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Game 57: Reds at Nats

Jun 5, 2010, 8:00 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats look to make it two in a row over the Reds tonight.

It's another busy weekend in NatsTown, where the club's catching situation continues to be an issue.

As you undoubtedly saw in the previous post, the Nationals have placed Carlos Maldonado on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured right thumb, an injury he suffered Thursday in Houston when he was struck by a foul tip off Carlos Lee's bat. To replace him, the club has called up Jamie Burke from Class AAA Syracuse. Burke, you'll recall, spent the season's first two months on the DL following knee surgery and only returned to playing a couple weeks ago. The veteran wasn't, however, on the 40-man roster, so he had to have his contract purchased, which meant someone else had to be dropped. That someone was Chris Coste, another veteran catcher who two weeks ago had Tommy John surgery but today was given his unconditional release.

All the while, Ivan Rodriguez is still trying to return from his own lower back injury. Pudge was doing some running on the field earlier this afternoon, under the watchful eye of Jim Riggleman and also played catch and hit in the cage. He's slated to take a full round of BP and run the bases tomorrow, and if all goes well, he'll go on a quick rehab assignment to Class A Potomac on Monday. If that goes well, he can come off the DL in time for Stephen Strasburg's debut Tuesday night.

Check back here for game updates throughout…

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Chance of storms, 74 degrees, Wind 6 mph out to RF

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


  1. JayB - Jun 5, 2010 at 10:04 PM

    Mark,Where is Steven S? Would it not make sense to have him with the team at this point. Can he sit on the bench without being on the 25 Man roster? Craig S. is going to go down…does he pitch again before Tuesday? Can they get around needed Stamen again before Tuesday so SS can be called up early and spend time with the team now?

  2. JayB - Jun 5, 2010 at 10:06 PM

    Also I second the call for some more up to date information on Flores. You did a great job 10 days or so on this but if he is going to play again this year he is going to have to start making some real progress at some point….Can he throw more than 60 6 yet?

  3. Mark Zuckerman - Jun 5, 2010 at 10:59 PM

    Strasburg won't be at the park and in uniform until Tuesday. Not allowed here until he's on the 25-man roster, and the Nats don't plan to promote him before then.Nothing new to report on Flores since the update last week. I wouldn't hold my breath on this guy returning from the DL anytime soon.

  4. Dryw - Jun 5, 2010 at 11:23 PM


  5. Anonymous8 - Jun 5, 2010 at 11:25 PM

    Another(echoing)lame bunt by Nyjer Morgan. If he gets Guzman to 2nd, Zim's shot to the outfield would have allowed Guzy to tag and get to 3rd and with Dunn's hit, just COST the Nats a run.

  6. Anonymous8 - Jun 5, 2010 at 11:28 PM

    It is the small things in baseball that make a big difference.Nats give away an unearned in the 1st and a missed opportunity in the bottom of the 1st leads to a negative TWO in net runs.

  7. Anonymous - Jun 5, 2010 at 11:31 PM

    Does anyone know where Dibble is? I hope he wasn't suspended for his criticism of West last night.

  8. Anonymous - Jun 5, 2010 at 11:32 PM

    There must be a way we can blame Guz for this, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Smatt1001 - Jun 6, 2010 at 12:04 AM

    Anon 7:31Dibble's at his son's high school graduation. They were saying that he'd be back tomorrow.

  10. Anonymous8 - Jun 6, 2010 at 12:25 AM

    Is it me, or does Willingham look like he took his sweet time running after and digging that double out of the corner? I can't believe the pitcher scored on that but he deserves a ton of credit for hustling.

  11. dj in Fl. - Jun 6, 2010 at 1:09 AM

    What a great job by Atilano tonight.He made sure he was not the one leaving Tuesday.If we could only drive in our runners.

  12. Anonymous8 - Jun 6, 2010 at 1:15 AM

    dj – I agree with you. Atilano has really been solid.Nice to see the opposing team screwing up. Orlando Cabrera in a HR jog and gets a double on what may have been a triple.

  13. Michael J. Hayde - Jun 6, 2010 at 1:43 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. JayB - Jun 6, 2010 at 1:54 AM

    Best I can tell Mark they are doing the extra infield each day…correct?The defense is much better than last year and you know it Mark….Anderson Hernandez two errors in the first home game last year on 10 hoppers right to him are not the same as say these two errors in the 8th and you know that too…..What is the point of your question Mark? Do you see these two seasons as the same types of errors Mark?

  15. A DC Wonk - Jun 6, 2010 at 2:06 AM

    Where's the outrage this time around?I think it's coming. The defense looked pretty decent the first part of this year, but seems to have taken a nosedive just in the last week or two. (At least that's the impression I get). So, the complaints, I suspect, are coming.

  16. A DC Wonk - Jun 6, 2010 at 2:08 AM

    JayB — I don't think it matters "what kind" of errors. When you accumulate enough so that you're last in the league — and not only last but a full 20% more than the second to last — there's a problem.

  17. JayB - Jun 6, 2010 at 2:46 AM

    Mark,Looks like Riggs gave you the same answer as I did above about errors and work….dumb question really Mark, it shows an agenda and a lack of attention to the facts between this year and last.And yes it is still a problem but a much different one than Acta created here.

  18. K.D. - Jun 6, 2010 at 2:56 AM

    I think it is also a matter of who is making the errors. The Nats reigning Gold Glover gets a pass for a few, as does a rookie shortstop.

