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Nats at Mets (ss) – 3/19/11

Mar 19, 2011, 2:48 PM EDT

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jason Marquis faces Chris Capuano this afternoon at Digital Domain Park.

So much for those winning ways down in Florida. The Nationals have lost five straight entering today's game against the Mets in Port St. Lucie, with the pitching staff contributing largely to those woes.

Jason Marquis, who has allowed only one run and six hits in 12 innings this spring, takes the mound today trying to help halt the losing streak. He'll have a couple of regulars back in his lineup, with Danny Espinosa and Ivan Rodriguez returning from their minor injuries. No Ryan Zimmerman yet, though.

NATIONALS AT METS (ss)
Where: Digital Domain Park, Port St. Lucie
Gametime: 1:10 p.m.
TV: Mets broadcast via MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 183
Weather: Sunny, 79 degrees, Wind 12 mph in from RF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS
CF Jerry Hairston
2B Danny Espinosa
SS Ian Desmond
LF Michael Morse

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  1. JayB - Mar 19, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    This losing started when Alex Cintron showed up in games…..WHY BRING IN THE POSTER CHILD FOR LOSING UNDER ACTA in 2008…..Amazing poor judgment for so little gain….like none!

  2. Doc - Mar 19, 2011 at 3:06 PM

    Our leader returns tomorrow. Mark, I hope that you've been practicing your 'leaving the press box to take pictures' routine–we need a victory streak!

  3. JaneB - Mar 19, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    I'm already in the parking lot. I'm shocked by how my heart lifted at seeing all the orange and blue…old habits die hard, I guess. But I want Jason to whomp them from the mound. Glad Danny is healthy enough yo play.JayB, I know you hate Alex Cintron. But you don't really think his mere presence hexed us, right? You just want him gone. Sounds lime he has to be soon, just to get the 25 man situation straight. What do we make of Hairston and Ankiel in tbe outfield today?

  4. JaneB - Mar 19, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    Doc, you are right! This is all the fault of COMCAST! Mark can't get here soon enough.

  5. JayB - Mar 19, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    JaneB….I do believe that a team….has a very interesting social dynamic….This team is very very fragile due to years of pathetic support and play. I really do think having Alex Z in uniform…in the in the games and in the locker room reminds them all of how bad it was. I think they look at him and say….well Rizzo does not seem to care enough about Spring Training why should we. They have seen….Riggs play all the wrong people before….WHAT POSSIBLE REASON IS THERE TO PLAY ALEX C……Lombardozzi can play instead and he has a future……So yeas I think it is linked to the lack of fire this team has shown for the exact time Alex C has been in that clubhouse.

  6. sjm 308 - Mar 19, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    Jane: glad you are having a good time. Get used to Hairston in CF on a platoon basis. I think they keep all 3 outfielders and start Morgan but he will sit against left-handers with Hairston getting those at bats. I am pretty sure that JAYB is doing a little of his Citron rant with tongue in cheek but its hard to tell on a blog. We all know that Citron is just fill and I do agree that I would like to see Lombardozzi get those innings but I see nothing wrong with veteran presence during STGo Nats!

  7. phil dunn - Mar 19, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    JayB is on the mark. Cintron can't hit and he can't field. Giving him playing time is a total waste.

  8. JayB - Mar 19, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    sjm….i really mean it….and I called it the day they signed him….I just wanted to make sure you those who did not understand learn something about how a team works.

  9. Theophilus - Mar 19, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    Kilgore supposedly said this a.m. that the Nats could not send Gaudin to Syracuse w/out waivers. Everything I have seen says he has a minor league contract. Not even a MacDougall "promote me or else" deal. Mark, tell me this is brain flatulence on Kilgore's part, please. Not that asking waivers on Gaudin would disturb me in the slightest.

  10. sjm 308 - Mar 19, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    JB – I honestly have no problem with your feelings about Cintron but we have much bigger worries then a guy signed to a minor league contract who probably never figured in Rizzo's plans. Why they did this is indeed a mystery and does not make good baseball sense but in the big picture I am more concerned about how the relief staff will end up and who will win the CF battle. This is worrying about a situation that will take care of itself in just another week or so. I also totally disagree that the clubhouse was affected by this like you suggest. I think clubhouses are affected by loud, selfish, self-centered individuals and by all reports Cintron is not a trouble maker. He is just trying to make/earn a living on the downhill side of a major league career that saw him play for a very good Arizona team in the early 2000s (did you know he hit .314 one year?) and is now just trying to get one or two more paydays. Can't blame a man for trying can you?If I didn't know better I would think you are just grasping at something to b**ch about. Save your CAPITAL LETTERS for something really upsetting.

