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Nats at Astros – 3/16/11

Mar 16, 2011, 5:00 PM EST

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nationals travel to Osceola County Stadium today.

After a sudden flurry of injuries yesterday, the Nationals are resting easier today. It doesn't appear any of those injuries are serious. Ryan Zimmerman will miss several days with a sore groin but insists he would play if this was the regular season. Ivan Rodriguez will miss a couple of days with a strained calf. Michael Morse is back in the lineup after feeling sick yesterday. And Danny Espinosa appears only to have suffered a bruise when he fouled a ball off his foot last night in Port St. Lucie. Espinosa was due to undergo X-rays today, but only for precautionary reasons.

As for today's game against the Astros, Ross Detwiler gets another opportunity to make a case for himself to crack the Opening Day rotation. Today is actually Livan Hernandez's turn in the rotation, but it appears he's pitching in a minor-league game. The same will probably hold true tomorrow for John Lannan, with Yunesky Maya getting the start against the Braves.

Matt Stairs, the 43-year-old pinch-hitting specialist, also gets a rare opportunity this afternoon to start at first base. Could be interesting…

Where: Osceola County Stadium, Kissimmee
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV: None
Radio: Astros radio via XM-184 and MLB Gameday Audio
Weather: Mostly sunny, 75 degrees, Wind 6 mph out to CF

CF Nyjer Morgan
SS Alex Cora
RF Jayson Werth
1B Matt Stairs

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  1. Unkyd - Mar 16, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    Gameday… Pathetic.

  2. Mark'd - Mar 16, 2011 at 5:55 PM

    Not Detwilers day. Throws 7 pitches to the pitcher who was trying to give himself up for the 1st out.

  3. JaneB - Mar 16, 2011 at 6:01 PM

    I am so excited that I will get to be at tomorrow's game, and the next several. My inner 12 year old is screaming with glee. Who will I get to meet, among you, while we are there?

  4. Frediemac - Mar 16, 2011 at 6:21 PM

    Detwiler needs to go. Go anywhere but here. He will never be a good pitcher. Was never worthy of his draft postion.

  5. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 16, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    I'll be the Nats fan sitting in the first row right behind home plate at the Braves game tommorrow and I'll be in my customary Section 111, Row 3, seat 9 on Friday and Sunday at Viera.

  6. Bowdenball - Mar 16, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    There is not one thing that could possibly happen this season that would surprise me more than Nyjer Morgan hitting a major league pitch over an outfield fence.

  7. sm13 - Mar 16, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    Just what we need, Nyjer swinging for the fences

  8. Pilchard - Mar 16, 2011 at 6:42 PM

    The game is in the 5th inning and Morgan has scored twice and driven in 3, yet he is still criticized. Amazing how much the guy is vilified by some.

  9. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 16, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    Actually, by most of us.

  10. Anonymous - Mar 16, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    Yeah, Myers was in a jam and he thought he could blow skinny little Nyjer Morgan away with a fastball down the middle. Nyjer did what any ballplayer would do with that. He turned on it.Bye Bye! And he gets criticized for swinging for the fences? Boy has he got a tall mountain to climb with the fans around here.

  11. Les in NC - Mar 16, 2011 at 7:06 PM

    Now that the pitchers are in the lineup, Riggs is getting some much needed double switch practice in. That said, at least the Nationals have viable bench players to sub in this season!Also, who is that wearing Morgan's uniform? A walk AND a HR? Is that Andruw Jones circa '99?

  12. JD - Mar 16, 2011 at 7:20 PM

    NatsJack, I understand your and others perspective but that should not cloud the way we look at someone's performance. What everyone was doing was celebrating in Morgan's tough start and celebrating Bernadina'a supposed strong start and using completely immaterial data to support their rooting interest. for the record I am not concerned about Werth's .179 average nor am I overly impressed with Bixler's .391 average; it's spring training, the sample size is statistically irrelevant and the quality of the opposition is uneven at best.

