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Game 58: Reds at Nats

Jun 6, 2010, 3:06 PM EDT


Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Will cooler heads prevail in today's series finale against the Reds?

After some heated moments late in last night's game (all of them involving Brandon Phillips) the Nationals and Reds return to the field for today's series finale and rubber game, hoping the focus is all on good, clean baseball and nothing else.

The way Phillips' taunting was handled last night — with a fastball to the ribs from Miguel Batista — you would think there won't be any carryover today. Players all said the matter was handled "professionally" and there's no reason to think there's need for any more retaliation today. We'll see if that actually holds true.

Jim Riggleman is going with the same lineup once again. No changes, despite his club's recent lack of clutch hitting and the fact this is a day game after a night game.

Big start for Craig Stammen, whose job could be on the line. Will he be the one replaced by Stephen Strasburg? And if so, will he be sent down to Syracuse, or moved to the bullpen, in which case someone else has to go?

Check back for updates throughout…

REDS at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m.
TV: MASN2-HD
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 88 degrees, Wind 15 mph out to RF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (27-30)
2B Cristian Guzman
CF Nyjer Morgan
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn

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  1. Anonymous - Jun 6, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    And Bally isn't looking so hot in Syracuse's bullpen right now …

  2. Anonymous - Jun 6, 2010 at 4:19 PM

    I know Guzman's empty .314 BA is fabulously impressive, but it really seems to me the team is better — has a better chance to win — with Kennedy at 2b, at least against RHPs. Guz should start at 2b against lefties, and get in every so often against RHP either at ss or 2b – but to have him start more than 50% of the games is a mistake.

  3. Anonymous - Jun 6, 2010 at 5:00 PM

    Why don't they bat "Mr. Clutch" behind Willingham?

  4. Jim Kurtzke - Jun 6, 2010 at 5:54 PM

    The thunderstorms have started out here in Ashburn. Heading your way.

  5. A DC Wonk - Jun 6, 2010 at 6:11 PM

    I don't know why Guzzy is slammed so hard compared to other folks on the team. Yeah, I know, I know, he has limited range as a fielder and hardly ever walks.But he has more two-out-RISP hits (two) in the last three games than Adam Dunn has had all season (zero). And I thought this even before he led off today's game with a double (which puts him into a tie for third most on the team, btw — to go along with his 3 triples, second highest on the team).Enough with the Guz bashing already.

  6. A DC Wonk - Jun 6, 2010 at 6:16 PM

    Not bad — a six pitch inning for Stamme (top of third)

  7. A DC Wonk - Jun 6, 2010 at 6:24 PM

    windy and raining here in fairfax at 2:22 pm

  8. Anonymous - Jun 6, 2010 at 6:34 PM

    Kennedy to second, Guz to first, Dunn to the pine. Or: Morse [did i say that?] to first, Dunn to the pine. Or: The batboy to first, Dunn to . . .

  9. Joe K - Jun 6, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    In line with DC Wonk…The thing about Guzman, in my opinion, is that he does some things well, though he isn't a great player. Perhaps the Nats could find someone who can hit right-handers, and set up a platoon at second base. The Cubs have a bit of a traffic jam in the middle infield – it makes me wonder how much it would take to liberate Fontenot (or Theriot) in the off-season, if they choose not to retain Kennedy.

  10. Grandstander - Jun 6, 2010 at 6:41 PM

    Skies are black over Pentagon City right now. Hopefully we can get this thing called before we blow it.Guzman makes up for that pathetic feed to Desmond earlier.

  11. B^3 - Jun 6, 2010 at 6:44 PM

    Rizzo just said to Debbi Taylor that "unless something changes" between now and then, Bryce Harper will be the pick.

  12. Cranky Fan - Jun 6, 2010 at 6:45 PM

    Let me be the cranky old man for a moment. Why is it that during any break in the action — rain delay, middle of an inning, conference at the mound, and so on — the wizards operating the scoreboard take down the out of town scores and replace it with the dancine curly W or some other inane graphic. Not even and ad, which I could understand. Breaks in the action are where one most wants the out of town scoreboard.

  13. Grandstander - Jun 6, 2010 at 6:49 PM

    @Cranky FanThe graphics are there to entertain the casual fans who get frustrated during breaks in the action, not the hardcore baseball fans who are interested in what is happening elsewhere.

  14. A DC Wonk - Jun 6, 2010 at 6:54 PM

    Joe K — the thing is, as of this moment, Guz is batting .288 against right handers, which is a better BA than anyone else in today's starting lineup (except for Zim).You're right — he does a few things well, and some things not so well. But he's on a team that can use his hits.

  15. A DC Wonk - Jun 6, 2010 at 7:03 PM

    … and Stammen's only thrown 60 pitches through six innings.OK — Mark, anyone else — who do you send down when Strasburg comes up?

  16. Anonymous - Jun 6, 2010 at 7:05 PM

    It's clear to me that the club needs Guz as an everyday player at least as long as he keeps up this level of play. One high profile error doesn't change the big picture, IMHO.

  17. Grandstander - Jun 6, 2010 at 7:09 PM

    The thing with Guzman is, he's only valuable when he's hitting. If he starts slumping, all you have is a leadoff/#2 guy who can't hit, can't take a walk, can't bunt, can't steal and can't play defense.Pass.

  18. LoveDaNats - Jun 6, 2010 at 7:12 PM

    How about move Stammen to the bullpen and send down Tyler Walker?

