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Game 131: Cardinals at Nats

Aug 29, 2010, 4:05 PM EDT


Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
John Lannan has his hands full with the Cards and Adam Wainwright today.

Wild game last night, huh? Between the offensive explosion from Adam Dunn, Michael Morse and others, Livan Hernandez gutting his way through 6 1/3 innings, Ian Desmond getting called out for interference running down the first-base line and then Nyjer Morgan getting called out for missing the plate and being pushed back toward it by Ivan Rodriguez … well, quite the eventful ballgame.

Despite all the good things that happened during the 14-5 victory over the Cardinals, it appears the lasting image of this one will be the play involving Morgan, in which he appeared to go out of his way to make contact with catcher Bryan Anderson despite there not being a play at the plate. Nyjer's not in the lineup today, and Jim Riggleman basically told reporters at the park it's a form of punishment for his actions last night. Riggleman said Morgan was upset all day because he had been dropped to eighth in the lineup and for some reason decided to take out his frustration on the opposing catcher. Riggleman felt the need to apologize to both Anderson and Tony La Russa this morning, perhaps sensing somebody would be getting plunked today otherwise.

This has not been a good week for Morgan. He got into it with Phillies fans last Saturday night, leading to a seven-game suspension from MLB (which he has appealed so he could continue to play). Now this. Could this be the tipping point that affects Nyjer's ultimate place on this roster? We'll see.

Meanwhile, the Nationals have a chance to take three of four from the Cards with a victory today. They face a stiff challenge in right-hander Adam Wainwright. But perhaps the emotions of last night's game could carry over and propel them through today's series finale.

As was the case last night, I'm not covering the game today. Will pick things up in Florida tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy today's game and enjoy chatting with each other about it…

CARDINALS at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m.
TV: Ch. 50, MASN
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Sunny, 87 degrees, Wind 3 mph out to CF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (55-75)
2B Adam Kennedy
SS Ian Desmond
CF Roger Bernadina
3B Ryan Zimmerman

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  1. MikeHarris - Aug 29, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    Good for Riggleman. If Nyjer doesn't like hitting eighth — I wonder how he likes hitting nowhere?Willingham, Bernadina, Morse. I'm OK with that next year. Except that Morse will be at first when they blow it with Dunn.

  2. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 29, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    Nyjer Morgan is a head case that needs to be eliminated from this team. That play at the plate last night was totally uncalled for and says alot about the idiot that represents himself as "Tony Plush".

  3. Doc - Aug 29, 2010 at 4:44 PM

    Maybe Uncle Jimmy is finally showing signs of not makeing excuses for Morgan—its about time! Typical Riggleman enabling BS was Friday's game when he took the blame for Morgan being picked off 1st.In last night's game, Morgan should had slid across the plate. It cost the Nats a run, and put in play a bunch of stuff that unnecessarily involved his team mates.Willingham, Bernadina, and Morse sounds like a good outfield combo to me. One professional hitter, and two guys who are going in that direction. Unlike Morgan, they appear coachable.

  4. Anonymous - Aug 29, 2010 at 4:44 PM

    Nyjer's a dope, and this team will not be successful with him marshaling the OF.

  5. Nate - Aug 29, 2010 at 4:45 PM

    I was at the game last night, and Nyjer made more than one very nice catch that saved a Cardinals hit. A one game benching is an appropriate response to his boneheadedness at home plate, but let's not overreact. Nyjer is the same player he was last year when 75% of Natstown was happy to have him in exchange for Milledge.

  6. Anonymous - Aug 29, 2010 at 4:54 PM

    Riggs is more behold-ant to LaRusa then any other manager (as he was on his staff). My guess is that the benching is for LaRusa, not Morgan or the Nationals. Otherwise Morgan would have been benched months ago for his "emotional" play.

  7. Anonymous - Aug 29, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    Riggleman himself said that Morgan would get plunked if he had showed up at the plate today. Guess he wants to avoid any retaliation. Still, it might help carry the emotions from yesterday into today … might even have helped? Riggleman way too "vanilla" … he and the Z-man, Jim Zorn two peas in the same pod.

