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Game 10: Phillies at Nats

Apr 12, 2011, 8:27 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
If the rain holds off, Livan Hernandez will face Joe Blanton tonight at Nationals Park.

When you're going up against the four-time defending NL East champions, you'd like to have your best lineup available. Unfortunately, that's not going to be the case for the Nationals tonight. Not only is Ryan Zimmerman on the DL with a strained abdominal muscle, Adam LaRoche is out with a mild groin strain and Michael Morse is out with flu-like symptoms.

So the heart of the Nationals' lineup includes Matt Stairs, Wilson Ramos and Laynce Nix. Jerry Hairston is at third base today, but Jim Riggleman said that will be a revolving door between Hairston, Alex Cora and Morse. Jesus Flores, just called up from Class AAA Syracuse, will be used mostly as a pinch-hitter. Riggleman said Flores will also get some work during batting practice at first base, just in case he's needed there at some point.

The forecast tonight doesn't look good, but it doesn't look bad enough for the Nats to call the game off in advance. In other words, bring your parka and be prepared for some delays.

Updates to come…

PHILLIES at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN2
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM)
Weather: Chance of rain, 56 degrees, Wind 20 mph in from RF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (4-5)
SS Ian Desmond
CF Rick Ankiel
RF Jayson Werth
1B Matt Stairs

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  1. Peyton Dowdy - Apr 12, 2011 at 8:32 PM

    Watch em go and score 12 runs with the most ridiculous lineup of the year.Go Nats!

  2. Steveospeak - Apr 12, 2011 at 8:36 PM

    With this lineup the Nats should be hoping they can call the game due to rain.With LaRoche ailing and Morse sick, it makes even less sense to bring up Flores. Bixler could legitimately fill in at every position. And Bernadina could allow both Hairston and Cora in the infield (not that makes it an ideal situation). Flores really doesn't do anything for the Nats lineup issues.

  3. The Michael - Apr 12, 2011 at 8:37 PM

    Stairs at 1B? Gold help us all! Tonight is must see TV.

  4. joemktg - Apr 12, 2011 at 8:40 PM

    Ponderous man, ponderous. Zim's out 3 weeks: get Espy into the top portion of the lineup, put Pudge at 1B (guess Riggs didn't read Pudge's stats vs. Phillies that Mark posted). Just a strange, weak lineup.

  5. masnstinks - Apr 12, 2011 at 8:42 PM

    That is one ugly line-up. And it's a cold, rainy Tuesday night. Not exactly what Jayson Werth had in mind for our first game against the phils when he signed that contract.

  6. Nattydread - Apr 12, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    Scary. Please let it rain.

  7. Naterial Guy - Apr 12, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    Heck, I like Stairs, but if we were willing to use a roster spot for a DH (Matt Stairs) why didn't we just keep Adam Dunn as a Bench Pplayer? He could have played Outfield or First Base in a pinch better than Stairs!!Oh well we probably weren't going to sweep them anyway.Go Nats!

  8. Grandstander - Apr 12, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    So, whoever can tell me why Severino isn't on the Syracuse roster, and Syracuse's website has Bixler as being on the 40-man roster gets a cookie.

  9. Anonymous - Apr 12, 2011 at 9:11 PM

    Remember the ad campaigns all winter? Washington Nationals – Expect it.I did my best. I tried to expect it. But this? This I did not expect.

  10. Steveospeak - Apr 12, 2011 at 9:15 PM

    @ GrandstanderSeverino is I believe still working down in Florida, and if I remember correctly the Nats thought his arm was a little tired, and they are letting him rest down at their team facility. I don't know any time table for him to be back to pitching in the minors.As for Bixler being on the 40-man, that is a problem with Milb.com they list a ton of minor leaguers as on a 40-man when they aren't any longer. For instance J.D. Martin is still listed on the 40 man, as is I believe Matt Chico. It's not fully updated so hopefully it will be soon, because that threw me as well.

  11. Ernie - Apr 12, 2011 at 9:15 PM

    What's the average age of this lineup? This might be the oldest set of 9 players we've ever fielded. Until Pudge gets his start tomorrow, of course.

  12. Richard - Apr 12, 2011 at 9:20 PM

    On this wet, soggy day, as we wait for the Nats, I was wondering what the Nats Insider crew thinks about F.P. Santangelo's commentary. I think whoever hired him deserves a very large medal. I've enjoyed his commentary very much and especially his perspective on hitting; it's a pro hitter's approach and thought process. Great stuff.

