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Nats vs. Astros – 3/11/11

Mar 11, 2011, 10:18 PM EDT

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nationals host the Astros tonight at Space Coast Stadium.

Plenty worth watching during the Nationals' game tonight against the Astros. Good thing it's on MASN for your viewing pleasure.

Livan Hernandez gets the start and is scheduled to go as many as five innings. Ross Detwiler is due to follow Livo and could up to four innings, which means the Nats may only use two pitchers tonight if everything goes according to plan.

Ryan Zimmerman, meanwhile, returns to the lineup after missing three days with a minor abdominal strain. Jesus Flores, still looking for his first hit of the spring (he's 0-for-9), will serve as DH. Michael Morse gets a chance to start at first base with Adam LaRoche getting the night off.

I'm covering the Capitals-Hurricanes game at Verizon Center tonight, so I won't get a chance to watch the ballgame. But I'm always curious to hear your thoughts on both the game and the MASN broadcast, so please be sure to share them throughout the evening…

ASTROS at NATIONALS
Where: Space Coast Stadium, Viera
Gametime: 6:05 p.m.
TV: MASN
Weather: Clear, 63 degrees, Wind 13 mph out to LF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS
CF Nyjer Morgan
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
3B Ryan Zimmerman

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  1. Anonymous - Mar 11, 2011 at 10:30 PM

    Mark, I assume that Jayson Werth will be in right field, since you mentioned that Flores will DH?

  2. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 11, 2011 at 10:33 PM

    Whoops, yes Werth is in right field tonight.

  3. Feel Wood - Mar 11, 2011 at 10:38 PM

    "C Ivan RodriguezDH Jesus Flores"So does this mean that when Pudge GIDPs tonight that the Nationals get to request a do-over?

  4. natsfan1a - Mar 11, 2011 at 10:49 PM

    Glad that I looked on here just now. I totally spaced on the game's being televised. D'oh!

  5. Another_Sam - Mar 12, 2011 at 12:20 AM

    Anyone else think that FP is a bit lost in the booth?

  6. MicheleS - Mar 12, 2011 at 12:35 AM

    Mark, any news on what Werth gave to Morse for the uniform number?

  7. MicheleS - Mar 12, 2011 at 12:38 AM

    Good inning for Detwiler!

  8. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 12, 2011 at 12:40 AM

    I don't believe any money exchanged hands. I think Morse just gave up the number when Werth was signed.

  9. phil dunn - Mar 12, 2011 at 12:59 AM

    Nyjer has misplayed three fly balls tonight. I wonder what excuses Riggleman will make for him after the game?

  10. Les in NC - Mar 12, 2011 at 1:03 AM

    No one gonna comment on Nyjer and his utterly horrid defense tonight? I can understand, not worrying too much about his offense because of the ST small sample, but if he were able going to be worth anything to this team on the defensive side of the ball he should be able to show that 90% of the time. And don't get me started about his baserunning….

  11. Slidell - Mar 12, 2011 at 1:32 AM

    Sure, this is ST. But, Morse and Bernie are playing like gangbusters. If Nyjer has any sense, he should know that he needs to get it cranked up sooner rather than later. I think Rizzo draws lines in the sand, and when they're crossed, it's goodbye.

  12. Anonymous - Mar 12, 2011 at 2:51 AM

    Utterly horrid defense? As FP pointed out he was playing shallow tonight with the idea of running down linedrives in front of him. One time he deeked a guy into not taking third. Another occasion the ball was firmly stuck to left center, deep, and he very nearly ran it down. Most guys never would have got near that ball. Third time he was playing the pitcher and the hitter by shading right field looking for the hitter to swing late on the fastball. Ball was a line drive to left center. Who knew? you know, there are bench coaches positioning these guys on the field.We have to lighten up on this guy because we are going to need him this year.

  13. Harper_ROY_2012 - Mar 12, 2011 at 3:41 AM

    It looks to me that Mikey Mo is cementing a spot in the everyday lineup, probably LF, so does this mean Bernie is our Opening Day CF and Njyer is our #4 or #5 OF?

  14. Golfersal - Mar 12, 2011 at 3:56 AM

    So Mark, I still have to wonder how Riggleman from the first of the year has talked about Nyjer being in center, has come to his defense already at his slow start and nothing is being said about Morse. How much does this man have to do to prove that he is a regular, a keeper, a person that should be playing every day while I have to wonder how much more rope they will give Nyjer.Honestly I am rooting for Nyjer to spark us like he did in 2009, but after his poor season and antics last year, it's not going to take much longer before people start putting two plus two together and saying that 2011 could be a continuation of 2010.

