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Game 149: Nats at Phillies

Sep 19, 2010, 3:20 PM EDT


File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Yunesky Maya tries to salvage the series for the Nats today at Citizens Bank Park.

Citizens Bank Park hasn't been the friendliest venue for the Nationals. Since 2005, the Nats are 17-36 at the home of the Phillies. It's even worse over the last two years, when the Nats are 3-14 there. In fact, their only two wins in Philly this season came on April 15 (when Ryan Zimmerman clubbed a pinch-hit home run) and on August 21 (when Stephen Strasburg dominated for 4 1/3 innings before his elbow blew out).

So the pressure's on Yunesky Maya today to try to salvage one game out of this weekend and ensure the Nationals don't get swept in any of their three series in the City of Brotherly Love this season. In each of his two previous big-league starts, Maya has struggled through one disastrous inning early on, then rebounded to pitch quite well after that. The challenge today will be to pitch effectively from the start and then sustain that all afternoon.

Joe Blanton starts for the Phillies, facing a lineup that includes Roger Bernadina in center field and Willie Harris in left.

As you know by now, I'm not in Philadelphia for this series. I'll be back on the job tomorrow for the start of the home series against the Astros. In the meantime, enjoy today's game and please continue the conversation with each other…

NATIONALS at PHILLIES
Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m.
TV: Ch. 50, MASN
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 80 degrees, Wind 4 mph out to RF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (62-86)
2B Danny Espinosa
SS Ian Desmond
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn

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  1. BQ - Sep 19, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    I am more worried about the home stand against Astros than this last game because Astros have been one of the better spoiler teams like O's than us.Anyways, we have some good numbers against Blanton and I hope we can do something about it, something like win a ball game and put a 100 loss season behind us for good.

  2. Anonymous - Sep 19, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    REPost:@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. Okay?6. 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.

  3. BQ - Sep 19, 2010 at 4:13 PM

    @ Anon 11:34,1. My proposed solution to OF troubles is signing of Crawford as LF, moving Hammer to RF, and putting Bernie at CF. Hammer played as RF for some games last year but I don't know his defensive statistics at that position. I think this OF gives us two speedy guys and two players who can drive in some runs. What is your solution? I am guessing it involved Hammer at LF and Morse at RF with a new CF, right?2. Morse has potential to beat Crawford's production? Crawford was drafted a year before Morse in 99 and has done great with chances he has been given. Morse has struggled with injuries and lacked tools such as speed (which he still lacks I think), defense and consistent offense. Having him and Hammer in the OF is not really an ideal OF for any team. Defense wise, lot of responsibility would be on CF then because Morse and Hammer's limited range. These two aren't fast enough to get to balls that for example, Crawford can get to. I am sorry your point was about offense so I will say ask you one question. Morse hasn't passed Crawford in his 6 seasons in big leagues yet, what makes you think he can do so now?I will comment on others later.

  4. natsfan1a - Sep 19, 2010 at 4:46 PM

    Hope that Maya might channel Good Livo today and stop the L streak before the Nats head home.Seconding Mark's comment from the earlier thread, I always enjoy hearing from sec 109 but…dang. You're in Italy, enjoy the magnificent art, food, and sights and let us worry about the Nats for today. :-) (btw, if you haven't yet had a gelato for me, make mine chocolate. You might also have a cappuccino for me if you are so inclined…) "See" you later!

  5. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 19, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    OK everybody,,,here's 10 things I noticed yesterday at the FL Instructional League work out.1. Bobby Henly can yell really loud, espcially when he's pissed.2. Bryce Harper is the biggest 17 year old baseball player I've ever seen.3. Despite evidence during MLB games otherwise, the Nats really do work on rundown plays.4. And again, despite evidence during the MLB games otherwise, the Nats spend alot of time working on their pitchers ability to bunt.5. Despite a 10-12 mph breeze blowing in directly from RF Bryce harper was still able to crush a couple of 400'ers.6. Bob Boone really likes Sammy Solis. Don't be surprised if he makes a rapid ascent to the starting rotation next season if he produces as expected.7. Josh Smoker looks like a midget compared to A.J. Cole and Solis.8. Jesus Flores says he feels great, was decked out in catchers gear, yet never picked up a baseball, at least while I was watching.9. Chen Ming Wang looks good, can bunt, but like Flores, never picked up a baseball. 10. Spin Williams spends most of his time getting the young pitchers to properly throw a change up.I'm going to the games next Friday and Saturday and tell you what I see.

  6. Anonymous - Sep 19, 2010 at 6:31 PM

    Thanks for the timely reporting NatsJack!