  8. BQ - Aug 29, 2010 at 5:22 PM

    I was surprised too by Morgan's actions. There was no need to bump into Anderson at the plate. Riggs might be being nice to TL or whatever, but I think Morgan deserved the benching. The way he has been playing and acting on the field makes me wonder whether he should really be one of our everyday OF. I supported him in the beginning of the season and even backed him when he served up inside the park homers to two batters. You can't be upset over every little thing that happens on the field.

  9. Princess Jazzy - Aug 29, 2010 at 5:23 PM

    Anonymous said… Riggs is more behold-ant to LaRusa then any other manager (as he was on his staff). My guess is that the benching is for LaRusa, not Morgan or the Nationals. Otherwise Morgan would have been benched months ago for his "emotional" play. Jim Riggleman was never a part of LaRussa's coaching staff. They were teammates in the minor leagues. Riggleman was on Whitey Herzog's coaching staff so perhaps that is the source of your confusion. Riggleman was also the minor league coordinator for the Cardinals but he has never been on any LaRussa coaching staff so I suggest an adjustment to your conspiracy theory.

  10. Smatt1001 - Aug 29, 2010 at 6:16 PM

    Let's hope this a good sign. A Lannan double scores the first 2 runs for the Nats today

  11. Dryw - Aug 29, 2010 at 6:32 PM

    Boy am I regretting my moment of doubt about Michael Morse as an everyday player. He's sure looking like he can handle it right about now!

  12. Anonymous - Aug 29, 2010 at 6:40 PM

    Dear Stew Magnuson dufas-son. Eat merda and die. MOAR Morse!

  13. Doc - Aug 29, 2010 at 6:53 PM

    The Michael Morse Fan Club is alive and well!!!

  14. Slidell - Aug 29, 2010 at 7:05 PM

    Of course, no apology from Nyjer. His recollection of the incident defies reality. The most hilarious part was where he said he wasn't selfish. His affect says totally the opposite.

  15. Sec3MySofa - Aug 29, 2010 at 7:18 PM

    I was a little surprised to read Riggleman saying that if somebody did that to his catcher, Riggs would have the guy drilled. Not that it's a bad idea–I'd do the same, FWIW–but the league generally frowns on that kind of talk in the media. Maybe since it was a hypothetical, they won't fine him.

  16. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 29, 2010 at 7:26 PM

    The important thing is our CF for the next 5-7 years finally gets to play his correct position and the guy with the weakest arm in basball rides the pine. Hopefully, this is the last straw and Rizzo will rid the clubhouse of this buffoon.

  17. Knoxville Nat - Aug 29, 2010 at 7:44 PM

    Doc and Anon 12:54,I would suggest that "Uncle Jimmy" was not being beholden to Tony LaRussa or anyone else but simply being a professional, something he has always been in his career.Princess Jazzy,Can't tell you enough how much I appreciate you, unlike many others on this site, accurately pointing out Riggleman's professional coaching background. It's too bad all the Anons don't have the courtesy of checking on their facts before spouting off their opinions.

  18. HHover - Aug 29, 2010 at 7:53 PM

    @ Nate Morgan is a better fielder than he is a hitter (or at least, less bad at it), but his defense is not that distinguished at CF. His UZR/150 and fielding value are middle of the pack this season. He has above average speed but a below average arm, and below average judgment, even if we stick to the on-field stuff–like getting a good read on the ball and throwing it to the right place afterwards. I don't know what plays you have in mind from yesterday, but he makes some plays look tougher than they are because he gets a bad jump or takes a bad route and then has to really hustle at the end–the last part is impressive but wouldn't have been necessary if he'd done the first part right. I'm not calling for his head, but that doesn't mean I'm going to pretend he's better than he is.

  19. Slidell - Aug 29, 2010 at 8:05 PM

    Trying to get into Storen's head.

