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Game 122: Nats at Phillies

Aug 20, 2010, 7:22 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Citizens Bank Park hosts the Nationals for three games this weekend.

PHILADELPHIA — Good afternoon from the south Philly neighborhood known simply as "The Sports Complex." There was a time a few years ago when there were actually five major-league stadiums/arenas in these couple of blocks: Citizens Bank Park, Lincoln Financial Field, the Wachovia Center, the Spectrum and old Veterans Stadium. (The Vet, of course, has since been blown to smithereens to the disappointment of no one. The Spectrum, meanwhile, still stands for now, though there hasn't been any event there since a Pearl Jam concert last October, and it's waiting to be razed.)

Anyways, here at Citizens Bank Park, the Nationals arrive for a three-game weekend series that boasts plenty of storylines. Tonight, Jason Marquis tries once again to win his first game of the season … actually, to produce his first quality start of the season … actually, to make it through the fifth inning for the first time all season. It's not exactly the prime scenario to snap out of a funk like this, facing the Phillies' vaunted lineup in a home run haven.

It also doesn't help that the Phillies send Roy Halladay to the mound tonight to face a depleted Nats lineup that is trying to survive without Josh Willingham for the rest of the season. Jim Riggleman will attempt to overcome that loss with a lineup tonight that features a 3-4-5 of Adam Dunn, Ryan Zimmerman and Roger Bernadina.

There's a much more favorable matchup tomorrow with Stephen Strasburg against Kyle Kendrick, then a toss-up Sunday with Scott Olsen against Roy Oswalt (who has been lit up by the Nats twice this year). But before we get to that, there's obviously a game to be played tonight.

Check back throughout for updates…

Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Sunny, 86 degrees, Wind 7 mph in from LF.

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

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  1. Anonymous - Aug 20, 2010 at 7:29 PM

    Can you say Levale Speigner?

  2. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 20, 2010 at 7:35 PM

    I said it before and I'll say it again. Levale Speigner DID NOT have a .410 BA against as this bum does. Speigner was Cy Young compared to this slug.

  3. nattaboy - Aug 20, 2010 at 7:42 PM

    Boy, Jason Marquis sure has NO CHANCE against Halladay. In Philly. I mean, that's a lead pipe lock.

  4. Nervous Nats Fan - Aug 20, 2010 at 7:43 PM

    Glad you're back, and hopefully Marquis isn't too terrible for you/us to watch tonight.I was just looking through your store again (Christmas gift to myself in August?), and I would just like to put in my vote for more of the items to be available in the "I've got my own sportswriter" design if you're planning to continue next season. (I think I can be patient enough to wait until the offseason to make my purchases).

  5. Anonymous - Aug 20, 2010 at 7:44 PM

    NatsJack, I've learned over the years that 'guaranteed match ups' don't always turn out the way they should; that's why you play the game. Did you think Batista will step in for Strasburg and shut down the Braves? Also; let's calm down the Marquis bashing. Historically he's a much better pitcher than he's shown this year; he could be slowly rounding into form after a long injury (or maybe not). Let's not throw the white flag out yet.

  6. Knoxville Nat - Aug 20, 2010 at 7:48 PM

    Jordan Zimmermann throwing tonight for the Chiefs, could we see him with the Nats for his next start instead of Marquis?

  7. Anonymous - Aug 20, 2010 at 7:53 PM

    My Marquis confidence level tonight:chance he'll make it through 1st inning = 50%chance he'll make it through 2nd inning = 20%chance he'll make it through 3rd inning = 10%chance he'll make it through 4th inning = 2%

  8. Anonymous - Aug 20, 2010 at 7:54 PM

    Knoxville Nat,I doubt it; JZ is only up to 5 innings. More likely 2 more starts at Syracuse and a September call up. I don't think we can discard Marquis entirely; we are into him for 7.5 mil for 2011 and he should be a decent 4 or 5. Now Olsen is another story; I don't think he's coming back next year unless he pitches lights out and he may not get too many more chances when JZ and Maya come up.

  9. Knoxville Nat - Aug 20, 2010 at 8:03 PM

    I'm not ready to discard Marquis. But if he continues to have trouble in this start or the next one, do you continue to throw him out there or shut him down for the season and try again in 2011?JZ is waiting in the wings as is our new Cuban hopeful for September callups. With SS having his innings limited, Olson and Lannen not showing that they can go beyond 5 innings on a consistent basis, we need Marquis to step up or move over and let someone else on the mound. I'll be real interested to see how far Zimm can go tonight.

  10. Anonymous - Aug 20, 2010 at 8:04 PM

    Who is the backup catcher?

