Skip to content

Game 18: Nats at Cardinals

Apr 21, 2011, 3:54 PM EDT

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats try to take this series from the Cardinals today at Busch Stadium.

There's a decent amount riding on today's series finale in St. Louis. For one thing, the Nationals are trying to maintain a winning record heading into this weekend's series in Pittsburgh. For another, they're trying to pull off their first series victory at Busch Stadium since 2007.

Tom Gorzelanny gets the ball for his third start of the season. The lefty has the worst numbers of anyone in the Nats' rotation (0-1, 5.56 ERA) but he's actually pitched pretty well. He struck out eight in his season debut against the Mets, then earned a quality start last week against the Brewers. He'll be attempting today to continue an impressive streak: Nationals starters have gone at least five innings in all 17 games this season, the only rotation in the majors to do that.

Ian Desmond (6 for his last 16) will hit fifth today for Jim Riggleman, with Michael Morse (slugging a paltry .209) hitting sixth. Have we mentioned how much this lineup really needs Ryan Zimmerman back?

As you know by now, I'm not on this road trip, so please enjoy the dialogue amongst yourselves…

Where: Busch Stadium
Gametime: 1:45 p.m.
Radio: WFED (1500 AM), WHFS (1580 AM), XM 186
Weather: Cloudy, 54 degrees, Wind 18 mph RF to LF

2B Danny Espinosa
CF Rick Ankiel
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche


  1. md_schmidt - Apr 21, 2011 at 4:41 PM

    Was good to see the Nats' bats get busted out yesterday; even if only for a brief period. All in all, Nats seem to be playing well of late…..let's hope it continues.

  2. Ernie - Apr 21, 2011 at 5:01 PM

    I lost patience with Riggleman last year but I am starting to think that he was trying to play the game his way but just didn't have the players. This year he doesn't have as many defensive liabilites so the nutty double switches are gone – the ones we've gotten this year have made sense to me. Aggressive baserunning and bunting works when your players know what they're doing. And Morse's first 3 weeks are making Riggleman look like he was right all along about not wanting to play him as a regular. Maybe Morse wil prove him wrong eventually. I think Riggleman would be happy to be wrong about that one too.I think I'm actually jumping on the Riggleman bandwagon. (Then again, I'm fickle. I'll probably fall off quickly.)I still don't understand the Matt Stairs thing though. Between him and Broderick it's like we're playing with a 23-man roster. At least with the doubleheaders behind us Flores is available again on the bench.

  3. sjm308 - Apr 21, 2011 at 5:04 PM

    This was mentioned casually by a post in the last article and I need clarification from Mark or some of our other experts. If/when Desmond goes on maternity leave, do we get a player exemption? and what exactly is that. I would love to see them move Espinosa to short and bring up Bixler to play 2nd and leave Hairston and Cora at 3rd. Bixler is hitting well and actually hit well all spring. He has made just one error after playing kind of sloppy in FLA. He can play several positions but the problem is obvious, he is not on the 40 man roster. If this "player exemption" exists that might be the answer. Looking forward to an answer and a series win against the Cards.go Nats!!

  4. Tcostant - Apr 21, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    sjm308 said… This was mentioned casually by a post in the last article and I need clarification from Mark or some of our other experts. If/when Desmond goes on maternity leave, do we get a player exemption?Answer: Yes – we get to bring someone up for the two or three days he is gone and we don't need to send someone down. Once Desi is back, we need to remove a player off the roster and normal minor options apply.

  5. Anonymous - Apr 21, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    As I said before, for me, the "glaring" hole in the lineup is Jason Werth. This is game 18, not game 8. He is being paid 126 MIL to hit and field, not to "mentor the kids." If the Nats want him to "mentor kids" then send Werth to the Little Leagues where there are PLENTY of kids! Werth's .206 batting average is beginning to hurt the team, especially in close games. Think 5-3.

  6. TimDz - Apr 21, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    sjm308 said… This was mentioned casually by a post in the last article and I need clarification from Mark or some of our other experts. If/when Desmond goes on maternity leave, do we get a player exemption?_______________________________If Desmond goes on MATERNITY leave, a player exemption will be the least of our worries…

  7. erocks33 - Apr 21, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    @Anon 1:29Yeah, and the Braves should DFA Jason Heyward too because he's only hitting .190! Dan Uggla should also be benched (.194)The A's should dump Willingham (.200), the Red Sox should try and trade Crawford (.149) and Ellsbury (.182) and the Yankees should have a fire sale with Gardner (.128), Posada (.160) and Jeter (.219).Lighten up … they're not even 1/9th of the way thru the season and you're dumping on Werth already. That's like saying the home team is going to lose a game because the road team scored a run in the top of the first.

