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Game 2: Braves at Nats

Apr 2, 2011, 2:18 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
John Lannan faces Tommy Hanson today at Nationals Park.

Though Jim Riggleman insisted all spring Ivan Rodriguez would be his Opening Day catcher, the Nationals manager never said Pudge would be his everyday catcher. There has been an understanding all along that Wilson Ramos would be getting a significant number of at-bats, and eventually taking over as the team's No. 1 catcher.

So it's not really a surprise that Ramos is behind the plate today in only the season's second game. I don't think he's suddenly become the everyday guy himself, but if it wasn't clear already, it should be now: Ramos is at the very least splitting the job with Rodriguez.

John Lannan takes the mound for the Nationals, facing a Braves lineup that is unchanged from Opening Day. Right-hander Tommy Hanson starts for Atlanta. Plenty of updates to come…

BRAVES at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM)
Weather: Scattered storms, 48 degrees, Wind 10 mph LF to RF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche

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  1. masnstinks - Apr 2, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    When I look at the Braves line up I am very afraid. I think that they are going to give the Fillies a tough time this season. It will be interesting to see if Ankiel can be a second lead-off, Espi moves him over, Ramos gets him in.

  2. Anonymous - Apr 2, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    Whats up with the Nationals giving out opening day baseball caps with NO opening day 2011 on them?

  3. JaneB - Apr 2, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    Anon at 11:04, I noticed the same thing Thursday. My bet is that they ordered a boatload and we will see those caps again. But it was nice — SO NICE — to see them on so many heads the other day!

  4. Tim - Apr 2, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    I seem to recall that last season Lannan often woudl pitch to Nieves and in spring training there was a mention that he preffered to pitch to Ramos. Any beef between Pudge and Lannan?

  5. meixler - Apr 2, 2011 at 4:36 PM

    Hi Everybody. I've been a long time follower of this blog but only an every-now-and-again poster. Today, I ask for your help in something that is only slightly baseball related. I, Matt Meixler, am a contestant in Brian Wilson's Beard Bracket (http://brianwilson38.com/2011/03/beardmadness) and I would greatly appreciate your support. Yes, this is shameless self promotion and I completely understand if you hate me for it. I promise not to make a habit of it. I was just hoping some of you would be willing to help a fellow D.C. sports fan out.Also: Go Nats! I think a curly W is in our not-too-distant future.

  6. Anonymous - Apr 2, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    Isn't shamless self promotion what life is about?

  7. meixler - Apr 2, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    I was hoping some of you would see things that way!

  8. Les in NC - Apr 2, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    Does the catching situation carry over a prevailing thought from last year that Lannan just didn't want Pudge catching him (or visa-versa)? IIRC, Lannan and Pudge may have only been teamed up together once or twice.Just wonderin'.

  9. Les in NC - Apr 2, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    Espinosa is tremendous!!

  10. Carl in 309 - Apr 2, 2011 at 6:36 PM

    And so is Ankiel!

  11. Anonymous8 - Apr 2, 2011 at 6:36 PM

    I just saw Werth smile after Ankiel came into the dugout after that HR. So Werth does smile!

  12. MicheleS - Apr 2, 2011 at 6:39 PM

    Finally! Some Offense! Espinosa is looking good as the ROY!

  13. Anonymous - Apr 2, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    Now, we get to see if Rizzo's plan will work … a small, but decent lead. Can the pitching and defense hold a lead against a top team like the Braves?

  14. Mark'd - Apr 2, 2011 at 6:52 PM

    John Lannan with a Sac Bunt!

  15. tmb - Apr 2, 2011 at 7:57 PM

    Game Official Bitches!!!

  16. Sam - Apr 2, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    That's a fine start by Lannan. If not for the rain, he could have gone at least one more (although, we don't know what would have happened in the 5th). I'll take it.

  17. JD - Apr 2, 2011 at 8:12 PM

    Sam,but if he pitched the 5th why did they take him out after only 68 pitches?

  18. Wally - Apr 2, 2011 at 8:16 PM

    These pitching changes haven't …. uhmm…. gone so well.

  19. Sam - Apr 2, 2011 at 8:16 PM

    Because Jim Riggleman manages like he is constantly on drugs.

  20. Navy Nats Fan - Apr 2, 2011 at 8:17 PM

    They took him out because of the rain delay – he warmed up twice, and the first one (before the game) was extended because the start was also delayed by rain. So he did pitch the 5th, and by the way Gaudin, Slaten, and Clippard are stinking up the 6th, I bet Riggleman is wishing he had given Lannan the 6th too….

  21. Wally - Apr 2, 2011 at 8:20 PM

    Attaboy, Clip

  22. JD - Apr 2, 2011 at 8:22 PM

    3 pitching changes and one double switch later we are out of the inning; yeah Riggs is in mid season form and Navy Nats Fan; your point would be valid if they hadn't brought Lannan back after the delay but since they did and he was effective they probably should have stayed with him.

