Jun 4, 2010, 2:10 PM EDT
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Cristian Guzman is hitting .313 but he's also killing the Nats in the field.
It's not fair to blame the Nationals' crushing loss in Houston yesterday entirely on Cristian Guzman, because plenty of other things played a role in the outc… oh, who are we kidding, it was entirely Guzman's fault. Lost in the lights or not, if he catches that line drive with two outs in the ninth inning, the Nats win the game and come home feeling good about themselves. Instead, they limp home on a three-game losing streak, having lost seven of 10 on the road trip, now having to face a very good Reds club over the weekend.
The question on everyone's mind, of course, is this: What was Guzman doing in right field in the ninth inning of a one-run game in the first place? Jim Riggleman, who made a few double switches over the final few innings, cited the fact Guzman has actually played more innings in right field this season than Michael Morse. Well, technically speaking, yes. But Morse was supposed to be one of the primary right fielders when the season began, before he landed on the DL and turned into nothing more than an occasional pinch-hitter.
Guzman, you'll remember, was actually supposed to be a bench player when this season began. That was the plan when Riggleman named Ian Desmond his starting shortstop. Guzman would get some occasional at-bats filling in both at shortstop and second base, but he wouldn't be out there every day.
Turns out Guzman is one of the Nats' regulars once again. He's started 40 of 55 games overall, and 16 of the club's last 19. Riggleman's rationale for this is simple: He believes Guzman is one of his team's best offensive players.
That perhaps has been true at times, though Guzman's offensive value has diminished some in the last two weeks. When the Nationals left town way back on May 25, he was batting .345 with a .373Read more »
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