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Game 107: Nats at Diamondbacks

Aug 3, 2010, 10:20 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nationals look to make it two in a row tonight at Chase Field.

PHOENIX — Hello again from the Valley of the Sun, which is flexing its considerable summer muscle today. The mercury has climbed back up over the century mark; as I type this, it's 105 degrees outside Chase Field. Thus, the big roof will be closed once again tonight for Game 2 of 4 between the Nationals and Diamondbacks.

Scott Olsen is on the mound, looking to pick up where he left off last week in his return from the DL. That would be another encouraging development for the Nats, who have been getting some quality performances from their starting pitchers over the last week, even as Stephen Strasburg has watched from the dugout.

(Speaking of Strasburg, he's throwing off the bullpen mound here as I type this, the first time he's done that since getting scratched from his start one week ago today. Check the homepage later this evening for a full report on how that went.)

With the Diamondbacks sending newly acquired lefty Joe Saunders to the mound tonight, Jim Riggleman counters with a couple of lineup tweaks that I think should please many of you. Ian Desmond moves up to the 2-hole. Michael Morse starts in right field and bats sixth. And Alberto Gonzalez starts at second base and bats eighth.

Check back throughout the evening for updates…

Where: Chase Field
Gametime: 9:40 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Mostly sunny, 101 degrees outdoors (78 degrees indoors)

CF Nyjer Morgan
SS Ian Desmond
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn

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  1. Nate - Aug 3, 2010 at 10:29 PM

    It's always dangerous playing against a guy named Rusty…

  2. Anonymous - Aug 3, 2010 at 10:56 PM

    Perhaps you might get an interview with ex Nat Ryan Church while you are there. JTinSC

  3. Anonymous - Aug 3, 2010 at 11:08 PM

    What about Dunn being put on waivers???

  4. Anonymous - Aug 3, 2010 at 11:13 PM

    We're done putting things on wafers? How will I eat my pate? DOes this include KitKats?

  5. Slidell - Aug 3, 2010 at 11:18 PM

    Rather like the lineup tonight; haven't said that too often. Bernie in place of Nyjer would make it even better. Maybe there should be a rule— get picked off, and you get to sit a day to think about it.

  6. Sam - Aug 3, 2010 at 11:22 PM

    Slidell, I like that rule. One of the fundamental arguments in sabermetrics is that if you have an OBP of 1.000, you score an infinite amount of runs. If you have a SLG of 1.000, you score many, but not infinite. Well, there are some ways of debugging that theory. Case in point: Nyjer Morgan. Sheesh, it's ridiculous how bad he is on the bases.That being said, I still don't like Desmond hitting second. Willingham or Morse would be better suited there. Even Gonzalez.

  7. natsfan1a - Aug 3, 2010 at 11:51 PM

    Yeah, I hope our guys are all up to date on their tetanus shots.Too bad he's not a pitching ace. Then he could be Rusty nails…—Nate said… It's always dangerous playing against a guy named Rusty…

  8. Anonymous - Aug 4, 2010 at 1:29 AM

    @ManassasMark, The players and coaches get interviewed after the game I know. DO the umps ever get interviewed? I would love to hear the first base umps explanation of how he saw Willingham out. Even at normal speed it looked like it wasn't close, and on the replay he was safe by about a step. For the one of Pudge at home it looked like he was safe, but that was close enough that I could live with the umps call and leave it alone.Any word from that ump today or last night?

  9. Dryw - Aug 4, 2010 at 2:07 AM

    Anyone still doubting that the Hammer has improved his fielding?

  10. Mark Zuckerman - Aug 4, 2010 at 2:18 AM

    Manassas: Generally, umpires only speak after particularly controversial calls or plays that need explanation. Standard judgment calls like out-or-safe usually don't qualify. When umps do talk to the media, it's always through one or two pool reporters who get the info and then pass it on to everyone else in the press box. I've served as pool reporter a handful of times over the years, most notably in that 2005 game in Anaheim when Brendan Donnelly was ejected for having pine tar on his glove, leading to the Frank Robinson-Mike Scioscia confrontation. Tim Tschida and Dale Scott were great to talk to that night.

