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Riggleman holds team meeting

Jun 28, 2010, 8:55 PM EDT


Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
After watching his team lose four straight, Jim Riggleman decided to meet with them.

ATLANTA — Jim Riggleman held a closed-door team meeting before batting practice this afternoon, the first tangible sign of dissatisfaction from the Nationals manager toward his team's recent play.

Nats players were already scheduled to hold a meeting with union representatives at 4:30 p.m. Before that began, Riggleman told Adam Dunn (the club's player rep) to keep everyone in the clubhouse at the end of the union session so he could speak to them.

The Nationals enter tonight's game against the Braves having lost 12 of their last 15 games. Six of those losses (including the last four) have come by one run. All three losses this weekend in Baltimore came after the Nats held leads of at least three runs.

"We're tired of complimenting the other team all the time," Riggleman said during his regular pregame media session before the team meeting. "We've got to beat the other team. We've got to get after it."

UPDATE AT 5:20 P.M. — Players emerged from the clubhouse around 5 p.m. and took the field for stretching and batting practice. I don't think there was any major tirade from Riggleman or anything likeRead more »

  1. Anonymous - Jun 28, 2010 at 9:20 PM

    Yes, as Dunn would put it regarding the opposing pitcher…..he brought his "A" game. How many times have we heard that!!!!

  2. NatsNut - Jun 28, 2010 at 9:22 PM

    I hope he threw bats on the shower floor and called them lollygaggers.

  3. Souldrummer - Jun 28, 2010 at 9:38 PM

    Team meetings are rather overrated in my opinion. This feels a bit reactionary given the hue and outcry over the Orioles series. There are tweaks that can be made. Willie Harris can be benched or DFAed. Alberto Gonzalez can get a couple of more starts because he's playing better defense than the other middle infielders. Michael Morse can platoon with Nyjer Morgan instead of Bernadina. The lineup can be reworked with Bernadina closer to the top instead.But ultimately we are what we are and I don't know what Riggleman can do to stop it and still remain himself. He's a transitional manager until we get to a better roster by 2012.

  4. Anonymous - Jun 28, 2010 at 9:46 PM

    No tirade? Isn't that the problem? No consequence for throwing the game away? For underperforming? For failing to get down a bunt, to steal smartly, for making an unnecessary throw? Is there no accountability, or is this summer camp, wher everyone gets to play no matter their ability, attitude, focus, or goals? Are we showcasing players for July 31st already? How about the best line-up being on the field for every game, with the goal of winning it? Any why, oh why, is Willie Harris not DFA'd?

  5. Anonymous - Jun 28, 2010 at 10:24 PM

    Souldrummer,Your analysis of the talent level of the team from your Olympian heights is probably correct but can't you understand that Rigs may (finally) be taking unusual (borderline desperate?) measures to save his job? Or do you prefer the zenlike tranquility (zombiehood) of Manny Acta? The end result for both may very well be the same, but I sympathize with Rigs: nobody likes to get fired.

  6. JayB - Jun 28, 2010 at 10:26 PM

    Mark,That quote and the meeting came clearly came right from Rizzo….Riggs is toast and he does not even know it.

  7. NatBiscuit - Jun 28, 2010 at 10:29 PM

    And exactly how many times have you improved your performance after a tirade….

  8. Cwj - Jun 28, 2010 at 10:43 PM

    Go Nats!

  9. Anonymous - Jun 28, 2010 at 10:53 PM

    If the team meeting was about not listening to calls for Willie Harris to be cut and to keep at it I'm going to puke.

  10. Anonymous8 - Jun 28, 2010 at 11:10 PM

    Mark – Do you have the audio in Jim's pre-game when he talked about complimenting the opposition?

  11. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me - Jun 28, 2010 at 11:49 PM

    If the team meeting talked about not getting picked off first base, Nyjer Morgan wasn't listening.

  12. Kevin Trainor - Jun 29, 2010 at 12:14 AM

    Souldrummer, I definitely agree with you about Willie Harris, but I can't agree when it comes to Gonzalez. He's definitely an improvement over Guzman and Kennedy on defense, but at the plate he'd be no better than Kennedy and worse than Guzman. Look at least year's line for him. Do you really think he's going to take it to the next level if we give him another 250 at-bats this year?

  13. Caryn - Jun 29, 2010 at 1:34 AM

    So Ian Desmond needs to be sent to AAA, bench Nyjer until he learns some fundamental baseball. Desmond has singlehandedly lost Strasburg's last two starts, with some help from the rest of his teammates. The team as a whole needs remedial baseball. These games are becoming increasingly frustrating.

  14. raymitten - Jun 29, 2010 at 1:47 AM

    This team has no middle infielders that can make a routine play. Bench Desmond for who? Guzman, he guy that lost the game Friday? Kennedy, the guy that lost the game Sunday? If anyone on this team says at the end of this game that they are playing good and tip their hats to the opposition, I am going to scream. Strasburg is an amazing talent and deserves better than this inept, embarassing play after making great start after great start.

  15. raymitten - Jun 29, 2010 at 1:50 AM

    Mark — will you ask Riggleman and/or Rizzo why they refuse to play Michael Morse at SS or 2B? He can't be any worse than Guzman, Kennedy or Desmond defensively.

  16. nats rising - Jun 29, 2010 at 1:58 AM

    Strasburg (2009), Harper (2010) and ??? (2011)… Who will be the the top pick in next year's draft because whoever he is, he's on his way to the Nationals.

