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Nats at Tigers – 3/24/11

Mar 24, 2011, 8:37 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jordan Zimmermann faces the Tigers tonight at Joker Marchant Stadium.

LAKELAND, Fla. — Plenty of pregame news here this evening. I'll go into more detail on all this in some separate postings, but here's the quick rundown…

— Jayson Werth is hitting second tonight, and Jim Riggleman said that's going to continue to be the case entering the season. Werth will bat second, with Ryan Zimmerman third, Adam LaRoche fourth and Michael Morse fifth. Leadoff remains a question mark, though you've got to believe it's either going to be Nyjer Morgan or Ian Desmond.

— The team still hasn't settled on the order of the rotation to open the year, but the only decision left is whether John Lannan or Jordan Zimmermann starts Game 2 after Livan Hernandez. The other guy will start Game 3, with Jason Marquis fourth and Tom Gorzelanny fifth. All five starters will make the Opening Day roster, though it hasn't been decided if Gorzelanny will take his first turn in the rotation or pitch out of the bullpen for the first week.

— Henry Rodriguez, who hasn't pitched in a game in a week, indeed does have a physical ailment: neck spasms. He was treated by a doctor and should be able to throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but the chance of him getting enough work in by Opening Day is remote. Sounds like he'll start the year on the DL.

— Chad Gaudin will begin pitching out of the bullpen this week, and Riggleman all but said he'll make the club as a long reliever. Assuming Rodriguez and Elvin Ramirez land on the DL, that would leave one final bullpen spot for either Collin Balester or Rule 5 pick Brian Broderick.

Plenty of game updates to come here, and more details on all that other news to come in separate posts…

Where: Joker Marchant Stadium, Lakeland
Gametime: 6:05 p.m.
TV: MLB Network (tape delayed at 8 p.m.)
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM)
Weather: Mostly sunny, 81 degrees, Wind 13 mph LF to RF

DH Nyjer Morgan
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Michael Morse

Read more »

  1. Jim Webster - Mar 24, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    MLBN's "30 Teams in 30 Days" feature today painted a very optimistic picture of the Nats, talking about significant improvements from last year and a big jump in games won. Made me wonder whether they were talking about the same team that so many commenters here see as essentially dysfunctional. I look forward with optimism to a week from today.

  2. Anonymous8 - Mar 24, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    Steve M. said… JD – Have at your lineup. Unless you move Werth or Morse up, you are screwed and hope these guys develop. Desmond and Ankiel will still get on base 3 of 10 plate appearances and they will stay on base unlike Nyjer who took himself off the bases way too many times. March 24, 2011 12:59 PM Look at that Steve M. They moved Werth up to the 2 hole!

  3. Mark'd - Mar 24, 2011 at 8:56 PM

    SteveM, when I read your suggestion I laughed thinking not a chance they move Werth or Morse to the 2 hole. It is crazy but going with any combo involving 2 of Desmond, Espi, Ankiel, Nyjer or Bernadina are all low OBP guys.

  4. N. Cognito - Mar 24, 2011 at 8:59 PM

    I want to thank you Mark. I have found true religion after coming to your site.

  5. JD - Mar 24, 2011 at 9:01 PM

    I actually like this a lot (moving Werth up). If Morgan is toast as seems to be the sentiment I really hope that Desmond is somehow convinced that you are allowed to take a pitch now and again and a walk is a good thing.

  6. Ernie - Mar 24, 2011 at 9:09 PM

    Concidentally I just picked up 3 Nights in August, about LaRussa managing a few games against the Cubs in 2003. Early in the book it mentions that when he was with the White Sox in the 80s it was his decison to move Fisk up to the 2-spot, where (the original) Pudge went to town. I had completely forgotten about that until reading it again, and here it looks like Riggleman is thinking something similar.

  7. N. Cognito - Mar 24, 2011 at 9:13 PM

    Werth batting 2nd!?Tooting horn – I believe some genius poster here proposed that soon after the Nats signed Werth – horn tooting over.

  8. Anonymous - Mar 24, 2011 at 9:22 PM

    >>>– Henry Rodriguez, who hasn't pitched in a game in a week, indeed does have a physical ailment: neck spasms. <<<<…wink, wink…

  9. sjm308 - Mar 24, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    Toot away! I love when Riggs thinks outside the box and he needs to do more of it.

  10. N. Cognito - Mar 24, 2011 at 9:35 PM

    Werth batting second is really a decision by default. He has a good OBP, is a good baserunner and has some power. His HR totals should come down, not playing Citizens Band Box Park.