  20. Knoxville Nat - Aug 29, 2010 at 8:20 PM

    Just like Riggleman! Leaving a rookie right handed pitcher in the game to face a LH pinch hitter when he has a veteran left hander warming up in the bullpen. Hasn't he ever heard of using lefty/lefty matchups? Doesn't he know he should follow "the book" in these situations?Go Nationals, and yes bring Riggs back next season!!

  21. N. Cognito - Aug 29, 2010 at 8:32 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… "Nyjer Morgan is a head case that needs to be eliminated from this team. That play at the plate last night was totally uncalled for and says alot about the idiot that represents himself as "Tony Plush"."+1

  22. JaneB - Aug 29, 2010 at 8:44 PM

    Well, how great is it that these guys close out one of the worst weeks in their history– arguably two of the worst five days these week alone– how great that they win this series? And against Crpentere and Wainwright? I'm on the Mike Morse bandwagon again. Turns out he is an every day guy. So happy that Lannan pitched like himself again, too.I married a lifelong Cards fan, so it's been my number three team…and yes, he cheered for th Nats this year. Anyway. I really am over Tony. I just had ti vent a little.

  23. BQ - Aug 29, 2010 at 8:45 PM

    Isn't it possible TLR could've switched Rasmus, had Riggs taken Storen out for a lefty? Great win for us tonight, mainly thanks to Lannan who not only pitched a great game but also drove in two. Awesome. Taking 3 of 4 from a contender is good. I hope they can perform well on road as well.

  24. JaneB - Aug 29, 2010 at 8:52 PM

    And just heard they signed up my Livo for another year! Soooooo glad. He's not a hot shot young guy but he is still for real, and a good mentor to boot.

  25. Anonymous - Aug 29, 2010 at 9:20 PM

    Princess Jazzy and Knoxville Nat does not realize that Riggleman was asked by Dibble, "As far as mentors, I know you worked FOR Tony LaRussa–you were a coach with him. Besides Tony LaRussa, any other mentors in the game?" And from the St. Louis Dispatch, "As recently as 2007, Riggleman had Kissell's old job of minor-league field coordinator for the Cardinals, and La Russa often drew on Riggleman." And of course the numerous mentions of "stewardship" with Tony LaRussa. But hey, who cares about facts when "the experts" on this blog like to tell us what the truth is.

  26. greg - Aug 29, 2010 at 9:42 PM

    for everything morse has done to get people back on his bandwagon the last two days, keep in mind that, including the last two days, he's still hitting 221 for august with an OPS of 655. he's had good numbers for the season, but he's still hitting fairly poorly as a full-time player in august. first 90 ABs as mostly a part-time player: 1000+ OPS. next 76 ABs as a mostly full-time player: 655 OPS. i think he has a place on this team, but i'm still not convinced he isn't best suited to be a 4th OF, backup 1B, PH role. i think he would be very good for this club in that role. i suspect he'll be over his head as a full-time player and people will eventually jump off his bus.

  27. Anonymous - Aug 29, 2010 at 11:12 PM

    Where are the Lannan haters? Saving their energy and getting ready for Marquis tomorrow night? Those darned inconvenient facts and results. Congrats to Lannan and the Nats.

  28. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me - Aug 29, 2010 at 11:44 PM

    See where Sir Dibbs isn't making the roadtrip to Miami and Pittsburgh. So this "he asked for two days off" will turn into at least a week and a-half. How long is that sale going on at Nordstrom Rack?Am I the only one aboard who believes Sir Dibbs has worked his final Nats game? He's so long, GOODBYE.Knight is just a lot easier on the nerves…

  29. bobn - Aug 30, 2010 at 12:11 AM

    Morgan needs counseling. He is a very good ball player without any judgment at all. The seven game suspension coupled with his stupid crash of the Card's catcher and his glove throwing episode indicated this is a troubled young man.

  30. Knoxville Nat - Aug 30, 2010 at 12:29 AM

    Anon 5:20…..the minor league field coordinator does not work for the field manager of the major league team. Riggleman may very well regard LaRussa as a friend, and he definitely was a former teammate in the minor leagues but he was not on Tony's staff in St. Louis. I stand by my statement that Riggs is not beholden to TL in any manner.

