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Game 73: Royals at Nationals

Jun 23, 2010, 5:14 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Stephen Strasburg will battle the Royals and the heat this afternoon.

It's an absolute scorcher today, with temperatures in the mid-90s and the heat index approaching 100. Good thing Stephen Strasburg will be here to provide a nice, cool breeze with each fastball he fires up at the Kansas City Royals.

This will be a good test for Strasburg, who I would imagine has never pitched in heat quite like this before. He's talked in the past about dealing with wind and cold in the Mountain West Conference, but the only other place he's pitched that may have compared to this was Beijing at the 2008 Olympics.

That said, the conditions today — or more specifically, the rare 4:35 p.m. starting time — could play to Strasburg's advantage. The worst time of day for hitters is late afternoon, when the shadows start creeping over the plate but the bright sun remains on the pitcher's mound.

Just a hunch, but I've got a feeling Strasburg's going to be especially effective today.

Check back for updates throughout…

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 4:35 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 95 degrees, Wind 9 mph out to RF

CF Nyjer Morgan
RF Roger Bernadina
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn

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  1. Grandstander - Jun 23, 2010 at 5:26 PM

    Did everyone else look at this lineup and become immediately relieved to see Pudge behind the plate?Hopefully I'll be able to catch this game at work!

  2. Anonymous - Jun 23, 2010 at 5:30 PM

    Especially effective? With him, I have no idea what that even means.

  3. Anonymous - Jun 23, 2010 at 5:32 PM

    Hey Nats Insiders! I have an extra ticket for today's game if anyone wants it. Section 204 (LF mezzanine) Free to a good home, although I'll let you buy me a soft drink if you insist. If you're interested, email me at

  4. Doc - Jun 23, 2010 at 5:44 PM

    Is Nyjer Morgan related to someone in the Nats' Front Office?

  5. Mark L - Jun 23, 2010 at 5:56 PM

    He obviously knows someone's dark secret.

  6. Knoxville Nat - Jun 23, 2010 at 6:04 PM

    Could the Nats be trying to showcase Nyjer for a possible trade? I can only hope!!

  7. cadeck13 - Jun 23, 2010 at 6:13 PM

    The only sense I can make of Nyjer's playing time is that he is not any good to us off the bench late in the game and hopefully they are showcasing him?Hey Cwj – are we doing Stras' line prediction for today? I'm going with 7IP, 2H, 0ER, 0BB,9KGuillen & Podsednik get the hits. I hope SS outdoes the predictions. And yes, I am relieved Pudge is part of the battery today :)

  8. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 23, 2010 at 6:22 PM

    So let me get this straight. Nyjer Morgan is of no value coming off the bench in late innings but has value starting.Name one other player on our team… oh hell… any team that fits that description.If he has no late inning value, he has no early inning value either.

  9. Les in NC - Jun 23, 2010 at 6:26 PM

    My prediction:8 IPs, 4 H, 1 ERs, 1 BB, 10K, 105 pitches.

  10. Nervous Nats Fan - Jun 23, 2010 at 6:29 PM

    My prediction:6 2/3 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 12K

  11. Anonymous - Jun 23, 2010 at 7:23 PM

    Ummm…what shadows, Mark? I heard about the shadows exopected to play a factor on Saturday before the 410 PM start and there were no shadows between the mound and the plate until the 8th inning, there were shadows along the 3rd base line and LF before that so it might be harder for the fielders to see the ball from the light into the darkness…so Strasburg in this heat will not be pitching inot the 8th!!! The sun is too high in the sky in summer to play havoc with the configuration of Nats Park!!

  12. NatsNut - Jun 23, 2010 at 7:49 PM

    I'm with you, Mark, I have a feeling about today's game too. I won't say exactly what my prediction is, but it rhymes with toe glitter.