  13. JD - Mar 16, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    It figures that the 1st time Detwiler has a tough outing some one comes out of the wood work spewing out negativity. It must have killed him every time he had a strong outing.

  14. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 16, 2011 at 7:38 PM

    JD… I was just admitting to my part in ridding the Nats of Nyjer Morgan. I've been there to lampoon his his horrible performance in CF what with that noodle for an arm and the total inability to read a ball off a bat. I actually aplauded his learning to bounce the ball to the cut off man rather than over throw him with that "rainbow" toss he makes. Otherwise, except for his inability to properly bunt, I've laid off him at the plate.And, for JayB, Alex Cintron just entered the game.

  15. LoveDaNats - Mar 16, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    JaneB,Enjoy the game! I hope the weather is perfect for you. Say hi to NatsJack for me.

  16. The Michael - Mar 16, 2011 at 7:49 PM

    I've been critical of Nyjer, almost wanting him not to succeed. But that's really the wrong approach. If he plays well, he's probably our best option/fit. I can't believe I'm typing these words. Does anyone think Bernadina or Ankiel is the answer? I hope so, but don't think so.

  17. Anonymous - Mar 16, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    Clippard is reverting back to pre-2010 Clippard.

  18. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 16, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    JD… I've tried to keep everything in perspective and, like you, haven't given a whole lot of credence to BA's. But since I get to watch 20 of the 30 ST games, I can tell you that I have been impressed with both Cora's and Hairston's professional approach to the games. The pitchers that have impressed me are Zimmermann, Maya, Detwiler, Broderick, and Coffey. (Burnett's been unhittable but that's nothing new.)

  19. JD - Mar 16, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    On queue; the OMG Clippard stinks post is here.

  20. JD - Mar 16, 2011 at 7:57 PM

    NatsJack, As you know I respect your opinions because they are reasonable and balanced. It's some of the knee jerk reactions to every at bat which are a little comical.

  21. Frediemac - Mar 16, 2011 at 7:57 PM

    Tyler Clippard has just peed down his leg after entering with a 4 run lead! He allowed 4 runs in the bottom of the 9th inning 7-7 and he has not got 1 out YET! This team pitching is horrid

  22. LoveDaNats - Mar 16, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    Wow. That game felt like the old Nats.

  23. Anonymous - Mar 16, 2011 at 8:01 PM

    Clippard was working on his breaking ball…LOLUNTERP

  24. Frediemac - Mar 16, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    Clippard blows game film at 11

  25. Les in NC - Mar 16, 2011 at 8:05 PM

    Someone better X-Ray/MRI that elbow and shoulder of Clippard's fast!! Quick, before he starts blowing games that count!Oh, I'm sure he will say his arm feels fine, but so did Marquis last spring…..

  26. Bowdenball - Mar 16, 2011 at 8:07 PM

    The Michael-Bernadina gets on base as much or more than Nyjer while hitting for more power, offers roughly equivalent defense, doesn't damage the club by consistently making careless outs on the basepaths, and embarrass it with juvenile on-field antics. He's also younger and therefore has more potential for improvement and can more realistically be a part of the team's future.He may not be "the answer," but he's certainly one answer, assuming the question is "who is better CF/leadoff option than Nyjer Morgan?"

  27. sjm 308 - Mar 16, 2011 at 8:11 PM

    This is why you don't want to put too much stock in wins/loses in ST. No way would Riggs have kept Clippard in for that much abuse in the regular season. There were positives and negatives like most games. What I like here is that people like NatsJack give fair and honest opinions. He is not a Nyjer fan but can give a fair opinion when he does OK.Yeah, we still have the guys who are looking for negatives but on the whole, this is a site that gives an intelligent opinion more often than not. Looks like Ramos crushed one today and I like how we had several guys move from 1st to 3rd on singles. Not happy with the loss but we are still moving forward. Have fun JaneB and know that most of us are jealous. Can't wait for the JayB post on Citron costing us the game.Go Nats!!

