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Game 13: Brewers at Nats

Apr 15, 2011, 7:31 PM EDT

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats host Nyjer Morgan, Wil Nieves and the Brewers tonight at Nationals Park.

There's a former National in the Brewers' starting lineup tonight, but it's probably not the one you expected. With left-hander Tom Gorzelanny pitching for the Nats, Nyjer Morgan is on the bench, but Wil Nieves is behind the plate making his fifth start of the season.

The Nationals' lineup, meanwhile, features one significant change: Danny Espinosa is leading off for the first time this season, with slumping Ian Desmond (0-for-25 at home this year) dropped to the 7-hole.

I'm actually not in D.C. tonight; I made the trek up to Hagerstown for Bryce Harper's home debut with the Suns. I'll post a game thread from here in a little while and will provide updates throughout. Please use this thread to discuss the big-league game…

BREWERS at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 189
Weather: Partly cloudy, 59 degrees, Wind 15 mph RF to LF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (5-7)
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Rick Ankiel
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche

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  1. Anonymous - Apr 15, 2011 at 7:33 PM

    Damn, Espi lead off,Ramos two straight startsWhat is the world coming to?UNTERP

  2. RickH - Apr 15, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    Go get 'em, Danny!!!

  3. DL in VA - Apr 15, 2011 at 7:48 PM

    No Nyjer in the lineup?

  4. estoppel.08 - Apr 15, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    Finally, we get Espinosa (and his .405 OBP) in lead off spot. Great move. I've waited for this decision. Welcome back Nieves!

  5. erocks33 - Apr 15, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    DL in VA said… "No Nyjer in the lineup?"——————————————No, because unlike Riggleman, Ron Roenicke is smart enough not to start Nyjer against left-handed pitching.

  6. 80p - Apr 15, 2011 at 7:56 PM

    Welcome back Nieves! ————————————-Who?

  7. 80p - Apr 15, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    That commercial is still burned into my skull. Headed to the game tonight, saw the win over Blanton. Hoping for some more offense tonight. Should be great weather to watch a game.

  8. Manassas Nats Fan - Apr 15, 2011 at 8:06 PM

    O wonder if broadcast crew will play their traditional Nieves music when he comes to the plate?

  9. Scooter - Apr 15, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    I can hear the announcers now:They're not really booing; they're just yelling "Whooooooooooooooooo?"

  10. Grandstander - Apr 15, 2011 at 8:16 PM

    I'm very suspicious of Espy's high OBP. He's been hitting in the 7 hole ahead of GiDPudge and the pitcher. But I love the fact that he's getting the nod over Desi who's managed to pretty much be an automatic out. Hopefully he can get his act together with less pressure in the 7 hole and then be bumped back into the 2 hole where he belongs.What are the chances Nyjer takes one in the back when he comes to the plate against us? He's lucky he gets to face Livo and not JZimm. Maybe we should wait until our bullpen gets him. I don't think he'd mind Livo's 80mph BP fastball. But we know from experience he'll probably try to steal if he's HBP.

  11. Scooter - Apr 15, 2011 at 8:20 PM

    Well, Grandstander, if the Nats' pitchers throw at every big meanie who says mean things because they're being mean, there's gonna be a lot of baserunners this season.On another note, GiDPudge is rather clever.

  12. JD - Apr 15, 2011 at 8:25 PM

    Grandstander, I don't think we're dumb enough to engage in a battle with Morgan; why bother? I'm not sure why Desmond 'belongs' in the 2 hole? personally I prefer someone in that position who gets on base occasionally. What would be really nice is if Bernadina lights it up in Syracuse and takes over center and leadoff and removes Rick 'replacement level' Ankiel from the every day lineup.

  13. Tcostant - Apr 15, 2011 at 8:36 PM

    Looking forward to a Harper article!

