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Game 153: Astros at Nats

Sep 23, 2010, 4:53 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Ross Detwiler gets a chance to start today at Nationals Park.

Updated with Zimmerman scratched from lineup

When Adam Dunn got hit with a pitch right above his right elbow last night, he described the feeling as "the worst pain I've ever had in baseball." Dunn, though, expressed confidence he'd be back in the Nationals' lineup for today's series finale against the Astros.

Well, Dunn's not in today's lineup. Adam Kennedy will start at first base and bat second. Ian Desmond takes over the third spot, ahead of Ryan Zimmerman and Roger Bernadina. We'll find out what his status is and whether this is anything serious or just a precautionary measure.

Meanwhile, Ross Detwiler makes his fourth start of the season and first since August 5, after which he was placed back on the DL with a recurrence of pain in his surgically repaired right hip. Detwiler returned healthy at the start of September, but his rotation spot was gone, so he's made three bullpen appearances in the interim, tossing six scoreless innings in the process. If the former first-round draft pick is going to thrust himself back into the mix for a starting job next spring, today might be his last chance to make a case.

Journeyman Nelson Figueroa starts for Houston. Why does his name sound familiar? Because he's the former Mets pitcher who in 2008 referred to Elijah Dukes and Lastings Milledge as "softball girls" after those two started up some encouraging chants from the dugout at Shea Stadium. I wonder if word will circulate to Figueroa that Livan Hernandez, Miguel Batista and Joel Peralta were taking hacks at neon yellow softballs with metal bats this afternoon.

Check back for updates throughout…

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 4:35 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 89 degrees, Wind 8 mph out to CF

2B Danny Espinosa
1B Adam Kennedy
SS Ian Desmond
RF Michael Morse


  1. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2010 at 5:07 PM

    I had a feeling about Dunn's plunking.Verrry interresting about the softball bp. I'm sure it's just a coincidence. (wink wink, nudge nudge) Wonder whether the bats and balls may have been courtesy of the Long Haul Bombers. I think their tour had a DC stop again this summer. I saw them before a Nats game (last year, I think?) and they put on quite a show. Guze got a (signed) bat or two from them, if memory serves.

  2. joemktg - Sep 23, 2010 at 5:26 PM

    RT @SI_JonHeyman: stan kasten resigned from the #nats today.

  3. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2010 at 5:26 PM

    Say, weren't Figueroa and Livo teammates in New York? hmmmm… Well played, Livo. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Steve M. - Sep 23, 2010 at 5:37 PM

    Wow, first Boswell's article in the Post today and now this from SI and Jon Heyman:Washington Nationals president Stan Kasten resigned Thursday, according to sources. There was no immediate reason given for his resignation. He will remain through the end of the season.Kasten, 58, had been the Nationals' president since 2006 and prior to that he was president of the Atlanta Braves. Kasten was one of the key architects of the Braves' run of success that resulted in 14 consecutive division titles and the 1995 World Series championship.Read more:

  5. dcusimano123 - Sep 23, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    O/U on attendance today… 10,500.

  6. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2010 at 5:40 PM

    What would be the point of resigning with only 10 games to go, unless he'd gotten an offer somewhere else and needed to commit now. And why break the story with a national rather than a local outlet?

  7. Steve M. - Sep 23, 2010 at 5:48 PM

    natsfan1a – He gave his 2 weeks notice like any good employee (lol).

  8. HHover - Sep 23, 2010 at 5:50 PM

    Bernadina bats 5th, huh? Classic autopilot managing by Riggs–a RHP is starting, so he moves the slumping lefty up and moves down the righty Morse. Never mind that Morse's BA is 100 pts better over the last 10 games than Roger, with 2 HRs, and 40 pts better on the season vs. righties.Sheesh.As for Kasten – I've never had very strong feelings about him one way or the other, but I can't say he's improved my opinion of him by the manner of his exit: the team fails on its expected show of improvement this year, and so he runs for the door before the bus stops moving, with a "nyah-nyah, it's not my fault" yelled over his shoulder.The answer to your question, natsfan1a, is that this announcement is that he's doing damage control on his reputation in the business.