  11. Anonymous - Aug 4, 2010 at 2:32 AM

    @ManassasThanks. I figured they talked little, and last night's call ended up not being consequential. However it was clearly wrong like you said. Tonight the same umpire is calling balls in the left hander's box between that box and the plate a strike. he is doing it for both teams so not a problem as far as I am concerned.

  12. Michael J. Hayde - Aug 4, 2010 at 3:37 AM

    "(Why is it infamous? Because it's famous for negative reasons. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, go read the comments in last night's game thread.)"(In my best Charlie Brown voice) AUUUGGHHHHH!Alright, Mr. Zuckerman, this is the last time we're going to go over this. "Infamous" ONLY means something that smacks of infamy, and "infamy" means a vile, evil or criminal act or deed. Just because the word "famous" is embedded in "infamous," has no bearing on the fact that "infamous" does not define the "fame" of anything, be it positive or negative.Are you, or are you not, a journalist? Because you are failing basic vocabulary. Just like I'm failing the ability to predict the start of a 12-game winning streak.

  13. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Aug 4, 2010 at 3:39 AM

    Ok, Mark, I'll bite on the double-switch. I love Morse as much as anybody, but he hasn't exactly hit the cover off the ball tonight. Maybe Riggs figures J-Max is due … due for what, I can't answer.

  14. Mark Zuckerman - Aug 4, 2010 at 3:42 AM

    Michael J.Hayde: Here's the definition I just found for the infamous word in question, on…infamous–adjective1. having an extremely bad reputation: an infamous city.They did teach us how to look things up in journalism school.

  15. Michael J. Hayde - Aug 4, 2010 at 3:43 AM

    Postscript: if Balestar keeps hitting batters in the head, he's going to become "infamous."

  16. Michael J. Hayde - Aug 4, 2010 at 3:53 AM

    Yes, I see that ("an service") has listed this watered-down definition, no doubt brought on by the continuous misuse of the term over the years. I blame the constant exposure of FDR's "day that will live in infamy" speech, because listeners ASSUME that it means December 7, 1941 will be forever remembered (i.e., especially "famous"), and no one's around to correct that impression.In any case, I'll stick with Merriam-Webster's more potent definition: "having a reputation of the worst kind: notoriously evil; i.e., "an infamous traitor."-30-

  17. Michael J. Hayde - Aug 4, 2010 at 3:59 AM

    "it appears the Nats' only hope is that Kirk Gibson doesn't let Saunders go for the complete game and instead hands things over to his wretched bullpen."Now that's funny! To even THINK that Kirk "Could he make it around the basepaths unassisted?" Gibson would take out a pitcher, or indeed any player, that's rolling!

  18. Anonymous - Aug 4, 2010 at 4:11 AM

    @ManassasArizona number 30 in the majors in ERA. We manage 4 runs against them in 2 games, and 3 of the runs solo homers. My call for a new hitting coach philosophy continues. What is the deal with Houston 7 wins in a row now.

  19. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Aug 4, 2010 at 4:24 AM

    I can't believe Gibson didn't order Saunders to retaliate for Reynolds getting beaned by Bally-Star. Somewhere, Don Drysdale is rolling over in his grave, and Jim Bunning is muttering to himself incoherently.

  20. Anonymous - Aug 4, 2010 at 5:42 AM

    I can't believe Gibson didn't order Saunders to retaliate for Reynolds getting beaned by Bally-Star. Somewhere, Don Drysdale is rolling over in his grave, and Jim Bunning is muttering to himself incoherently.Both Zimmerman and Dunn are good friends of that guy … and MIke Rizzo came from that organization … they know its Balester … if he had been allowed to bat they would have retaliated. He had to be told to go back to the mound by Kirk Gibson when he came in to make sure Reynolds was okay … was told you've done enough … get back on the mound. Balester and the stache belong in the minors … he has major control issues … my god I remember the pundits here saying that about Nate Karns? I don't think Karns is as bad as Balester looks right now … the guy should be given a one-way ticket to the low minors and not Syracuse to work on his problems.





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