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Game 74: Nats at Orioles

Jun 25, 2010, 7:45 PM EDT


Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Sparkling Camden Yards, home of the not-so-sparkling Baltimore Orioles.

BALTIMORE — Say what you want about the Orioles — and there are plenty of negative things to say about this franchise — but they still call Camden Yards home, and there are few ballparks in American that can top this place.

That's about the only thing the Orioles can hang their hats on right now, though. They were struggling last month when they came down to D.C. and lost two of three, and they're struggling worse now. Dave Trembley was fired, Juan Samuel has taken over as interim manager and the search for a permanent replacement goes on. In the most astounding stat you'll ever find, Baltimore first basemen have yet to hit a single home run this season. Think about that. Just mind-boggling.

So, once again, the Nationals have an opportunity to seize the moment and take down an inferior opponent. They won't have Stephen Strasburg in this series, but they will have J.D. Martin (who has pitched well despite his 0-3 record), Livan Hernandez (who was fantastic his last time out) and Luis Atilano (also coming off a strong start).

Now, the question on everyone's mind: Who is DH'ing tonight? The answer; Josh Willingham. Willie Harris is in left field. (Don't blame me, I'm just the messenger.) However, Michael Morse is starting in right field. Roger Bernandina is on the bench.

Check back for updates throughout…

NATIONALS at ORIOLES
Where: Camden Yards
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN-HD (Nats pregame and postgame shows on MASN2)
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Sunny, 88 degrees, Wind 3 mph out to CF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (33-40)
CF Nyjer Morgan
2B Cristian Guzman
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn

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  1. Anonymous - Jun 25, 2010 at 7:53 PM

    Finally! After all that time being stuck on the bench! You've got to play your best 9 and for once we get to see Willie Harris get the spot he so badly deserves! Also – why the he!! did we ever trade Hanrahan? Bring back Milledge!

  2. HHover - Jun 25, 2010 at 8:03 PM

    Glad to see Morse in there. Too bad Riggleman apparently feels he has to start Willie in LF for balance.

  3. Cwj - Jun 25, 2010 at 8:06 PM

    Hanrahan was a disaster for the Nats last year. He's doing OK for the Pirates, but the Nats have Storen, Clippard and Capps. Also, Burnett (who they traded for) continues to pitch well.The Nats simply must take this series against the terrible O's. It's a shame Stras' schedule doesn't allow for a start this series. It would likely be a mismatch.

  4. Peanuts and Cracker Jack - Jun 25, 2010 at 8:07 PM

    Funny joke — when will you post the real news that Willy was DFA'd?

  5. Anonymous - Jun 25, 2010 at 8:08 PM

    "In the most astounding stat you'll ever find, Baltimore first basemen have yet to hit a single home run this season."Oh man! Why do I have this sinking feeling that Garrett Atkins is going to go yard tonight??

  6. JayB - Jun 25, 2010 at 8:10 PM

    Mark,What are you hearing about Harris's future here….is anyone with the Nats…beside Riggs backing him for more playing time? Orr would be a better hitter and can play anywhere…he has 8 HRs. Mench, Davis, Boomer W. even Maxwell would be a better bat than Harris.

  7. Anonymous - Jun 25, 2010 at 8:14 PM

    still wont watch any games against the orioles until the owner gives up ALL his rights on the nationals. I would rather drive 500 miles to cincinnati than 40 miles to baltimore.

  8. Cwj - Jun 25, 2010 at 8:14 PM

    @JayB – Maxwell? Surely you jest

  9. Bowdenball - Jun 25, 2010 at 8:18 PM

    I disagree with your assessment about the Baltimore 1B woes being the most astounding stat you will ever see.LF is generally considered the prime "offensive" spot in the field. It's the best place to hide.The Washington Nationals starting LF, on a day AFTER A DAY OFF, is batting … drumroll please … .151, with an on-base percentage of .240, and slugging percentage of .321. And he's not even batting in the lowest spot in the order.THOSE are the most astounding stats I, or anyone else, will ever see.

  10. Anonymous - Jun 25, 2010 at 8:20 PM

    Maxwell? Seriously? I swear some of you guys have such a man-crush on that guy you'd marry him if you could. Is that why you all want him in DC again, now that it's legal? He's probably the only player that's been on the team this year to perform WORSE than Harris at the plate…

  11. Hendo - Jun 25, 2010 at 8:26 PM

    1. Re Maxwell and man-crush: Maxwell is married and bigamy is still illegal, even in D.C., so that's out.2. Camden Yards may be a gem but that Hilton hotel is an abomination.

  12. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 25, 2010 at 8:40 PM

    Is Willy Mo Pena still around? He could be DH'ing and batting ahead of the other great Willie on this club.

  13. JayB - Jun 25, 2010 at 8:55 PM

    I said even Maxwell….which tells you how far Harris's skills have slipped. He is just a complete waste of roster space….ANYONE would be better. He is not going to turn his season around….he is done (except for making outs for Riggs it seems)!

