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Game 16: Nats at Cardinals

Apr 19, 2011, 8:26 PM EDT

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats carry a three-game winning streak into Busch Stadium tonight.

The Nationals are 3-0 since Danny Espinosa took over the leadoff spot Friday night. Coincidence, an actual sign of something or simply poor pitching by the Brewers over the weekend? Whatever the case, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

So Jim Riggleman is sticking with that lineup tonight for the start of a three-game series in St. Louis. Jayson Werth returns after sitting out the second game of Sunday's doubleheader. Wilson Ramos is behind the plate batting fifth, with Michael Morse behind him.

John Lannan gets the start against a Cardinals squad that labored to score runs through the season's first week but has been re-energized by the return of cleanup hitter Matt Holliday from an emergency appendectomy.

I'm not on this road trip, so no live updates from Busch Stadium. Please continue the conversation, as always…

NATIONALS at CARDINALS
Where: Busch Stadium
Gametime: 8:15 p.m.
TV: MASN2
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 186
Weather: Thunderstorms, 71 degrees, Wind 17 mph out to CF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (8-7)
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Rick Ankiel
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche

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  1. Doc - Apr 19, 2011 at 8:34 PM

    I know that the Nats are curently towards the bottom of the league in hitting, but yet I'm more impressed with this batting order than I have been in 3 years.Even more so, if Zim was in the mix.At some point these guys will start doing with the bat what they can do.

  2. Sunderland - Apr 19, 2011 at 8:49 PM

    This is a win we could / should really get. Westbrook has been lousy this year. After 3 starts, he has a 2.22 WHIP and a .343 BAA. He's walked 11 in 15.1 innings and only struck out 8.This could certainly be a game where the bats get going again.

  3. masnstinks - Apr 19, 2011 at 8:54 PM

    Hope the team is feeling "HITTERISH" tonight! Time for MM to get his groove back.

  4. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 19, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    I'm beginning to really dislike Comcast Sports Net even though they are Marks employer.

  5. The Joker - Apr 19, 2011 at 9:01 PM

    Hope Lannan plonks Pujols during the first at-bat to show him who's boss.

  6. Naterial guy - Apr 19, 2011 at 9:47 PM

    NatsJack"I'm beginning to really dislike Comcast Sports Net even though they are Marks employer."Why

  7. Michael - Apr 19, 2011 at 9:48 PM

    Ankiel batting 2 seems weird. I guess we don't really have a number 2. I wonder if they will keep a lineup sort of like this when Zimmerman comes back?

  8. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2011 at 9:49 PM

    Mark had to leave spring training for a couple weeks.Mark had to cover Caps playoff game instead of Nats baseball.Mark's not on this roadtrip.Just guessing….

  9. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 19, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    Mark's not on the road trip, that's why.

  10. Sunderland - Apr 19, 2011 at 9:53 PM

    Could be a long night in St Louis. Warm now, in the mid 80's. Thunderstorms expected. Tornado warnings for a wide area including STL.This Afternoon Breezy…thunderstorms. Storms may be severe with damaging winds…large hail and tornadoes. High around 80. South wind 15 to 20 mph with gusts to around 30 mph. Chance of rain 80 percent. This eveningColder. Thunderstorms in the evening. Storms may be severe with damaging winds…large hail and tornadoes. Low in the mid 40s. West wind 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain near 100 percent.

  11. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 19, 2011 at 9:56 PM

    Michael…. are you one of those Birdland defectors? Ankiel's been batting 2nd ever since Zim went on the DL. Werth moved from second to third. When Zim comes back, Werth will probably go back to 2nd but if Desmond keeps hitting, he could bat second and some combination Werth, Zim and LaRoche would be 3, 4, & 5.

  12. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2011 at 10:44 PM

    Someone has the grump-i-kins!

  13. Unkyd - Apr 19, 2011 at 10:49 PM

    Anyone…. Is that ballpark as pretty as this picture?

  14. dj in Fl. - Apr 19, 2011 at 10:53 PM

    Hey Gang I believe Passover began at sundown yesterday. Much as I dislike the new CSN combination, I don't think this is on them.Let the man take a few days, it is a long season.

