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Game 148: Nats at Phillies

Sep 18, 2010, 7:44 PM EST

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jordan Zimmermann faces Kyle Kendrick tonight at Citizens Bank Park.

After a blowout loss last night in which Jason Marquis retired only one of nine batters faced, the Nationals look to get back on track tonight against the Phillies.

Jordan Zimmermann gets the ball for the Nats, trying to rebound himself from a couple of ragged outings. He'll be opposed by Philadelphia right-hander Kyle Kendrick.

Familiar looking lineup for the Nationals, with Danny Espinosa leading off and Wilson Ramos catching. Justin Maxwell again starts in center field with Nyjer Morgan serving his eight-game suspension.

I'm not in Philadelphia for this series, so enjoy the game and please continue the conversation with each other…

Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Sunny, 72 degrees, Wind 2 mph out to CF

2B Danny Espinosa
SS Ian Desmond
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn


  1. oldtimerjim - Sep 18, 2010 at 8:42 PM

    Good lineup if Nyjer back in CF. How about this for opening day in march of '11?

  2. BQ - Sep 18, 2010 at 8:43 PM

    Here is a thought: Overbay and Crawford as FA signings. Overbay takes over 1 duties where he has done a great job defensively (not so much offensively but good OBP numbers I believe). Crawford becomes our everyday LF and #3 hitter. Lead off with Bernie, followed by Ian. Ryan takes up Dunn's spot and Hammer returns healthy as ever to bat fifth. Espinosa, Overbay, and Ramos/Pudge make up the bottom part of our lineup before pitcher hits.As for today's lineup, I would like to see this for the rest of the season. Let's do something against Kendrick and Phillies.

  3. Anonymous - Sep 18, 2010 at 8:47 PM

    Sorry Crawford yes. Overbay NO and NO. Overbay is 33 going to be 34. Exactly why they are balking at signing Dunn? What are you thinking with this? Do you want this team to be like the Cubs? I'm not seven sure why they are interested in way too old Carlos Pena unless its a smoke screen. Haven't you seen enough of declining older players? Harris, Guzman, Marquis, etc? C'mon!!!!

  4. BQ - Sep 18, 2010 at 8:58 PM

    I can somewhat understand Nationals reluctance to sign Dunn. He won't come cheap and his lack of defense. He is a great ball club player and Ryan asking FO to sign him already says a lot about Dunn. But based on our pitching talents, we need a much better defensive infield than Dunn can provide. Solely for his superior defense, I suggested his name. Our offense will take a hit if we replace Dunn with any other FA, that's for sure. Even Pena might not be able to match Dunn's numbers offensively and defensively. He will be even pricier than Dunn so I won't understand if Nats FO go for him. If we have to give up on offense, I would like to gain big time on defense and Lyle can do that for us I think.

  5. SonnyG10 - Sep 18, 2010 at 8:58 PM

    Yea, enough of the old timers. Sign somebody in their prime, if available, or grow our own.

  6. Doc - Sep 18, 2010 at 9:05 PM

    Morse beats both those clowns in areas of offense. Crawford may have Morse and Overbay beat in areas of defense. Morse also beats Overbay in age. Dunn makes Overbay look like bench strength, at best. Overbay gets signed by his mother, presuming that she owns a team!

  7. BQ - Sep 18, 2010 at 9:17 PM

    I don't see Morse as an everyday answer to any position. He is a great fourth OF. Morse is better than Crawford offensively? I doubt that. Here is a graph I came up with: of Crawford, Barton, Morse, and Overbay. I am not making any conclusions based on this though.Like I said before, Dunn is obviously much better offensively than Lyle but if we have to give up on Dunn's offense, we need to earn solid defense in return that I think overbay promises more than most.

  8. Richard - Sep 18, 2010 at 9:17 PM

    Dunn makes two great picks on one-hop throws and STILL the morons complain about "his lack of defense".

  9. BQ - Sep 18, 2010 at 9:28 PM

    @ Richard, I can also mention isolated defensive or offensive performances of otherwise wretched ball players. That does not prove anything. Dunn's defense is not his plus, the whole MLB knows that. He has improved himself at that position and done what the management asked of him, no doubt about it. But his asking price should be reasonable too.And I am not calling Dunn wretched.