  14. Anonymous - Jun 25, 2010 at 8:57 PM

    Maybe we could re-sign Anderson Hernandez..just in case we need to put on another suicide squeeze…There are some real quality players that the Nats have had. Maybe in the spirit of the All-Star game and Willie Harris getting a start someon could put together a Nats' All-Star roster featuring Harris, Kearns, etc.

  15. Doc - Jun 25, 2010 at 8:58 PM

    How about Rick Eckstein weighing in on what's going on with the hitters right now? He seems to be one coach who is really doing his job!

  16. alm1000 - Jun 25, 2010 at 9:07 PM

    No No No!!! Harris for Bernadina – our worse hitter for our best. Good thing the rest of the team can pick up the slack…Harris must go, there must be someone in AAA or AA that can hit better than .150.

  17. Slidell - Jun 25, 2010 at 9:26 PM

    Was hoping for a "shake'em up" lineup against the O's— Substituting Michael for Roger doesn't exactly cut it. And, starting Willie in Left amounts to a thumb in the eye for all his complainants. Also, it completely negates the theory of the DH. JD has as good of a chance at the plate. Why, in the name of all that is holy, can't we put our best possible lineup on the field?

  18. JayB - Jun 25, 2010 at 9:35 PM

    IF….Riggs is right then what does that mean for a good team….If Morgan is only good in July-August then what good is he to a team that is trying to win 90 games? Riggs is the perfect .456 win% manager. He is gone next year.

  19. JayB - Jun 25, 2010 at 9:41 PM

    "so we're going to be real patient with him." ……Isn't this the exact words Riggs used a few hours before Rizzo shipped Lannan to AA?

  20. Anonymous - Jun 25, 2010 at 9:50 PM

    At this point I prefer Whiting and his 25 runs above average total zone plus his .420 OBP over JMax. Right handed Nyjer?

  21. natsfan1a - Jun 25, 2010 at 9:58 PM

    Wait…Nyjer is treading water in a glass? I'm sooo confused. :-)True, the placement of that hotel is quite unfortunate (of course, we have some ugly parking garages in our view at Nats Park, so I'll just hold on to my stone here). My fave view is at AT&T Park, but I am not unbiased…

  22. Ernie - Jun 25, 2010 at 10:02 PM

    Riggleman is aware that the interleague games still count on our record, right? They're not like exhibition games where you don't have to win. Where on earth does he get this idea that the DH position is for the scrubs to get a chance to play? Willie might be the greatest guy in the world, but the world doesn't owe him the right to play. He's still getting his money. I loved the guy last year, but he's slowed down a lot since then. Whether we're contenders or not, I buy my season ticket package with the idea that the goal is to field the strongest team on a daily basis, not to give some good guys a chance to break out of slumps. I grew up in Columbus watching hitters with the Clippers trying to break out of slumps so they could get back to the majors. I paid a lot less for those seats. A major league ticket should mean I get to see the guys who already know what they're doing. They handled Lannan well. I want to see him work it out and get back up here. I want the same for Willie. Just not for my $50 a night…

  23. Anonymous - Jun 25, 2010 at 10:23 PM

    Regarding the Baltimore park: a faux park, top to bottom. No soul. Everything in it is fake – the warehouse, the fake retro lettering, and so on. Not my favorite park.Regarding the lineup — not the shakeup I was waiting for.From another thread: I kinda like this dribble. [sic]

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

    Zimmerman is striking out nearly every time he bats. What is wrong with him and why can't Eckstein straighten him out?

  25. Anonymous - Jun 25, 2010 at 11:55 PM

    Zimm flied out just now, with two on, none out. Making contact is an improvement for this guy as he makes his all star drive. Sure.

  26. Anonymous - Jun 26, 2010 at 12:06 AM

    Send Nyjer to Anaheim!

  27. Anonymous - Jun 26, 2010 at 12:08 AM

    Nyjer's fielding has officially returned.

  28. Anonymous - Jun 26, 2010 at 12:09 AM

    That's the faux park — with the fences designed to produce catches like that.

  29. Cwj - Jun 26, 2010 at 12:09 AM

    Uh, not quite haha :) But hopefully it'll shut a few mouths if they win by 1 run

  30. Steve M. - Jun 26, 2010 at 12:20 AM

    Props to Nyjer. Nice catch. Looks like Nyjer of last June, FINALLY!Riggleman is showcasing Willie Harris? No Bernadina? Come on Jim.

  31. NatinBeantown - Jun 26, 2010 at 12:25 AM

    Lannan through 5: 3H, 3K, 1BB, 0ER. An Espinosa error away from a nice clean start. Here's hoping John can right the ship and get back to DC and help the club.

  32. NatinBeantown - Jun 26, 2010 at 12:28 AM

    Haters be damned. It'll be nice to see Tony Plush sporting the Elvis wig if the guys keep rolling.

  33. Anonymous - Jun 26, 2010 at 12:28 AM

    NatinBeantown, come on, nice to see but lets not start the band. This is AA. Strasburg was no-hitting these guys in AA.

