May 30, 2010, 4:31 AM EDT
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Nyjer Morgan is in a prolonged funk at the plate and in the field.
SAN DIEGO — Let's get this out of the way right off the top: Jim Riggleman isn't going to bench Nyjer Morgan.
"Nyjer is our leadoff hitter. He's our center fielder," Riggleman said following tonight's 4-2 loss to the Padres. "He's just going to have to come out of it."
"It" is a prolonged slump that has overtaken every aspect of Morgan's game. At the plate, on the bases and in the field, he's struggling big-time right now. And the Nationals are paying the price for it.
Tonight's loss, to be fair, was not pinned on Morgan. He didn't do anything to help his team win, but he didn't lose the game. Adam Kennedy's first-inning error, J.D. Martin's subsequent hanging curveball to Nick Hundley and an overall lack of offense did in the Nationals.
But Morgan's struggles have become a significant problem for a Nats club that plays so many tight ballgames it can't afford for its leadoff man and center fielder to be stuck in a prolonged funk like this. Plain and simple, the Nationals need Morgan to snap out of this, and quick, if they are to maintain a winning record over the long haul. Or else they're going to need to find another leadoff man and center fielder.
"I'm just having bad luck now," Morgan said. "I'm working counts, battling. Right now, it's just not happening. I've got to get Dr. Freeze off my twig. But it'll be alright."
That was just one of several uncomfortable moments during Morgan's postgame media session in which "Tony Plush" made far too many appearances. Perhaps it's the only way Nyjer knows how to deflect criticism and convince himself everything's going to be OK, but theRead more »
NL EAST STANDINGS
THU: Diamondbacks at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- With help from his alter ego, Span again sparks Nats to win
- Gonzalez, Nats win pitchers duel on another walk-off
- Nats' Zimmerman takes significant step in recovery
- Nationals aim for team record 10th straight win vs. D-Backs
- Nationals' 9-game win streak is "absolutely epic"
- Are Nationals finally playing to full potential? (VIDEO)
- Mo'ne Davis and company have one more chance
- Young guns bat, slide Nationals to ninth-straight win
- Matt Williams projects when Ryan Zimmerman will return
- Span tabs Nats teammate & rival to do ice bucket challenge