  17. DC Tom - Jun 29, 2010 at 2:05 AM

    The defense is not the primary reason we're losing this game tonight. Yes, it's the proximate cause. But it's the lack of offense…causing the team to press and Desmond buckled.The real reasons why we are about to lose…1st: Morgan picked off first; Zimmerman DP2nd: Desmond strands Bernadina in scoring position4th: I-Rod caught stealing; Bernadina strands runner in scoring position5th: Morgan strands Desmond in scoring position7th: Gonzalez strikes out with Desmond at 3rd and one out (this was failure of batting order design, IMHO)Yes, Desmond's boot mattered, but the run probability in that situation (first and second, no outs) was pretty high regardless of Desmond's error and Morgan's very poor throw later that inning.Somewhat surprised that with the team meeting, Riggleman's solution to the offense was to bat Pudge second and start Gonzalez at second. Not really a big shake-up.

  18. HHover - Jun 29, 2010 at 2:09 AM

    Jesus – if this is what a team meeting produces, these guys should never be in the same room together again.

  19. Al - Jun 29, 2010 at 2:12 AM

    I am disgusted with the Nats. I want to enjoy watching the game. Here's what the nats can do to make my watching more enjoyable:1. Fire that whiner Dibble2. Demote Desmond to minors.3. Move Bernadina to Center4. Insert Morse in right field.5. Put Gonzalez at short6. Either put Kennedy or Guzman at second and leave him there.

  20. Arlington Big Fish - Jun 29, 2010 at 2:17 AM

    Al,I'd rather listen to Dibble than that motor-mouth with the high-pitched voice that graced the telecast last night. who the hell was that, anyway? I never heard him identified.

  21. Anonymous - Jun 29, 2010 at 2:19 AM

    6. Either put Kennedy or Guzman at second and leave him there.They are both terrible and belong permanently on the "pine" as pinch hitters. Move Gonzalez permanently to 2nd base until Espinosa is ready or move him to shortstop and Desmond to 2nd base.

  22. sjm105 - Jun 29, 2010 at 2:23 AM

    Wow, it just keeps getting worse – not sure how long Rizzo will stay with Riggs but if I were Riggleman I would start to shake things up big time. I am good with benching Morgan, dfa Harris, moving Bernadina to center, Morse to right. Problem is that our biggest weakness is middle infield and I don't know if they have the personel to fix that. How close is Espinoza?, is Flores going to play this year? Can't believe that all the suffering as a 10 year old in 1955 is reoccurring 55 years later.

  23. A DC Wonk - Jun 29, 2010 at 2:25 AM

    DC Tom — you make a great point. Desmond might have cost Strasburg the shutout, but he didn't cost us the game — it was lousy play all around, particularly on offense. When you score zero runs, you're not going to win much.One quibble however — among the mistakes you noted: 4th: I-Rod caught stealingI find it hard to believe I-Rod was stealing — I have a feeling it was a botched hit-and-run and it was Zimm's fault for not getting wood on the ball.

  24. A DC Wonk - Jun 29, 2010 at 2:29 AM

    Anon @ 10:19 — Guz has fewer than half the errors as Desmond and is hitting 50 points higher — so why do you call Guz "terrible" while you also call for Desmond to play every day?

  25. NatBiscuit - Jun 29, 2010 at 2:58 AM

    Bench Morgan, move Bernadina to CenterBench Desmond, play Gonzalez at ShortstopPlay Morse full time in RightSomebody has to play second … I got nothing.Bernadina has to lead off. No other choices available.Is Espinosa close enough to risk call up?

  26. DC Tom - Jun 29, 2010 at 3:21 AM

    If you're Rizzo, every move you make needs to revolve around whether the move helps you build a future division winner around Strasburg and Zimmerman, about 2-5 years from now.Espinosa's not exactly tearing up Harrisburg…putting him on active roster and starting his service time clock would not help you reach your goal. Play Kennedy at 2B.In same vein, I think Desmond needs to go down to AAA, even if it is only two-three weeks to clear his head. We need him to be a key cog of that 2012-2015 Strasburg/Zimmerman division winner but he needs to improve his fielding.Morgan also should go to AAA, Bernadina full-time CF. I wouldn't give up on Morgan just yet, but you also need to find out what you have in Bernadina. And Morgan needs to re-learn the concept of a cut-off man.And then you shop Capps and Livan as hard as you can. You listen to offers for Dunn and Willingham…myself I'd be inclined to keep them both, as they both project to age gracefully and could contribute to a 2012-15 contender.

  27. Anonymous - Jun 29, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    I think we shouldn't be so hard on Dibble…he's just expressing the frustration that I think most of the fans are feeling. I like a sportscaster that shows some emotion and cares about his team. He's only acknowledging the obvious – pointing out the fact that a bunch of our players continue to forget how to play fundamental baseball. I think it's Debbie Taylor that they have to get rid of. I feel like every question she asks is: "What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?" or "Do you like puppies or kitties?"

  28. ckstevenson - Jun 29, 2010 at 2:20 PM

    Guzman has half the error total but how many equivalent innings played in the field? Plus, Desmond (to his credit) gets to way more balls than Guzman, so he has more opportunities to make the error (which he's prone to do).I vote for moving AG to SS, either send Desmond down to AAA or move him to 2B. One of those changes is needed, maybe moving Desmond to 2B for a few games will shake him up. I think it'd at worst give him less chances to make errors by virtue of less balls fielded, and an easier throw.Has Bernadina ever lead off?Could Morse play 2B?Has playing next to Zimmerman been good or bad for Desmond? I was hoping Zim's professionalism would have a positive impact, but it seems to have just made Desmond want to try that many more ridiculous plays to keep up with Zimmerman.

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