  11. JayB - Mar 19, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    Oh I AGREE that CF, Starting P and Storen are much bigger long term problems……Clubhouses are effected by all types of things….Yes Dukes types are a big problem. This team is so fragile that I believe they are scared to death that they will come out and lose in April and be done for the year that seeing a guy who was what 1 for 25 in key pinch hitting situations in April 2008 and who was put into that role over and over again by a losing manager like Acta has them scared stiff.

  12. phil dunn - Mar 19, 2011 at 3:59 PM

    While wintering in nearby Vero Beach, I have taken in most of the Nats games in Viera and Port St. Lucie. Here are my observations thus far:!. Desmond has not improved in the field. In fact, I think he has regressed. He's made several bone headed plays (like yesterday) where he didn't get charged with an error. While having Adam Laroche at first base will help his stats a bit, he is still a butcher out there. 2. It bothers me that Michael Morse stopped hitting and started playing sloppy left field as soon as it was announced he had won the LF job. (I have been a big Michael Morse supporter.)3. The Nats GMs have had seven years to fix the huge centerfield problem and have been unable to do so. Morgan look awful in the field and terrible at the plate. 4. The GMs have also had seven years to fix the lead off batter problem that creates a huge hole at the top of the lineup. There is not one player on the 40 man roster who qualifies as a semi-decent leadoff hitter.5. The starting pitching is still very second rate. Lannan has not looked good, Zimmerman got bombed yesterday. I doubt Livan can repeat his performance of last year. On the plus side, there is reason to be hopeful regarding Jason Marquis. He has looked impressive.6. The relief pitching really worries me. Storen is a disaster. Same goes for Stamnen. I suspect Riggleman ruined Clippard by over-use last season. He looked very ragged toward the end of last season but has looked even worse this spring.7. We are still stuck with a lousy manager and a bunch of second rate coaches–especially McCatty and Epstein. 8. Ramos looks like the real deal behind the plate. I would try to keep the still young Flores as his backup and look to unload the ancient I-Rod. Let him get his 3000th hit elsewhere. 9. Espinosa looks like the real deal at second base. I believe he's the long term answer at SS, not Desmond. 10. In sum early in the Grapefruit League season, I thought that the Nats had a decent chance of finishing third, ahead of the Mets and Marlins. Off of what I have seen lately, I am beginning to conclude that is too optimistic. My best guess is 70-75 wins this year.

  13. Anonymous - Mar 19, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    Saw my last ST game in Viera yesterday. Drove all night to get back to Virginia. Had a blowout on I-95 in the rain at 5:00 am. That was the good part.

  14. JayB - Mar 19, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    Phil is correct about most things in my view. I think their depth in pitching both Starting and Pen is much improved. I do not think we will see Martin, Martis types get any innings this year.Desmond needs to move to CF or be traded while someone other than Nats think he can be a SS.Danny and Ramos…..Great players both are going to be all stars in my view in the next 3 years.Riggs……nice man….good person….BAD MANAGER and a Long time Loser that brings nothing to the equation. With some luck and a few good trades sooner than later this team is .500

  15. fpcsteve - Mar 19, 2011 at 5:07 PM

    With respect for Morse fans, what he is doing now is what I expected once he got extended playing time. His weaknesses have been exposed. There have been multiple references in NI and NJ to him swinging at breaking balls in the dirt. I just don't think he's "all that." But I agree with JayB and phil dunn on Desmond. He is an error machine. If Lombardozzi is a passable second baseman, move Espinosa to short and Desmond out of town. I don't think we will willingly or graciously move to CF. I don't know why the FO is infatuated with him when defense is their new-found emphasis (OK, they like his range). I preach for a living, but these are just some thoughts I have.

  16. sjm 308 - Mar 19, 2011 at 5:30 PM

    I would also like to see them go outside the box and move Desmond to where we obviously have a need and that is CF!! -They rave about his leadership an d take charge attitude and that is perfect for CF – they rave about his range and he would have even more room to perfect that – I also think Espinosa is a better SS and it has to be easier to find a 2B if Lombardozzi can't handle the jump. Of course none of this will happen. Riggs and Rizzo will stay with Desmond and he Might figure things out. Espinosa will be good where ever he plays and as for CF, I am just going to hold my breath and maybe Nyjer can join fpcsteve and pray for an awakening. I have always thought that 75 wins would be a decent jump for this team. Was a little more excited early in ST but I am back to thinking that we can hope for a little luck but 75 is about right.Go Nat!!

