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Game 155: Braves at Nats

Sep 25, 2010, 2:44 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nationals try to extend their season-high winning streak to five games today.

Flying high on their first four-game winning streak of the season, the Nationals get a familiar face back in their lineup today. No, not Ryan Zimmerman, who is still battling a strained ribcage. But Nyjer Morgan is back from his eight-game suspension, determined to put the controversies of the past month behind him and finish out his season on a high note.

Yunesky Maya also would like to finish out on a high note. Making his fourth career start, he's still seeking his first career win. Maya will be facing a Braves lineup that already beat him 12 days ago at Turner Field.

As most of you know by now, I'm attending today's game but not covering it from the press box. My wife and I will be watching from Section 409 in the upper deck. Many of you have already said you'll be stopping by to say hello. Hope many more of you can make it as well. We're hoping to be in our seats by 12:15 p.m. in case people want to come by pregame and then head back to their regular seats in time for first pitch. Of course, everyone's welcome to stay up in 409 and watch the game with us (provided you're not taking up someone else's paid seat).

See you at the ballpark…

BRAVES at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Sunny, 84 degrees, Wind 11 mph out to CF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (66-88)
CF Nyjer Morgan
LF Roger Bernadina
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam Dunn

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  1. Mark - Sep 25, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    What is the word on Zim?

  2. Sam - Sep 25, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    Wow, those 8 games went by quickly…

  3. dj in Fl. - Sep 25, 2010 at 4:33 PM

    I wonder how many will be introducingthemselves as anonymous today. Sorry I cannot be there, but we will have to have a meet up in Viera next spring for the southern contingent. Lets make it five in a row boys.

  4. Anonymous - Sep 25, 2010 at 6:03 PM

    Zim is still in pain. He may get shut down for the rest of the season.Desmond misses covering second but Gonzalez gets the throwing error in the shift. Sure looking like Espinosa might be next year's shortstop for the Nats.

  5. Richard - Sep 25, 2010 at 6:18 PM

    I wish Desmond would finally get his head out of you know where. But I like Maya's emotion going into the dugout as if to say PLAY THE FREAKIN' GAME FINALLY WILL YA! And Ramos's tag at the plate was a thing of beauty. He held the ball in his glove with both hands and close to his body and stopped Heyward (sp?) with his shoulder (and body weight) at an angle and then applied the tag. Heyward went down but not too hard.

  6. Anonymous8 - Sep 25, 2010 at 6:21 PM

    Anon, Kennedy needed to cover 2nd on that play I thought.

  7. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 25, 2010 at 6:40 PM

    Hey everyone. I'll post later about the FIL ga me at Disney this morning (and afternoon as it was really dragging when I left 2 hours in and still only the top of the 5th).Short… Bryce may be overmatched as he's sruck out 6 times in 9 at bats so far but I will tease you with this…I saw a major league arm today that has scouts drooling.

  8. Big Cat - Sep 25, 2010 at 7:02 PM

    NatsJackAre they throwing the ball by him or is it breaking stuff thats getting him

  9. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 25, 2010 at 7:31 PM

    Big Cat… It's the breaking stuff… He's only struck out once swinging…. the other 5 times were looking.

  10. Anonymous - Sep 25, 2010 at 7:35 PM

    Looks like Rizzo and Kasten pissed away $8 million on Maya. No wonder Ted Lerner is gun shy with his pocket book.

  11. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 25, 2010 at 7:47 PM

    Anonymous 3:35….. Yunesky Maya is pitching the equivalent of the last days of Spring Training after a 16 month layoff….Hold off on your opinion until April of 2011.

  12. Anonymous - Sep 25, 2010 at 8:50 PM

    Where was Espinosa today?He was starting to swing a hot bat again. Take it this was another one of Riggleman's everyone-gets-a-turn moves that he loves, even if it means putting an inferior lineup out there.