  13. Section 222 - Jun 23, 2010 at 8:11 PM

    Thank goodness that Riggleman is taking full advantage of the DH in Baltimore to let Willie Harris try to "get going" and improve his .152/.242/.324. While riding the bench, Michael Morse does not risk reducing his .390/.457/.634. Smart thinking.

  14. Anonymous - Jun 23, 2010 at 8:28 PM

    If Riggleman doesn't have Morse in the lineup for all three games up in Baltimore, he ought to go the way of Fredi Gonzales just on account of not knowing what the DH is for. Here's a hint, Jim. It's not an opportunity to get some ABs for guys who can't hit anyway, like Willie Harris, Adam Kennedy and Alberto Gonzales.

  15. Waddy eye no - Jun 23, 2010 at 8:28 PM

    Predict perfect game. 20 groundouts 7 k. And a monkey will fly out of zim's butt

  16. court - Jun 23, 2010 at 9:17 PM

    Mark, The radio guys mentioned that sKs kicked some dirt around near his landing spot – anything to worry about?Thanks

  17. Michael J. Hayde - Jun 23, 2010 at 9:49 PM

    This is distressing. The Royals are waiting on and fouling off pitches, driving up Stras' pitch count, knowing they can't do better than an occasional single. I suspect this will be the opposition's strategy: wait, wait, wait, until Strasburg hits his 90+ pitches in the 6th or 7th, then try to jump all over the bullpen. Meanwhile, once again our sorry offense is making a 5.40 ERA journeyman look brilliant.

  18. A dc wonk - Jun 23, 2010 at 10:05 PM

    Does anybody think Stras throws too many strikes? I think the last two singles cane on 0-2 pitches that were over the outside of the plate? And does anyone throw up and in anymore?

  19. Anonymous - Jun 23, 2010 at 10:23 PM

    Are we ever going to catch a break from an umpire this year? How can you miss that call when you are 2 feet from it? Bernadina was def safe.To make matters worse the pitch he rung up Willingham on was the same damn pitch he called a ball 2 other times in the at bat.

  20. Sec$39.99 - Jun 23, 2010 at 10:34 PM

    That jugular is looking pretty much intact from here…

  21. Anonymous - Jun 23, 2010 at 10:45 PM

    Mark, any word on why Detwiler didn't start for Harrisburg?

  22. Doc - Jun 23, 2010 at 10:46 PM

    How close to the Mendoza line does Riggs let Morgan get, before he benches him?

  23. Michael J. Hayde - Jun 23, 2010 at 10:57 PM

    Mark, Can't be positive, but I suspect the middle of our lineup didn't read your "Jugular" piece today.

  24. Doc - Jun 23, 2010 at 11:14 PM

    Can't blame it all on the manager, but Uncle Jimmy doesn't know how to run the offense.

  25. Anonymous - Jun 23, 2010 at 11:16 PM

    what purpose does Willie Harris provide? Aside from a late inning defensive replacement, I cannot think of anything. He is an automatic out as a pinch hitter and if he starts, he is multiple outs.

  26. natsfan1a - Jun 23, 2010 at 11:20 PM

    Ohhh, *jugular.* They thought you said the juggler. Never mind.

  27. Anonymous - Jun 23, 2010 at 11:28 PM

    Man, this team cannot hit! Is there really no one anywhere in the minors that can hit .151 at the big league level? Willie Harris has set the bar so low you need digging tools to get under it. The time for "aw gee whiz, it'll all work out if we're just patient" optimism is over. It's time to send some messages – give Willie Harris his outright release, sit Nyger down and juggle the line-up to try and get a spark going again. How about:Bernardino CFWillingham LFDunn 1BZimmerman 3BMorse RFRodriguez CDesmond SSGuzman 2B4 of our 5 hottest bats in the top 5 and Nyger and Willie no where to be seen.If Willie is kept and does start in Baltimore, it is time to let Riggleman go. In fact, he and Willie can leave town together.

