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Game 99: Nats at Brewers

Jul 25, 2010, 3:39 PM EST

Photo courtesy Milwaukee Brewers
The Nats try to avoid getting swept today at Miller Park.

Several points to make on this Sunday morning…

1. Michael Morse is not in the Nationals' starting lineup today.

2. Yes, I agree with the vast majority of you that he should be.

3. I'm not in Milwaukee this weekend. Therefore, I can't ask Jim Riggleman why Morse is not in the lineup.

4. Ryan Zimmerman also is not in the Nationals' lineup today. This was a pre-planned day off, much as Adam Dunn got last night.

5. Willie Harris is starting at third base and batting second. Though his presence anywhere near the plate with a bat in hand sends shivers down plenty of people's spines, I'll just throw this out there: Since June 25 (one month's time) Harris is batting .357 with a .500 on-base percentage and 1.071 OPS. Those numbers are even better thanRead more »

  1. N. Cognito - Jul 25, 2010 at 3:46 PM

    Mark,Just curious…do you think Morse should be in the lineup today?

  2. Doc - Jul 25, 2010 at 3:56 PM

    Mark, do you think that Uncle Jimmy consults his mother before he does the lineup?

  3. Anon99 - Jul 25, 2010 at 3:59 PM

    N. Cognito – LOL. Mark – don't let these one trick pony GM wannabees get you down. I don't think MM should be in there every day. Pinch hit once a game is good, I say. [Points 1,2,3,5,7, and 10.] LOL.And please — no more JL on the mound. Can you wannabe GM's take care of that, please.My everyday unpopular picks – Gusman!!! and Bernadina. Kennedy, Harris: on the pine, please.

  4. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    Morse is not in the lineup today because Riggleman is obsessed with righty/lefty match ups. He wouldn't let Babe Ruth bat against John Lannan. Furthermore, Morse was only 2-3 last night and he didn't even hit a home run.

  5. Section 222 - Jul 25, 2010 at 4:17 PM

    Mark, considered yourself absolved from the sin of overstatement yesterday. Very funny.@Anon99, lucky for you, I guess it's not possible to be a trick pony armchair GM when you remain anonymous. One of my pet peeves is the use of very limited time periods for statistical analysis. MASN does it all the time — "In the last four games, x is hitting .455 with and OBP of .600!!" So what? At this point in the season, I think a month is probably the minimum meaningful time period, but how many ABs does Harris actually have in that time? I'll remain unconvinced that he's a good choice for a start until he raises his batting average above the Mendoza line. Finally, where is the best place to find stats of how players hit against LH and RH pitchers, and can someone convince Riggs to take a look at that information rather than assuming that a LH batter is always a better choice against a RH pitcher?

  6. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2010 at 4:45 PM

    Personally, I think it would be better if you just said, "Jim Riggleman should not be managing this team." However, you've had enough of a struggle getting acceptance without the requisite mainstream credentials. However, one can translate "Morse should be in the lineup" as such and leave it at that.

  7. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2010 at 4:47 PM

    Since you're throwing out stats comparing Willie to Morse? How about a .350 overall batting average, .667 the last seven days, and .400 over the last two weeks … 10 extra base hits and 5 walks in just 80 at bats. Willie and Guz do not even come close … those numbers are better than Hammer.

  8. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2010 at 4:50 PM

    Finally, where is the best place to find stats of how players hit Baseball Reference, it's probably what McLaren and McCatty probably use from the laptop they have in the dugout. God forbid Riggleman ever look at that stuff, his magical crystal dowsing rod is his best instrument.

  9. Josh - Jul 25, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    Morse's performance is obviously not sustainable, but that doesn't mean he isn't a great hitter or shouldn't be in the lineup. Which looks pretty bad, incidentally–Detwiler deserves better for his first start back.

  10. Doc - Jul 25, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    According to Stan Kasten, the Nats FO is supposed to have a pretty good contingent of sabermetric geeks. Does Riggs actually consult with these guys?

  11. rmoore446 - Jul 25, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    Anonymous@12:00 Yes, Morse was 2 for 3 yesterday but in his most important appearance at the plate, he got in a hole by swinging at a ball in the dirt and then struck out. Were the bases loaded? I think they were. He also committed a bone-headed mistake on the bases. Yesterday was not a good day for our hero despite his 2 for 3 and I think he would be the first to say so.Now I would rather have had Morse up in that situation than anyone. And even mighty Casey struck out now and then. And I definitely think he should get more playing time.But I'm not about to go fan-boy over him.

  12. JaneB - Jul 25, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    Why don't they consider El Duque to come up, ahead of Lannan? And while we're waiting for Jordan. Like Livo, I bet there's lots more there than people suspect. Plus he has the prettiest wind up in all of baseball, ever.

  13. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2010 at 5:15 PM

    Wow, JayB got a sex change. No wonder we haven't heard much out of him.. her…whatever lately!

