Skip to content

Game 87: Giants at Nats

Jul 9, 2010, 7:20 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Stephen Strasburg faces Matt Cain tonight in a top-tier pitching matchup.

It's the final Strasmas of the first half, and the kid will be facing yet another stiff challenge tonight at Nationals Park.

For one thing, the Giants are sending a tough right-hander of their own to the mound in Matt Cain (career 4-2 with a 2.67 ERA against the Nats). For another thing, Jim Riggleman won't have several regulars in his lineup.

Josh Willingham has a surprising day off. That wasn't announced in advance, so I'm not sure if there's an injury issue or something else, but I'll let you know once I know. Everyone's favorite Willie Harris is starting in left field. Ian Desmond also is out, though that was somewhat expected. Riggleman said yesterday that Cristian Guzman would be starting all three games of this series.

And for the first time in Strasburg's brief career, Ivan Rodriguez will not be behind the plate. Pudge started all three games against San Diego, so Wil Nieves gets his first regular-season crack at catching The Kid tonight. (Nieves did work with Strasburg in spring training.)

Check back for updates before, during and after the game…

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 89 degrees, Wind 10 mph RF to LF

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

Read more »

  1. Bowdenball - Jul 9, 2010 at 7:34 PM

    Strasburg without Pudge: mild concern.Willingham mysteriously out of the lineup for reasons unknown with the trade deadline approaching: major concern.Looking forward to hearing more, Mark.

  2. Anonymous - Jul 9, 2010 at 7:36 PM

    That line up guarantees Strasburg no run support. He will have to pitch a shutout and that still might not do the job.

  3. Brian - Jul 9, 2010 at 7:40 PM

    6-9 in our lineup wouldn't even scare a little league team. It's gonna be a tough one tonight…

  4. Anonymous - Jul 9, 2010 at 7:44 PM

    Time to get Willie going….again…for the millionth time.

  5. David Lint - Jul 9, 2010 at 7:47 PM

    Hey Stephen, can you throw a slider?

  6. Jim Kurtzke - Jul 9, 2010 at 7:51 PM

    Willingham gets a rest 3 days before the All-Star break?

  7. Dave - Jul 9, 2010 at 8:00 PM

    From Rotowire – Willingham has been in the lineup for every game since June 16, so he'll take a well-deserved rest on Friday.So this might be it more than anything.

  8. Anonymous8 - Jul 9, 2010 at 8:06 PM

    Adam Kennedy with Guzman? How important is it to go with a lefty lineup and give up range on defense. Adam Kennedy doesn't move more than 2 feet to his left and 3 feet to his right.

  9. Mark L - Jul 9, 2010 at 8:07 PM

    I'd hate to see this lineups collective OPS.

  10. meixler - Jul 9, 2010 at 8:08 PM

    Small ball!By which, of course, I mean that there will be multiple occasions during tonight's game where we have a runner in scoring position with less than two outs and won't be able to get him home.

  11. Bowdenball - Jul 9, 2010 at 8:09 PM

    Dave-He's got four consecutive days off starting Sunday afternoon around 4:30 PM. Still doesn't make sense. If they wanted to give him a break they would have done it earlier in the week, when Pudge was in the lineup and the ASB wasn't 27 innings away.Of course, it doesn't make sense that a guy hitting .161 with a .257 OBP is batting sixth in a major league lineup, so maybe we shouldn't be expecting things to make sense.

  12. Peanuts and Cracker Jack - Jul 9, 2010 at 8:12 PM

    Very small ball — infinitesimal ball

  13. alexva - Jul 9, 2010 at 8:27 PM

    Riggleman must have the under.

  14. Bowdenball - Jul 9, 2010 at 8:29 PM

    Phew.Thanks for the update, Mark. A tip of the cap, as usual.

  15. nats2005 - Jul 9, 2010 at 8:32 PM

    Alexva:That's it! The only possible explanation for this weak-kneed, punchless lineup. And Pete Rose still isn't in the Hall of fame.

  16. Cwj - Jul 9, 2010 at 9:21 PM

    So, it's up to Zimm and Dunn to put up some runs tonight. I'm also a bit concerned about Nieves catching Strasburg.

  17. Anonymous - Jul 9, 2010 at 9:22 PM

    Harris, Kennedy and Nieves for a Strasburg start? Is Riggleman trying to see how many more innings the team can go without giving any run support to Strasburg? It doesn't make any sense.

  18. Anonymous - Jul 9, 2010 at 9:31 PM

    Let's just call it the "White Flag" lineup.Don't shoot, we surrender. Look we put our bats down!

  19. lesatcsc - Jul 9, 2010 at 9:35 PM

    Why would anyone in their right mind throw a pitch to Dunn tonight with that gang of clowns hitting behind him? It could be a long night of walking to first base, walking back to the dugout, repeat, repeat for Adam.

  20. Buzz Killjoy - Jul 9, 2010 at 11:19 PM

    I must rely on "Gameday" to follow the game.It seems as though Strasburg is getting squeezed a bit on balls at the knees on the left edge of the plate. Does it also appear to be the case on tv or live?

  21. Cwj - Jul 9, 2010 at 11:30 PM

    Forget the fastball (well, not entirely), Strasburg's curve is looking sweeeeet tonight :) I wish Pudge would catch all of his starts though.Not sure I trust Nieves to call a good game.

  22. Cwj - Jul 10, 2010 at 12:17 AM

    Mark – doesn't Strasburg have 4 pitches? Or, I guess the 2 types of fastballs he throws (4 and 2 seamer) count as simply "fastball"?

  23. Mark Zuckerman - Jul 10, 2010 at 12:37 AM

    CWJ: Yes, technically he does throw four pitches if you count the two fastballs (4-seam, 2-seam) as different pitches. Though I have to say, I feel like he has rarely been throwing the 2-seamer lately. Maybe I'm not recognizing it, but I feel like I haven't seen it very much.

  24. Michael J. Hayde - Jul 10, 2010 at 1:06 AM

    And Drew Storen comes running onto the field from the bullpen. Man… it's almost like he's a human version of John Rocker.

  25. Cwj - Jul 10, 2010 at 1:18 AM

    Cool thanks Mark.

  26. dj in fl. - Jul 10, 2010 at 1:23 AM

    This why we play each game.No white flags, everybody contributing.What a great game so far.

  27. Anonymous - Jul 10, 2010 at 1:25 AM

    Nothing more encouraging when we use a lesser lineup, and we score 8 through 7 innings.

  28. waddu eye no - Jul 10, 2010 at 1:32 AM

    lineup gloom and doomers – y'all had it over before it started.tomorrow's headline:harris & nieves – blind squirrels find nuts!

  29. Jim Webster - Jul 10, 2010 at 1:33 AM

    To atone for their negative natterings, the naysayers here now will open their books to the words of Matthew, "And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?"

  30. Cwj - Jul 10, 2010 at 1:40 AM

    It would be interesting to see the W-L record for A-lineups and B-lineups (which would be subjective of course).I would consider tonight's as the latter, yet it came together nicely.

  31. Sec3MySofa - Jul 10, 2010 at 1:45 AM

    Wow, Peralta's got some guns on him.





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 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: 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 Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter