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Game 6: Nats at Marlins

Apr 7, 2011, 7:27 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats need to beat Josh Johnson tonight to avoid a series sweep.

MIAMI — Not that you ever want to put yourself in a position where you need to win a series finale on the road to avoid being swept, but the Nationals' current predicament is especially daunting. Not only do they need to win tonight against a Marlins club they've lost seven straight and 41 of 55 against, but they need to do it against their ace.

Josh Johnson (career 7-0, 3.27 ERA) starts for Florida, five days after he carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning on Opening Day against the Mets. He'll be opposed by John Lannan, who also pitched well in his season debut but is 2-3 with a 5.34 ERA in six career starts against the Marlins.

As expected, Wilson Ramos is behind the plate for the Nats. As was not expected, he's batting fifth behind Adam LaRoche. Michael Morse (2-for-17 to begin the season) is on the bench, with Laynce Nix starting in left field and batting eighth.

Meanwhile, up in Rome, Ga., tonight, Bryce Harper and the Hagerstown Suns take the field for the first time this season. I'll provide some updates from that game (which starts at 7 p.m.) within this game thread, so be sure to check back for that…

NATIONALS at MARLINS
Where: Sun Life Stadium
Gametime: 7:10 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM)
Weather: Partly cloudy, 79 degrees, Wind 10 mph in from RF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (1-4)
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche

Read more »

  1. The Joker - Apr 7, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    Riggs and the gang may as well chug down Margarittas and Screwdrivers for lunch so they can stomach tonight's route.

  2. JamesFan - Apr 7, 2011 at 7:37 PM

    Tough one tonight. Does any manager in baseball flip his starting lineup like Riggs? I guess we'll find out if Nix is "overmatched" by Josh Johnson. If Ramos hits the ball hard against Johnson, will Pudge start tomorrow?

  3. joemktg - Apr 7, 2011 at 7:42 PM

    "If Ramos hits the ball hard against Johnson, will Pudge start tomorrow?"If Ramos hits the ball hard against Johnson, he'll be batting cleanup tomorrow.

  4. Anonymous - Apr 7, 2011 at 7:45 PM

    Wow, nice diving catch by Nyjer Morgan in right field! Opps, he's now playing for the Milwaukee Brewers. Sorry! Wow, Manny Acta sweeps three games from Big, Bad Boston! Opps, Manny now manages the Cleveland Indians! Sorry! Where are those guys when the Nats need them the most?!?!?! Oh, I know, GONE!

  5. The Joker - Apr 7, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    Yes, I know I misspelled rout. But more fun and games for Riggs. Why not bat Cora lead-off to start but do a double switch in the bottom of the first with Desmond put in at short but put in the seventh spot for starting second baseman Hairston while Espinosa assumes the first spot and plays second. That'll shock the Marlins' manager out of his socks for sure and take him off his managerial game.

  6. erocks33 - Apr 7, 2011 at 7:52 PM

    Let's hope that Lannan can channel his inner Levale Speigner for tonight's matchup versus Josh Johnson.

  7. The Joker - Apr 7, 2011 at 7:52 PM

    Another cool Riggs joke. Have Desmond and Espinosa switch positions every new inning. That'll befuddle those confused sailfish wannabes.

  8. John O'Connor - Apr 7, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    When you have a left fielder batting eighth, you must have one heckuva catcher and set of middle infielders. So all must be well.

  9. P. Cole - Apr 7, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    Lots of Riggleman haters out here today. But it doesn't matter what your lineup is if NOBODY CAN HIT THE BALL.

  10. Jokin' Jimmy - Apr 7, 2011 at 8:34 PM

    Riggs should juggle his line-up like little league. Have Hairston, Nix, Stairs, Cora and Rodrgiguez play the first three innings and then have Espinoza, Morse, LaRoche, Desmond and Ramos take over in the fourth. Everybody plays.

  11. JamesFan - Apr 7, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    Riggleman is the new Nyger now that Nyger is gone.

  12. Sec 3, My Sofa - Apr 7, 2011 at 8:47 PM

    "Ennn wyyyy Jayyyy eeeeeee arrrrrr!"

  13. Anonymous8 - Apr 7, 2011 at 8:48 PM

    I saw a headline "Rodriguez Heads to Doble-A on Rehab". Not Pudge IRod, it's HenRod.Personally, I like Pudge so it is nothing personal and I still take him over Nieves just that this alternating days is like High School.

