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Game 61: Pirates at Nats

Jun 10, 2010, 9:00 PM EDT


Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats look for a three-game sweep of the Pirates tonight.

Trivia time: Can you name the last time the 2010 Nationals swept a series? Answer: It hasn't happened. Sure enough, the Nats haven't swept a full series from another team since taking four in a row in Atlanta to close out 2009.

So there's some added buzz to tonight's series finale against the Pirates, with the Nats looking to take three in a row, get to back to one game within the .500 mark and head off for an interleague road trip to Cleveland and Detroit.

Livan Hernandez takes the mound for the Nationals, Zach Duke for the Pirates. Nyjer Morgan is out of the lineup, but it's just a day off for him against a lefty starter, nothing more than that.

In other news today: Stephen Strasburg's cap and a ball from Tuesday night's game are being sent to the Hall of Fame … Strasburg's next start (Sunday in Cleveland) has been picked up by TBS (though in D.C. you'll only be able to watch it on Channel 50 and MASN2) and his projected June 18 start against the White Sox has been picked up by MLB Network (which will merely be simulcasting the MASN broadcast) … Ross Detwiler made his first rehab start last night at Class A Potomac and tossed three scoreless innings, allowing four hits.

I'm taking tonight off as I take care of some stuff around the house, do laundry and otherwise prepare for the upcoming road trip. I'll be covering both series in Cleveland and Detroit. Enjoy chatting with each other about tonight's game…

PIRATES at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN2-HD
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 85 degrees, Wind 13 mph out to RF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (29-31)
2B Cristian Guzman
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam Dunn
3B Ryan Zimmerman

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  1. JayB - Jun 10, 2010 at 9:10 PM

    Interesting Line up…just the one I suggested last night. I hope it sticks for 7 – 10 days until Morgan can step back and reflect on how his play has turned south this year.

  2. Anonymous - Jun 10, 2010 at 9:10 PM

    Wow. I love this lineup. Roger in CF and Morse in RF. Lets hope they do great tonight and we can make this lineup a little more permanent.

  3. Bowdenball - Jun 10, 2010 at 9:13 PM

    Great to see Detwiler back. We're really gonna need him in July while we wait on Wang, Zimmermann, Marquis and now apparently Olsen. Really a remarkable amount of pitching talent on the DL for the Nats right now.And in the short term, a win tonight to get within a game of .500 ahead of a series with a weak Indians team would be amazing. I thought it would take a while to recover from that fiasco in Houston, but a win tonight would make it a distant memory.

  4. Dave - Jun 10, 2010 at 9:25 PM

    Hey Morse, get a hit, maybe a walk, & hit the cutoff man on your throws and you might find you self starting a little while (one can hope. . . right).

  5. Andrew - Jun 10, 2010 at 9:42 PM

    From the Reds, Leake didn't make it out of the 4th inning and gave up 11 hits and 5 earned.

  6. Anonymous - Jun 10, 2010 at 10:13 PM

    Morse needs a home run, to show some power. That's what's been missing in right field. And the fielding aspect of his start will undoubtedly fall under a lot of scrutiny. Its his big chance.

  7. Anonymous - Jun 10, 2010 at 10:15 PM

    With Guzman, Dunn, and Bernadina in center you still have 3 left-handed hitters … could Bernadina displace Morgan in center?

  8. Anonymous - Jun 10, 2010 at 10:49 PM

    How many 2-run doubles has Morgan had lately !?!?!?! I think Morse deserves a shot to be in this lineup. Roger is amazing in CF.

  9. Joe K - Jun 11, 2010 at 12:40 AM

    I'm torn about what to do with the outfield – I'm not delighted with Morse impeding a decision (or the opportunity to make a decision) about Maxwell and Bernadina. However, I do think Morse has ability – there might be a .285 season with 35 doubles in his bat, if he has the opportunity. Given where the Nats are in the standings, and the difficulties Maxwell and Morgan are having, it might make most sense for right now to play Bernadina nearly full time – in right field against a right-hander, and in center against a left-hander. You can still sub for Morse close and late, moving Morgan to center and shifting Bernie to right. Even with Morgan's struggles in center, the one caveat I would have is about Morse's defense. Outfield defense will help keep the pitchers healthy, and given the number of young pitchers this team has, I would more than ordinarily see poor defense as a reason not to play a good hitter in the outfield.

  10. Knoxville Nat - Jun 11, 2010 at 12:49 AM

    Uh, hey Anon 6:15,….Guzman is actually a switch hitter.

  11. Anonymous8 - Jun 11, 2010 at 1:40 AM

    Bernadina just caught that ball at that the wall that I have seen Nyjer miss. Came a great time with a runner on base!

  12. Anonymous - Jun 11, 2010 at 2:02 AM

    Not to rain on a win, but Bernadina plays a better center than Morgan right now. Clearly obvious.

  13. Anonymous - Jun 11, 2010 at 2:25 AM

    I would package Nyjer with someone and trade for a big bat RF. Then move Benardina to CF and bat him leadoff. Am I nuts to think that? Nyjer's D is overreated and he's a .250 hitter at best.

  14. Carl in 309 - Jun 11, 2010 at 3:22 AM

    Reflecting on earlier posts regarding relief pitchers, it was reassuring to see Clippard get the 9th tonight, and to handle that role with comparative ease (2 Ks and a 2-out single).And one has to wonder about the way we produce runs–it's like our guys hit homers for average, with no one on! Apropos of the discussion above, Morse was a part of that barrage.I'll speak up for Nyjer though–I think he's faster on defense and the bases, and more likely to be the appropriate CF for the Nats. He's proven he can help produce at the top of the line-up (though he clearly remains in a funk at the moment). Bernadina is a capable alternative, but he's only really had two great offensive games and his troubles in the OF are also evident. Maxwell, alas, is not a solution, and Morse remains unproven over a longer haul (though perhaps he may eventually represents a reasonable alternative). I believe we all know that RF has no clear fix at the moment and evidently the Nats are looking at Fukodome, Nady, Hawpe, Corey Hart, and perhaps others if Boswell is to be believed.