  11. Bowdenball - Mar 24, 2011 at 9:39 PM

    N. Cognito-While you're tooting, remember to send a couple toots my way as well. I've been asking for it since we signed him. I love this move, especially if Morse can be what we all are hoping he will be.

  12. Mikey Morse Club Member # 1 - Mar 24, 2011 at 9:47 PM

    Kilgore has an interesting post on the subject. If I am reading correctly, Werth and Rizzo are the brain-trusts behind this Werth to #2 business. This year is going to be a lot more fun than any since 2005.

  13. Doc - Mar 24, 2011 at 9:54 PM

    Nice to see that they are taking Bobby V.'s advice on Rodriguez's injury. Now, BallyStar vs. Broderick—let the debate begin! Forgetting Rule 5 (hard to forget) and options (also hard to forget) who has the better stuff, or whatever else counts? Methinks BallyStar??

  14. Anonymous - Mar 24, 2011 at 10:28 PM

    With Werth in the 2 hole it looks like we can forget get em on get em over get em in baseball. No more no out bunts from the No. 2 man. Asking Werth to sacrifice himself in a small ball game is not gonna happen. With a muscular lineup we will not be playing the girly man bunting game. We will play a balls out American League style pound them to jelly game. Situational hitteing is overrated anyway. We won't be wasting a perfectly good out just for a lousy 90 ft of basepath. We don't have any bunters anyway so why waste time with that aspect of the game. Good by and good riddance to the Girly Man Nats of the past! All Hail the Half St Bombers of 2011!

  15. Anonymous - Mar 24, 2011 at 11:12 PM

    Real men don't bother with spelling or grammar.

  16. Theophilus - Mar 24, 2011 at 11:14 PM

    Anonymous@6:28 –Quoth Earl Weaver: "The best strategy is a three-run homer."

  17. Meridian - Mar 25, 2011 at 12:04 AM

    I really like Espinosa but there was an example of how plate discipline can change games.Twice he swung at ball 4. Instead of bases loaded and one out, the inning is over. In a real game with a tighter score, that kind of thing can make the whole difference.

  18. Theophilus - Mar 25, 2011 at 12:20 AM

    Broderick pitches one inning. Has he gone more than one on any occasion? Should we believe they are trying not to overexpose him?

  19. JaneB - Mar 25, 2011 at 12:50 AM

    I am loving reading this Mark. Insightful and hilarious. Wondering if Zuckerman Effect was at work tonight, or have these guys done this all on their own?

  20. Anonymous - Mar 25, 2011 at 12:51 AM

    It's so funny watching the Tigers' TV guys on MLB TV. They didn't announce a single one of the Nationals' batters in the 8th. Just kept talking all Detroit, all the time.

  21. phil dunn - Mar 25, 2011 at 12:56 AM

    This game leaves little doubt that the regular season will see an Ankiel/Hairston platoon. This should make JayB happy beacuse Morgan is probably toast.

  22. Nataholic - Mar 25, 2011 at 1:10 AM

    Careful what you wish for. Ankiel and Hariston are not great solutions to starting the CF problem.

  23. Jeeves - Mar 25, 2011 at 1:34 AM

    It makes me angry that Bali will be sent down while Coffey is a part of this team.

  24. Andrew - Mar 25, 2011 at 1:51 AM

    I am watching the game on Tape Delay on the MLB Network. Its in the 5th inning and after JZim struck out his 6th batter the Tigers announcers said this Zimmermann is impressive and in mid-season form and struck out everyone on fastballs.Real nice outing!

  25. The Adventurers - Mar 25, 2011 at 2:16 AM

    Ankiel vs. RHP in 2010 .256/.339/.462Hairston vs. LHP in 2010 .244/.312/.366 Morgan 2010 .253/.319/.314 More pop, better arms, and less outs given away on the bases. I love TPlush, but a platoon is the answer.

  26. A DC Wonk - Mar 25, 2011 at 2:59 AM

    Mark wrote: "that would leave one final bullpen spot for either Collin Balester or Rule 5 pick Brian Broderick."Is this presuming Coffey is staying? If so, why? (Is he out of options, too?)

  27. JaneB - Mar 25, 2011 at 3:14 AM

    I'm with Jeeves. Coffey has not helped us at all this spring. Ballestar deserves the slot. It was not a smart trade, and keeping him up compounds the error.





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