  19. Grandstander - Jun 6, 2010 at 7:24 PM

    "How about move Atilano to the bullpen and send down Tyler Walker?"FTFY

  20. Dave - Jun 6, 2010 at 7:26 PM

    @Cranky Fan: I agree with you, but I think Grandstander hit the nail on the head. They do all that useless crap for the casual fan, not for those of us who really follow the game.I wish, simply, they would consistently get the in-game stats properly updated. I'm not in the park today, but last night (knock on wood), I don't think I noticed a single scoreboard mistake. First game I've seen all year where that's the case.

  21. Cranky Fan - Jun 6, 2010 at 7:42 PM

    @Dave: right on; the scoreboard has come a long way since the sad and embarassing [sp? doesn't look right] first year. that first year in the new park we saw wrong pictures; pictures of one guy, stats of another, the auxillary boards not synced with the big board, and so on. but still it's hard to find the numbers on the big board. I could do with less of the cool pictures and more numbers.

  22. Grandstander - Jun 6, 2010 at 7:49 PM

    I'd venture to guess that 95% of the people at any game couldn't tell you what a slugging percentage is and would rather see a blooper reel. Actually, we should bring back the blooper reel!

  23. A DC Wonk - Jun 6, 2010 at 8:01 PM

    I was really hoping it'd be just "Store and Clip" today . . . sigh . . .

  24. Anonymous - Jun 6, 2010 at 8:09 PM

    Carpenter just uttered ominous words: "It's up to Mike Morse." I had this typed before he doubled in the tying runs. I've learned my lesson.

  25. Smatt1001 - Jun 6, 2010 at 8:12 PM

    Can I get a tums for anyone else?

  26. sbrent - Jun 6, 2010 at 8:14 PM

    @smatt1001… better buy us the economy size bottle, please.

  27. Suicide Squeeze - Jun 6, 2010 at 8:17 PM

    I think Riggs should get some credit for the unconventional double steal there before Morse's at-bat. Might have gotten two anyway, but there would have definitely been a play at the plate.

  28. Doc - Jun 6, 2010 at 8:20 PM

    Time for Capps to work it out in a set-up role or less. Make Storen the closer until he proves otherwise!

  29. Smatt1001 - Jun 6, 2010 at 8:44 PM

    So close once again and we come up short. I'm still liking this season better than last though.

  30. Grandstander - Jun 6, 2010 at 8:47 PM

    That's like saying I prefer an interesting life with ups but a few more downs as opposed to a slow, painful, dragged out death.

  31. Dryw - Jun 6, 2010 at 8:51 PM

    Smatt1001, thanks for the reminder. It is still WAAAY better than last year, although these late-inning losses are getting old.

  32. Anonymous - Jun 6, 2010 at 9:04 PM

    I'm afraid this loss goes to Riggleman, Clippard knocking them dead and he inexplicably brings in Capps to blow it! Jim seems like a great guy, but everyone i our section was wondering why the heck he was bringing in Capps.

  33. Anonymous - Jun 6, 2010 at 9:10 PM

    If he's your closer he's your close…gotta do it..once you go another way and it works you have to stay the course..it's a big decision…is he ready to make that decision NOW? We'll find out after presser..would I like to see him hand job to Storen? Yes, i would. But what to do with Capps? Does he accept demotion or become an attitude problem..I assume Riggs and Rizzo are going to be talking about it tomorrow…we'll see

  34. Smatt1001 - Jun 6, 2010 at 9:31 PM

    I'm not saying I like these but last year I had a paperback book in my ball park bag that was usually open by the 6th or 7th inning. At least now it's worth watching the 8th and 9th most of the time. Maybe it's time to see what Clippard can do as the closer until the Nats are ready to throw Storen into the mix.

  35. NG - Jun 6, 2010 at 9:51 PM

    The Nieves batting average is abysmal, but his game calling has arguably been even worse. The decision to have Capps throw back-to-back sliders to Rolen after Rolen had shown no ability to make good contact on Capps' fastball was really the defining moment in this game. Terrible plan + terrible execution = terrible result.I don't think it's a coincidence that Capps' struggles have coincided with Pudge being on the DL. I was one of those who was skeptical that Pudge's game-calling was going to make a big difference, but I'm a believer now. With Pudge back and Strasburg on Tuesday, it's almost like a new season here.

  36. Anonymous - Jun 6, 2010 at 9:54 PM

    Every time Capps has some adversity, he blows up. Bernadina should have probably caught that fly to left. So instead of Capps bearing down he gives up the next double, OK tie game. Settle down, sh-t happens.He then strikes out Rolen on that check swing but it isn't called. He sees adversity again and throws Rolen that same hanging breaker like he threw to El Caballo in Houston and same result, 2 run Homer.I don't get it. I would have thought McCatty or the catcher would have calmed him down after the blown checkswing call to Rolen.

  37. Anonymous - Jun 6, 2010 at 10:05 PM

    Sorry, meant Bernadina "right" field.

  38. rmoore446 - Jun 7, 2010 at 1:52 AM

    NG, you make an interesting point–that Capps troubles began about the time Pudge went on the DL. Nieves may have a lot of responsibility here and not just with Capps. I may be listening to Dibs too much but I think there's something to it.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 91 64 --
ATLANTA 76 79 15.0
NEW YORK 76 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 81 17.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 85 20.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Sunday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (4) 91 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 89 67 2.5
y-ST. LOUIS 87 68 4.0
-------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 71 7.0 --
PITTSBURGH 84 71 7.0 --
MILWAUKEE 80 76 11.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Sunday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Marlins at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
Full season schedule

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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.

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