  28. Richard - Jun 23, 2010 at 11:50 PM

    The line up today was troubling. The Nats needed a win badly and the team isn't hitting except for Guzman and Morse. So why aren't whose two playing every day? Jimmy says Guzman needed a day off. Day off be damned. They have a day off tomorrow and Riggs said last night, by way of assuring a reporter that Guzman wasn't hurt by a tumble in the ninth, that Guzman wanted to come in early today to work on his hitting, so apparently Guzman wasn't tired and wanted to work. More evidence that there's no sense of urgency. Riggs' guys need ABs. Why? So they'll be all fresh and ready for September? By September they'll be calling up AAA shortstops to try out in right field. Or maybe it's just 'cause Riggs feels bad about the lack of playing time for some of the guys. I for one would prefer that they be asked to be ready for whatever the team needs. If that's a occasion pinch hit, so be it.

  29. Richard - Jun 23, 2010 at 11:58 PM

    I don't understand why Guzman and Morse don't play everyday and especially why Morse sat the last two games while Kennedy played. The team needed a win badly and the team isn't hitting and yet Riggleman chose not to play two guys who are hitting. Guzman didn't need the rest. Last night Riggleman said Guzman wanted to get extra work today even though he wasn't going to play. There no sense of urgency. Riggleman is resting guys for … for what? Not for rest, obviously. They have a day off tomorrow. For September? By September they'll be calling up AAA shortstops to try out in right field. Riggleman is managing the team like it's 10 games over .500, not struggling for its life. If you want to rest people, rest the guys who aren't hitting, like Zimmerman.

  30. Anonymous - Jun 24, 2010 at 12:36 AM

    That call at home was ridiculous, but the ump was standing in a position where he couldn't see the runner's legs cross the plate well before the catcher tagged him. My seats have a direct side view, and it was obvious it wasn't even close.And I agree with those who asked where the manager was. And all game, where Morse was. Anyone could pinch hit better these days than Willie H; even Livan Hernandez!

  31. Richard - Jun 24, 2010 at 12:55 AM

    Sorry about the double posting above. The system hiccupped on me. I'll spare you the details.

  32. Doc - Jun 24, 2010 at 1:19 AM

    @ Anonymous: Your batting lineup has some merit. For sure with some OBP at the top, some of AD's dingers will count for more than 1 run. Then we have Zim's OBP to be backed by some real hitters behind him. I'll bet Davey Johnson would like it!I think Uncle Jimmy adapted his management style from reading Mother Goose books. We could have Bobby V. after the All Star break for half-price!

  33. Anonymous - Jun 24, 2010 at 1:26 AM

    What a pathetic effort. All the thousands of new fans drawn to see Strasburg get these quiet, crappy games with no offense and leave early. At home now, they're saying they don't want to go to that boring place anymore.

  34. A DC Wonk - Jun 24, 2010 at 2:23 AM

    Does anybody have any plausible idea at all as to why Harris was sent up as a pinch hitter rather than either Guzzy or Morse?

  35. Bonnie Jo - Jun 24, 2010 at 1:27 PM

    @dc wonk: apparently Ray Knight agreed with you. But whatever you do, DO NOT share these thoughts with Rob Dibble. His childishly defensive responses and agreesive body posturing to Ray's suggestion that Stras was throwing too many strikes were laughable. Dibble might as well have said, "Yeah, well I could kiss your butt!" Pathetic

  36. Bonnie Jo - Jun 24, 2010 at 1:31 PM

    or maybe he would have said "kick you butt." I don't know, either one is funny.

  37. Anonymous - Jun 24, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    Bonnie Jo and DC Wonk – I too enjoyed that little dustup involving Knight and Dibble. I too think that the conventional wisdom is if you can get two strikes and get the count to 0-2 or 1-2, don't throw another strike until the count is closer or the guy strikes out.And how many times can we say it: with this listless lineup, Guzman has got to be in there every day. As for shaking it up — move Nyger and Zimm to seven and eight. The no production twins.





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