  11. Anonymous - Aug 20, 2010 at 8:08 PM

    If your not heading up to Philly on Sunday, you should head to Potomic the furure of the Nats. The Cuban signee, is schudule to go 5 innings…

  12. Steve M. - Aug 20, 2010 at 8:25 PM

    I agree wtih Knoxville and further, Marquis probably won't get a W in this game but he does have to make a great showing.The next 40 games are a vision of the future especially in the starting rotation and to see if guys like Michael Morse and Ramos can step up in their positions which are many big holes to fill.If the future of the Nats is Desmond at shortstop, it is also a chance to see if his fielding continues to improve.Goals for 2011 are improving starting rotation, improved fielding in the middle of the infield, better bench players, re-signing Adam Dunn, and making tough decisions with stagnant players in the organization like Justin Maxwell, Pete Orr, Garrett Mock, etc.

  13. Anonymous - Aug 20, 2010 at 8:33 PM

    Knoxville Nat and Steve M. I essentially agree with you both; I don't think that you can keep throwing Marquis out there if he can't get anybody out; I,m just a little more hopeful that he can gradually regain his form based on past performance. I am against shutting him down if he's healthy but I,m not against moving him to a mop up role if he's ineffective. I would recommend a longer minor league stint for Marquis but the minor leagues are wrapping up in about 10 days.

  14. Anonymous - Aug 20, 2010 at 8:37 PM

    The Phillies should have fun tonight teeing off against $15 million batting practice pitcher Jason Marquis.

  15. Cwj - Aug 20, 2010 at 9:03 PM

    Why isn't Strasburg starting tonight? He's had 4 days rest, and they're facing Halladay. Why?

  16. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 20, 2010 at 9:05 PM

    Jason Marquis history of quality pitching disapeared right before last years All-Star game. He hasn't been able to get anybody out since.That's a pretty long time. I hope he can find something but after seeing his pathetic efforts during spring training and the horrific efforts during this season, I don't have much hope.On another note, I've noticed a semblance of consistency from Desmond over the past month that gives me alot of hope. And now that they're working Espinosa at second, I really have some hope.

  17. HHover - Aug 20, 2010 at 9:24 PM

    @ Cwj – I think you answered your own question – "they're facing Halladay."But in case a further explanation is needed: he's reportedly limited to 150-160 innings and is already up to about 110. Stretching out his starts is a way to keep him going a little further into September.

  18. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Aug 20, 2010 at 9:36 PM

    Be careful, ladies and gentlemen. In the NFL, tonight's game is what's known among the sharpies as a "reverse lock." Who knows? Phils may decide to mail one in (though that's hard to fathom with them in a pennant race). Or, perhaps, Marquis can pitch as he did early last season. Uncle Teddy is paying this bum $15 million, after all.Makes Austin Kearns at $8 million look like a downright bargain.I am not ruling out a Nats surprise tonight. And wouldn't that be sweet…

  19. Sec3MySofa - Aug 20, 2010 at 9:40 PM

    Maybe it's the Yeungling talking, but if I can still spell Yeungling, I should be OK.I'll predict it: if Marquis doesn't improve, and the half-dozen or so other starters besides Strasburg and Livan can keep their own feet in the door during September, they'll patterson Marquis and eat the money.

  20. Anonymous - Aug 20, 2010 at 9:40 PM

    NatsJack,That's a pretty fair point you make; I'm just hoping that poor results were because of injury and he's now in a quasi spring training mode but as I said before I could be dead wrong and that would be a huge 7.5 million albatross for next year.Desmond is playing much better lately; his OBP is up to .308 which is still pretty dismal but on the way up so let's hope. As far as his fielding; I,m not really as concerned as everyone else because I feel that errors are over rated (I,m not saying they are meaningless) and he more than makes up for it by getting to MANY balls that average shortstops don't get to.

  21. Sec3MyAnonymous - Aug 20, 2010 at 9:41 PM

    OTOH, it's "Yuengling", so maybe not.

  22. HHover - Aug 20, 2010 at 9:42 PM

    Oops – bum math – SS is already up to near 120, bwn minors and majors. Which only reinforces the point.

  23. Cwj - Aug 20, 2010 at 10:07 PM

    HHover – yeah I forgot about the innings count as well (damn minor leagues haha :)

  24. Cwj - Aug 20, 2010 at 10:09 PM

    Sec3 – Pabst is easier to spell, and drink :)

  25. Brian - Aug 20, 2010 at 11:18 PM

    We just squandered a golden opportunity in the 1st. Let the fun begin…

  26. BQ - Aug 20, 2010 at 11:33 PM

    Survived one inning. one hit but no runs by Marquis. We should've scored at least a run in the first inning. Can anybody tell me if Desmond's out was shallow fly or what?