  14. natsfan1a - Jul 25, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    11. Is Generalissimo Francisco Franco still dead?:-)

  15. natsone_va - Jul 25, 2010 at 5:17 PM

    Mark, you mean Alcides Escobar at SS for the Brew Crew, right?

  16. Doc - Jul 25, 2010 at 5:32 PM

    Maybe Riggs thinks that stats are irrelevant, but this season, Morse is .371(BA),.421(OBP), and .629(SLUG), against RHP; against LHP, Morse .333(BA), .375(OBP), and .444(SLUG). I'm sure Riggleman's Ouija Board works in different, and mysterious ways.So far Morse is handling RHP better than LHP!!! Go Mike!!

  17. Can_we_all_just_get-along? - Jul 25, 2010 at 5:41 PM

    Let's all switch to decaf for today's game. Go Nats. Bums, but they're my bums.

  18. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2010 at 5:54 PM

    Mark:Why isn't Morse in the lineup? Shouldn't he be?

  19. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2010 at 6:05 PM

    @rmoore446, He also committed a bone-headed mistake on the bases. Yesterday was not a good day for our hero despite his 2 for 3 and I think he would be the first to say so.Its not like Harris, Kennedy, Guzman, Kennedy, Maxwell, Morgan and Desmond haven't this year? And they're supposed to be really good at it? And Pat Listach is supposed to put up the stop sign? He didn't do that I wonder why? More Jim Riggleman incompetency at work I suspect.Lets now go ahead and trot out the excuses Riggles like to use when Guzman or Harris plus Kennedy screw up? "Its an aggressive error, I'll take that" or "He's rusty I haven't used him enough its on me". Bases loaded? How many times this year has Dunn done that? And everyone wants to him re-signed for next year? For awhile he was 0 for 29 or something with RISP worst in the league for a clean up guy? But, Morse? Who makes millions less?Makes your comment seem rather stupid and inane given the context dude? Here, let me put to you simply? They are losing with guys like Harris and Guzman in the lineup. They are in last place and will likely stay there. They aren't going anywhere this year.Why not try guys like Morse who is hitting .350, .667 in the last seven days, .400 in the last 14 days at first base, at third base, in right field? Why not try Gonzalez? Why not try some younger guys (if there are any) down in the minors? Guzman, Harris, Kennedy, et al equal FAIL. What part of that can't your or Riggleman understand?Its more about Riggleman's roulette wheel and dowsing rod than it is about Morse.

  20. Anonymous8 - Jul 25, 2010 at 6:19 PM

    Mark Zuckerman wrote…9. J.D. Martin has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a back injury that apparently had been plaguing him for some time. Detwiler is already replacing Luis Atilano in the rotation. That means someone else will need to replace Martin by the end of the week. John Lannan and Matt Chico appear the most likely possibilities. Scott Olsen or Jason Marquis could perhaps get the call if the Nats believe either is ready to return after making only a couple of rehab starts. Jordan Zimmermann probably won't be the choice, because the Nats have made it pretty clear they won't let him return until he's the full 12 months removed from Tommy John surgery (ie. mid-August).How do you like that! That was my prediction on this blog yesterday after watching how poor JD Martin was pitching!

  21. Josh - Jul 25, 2010 at 6:41 PM

    Pitching Detwiler on three days' rest… brilliant idea.

  22. Mac - Jul 25, 2010 at 6:48 PM

    Ross' fastball is locked in but Pudge is only calling it 25% of the time. Pudge and Harris are killing this kid.

  23. SLUMPERS - Jul 25, 2010 at 6:52 PM

    Bernadina's timing is way off. He started his leg kick too early and fouled off the pitch badly and then watched a fastball right down the middle for strike 3.Roger is officially in his 1st slump of the season along with Pudge and Desmond and the serial callupper Justin Maxwell.

  24. Josh - Jul 25, 2010 at 6:54 PM

    "Locked in?" Are you and I watching different games? He can't find the plate today, with any of his pitches.

  25. Mark Zuckerman - Jul 25, 2010 at 6:57 PM

    Mac: According to MLB Gameday, 28 of Detwiler's 44 pitches in the first inning were fastballs. That's 64 percent. Didn't look to me like pitch selection was the problem that inning. It was pitch location (not to mention Harris' error).

  26. BallstonNat - Jul 25, 2010 at 6:58 PM

    Question for the masses…What do you all think of McCatty?Seems like we focus a lot of (very deserved quite often) angst against Riggs, but not much mention of McCatty. Over and over, our pitchers come give up runs in the first. I believe the stat for this series was just given as 7 runs in the first. Granted some pitchers struggle in the first (Glavine comes to mind) but our guys have been doing this all season. How much of this goes on the pitching coach for not having them ready to go? It seems as though our staff loves to throw some change-ups, instead of sticking with what works. I thought it might be the catcher calling the game, but is it McCatty pushing the change with these pitchers?Also, do we know what opposing pitchers' batting average against us is? Seems like we don't attack the 9 spot enough and we wind up giving up hits and or walks that turn the lineup over…I'd love some thoughts…

  27. Mac - Jul 25, 2010 at 7:14 PM

    Fair enough. Percentages as they might have been in the first inning I was just going based on what I saw on TV in that every pitch that missed was in the low 80s range. It could be that the gun is off on MASN (wouldnt be the first time). But for now I will yield to Josh and Zuck.At least he has settled down now.