  14. Anonymous8 - Apr 7, 2011 at 8:50 PM

    Bryce Harper tonight in a Hitterish State of Mind

  15. Anonymous - Apr 7, 2011 at 8:56 PM

    If Ramos hits the ball hard against Johnson, he'll be batting cleanup tomorrow.Mr. Howell will be back to starting tomorrow … remember we're on Giggleman's Isle.

  16. Anonymous - Apr 7, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    Bryce Harper tonight in a Hitterish State of MindMust have changed his name to Seth Bynum who has a three run homer and bases loaded double in the opener so far … that's raking.

  17. Tim the Enchanter - Apr 7, 2011 at 8:59 PM

    Harper predictions- fly out to center, strike out, double, foul out.

  18. N. Cognito - Apr 7, 2011 at 9:01 PM

    Watch the Nats or do taxes?I think I'll do taxes.

  19. Anonymous - Apr 7, 2011 at 9:26 PM

    I'd rather have my vasectomy reversed by a fish monger than watch this game.

  20. LoveDaNats - Apr 7, 2011 at 9:40 PM

    This familiar feeling about my Nats is starting to worry me. I watched the Phillies home opener on Friday. Phillies were down 5-0 in the 7th. They got 2 then proceeded to play small ball in the bottom of the 9th until the final score was 6-5 Phillies. What is it that the Nats lack that doesn't allow them to play like that and come from behind? Is it a mindset or lack of talent? I can't believe the latter since almost everyone is a talented athlete, they just can't seem to do it at the same time. It's discouraging and demoralizing. And I'm talking about for the fans. I was a Riggleman supporter but am now wondering if some of you just might be right. JaneB….I can't get that quote from the scout in Fla. out of my head "No offense is no offense". *Sigh* Thanks for listening to the rant.

  21. SonnyG10 - Apr 7, 2011 at 9:44 PM

    Time to win one tonight. Nats hitters are going to break out and the pitching and defence will be outstanding. Drinking the cherry flavored Kool-Aid.

  22. LoveDaNats - Apr 7, 2011 at 9:47 PM

    @sonnyG10Pass it over.

  23. Sec 3, My Sofa - Apr 7, 2011 at 9:55 PM

    I asked a long-time Cubs beat writer about Riggleman, and he said "Get him some talent."Maybe Riggleman's like Joe Torre–nice guy, very successful in one particular situation, but otherwise, pretty average.

  24. Feel Wood - Apr 7, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    "I asked a long-time Cubs beat writer about Riggleman, and he said "Get him some talent."I agree. Get him some managerial talent. But how the hell do you do that?

  25. N. Cognito - Apr 7, 2011 at 10:39 PM

    LoveDaNats said…"They got 2 then proceeded to play small ball in the bottom of the 9th until the final score was 6-5 Phillies."Six singles is not the definition of small ball. Small ball is an attempt to manufacture a run or two while giving up outs.

  26. LoveDaNats - Apr 7, 2011 at 10:47 PM

    My bad…..

  27. Anonymous - Apr 7, 2011 at 10:58 PM

    Anybody know how best to get the radio feed of the Harperstown game tonight? I'm using a Mac made in this decade, so the Suns' options of RealAudio and WinAMP aren't really cutting it for me… :)

  28. Anonymous - Apr 7, 2011 at 10:58 PM

    How will we win without Mickey Morse?

  29. Will - Apr 7, 2011 at 11:29 PM

    ‎Love Carpenter's "Coulda Been Worse!" …can we make this the new Nats marketing slogan?

  30. Anonymous8 - Apr 7, 2011 at 11:42 PM

    Bunt…Ramos to Desmond………looked out at 2nd to me!

  31. Anonymous - Apr 8, 2011 at 12:17 AM

    Lady Antebellum to Bryce Harper – " We need you now"

  32. RickH - Apr 8, 2011 at 12:49 AM

    Hmmm … 3-2 Nats in the 6th. I need to look up the definition of "rout." Must mean something other than what I thought.

  33. Natsochist - Apr 8, 2011 at 12:57 AM

    @RickH not if Ankiel's give has anything to say about it.

  34. Phil Dunn - Apr 8, 2011 at 12:58 AM

    Ankiel=Nyjer. There goes the ball game,

  35. Wally - Apr 8, 2011 at 1:15 AM

    C'mon people. No comments about Hairston instead of Morse?