  14. Anonymous - Apr 15, 2011 at 8:44 PM

    Things will be hopping in Hagerstown. Nice weather, Friday night. Hope Bryce stays away from those minor league groupies. They will be after him big time

  15. Anonymous - Apr 15, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    Desmonds actually been pretty successful in the 2 hole from what I remember.

  16. The Joker - Apr 15, 2011 at 8:48 PM

    Hope Harper springs for dining at the exclusive Volt restaurant in Frederick for the Suns. Unless he's a cheap b_____.

  17. Anonymous - Apr 15, 2011 at 8:50 PM

    Nyjer batting .476 10 for 21. Damn…I didn't know he was that good

  18. DFL - Apr 15, 2011 at 9:01 PM

    Bernadine has an OPS of 1.750. Bring him up and lead him off. Morse to the bend.

  19. sjm308 - Apr 15, 2011 at 9:02 PM

    I understood sending Bernadina down but like JD, I am hoping he crushes AAA ball because he is really the only person I see with a chance of being a leadoff guy and he honestly is not perfect. I do see where they are leading him off in Syracuse so they obviously want the same thing.I think Bernadina – Espinosa – Werth – Zimm – LaRoche – Ramos will end up being our best bet at production. Great speed in the front and hopefully some pop at 4-5-6.Ankiel is good as a bench player in that he can play all 3 outfield positions and this keeps Hairston in the infield unless you want him in CF for lefthanders. Would love to see us take our 2nd series this week-end. I am going Sunday!!go Nats

  20. Big Cat - Apr 15, 2011 at 9:02 PM

    I see Capps gave up a walk off the other night for the Twins. I also saw where they put Joe Maure on the DL. Wonder how they feel about dealing Ramos now. Oh well

  21. Grandstander - Apr 15, 2011 at 9:03 PM

    Nyjer's nickname should be "regression to the mean". He's the streakiest player I've ever followed. He was really hot last April too, IIRC and then went into a season-long slump.And Desmond did have a lot of success in the 2 hole last season. He shouldn't be there with this current slump, but once he gets out of it, I think he'd better there than Werth, who makes more sense at 5th behind LaRoche.

  22. Mark'd - Apr 15, 2011 at 10:30 PM

    I like the new alignment and hope it works!

  23. FS - Apr 15, 2011 at 11:23 PM

    Can someone please post updates of what is happening on the field? Describe the fielding plays and particular at bats. thanks

  24. phil dunn - Apr 16, 2011 at 1:14 AM

    The Nats pathetic offense continues. If they hang on to win tonight. consider it a gift. When does Eckstein get canned?

  25. Jim Webster - Apr 16, 2011 at 1:30 AM

    Repeat after me… "It's still early … It's still early … There are 162 games in a season … It's still early." Maybe it will convince us.

  26. Mr Donkey - Apr 16, 2011 at 1:33 AM

    Why is Ramos stealing in the 8th to end the inning. WTF. Not good.

  27. rmoore446 - Apr 16, 2011 at 1:47 AM

    I understand the theory behind giving Ramos the steal sign but it isn't working. Time to retire that theory.

  28. Les in NC - Apr 16, 2011 at 1:59 AM

    … another question would be why isn't Stairs batting against the Right handed soft tossing Green?Why do we even have him on the bench?

  29. Unkyd - Apr 16, 2011 at 2:11 AM

    Desi did everything but steal home…..

  30. JaneB - Apr 16, 2011 at 2:14 AM

    Now I am really really REALLYmissing Mr. Walk-off Ryan Zimmerman. Someone tell me why we still have Hairston, and why Cora isn't playing third base for now? We oughta have Bixler up and Hairston gone.

  31. Les in NC - Apr 16, 2011 at 2:20 AM

    YOU GO JASON!!Way to get yourself to third and hopefully in position to win this for us!!

  32. JaneB - Apr 16, 2011 at 2:26 AM

    I'm now genuinely GLAD we have Werth one our team. I can't believe it happened but it did.Go Nats."wasn't the prettiest.". I don't care.

