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Game 127: Cubs at Nats

Aug 25, 2010, 7:40 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats try to salvage one game from the Cubs tonight.

After getting trounced Monday night and after falling just short with a ninth-inning rally last night, the Nationals tonight look to escape this series with one win against the Cubs.

For that to happen, Jason Marquis will need to pitch well, something he finally showed glimpses of five night ago in Philadelphia even though he still took his sixth loss in six starts. Marquis only allowed one run and four hits in that game. Of greater concern was the fact he walked four and needed 94 pitches to make it through five innings and thus didn't return for a sixth. Better efficiency tonight would be a positive step for the Nats and for Marquis.

Ian Desmond returns to the lineup after sitting out the last two games with a minor right thumb ailment. The rookie shortstop's presence in the lineup is important for this team, especially with Josh Willingham done for the year and Adam Dunn slumping big-time. Over his last 26 games, Desmond is hitting a stout .375 with three homers, 10 RBI, six stolen bases and a .952 OPS. In short, the Nats really need him right now.

Check back throughout the evening for updates…

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 79 degrees, Wind 6 mph out to RF

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

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  1. carolync - Aug 25, 2010 at 8:21 PM

    At least if Desmond is in the line-up, he can't pinch hit. That was one of the the ugliest at bats of the year last night.

  2. BQ - Aug 25, 2010 at 8:30 PM

    It is good to have Desmond back. Let's see how many innings Marquis can last today and will the bullpen continue to churn out shutout innings or finally lose its' thunder. Is it time for Dunn to stop slumping?

  3. Anonymous - Aug 25, 2010 at 8:57 PM

    BQ,Interestingly enough Dunn's numbers are almost aligned with his career numbers: Lifetime OPS is .903; this year .901 (OBP lower than lifetime by slugging higher). So I guess the recent slump has brought him back to where he should be; whereas the 1st half was unexpectedly good eventually it all comes out in the wash.Another interesting tidbit is that while his numbers are a bit lower than last year his overall value is well higher (last year -.5 WAR; this year +3.3) but this is strictly because his defense is less of a liability than when he played the outfield.

  4. Bill - Aug 25, 2010 at 9:28 PM

    Nice analysis by Anonymous. Regression to mean … It happens to almost everyone who has a great month, half season, or season.

  5. Anonymous - Aug 25, 2010 at 9:30 PM

    I was slow to come to the Nats, not being from this area, but I became a fan and season ticket holder. Earlier this year I was sure I would be renewing for a 4th year, but they need to show something from here out. I did a pretty careful breakdown of last year's results, and in significant ways they were better. Are we going backwards?

  6. Wily Mo Peterson - Aug 25, 2010 at 10:00 PM

    How can anyone claim that this team was better last season? We aren't in the playoffs yet but at least now we don't need to feel foolish for hoping that baseball prosperity may not be too far away. The days of Jimbo and 100 pitchers at spring training are long gone, now its all about how fast our homegrown talent can reach their potential. Will Stras and JZimm be a dominating one two punch next season? Will Storen become an elite closer? How good will an Espinosa Desmond doubleplay combo be? I do not know the answers to any of these questions but I cant wait to watch them be answered. Oh yeah I hear that Harper kid might be pretty good too.

  7. Anonymous - Aug 25, 2010 at 10:01 PM

    Marquee will give up more than 5 runs in less than 4 innings to one of the worst teams in baseball.

  8. Anonymous - Aug 25, 2010 at 10:46 PM

    In August last year the Nats had an 8-game winning streak in which they outscored opponents 57-33. They won their last 7 games, including a 4-game sweep of Atlanta in Atlanta. When is the last time we saw something like that?

  9. Anonymous - Aug 25, 2010 at 11:05 PM

    And in their last 66 games they were 4 games under .500. In their last 20 games this year they are 8 games under .500. I've been following baseball a long time–I remember the year Williams hit .406. And I'm saying these guys need to take it up a few notches. I look ahead too, and I felt better at the end of last season than I do right now. I hope that a month from now I won't feel this way.

  10. swang - Aug 26, 2010 at 12:02 AM

    Breaking news! Marquis ERA now below 10!

