

SAN DIEGO — When Jim Riggleman arrived at Petco Park this afternoon, he never thought he'd wind up reading the fine print of The Official Rules of Baseball, Rule 3.05(a) and 3.05(c).

You never know what's going to happen when you show up at the ballpark these days. You might see one team play under protest because the other team submitted a lineup card with a starting pitcher who was in the minor leagues. You might see the toughest home-run park in the majors surrender two big blasts. You might see the most-successful closer in the big leagues allow four straight singles to open the bottom of the ninth, put the game-winning run on first and then pitch his way out of the jam.

And sometimes you might just see all of that take place in the span of 2 hours and 29 minutes.

The Nationals' 5-3 victory over the Padres featured no shortage of unusual events, some which left everyone scrambling for the nearest copy of the rule book, some which just left everyone biting their fingernails with tension.

Where to begin with this one? How about at the beginning, since that's when the night's first oddity developed. San Diego starter Clayton Richard cruised through the top of the first with no trouble, and the two teams swapped sides, with John Lannan strolling to the mound for his first inning of work.

But what was this? Why are the umpires huddling with Riggleman, and why are they all looking at their lineup cards? Did someone make a mistake?

Oh, did they. The Padres inexplicably listed their starting pitcher and No. 9 hitter as right-hander Adam Russell. Who had been optioned to Class AAA Portland earlier in the day. Obviously, he didn't pitch theRead more »

  1. Alex - May 29, 2010 at 6:59 AM

    good game

  2. SonnyG10 - May 29, 2010 at 7:16 AM

    Excellent win. We overcame a bad call by the first base umpire on a play where Adam Dunn tagged the runner out, but the ump called him safe. We also overcame a rookie mistake by Ian Desmond on the attempted double play when he should have taken a sure out at first. I'm sure Ian learned a lesson and it didn't cost us the game so all's well that ends well.

  3. Section 109 - May 29, 2010 at 12:24 PM

    Great article, Mark!

  4. Kevin Rusch, Section406 - May 29, 2010 at 12:32 PM

    Is it just me, or are the umpires missing a lot of calls against the Nats? Maybe I'm just being swayed by Dibble.

  5. Doc - May 29, 2010 at 1:10 PM

    Kevin Rusch, Section406 brings up an interesting point. My guess is that umpires have a bias against teams that have a history of losing. Some historical stats might be dug up in support of the hypothesis. However, for the current Nats, the FO sabermetricians should be put to the task of performing some data analysis. Give the Joe West Umpires Association something to think about!

  6. Steve M. - May 29, 2010 at 1:26 PM

    Doc, the Padres have a history of losing too. How's about Zim being safe on the play on the 9th plus 2 strikes right in the zone on Capps in the 9th.When stats are examined, Desmond got an error, Zim maybe lost a hit, Capps fell behind in his count and had to change his approach.These consistent bad calls add up and skew stats.

  7. Anonymous - May 29, 2010 at 3:22 PM

    If Riggleman had made the same lineup mistake, the d'bags on ESPN would be crowing about another Natinals gaffe.

  8. Anonymous8 - May 29, 2010 at 3:30 PM

    Anon @ 11:22. That is a good point. No doubt about it.





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