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Game 52: Nats at Astros

May 31, 2010, 4:45 PM EST

Photo courtesy Houston Astros
Minute Maid Park hosts the Nats and Astros for four games.

After yesterday's game in San Diego, Jim Riggleman suggested there could be some tweaks to his lineup, particularly with Nyjer Morgan, who has been in a prolonged funk. Of course, there are only so many places Morgan can hit in the lineup.

"It's been suggested to move Nyjer down," Riggleman said yesterday. "But the only place I can move him is second. … Nyjer's not going to play for you if he doesn't hit first or second hardly. It doesn't make much sense to put him anywhere else. It may just take a little pressure off him to hit him second for a little while. But whether you're hitting first or second, you've still got to get on base."

We'll find out today whether a move to the 2-hole can help cure Morgan's ails. Cristian Guzman takes over as leadoff hitter. Willie Harris also gets the start in right field, his first since May 21 at Baltimore.

I'm not with the club in Houston this week. Took the red-eye home from San Diego last night and will enjoy a few days off before the Nats return for the big homestand against the Reds and Pirates later this week. Hope you all enjoy the game and enjoy your Memorial Day…

Where: Minute Maid Park
Gametime: 2:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 89 degrees, Wind 8 mph in from RF

2B Cristian Guzman
CF Nyjer Morgan
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn

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  1. randomdude2228 - May 31, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    "Nyjer's not going to play for you if he doesn't hit first or second hardly."Can someone translate this into English for me? Is he saying Nyjer won't not play hard if he's not hitting first or second? (triple negative for the win)

  2. natsfan1a - May 31, 2010 at 5:10 PM

    Thanks, Mark. Hope that you have a nice holiday as well.(And I was wondering about Riggs' phraseology there as well, random.)

  3. Suicide Squeeze - May 31, 2010 at 5:18 PM

    I think Riggs meant:"It's not that Nyjer's not playing hard and not like he would not continue to play hard if he was not hitting first. It's just that I'm not sure what to do with a lead off guy who is not hitting and center fielder who is not fielding and a speed guy who is not stealing successfully. So I figured, why the hell not not lead him off?"Something like that. Or not.

  4. Grandstander - May 31, 2010 at 5:58 PM

    As much as I hate it, there's really no other option for Morgan. He's either at the top of the order, or he's not in it at all. Hopefully this move will shake him up a bit as he's got the protection of Zimmerman behind him, and hopefully Guzman on first ahead of him. I'm just terrified that those weak ground outs are now going to turn into weak GIDPs.On a side note, checking stats this morning, we have 3 players in the top 10 OPS in the league.Willingham .959 (4)Zimmerman .945 (7)Dunn .925 (9)Yet we rank 11th in the league in Runs Scored.Talk about "a lack of offensive depth"!Also, for something to look into, I was checking tickets today for the suddenly less-interesting game on Friday against the Reds. It had nearly sold out but now there's tickets available at every pricing level. What's the deal? Have the Nationals accepted refunds on those tickets or something? Either way, I'm happy, I love Friday night games and now I can see this one.

  5. Hendo - May 31, 2010 at 6:19 PM

    @Grandstander: The story I hear is that the Nats ordinarily hold back some number of tickets until a few days or weeks before each game, and then feed them out in the days leading up to the game. (We would never notice this on a 15K attendance night.)

  6. sec3 - May 31, 2010 at 6:46 PM

    The money these days apparently isn't in single sales, it's season tickets, and group sales. There are still some partial-season packages left, but the main reason for the late releases is the group sales. Groups like to sit together, not scattered all over. The only way to accommodate that is to hold out some sections from individual sales.

  7. Anonymous - May 31, 2010 at 6:59 PM

    Mark takes an early flight home and — misses a very rare occurance: pitcher tossed.

  8. A DC Wonk - May 31, 2010 at 7:22 PM

    Hey, Steve Phillips, how about that Strasburg for Oswalt trade?!?!

  9. Nervous Nats Fan - May 31, 2010 at 7:25 PM

    Giving up a HR to their relief pitcher = less than ideal.

  10. Anonymous - May 31, 2010 at 7:32 PM

    I'd forgotten how good Ray Knight is in the booth. [I like Dibble fine, but I guess he's an easy act to follow. Both of 'em are foar and away better than Sutton.] Just IMHO.

  11. Cwj - May 31, 2010 at 7:39 PM

    I'm not sure I like Ray Knight as a color man. Man, he's criticizing EVERYTHING the Nats are doing despite a 5-2 lead. Lighten up Ray.

  12. Jim Webster - May 31, 2010 at 7:43 PM

    Anon says: "I'd forgotten how good Ray Knight is in the booth. [I like Dibble fine . . . ]"Hmmm. Knight says our hitting philosophy is all screwed up. Dibble trashes the pitching. Why do the Nats pay Eckstein and McCatty when they get such sage advice for free?

  13. Cwj - May 31, 2010 at 7:45 PM

    Some flashes of the real Nyjer Morgan today (hopefully to stay)

  14. Cwj - May 31, 2010 at 7:47 PM

    Jim Webster – Hahaha good thing Dibble and Knight don't share the same booth :)

  15. Will - May 31, 2010 at 7:47 PM

    Two horrible at-bats? Rick Eckstein must HATE Willie Harris!

  16. dj in Fl. - May 31, 2010 at 8:43 PM

    Well talk about a cure for the scoring blues.In Fl. we are stuck with the Astros broadcast on extra-innings, and I have never heard such a low key call on a home run than on Maldonados.I must say that I would compare Oswalts behavior to that of Morgan last week. We have seen erratic strike zones frequently, and no one thought they were so special as to try and show up the ump. Maybe we do not need a new attitude problem on our team.

  17. Dryw - May 31, 2010 at 9:06 PM

    Who says the Nats have no offensive punch? Here's hoping for more games like this!

  18. Nervous Nats Fan - May 31, 2010 at 9:18 PM

    Who gets the wig? (If they win, of course. Don't want to jinx anything up 14-4 in the ninth.)

  19. Doc - May 31, 2010 at 9:20 PM

    Ray Knight ought to stick to golf.Rick Eckstein has done a lot for this team, and has the respect of a lot of MLB players on teams, besides the Nats.

  20. natsfan1a - May 31, 2010 at 10:04 PM

    Nervous, I was hoping that Nyjer and Guz would share the wig, but when Guz was on in the postgame, he wasn't sporting it. Maybe no wig today?dj, Oswalt did seem over the top, what with the shouting and pointing at the ump. Didn't help his team any there, for sure. I also thought Phil Wood's Taxi Driver reference was on point (though I believe that the quote references "talking" to me rather than "looking at me").:-)

  21. Dan - May 31, 2010 at 11:18 PM

    Help!I have tickets for the suddenly less interesting game on Friday 4 June. My kids cannot go – anybody interested in two nice Nats seats? You'd sit next to me and the wife.

  22. Grandstander - Jun 1, 2010 at 1:03 AM

    What's the price on them? If it's under $10 me and the GF were planning on going.Email me at GrandstandFan AT yahoo DOT com

  23. Grandstander - Jun 1, 2010 at 1:21 AM

    Scratch that, make it AT gmail DOT comI'm way too tired…

  24. Cwj - Jun 1, 2010 at 1:57 AM

    Very satisfying ballgame today. 14-4 is a perfect way to end the holiday weekend. Go Nats!





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

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