  15. sjm 308 - Mar 12, 2011 at 4:15 AM

    I also think Nyjer is playing more shallow than last year but maybe it is the bench coaches positioning him. You have to think that we are better with Nyjer/Bernadina/Morse all playing well and so far just two of those have shown up. I wonder if Nyjer can handle the Willie Harris role of last year?He also has an option but not sure that would work with his ego.Like most on this board, I will be upset if Morse does not see a starting role after all he has done so far. I am also wondering how much time Bernadina will get as leadoff/centerfield the remaining games in FLA.

  16. JayB - Mar 12, 2011 at 12:27 PM

    Just finished watcher the game for a second time looking at key plays over and over.Couple of things stand out.1. Ross D is a completely different pitcher than the past few years. He is very calm. He is very confident in his plan. His Fastball is back to 2007 quality. He needs to stay healthy and I think that is a real problem…..Sell high on him sooner than later.2. Livo is Livo..which is pretty dam good..glad to have him for one last half year but this should be the last….sell him before all star break.3. Morgan is not a good fielder or hitter. Way way to many inconsistencies in his game. In the field…yes he was trying to cut off the single….but DROPPED IT….so all that is a waste and it cost the team that missed out and two extra base hits…..That is not what this team needs. It needs a dependable rock solid defender. Morgan is not that and never was or will be. Cut him on his random defense alone, but add his clueless AB's and it is a clear that his wide ups and downs hurts the team more than helps and sends all the wrong messages to teammates about what this team values…what is the Nats way of playing the game.FP and Bob….no idea why MASN can not get this right year after year….Lerner got their cheap cost yes man so at least someone is happy. I want a guy who is not afraid to tell it like it is….FP is just happy to have the job and knows what happened to the last guy who did not play the homer role.

  17. sjm 308 - Mar 12, 2011 at 12:32 PM

    Have to admit, after just a few games I am already waiting to listen to Charlie & Dave with the tv on mute. Can anyone explain how I can get the tv and radio feeds in sync? I have dvr so I can pause the TV but it always seems like the radio feed is ahead of the picture.

  18. CapPeterson - Mar 12, 2011 at 1:04 PM

    OK, I guess the brain trust is having Nyjer play shallower to try and compensate for his very weak arm. And he can go back on the ball well sometimes (will not forget the catch he made in Baltimore last year), but the key word, as JayB says, is "random," and once that ball has sailed over his head, we're talking automatic triple. Yes, throwing arm (strength and accuracy) does matter in CF, which is why Nyjer's closest comparator, his good twin Juan Pierre, now plays LF instead of CF.

  19. Theophilus - Mar 12, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    Impressions re Morgan: (1) He dropped the ball that was scored a base hit; (2) Later in that inning Carpenter said Morgan got a "good jump" on the ball — he didn't: he flinched noticeably and that few hundredths of a second made a difference (not that he would necessarily have caught it); (3) later in the game, on the ball that went to the wall, he rounded on the ball like a thoroughbred going into the final turn before the stretch.The idea of playing that shallow, I think, needs to be abandoned or significantly modified. There have been very, very few CFs who could play that shallow and still get back. Willie Davis (yes, the one who made three errors in an inning in a WS game), Caesar Geronimo, Paul Blair and Al Bumbry come to mind. The fact Morgan doesn't seem to have that ability is the least of his problems. It's not his arm they are trying to compensate for. That's why they have cut-off men (and Morgan either missed one or Morse whiffed on it, I'm not sure which). I believe the thinking is that, with the go-get-'ems in RF (Werth) and LF (Bernardina), Morgan has less responsibility for the gaps and should try to be in position to catch the flares. But if he can't — as appears to be the case — get back on the ball, you're trading three bases for a single, which is not a good deal.

  20. Theophilus - Mar 12, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    For what it's worth, from what I recall of last season, Bernandina did not appear comfortable playing shallow CF either.

  21. Big Cat - Mar 12, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    Boy o boy……Harper takes a rip up there doesn't he? How bout Flores, what a bomb he hit. Harper now at .389.

  22. Golfersal - Mar 12, 2011 at 3:38 PM

    Someone mention TV, after watching FP Santangelo for two games I am missing Dibble big time. FP just gives us lip service and hasn't really been great on giving us stuff that we can't see.As for Bob Carpenter he is the greatest and a first class act. We should be happy to have him, but with a weak partner he is also going to look weak.Never thought that Ray Knight was that good, but that's because he followed Dibble which were hard shoes to replace but frankly I think that Knight would be a better choice over Santangelo.Now FP only has done two shows, I wasn't a big Dibble fan after two games, it took a bit for him to get rolling. Hopefully the same with FP but right now I give him a D+ grade.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 72 53 --
ATLANTA 66 61 7.0
MIAMI 63 63 9.5
NEW YORK 60 68 13.5
PHILADELPHIA 56 71 17.0
Through Wednesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: Diamondbacks at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Nats at Phillies, 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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