  13. Anonymous - Sep 25, 2010 at 8:53 PM

    Maya has been awful. I know he's 29 and is getting millions, but maybe they should let him conquer AAA before coming back up to DC.I'm the first to criticize the Lerners' cheap ways. But giving Rizzo access to the checkbook might not be such a good idea. First Marquis, now this.

  14. Don Hammack - Sep 25, 2010 at 8:56 PM

    Why do I picture something like the scene from Don Corleone's office during the wedding happening in the upper deck at Nats Park? Lots of ring kissing, envelopes of money. :)

  15. Anonymous - Sep 25, 2010 at 8:59 PM

    I saw a major league arm today that has scouts drooling.It had better be Solis because he has the best shot of doing the Strasburg / Storen tour and getting to the majors sooner rather than later.

  16. Anonymous - Sep 25, 2010 at 9:00 PM

    Anon, Kennedy needed to cover 2nd on that play I thought.With that odd shift? Nope, Desmond blew it again.Which is why Espinosa everyday looks more and more like your starring shortstop come the end of ST 2011.

  17. Anonymous - Sep 25, 2010 at 9:02 PM

    Looks like Harper ROY_2014, MAYBE. Not 2012 …

  18. Dave - Sep 25, 2010 at 9:18 PM

    Mark & Mrs. Z, great to meet you, albeit briefly, in the 4th inning today. I had to rejoin my wife in sec. 313 to help with scorekeeping duties.

  19. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 25, 2010 at 9:19 PM

    It wasn't Solis, although he will be ML ready after a couple of months in AA. It was a draft pick from last season.I'll report after I finish watching football. (I am in Forida you know)

  20. Sec3my406 - Sep 25, 2010 at 9:22 PM

    wait, four-oh-NINE?Man.No wonder 406 was so boring…

  21. Ted L. - Sep 25, 2010 at 10:01 PM

    How long has the Lerner Box had those ugly blue privacy dividers on either side? I saw them today and the message it sent was "we don't want to have anything to do with our customers." It is bad enough that Stan, Mike, and Mark can only be seen in the suite or the Lexus Club, far away from most folks.

  22. Anonymous - Sep 25, 2010 at 10:09 PM

    Worth repeating …NatsJack in Florida said…Anonymous 3:35….. Yunesky Maya is pitching the equivalent of the last days of Spring Training after a 16 month layoff….Hold off on your opinion until April of 2011.

  23. Anonymous - Sep 25, 2010 at 10:21 PM

    It wasn't Solis, although he will be ML ready after a couple of months in AA. It was a draft pick from last season.Must be Taylor Jordan … although I wish it were Nate Karns. He seems to have Lance Armstrong's luck … hopefully also has his competitive force and will to succeed.

  24. JaneB - Sep 25, 2010 at 10:39 PM

    SO glad to meet our Intrepid Reporter and the delightful Mrs. Z, along with the wise and funny Natsfan1a, Souldrummer, several Anons, and others whose names I didn't catch. The rest of you were there in spirit, even those in section 406. Maya looked good much of the game. Thanks for the reality check on him NatsFan Jack…and the Instructional League scouting reports. We didn't keep the streak going, but there were many zippy moments. There was no where else I'd rather have been today. Thanks Mark for taking us on The Inside.

  25. Dryw - Sep 25, 2010 at 10:56 PM

    Sorry I didn't make it by 409. I was looking forward to meeting everyone. Wonder if the game looked any better from there than it did from 311….

  26. BinM - Sep 25, 2010 at 11:08 PM

    NatsJack: Based on your hint, I'd guess Rosenbaum.

  27. Golfersal - Sep 25, 2010 at 11:12 PM

    Anyone that rips into Maya is crazy. You can see some good things about him and in his fourth game what happens, he has one bad stretch. Other than the one bad stretch not bad for a guy who was in prison a year ago and has pitched a total of (I think) 5 minor league and 4 major league games.Honestly if this is May and he has had 6 to 10 starts and still having the problem I would agree. But just like anything else, he needs to get adjusted with everything and have a full spring training.I will be anyone that come April we will be very happy to have him on the team.