  34. Anonymous - Jun 26, 2010 at 12:51 AM

    Is it just me, or is it kind of crazy that the only position player on the 40-man that's in the minors is Justin Maxwell. The only other position player on the 40-man is Maldonado, but he's on the 15-day DL.Do we really need an extra 13 pitchers on our 40-man?Mark, I think this should be something to bring up to the Rizz when you get the opportunity.

  35. Steve M. - Jun 26, 2010 at 1:07 AM

    So Nyjer screws on his head and Desmond unscrews his. What in the world does this guy think some times?

  36. Steve M. - Jun 26, 2010 at 1:17 AM

    Mark Zuckerman wrote: 9:04 p.m. — Handed a 6-0 lead, J.D. Martin can't even get through the fifth. He just got yanked with one out, two runs in and two more runners on.It looked like JD had nothing left in the tank. He had 2 decent innings and was helped by stellar defense and hurt in the 5th by lousy defense. Slaten did his job on the lefty. Batista did a good job even with that ugly swinging bunt by Adam Jones.

  37. Anonymous - Jun 26, 2010 at 1:23 AM

    One of the fist signs of the apocalypse Nyjer 4 for 4.

  38. Steve M. - Jun 26, 2010 at 1:38 AM

    Anon @9:23, Nyjer 4 for 4 is like last year when the Nats picked up Nyjer as he did it with the glove, OBP, and running.I am hoping this is the start of Nyjer channeling his Tony Plush and his swagger. He can ignite this sleeping offense.

  39. Anonymous - Jun 26, 2010 at 1:49 AM

    OK I guess I'll wait on the 4 horseman :)but if he goes 6 for 6 I'm going to start to believe in the Jay B conspiracy theory between Juan Samuel and Riggleman.

  40. Anonymous - Jun 26, 2010 at 1:59 AM

    OK I'll wait on the 4 horseman but if he goes 6 for 6 I'm going to start to believe in Jay B's conspiracy theory between Juan Samuel and Riggleman :).

  41. Les in NC - Jun 26, 2010 at 2:36 AM

    ..And now we don't have to worry about who the official scorer might give a 'W' to. At this rate, we ARE going to have to worry about which Nationals pitcher will get the 'L'.

  42. Anonymous - Jun 26, 2010 at 3:05 AM

    Holy cow, 4 errors!

  43. Jim Riggleman - Jun 26, 2010 at 3:12 AM

    Well I guess sometimes you've just got to tip your cap to the other team and let's give some credit to Willie Harris who finally got a hit. You can't win them all and we'll just have to go out there and play a little harder tomorrow afternoon. But I'm proud of Willie and I consider that a victory of it's own kind. And what are you really going to do about it? Rizzo doesn't have the balls to fire me! Just wait until tomorrow when I bench Zimmerman and Dunn both because Kennedy and Gonzalez need some playing time. You can't stop me!

  44. Anonymous - Jun 26, 2010 at 3:15 AM

    Orioles sweep–Riggleman gets fired.

  45. HHover - Jun 26, 2010 at 3:17 AM

    I'll say this for the Nats–I'm impressed with their ability to find fresh ways to lose.The crap-stastic play of the middle infield means that Jim doesn't have to worry about making excuses for playing Willie.

  46. Grant - Jun 26, 2010 at 3:30 AM

    I'm driving home from Baltimore now. This one definitely hurts the most. What a demoralizing loss.

  47. Anonymous - Jun 26, 2010 at 3:30 AM

    Riggleman will find some way to polish the turd. He always does.

  48. Anonymous - Jun 26, 2010 at 3:53 AM

    You've got to give credit to the Orioles. They're a professional team, they brought their "A" game, they had their "game face" on today, and they never quit on themselves.It's still a long season and it's just one game. Tomorrow's another day. One loss is the same as any other loss. Since our two teams have a strong financial interest in MASN, we're not going to get too upset about this one.In terms of "Rivalry," none of our players care about Washington. Few could find Washington and Baltimore on a US map–they couldn't care less about either city. They make lots and lots of stupid errors. It's a low IQ team. Low team for hitting in the clutch. Very, VERY low intensity team.Not one Nationals player is as mad as any of the people writing on all these Nats boards. They are the picture of indifference.We are all wasting our time and money.

  49. Cwj - Jun 26, 2010 at 4:05 AM

    Crushing loss. I only watched off and on on the TV. 6-0 at one point, 6-3, 6-7. Yowza.I really think Capps should have replaced Clippard before the lead was given up in the 8th. If Capps is the closer, test him.

  50. natsfan1a - Jun 26, 2010 at 11:13 AM

    Yep, this one hurt. Plus, Nyjer was robbed of the Elvis wig – by his own team.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 55 44 --
ATLANTA 55 47 1.5
MIAMI 48 52 8.0
NEW YORK 48 54 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 44 58 12.5
Through Thursday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

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.

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.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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