  23. Wally - Apr 2, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    JD – I agree with you. To bring him back for just the 1 inning means that he was trying to give him the potential win only. That is risky health wise and unnecessary. His pitch count was very low for a normal start and he was effective. Either he can go longer, or bring out Gorzy.

  24. Navy Nats Fan - Apr 2, 2011 at 8:31 PM

    JD – I think they just wanted to leave him in long enough to have a chance at getting the win and were planning to only leave him in for one inning. Of course, that was Lannan's only 1-2-3 inning all day. I agree – as well as he pitched the 5th I would have let him at least start the 6th.

  25. Steve - Apr 2, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    The quota on "old-fashioned country hardball" has been reached and exceeded, F.P.

  26. Navy Nats Fan - Apr 2, 2011 at 8:45 PM

    Steve – turn down the TV and listen to Charlie and Dave on 106.7 – reception is so much better this year than on 1500 last year, and the intelligence (baseball and otherwise) is much higher.

  27. Anonymous - Apr 2, 2011 at 8:49 PM

    Hopefully, we won't end up marooned on Giggleman's Double Switch Island this early in the season.

  28. JD - Apr 2, 2011 at 8:51 PM

    Morse would be nice in this spot. Oh yeah; Riggleman double switched him out of the game.

  29. MicheleS - Apr 2, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    Nice Bunt Squeeze! I am thinking that Nyjer would never have gotten that one done!

  30. Mark'd - Apr 2, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    Squeezing!

  31. Steve - Apr 2, 2011 at 9:00 PM

    Thanks, Navy. I guess I've got a radio around here somewhere. Haven't listened to games on the radio since hearing the Braves crew in south Georgia in the early 1990s.

  32. Anonymous - Apr 2, 2011 at 9:00 PM

    The Stairs/Nix situation is odd and seems to creates a hole on the bench. It would be nice to have another RH bat (that is not a catcher), fortunately Ankiel got the job done in this instance.

  33. dj in Fl. - Apr 2, 2011 at 9:02 PM

    There is a reason Riggs is managing and none of us are. I bet not one of the arm chair managers saw that bunt coming. Great job Riggs!He got Clip in to end the rally, and the defensive replacement needed at this juncture.A solid double switch.

  34. Gonats - Apr 2, 2011 at 9:03 PM

    Storen, be a STOPPER! Looks like BP sometimes with him.

  35. JD - Apr 2, 2011 at 9:07 PM

    dj in FL sometimes even stupid moves work.

  36. Anonymous8 - Apr 2, 2011 at 9:12 PM

    dj – The squeeze worked well with the element of surprise and executed perfectly by Ankiel and Zim.Not sure how Riggles can trust Storen in the closer role at this point in time, and thank goodness there was a 3 run lead when he gave up that HR. Still upset that the Nats seem to still have all close calls by the umps going the way of the Braves. I thought that only happened because of Bobby Cox!

  37. Steve - Apr 2, 2011 at 9:18 PM

    Happy farewell season, Chipper.

  38. sjm308 - Apr 2, 2011 at 9:18 PM

    Amazing, we are up 5-3 in an excellent game and all you guys do is b#%ch about Riggs. I like that he has kept the bullpen responsible so far. If you screw up, you are coming out. Great shot of McCaty and Pudge talking to Storen after the 8th. Storen was pissed but guess what, you gave up a homerun and Riggs went with the lefty knowing Atl. had no one RH pinch hitters in the dugout. Really hoping Burnett will thrive in this role and handle these last 3 outs! Zimm!! up 6-3 how sweet it is. Go Nats!!

  39. Navy Nats Fan - Apr 2, 2011 at 9:19 PM

    I can't decide about Chipper Jones – I was pretty impressed with the way he has come back from knee surgery, but on that bouncer by Zimmerman he just suddenly looked old.

  40. Steve - Apr 2, 2011 at 9:23 PM

    Chipper didn't look so hot on the earlier error in the other direction either, Navy. It's certainly early (and cold, which I'm sure doesn't help). But the clock is certainly ticking on him.

  41. Anonymous - Apr 2, 2011 at 9:26 PM

    Tough start to the season with the bat for Desmond, nice to see he's finding ways to contribute through hustle.

  42. Navy Nats Fan - Apr 2, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    I'll take that performance from the team for another 160 games, please!

  43. Anonymous8 - Apr 2, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    Nice WIN and awesome defense! Desmond, Espi, and Burnett!!!!FP did have a good one on Burnett's hot shot grounder by Prado, did Burnett get the ball or did the ball get him?

  44. MicheleS - Apr 2, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    Sweet! The first win is in the books..

  45. Mark'd - Apr 2, 2011 at 9:35 PM

    Good team defense!