  36. phil dunn - Apr 8, 2011 at 1:15 AM

    The Nats, with four hits tonight, now have a team batting average of .203 for the season. Anyone think Rick Eckstein deserves a raise?

  37. Anonymous - Apr 8, 2011 at 1:20 AM

    Where is JayB and his 82 wins prediction for the season? Maybe he's rooting for the Orioles.

  38. phil dunn - Apr 8, 2011 at 1:37 AM

    Morse is looking more and more like Pudge with the bat. At this rate, he will be on his way to Syracuse soon.

  39. Smatt1001 - Apr 8, 2011 at 2:13 AM

    Oh Desi…why did you have to try and steal third?

  40. Smatt1001 - Apr 8, 2011 at 2:24 AM

    And there goes LaRoche!!!

  41. sjm308 - Apr 8, 2011 at 2:27 AM

    Man, what a catch by Coughlin!Do you guys think Riggs had the steal on or was that Espinosa going on his own – LaRoche sort of erased that memory and lets hope we can hold onGo Nats!

  42. Andrew - Apr 8, 2011 at 2:37 AM

    Nice win! On a night where Josh Johnson was throwing no hit stuff, a good comeback!

  43. RickH - Apr 8, 2011 at 2:40 AM

    Rout. Noun. Any overwhelming defeat.All I'm saying is, let 'em play the game instead of declaring a "rout" before the game even starts.GO NATS!!!

  44. Anonymous8 - Apr 8, 2011 at 2:41 AM

    Smatt1001 said… Oh Desi…why did you have to try and steal third? April 7, 2011 10:13 PM ___________________________I think you mean Espi. Why wasn't Riggleman pinch running for Stairs? That should have at least been a double steal so you keep a man in scoring position if the lead runner is caught stealing (like he was) or best case 2 in scoring positon if the steal was successful. You have pitchers who run faster than Stairs, heck I think Livan runs faster than Stairs. You have to pinch run for him. Where Riggles over manages, he seems to under manage in situations like this.

  45. Andrew - Apr 8, 2011 at 2:55 AM

    The Nats are now tied with the World Series Champ SF Giants at 2-4 and 2 games ahead of the pre-season AL favorite Red Sox. So the good news is the season is 6 games old. A few wins in NYM set the Nats up much better next week against the Phillies.The bullpen was stellar, Lannan came back strong. 2 HRs from your 2 new big dollar guys were the difference makers.Almost every starter contributed with offense except Ramos went 0-4 and could have been 2-4 as he was robbed in CF and earlier by Hanley.Desmond and Zim were both solid with the glove. Just glad the Nats won so we don't have to disect all the mistakes.

  46. natsfan1a - Apr 8, 2011 at 3:14 AM

    Nice to win one in extra innings. Also, can FP tear off a number or what?

  47. JaneB - Apr 8, 2011 at 3:17 AM

    Not to get all kumbaya on you, but it sure isfun to read Mark's live blog of the game. Then you all make me laugh along the way. Our team may not be on a hot streak (YET YET! There's alway hope ) but you all make things a lot more fun.2 curlie w s…. 79 more to go.

  48. natsfan1a - Apr 8, 2011 at 3:24 AM

    Agreed on all counts, JaneB. Oh, and I liked that the final out was Bonifacio, whiffing.

  49. FS - Apr 8, 2011 at 4:07 AM

    So let me go back and check what I said yesterday. I claimed (more like hoped) Nationals would beat Johnson today. That did not exactly happened but we got the win, which matters.I was at the O's game today so missed all the updates. First thing I did when I got back is check this post. Mark, we may not say it all the time but we really appreciate your updates. Awesome way to catch up on the game, along with some highlights. Thank you.

  50. Jeeves - Apr 8, 2011 at 9:44 AM

    Hmmm, Phil Dunn quit posting–C'mon Phil, give us a positive comment now.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
ATLANTA 76 77 13.0
MIAMI 74 79 15.0
NEW YORK 74 80 15.5
PHILADELPHIA 70 84 19.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Friday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
LOS ANGELES 88 66 1.5
ST. LOUIS 86 68 3.5
-----------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 69 5.0 +1.0
PITTSBURGH 83 70 6.0 --
MILWAUKEE 79 75 10.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
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.
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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