  8. Grandstander - Apr 21, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    As to who would get the call up, there are only 4 position players left on the 40-man who are not on the 25-man – Marrero, Bernadina, Corey Brown and Bryce Harper. Considering they called up Flores over all those guys previously, I'm really curious as to what they're going to do here.If it coincides with this Sunday, which it looks like it might, maybe they call up Maya to make that spot start and play with a short bench. The only other person I could see realistically bringing up is Bernadina, which I would say is the most likely scenario.What do people think the chances are of them DFAing Chico or Severino to make room for Bixler?

  9. Joe Seamhead - Apr 21, 2011 at 5:43 PM

    Werth will hit.Anybody that doesn't see what he has brought to the table just doesn't get it.If you haven't gotten it by now, nothing we say will persuade you.

  10. Anonymous8 - Apr 21, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    Ridiculous strike zone against Werth. Who did he piss off besides a few Nats fans on here?

  11. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 21, 2011 at 5:53 PM

    I LOVE what Jason Werth has already brought to this team.And Grandstander… Chico has to be ON the 40 man to be DFA'd again.

  12. Grandstander - Apr 21, 2011 at 5:55 PM

    My bad, I meant Mock. All our AAAA pitchers kinda blur together for me.

  13. JD - Apr 21, 2011 at 5:58 PM

    Pitchers used to get fined for giving up hits on 0-2 pitches. I thinks it's a fine idea.

  14. md_schmidt - Apr 21, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    Can't listen to internet radio from work…..bummer. Anyone on this thread planning to post in-game updates?

  15. Dave - Apr 21, 2011 at 6:01 PM

    @ grandstander – I doubt it will be Bernadina, 9 SO's in 28 minor league ab's so far.

  16. Anonymous8 - Apr 21, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    I hate to say it—Mike Morse looks lost at the plate. He has hit Lohse well up to this point.

  17. The Joker - Apr 21, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    Dunn is hitting about .170. Readying himself for a big streak of home runs. Nats visit the White Sox in late June and Dunn has already promised fireworks with the bat.

  18. The Baltimore Joker - Apr 21, 2011 at 6:16 PM

    Big bomb from Holliday. At this pace, Gorzelanny will give up 15 runs today. Hagerstown bound.

  19. dj in Fl. - Apr 21, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    I am getting the St. Louis tv crew on Extra Innings. Last night they talked at length aboutMorse, and his struggles. They said all you have to do is pitch him inside. They say he does not have the body speed to turn on those pitches, and definetly not the ones up and in. I hope they can get him to anticipate those pitches so he is not swinging late. ps I am vey glad we have Werth.

  20. JD - Apr 21, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    Mock gave up 4 hits and 7 walks (8 runs) in 2 innings today. Time to cut that one loose.

  21. Unkyd - Apr 21, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    Hey all! I posted question late in the minor league thread, which may have escaped notice, but it's really bugging me: I was a decent sandlot athlete (when I was young, and still had knees), nothing more. I never had any trouble charging in on grounders, or tracking fly balls…it just seemed like a combination of instinct and co-ordination. Can somebody with more more experience, at a higher level of play, explain to me how relatively elite talent, like Desi and Niger (among so many others) can have so much difficulty with these seemingly instinctual abilities?I mean… Throwing and catching is the easy part, right?

  22. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 21, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    Mock has been a waste of a roster spot for over 18 months now.Unkyd… I think your blatant miss spelling of Nyjer has made you unworthy.

  23. JD - Apr 21, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    Why are we approaching this game like we have a plane to catch? can we work Lohse a bit?

  24. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 21, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    JD… don't worry. Gorzelany is making up for it by going 3-2 on every hitter.And I thought he ws supposed to top out at 93-94.He's barely making Lannan numbers on his fastball.

  25. Andrew - Apr 21, 2011 at 6:32 PM

    Nifty doubleplay started by Demond. Just glad it worked….

  26. Exposremains - Apr 21, 2011 at 6:34 PM

    Here's what I would like to see:Gaudin=DFAGorzolany to mop-upDEtwiler=5th starterBroderick to minors or return to Cards replaced by RodriguezBalester instead of Coffey not sure that will happen.Anybody else agree?

  27. alexva - Apr 21, 2011 at 6:41 PM

    Detwiler needs to stay where he is. He has never had sustained success at any level and he needs to prove himself at AAA for now. If he's been successful through AS break, then bring him up.

  28. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 21, 2011 at 6:43 PM

    My sentiments exactly, alexva.

  29. Anonymous8 - Apr 21, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    Exposremains – I would DFA Gaudin and Stairs. Broderick is an interesting one being a Rule 5. Again, if the manager has no confidence in you then it is time to go and Coffey has to be on a short leash.

  30. Exposremains - Apr 21, 2011 at 6:52 PM

    AlexvaI would much rather watch Detwiler than Gorzelanny. Gorzelanny is a lesser version of Lannan.

