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Game 70: White Sox at Nats

Jun 20, 2010, 3:25 PM EDT


Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Desperate for a win, the Nats close out their series with Chicago today.

Is it time to panic in NatsTown?

Five straight losses. Eleven total runs scored. Seven games under .500. If nothing else, this certainly qualifies as the low point of the season to date. Some might even call it rock bottom.

These Nationals have been pretty good all along at focusing on nothing but that day's game. They don't look back. They don't look forward. It's the mindset you have to take to survive a 162-game season.

So the pressure today, then, is on John Lannan. Coming off one of the worst starts of his career in Detroit, the left-hander hopes he's figured out how to get his sinker to sink again: a little tweak in his arm angle that he believes came about because he was overcompensated out of fear he might re-injure his elbow. We'll see if he's able to rediscover his form today against the White Sox and Freddy Garcia.

I'm not covering the game today. Spending Father's Day with my own dad, David Zuckerman, and my father-in-law, Mark Friend. Hope the rest of you out there have a fabulous day, whether you're at the ballpark or somewhere else with family and friends!

WHITE SOX at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m.
TV: Ch. 50-HD, MASN-HD
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 91 degrees, Wind 10 mph LF to RF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (31-38)
CF Nyjer Morgan
2B Cristian Guzman
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn

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  1. Mark L - Jun 20, 2010 at 3:36 PM

    A well deserved day off, Mark. Will miss your writing till next game.

  2. JayB - Jun 20, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    Not time to panic Mark, but it is way past time to make some moves to improve the team. Rizzo can not sit on his hands and ignore the holes that were identified by Rizzo himself this past winter. He knew 2B, C, and RF were all problem areas and his solutions from the winter have not worked. He must trade for a RF and move Roger to Center Field. He must get a top catcher to play every other day. Pudge can not keep playing this much and Rizzo said as so this past winter. He know it and it is on him to do something about it. Rizzo's cheap out at second base has been the biggest problem of the year. He said to me it was a major problem last year and he failed to fix it with Guz and Kennedy. Combine Rizzo's poor decisions above with his Choice of Riggs as manager (poor lineups and blind loyalty to Guz, Kennedy and Morgan) and RIZZO has some work to do now. Hiding from the the fans and blaming the DL is not going to change the facts that this team is dead in the water in large part to Rizzo's failure this past off season.

  3. Andrew - Jun 20, 2010 at 3:48 PM

    Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!See you all at the Stadium! GO NATS!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. JayB - Jun 20, 2010 at 4:06 PM

    I'll be there two with the whole family. No better place for me but that does not mean I am happy about the state of affairs in Natstown. If they do nothing they will be a 95 loss team and not even SS can save them from themselves. There is more than turning a profit and fans are paying the price for a poor ownership decision by MLB in my view of Lerners.

  5. Anonymous - Jun 20, 2010 at 4:58 PM

    I don't believe that "Rizzo failed in the offseason". Au contraire. Like it or not this franchise was left dead-in-the-water like shark chum by the current owner for the Marlins. The farm system had been rifled and every prospect worth anything removed. Then the MLB took over. Their goal was to move the team here and then sell it, not rebuild the franchise.Mike Rizzo has undertaken the daunting task of rebuilding. In the farm system we can already see the fruits of his and his staff's labor. Suddenly "Vermont" looks a whole heck of a lot more interesting. And those guys will rapidly move to Hagerstown and Potomac if they are good enough. The amazing improvements in Rosenbaum and Holder can be held up now. The position players appear to lag behind the pitching, but we'll have to see what Mike Rizzo does to remedy that through trades. I expect that he will follows Posnaski's modest proposal and trade Adam Dunn for some B level prospects … hopefully including a top left-handed, or switch hitting superior defensive catcher like Jason Castro?His ability to acquire true MLB depth in Syracuse has also been pretty impressive. JD Martin and Atilano are testament to that. But they do need more prospects. They still need another good to great draft to finish the job. And so NFA_Brian is not all that unhappy about getting that 1st pick again … ~smiles~With Bryce Harper, Danny Espinosa, Jeff Kobernus, Justin Bloxom, Destin Hood, Lombardozzi, Burgess, and 19 year old Eury Perez working his way through things could be very bright indeed in the very near future.Rizzo isn't building this to win this year. That isn't enough for a guy like him … and you can tell … here's a guy who sits in driving rainstorms near the backstop watching his team play … never saw Bowden do that.He wants a consistent winner, a team that competes every year. So, even if this particular team doesn't work out its not like Mike won't change out the components and put new ones in their place. But trades in today's MLB can take months … so … its a waiting game.But yeah, its time to think more about the future focusing less of the priorities on this year's roster. It just isn't good enough.

  6. JayB - Jun 20, 2010 at 5:27 PM

    Love this free wireless at the park. It is not one or the other….he can draft well and develop players and put a MLB winner on the field at the same time. Lots of teams do it. Red Sox, Yanks, Dodgers, Tigers, Twins….it is done every single year….you do not HAVE TO BE BAD to be good in the future.