  17. Drew8 - Mar 19, 2011 at 5:41 PM

    Oh, no. It's the return of the Marquis de Sade.When the clock struck 12 did all of the pitchers turned back into pumpkins?

  18. N. Cognito - Mar 19, 2011 at 5:53 PM

    JayB said… "This losing started when Alex Cintron showed up in games….."This post shows extreme ignorance! The losing started when I showed up at Spring Training. I'm home now. Let the march to the World Series commence.

  19. Doc - Mar 19, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    @ Drew8: Marquis de Sade—I like that! Let's hope he makes few visitations to the mound this year.

  20. JaneB - Mar 19, 2011 at 6:09 PM

    Marquis! This is hard. Danny has had two nutty bad plays. But I'm nit seeing the new Ian or the magical Morse I was expecting. Three games of this in a row Is making us worry how we will make it through the 60 sonething games we still have tickets for. And yet, seeing them makes me happy. Will Wrrth and Zimm make enough of a difference to counter the pitching?

  21. LoveDaNats - Mar 19, 2011 at 6:13 PM

    Have you noticed when Marquis gets flustered he has a hard time recovering? I saw that some of those pitches called balls could have easily been strikes, so even if you're mad at the ump, ya gotta shake it off, Jason.

  22. Anonymous - Mar 19, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    5. The starting pitching is still very second rate. Lannan has not looked good, Zimmerman got bombed yesterday. I doubt Livan can repeat his performance of last year. On the plus side, there is reason to be hopeful regarding Jason Marquis. He has looked impressive.Marquis? Really? Sigh … you are looking at what is arguably still the worst starting pitching staff in the majors. There's some competition for that but its not the kind of competition you want your team to be in. Yes, they are terrible.Again, the only way this team improves is if Zimmermann, Detwiler step up and I mean way up. Otherwise, the hope is that Tatusko and Milone show something in Syracuse PLUS Gorzelanny has to match last year AND Maya turns out to be the wild card of LIvo's guile with 92+ velocity. After that you get to pick one for the TRUE fifth starter and either Lannan or Livo will do. NOT the BS veteran crappola Riggleman likes to feed us. If this team goes on a losing streak to start the season I expect 'Giggleman' to be going, going, gone to retirement in his own tropic island mess.

  23. Original Nats Fan - Mar 19, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    @Theophilusat Nationals.com, Gaudin is listed as a non roster invitee

  24. Anonymous - Mar 19, 2011 at 6:34 PM

    I hope Detwiler steps up, too. But I think his Nats' epitaph will read: Unfulfilled Potential. He needs a starters' routine to be effective (by his own account) but can't get through a lineup more than once without damage. Maybe that will change in Syracuse…

  25. Anonymous - Mar 19, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    They bring Cintron to road games as an emergency backup player. This means he spends all day riding the bus and probably sitting on the bench, while real minor leaguers with a future, such as Lombardozzi, work out in minor league camp and play in minor league games. This is a good thing. So in no way does having Cintron sitting around doing nothing make the Nats a losing clubhouse.However, any time that idiot JayB shows up this turns into a loser blog.

  26. JayB - Mar 19, 2011 at 7:20 PM

    oh ABM you had bee so good lately…..I know it was hard but keep trying…everyone falls off the wagon some times it seems..

  27. Again with the potty mouth - Mar 19, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    There he is, regular as always. Stay classy, JayB.

  28. Golfersal - Mar 19, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    I have been gone for the last couple of days but went to the Washington Post Journal and really, really hate the way they are doing it.You all have probably seen it but stories are now built by the writer in the comment section, with feedback from certain people that "earn" the right to comment.Mark, I can only hope that you don't go in this direction, it really, really sucks because now you can't find the story and you have to muddle through a big page to find information.Again, I think this really sucks, wonder what some others think?

  29. Anonymous - Mar 19, 2011 at 8:36 PM

    Agree @Golfersal,That's what happens when you dial 1-800-INDIA and get a deal as mlb.com did. Redskins.com. Cheap, lots of flashy special effects … BUT ZERO HUMAN FACTORS, No thought put into user experience. Pretty typical.As far as Jerry Hairston Jr leadoff in CF?Hairston == Guzman another Riggleman starting utility man.The next cut should be JIm Riggleman.