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

    This is the business we've chosen (cue music and fade to black)…Despite the game results, was nice to meet Mark and Mrs. Z. as well as JaneB, LoveTheNats, and a couple of Anonymi before the game. Sorry to have missed those of you who arrived later. My hubby and I were sitting with friends in the swanky club seats today – niiice. Tomorrow it's back to the Veeckian Upper Deck for us. Hope that the Nats can get back to their winning ways then. Oh, and I would tend to agree with NatsJack, JaneB, and Golfersal re. Maya.In closing I will say to Mark and Mrs. Z., in the words of a baseball immortal, thank you for making this day necessary. :-)—Don Hammack said… Why do I picture something like the scene from Don Corleone's office during the wedding happening in the upper deck at Nats Park? Lots of ring kissing, envelopes of money. :) September 25, 2010 4:56 PM

  29. natsfan1a - Sep 25, 2010 at 11:26 PM

    Oops, sorry – LoveDaNats. Gotta get my deez and doz straight. ;-)

  30. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 25, 2010 at 11:54 PM

    JayneB…. While I consider myself MORE than a fan… I am "NatsJack in Florida" not NatsFan….and, no, not Rosenbaum who I like alot…. You'll just have to wait until the Gators are up by 30.

  31. BinM - Sep 25, 2010 at 11:56 PM

    @Don Hammack:Agreed, but who played Luca Brasi in today's passion play?

  32. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 26, 2010 at 12:00 AM

    Don Hammack and BinM… you guys are wierd but I like it.

  33. JaneB - Sep 26, 2010 at 12:01 AM

    NatsJack in Florida, my apologies! I'll root for the Gators with you, in penance…

  34. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 26, 2010 at 12:15 AM

    JaneB… apologies accepted… AJ Morris, just between you and me.. ML ready.

  35. Another_Sam - Sep 26, 2010 at 12:22 AM

    Mark — very kind of you both to chat with the gang today. Thank you. You've made the season so enjoyable. dj in Fl: before I left home today I looked for a conference nametag. I was going to put ANONYMOUS on it a wear it. [I was formerly one of the anonymous.]

  36. natsfan1a - Sep 26, 2010 at 2:13 AM

    That would have been funny, Sam. (I made the nametag jest the other day.)

  37. natsfan1a - Sep 26, 2010 at 2:15 AM

    um, what are the Marlins? ;-)—BinM said… @Don Hammack: Agreed, but who played Luca Brasi in today's passion play? September 25, 2010 7:56 PM

  38. oldtimerjim - Sep 26, 2010 at 2:32 AM

    Tough game to watch today. Maya was OK till he was clearly out of gas in the 6th and Riggs didn't get him after 4 straight balls, then a couple more that the hitter helped by swinging and then a wild pitch to the wall. I don't understand why it took Riggs till after the HR to pull him. We might have had a chance till then. We really must wait till spring for both Maya and Marquis. It would be nice to have some good surprises come April!!Harper is still a high school player. He has much to learn about pro baseball and hitting the curve. He will be outstanding but rushing him and putting too much on his shoulders will be tragic. I hope to see Flores make the trip North in March and Harper head to AA Potomac. AAA in 2012. I hope to see Stras work back slowly, maybe a September call-up maybe not. I think Zimmermann came back to soon. Don't get on Rizzo, he has done a great job so far with what he has to work with. The Nats must sign Dunn and look for a front of the rotation guy even if they have to trade some young guys away. Without that we will only improve slightly next season. It is not as if all of the free agents are jumping at the chance to play here!

