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After rough week, Pudge contributes to win

Apr 9, 2011, 1:44 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Ivan Rodriguez contributed to today’s win both behind and at the plate.

NEW YORK — Ivan Rodriguez’s opportunities to make meaningful contributions to the Nationals are waning. He won’t say that, but you get the sense the 39-year-old catcher understands the situation. The Nationals want to start transitioning rookie Wilson Ramos into a leading role, which means Rodriguez is about to be phased out.

That doesn’t mean Pudge can’t still contribute in some manner to the Nationals’ success and development. Indeed, he played a significant role in today’s 6-2 victory over the Mets, both at and behind the plate.

With a two-run single in the eighth inning, Rodriguez gave his team some breathing room after most of the evening had been a nip-and-tuck affair. And with his deft game-calling abilities, he guided starter Jordan Zimmermann and five relievers through an impressive performance.

Was Pudge the star of this game? No. Zimmermann, who allowed two runs over 5 1/3 innings and also delivered a clutch, two-run single, had the biggest impact on the outcome of this one. So did relievers Doug Slaten, Chad Gaudin and Tyler Clippard, who collectively escaped delicate jams in the sixth and seventh innings when Washington led only 3-2.

But Rodriguez was right there with all those pitchers, helping them navigate their way through it all.
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  1. SCNatsFan - Apr 9, 2011 at 2:25 AM

    Nothing would make me happier then to see Pudge rebound and show some (like me) he still has some gas in the tank. Sure he still calls a great game but this team can't afford to only send 7 hitters to the plate each game.Nice curly W today. Only threw the remote twice.

  2. Grandstander - Apr 9, 2011 at 2:44 AM

    Quick editorial note: 15th graph – *Angel* PaganI don't think anyone questions Pudge's career or his defensive/game calling ability, but his bat remains an enormous liability in a lineup that has struggled to produce runs. Anyone who saw that RBI single has to admit that was just a few feet away from being a DP. His inability to hit anything other than weak grounders to the 2b side has been and will continue to be a problem moving forward.

  3. Feel Wood - Apr 9, 2011 at 3:24 AM

    Whenever Pudge starts, Riggleman really needs to bat the pitcher 8th and Pudge 9th. That would drastically cut down the number of times he comes up with a runner on first, thereby cutting down on his GIDPs. Either that, or Riggleman should have him sac bunt any time he comes up with a runner on first and less than two out. He killed one rally today with a GIDP, and his hit was only a couple of feet away from being another rally-killing DP ball. As FP was saying all through the telecast today, he just can't elevate the ball any more.

  4. Drew8 - Apr 9, 2011 at 4:16 AM

    I respect Pudge for his HOF accomplishments and for his great attitude in Washington.But given Salty's struggles behind the plate in Boston, I wouldn't be surprised to see a deal with the Sawx at some point.By the way, if anybody has seen the Tom Hanks film "Castaway," there were some pretty funny catcalls during the Nats' series with the Marlins.When Ramos came to the plate, some guy shouted: "Wilson! I'm sorry Wilson!"

  5. sjm308 - Apr 9, 2011 at 4:20 AM

    Doubt if Riggs would think outside the box but I think FeelWood has hit the nail on the head with moving Pudge to 9th in the batting order.Can anyone explain why the first 3 relief pitchers(Slaten, Gaudin, Clippard) got holds in the box score but Storen and Coffey did not? Is it because of the score difference?

  6. Anonymous - Apr 9, 2011 at 5:13 AM

    Once the game is no longer a save situation holds are not recorded.

  7. sjm308 - Apr 9, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    thank you!

  8. Anonymous - Apr 9, 2011 at 12:36 PM

    I understand Riggs wanting to get Gaudin back in the fire, but come on man, not in a one run game on the road. We won, but not before Gaudin tried to give it away. He should be in mopup or in Syracuse to get straightened out. And Riggs should have his head examined as to why he sent him back out there to start the 7th. I see our favorite ex-outfielder is talkin smack in Milwaulkie

  9. natsfan1a - Apr 9, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    Yeah, I was also nervous when Gaudin came back out. I did like the win, though. Would be even nicer to take the series in NY.Re. Nyjer, he's entitled to speak his mind. What I've read didn't strike me as smack talk, but to each his or her own.

  10. Knoxville Nat - Apr 9, 2011 at 1:04 PM

    Nyjer who?

  11. Anonymous8 - Apr 9, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    Riggles has the issue with trusting Broderick again. He has that one flawed appearance. Still not sure about Gaudin but you still have Ballester and Detwiler waiting in Syracuse.I think if you make the move to flip out 2 for 2 you have a shutdown bullpen.

  12. JayB - Apr 9, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    Rizzo is really hoping to be able to trade Coffey and Gaudin for something of value. That is the only reason they were signed and why they made the team. He is going to give it to June unless they pitch so bad they have no value…..I am NOT a FAN of this approach. It is not likely Rizzo is going to catch lighting again like with Capps…but that is his plan.

  13. JayB - Apr 9, 2011 at 1:29 PM

    oh and 1a….you must be the nicest person on earth…….if we all could take that approach it would be great…..Me…I read the whole transcript and then listened to it all…….Morgan is an a major a hole and MIL is greatly regret signing him soon enough…that is what I recall about Nyjer who….

  14. Wally - Apr 9, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    Re: Gaudin, Riggs has no choice. He can't just go with Clip, Storen, Coffey and Burnett. If Slaten, Gaudin and Broderick are taking up spots, he is going to have to use them. And with the structure of this team, it is likely to be in a close situation.Gaudin has a chance to turn it around, but I think that he is going to have to be used to do that. His velo is good, he is just missing his spots, and so he needs game time. Ideally that would happen in Syr. He has also buried Broderick so deep now, I am not sure how the guy recovers. Nice start by Detwiler last night.

  15. sjm308 - Apr 9, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    Give Nyjer a month and he will be right back to his usual tricks. Loved his first two months here and then look where it went. Saw the highlights of his very good game vs. Atlanta (double, stolen base, barging into the catcher & knocking the ball out, diving catch) but it will all catch up to him. Interestingly, they had him in right field. I thought that was a position that demanded a good arm? Anyway, watching the highlights, I did not miss him one bit.Go Nats!!

  16. Theophilus - Apr 9, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    What griped me was watching the "Baseball Tonight" crew rave about what a great player Morgan was. Renewed my conviction that the MLB Network crews are much savvier.

  17. dale - Apr 9, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    Regarding the use of Broderick….Riggleman has really no choice but to use him only in meaningless situations in order to build up the kid's confidence. After the failure in his first appearance we have not had a game situation that would have been a fair place to install him. I would love to see him eventually take over Guadin's role as a long relief man–once he eventually regains his footing of course.On a secondary note–just how soon until Ramos starts playing 2/3 of the starts? Pudge can still have the day game after a night game situations all to himself.

  18. JD - Apr 9, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    JayB, I think you nailed it. Rizzo does like thhis approach. He also picked up a couple of decent prospects for Guzman last year. He filled this year's roster with players who may fill a specific need for a contender so he can keep stockpiling prospects; I don'r really see any other reason to have picked up Stairs, Coffee, Gaudin, Cora et al. Incidentally; I do think this is a valid way to build a system which only 2 years ago was stark naked.

  19. Cwj - Apr 9, 2011 at 7:14 PM

    I'm glad Pudge is still around. As much as I love stats, what he does behind the plate and with the pitchers is something that just doesn't always show up in the box score.He's not here to hit .300 and knock 30 homers (those days are long gone). He's here to hit .250, provide solid defense and mentor Ramos and the young pitchers. Not everyone seems to realize that, it seems.

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