  7. Chris - Jun 20, 2010 at 5:46 PM

    You're using the Tigers as an example of a team not having to be bad before they're good? And what, exactly, do the Red Sox and Yankees have to do with the Nationals?

  8. JayB - Jun 20, 2010 at 5:56 PM

    Maybe not the best example I agree….still they have been good for several years and have been drafting smart and building the farm at the same time. As for the Red Sox and Yankees…they play baseball just like the Nats right….that is what they have to do with it….same as Twins the others….it can be done with money and with a reasonable amount if you make good decisions. It is HOT!

  9. Anonymous - Jun 20, 2010 at 6:53 PM

    Why would the Nats want to trade Dunn for "B" level prospects when it is clear that this team can be a serious wild card contender next year? Why would they want to trade him for B level prospects at all?

  10. Anonymous - Jun 20, 2010 at 7:06 PM

    -JayBThe idea of building a winner is being done… just chill dude. I agree 100% with your idea but this is the Rizzo Era: Year One. NO team has done this in a year.

  11. JayB - Jun 20, 2010 at 7:06 PM

    Because there is a much better use of $10-$12 Million bucks a year. Dunn strikes out too much with runner on base for my tastes. That is the logic at least and makes some sense. Nats have so much profit to spend that really money should not be the issue. They could spend $100 Million and still make a massive profit if they just put a winner on the field….still Hot here and Riggs still is one of the worst managers in baseball….it was clear Lannan had nothing but old 'stick with my guys' Riggs left him out there to give up the lead yet again!

  12. JayB - Jun 20, 2010 at 7:10 PM

    I love Rizzo, over the long run I just know that Lerners blew 3 years of good will and no longer have the luxury of taking their sweet time about building a winner…..This buzz of SS is going to get flushed because they did not work with a sense of urgency this past winter and did not do anything since March when it was clear to me at least that Flores was done, Kennedy was a bust and RF was a dark hole.

  13. Anonymous - Jun 20, 2010 at 7:17 PM

    I don't agree that there is a "much" better use of 10-12 million than Dunn. He is a very high on-base percentage/OPS guy. Trading him for prospects makes the team worse next year when it can contend and would be a huge buzzkill for the momentum the team is building. Dunn should only be traded if a superior prospect is offered, or if the team becomes convinced that they are still at least two years away from contending.If you want to talk about trading someone isn't worth the money, look no further than Guzman. I would trade him for C level prospects just to save a little cash on his salary.

  14. JayB - Jun 20, 2010 at 7:22 PM

    I would trade Guzman and pay all his salary just to get a a C prospect back. Been saying that for two years…..This is the type of thing they need to do with all the profit the are making. Spend it to get whatever you can for guys like Kennedy, Harris, Guzman….Spend it to buy guys who other teams want to dump due to salary. We got cash, we have no talent in the the farm or MLB level at catcher or RF

  15. phil dunn - Jun 20, 2010 at 7:24 PM

    JayB I agree totally with everything you have said. You nailed it when you said "you do not HAVE TO BE BAD to be good in the future". In order to develop a fan base, there must be balance between the present and the future. This is where the ownership has failed so miserably and frankly I don't see that changing unless there is a change in ownership.

  16. JayB - Jun 20, 2010 at 7:47 PM

    Phil, wouldn't that be a great fathers day gift…..Collins group would have had this thing going great by now….sellouts and winning…it could have been so much better than this!

  17. Anonymous - Jun 20, 2010 at 8:56 PM

    i'd sure like to see a real shakeup in that lineup for just one game. bench zimm? move him down in the order? swap bernadia and morgan? i still thank that guzman is the most consistent in that lineup. in a positive way, that is. some of the others are rather consistent in their own way.

  18. Anonymous - Jun 21, 2010 at 2:43 AM

    Okay, after the last few weeks, I think it is time to panic, at least, regarding playoffs. The Nats are still doing better than the past couple of years and better than most of us would have dreamed of. I agree there needs to be some kind of shakeup. It's sad when your PH (Willie Harris) is barely hitting better than most pitchers. I'd like to see some players dropped and some minor league players brought up. They can't do any worse.

  19. Anonymous - Jun 21, 2010 at 3:25 AM

    Guzman gets two hits today while Zimmerman is a human out-making machine and Dunn fails to hit and some want to trade Guzman for a "C" prospect! He's one of the few hitters on this team.

  20. alexva - Jun 21, 2010 at 11:35 AM

    Panic no; change yes. While it was a nice little run, the hope of contending is slipping away. We have to see what younger players can do. Bye bye Walker, hello Wilkie. It was great Willie, welcome to the show Leonard Davis. Lannan, admit you're hurt and get better, Detwiler you're up.I know this will anger JayB and frankly it will be tough for me to watch at times too. But the bottom line is that we need more prospects before we can trade for other players. The idea that we can add enough pieces through free agency starts with having most of the pieces in place. We don't. Other than Zimm, Desmond, Strasburg, Storen and JZimm I don't see the stars of the future on the roster. Harper, Norris, Hood and maybe Marrero, Espinosa are all that appear possibilities for stardom. They have to sign A.J.Cole and all the IFA thay can find.It's a long road but one they have to travel.