  10. Sec3MySofa - Sep 18, 2010 at 10:26 PM

    Dunn's defense is close enough to average that we can stop talking about it as a factor. It isn't one. No one knows for sure when he will decline, only that we will, someday. I think the odds are good that he's got another three good years in him, and that's what they need, even if they pay him for it over the course of four or more.He's not asking for too much money, assuming for the sake of argument we even KNOW how much he's asking for, really, which we do not. He's asking for more than they've been willing to sign for, so far. If no one else is willing to pay him that, either (time and money), they he won't get it, and he'll have to take less. But he'll play baseball in 2011 somewhere in MLB, and get paid a lot of money by somebody to do it. The Nationals need him a lot more than he needs them.

  11. sofa - Sep 18, 2010 at 10:31 PM

    *then* he won't get it…

  12. Richard - Sep 18, 2010 at 11:13 PM

    Yeah, well, I shoulda said "we morons" still say he lacks defense.

  13. BQ - Sep 18, 2010 at 11:45 PM

    If Ramos had found a way to get on base, we might have seen another GS by Maxwell in the first inning. Meanwhile Dunn keeps not helping his own cause. Strikes out with a runner on 3rd. BTW How was Ramos' play against Victorino? Can someone please describe it?

  14. Dryw - Sep 18, 2010 at 11:56 PM

    BQ, it looked to me like the throw was really close to going into right. I thought Des made a nice grab and perfect tag to get the out. But I wasn't watching closely, so maybe it was a better throw than I thought.

  15. Dryw - Sep 18, 2010 at 11:56 PM

    Did Ray just say "these teams that are so offensive?"

  16. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me - Sep 19, 2010 at 12:15 AM

    Man, who put truth serum in Sunshine Bobby's Kool-Aid tonight? He's ripping J. Zimm'nn for just about everything…pitch selection, command, haircut, etc. etc. He's also indirectly ripping McCatty for not figuring out a way to pitch to Ibanez, something just about every other team in the league has figured out.Then, of course, the complaints about playing ArenaBall in this bandbox.

  17. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Sep 19, 2010 at 12:18 AM

    I think we can just about eliminate J. Zimm'nn from the Opening Day pitcher's sweepstakes. The way this chump is pitching, he'll be lucky to make the 25-man out of ST. He's showing me absolutely nothing.

  18. BQ - Sep 19, 2010 at 1:53 AM

    Let's try to take positives from this game. I just saw Espinosa score on Desmond's triple. Kid has some serious speed and it will be nice to see him and Desmond hit back to back next season if Espinosa can succeed as a leadoff hitter.

  19. Sam - Sep 19, 2010 at 4:05 AM

    Boy, I'm not quite sure what goes on when some people decide to post…1.) Why in the world would anyone be comparing Crawford's defense to Overbay's? One plays outfield and the other plays first base.2.) Mike Morse does not beat Crawford offensively. Morse has had one good half of a year compared to Crawford's six good years offensively.3.) We're not signing Crawford anyway, so stop worrying about it…4.) Dunn's defense MAY be average, it MAY be horrid, or it MAY be amazing, or it may be somewhere in between. We can't rightfully make conclusive statements about how good he is defensively, regardless of one year's worth of UZR (which is, by far, not nearly enough) or even if we had 5 years' worth of UZR data. It's not that I don't like UZR (I do like it), it's just not very conclusive. It's more like a step in the right direction. There's just not much to compare defense to in the way that wOBA, for example, predicts runs scored very well.5.) Zimmermann hadn't faced Major League batters in over a year. Five starts and we are throwing him under the bus? Seems a bit quick, no?6.) Can we embrace ambiguity? There isn't always one correct answer. It's just like math (because baseball statistics focus so much on math): there may be one final destination (i.e. winning), but there are many ways to get there. It's really not fair to say "so and so sucks and shouldn't be on the team." It's more fair to say, "so and so has played poorly lately but still might turn things around," or something along those lines. In other words, don't jump to conclusions! That's the FO's job. Maybe it's just an online thing by which it is impossible to truly convey emotions. Instead of "the Nationals should do this," people should say, "I believe the Nationals should do this, AND here is my well-thought out and planned reasoning in logical arguments with factual evidence." No one cares about your opinion if you don't have a reason for it. For example, "Justin Maxwell sucks and shouldn't start." Well, maybe, but why? If you say it is because he has struck out in 36.4% of his Major League at-bats, well, you're on to something. But don't jump down people's throats when they bring up the fact that he has an unfathomably low .180 BABIP this season and has an outstanding 17.5% walk rate. Maybe he nets to get into a "groove."That is all. Thank you, and good night.