  28. JD - Mar 16, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    Bowdenball, Great analysis except you are wrong. Bernadinal lifetime OBP .306; Morgan lifetime OBP .346.

  29. sjm 308 - Mar 16, 2011 at 8:18 PM

    @Bowdenball – agree with all those points about Nyjer "Last Year".He has done nothing this year except show up early to work on things he knows he needs to work on. Have not seen him pout. He has been caught stealing only twice and one of those was a blown squeeze play. He has not been picked off base. If you continue to judge on last year I don't think you give fair value to Nyjer's worth. That being said, Bernadina certainly is younger and just might be the answer but don't use what occured last year as the basis. The one fact this year is that Nyjer has shown he might have the weakest arm of any centerfielder in the majors. I agree with Natjack though that if he can still hit the cut-off man with some sort of accuracy, we might be able to survive that. Has anyone heard how Brown's ankle is coming along?

  30. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 16, 2011 at 8:36 PM

    Ankle or no ankle, Brown needs seasoning at the AAA level. He's been taking batting practice for about a week now but hasn't been able to hard cut when running bases.

  31. Bowdenball - Mar 16, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    sjm308:I'm glad he's working hard, but to me that means nothing. All I know is that he was awful last year and he's at the point in his career where players are more likely to regress than progress.JD:You're right, Bernadina has a lower lifetime OBP than Morgan. And Pudge Rodriguez has a higher lifetime slugging percentage than Mike Morse. Want to bet me that Pudge slugs better than Morse this year?I don't care too much about lifetime numbers. I care about what we can expect in 2011. I'm looking at Bill James' numbers right now, and he's got them about the same in OBP with Bernadina offering 60 points more in slugging. And with more potential for the future. That makes me think Bernadina's the better option, and their spring training numbers don't do anything to convince me otherwise.

  32. Anonymous8 - Mar 16, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    Agree with NatsJack about Corey Brown with much hoping that he crushes it in AAA and is the answer in CF.

  33. natsfan1a - Mar 16, 2011 at 8:59 PM

    I second that emotion. Have fun!LoveDaNats said… JaneB, Enjoy the game! I hope the weather is perfect for you. Say hi to NatsJack for me. March 16, 2011 3:47 PM

  34. JayB - Mar 16, 2011 at 9:07 PM

    @Njack….thanks…I had noticed he was traveling with the team……like I said Alex C=Return of the Loser….Carma does matter.

  35. Big Cat - Mar 16, 2011 at 9:27 PM

    I am rooting for Detwiler but am skeptical. I watched him get rocked hard in Potomac, yet kept moving up the ladder, presumably because of his draft status. He has a loose live arm, which tops at 91 mph with little movement. His command is very suspect with too many pitches ending up right down the middle. I personally think his best spot is long relief. The reports of his 95 mph….well….I'll believe it when I see it. Good trade bait. Get an A ball prospect for him and call it a wash

  36. JD - Mar 16, 2011 at 9:28 PM

    Bowdenball, Sorry, your example of Pudge vs. Morse is disingenuous. Pudge is about 5 years past his prime; you can't say this about Morgan. Understand; I think Morgan is a mediocre player; but to say that Bernadina is anything but is projecting; it's not based on anything he's done up to this point.

  37. JD - Mar 16, 2011 at 9:44 PM

    Big Cat, Detwiler just turned 25; this is when pitchers normally hit their stride. I would not rush to trade him now because he has yet to establish value and his upside is much higher than anyone not named Zimmermann or Strasburg (Cole and Ray are ways away and I don't know much about Solis). All reports on him this spring have been glowing; NatsJack has seen him a few times and says that his fastball has been exploding so let's not throw him under the bus after one so so outing.

  38. Rabbit - Mar 16, 2011 at 9:44 PM

    This game brought back lots of bad memories. I hope it isn't catching.

