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Game 105: Phillies at Nats

Aug 1, 2010, 4:00 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
John Lannan returns to the Nats, who will attempt to sweep the Phillies.

At the end of an eventful and often improbable week, perhaps the most improbable development of all could come this afternoon: The Nationals could sweep the Phillies.

How improbable would that be? Well, since baseball returned to the District in 2005, the Nats and Phillies have played 17 head-to-head series. The Nats have never swept them. Today, they have a chance to do just that.

For it to happen, John Lannan would need to beat the Phillies for the first time in his career. Recalled from Class AA Harrisburg, where he put up mixed results over the last month, Lannan has never had any success against Philadelphia. His numbers in nine career starts: 0-7, 6.32 ERA.

Cole Hamels takes the mound for the Phillies, who are right back in the same predicament they were in last year: Uncertain about their closer. Brad Lidge coughed it up last night, and now Charlie Manuel has no answer for how he'll handle the ninth inning moving forward.

I'm not covering today's game, will be attending a family event this afternoon. But I'll be flying out to Arizona tomorrow morning and will have all the details from the Nats' four-game series against the Diamondbacks. Until then, please feel free to chat amongst yourselves and enjoy today's game…

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m.
TV: Ch. 50, MASN
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Mostly sunny, 79 degrees, Wind 9 mph in from RF

CF Roger Bernadina
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam Dunn
3B Ryan Zimmerman

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  1. natscan reduxit - Aug 1, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    Mark,… if your weather there is anything like ours is up here (in New Brunswick), then you've made a wonderful choice for a Sunday afternoon. All the best for a beautiful summer Sunday in the sun and warmth of family.Go Nats!

  2. Sunderland - Aug 1, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    So clearly, Lannan's due. Awesome.I'd love a gem from Lannan even more than Zim's walk off. Our rotation is rounding into form, and if Lannan circa 2008-2009 could hold down a spot, that would help a ton. We're all rooting for you Johnny-boy.

  3. Anonymous - Aug 1, 2010 at 4:13 PM

    is riggleman crazy?! morse in RF and bernie in CF? that will never work. what's wrong with him anyway?

  4. Anonymous - Aug 1, 2010 at 4:23 PM

    is riggleman crazy?! morse in RF and bernie in CF? that will never work. what's wrong with him anyway?Enjoy it while you can … they've recalled Maxwell Riggleman's other mancrush. Its likely you won't see Morse again because as soon as JMax arrives Riggleman will insert him into the starting lineup just like before.

  5. Doc - Aug 1, 2010 at 4:41 PM

    Even demented people can get it right, by chance! Riggleman had one of his frequent mental lapses, and posted the lineup forgetting about Morgan. Gooooooooo Mike and Roger!With Lannan pitchin', we're gonna need some runs!

  6. Anonymous - Aug 1, 2010 at 4:55 PM

    Mark, have they recalled JMax? haven't seen that anywhere. Source?

  7. Anonymous - Aug 1, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    Maxwell will never hit major league pitching. He must have something on Riggleman, Rizzo and Kasten.

  8. Doc - Aug 1, 2010 at 5:45 PM

    It's the 1st, and two Phillies are on. Who's warming up??

  9. Smatt1001 - Aug 1, 2010 at 5:48 PM

    Man, not a good start for Lannan. I hope he can pull it out, I always like the guy.

  10. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 1, 2010 at 5:48 PM

    This is what happens when a 4.72 era AA pitcher is on the mound.

  11. Brian - Aug 1, 2010 at 5:48 PM

    same ol' Lannan…

  12. Brian - Aug 1, 2010 at 5:51 PM

    Why all the hate for Morgan? He's been a big spark for our offense lately as he's looked a lot more like the Morgan we remember from the second half of last season.

  13. Doc - Aug 1, 2010 at 5:59 PM

    It's the second, and so far JL is only fooling his catcher.

  14. Savvy Observer - Aug 1, 2010 at 6:10 PM

    Around here we're sounding like they used to talk in Baltimore — like Double A players and pitchers are ready to help. Anyway, I hope Lannan can do a little something today.Another topic: This is the second day that Johnny Holliday hasn't done pregame TV, and both days the other guys didn't mention his name. I'm betting he went to Chelsea's wedding.

  15. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 1, 2010 at 6:21 PM

    Wow is it funny seeing Austin Kearns in a Yankee uniform.(watching it on my second TV)And I see Pudge has been training Wil on how to GIDP.

  16. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 1, 2010 at 6:28 PM

    I am encouraged about the ground balls.

  17. Smatt1001 - Aug 1, 2010 at 6:57 PM

    Nice recovery by Lannan. I bet he's done for the day though.

  18. Anonymous - Aug 1, 2010 at 6:57 PM

    Forget the first inning. Lannan is back.

  19. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 1, 2010 at 7:10 PM

    Austin Kearns has struck out twice in his first two AB's. They're going to love him in NY.

  20. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 1, 2010 at 7:13 PM

    JL has to be much more efficient in his pitch count to be labeled "as back". I was encouraged by his ability to induce ground balls. The jury is still out on him, though.

  21. Smatt1001 - Aug 1, 2010 at 7:18 PM

    And there goes Big Bad Dunn!!

  22. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 1, 2010 at 7:19 PM

    Adam Dunn…SWEEEEEET!

  23. Smatt1001 - Aug 1, 2010 at 7:45 PM

    And now we're back in the muck…

  24. Smatt1001 - Aug 1, 2010 at 9:01 PM

    Looks like the sweep is going out the window…

  25. Anonymous - Aug 1, 2010 at 9:04 PM

    Balester sucks. He the Maxwell of pitchers–a thousand chances and he's blown every one of them.