  20. BQ - Sep 19, 2010 at 4:41 AM

    Sam, thank you for a wonderful post. I specially liked your 6th point. It is like a guideline for most of us.

  21. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Sep 19, 2010 at 6:08 AM

    Sam, you're WAYYYYYYYYYYYY too logical and sensible for this board.

  22. Section 109 - Sep 19, 2010 at 6:57 AM

    Hello everyone from Asolo, Italy, a beautiful place in the hills about 90 minutes fr Venice. Bummer, we lost again. Thank you Sam for your post, and I want to say that this board is more civil than some others, which is why it's my favorite–that and Mark, of course! Over here, the sun has come out after 2.5 days of rain. Hope it's a good omen for today's game.

  23. Richard - Sep 19, 2010 at 10:33 AM

    Thanks, Sam, we needed that, but ditto what Sunshine_Bobby said — it's WAYYYYYYYY too logical. A vent or rant is okay here occasionally (but not too often or you have to answer some rude questions about your ancestry). You're supposed to ignore the obviously irrational, illogical, unfair, really dumb but therapeutic rant and relish the rational, civil, humane, funny ones like yours and Section 109's (ciao to Section 109 in Italia bella, I'm envious as heck).

  24. JayB - Sep 19, 2010 at 10:47 AM

    From Kilgore's story today….Miss Mark's work but the story is the same AGAIN…."Willie Harris followed and struck out to end the inning."…..Riggs should be fired for executing the definition of insanity…doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting different results each time.

  25. Atomic Overmind - Sep 19, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    Aaaand speaking of ranting, There's JayB, right on cue. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  26. Anonymous - Sep 19, 2010 at 12:31 PM

    Boy, I am just getting sick of Ray Knight's ramblings on how good the Nats are. Ray….hello!……we are in last place, we are a horrible hitting team with men on base, our starting pitching is gasoline on a fire and we are probably around last in defense…….HELLO!

  27. CapPeterson - Sep 19, 2010 at 12:41 PM

    Can I say that I enjoyed Sam's contribution but also always JayB's comments?Didn't get it the 1st time but really enjoyed Sam's sly remark "Don't jump to conclusions. That's the FO's job." Look, we're all backseat drivers in a vehicle that's headed once again, if not to 100+ losses, pretty darn close to it (not too optimistic about the rest of the year). It's reasonable that, if you've been carefully watching the driver instead of texting or sleeping or waving to truckdrivers, you might have questions about the choice of routes the driver's made along the way. (Clearly, the majority of happy fans attending the games–the ones who "enjoy the experience" and smile when "Don't Worry, Be Happy, Everything's Gonna Be Alright" blares out over the PA system after another loss–are not watching the driver.)So why can't JayB express annoyance about Willie H striking out in a critical spot? Why did Willie swing at the 2-0 pitch that looked like ball 3? Sam (or Gentleman Jim) might say "Willie has played poorly lately but he might turn things around." I look at Willie's age, the trajectory of his career as a utility man, his performance this year, and am willing to jump to the conclusion that this guy's MLB career is just about over. Even if the FO and Sam are not ready to make that leap yet.