  39. BinM - Mar 16, 2011 at 11:53 PM

    JayB@5:07: Cintron's appearance with the Nationals is the equivalent of the kiss of death from a family head; No matter what you do from that day forward, you're doomed. My real problem with today's game is was anybody in the dugout paying attention during Clippard's ninth inning today? Clippard comes back to the mound after a 3-pitch out to close the 8th & goes – BB, BB, flyball double to the track in CF (scores 1), WP (scores 1, advances the runner), lined double to the wall in LF (scores 1), popup to 3b (one out); Lined triple to the wall in RF (scores 1), K (swinging – two out), lined single to RF (scores 1 – end game). There were probably four red-flag at-bats in that sequence, and the dugout apparently did nothing to react to it. Very dissapointing, imo.

  40. Theophilus - Mar 17, 2011 at 1:59 AM

    W/out seeing the game (on TV or otherwise) it is pretty clear what happened to Clippard. He gets hammered on fastballs up in the zone. Up there he is very hittable. This is the result of an occasional problem w/ his mechanics. Clear to me, anyway, Riggleman was trying to make him work his way through the problem and see if he could straighten it out, get the third out. Am disappointed whenever they lose, Spring Training or regular season, but understand what Riggleman was doing in an ultimately meaningless game.

  41. JaneB - Mar 17, 2011 at 2:27 AM

    NatsJack, I look forward to meeting you there! I'll be in a Dunn shirt or a Morgan shirt – your two favorites, I know! But I so look forward to meeting you, and saying thanks for all the great scouting reports!I though Clippard was pretty unhittable with the high heater — what happened to change that? Hurrah for Morgan and the new hitting coaching he has been getting. It makes me very happy. As long as we have him, I want him to be ge-reat!

  42. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me - Mar 17, 2011 at 2:44 AM

    @JaneB: Enjoy the game, the weather, the camaraderie, meeting NatJack and all other things Florida. Have a grouper sandwich for me. Travel safely. See you Opening Day in two weeks!

  43. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2011 at 3:10 AM

    Bernadina has done nothing to show he should be starting this spring. If anything he looks more like a future utility outfielder and an average one at that?In the end your future CF this year may just end up being Corey Brown if he manages to work prodigiously in Syracuse.

  44. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2011 at 3:56 AM

    Our future center fielder will be starting the year in Hagerstown.

  45. Big Cat - Mar 17, 2011 at 10:17 AM

    NatsJackKimball seems to be getting people out all spring. Your assessment?

  46. Big Cat - Mar 17, 2011 at 10:23 AM

    JD….you are probably right about Detwiler. I mean…its not like we have the Phillies rotation.

  47. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 17, 2011 at 11:47 AM

    Rizzo is high on Kimball but wants him to get closer experience in Syracuse. They would prefer a veteran similar to Capps last season to close for now (maybe Coffey) untill the trade deadline and then promote Kimball (provided he's successful) and trade the veteran.

  48. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 17, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    Big Cat… So much depends on the finer points of Detwiler's mechanics for success. The coaching staff has minimized his cross-body delivery instead of eliminating it all together. Early in Spring Training he focused totally on this new delivery with total success hitting 94 regularly with his fastball. It stands to figure that he will experience bouts of inconsistancy with this new delivery, thus a 2-3 month stint in Syracuse to master it will be necessary.

  49. Anonymous8 - Mar 17, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    Detwiler is a keeper. The question as Steve M. has said several times before is whether he will be serviceable as a starter which we will know after seeing him pitch in AAA or if he isn't we know that he will be a very effective reliever.Starters pace themselves and relievers can go right at it so I would expect that Detwiler could add to his velocity as a reliever. Either way, he is a keeper.

  50. Anonymous8 - Mar 17, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    Also on Clippard as we saw in 2010, he is most effective for 1 inning of work. When Clip came in for the one batter in the 8th, he cooled down in the dugout and came back out and got shelled.My guess that if this was a regular season game, Riggleman would have had someone else close out the 9th.

  51. Tim - Mar 17, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    A8, was thinking the exact same thing regarding clippard in multi inning appearances last season.





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