  33. Anonymous8 - Apr 16, 2011 at 2:32 AM

    The player of the game for this one besides Ramos and Gorzelanny would have to be the Brewer's Manager Roenicke. His bad decisions handed this game to the Nats.

  34. sjm308 - Apr 16, 2011 at 2:38 AM

    someone earlier talked about how smart Roenicke is. I have never seen defensive positioning like this throughout the entire game. First two hits of the game were just ground balls to 2nd base.Werth is not held at 2nd and steals 3rd easily and I swear he could have had a lead 15 ft. more down the line. Why are you not holding him close when he is the winning run. It almost looked like he could steal home if he wanted to.Nice to win the first game and I would love to see us win our 2nd series.Go Nats

  35. SCNatsFan - Apr 16, 2011 at 2:45 AM

    Say what you want to about Werth's contract and its absurdity, the guy plays to win and that attitude is contagious. This team needs to learn how to win and shake the feeling that eventually they will find a way to lose a game. With last nights comeback and tonights win this team is showing it can make some noise.

  36. natsfan1a - Apr 16, 2011 at 2:47 AM

    Missed the middle innings of the game, but I think I could get used to this whole extra-inning winning thing. Haven't read the thread, but who else noticed that Morse was on first *and* third in the "base running bunch" box on screen the third? Must have been a no-names, all-no.4 jerseys thing. Or not. Geez, he doesn't look anything like LaRoche, MASN crew. :-)

  37. natsfan1a - Apr 16, 2011 at 2:49 AM

    "42" not "4." Daggone, two-eating gremlins.

  38. D'Gourds - Apr 16, 2011 at 2:50 AM

    Hairston can't hit, but at least he's terrible with the glove! Boy he's just aweful. Time to give a kid a chance.Glad to be on that side of a win tonight. Their defense handed us the victory. This is the type of game where we usually are the ones shaking our heads.

  39. natsfan1a - Apr 16, 2011 at 2:51 AM

    Me, too re. Werth, JaneB. I had to get over some residual Phillies issues, but I think I'm there now. ;-)

  40. Andrew - Apr 16, 2011 at 2:58 AM

    sjm308 said… Werth is not held at 2nd and steals 3rd easily and I swear he could have had a lead 15 ft. more down the line. Why are you not holding him close when he is the winning run. It almost looked like he could steal home if he wanted to.I agree with you. I think he could have taken an initial lead of 20 feet safely as the 3rd baseman had to have been 30 to 40 feet away and the closest player to him was the pitcher. It worked out, but a good throw from Prince would have made that real close!

  41. Mark'd - Apr 16, 2011 at 3:12 AM

    Anon8, LMAO on Brewers Manager Roenicke being player of the game.He brings in Braun as his 5th infielder and had hid 3rd baseman playing SS. I was hoping LaRoche was bunting down 3rd!

  42. Ernie - Apr 16, 2011 at 3:39 AM

    I'm just now warming up enough to type again. For a beautiful day this was one COLD game…I wanted to write a rant about Hairston. Or the fact that only 3 players in our starting lineup tonight ended with a batting average over .200. Or to say I'm actually beginning to like the insane base stealing and aggressiveness, even when I want to scream about the Ramos steal.Instead, I just want to say that I hope we never, ever for a second even consider going after Prince Fielder in the off season. This was the first time I've ever watched him in the field. that throw to the plate to end the game was embarrassing. The "dig" that led to the error to let Werth on was Dunn-esque. It would be a horrible mistake to sign that guy.

  43. FS - Apr 16, 2011 at 3:40 AM

    I saw Almonte ground out in 8th to end the inning and left college. Kept praying all the way home that Burnett did not blow the game (he is also on my fantasy team) and Nats had an easy win. Guess they do not know how to win easily either.Looking forward to matchup against Gallardo.

  44. Anonymous - Apr 16, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    Just love Mr Werth. A good signing

  45. Manassas Nats Fan - Apr 16, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    Now batting .209. How bad does the batting have to get to get a new batting coach in?I have been beating this drum for over 2 years now.