  28. Golfersal - Sep 19, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    So even Mark isn't at the game.For me it's getting too painful to watch these games, it's like you know they are going to lose.Wish I felt better

  29. Mark Zuckerman - Sep 19, 2010 at 3:24 PM

    Section 109 said…Hello everyone from Asolo, Italy, a beautiful place in the hills about 90 minutes fr Venice. Bummer, we lost again. Thank you Sam for your post, and I want to say that this board is more civil than some others, which is why it's my favorite–that and Mark, of course! Over here, the sun has come out after 2.5 days of rain. Hope it's a good omen for today's game.Very cool, Section 109. Sounds like a beautiful place … so why on earth are you wasting time posting on this site??? You're in Italy for crying out loud! Go out and enjoy it and don't spend a moment thinking about the Nats. We'll still be here when you get back! :)

  30. Anonymous - Sep 19, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    @Sam,1. Its more about age. Crawford is the only decent bat and glove that is under 30. Get the picture now? Good. The problem is he plays left field. Apparently, so does Willingham, and so too does Bernadina (but he looks like a utility guy at this point). Morgan, because of his arm and not his comportment should also be in left field. They still need a CF and an RF. 2. Mike Morse has the potential to beat Crawford offensively. This is his very first full year in the majors. He really hasn't been given the chances Crawford has. Crawford's big advantage? His left handed bat. Okay? Its why the FO is interested since they just might lose Adam Dunn's bat.3. Never say never again, hmm I think that was a movie title? … at least not with Rizzo.4. Dunn is 35th defensively among first baseman. That's last. He is eighth offensively, which is very good. The problem here again is age. They don't want to end up like the Cubbies. Their manager walked out on them. 'Kay?5. No one is throwing Zimmermann under the bus. But the starting rotation for 2011 seems completely up in the air at this point. They really can't rely on either Zimmermann or Detwiler to be there at the top of the rotation next year. They are still getting their feet wet in the major leagues!!!??? So, who do you call Sam? Ghostbusters? Oh, that's Livo right? Or other innings eaters and bottom 5-6 of the rotation … that would be Lannan and Marquis too. Oh, there's Garrett Mock!? Honestly, today's pitcher, Yuniesky Maya looks to be their best bet for reliable starts in the top 3 slots in the rotation.C'MON! Mike Rizzo knows that this situation is unacceptable. He will have to address it one way or another in the offseason. And the only way looks to be through key trades and perhaps a free agent signing. Still, getting a reliable6. Oh you're back on Maxwell again … man you will never learn? Embrace ambiguity? You need to get Lasik. Riggleman, remember him? Gentleman JIm himself said that Maxwell cannot hit major league fastballs. That Maxwell and Eckstein have been trying to work on that.Let me repeat for you really slowly so you understand because as I recall you had a really hard time with this when we were comparing Maxwell with Morse.Maxwell cannot hit major league fastballs. That means he cannot hit major league hitting. Yes, if they put something big and fat in front of him with the bases loaded he will eventually connect … but he may never hit higher than .200 even if he walks a bit.Why? Because JimBo moved him up way too fast. He did not spend enough time at the AA and advanced A levels before jumping up to the majors. And then he was ping-ponging between AAA and the majors. Mostly because there was no talent in the minors and he was better than most of what they did have. Which wasn't much. Sorry to inform you but things have changed. Talent is starting to percolate up from the low A up. Maxwell is now way too old to be a prospect.So, what should Maxwell do? He should play winter ball. He has to get past this ego-ic view of himself as a superstar in the making. He can't hit period. Can it be corrected? Perhaps but it requires practice, practice, practice … and winter ball would be the place to get it … along with a decent hitting instructor/coach or two.Okay? Sheesh.That is all dude and as they say in old Mexico City, AMF.

  31. Sam - Sep 19, 2010 at 4:30 PM

    I'm going to leave the Maxwell thing alone because we never get anywhere discussing it. You think he can't hit in the Major Leagues; and I believe he still might. We agree to disagree.Let's look at Crawford's offensive production throughout his career (wRC+): 75, 86, 110, 120, 126, 124, 95, 126, 137. Career: 114Mike Morse: 101, 137, 193, 102, 101, 126. Career: 116. However, Morse's numbers are skewed by, for example, the 193, which occurred in 20 PAs.In other words, if you want to judge, even though Morse has had 1/9 the PAs as Crawford, Morse is hardly better. Crawford has had consistently good years.That having been said, I understand that Crawford is older (by half a year) and that Morse will be much cheaper. Morse might be better value than Crawford, especially to a team like the Nationals, who really shouldn't be making big FA signings. But Morse is not BETTER than Crawford. There's just no evidence for that.



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