  46. sjm308 - Apr 2, 2011 at 9:40 PM

    Nice win and glad to see Mark agrees with me on Riggs. He made lots of moves today in a tense game and almost all of them worked.How about Desmond, 0-8 and yet he made several solid plays in the field and the play on the 9th inning on the 2nd base side was super. Has a relief pitcher ever won the gold glove? (Just kidding but man those were two fine plays.)Loved the way this game was played today. We look like we can play with anyone this year.

  47. Anonymous - Apr 2, 2011 at 9:40 PM

    161 – 1 is looking more realistic for NATS…UNTERP

  48. Mark'd - Apr 2, 2011 at 9:41 PM

    SJM, all you guys??? I think it is more like a few that clearly don't like him. Also, it is Ok to be an armchair QB as it doesn't mean you want the guy gone.

  49. Cwj - Apr 2, 2011 at 9:43 PM

    Great and interesting game.My take on the Bullpen through 2 games:Burnett should be the full-time 9th inning closer. A gold glove potential as well :)Clippard is shining in high leverage situations, and should stay in that role to work the 7th/8th innings when the game is on the line (perfect setup man).Storen should be used cautiously in spot setup to get his confidence back.

  50. N. Cognito - Apr 2, 2011 at 9:45 PM

    The inane blabbering in the TV booth is greatly suppresed this year – what a relief.

  51. Anonymous8 - Apr 2, 2011 at 9:51 PM

    CWJ, totally agree with your thoughts on the 'pen.Also, nice to say the words, The Nats are tied in the standings with the Braves!!!!Ramos called a great game and hitting a cool .750 with those 3 doinks.

  52. Mark'd - Apr 2, 2011 at 10:48 PM

    Having Nix in LF in crucial late innings is a downgrade from previous years.

  53. Anonymous - Apr 2, 2011 at 10:49 PM

    I was at the game and don't know why Wilson Ramos was sent back to first after stealing second on a swinging strike three. Can someone explain?

  54. Anonymous - Apr 2, 2011 at 11:06 PM

    Anonymous @ 6:49 p.m.re: Ramos sent back to first after stealing 2ndI was watching on MASN and FP and Bobby Carpenter said that the catcher interefered with Laynce Nix's swing on the play (he wasn't allowed enough room for a follow-through) and it was automatically a dead ball play. Riggleman came out to argue – apparently saying that the catcher and the Braves shouldn't benefit from their own 'foul' as it were, but the ump was un-persuaded.It was nice to see some (relative) speed from the Catcher position, though.Mark in Arlington

  55. SCNatsFan - Apr 2, 2011 at 11:48 PM

    was dissappointed how quick Gaudin got the hook; if you are going to have that little faith in the guy then release him and bring up Balestar.At least you were all spared the ATL broadcast… homers at their worst. Not good plays by Burnett in the 9th, just hard hit balls that found the glove. Maybe that is true, but had a Brave done it they there would already be a statue out front of the stadium being constructed.Good to get the first curly W in the books, now the first series win.

  56. Joe Seamhead - Apr 3, 2011 at 12:11 AM

    They reversed the Chipper error call and ruled it a hit. It would have stayed an E-5 on anybody else.

  57. Grandstander - Apr 3, 2011 at 12:24 AM

    <>I actually loved how Riggs handled the pitching changes there. As soon as it was evident someone couldn't get the job done, they were pulled. Accountability. Why let him stay up there and lose you the game? I think Riggs actually managed this game pretty well, though I'd imagine if that suicide squeeze didn't work, I'd be singing a different tune. But a win will brighten anyone's hindsight on a game.Back to .500!

  58. A DC Wonk - Apr 3, 2011 at 1:34 AM

    A number of folks have suggested that since Lannan had pitched the 5th, he should have pitched the 6th since he only had 68 pitches (or, conversely, that putting him out for the 5th was "only" to get a win).I disagree with both of that. First of all, putting him out in the fifth means one less inning for the bullpen. As for why he was taken out of the sixth, it's possible that although the pitch count was only 68, all the extra warming up is sort-of-equivalent to a number of extra pitches, which may have been close enough to his first-game of the season (particularly with the cold weather).

  59. N. Cognito - Apr 3, 2011 at 2:58 AM

    The actual ruling by the umpire was that Nix interfered with the throw by the Atlanta catcher.

Archives

FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 96 66 --
ATLANTA 79 83 17.0
NEW YORK 79 83 17.0
MIAMI 77 85 19.0
PHILADELPHIA 73 89 23.0

NL POSTSEASON SCHEDULE

NL WILD CARD GAME
WED: Giants at Pirates, 8:07 p.m. (ESPN)

NLDS
FRI: Game 1, Pirates at Nats, 12:07 p.m.,
OR Giants at Nats, 3:07 p.m. (FS1)
SAT: Game 2, PIT/SF at Nats, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
MON: Game 3, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (MLBN)
TUE: Game 4, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (FS1)*
OCT. 9: Game 5, PIT/SF at Nats, TBA (FS1)*
*if necessary

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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)...

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