  46. FOTB - Apr 16, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    Mark'd…I had the same thought about LaRoche bunting down third base line. Wondered why he didn't try that on the first or second pitch. Didn't need to be a suicide squeeze. With the lead Werth was getting, a safety squeeze would have worked just fine.Also, I will second the nomination of Roenicke being "player" of the game. Odd managing decisions essentially gave the game away.Go Nats! Winning ugly works fine for me. Another Surly W.

  47. dale - Apr 16, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    I am not sure why the team is batting so poorly, but considering that they have faced Josh Johnson, Halladay, Lee and a pitcher with a 0.00 era one can understand the scarcity of offense. OTOH, continuing to have Hairston, Stairs, Rodriques and others flailing in the batter box is less a poke at our batting coach but more on the overall makeup of the roster. These veteran players are probably rather set in their approach at the plate, bouyed by their remembrances of a bygone decade (or decades).

  48. Anonymous - Apr 16, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    The front office that put together the pitching staff that is doing well so far also put together the rest of the team. How is Desmond's flailing at the plate different from or better than what Stairs, Hariston and Rodriguez are doing? It is a long season; the hitting will come around.

  49. MGG - Apr 16, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    I don't think its Eckstein at all. The problem comes from having players who remember the age of the dinosaurs. I'm tired of seeing pudge ground out to DP, stairs caught looking, and hairston just looking clueless. It's time to cut the dead weight and move up some young players. We're not going to compete right? So why bother having these "veteran" players?

  50. Anonymous8 - Apr 16, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    Thanks FOTB and Mark'd. Bizarre game but the Nats will take the "W".I like the idea suggested that "Stares" becomes injured (wink wink) and can walk away with some dignity. He can't even get his hands under the ball to get the ball in the air. They are busting him inside and striking him out on the outside with heat and he can't catch up to the ball.He had 1 HR in Spring Training and faced AAA pitching in most games. Sure, if they keep him in for the entire season he will hit a couple of HRs on pitchers mistakes but the question is AT WHAT COST? Riggleman clearly needs a full roster and this guy can't play defense and as it seems can't play offense either. He is essentially a 1 plate appearance DH. Stares was advertised as a game changer with his bat. I say false advertising.

  51. Anonymous - Apr 16, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    Desmond, too. They keep claiming he is a major league baseball player. Another case of false advertising.

  52. Slidell - Apr 16, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    I'm impressed with our extra-inning record. I'm trying to get out of the habit of saying "We've lost another one" whenever we go into the 10th. If I remember correctly, it was well into the season last year before we won our 1st extra-inning game.It's also remarkable that with a team batting average in the LOW .200s, that we're right next to .500 in the win-loss column. If the pitching holds up reasonably well, and the hitting comes around to a "normal" level, the Nats final record will not be an embarrassment.

  53. fpcsteve - Apr 16, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    Slidell's right. Current pitching, improved hitting, and maintain or improve the defensive trend. The Nats are finding ways to win. That won't go away.

  54. natsfan1a - Apr 16, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    I had a similar recall re. our first extra-inning win last year, Slidell. Also, that we did not fare well in such games generally. After looking at 2010 stats on espn.com, it seems that the Nats were 3-10 in extra-inning games last year.

  55. natsfan1a - Apr 16, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    To date this year, they're 3-1 in such games, with two of those wins having been on the road (yeah, yeah, small sample, blah blah :-)).

  56. Andrew - Apr 16, 2011 at 9:46 PM

    So do you all remember when the O's started the season 6-1 and the Bal'morons were crowing about their great team.Well now they are tied with the Nats after dropping their 6th straight and their record is now 6-7.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 88 64 --
ATLANTA 76 76 12.0
MIAMI 74 78 14.0
NEW YORK 73 80 15.5
PHILADELPHIA 70 82 18.0
Through Thursday's early games
x-Clinched division title

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
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.
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