  7. Anonymous - Sep 19, 2010 at 6:40 PM

    @BQ,Willingham is now past 30, has a knee injury to go with the back. Its why he didn't end up as a major league catcher. Speedwise? Morse used to be a starting major league shortstop. Willingham used to be a catcher. Which do you think is faster? Who do you think has the better arm? Doh!?That said, IF and that as HUGE IF, they manage to trade Crawford I suspect that Willingham goes either to first base or is packaged as a part of a trade for a top-of-the-rotation starter. Morse probably ends up on the bench again … his fielding is still suspect in the outfield … I think he really needs to work on that this winter to be a bonafide starter. As far as hitting. The guy is probably going to hit .300 this year. The past 2 years since coming back from the shoulder surgery he has hit well over .300 in the minors with a pretty high OPS. Unlike Maxwell he can hit major league pitching. He needs to make some adjustments to his swing, perhaps use a lighter bat and he will likely hit 2)+ home runs for you.Now you still want a Crawford in left field over a Willingham (trade) if you can get him. Why? He bats left and unlike Willingham and Dunn is under 30. Because Bernadina has really tailed off and looks very much like a utility outfielder and not a starter. Or you could put Morgan in left, find a new centerfielder and put Crawford (again if you can convince him to come) in right field. That's what I would do. Morgan's arm is just way too weak to be in center or right fields. If they manage to re-up Dunn doubt you'll see Crawford too but who knows? But I suspect Willingham will have to be traded (plus a JZimmnn or Detwiler and others) to trade for a pitcher they can pencil in at the top of the rotation.

  8. Anonymous - Sep 19, 2010 at 7:33 PM

    Speaking of Morse … versus Willie Harris? 3 run homer for #11.

  9. Anonymous - Sep 19, 2010 at 7:35 PM

    * and he will likely hit 20+ home runs for you.Is there any doubt?

  10. Doc - Sep 19, 2010 at 7:46 PM

    About M. Morse—no doubt! 20+ yeah. Maybe 30+ is a better estimate; just has to stay healthy.

  11. The Anti-Clint - Sep 19, 2010 at 8:54 PM

    What the ####? Well it was good game except for the bottom of the ninth. Storen got creamed. What a heartbreaking loss…

  12. BQ - Sep 19, 2010 at 8:59 PM

    I think I will take a couple of days off from watching baseball. Today's loss really hurts, given our bullpen has been pretty reliable most of the time.

  13. Golfersal - Sep 19, 2010 at 9:54 PM

    I am sorry but again the frustration continues.I am not a big believer of Riggleman and believe he should be replaced but you can't fault him on today, Storen is the closure and was suppose to do the deed.Now we have seen this before from Storen, this is the third or fourth blown save from him compared to four saves for the year. Do we just be patient with this guy?The one nice thing is that he is getting a lot of experience with this on the job training but for the fans it's a total turnoff.Think it's time to demote Mr. Storen and let him earn the closure role. Sean Burnett has shown us so much more in the last couple of weeks and should be the guy, for the time being.Again a totally frustrated day of baseball, wonder how Bobby Cox and the Braves must feel.

  14. Golfersal - Sep 19, 2010 at 9:57 PM

    Oh, one last thing.Anybody else getting sick and tired of seeing these after loss Riggleman interview in which they try and bring out the positives of the day.Sorry but Riggleman needs to kick ass and say that he is ready to tar and feather Drew Storen on the bus home.I am just getting sick of seeing the positives of a loss, yes today's loss was because one player but a loss is a loss and should be treated the way it is, a big negative

  15. Harper_ROY_2012 - Sep 19, 2010 at 10:41 PM

    On top of a 1B and RF in the off season, lets add a closer to the list…Storen has blown 2 of 6 opportunities and needs some more time as a 7th or 8th inning guy before we give him the ball every day!

  16. Anonymous - Sep 19, 2010 at 11:53 PM

    @Harper_ROY_12,On top of a 1B and RF in the off season, lets add a closer to the list…Storen has blown 2 of 6 opportunities and needs some more time as a 7th or 8th inning guy before we give him the ball every day!Its ironic that you would make that statement of course! Figures. This is exactly WHY Bryce Harper should NOT BE, REPEAT for the learning impaired? NOT BE RUSHED to the majors. Storen is very good young player with an excellent college baseball resume behind him. And here you are ready to replace him with who? MacDougal? Hanrahan just to name a couple? Capps gave us a few heart attacks as well … Storen is young, he will learn … I still think they should have made him into a starter because looky looky that is what they need and I think he would make a great one … but hey he wanted the fast track to the majors. This was a learning experience. A very, very good learning experience … and well timed because this season is basically meaningless except for tutoring young players like Storen and Strasburg. That is what this season was supposed to be about.