  13. Dave - Apr 12, 2011 at 9:29 PM

    @ richard RE: F.P+1

  14. Original Nats Fan - Apr 12, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    F.P.has really grown on me. He has an understated sense of humor. He talks so quietly that you almost miss the insight he's sharing.

  15. Anonymous - Apr 12, 2011 at 9:38 PM

    Why do people keep making a big deal out of Bixler? In 166 plate appearances in the majors he has a .475 OPS ad has K'd 62 of those at bats.Not to mention his 11 errors in 386 innings in the field.In case you were wondering, his rate of errors is the same rate that Desmond had a SS last year that everybody complained about so much. Bixler is not the answer people.If you were going to bring a right handed hitting minor league infield utility guy up and add them to the 40 roster I'd rather have Seth Bynum over him for his power.

  16. Grandstander - Apr 12, 2011 at 9:39 PM

    Steveospeak, I owe you a cookie.I've been pleasantly surprised by FP. A lot of good insight, but not too overbearing. Kind of like the anti-Dibble. He's gotta brush up on his trivia chops though.

  17. carolync - Apr 12, 2011 at 9:39 PM

    Perhaps Peyton Dowdy is right. This situation may just be bad enough to make our players rise to the occasion.Stairs has played quite a bit of 1B in his career with a decent fld% so that move is not as ridiculous as it sounds. Course he's no taller than Pudge so we have to hope Desmond is having one of his good nights.Worst part as usual will be the Phillies fans.Go Nats!

  18. David - Apr 12, 2011 at 10:30 PM

    I don't mind FP, except that he sounds like a high schooler. Seriously the first time I hard his voice on air, I thought to myself "Who let the intern on the mic?".

  19. WhatNat - Apr 12, 2011 at 10:32 PM

    I've grown to really like FP. Some of his lines are surprisingly funny. As he relaxed in the job he's gotten really good.

  20. Manassas Nats Fan - Apr 12, 2011 at 10:39 PM

    All I can say is at least the game is on WJFK for a change.Go Nats.

  21. Manassas Nats Fan - Apr 12, 2011 at 10:42 PM

    Second comment. I wrote to complain to WJFK for being the flagship stations but wimping out on weekday afternoon games. Like who cares about Dukes and LaVar. Put real sports on not sports talk. As expected, no one bothered to reply.

  22. Drew8 - Apr 12, 2011 at 10:55 PM

    It's the reverse lock lineup!

  23. Sunderland - Apr 12, 2011 at 11:06 PM

    I'm OK with FP. It's a tough job to be interesting day after day. The radio situation does stink. And for once, it's MLB that has the best option. $15 for the whole year on your phone or computer.Kinda glad to be home, warm and dry tonight.

  24. dj in Fl. - Apr 12, 2011 at 11:19 PM

    So Matt can't field! Well, I will take that kind of no glove any day.Look like a pitchers duel tonight.

  25. JD - Apr 12, 2011 at 11:27 PM

    Desmond is just a disaster at leadoff.

  26. phildunn - Apr 13, 2011 at 12:04 AM

    Ramos is the real deal!

  27. Anonymous - Apr 13, 2011 at 12:04 AM

    Is Ramos this good, a legitimate 5-6 hitter in a good lineup? I'm interested to see how he does as his playing time picks up.

  28. JD - Apr 13, 2011 at 12:10 AM

    I think Ramos is definitely a legit major league catcher and hitter. Most project him to hit around .260 – .270 with decent power. Ideally he should hit around 6th or 7th.

  29. JD - Apr 13, 2011 at 12:15 AM

    Squeeze… good call by Riggleman.

  30. N. Cognito - Apr 13, 2011 at 12:17 AM

    Ian Desmond will never be a good hitter until he stops trying to pull everything.

  31. Yuri Gagarin - Apr 13, 2011 at 12:20 AM

    I suspect one reason there aren't many Nats fans at the game is they don't want to have to put up with all the Phillies fans. Have to admit I'm guilty of this.

  32. JD - Apr 13, 2011 at 12:22 AM

    N.cognito he may want to take a pitch now and then. I think he should swap places with Espinosa for now; the latter has much more productive at bats for the most part.

  33. NatsNut - Apr 13, 2011 at 12:24 AM

    Okay boys. You got a good lead, but stay with us. Don't relax for even a minute.