  15. sparky - Apr 19, 2011 at 11:02 PM

    dj, good thought.New Busch, yeah, it's a great park. Big party decks in CF and RF.

  16. Unkyd - Apr 19, 2011 at 11:04 PM

    MazelMazel….good things….

  17. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2011 at 11:14 PM

    Looking at that photo really makes me angry about our stupid parking garages…

  18. sparky - Apr 19, 2011 at 11:26 PM

    Yeah, and if our playes get hurt tripping over the arch pattern they recklessly cut into the outfield grass, that's gonna double the anger….

  19. N. Cognito - Apr 19, 2011 at 11:29 PM

    Anonymous said… "Looking at that photo really makes me angry about our stupid parking garages… "Yeah. Close by office buildings look so much better.

  20. fpcsteve - Apr 19, 2011 at 11:40 PM

    NatsJack, what's the rule of thumb for a strong season recored (.550+)? .500 on the road and .600+ at home? I was thinking 3-3 on this road trip might not be bad. Anything better (2 wins in St.Louis and 2 more in P'burgh)would be great. Anyone else out there with an opinion on that topic? Just wondering…

  21. natsfan1a - Apr 19, 2011 at 11:52 PM

    Couple of pluses for Comcast: – they've kept this site going- they're providing a more secure income source and, I expect, bennies for Mark (after all, there will be another mouth to feed as of October 1 – give or take a few days ;-))Enjoy your time off, Mark. Oh, and go NATS!!

  22. TimDz - Apr 19, 2011 at 11:56 PM

    @1a: I love your perspective on things…

  23. Steveospeak - Apr 20, 2011 at 12:10 AM

    @NatsJack:I think it is weird that Ankiel is batting 2nd, just as it has been all along. Desmond I think should be there, and it really isn't like Ankiel has been playing any better than Desmond to warrant choosing him. Especially since Riggleman sticks with the lineup even when they are facing a lefty starter which Ankiel can't hit to save his life.

  24. Anonymous - Apr 20, 2011 at 12:20 AM

    Is the game in a rain delay? Not on MASN.

  25. TimDz - Apr 20, 2011 at 12:24 AM

    Rain delay….sigh…..

  26. dj in Fl. - Apr 20, 2011 at 12:27 AM

    St. Louis radar looks like we might be playing shortly. Looks clear for a while then.

  27. JaneB - Apr 20, 2011 at 12:36 AM

    It's a gorgeous stadium…and there is TONS of parking nearby. Those office buildings are full of spaces to park in. It feels old-timey AND up to date at the same time. Great statues of wonderful old players…its just a great place to see a game.I hope we get to see one tonight on the TV!AND I also wish MASN would send Mark to cover these games. Seriously, no one covers them like he does.

  28. Mr. Doggett - Apr 20, 2011 at 12:40 AM

    Hey Mark I didn't know you were expecting, Congratulations! I have a one year old and watching baseball with him is already awesome. Even if he still doesn't understand the finer points of the game…

  29. Tim - Apr 20, 2011 at 12:45 AM

    Hate to say it, DJ, but the radar doesn't show it clearing until about 11pm. They'll cancel this came. Doubleheader tomorrow is my guess.Bummer.

  30. Andrew - Apr 20, 2011 at 12:46 AM

    Getting to watch the Brewers hitting Halladay well on the MLB Network.Ryan Braun is just crushing the Phillies this series so far.

  31. Ernie - Apr 20, 2011 at 12:50 AM

    Pavano just got chased from the O's game after giving up 7 runs in less than 5 innings. Our "failure" to land him over the off season isn't looking so bad.

  32. Scooter - Apr 20, 2011 at 12:56 AM

    fpcsteve: 2 out of 3 at home; .500 on the road.(By now, you have of course done the math and figured out that if a team does that, it will win 94 or 95 games. That's usually enough to take the division, yes?)

  33. Andrew - Apr 20, 2011 at 1:04 AM

    Roy Halladay PULLED in the 7th. The same Brewers that the Nats tamed over the weekend hit Doc around fairly well!

  34. Andrew - Apr 20, 2011 at 1:06 AM

    Halladay's book closed with 6 Earned Runs given up in 6 2/3 innings.