  17. JayB - Sep 20, 2010 at 12:11 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. JayB - Sep 20, 2010 at 12:13 AM

    "except for tutoring young players like Storen and Strasburg. That is what this season was supposed to be about."……Wrong, so Wrong….this season had to be about respectable baseball and a run at .500…..Season Ticket base was down to about 10,000 and now…..once it gets below that (6000 is my guess +1 me)….they will not be able to hide an empty stadium….it will look like FL for a good number of games next year. Going to be ugly…

  19. Anonymous - Sep 20, 2010 at 2:52 AM

    Today happened because the Phils play to win and the Nationals play to lose. Our players know, after a loss, their manager will be identifying some of the "positives" that come from being defeated again. The players grow very comfortable with defeat. "Today was a really good loss for the Nationals…"

  20. JayB - Sep 20, 2010 at 9:56 AM

    Exactly….This comes from years of training. Rizzo has to take the lead and change the culture and that means Riggs and even Zimm at this point.

  21. Big Cat - Sep 20, 2010 at 10:25 AM

    NatsJack……keep me posted on the progress on Solis and A.J. Cole. Cole might be better than Solis. Oh yeah….also on "The Chosen One" Harper

  22. Big Cat - Sep 20, 2010 at 12:41 PM

    I don't think Maxwell has a big ego. From all reports the kid is a humble, hard working guy who is struggling to make it at the next level. They tried to hand him the job in spring, but he just couldn't hit. He has a slow bat, not a good thing. I think Morse has earned the starting right field job for next year. He started hot and then went cold when the pitchers started busting him in on his fists. To his credit he adjusted to that and has been solid ever since. He's got some pop too. You see him take that inside heater the other day and deposit it into the rightcenter bleachers?

  23. DCGuy7 - Sep 20, 2010 at 12:53 PM

    if Morse didn't earn a starting/platoon position yesterday with that three run dinger, i don't know what will earn it for him.

  24. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 20, 2010 at 1:07 PM

    Big Cat….. I'm going to this Friday and Saturday games in Kissimmee and at Disney and will let everyone know how it goes.As for A.J. Cole, I agree that he could be better but he has alot of physical maturing to do first (6'4 and 180lbs.). Sammy Solis is pretty much a finished product in that he's 6'5" and about 235lbs. And Harper is a physical beast. I have no idea what he projects size wise in 4 or 5 years.

  25. Harper_ROY_2012 - Sep 20, 2010 at 1:07 PM

    @ Anon 753pmHarper and Storen are apples and oranges as are hitters and pitchers, if youth impaired hitting why did ARod, Junior and now Heyward all excel at a young age. Pitchers need to matrue which is why he needs to move to a regular slot in the bullpen not the closer spot. Whether you like it or not Bryce is coming and he will be here in 2012 (barring injury), will you be there to WITNESS it!?

  26. Big Cat - Sep 20, 2010 at 1:20 PM

    NatsJack…..is Cole Kimball down there? He had some nasty stats in Harrisburg this year. I think he is high on their list

  27. Richard - Sep 20, 2010 at 1:24 PM

    I think Storen is a good illustration of the point anon @ 10:52 is making. He's a young guy whose focus doesn't seem to be 100% on winning now. There's an article in Sunday's Post about his admirable desire to go back to Stanford immediately after the team's last game vs. the Mets and, if things don't work out in baseball, he's got a Plan B. I'd rather have Peralta, who seems 100% focused on Plan A — staying in the majors — pitching the 9th. The attitude on the team, from Stan K. and Rizzo and Riggleman and most of the players seems to suggest that winning isn't important — right now. We can slog through September giving try-outs and thinking of Stanford or fishing trips or etc. Maybe it's unrealistic to expect 100% focus on winning every game, all 162, and, if you lose, you've failed. Period. But it's tough to watch the slog.

  28. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 20, 2010 at 1:30 PM

    Big Cat… Cole Kimball is not on the roster and I didn't see him during the bunting drills.

  29. Anonymous - Sep 20, 2010 at 1:32 PM

    If you are in the closers role, you better be concerned with winning.As for Storen, he has nothing more to prove in the minors. He burnt up every league he was in. It hurt us to trade Capps, for he was an all star and mentor to young Storen. Storen will be fine. This is how you learn, getting your butt kicked

  30. Big Cat - Sep 20, 2010 at 1:40 PM

    NatsJack….one last thing, then I'll leave you alone. Bonus baby Josh Smoker is down there. Had a horrible year in low A. Also, Rob Wort. Saw him in Potomac. Liked him. Very frail with a super live arm. Keep me posted

  31. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 20, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    Big Cat… Yes, I saw Smoker and he was dwarfed by Solis and Cole. Wort and the rest of the P-Nats commanded to attend weren't going to report till yesterday.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 57 46 --
ATLANTA 58 48 0.5
MIAMI 52 53 6.0
NEW YORK 51 55 7.5
PHILADELPHIA 46 60 12.5
Through Monday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

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TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
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