  27. BQ - Aug 21, 2010 at 12:07 AM

    "Raul Ibanez doubles on a ground ball to first baseman Adam Dunn." Does MLB know how absurd that sounds? What happened there? An error?

  28. Dryw - Aug 21, 2010 at 12:32 AM

    OMG, Halladay is hittable, Marquis hasn't melted down yet….and we can't get a run in? This is killing me!

  29. Anonymous8 - Aug 21, 2010 at 12:56 AM

    Solid outing for Marquis. He got past a few problem innings and 2 poor fielding plays.

  30. BQ - Aug 21, 2010 at 12:58 AM

    Good to know we will be seeing Z-Mann in the majors soon. I just noticed that the error charged to Desmond now was actually an error against Dunn earlier. They just changed it. Also, Dunn should've stopped Ibanez's 'double'. Marquis might be putting a lot of runners on but he has kept the team in the game. Too bad, once again we have drawn ace of the opposite team. We struggled against Hudson despite getting hits and we are doing the same against Halladay. Hopefully Phillies bullpen will be more cooperating.

  31. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me - Aug 21, 2010 at 1:41 AM

    At times, Desmond does seem to run the bases like Helen Keller on crack.

  32. Anonymous - Aug 21, 2010 at 1:49 AM

    OK, Marquis haters, spin it. Nobody is expecting you to admit you were wrong. That would be too much to expect. Just spin it and explain how you were right in spite of the facts. Haters.

  33. Anonymous - Aug 21, 2010 at 1:58 AM

    The Philly radio guys are torching us right now. They just said they don't know how he stands the stupid things (Desmond flipping his bat on the 9th inning shot that didn't go out). Earlier they said how we seem to have a dumb team that has never played baseball before (the Desmond-idiot doubled-off second play, and the Bernadina baserunning gaffe.)Now they're laughing about us losing FOURTEEN one run games on the road in a row. We really are a dumb team that does so many, many stupid things on the field.Game over.

  34. Anonymous - Aug 21, 2010 at 1:59 AM

    O for 11 with RISP. We had RISP in 7 of 9 innings. This game captures this team: choke artists.

  35. Anonymous - Aug 21, 2010 at 2:00 AM

    Desmond is so awesome. Our future. You can't fix stupid.

  36. Anonymous - Aug 21, 2010 at 2:08 AM

    and the guy everyone wants signed for 3 to 4 years for 40 to 60 mil once again struck out to end the game.

  37. Michael J. Hayde - Aug 21, 2010 at 2:10 AM

    Everyone believes these Nats have more talent than the .500 team of 2005, not to mention the 2007 edition… so why aren't we winning more than those teams? After games like this, the only logical answer is that this team is less than the sum of its parts. When our starters and bullpen do better-than-average, we can't score. When our table-setters get on base, the big bats don't get the job done. Up until Willingham went down, our 3-4-5, on paper, sure looked as good as Texiera, A-Rod & Cano, except those guys usually get the job done while ours usually do not.We don't get late-inning rallies going, we don't win extra-inning games, we don't even have the 7-game winning streak we had during the dregs of 2008. I'd sure like to know more about the alleged "improved clubhouse culture" we were told about at the start of the season, because these guys sure don't do much to lift each other.Where's the disconnect? Why, with all the added talent, are we still not a geunine TEAM?

  38. Anonymous - Aug 21, 2010 at 2:27 AM

    I was there tonight ……anyone else from natstown make it? I didn't see many other squiggly Ws

  39. Anonymous - Aug 21, 2010 at 2:29 AM

    despite loses like today we are way better than last year; we will probably end up with about 70 wins which is 10 wins than last year which is a good step forward. You guys just dont have the patience to see this thing through; we are going to be much better next year because we should have much better starters from the get go.Also, this is a powerful Philly team we are facing; they went to the world series 2 years in a row.

  40. JaneB - Aug 21, 2010 at 2:45 AM

    Anon at 10:27: I can't go to home games when the phillies play because the fans are awful. You're braver than I to see our guys in their camp!Anon at 10:29: I agree. That our guys did as well as they did…Jason included… Is so much better than last year. Frustrating yes but a year ago we lose by a whole lot more.

  41. Anonymous - Aug 21, 2010 at 3:00 AM

    This team cannot be winners until they stop desecrating the holiness of the position of first base. Until there is a legitimate first baseman, we can not be a legitimate team.





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