  35. fpcsteve - Apr 20, 2011 at 1:07 AM

    Yup, that would do it. That's why I was thinking 1 of 3 from the Cards and 2 of 3 from the Pirates wouldn't be a bad road trip, all things considered.

  36. Slidell - Apr 20, 2011 at 1:16 AM

    Not a complete washout for waiting Nats fans knowing that the fabulous Phillies are getting their bell rung in full view of their faithful. 9-0 so far in the 7th.

  37. FS - Apr 20, 2011 at 1:19 AM

    WOW Roy got beaten pretty bad today. Our Marquis did better than Roy against Brewers. Well that just goes on to prove that it ain't over until those 3 outs in the last inning. And I guess STL weather also knows that Mark is not covering the Nats. Another form of protest!

  38. Mark'd - Apr 20, 2011 at 1:19 AM

    Uecker is a guest on the MLB Network and complimented the Nats for shutting down the Brewers.So how does the Brewers knock around the dominating Haladay? I hope during the rain delay that the Nats players are watching this in the clubhouse!

  39. dj in Fl. - Apr 20, 2011 at 1:23 AM

    Kilgore reporting animals marching two by two thru the outfied moat with the rain still coming down.

  40. phil dunn - Apr 20, 2011 at 1:32 AM

    Adam Dunn is batting .162 with 17 Ks in 37 at bats after going 0-4 and striking out 3 times tonight. It looks like DH-ing and AL pitching isn't agreeing with him.

  41. Slidell - Apr 20, 2011 at 1:37 AM

    Was listening when the Dunnster was called out on strikes with two on. In his defense, he did have an appendectomy a week or so ago.

  42. FS - Apr 20, 2011 at 1:40 AM

    So did Matt Holliday and look at what he is doing to opposing pitchers. Anyways, Dunn is a streaky hitter. He will put up astonishing numbers sooner or later. Still miss him.

  43. Slidell - Apr 20, 2011 at 1:51 AM

    Still miss Dunn too; he'll start whacking them with some consistency sooner or later. Meanwhile, the Astros are having their way with the marvelous Mets. So, not an altogether bad night for DC.

  44. Cwj - Apr 20, 2011 at 2:15 AM

    Oh definitely, I liked Dunn. Seems like a great guy, and more than lived up to what we thought he would do for the Nats with his bat. He hit very well for the Nats. I strongly believe LaRoche is an upgrade over Dunn.But of course I wish Dunn well, and hope he hits some of those monster homers for his new team that we all enjoyed watching him do here.

  45. Unkyd - Apr 20, 2011 at 2:56 AM

    G'nite, all…

  46. JaneB - Apr 20, 2011 at 3:17 AM

    Just took in the part wherein Mark Z is gonna be a Dad. What a great Dad you are going to make! You will be the coolest dad around.

  47. Dept of Redundancy Dept - Apr 20, 2011 at 3:24 AM

    Hmmm. Doubleheaders, extra innings, good pitching, a sweep,homers from pudge. Who ARE these guys? I'm loving the show.

  48. Cwj - Apr 20, 2011 at 3:34 AM

    Wow Josh Johnson (FLA) just dominated against the Pirates. His ERA is now 1.00 I've always liked Johnson. Just a great pitcher.

  49. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 20, 2011 at 11:34 AM

    fpcsteve…. re: your question late yesterday. Playing .500 ball on the road would amount to wild card contention for the Nats figuring they could go 45 – 36 at home. And this would be well beyond what anybody projects them to be.For me, resonable would be 79 – 83 with the goal of actually getting to .500 (81 – 81). But I do have a sealed envelope that has us at 86 – 75 in a blind pool worth $1,000 to the winner.And how we get there is immaterial. Remeber, to achieve the horrific 59 – 103 record 2 seasons ago required a season ending 7 game winning sreak.

Archives

NLDS: NATIONALS VS. GIANTS

FRI: Game 1 at Washington, 3:07 p.m. (FS1)
SAT: Game 2 at Washington, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
MON: Game 3 at San Francisco, TBA (MLBN)
TUE: Game 4 at San Francisco, TBA (FS1)*
THU: Game 5 at Washington, TBA (FS1)*
*if necessary

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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