  30. bobn - Mar 19, 2011 at 9:03 PM

    Pessimism is a mental disease…Upton Sinclair

  31. sjm 308 - Mar 19, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    bobn: great quote and if I was still coaching I would definitely post that for my team to read. Not that anyone cares but my two favorites are 1. "nothing great is ever achieved without enthusiasm" (a paraphrase from Oliver Wendall Holmes)2. "no one can make you feel inferior without your consent" E. RooseveltI sent that last one to Cintron just in case he is reading JayB on this site. I also wanted to comment on NJ. I am totally turned off to how they changed things over there. I love both these sites and actually like reading comments. They have made that almost impossible at the Post. I still read Adams work but have stopped trying to get comments. Good thing I have this group to keep me going.Go Nats

  32. Anonymous - Mar 19, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    Positive reinforcement for the first above .500 WINNING season:CUT Jim Riggleman loose today!

  33. Anonymous - Mar 19, 2011 at 9:35 PM

    With respect for Morse fans, what he is doing now is what I expected once he got extended playing time. His weaknesses have been exposed. From my perspective the Werth-clone Morse is doing better than the original? How do you explain that @fpcsteve? I'll be you Morse does better offensively than Werth this year. He will hit over .300 as he has been able to do pretty consistently. I don't expect huge power production but I expect he may flirt with 30 homers. Morse, unlike Werth, is used to adapting to different leagues, different situations at the plate from AAA and above. Morse will adapt. The question is what about Werth? I a lineup bereft of the Phillie's talent?

  34. phil dunn - Mar 19, 2011 at 9:49 PM

    Marquis today was the Marquis of 2010. Horrors, the starting pitching is even worse than I stated in my observations posted above. To make matters worse, Clippard was bad again today.

  35. fpcsteve - Mar 19, 2011 at 9:49 PM

    What I said was an observation. Time will prove or disprove what I said. The same is true for your opinion. As you yourself said, you're betting.

  36. Natman - Mar 19, 2011 at 10:39 PM

    The pitching is not as good as it was earlier this spring, but it is not as bad as it is this week. Based on these pitcher's past performances, it is some sort of mediocre middle ground, which is better than what we've been accustomed to. But on a positive note, I am actually looking forward to watching the team this year. I think for the most part they might compete in most games with a chance to win a few they normally would have no business of winning. And that is better than where the team was the past few years at this time. As for the WaPo, it really is awful. The designated commentators is especially ignorant. Some of the comments are complete crap and others are gold and they can be BOTH by the same commentator; me included. No offense to y'all, but I don't go to the WaPo to read the comments, I go to read about the Nats. Same is true here. So Mark, please don't let the suits ruin this blog with fancy lettering and glowing ads. Tell those at Comcast to follow the motto KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid). Thanks and rant over.

  37. Anonymous - Mar 19, 2011 at 10:44 PM

    Agree on the Nationals Journal site. It is just brutal to navigate now. I have about given up on it.

  38. Andrew - Mar 20, 2011 at 12:04 AM

    I have had some good conversations with many of you offline and the bullpen and CF are the main topics of conversation.Broderick has to have a spot as he has been solid in the bullpen and no way do you start Storen in DC based on what he hasn't done.Storen has to restart himself and find himself and build his confidence in AAA. Easy decision as I see it unless something changes drastically in the next week.

  39. Anonymous - Mar 20, 2011 at 12:34 AM

    What I said was an observation. Time will prove or disprove what I said. The same is true for your opinion. As you yourself said, you're betting.I'll be on Morse hitting close to or over .300 over Werth. I've seen enough of him to know that its a good bet. IMHO I wouldn't mess around with Hairston, Morgan, and the bat-less Ankiel. I would just go get Corey Brown and drop him in CF once he recovers. Hey, this is a team that dropped Lastings Milledge in CF and Dukes in RF. Brown I think is a better bet than the washed up veterans Riggleman is too often enamored with. AND JayB, Citron? Citron? Hell no its Harper. Ever since they CUT Harper they have slid. Why? The damned lazy shiftless Nats had to work harder than they have had to in years just to compete with a laser beam focused, talented juggernaut that Harper appeared to be. Looking bad compared to a high school senior? A seasoned pro?JayB if you wat to blame anyone, blame Riggleman and Rizzo for cutting Harper.

  40. JayB - Mar 20, 2011 at 12:55 AM

    I kind of agree that Harper had a lot to do with the energy they showed the first 3 weeks. Sad that a 24 professional players with a 60 Million dollar payroll is so easily derailed by the loss of an 18 year old and the addition of a end of the line loser who will be gone it 2 weeks…..but there it is for all to see.