  28. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2010 at 7:33 PM

    Who are the available FA short stops this winter? So frustrating.

  29. Mac - Jul 25, 2010 at 7:39 PM

    This guy gave up 10 runs to the Pirates last week. Now he is Cy Young. Wake me when the road trip is over.

  30. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2010 at 7:51 PM

    Anon 1:54, you really feel the need to defend Morse don't you?

  31. Theo S. - Jul 25, 2010 at 8:10 PM

    How bad a SS or 2B would Morse be?

  32. Anonymous8 - Jul 25, 2010 at 8:18 PM

    I watched the start of the Indians today and Acta had his leadoff man Michael Brantley who is batting .160 so Acta still hasn't figured it out much like Rizzo/Riggles with their JMax.Brantley is basically his Justin Maxwell. If you have met Brantley, he is built like JMax. When I saw him in the field, I thought it was JMax.

  33. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2010 at 8:50 PM

    The Nationals have completed the long phase of the season where they mostly run on fumes, looking forward to the All Star break. They have begun the long phase of the season where they mostly run on fumes, looking forward to the end of the season.

  34. Anonymous - Jul 26, 2010 at 1:21 AM

    Garbage In, Garbage Out.

  35. rmoore446 - Jul 26, 2010 at 1:41 AM

    Anon@2:19"Makes your comment seem rather stupid and inane given the context dude? What on earth are you talking about? I said I wanted Morse to be played more. I said that I would rather have Morse batting in that spot than anyone. I said that even Casey struck out now and then. That was the context Dude of my observation that our hero screwed up running the bases and stuck out with the bases loaded. I repeat, I bet Morse, being the professional he is, would not say he had a good game on Saturday.And then suddenly you are visiting on me shared responsibility for every other player and every decision made by Riggleman. By the way, I do recognize the language and…well…style from the days when you had the guts to sign something other than "Anonymous" to your posts.

  36. natscan reduxit - Jul 26, 2010 at 1:43 AM

    Mark, just a thought. You get to write about the team and get accolades, even dollars, for doing so. We, OTOH, get to spend our time, talent and treasure 'being fans'. Surely we get to rant a bit over issues which cause us to tear out our hair. By no means does it reflect on your ability or privilege about covering the team, which many of us would do at the drop of a hat. (That seems to me to be the underlying message in your blog entry today, inasmuch as you made no attempt to hide your displeasure about this list's support for Mike Morse's inclusion in the daily lineup. If I have misrepresented you, I apologise.)… and as for Riggs and Mike Morse, I'd think he'd be tickled pink to have us fans focussing on this one part of his job, which is admittedly vastly more diverse than the simple question of where and when to play M M. If all we do is select Mike as 'our man in DC', Riggleman should be happy to have the freedom to make all those other necessary decisions in relative obscurity.Go Nats!!

  37. Bowdenball - Jul 26, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    Has nobody mentioned the fact that Riggs had Zimmerman take a pre-planned day off … before a day off?Sitting Morse is really dumb. We can all agree on that. But benching your best player when you're about to get swept and need a win so he can get some rest … before he gets some rest … is so unbelievably stupid that it DEMANDS further explanation. I said it before, but it bears repeating- I'm absolutely through with Riggleman. And although I hate to say it, I'm also getting close to being done with the 2010 Nats. If they can't be bothered to put their best team on the field, it becomes harder and harder to justify being bothered to watch them, let alone pay good money to see them now that they're coming home.

  38. Pete - Jul 26, 2010 at 1:23 PM

    Turbo Hottie Julie Donaldson on comcast sports net reported this morning that Riggleman will be back again next year. Another year of the suck.

  39. natsfan1a - Jul 26, 2010 at 1:23 PM

    natscan, I can't speak for Mark, but I took his post as a jest. I also can't speak for the denizens of this blog, but I would posit that it's a bit of a leap to say that "this list" has supported Morse's inclusion in the daily lineup. I wouldn't mind seeing more of Morse (as it were), but I wouldn't assume that the comments of some represent the opinions of all.

  40. rmoore446 - Jul 26, 2010 at 1:53 PM

    I completely agree with natsfan1a. Mark's post was a jest and while I think Morse deserves more playing time, I don't want anyone to assume I agree with the many idiotic statements made by those now choosing to post as "anonymous"

  41. Anonymous - Jul 26, 2010 at 2:01 PM

    Ian Desmond… Deep sigh. Can't field; doesn't hit. What else is there?

  42. Anonymous - Jul 26, 2010 at 2:11 PM

    rmoore446 calling periculum out. Nice.





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