  39. Mark Zuckerman - Sep 26, 2010 at 2:49 AM

    Thanks to everyone who made it over to Section 409 today — it was great to meet all of you and put some faces (and real names) to the pseudonyms you use here. It was also great to hear your thoughts on the team and on this site.While it was my pleasure to meet everyone, I do have to say it was a special treat to meet one loyal reader who shares a unique bond with me: my name. Yes, Mark Zuckerman met Mark Zuckerman today and watched a couple innings of a ballgame together. Once we got past any fear of the universe collapsing on itself, we enjoyed a nice conversation. I was particularly impressed with young Theo Zuckerman's thorough interest in and knowledge of the Nats — I see a sportswriter in the making there!To those of you who couldn't make it today (or to those of you who went to the wrong section) sorry we didn't get a chance to meet. But thanks as always for your kind words and support!As for today's game … well, I think I picked a good one not to cover. Not sure how much there was worth analyzing from that clunker.

  40. LoveDaNats - Sep 26, 2010 at 3:02 AM

    Mark,Great to meet you and Mrs. Z today. It actually was the highlight of that stinker of a game. natsfan1a, such a pleasure to meet you! i'm just sorry that I left before JaneB got there. Maybe next year.Fun day. Thanks so much.

  41. Big Cat - Sep 26, 2010 at 3:20 AM

    Well, I too will join in the Maya bashing, just for the 8 million dollars invested. If he was an unknown coming up I would say he has some promise….and that would be about it. He is a guy who, because of lack of velocity, has to be perfect with his pitches. I hope he can help us next year, but I am very skeptical.

  42. Souldrummer - Sep 26, 2010 at 12:48 PM

    Thanks so much for the meetup, Mark. Great to meet you and your wife. I'll be using her Cindy Acta strategies for sweltering hot games next year rather than suffering in silence.We are blessed as a fan base to have someone with your dedication and genuine love of the game offering a unique perspective. Hope that you're able to build on this site next year, and now I've got to step up to the plate and get the podcasts next year!

  43. natsfan1a - Sep 26, 2010 at 1:38 PM

    Wait, sweltering heat strategies? Do tell, because I could use some. Seriously.

  44. Anonymous - Sep 26, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    The Lerners are cheap!The Lerners shouldn't have signed Maya for that much money!I'll have another glass of Schizophrenia please.

  45. Mrs. Z. - Sep 26, 2010 at 2:29 PM

    I'll echo the sentiments above: it was a real treat to meet all of you yesterday! Mark and I appreciate all of you–even if you weren't able to meet up with us yesterday.As for Mrs. Acta's beat-the-heat strategy: bring a hand towel. Yesterday I soaked mine down with water and wore it over my head and around my neck. It also makes an excellent sun shield (prevents sunburn) and if you sit on it, your legs won't stick to those cheap plastic seats :-)

  46. BinM - Sep 26, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    @a1a: The Marlins are Luca's bedmates, of course. "Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes". —————–@NatsJack: 'drooling scouts' = AJ Morris; Whouda thunk?

  47. natsfan1a - Sep 26, 2010 at 2:46 PM

    Thanks much, Mrs. Z. I'll try that at a future game (I suspect that I won't need to do so at today's game).Exactly, BinM.Go Nats! ¡Go Livo!

  48. Anonymous - Sep 26, 2010 at 3:05 PM

    AJ Morris had a hard time keeping up with Rosenbaum and Holder in Potomac this year. He still needs work. I think he was second to Strasburg in a college pitching award I can't recall.

  49. Richard - Sep 27, 2010 at 2:26 PM

    A.J. "Morris, who became the first Wildcat since Craig Wilson in 1992 to earn first team All-American status, is the first [K. State] Wildcat to be named a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award."Dustin Ackley (North Carolina), Mike Leake (Arizona State), Kent Matthes (Alabama) and Stephen Strasburg (San Diego State) joined"Morris as Gold Spikes finalists. Strasburg won it.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 58 47 --
ATLANTA 58 50 1.5
MIAMI 53 54 6.0
NEW YORK 52 56 7.5
PHILADELPHIA 47 61 12.5
Through Wednesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
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.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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