  41. Anonymous - Mar 20, 2011 at 1:20 AM

    I kind of agree that Harper had a lot to do with the energy they showed the first 3 weeks.And you know that is not Harper's job. Its that damned worthless manager Riggleman's. He should have been the first cut this off season. It took an 18 year old to light a fire that he as manager should have lit under "his favored and precious veterans" from the get-go of spring training. First Guzman and now Hairston starting utility man. Riggleman bleeeehhhhh!

  42. LoveDaNats - Mar 20, 2011 at 1:23 AM

    Hate to say it but the pitching ray of hope today was Ballester and one of the best defensive plays I saw was from…wait for it…..Alex Cintron.

  43. Wally - Mar 20, 2011 at 2:54 AM

    The extreme nature of the comments continues to surprise me, given that we just passed the halfway point of ST. A week ago, Nats were 10-6 and looking to contend for the playoffs; now, it is can we avert another 100 loss season? Morse, Marquis, Zimm, Bernie, Maya all had proven that they were going to be exceptional performers, now they pretty much have proven they will be terrible. I don't think any of those conclusions had any basis, and so we still don't know anything until the season starts. The team is pretty healthy – that's good. Some of the pitchers like Zim and Detwiler are showing good velocity – that is good. The starting pitchers are not going to be great, there was never a reason to think that, but they are supposed to throw groundballs, and for the most part, it seems like they are doing that. I don't like to see Clippard and Storen getting shelled, but there may be reasons for it. The Nats have said that they are telling Storen to throw mostly fastballs to develop FA command. I think that is the right thing to do. He averaged 94.5mph last year on his FA, but only threw it 43% of the time. He needs to throw it more often, up to around 65%, and be able to spot it better. He clearly isn't there yet, and while 94.5mph is pretty good, it isn't so good that he can just leave it over the middle of the plate, and major league batters will miss it. That is what is going on with him, and now is the time to work on it. Clippard – I dunno what's going on. Whoever said his workload last year may be affecting him may be on to something. There is a reason that relievers are considered unreliable from year to year, and I suspect workload is a big part of it.You know what is bad? The defense. It has been poor, and not just from the Bixler's of the world. Not even mediocre. This is a team that can't just avoid playing poor defense; it needs to play exceptional defense to win. Rizzo purposely constructed it that way. I am concerned about this.But you know what? It is still spring training.

  44. Anonymous - Mar 20, 2011 at 4:25 AM

    The new NJ is not that hard to deal with. And for the most part,it keeps me from having to look at a certain loose stools O's fan's excrements. That's a big improvement.

  45. natsfan1a - Mar 20, 2011 at 9:55 AM

    Like others, I wondered whether Harper getting sent down was a factor as far as the level of play, although as some note, it shouldn't take a kid to light a fire under professionals.I'm with those who are turned off by the new Post interface, particularly having to go to the comments section to read beat writer coverage.

  46. sjm 308 - Mar 20, 2011 at 12:47 PM

    On a totally different topic and maybe I should know this. Did Espinosa play in too many games to be considered for Rookie of the Year in 2011? If not, why do I not hear his name brought up when national writers discuss this kind of thing?

  47. Feel Wood - Mar 20, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    No, Espinosa likely hasn't played in too many games to be eligible for ROY 2011. Recall that Zimmerman had a September callup in 2005 and was eligible in 2006, and Desmond had a September callup in 2009 and was eligible in 2010. The reason national writers are not mentioning Espinosa in their 2011 ROY discussions is because national writers still aren't paying attention to the Nationals beyond Strasburg and Harper. But if Espinosa has an exceptional performance this season, he'll be in the mix for ROY at the end of the year, which is the only time the discussion matters anyway.

  48. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 20, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    Espinosa does still qualify as a rookie in 2011. It takes 135 at-bats or 45 days on the big-league roster (excluding September service time when rosters are expanded) for position players to lose rookie status. Pitchers need to throw 50 innings or spend 45 days on the roster (again, excluding September) to lose rookie status.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 91 64 --
ATLANTA 76 79 15.0
NEW YORK 76 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 81 17.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 85 20.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Sunday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (4) 91 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 89 67 2.5
y-ST. LOUIS 87 69 4.5
-------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 71 7.0 --
PITTSBURGH 84 71 7.0 --
MILWAUKEE 80 76 11.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Sunday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Marlins at Nats, 1:35 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

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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.

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