  21. Anonymous - Jun 21, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    Yes on Guzman. Fun to watch. He's the gut I want up now with runners on base. The only guy. Lol

  22. 320R2S15 - Jun 21, 2010 at 12:04 PM

    To be honest, my first feeling of "panic" came when I heard that the Lerners were given the team by Bud and his boys. I was all in though, it's MLB right? My interest is on the wane.

  23. Bowdenball - Jun 21, 2010 at 12:42 PM

    The people who are defending Guzman here, anonymously, because the guy happened to get two hits yesterday boggle the mind. He's a out-making machine. The guy's got an OPS under .700. That's awful for a guy hitting in the 6 or 7 spot, never mind in the 1 or 2 spot. He can't work the count or draw a walk (he's walked EIGHT times all year), has no range in the field, has ZERO home runs on the year, has very little speed on the basepaths and he's 32 and not getting any younger. We'd be lucky to find a sucker willing to give us a "C" prospect for him.You guys understand that slapping bases-empty singles 30% of the time isn't as good as slapping singles 25% of the time plus walking 10% of the time, right? Even if you think the former is more "exciting," the latter wins more baseball games.The guy's been a class act and a great teammate and citizen, and it's not his fault that Bowden gave him one of the dumbest contracts you'll ever see. I'll always think of him fondly. But come on. He's not an asset.

  24. Anonymous - Jun 21, 2010 at 12:51 PM

    The people who are defending Guzman here, anonymously, because the guy happened to get two hits yesterday boggle the mind. He's a out-making machine. The guy's got an OPS under .700. That's awful for a guy hitting in the 6 or 7 spot, never mind in the 1 or 2 spot.Cristian Guzman OPS .699Ian Desmond OPS .687STFU

  25. alexva - Jun 21, 2010 at 12:55 PM

    Bowdenball- you're right .699 is under .700 but the real issue is that Guzman is not the problem. The problem is that they have no other solution for the 2 spot. You can argue for Desmond in the future but I think their plan for him is working just fine for now. For the time being, be happy that Guzman is here because he is an adequate 2B and no other is on the roster.

  26. Anonymous - Jun 21, 2010 at 1:14 PM

    Waking up this morning, with some thoughts from this interleague fiasco the Nats are enduring….Lannan, one more start then give him the Oliver Perez treatment, Detweiler can fill in, if John cannot cowboy up!As for the offense? We need to shake up the lineup, not necessarily personnel-wise but batting order wise, here is my proposed order:MorganGuzmanBernadinaWillinghamDunnZimmermanPudgeDesmondP

  27. Bowdenball - Jun 21, 2010 at 1:24 PM

    Anonymous 8:51 and alexva:Did I say Desmond was some kind of solution? All I said was that the people saying Guzman is "one of the few hitters on the team" and that he is "fun to watch" and "the guy I want up now with runners on base" were misguided. I didn't even mention Desmond in my post.Anon 8:51: I recommend keeping your hostility to yourself and maybe working on your reading comprehension a bit.alexva: I agree with you, there is no solution on the roster. I suppose maybe I'd like to see them give Kennedy a prolonged shot at it, or try to trade one of the old guys if they can find a sucker willing to part with anything for one of them. But ultimately you're right, there is no answer in the middle infield for this year. And I'm fine with that I guess. I just didn't understand why people were clamoring to defend Guzman as if he's some kind of offensive superstar.

  28. Richard - Jun 21, 2010 at 1:33 PM

    Guzman tripled yesterday in the 4th in addition to singling later in the game. He was almost stranded at 3rd by Zimmerman and Dunn, except that Guzman was fast enough and good enough to score on Dunn's slow roller. I know because I was at the game. And what the heck difference does it make to use the "anonymous" track instead of a name. We should attack each other and question our fellow bloggers intelligence maybe the way Bowdenball does?

  29. Bowdenball - Jun 21, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    Richard-I challenged the poster's (incorrect) assertions, not the posters themselves. I said their posts boggle the mind, because they do. I simply can't understand that. That doesn't strike me as an attack of any kind, but if you found it harsh, I apologize to you and to them.Later, someone told me to "STFU" based on a comparison of Guzman and Desmond after I hadn't even mentioned Desmond in my original post. I'm not a hostile guy, been posting here all season and I treat everyone with respect until they show they don't deserve it. That guy showed me he didn't deserve my respect with that post.And one game that you attended does not a season make. If it did, Gordon Beckham would be an all-star and Paul Konerko would be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, right?

  30. Anonymous - Jun 21, 2010 at 4:30 PM

    Later, someone told me to "STFU" based on a comparison of Guzman and Desmond after I hadn't even mentioned Desmond in my original post. I'm not a hostile guy, been posting here all season and I treat everyone with respect until they show they don't deserve it. That guy showed me he didn't deserve my respect with that post.You went on and on about how Guzman is so terrible because his OPS is under .700. You implied that he shouldn't even be on the team on account of that. I merely pointed out another player whose head is not on the chopping block, who gets none of the fan anger directed at him that Guzman does, but who has an OPS even lower than Guzman does. So STFU already.

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