  9. Steve M. - Sep 23, 2010 at 5:55 PM

    They should hire Frank Robinson as team President since Kasten will be gone.I see Kasten leaving as good news/bad news. Just hope they don't hire another brown-noser in a key position (Kasten wasn't). They don't need someone that will tell the Lerners what they want to hear, they need to hire someone who will tell Lerner what they need to hear!

  10. N. Cognito - Sep 23, 2010 at 6:02 PM

    Steve M. said… "They should hire Frank Robinson as team President since Kasten will be gone."Can you remind us all which nights you are performing at the Comedy Club. :)

  11. Doc - Sep 23, 2010 at 7:03 PM

    Riggleman's shuffling of the BA, makes even less sense with Dunn out. His take on R/L hitters, vs. R/L pitchers has even less merit with with Morse and Bernie being the shufflees.Guess Riggleman prefers his own baseball delusions to actual stats. That's the kind of attitude that gets a mediocre manager fired.

  12. Anonymous - Sep 23, 2010 at 7:20 PM

    Figueroa never referred to Elijah Dukes and Lastings Milledge as "softball girls." He said their cheering was like girls at a softball game. Check the video.

  13. Tcostant - Sep 23, 2010 at 7:54 PM

    No Dunn or Zimmerman, I'm glad I stayed at work rather than heading to D.C. for that.

  14. JayB - Sep 23, 2010 at 8:54 PM

    Mark,Are the Nats worried about Ross D. Fastball…he has lost at least 4-5 MPH since being drafted and pitching 3 outs that first year. FX numbers from last year at this time have him topping out at 94 MPH…this year he is at 90 and rarely a 91 or so…..what are they saying about this….

  15. Anonymous - Sep 23, 2010 at 9:18 PM

    Wonder where Natsjack is with our Florida Instructional League (plus Harper) update?

  16. Anonymous - Sep 23, 2010 at 9:22 PM

    HAH!! I just love it … Rizzo again contradicts Giggleman. "I like competition, I like guys fighting over things. Nothing is set in stone."Giggleman: "no chance Espinosa competes for shortstop"And the FO wants the Nats to return to Giggleman's Island? Isn't it time to switch the channel?

  17. Anonymous - Sep 23, 2010 at 10:06 PM

    Great news! Lexus seats are dropping $50 next year (season ticket holders). Red Carpet Rewards continued, and more.

  18. Dryw - Sep 23, 2010 at 10:06 PM

    Michael Morse!!!

  19. dj in Fl. - Sep 23, 2010 at 10:09 PM

    Sure as heck looks like Riggs knew exactly what he was doing with todays lineup.

  20. LoveDaNats - Sep 23, 2010 at 10:32 PM

    These boys are on fire! Fun to watch.

  21. BQ - Sep 23, 2010 at 10:37 PM

    September truly is like no other month when it comes to baseball. I would say better than October, especially for us Nats fans.

  22. Doc - Sep 23, 2010 at 10:40 PM

    The code to decipher for the Nats in 2011 is Morse!!!!

  23. Michael J. Hayde - Sep 23, 2010 at 10:50 PM

    "Drew Storen is on from the bullpen. Hmm, not exactly closer duties here."I like how Riggs compared this situation to that of Wetteland and Rivera. Exactly right: in the absence of Capps, you go with the guy who has more MLB mileage. How many sports writers/columnists thought "Not exactly closer duties here" every time Rivera relieved in the 8th inning during his debut year? Liars.

  24. Doc - Sep 23, 2010 at 11:01 PM

    Any votes for Ballystar for closer next year??Just wondering.

  25. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2010 at 11:13 PM

    Gotta say I was cheering like a softball girl watching that one on tv. Good pitching, good defense, and some timely hitting. Niiiice…

  26. Anonymous8 - Sep 23, 2010 at 11:24 PM

    These last 3 wins are big as the Nats are back over .500 at home at 38-37

  27. Michael J. Hayde - Sep 23, 2010 at 11:24 PM

    "Any votes for Ballystar for closer next year??"Based on this game, no. Last thing we need is another high-wire act. ("Paging Mr. Chad Cordero, your trademark lawyer is on line one.")No doubt the job will be Storen's one day, but as Riggs said, it doesn't have to be next week or even next year.