  15. Sec$39.99 - Jun 11, 2010 at 4:52 AM

    You're nuts if you think Nyjer + some lesser name would bring a major league RF, nevermind a big bat. Nothing personal, but you did ask. Unless by "package" you mean Zimmermann, and they accept all of Fukudome's salary. Maybe.***************Anonymous said…I would package Nyjer with someone and trade for a big bat RF. Then move Benardina to CF and bat him leadoff. Am I nuts to think that? Nyjer's D is overreated and he's a .250 hitter at best.

  16. David - Jun 11, 2010 at 11:40 AM

    The Nats have been much worse on the road this year than at home, I'd like to see how the Bernie-Morse combo does in Cleveland and Detroit.Still think Nyjer has an important role here, but his road OPS is just .550, compared to .798 at home. Really has struggled outside of Nats Park.

  17. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 11, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    Nyjer Morgan has absolutely no natural CF instincts. He cannot judge a ball off the bat, he has to track a fly ball for it's entire flight with no ablilty to run to a spot then pick up the flight, and he has absolutely no arm at all.All he can do is run fast. He has not learned to read a pithchers move to the plate causing 3 pick offs and 8 times being thrown out stealing. Bernandina is a natural center fielder and the sooner he gets the full time job, the sooner our outfield defense will improve. Morse can handle right field until Rizzo makes the necessary trade for someone.

  18. N. Cognito - Jun 11, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    David said… "Still think Nyjer has an important role here, but his road OPS is just .550, compared to .798 at home. Really has struggled outside of Nats Park."It's time to keep Bernadina in center and Morse in right to see how that pans out. Nyjer looks pathetic at the plate – completely lost – Nookish even. His role is complete. He brought the Elvis wig.Guzman's free fall continues. Hit great for [only] 18 games in May. Totally craptastic before and especially after that. Absolutely the worst approach at the plate of any hitter on the Nats' roster. He's got a decent bat but he swings at everything, getting himself out on a consistent basis.NOTHING at the top of the order for the Nats 3-4-5 guys to bring home.

  19. Anonymous8 - Jun 11, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    Did you see that bloop to centerfield in the 9th? Nyjer took an arc to the ball like he was going to circle under it to catch it and square up to the infield instead of taking the diagonal direct route that Bernadina is so good at.Bernadina's expression after Nyjer missed the ball told me that Bernie possibly could have caught that from RF and certainly if he was still in CF would have caught it.So Nyjer comes in as a defensive replacement to move Bernie to RF to replace Bernadina and Whammo, the ball finds Nyjer.

  20. Anonymous - Jun 11, 2010 at 1:49 PM

    Guzy is a streaky hitter so he will heat up again, and he is a better alternative then Adam Kennedy at 2nd.It's the whole Nyjer Morgan meltdown that I don't get. This guy has shown that he can jumpstart a team and continously his brain isn't engaged.This was the CF that ESPN said should have won a 2009 Gold Glove based on UZR Zone ratings and other stats.So Boomer Whiting moves from A ball to AAA and is batting leadoff and effective. Is this guy a Major League talent?

  21. N. Cognito - Jun 11, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    Guzman is mostly streaky BAD…as anyone can plainly see, given his career .308 OBP through 1356 games and over 5500 plate appearances.

  22. Anonymous8 - Jun 11, 2010 at 2:46 PM

    N. Cognito, he isn't Chase Utley as a middle infielder and he is the best option at 2nd now.This is the last year of Guzman's contract and unless the Nats sign Dunn long-term, they will be looking for a 1st baseman as their #1 off-season priority again and then a legit RF and then a 2nd baseman.It would be nice for Rizzo to tie up Dunn for a few more years so the team can concentrate on RF and 2nd.I see Bernadina can move to CF and Morse can be that versatile bench player and fills in great against leftie pitching. Nyjer's stock is dropping quickly and not sure what you do with him.

  23. nats rising - Jun 11, 2010 at 3:03 PM

    Dave – everything you wished Morse would do last night he did and more – power, hits, a walk and he hit the cutoff man. Riggleman said he was just giving Nyjer a rest last night, but it seems more than coincidence that Nyjer's repeated failure to throw to the cutoff man on Wednesday was the real reason for the lineup change.

  24. Anonymous - Jun 11, 2010 at 7:27 PM

    Confirmed…I pulled this nugget straight from the Indian's website… "Saturday, June 12 @ 7:05pm – Choo Bobblehead/Turn Back The Clock/Expanded Kids Fun Day/MLB PHR Competition. It's a 1920's time warp during tonight's game! BOTH THE INDIANS AND NATIONALS WILL BE WEARING THE RETRO 1920's UNIFORMS, the scoreboard and all at-bat music will be themed by this era. All fans to receive a Shin-Soo Choo Bobblehead, presented by Fifth Third Bank."

  25. Anonymous - Jun 11, 2010 at 7:38 PM

    Oops, make that "Indians' website"

Archives

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ATLANTA 54 44 --
NEW YORK 46 52 8.0
MIAMI 45 52 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 43 55 11.0
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MON: Nats at Rockies, 8:40 p.m.
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WED: Nats at Rockies, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
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Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

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