  34. dj in Fl. - Apr 13, 2011 at 12:30 AM

    I like the production at the bottom of the order and would not want to mess with it.They just have to knock it into Desmonds head to hit line drives to right. He seems to be swinging for the fence every time.Go Livo. Pitch all 9 tonight.

  35. NatinBeantown - Apr 13, 2011 at 12:33 AM

    Livo K's Howard on 67 and 61 mph curves and then an 85 mph fastball. Suck on it, Fangraphs. The man is an artist.

  36. Anonymous - Apr 13, 2011 at 12:38 AM

    Like "Yuri" above, I didnt go to tonight's game b/c of the Phillies fans — hubby and a friend are there. Mind you, it's not the Phillies themselves I can't tolerate, its the fans. I'm warm at home tonight but will be at Friday's game!

  37. joemktg - Apr 13, 2011 at 12:53 AM

    something special going on tonight

  38. JD - Apr 13, 2011 at 12:53 AM

    Wow. Clippard is on I just hope his arm doesn't fall off like last year.

  39. Grandstander - Apr 13, 2011 at 1:00 AM

    I also didn't go today specifically because of the Philly fans. Any other team I'm there, regardless of weather. If Kasten wants Philly fans to buy our tickets, he can sell them mine. I like to enjoy my games.

  40. Joe Seamhead - Apr 13, 2011 at 1:15 AM

    I think Morse's walk was a great AB and then Ramo's walk was icing!

  41. dj in Fl. - Apr 13, 2011 at 1:24 AM

    We've come a long way!First walk by our staff at the 8 1/3 inning mark.Remember when our staff thought that was how to begin each inning.

  42. rmoore446 - Apr 13, 2011 at 1:31 AM

    I'm still not feeling great about this as we let them creep back into the game. We need to beat this bunch!

  43. rmoore446 - Apr 13, 2011 at 1:38 AM

    That insurance run from the bottom of the order really helps. Another would be even better!

  44. NatsNut - Apr 13, 2011 at 1:44 AM

    Agreed. I have been holding my breath since the 7th inning.

  45. fpcsteve - Apr 13, 2011 at 1:47 AM

    Zimmerman's replacements tonight (Hairston and Cora) have been solid. Good night for the bench. Good night for the vets. Go Nats!

  46. JaneB - Apr 13, 2011 at 1:47 AM

    MARK WROTE:For the record, this makeshift lineup everybody was panning earlier this afternoon has produced seven runs, nine hits and five walks.Point taken. Because if I had read this earlier, I would have been whining too. I love Livo, thank Blanton, and hope for the curlie W to be posted soon.

  47. RickH - Apr 13, 2011 at 1:55 AM

    Way to go, Nats!!!

  48. Joe Seamhead - Apr 13, 2011 at 1:57 AM

    Nice,nice win! First base ump really tried to make it interesting,eh? Very bad call. Hey, is three in a row a streak, Mr. Werth?

  49. dj in Fl. - Apr 13, 2011 at 1:59 AM

    Good managing all the way around tonight. Everyone appeared to understand their responsibility, and went out and met the expectations, of the manager, not necessarily of those who comment here.Way to go boys.

  50. A DC Wonk - Apr 13, 2011 at 2:06 AM

    Great day for Werth to break out of his little slump. Gotta love that the Nats can do the little things right (squeezes, pitchers not giveing up walks). Improved defense. Improved bench. Those things add up.And beating that Phttht team is always great!

  51. josh f - Apr 13, 2011 at 2:07 AM

    Really needed this one. Beating the Phillies is always sweet, and to do it tonight, without Zim and LaRoche, is even sweeter.

  52. FS - Apr 13, 2011 at 2:15 AM

    WOW let us not forget the real hero here, that is Livan Hernandez. That guy, like someone said earlier, is an artist. I want to see Howard's strikeout now since it involved couple of curveballs. If Danny can maintain or improve his OBP over next couple of series, I say move him into two spot after Desmond, and move Werth and co down one spot in the lineup. Then Werth can really do the job he was hired for, drive in runs not be driven in by Ryan or Adam. Oh and eager to see how Werth performs against Halladay and Lee. Glad to see him knock Blanton around.

  53. natsfan1a - Apr 13, 2011 at 2:16 AM

    Atta team, Nats!