  28. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2010 at 11:32 PM

    Yeah, I'd be inclined to vote "no," too.

  29. Anonymous - Sep 23, 2010 at 11:51 PM

    The defense was sparkling today! Fun game to watch and an unexpected win with zim and dunn out of the line-up.

  30. Anonymous - Sep 23, 2010 at 11:52 PM

    At this point, the closer role is Burnett's to lose.

  31. Anonymous - Sep 24, 2010 at 12:17 AM

    Storen will close next year. Its okay to have a lefty-righty closer combo. Used to be the thing many managers tried to have back-in-the day. Burnett and Storen are both young enough to make that work.Bally and Bisensius? Either they are trade bait or they make someone else "trade bait" by outperforming them. The Nationals clearly need more assets to get to .500 and above.

  32. Golfersal - Sep 24, 2010 at 1:29 AM

    When I sat in my seat in section 208, everyone was talking about the lineup and using the words, Triple A to show how bad it was.But it's funny things clicked, I really feel that maybe, just maybe Rizzo could be correct on Dunn. He isn't that great and never does anything clutch wise.I feel that Morse can replace Dunn at first, give us better fielding and better all around hitting. Yes he will have 25 less homeruns but will give us something that Dunn hasn't given, consistency I am really surprised that it took the Nationals so long to realize his worth. He has been great all year.

  33. naeema - Sep 24, 2010 at 3:52 AM

    I am really grateful for today's win but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Our infield defense can be pretty solid, just like today if Espinosa maintains his range, Desmond cuts down on his errors, and Ryan keeps doing what he does best. Since Danny's addition I am not as much worried about infield defense as outfield. Morse has played some good baseball all season long. Nice clutch hitting lately, good show of power, and everything. But with him and Hammer as part of our OF, I would be worried about our defense on daily basis. Another issue would be speed on base paths. Only Bernie is capable of providing us with 30+ steals. I don't think Morse is fast enough to be a threat and neither Hammer.Don't get me wrong. The matches like today's make me wish also that we would see a completely 'home grown' (not really, Bernie was FA, and Hammer and Morse came via trade) OF that can produce everyday at the big level. But…

  34. JaneB - Sep 24, 2010 at 5:15 AM

    I was on a plane when this game was played but in had almost as much fun reading these posts about it as I might have had in the stands. Hurrah for these guys producing the way they did. I had seen Dunn was out…but if I'd known Zim was out too, I'd have said it was the astros game. So glad I was wrong, I laughed out loud at the " show of hands…". Also at the idea that the Lerners would or should bring in Frank as president. Which made N. Cognito's remark even funnier.I'm so g,ad Morse is doing so well, and that Danny has turned a corner. Go Nats! Now I just have to decide if I hate the phillies fans enough to want the braves to win. I'm torn. I

  35. natsfan1a - Sep 24, 2010 at 12:43 PM

    JaneB, I was doing some similar soul-searching last night. I despise the Phillies Phiefdom more, but then there's that whole tomahawk-chop thing.—Now I just have to decide if I hate the phillies fans enough to want the braves to win. I'm torn.

  36. Anonymous - Sep 24, 2010 at 12:57 PM

    "Today's paid attendance: 14,633, easily the largest crowd of the series. Still, this entire, four-game series drew 49,738. That's only about 4,000 more than the Phillies drew for last night's game alone."One word: SAD, the fan base here stinks!

  37. N. Cognito - Sep 24, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    Anonymous said… "Today's paid attendance: 14,633, easily the largest crowd of the series. Still, this entire, four-game series drew 49,738. That's only about 4,000 more than the Phillies drew for last night's game alone.""One word: SAD, the fan base here stinks!"What do you think the Phillies would draw with the same record we have? You must be another Philly moron or just an angry little person.



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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

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