  19. Anonymous - Jun 6, 2010 at 3:09 AM

    Quite impressive the way JayB doesn't let any facts get in the way of his opinion. But Mark, I will say that the defense looked quite a bit better over the first 30-35 games, and has only fallen off the cliff more recently. I think it started to falter before Pudge went on the DL, but has gotten worse since then. I just did a quick count and tallied that they've made 19 errors in the 13 games since he's been out.

  20. Mark Zuckerman - Jun 6, 2010 at 3:18 AM

    I swear there's no agenda here. I've said it before, but I'll repeat one more time: I think Riggleman has done a fine job as manager of this team. I think Acta's firing was justified last summer. I think there has been more attention to detail this year. I also agree that of course the defense hasn't been nearly as bad this year as it was last year.But the defense over the last three or so weeks has been bad, and it's now costing this team on a near-nightly basis. And you can't ignore the fact they have committed nine more errors than any other team in baseball.My point is: You can drill defense and fundamentals into a team as much as you want, and it may help some. But ultimately it's on the players to make the plays in the field. And that's what Riggleman said tonight.

  21. Cwj - Jun 6, 2010 at 3:22 AM

    This team is missing Pudge in many ways. He'll be back though.

  22. JayB - Jun 6, 2010 at 3:27 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. Anonymous - Jun 6, 2010 at 3:28 AM

    In terms of the UZR which some (perhaps excluding Mr. Zuckerman?) believe is a better indicator of defense than errors. Examples are range and the balls players like Morgan, Desmond, Bernadina can get to to quash hits, runners advancing, big innings. That figure seems to have risen significantly. Clearly they are far better defensively with Pudge than without Pudge and that may be due to his ability as a field general. And his talent for calling pitches.

  24. JayB - Jun 6, 2010 at 3:29 AM

    Understood but I just want to makes the points that drilling has greatly reduced the mental errors on Bunt Plays, Double Steal, Cut off plays, Calling balls in the OF and a whole host of problems with the defense. And this team is working on these things everyday where as last year at this time they work not.

  25. Eric - Jun 6, 2010 at 3:36 AM

    JayB, Can you please take your idiotic comments to another blog? Do you ever stop bitching? Most normal fans are happy with the progress coming off of back to back 100 loss seasons.

  26. Anonymous - Jun 6, 2010 at 3:48 AM

    Yeah – what Eric said.

  27. Ernie - Jun 6, 2010 at 3:57 AM

    I was at the game tonight. It looked like Guzman just stood and watched two ground balls roll to his left for hits that most second basemen would pick up. Did I just see that wrong? And was Dunn out of position after Phillips's single when he was half way to second and no one was there to catch him in a run-down? Or did Phillips just come that far off the bag because Dunn was backing up the throw? Finally, keeping score with Joe West in the park is a near impossiblity – the scoreboard can never explain the strange calls and I have to wait until I get home to figure out what happened. Up in my section we thought the call was that Zimmerman missed Phillips on the tag.

  28. A DC Wonk - Jun 6, 2010 at 4:22 AM

    How does having Pudge cut down on errors by infielders?

  29. Anonymous - Jun 6, 2010 at 4:32 AM

    JayB said…This post has been removed by the author.Finally he says something that makes sense. And we're only in what, year six of this team?

  30. Grandstander - Jun 6, 2010 at 5:16 AM

    I understand that, but where is the accountability? Is it simply a matter of not being to sit some of these guys because of our lack of depth? That's the way it seems to me. Before, when Nyjer was just terrible and made those 2 inside the park HRs happen, any other team would have sat him down, we didn't. Why? No one could take his place. Guzzy and Desmond combine for 6 errors in 2 games, who else you gonna put in? Nieves can't even make a clean throw to second, let alone get a freaking hit, but who else do we have??I've said it before and it's now become glaringly obvious, the lack of depth on this team has totally exposed our weaknesses. If one guy isn't there and performing, the whole ship goes down. Pudge, Dunn, Nyjer, with them out or slumping we simply cannot win consistently because no one is able to fill the void.It hurts more because we had such a hot April/May, but this is simply not a competitive team yet. In a couple of years, absolutely, and I trust Rizzo to make the right moves to make it happen. But we were fooled into thinking this team was anything more than some bright young talent mixed with some retreads who could hobble us back into respectability.

  31. Cwj - Jun 6, 2010 at 5:42 AM

    DC Wonk, I think Pudge provides something for this team that stats can't account for.Imagine Phillips trying to show him up! :)

  32. natsfan1a - Jun 6, 2010 at 12:36 PM

    I was watching on tv, and missed the part where Pudge was barking at the Reds' dugout. Thanks for that interesting tidbit. I did see a tight shot of him nodding to himself after the Phillips celebration ("Well, well, what have we here? Um-hmm, duly noted."). I agree that Pudge seems to add something to the team that stats can't account for, even if he's merely in the dugout. I for one can't wait to have him back on the field.

  33. natsfan1a - Jun 6, 2010 at 12:38 PM

    Oh, and imo, any agenda is not on the part of the Mark and the media, but on the part of those fans who can't let go of the Acta era and can't stand to read anything that does not serve to validate their low opinion of him.

  34. A dc wonk - Jun 6, 2010 at 1:43 PM

    I agree Pudge adds some things – but I wouldn't think that improved infielding would be one of them



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