  31. Anonymous - Aug 30, 2010 at 12:38 AM

    Riggleman thinks he worked for Tony. Dibbs thinks he worked for Tony. Hell, everyone in baseball thinks he worked for Tony (Baseball Tonight, MLB Tonight, etc.). But if Knoxville Nat doesn't think so, Lord have mercy, it must be true!

  32. N. Cognito - Aug 30, 2010 at 12:43 AM

    Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me said… "See where Sir Dibbs isn't making the roadtrip to Miami and Pittsburgh. So this "he asked for two days off" will turn into at least a week and a-half. How long is that sale going on at Nordstrom Rack?"You got it wrong. He's pissed he missed the running of the brides at Filene's.

  33. N. Cognito - Aug 30, 2010 at 12:46 AM

    bobn said… "Morgan needs counseling. He is a very good ball player without any judgment at all."Morgan is, at best, an average centerfielder, which makes him a problem not worth dealing with.

  34. Carl from Gtown - Aug 30, 2010 at 1:19 AM

    There's a reason Nyjer Morgan was a 29-year-old rookie last year.

  35. JaneB - Aug 30, 2010 at 1:21 AM

    Surely the Nats organization AND Steven Strasburg can't be so thin skinned that they would can Dibble over that comment. To be disappeared because of an opinion is awful. How do we register our concerns? So he was wrong. Big deal.

  36. A DC Wonk - Aug 30, 2010 at 3:07 AM

    JaneB wrote: Surely the Nats organization AND Steven Strasburg can't be so thin skinned that they would can Dibble over that comment. To be disappeared because of an opinion is awful. How do we register our concerns? So he was wrong. Big deal.JaneB, you're right. And I appreciate that you seem to consistently have a pretty good attitude towards the Nats, and give the benefit of the doubt when it ought to be given.But. . . . In this particular case . . . My own problem with Dibble is that he is wrong so darn much of the time. What's the point of having a color guy offer "expert opinions" when he contradicts himself half the time? When I hear a so-called expert, who was a great ballplayer, I want to know that he knows what he's talking about, otherwise, I'm wasting brain cells listening to bunch of hot air.So, my own thought is that the comment the other night is not a firing offense, but that it's indicative of his body of work this year — in other words: he ought to be in a better line of business than one in which he consistently offers up hot air disguised as analysis or color commentary.

  37. rmoore446 - Aug 30, 2010 at 3:10 AM

    Thank you Knoxville Nat and Princess Jazzy for keeping it real and bothering to come up with a moniker. Anyone too lazy to put something other than "anonymous" on their posts can't be relied upon for their research or veracity.

  38. Princess Jazzy - Aug 30, 2010 at 3:17 AM

    Anon:Riggleman wasn't about to correct Mr. Dibble in that venue and in front of everyone during the Q & A session at the park.That would have been very classless. I know what I'm talking about, and in today's world you have many resources where you can check it out, but God forbid anyone would bother to do that before posting. So ridicule all you want, and never let the facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory.

  39. Anonymous - Aug 30, 2010 at 12:17 PM

    Yeah, like sticking a 'Knoxville Nat' or a 'Princess Jazzy' on your comment gives you any more credibility than making the same comment anonymously. Right.And as for Riggleman having worked for LaRussa, Riggleman was the minor league field coordinator in the Cardinals organization for several years (in between his managerial stints with the Cubs and Seattle) while LaRussa was managing the Cards. Methinks the two guys have spent some time together on a professional basis.

  40. Anonymous - Aug 30, 2010 at 12:42 PM

    Yeah like rmoore446 means anything to anyone? Oh, but it's a blue hyperlink to some profile where some scoundrel could easily lie about everything? Right … its still vapor, still virtual, still "not real" dude?My how some people can be so full of themselves lately?