  26. Dave - Aug 1, 2010 at 9:18 PM

    Anon 5:04, I thought something very similar when Balester came in: he's the early-2009 Lastings Milledge of pitchers. Not exactly in the ballgame.

  27. Richard - Aug 1, 2010 at 10:47 PM

    Just back from the game. John Lannan finished strong. He took lots of pitches to get through the first couple of innings. I'm guessing John's back in the rotation for now. Nats did good, came close to a sweep. If Willie H's pinch hit hard ground ball had been a couple of feet to the left …. Anyway, Zimmerman's double and Dunn's dinger were great. But, wow, what a load of Phillie fans! Incredible, really. All that I saw were well behaved.

  28. Anonymous - Aug 1, 2010 at 11:03 PM

    I'm guessing John's back in the rotation for now. I'm not sure that's a good guess? Strasburg is due to come off of his 15 day as is JD Martin. Marquis and his agent want to prove that he is worth the 15 million dollars. Zimmermann is a start or two away from being ready. Maya will be a bit off but he will have to get a slot. And they already have 2 left handed pitchers in the rotation in Detwiler and Olsen? Would you pick Lannan over those two? Riggleman might but I doubt that Rizzo will.Someone has to go when Strasburg is ready again and Lannan has to be one of the favorites at this point. Riggleman has almost run out of relievers … I'm not sure its safe to consider Balester one. They really need to send Balester down to Harrisburg, and not Syracuse where he has the same ERA 7+.Lannan just doesn't fit in the rotation at this point.

  29. Anonymous - Aug 1, 2010 at 11:05 PM

    In the end Lannan just barely scraped by 5 innings. Olsen even after his shoulder surgery has been able to manage better than that. And although Detwiler hasn't gotten there yet he is really the guy they want to see … they know all there is to know about John Lannan.

  30. Smatt1001 - Aug 2, 2010 at 12:15 AM

    I wonder if Lannan will end up in the 'pen for a while?

  31. Dave - Aug 2, 2010 at 1:33 AM

    I wonder if Lannan will end up in the 'pen for a while? Oh, I hope not. I'm not sure we need a soft-tosser to come in when there are problems.

  32. Anonymous8 - Aug 2, 2010 at 1:47 AM

    Anonymous8 said… "Riggleman also said the club is unlikely to add another infielder to the roster."Read his words. Unlikely to add another infielder. Sounds like talk around that Justin Maxwell will be in DC tomorrow.SAY IT AINT SO!Seriously, some deserving kid in Syracuse or Harrisburg deserves a call. July 30, 2010 5:04 PM Well I called that right on Friday. Justin Maxwell will be joining the team on Monday. The guy has 9 lives and a .105 batting average!

  33. Richard - Aug 2, 2010 at 2:09 AM

    Does the Maxwell call-up say something about Willingham's future playing time this year? Willingham is struggling a little with the bat. Bringing Maxwell up just to ride the bench and pinch hit (lord, he hasn't hit this year when he starts!) and play double switch late in the game doesn't make sense for the Nats or Maxwell's career. They already have Morse who needs more ABs. Do they want to see what Maxwell can do playing every day for two months? Puzzling. Maybe they'll explain. But maybe not. They haven't explained why they fielded calls regarding Dunn for so long. They say he's part of their long-term plan but they took calls on him for two months looking for "equal value" and haven't gotten serious about a new contract. Hey, the Nats management does some stuff right, but they don't communicate the short- or long-term plan with the fans. Mike Rizzo says he won't discuss Dunn's contract with the media. Well, the media communicates with the fans. Maybe the season ticket holders can weigh in re whether the Q&As with management yield any consistant answers.

  34. Anonymous - Aug 2, 2010 at 3:49 AM

    Bringing Maxwell up just to ride the bench and pinch hit (lord, he hasn't hit this year when he starts!) and play double switch late in the game doesn't make sense for the Nats or Maxwell's career.Maxwell won't accept that anymore than Guzman would … or Harris. For some yet-to-be-explained reason Riggleman caters to these guys big time? Riggleman almost certainly asked specifically for Maxwell. And he probably needs the extra reliever more given that many of his pitchers can't get past five innings. Riggleman will find a way to start Maxwell to the detriment of Bernadina, Morse, Morgan and the team. Just as he did Guzman to the detriment of Desmond, Kennedy, and Gonzalez. That's double switch.

  35. Ernie - Aug 2, 2010 at 4:06 AM

    I'm not a stats guy, but does any of the sabremetrics stuff address extra innings records? My instinct says that the fact the Nats have the MLB worst record in extra innings that it's a sign of bad management. Is that true? Is there some other statistical explanation for this?

  36. Josh - Aug 2, 2010 at 10:01 AM

    Sabermetrics by and large thinks that (a) most (but not all) "clutch" performance is either done by players who are just really good all the time or is statistical noise, and (b) a team's record in close, 1-run games is generally decided by luck (this even applies to other sports like basketball in games with a small margin of victory). So I would have to assume that sabermetrics thinks the Nats have just been unlucky in extra-inning games and if they play enough it should balance out. That said, I think our record there has less to do with luck than the fact that by the time the tenth or eleventh inning rolls around Riggleman has generally exhausted a lot of our bench players and relievers with his aggressive management style, to the point that we have a significantly worse team on the field by that point than we did initially. If that is true, our record in extra-inning games makes a lot of sense, and probably isn't going to get better anytime soon.





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.
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