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Game 116: Diamondbacks at Nats

Aug 13, 2010, 7:32 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Stuck in a five-game losing streak, the Nats look to rebound against Arizona.

There was a time when the sight of John Lannan on the mound would have been encouraging for a Nationals team mired in a losing streak. That hasn't been the case this season, though the Nats' two-time Opening Day starter has pitched much better in his two outings since returning from Class AA Harrisburg (against the Phillies and Dodgers).

Tonight, the Nationals will hope Lannan continues the trend and re-establishes himself as a reliable starter capable of putting a five-game losing streak to rest. He'll be up against a potent Diamondbacks lineup that boasts power from top to bottom and the other night in Milwaukee became only the seventh team in history to hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs. Arizona counters with recently acquired lefty (and Springfield, Va., native) Joe Saunders, who tossed a complete game against the Nats 10 days ago at Chase Field.

Josh Willingham, as Jim Riggleman said yesterday, is back in the lineup tonight. He does have cartilage damage in his left knee (possibly a meniscus tear) and he may need surgery at some point. But he's been playing with this for most of the season and he's going to continue trying to play until it's clear he can't.

Ivan Rodriguez gets a night off, as does Roger Bernadina, who tweaked his upper leg during his first-inning double last night. Doesn't sound like anything serious, and there was a chance Bernadina would sit tonight anyway with a left-hander on the mound.

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, 79 degrees, Wind 13 mph in from RF

2B Alberto Gonzalez
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam Dunn
3B Ryan Zimmerman

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  1. Jimwillwatchanyway - Aug 13, 2010 at 8:23 PM

    What chance do we have with "outs" hitting in 7-8-9 holes?

  2. Anonymous - Aug 13, 2010 at 8:27 PM

    Why is Gonzo leading off, he is not a leadoff guy, Riggleman is setting him up to fail here. Why not do this with a lineup minus Kennedy, Harris, Bernie and Pudge:JMaxDesmondZimmermanDunnWillinghamMorseNievesGonzalezLannan

  3. Knoxville Nat - Aug 13, 2010 at 8:30 PM

    Maybe Maxwell can show the D-Backs his new found power stroke as well.

  4. Anonymous - Aug 13, 2010 at 8:37 PM

    Interesting that Pudge still always seems to have his day off whenever Lannan pitches.

  5. Clutch Hit - Aug 13, 2010 at 8:52 PM

    I won't be there once again, but I'll send my good friend and military man, G.I. Double Play.

  6. Grandstander - Aug 13, 2010 at 9:05 PM

    Honestly, I was going to go. But seeing this lineup, I'm having a sudden bout of MEH. I don't know if I can take much more…

  7. Anonymous - Aug 13, 2010 at 9:08 PM

    I don't understand the reason we are playing Willingham with a known injury. We are in last place. There is nothing to gain. His recent performance has already shown that the injury is serious decreasing his offensive productivity and his range in the field is severly limited.I am not a doctor but it seems that the injury will get worse if he continues to play. Also, if it needs surgery it seems that it would be best to get it taken care of sooner so he can be ready for next season.This is so obviously a bad decision. I wonder what is going on???

  8. Souldrummer - Aug 13, 2010 at 9:35 PM

    @Anonymous 5:08Part of it is probably that Willingham is a gamer and doesn't want to be pulled from the lineup. Part of it is probably that the team genuinely wants to win as many games as possible and isn't nearly as good with him on the bench. We may want to showcase him to move during the offseason or next season. Lastly, I don't think that there's a worry that waiting for surgery after the season would hurt his chances of being fully healthy for spring training next year.

  9. Souldrummer - Aug 13, 2010 at 9:37 PM

    @JimwillJMax isn't necessarily an out against lefties. He strikes out against everybody but he has shown he can take some walks. His last start against the Dodgers he hit a HR too. We need to play him some against lefties at least because he's a young player who needs at bats. As for the out machine at #8, September 1 and Wilson Ramos (but make the playoffs and come later!) can't come soon enough.

  10. Souldrummer - Aug 13, 2010 at 9:38 PM

    @Anonymous 4:37I think Lannan got along real well with Wil Nieves last year too. Good look.

  11. Doc - Aug 13, 2010 at 11:38 PM

    Wil Nieves just homered—the polar coordinates must be shifting!

  12. LoveDaNats - Aug 13, 2010 at 11:56 PM

    Wow…who's on the mound? Sure looks like John Lannan!

  13. HabsProf - Aug 14, 2010 at 1:04 AM

    I know the bullpen is tired, but I'd be surprised if Lannan pitches the 8th.Good job by him. He's taken a lot of grief on this site, but the truth is that he was an effective pitcher for the team in the past and can be again. He was just miscast as the team's ace. As a number 4 or 5 pitcher, he could be dynamite.

  14. BQ - Aug 14, 2010 at 1:07 AM

    I know Nationals are leading right now but this game could have been decided in the 2nd inning if Dunn and Hammer had not stranded runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out. We definitely need to improve RISP average.

  15. greg - Aug 14, 2010 at 3:31 AM

    i know it's a small sample size (although the rest of the season was a pretty small sample size, too), but despite his RBI tonight, morse has been just awful in august as he's getting more PT. he's got as many ABs so far in august as he's had in any month and his OPS is 413 (135 OBP). just horrid.





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