  41. Anonymous - Aug 30, 2010 at 12:46 PM

    including the last two days, he's still hitting 221 for august with an OPS of 655. he's had good numbers for the season, but he's still hitting fairly poorly as a full-time player in august. first 90 ABs as mostly a part-time player: 1000+ OPS. next 76 ABs as a mostly full-time player: 655 OPS. His secondary average which measures offensive output in terms of extra base hits, walks, stolen bases is still higher than all outfielders except for Willingham. Essentially, he is the best offensive weapon they currently have in the outfield whether starting or pinch hitting. In August or not. That's the facts.

  42. Anonymous - Aug 30, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    Anonymous is the way to go to avoid being blown up by certain posters if you have an opinion different from their own. I left NJ for that reason. The guy that ran me off is here, too, under a different name. Multiple names as a cover for bad behavior–now that is a problem. I love the discussion but not being slammed.

  43. Anonymous - Aug 30, 2010 at 1:24 PM

    Here is something about Morse that just occurred to me after after reading some of the posts above. Who knew last year that Morgan would turn into the player he has become this year? Playing time and AB's have written that story. So if Morse has been in the minors for years and looks really good now, what is it that has made the difference? And what will time and more AB's produce? It is hard to believe that Seattle and the rest of baseball could be completely wrong where he is concerned. I don't have a dog in this fight. Just thinking out loud and using Morgan as a cautionary tale…

  44. FOTB - Aug 30, 2010 at 1:34 PM

    In case anyone else was wondering how the Nats managed to win Saturday night and Sunday afternoon and how Lannan and Storen could make the best hitter in the game today (Pujols) look almost silly striking out twice, I found the answer.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/27/albert-pujols-tony-la-russa_n_697019.htmlGo Nats!

  45. N. Cognito - Aug 30, 2010 at 1:53 PM

    I said earlier in the season, when Nyger was in his first auger-in slump, that he's not as good as he was last year and not as bad as he is this year. I still hold to that. However, a 30 year old hitter with no power is very likely looking at a significant dropoff in his hitting beginning about now. Combine that with his attitude issues and he's not worth re-signing. I'd rather see Livo in centerfield.

  46. Richard - Aug 30, 2010 at 1:54 PM

    I took a quick look at the comments here re a little love for our man Adam Dunn's defense in the 7th inning and didn't see any. In the 7th inning, he's on the ground stretching out for a grounder, gets up and throws the guy out at 1st with Lannan covering. Pretty good! I hadn't seen him get on the ground before, although I had seen some pretty good catches in foul territory. Without that 7th inning work, it's another hit and maybe our boy John L. is gone.

  47. rmoore446 - Aug 30, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    If a poster is too lazy to make up a moniker/handle, I doubt they've done their homework. If having "anonymous" on their post makes criticism/disagreement easier to take than using a consistent made-up name, then we are getting into Dr. Freud terrority. Of course, the wrong or obnoxious posts by the several hiding behind Anonymous hurts the whole class of Anonymi. People build up a reputation for their "name" and their associated points-of-view and they are thereby full members of the community. Even those I usually disagree with have earned my respect.

  48. John R. - Aug 30, 2010 at 4:08 PM

    "Nate said…I was at the game last night, and Nyjer made more than one very nice catch that saved a Cardinals hit. A one game benching is an appropriate response to his boneheadedness at home plate, but let's not overreact. Nyjer is the same player he was last year when 75% of Natstown was happy to have him in exchange for Milledge."Totally agree with you, Nate. It seems NatsNation has the least amount of patience for our African-American players (see Milledge, Dukes, Harris, and Morgan.) I don't know why that it, but it's disturbing.

  49. greg - Aug 30, 2010 at 4:08 PM

    anon 8:46, can you post those SecA numbers for morse for the part-time and full-time gigs like I did for his other numbers?? i can't find that anywhere, and if you can't compare full-time to part-time like i was able to with OPS, i'm not sure there's really any relevance to the point i was making. that he's better in a part-time role. his full-season numbers still look ok, but there's been a marked difference in how he's hit as an every day player.

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NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
WASHINGTON 78 58 -- 19
ATLANTA 72 66 7.0
MIAMI 67 69 11.0
NEW YORK 64 74 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 63 74 15.5
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SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
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