  11. Anonymous - Aug 26, 2010 at 12:19 AM

    Is it bad that I was surprised that desmond didn't throw that into the stands behind 1st?

  12. BQ - Aug 26, 2010 at 12:37 AM

    I think I should learn to take only positives from games. Only that way I can keep watching this team. Marquis has shut down the Cubs through 6 innings. Most likely will be back for 7th, considering our bullpen must be very tired. Too bad marquis is opposed by Dempster who is also locked in.

  13. natscan reduxit - Aug 26, 2010 at 12:44 AM

    … why is it that whenever a Nats pitcher surpasses what we have come to expect from him, the rest of the team couldn't but a bat on a ball if they used duct tape?Go Nats … a tad harder!

  14. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessiistic_For_Me - Aug 26, 2010 at 12:59 AM

    Nice effort by Marquis! I gotta hand it to the guy. No win, but certainly credible. Maybe there is something there for 2011, after all.1. Jesus, with the glass elbow2. Zimm'nn.3. Livo4. Maya.5. Marquis, Lannan, Det, cast of thousands.

  15. Slidell - Aug 26, 2010 at 1:00 AM

    The wide strike zone suddenly narrows in the top of the 8th. Then, good catch by Nyjer saves Jason's bacon, at least temporarily.

  16. Aussie Gus - Aug 26, 2010 at 1:07 AM

    I don't know which website to use, but I'd love to know the batting average of opposition hitters during the first at bat of our first reliever? Does that make sense? It just seems like the runners inherited always score.

  17. Anonymous - Aug 26, 2010 at 1:39 AM

    Wow it seems like the NATS have checked out for the off season already. No one seems really engaged, especially Dunn who might even be hurt.

  18. Arlington Big Fish - Aug 26, 2010 at 1:47 AM

    What is going on in Adam Dunn's head that would allow him to take 3 consecutive called third strikes on fastballs down the middle? If he's guessing pitches, what's he guessing that would not allow him to pull the trigger? I love the guy, but, man, he seems to have a lot of trouble adapting to the pitching circumstances of each game.

  19. Richard - Aug 26, 2010 at 2:54 AM

    Yeah, the major league club has stumbled onto very hard times, but at least there's good news in the minors. Syracuse won with Ramos going yard and Martis pitching very well. Harrisburg won again with Lombardozzi getting three hits (BA .333), Brad Peacock showing well, and Cole Kimball closing it out. And the P-Nats rallied and won, with A.J. Morris closing.

  20. N. Cognito - Aug 26, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    Arlington Big Fish said… "What is going on in Adam Dunn's head that would allow him to take 3 consecutive called third strikes on fastballs down the middle?"I didn't see the first two but that third K was a nice pitch by Dempster – on the corner and at the knees. Dunn can't hit those so he lets them go and hopes it gets called a ball.

  21. Anonymous - Aug 26, 2010 at 12:48 PM

    Anonymous 6:01 said: Marquee will give up more than 5 runs in less than 4 innings to one of the worst teams in baseball. For everyone who hates Jason Marquis because he isn't Adam Wainwright, just note that his last 2 outings have been OK and good. It is amazing what you can do when your arm isn't injured and once you have recovered from surgery.

  22. natsfan1a - Aug 26, 2010 at 12:54 PM

    Sunshine, I agree (and the fact that he took the loss is more evidence of the bogosity of wins alone as indicative of a pitcher's effectiveness). Good on the fans who were there and gave him an ovation. I was happy for him.btw, I went upstairs during the pitching change break and came back to find Clippard on the mound (and with a man on base? NOOOOO!). Sadly, my fears were not unfounded.Also, Nats offense to the White Courtesy Phone, please.—Nice effort by Marquis! I gotta hand it to the guy. No win, but certainly credible. Maybe there is something there for 2011, after all.

  23. Anonymous - Aug 26, 2010 at 1:32 PM

    Poor Jason Marquis! He finally returns to his old form and Tyler "I let 37% of my inherited runners score" Clippard blows it up for him, too bad! Also, Dunn needs to be benched along with Morse, September 1st callups cannot come soon enough so we can get some fresh blood in the lineups (Espinosa, Moore/Marrero, Burgess…anyone but they guys we are totting out there right now)





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