  54. Andrew - Apr 13, 2011 at 2:17 AM

    The Nats kept the Phillies away from the big inning. Even with a few bobbled balls and botched plays, they didn't throw the ball away. I liked during the 8th when Espi delivered the ball to Desi at 2nd a high relay that Desi ate the ball. That is progress as last year Desi would have thrown it away.I also commend Riggleman for pulling Clippard as quick as he did. This was a must win with Halladay and Cliff Lee in the next 2 games.

  55. Anonymous8 - Apr 13, 2011 at 2:20 AM

    phildunn said… Ramos is the real deal! April 12, 2011 8:04 PM ______________________________You can say that again!!!!!!

  56. Gonats - Apr 13, 2011 at 2:25 AM

    Richard said… On this wet, soggy day, as we wait for the Nats, I was wondering what the Nats Insider crew thinks about F.P. Santangelo's commentary. I think whoever hired him deserves a very large medal. I've enjoyed his commentary very much and especially his perspective on hitting; it's a pro hitter's approach and thought process. Great stuff. April 12, 2011 5:20 PM ______________________________I am getting used to him. He is such a polar opposite to that blowhard and was hoping for someone who is a little more exciteable but humble. So it could be better but could be a lot worse. Some would say he was a safe bet after the debacle MASN had on their hands.

  57. Andrew - Apr 13, 2011 at 2:39 AM

    I TiVo'd the Postgame show. I like what Riggs had to say about pulling Clippard.

  58. LoveDaNats - Apr 13, 2011 at 2:44 AM

    I'm a believer.

  59. A DC Wonk - Apr 13, 2011 at 2:52 AM

    "I like what Riggs had to say about pulling Clippard."I didn't see it — can you summarize?

  60. SonnyG10 - Apr 13, 2011 at 2:56 AM

    What a nice win… .500 baseball thru tonight anyway. Wonderful to see our backup guys playing so well.I also have come to like FP…so glad we don't have to listen to Ray Knight as the color man. He's a fine fellow, but I like for him to stay with the pre- and post-game shows.

  61. Doc - Apr 13, 2011 at 3:00 AM

    Sleep tight Nats fans—two more wins to go against the Demented Philly Nation!

  62. Anonymous - Apr 13, 2011 at 3:03 AM

    I'm so glad I don't have to hear "HE SHOULD'VE THROWN [the pitch he did not throw]" from that meathead. When I first heard the Nats hired a man named "Frank-Paul Santangelo" I was afraid he was the wrong kind of upgrade from Dibble. But thank God.

  63. Sec 3, My Sofa - Apr 13, 2011 at 3:38 AM

    I'm happy.

  64. Sec 3, My Sofa - Apr 13, 2011 at 3:40 AM

    In small part because it is clear Bobo ain't got no.

  65. Rob Dibble's Ghost - Apr 13, 2011 at 3:45 AM

    I ended up going at the last minute thanks to a customer who had extra tickets. It was a small crowd, but a good one. Lots of Phillies fans, but only saw a couple of obnoxious ones. This was a better game than I expected since our lineup featured three hitters (Stairs, Hairston, and Livo) hitting .000 coming in.

  66. Anonymous - Apr 13, 2011 at 3:55 AM

    I was there tonight. It's time for you wussies sitting at home, warm in front of your TV, to come out and help the Nats win. I detest the Phillies' scum in Nats Park, but I am man enough to go to the park and cheer our team on. Are you?

  67. Sec 3, My Sofa - Apr 13, 2011 at 5:08 AM

    And yet you aren't willing to keep a coherent identity…

  68. Sec 3, My Sofa - Apr 13, 2011 at 5:12 AM

    Not that I don't encourage the sentiment… I do.

  69. N. Cognito - Apr 13, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    I almost went to the game. I chose to stay home because it looked like it was gonna be one of those cold rainy games with rain delays. I HATE those games. I figured I'd just swap my tickets for one of the unused ticket exchange dates.

  70. MC 703 - Apr 13, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    Did anyone hear Philly fans boo Ramos as he went back to the screen for an out of play popup? I'm not sure what inning it was I had just gotten in the car but it was right after the inning where Morse and Ramos walked.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 58 48 --
ATLANTA 58 51 1.5
MIAMI 53 55 6.0
NEW YORK 52 56 7.0
PHILADELPHIA 48 61 11.5
Through Thursday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 12:35 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

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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