  31. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 21, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    Exposremains…. Then I suggest you move to Syracuse for a couple of months. Heck, you may get to see both there.

  32. TimDz - Apr 21, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    According to the WAPO Box score, Gorzelanny has thrown 90 pitches through FOUR innings (51 strikes)It's still just 2-0 though…

  33. alexva - Apr 21, 2011 at 6:58 PM

    I'd rather watch Detwiler myself, he has flashes where he hits his spots and can be very good. But that does not mean that's what's best for him or the team.

  34. Exposremains - Apr 21, 2011 at 6:58 PM

    I actually live in Syracuse so thats not the problem…Gorz is a mop up pitcher, nats need to try another 5th starter.To A8Nyx makes Stairs expandable. I agree

  35. Anonymous - Apr 21, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    Pudge hits into so many DPs that I've gotten to calling it every time he comes up to bat with less than 2 outs and a runner on first. Ugh.

  36. Exposremains - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    I agree its possible its too early for Detwiler

  37. Grandstander - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:03 PM

    Not sure I understand the hate on Broderick. His first 2 outings were shit but his last 2 were perfect. Give him time, he's a Rule 5. I'd to cut loose this early.

  38. SCNatsFan - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:03 PM

    I agree 2:59; with less then 2 out and a man on first I cringe when I see Pudge stride to the plate. Love the guy but hate the fact that, give the playing time, he'll easily lead the league in GIDP. Easily.

  39. Grandstander - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:04 PM

    I'd *hate* to cut loose this early

  40. TimDz - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:05 PM

    MORSE GOT A HIT!!!!!!MORSE GOT A HIT!!!!!!Followed by a GIDP by Pudge…To the bottom of the 5th we go…

  41. G Mock - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:05 PM

    I'm at the end of the rope, guys. I don't want to wait on tables at Cracker Barrel or be a greeter at Walmart. Maybe I'll go back to the hotel and slit my wrists. Oh woe.

  42. Exposremains - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:06 PM

    The problem with Broderick is that they don't use him, so it feels like the Nats are missing a pitcher

  43. Anonymous - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:06 PM

    A $126 MILLION contract means you EXPECT MORE from a $126 MILLION MAN, so why can't I expect to SEE more at the plate??? I heard all that "happy talk" from you guys when it was "only 8 games" into the season. By game 18, the $126 MILLION MAN has got to start producing. Only Morse, Pudge, Hairston, Cora, and Stairs have a lower batting average than Werth. Great company. Except for the Z-man, Ramos, and Espinosa, this team is "toothless" at the plate. And who knows when the Z-Man will play again?! Wake up and smell the coffee!

  44. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:10 PM

    Eposremains…. such is the life of rule 5'er. He'll get his opportunities. Depending on the situation, he'll probably get in today.

  45. Unkyd - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:12 PM

    OMG, Jack!!! I don't know how that got by me!! Doing too many things, when I should be working… That'll learn me to skip the preview. Nyjer goes by too many handles to keep straight, mebbe…. Help me out, though… Is it a silly question?

  46. Grandstander - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:14 PM

    @ grandstander – I doubt it will be Bernadina, 9 SO's in 28 minor league ab's so far.Well, Bixler has 17 SO's in 46 minor league ab's. Personally, I'd like to see Mock DFA'd and Bixler brought up, but why put a guy on the 40-man if you don't need to? Bernadina getting a cup of coffee makes more sense.

  47. dj in Fl. - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:15 PM

    Anon 3:06My coffee smelled great this morning.Now, take your meds and give it a rest.The world is not ending!

  48. Anonymous8 - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    Broderick coming in now.

  49. Unkyd - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:19 PM

    @chickenlittle……. Time to adjust your meds?

  50. Nattydread - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:20 PM

    Broderick gets Pujols out. Somehow this game has settled into a pitchers duel.

  51. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:22 PM

    Unkyd….your question is easy….you are correct in that the ability to read the ball off the bat is INSTINCTIVE…. some guys have it, most guys don't.Consider Desmond and Morgan among MOST guys. And to the "Med" reference…. be prepared to be lectured on the political correctness of insinuating the need for medical assistance.And how about my Broderick call earlier, huh?

  52. JD - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    Nice going Brian.

  53. Anonymous8 - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:25 PM

    Broderick starts off with 3 balls to Pujols and then got Pujols to miss on the 3-0 pitch that looked FAT. WOW! Then gets Holliday and Frese like it is nothing.

  54. Grandstander - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:25 PM

    For those paying attention, Broderick in his last 3 appearances is now: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 BB7 of those 9 outs were on ground balls. And it was facing the hearts of the Phillies and Cards orders.Yeah, we should totally DFA him…

  55. JD - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    Probably means he won't start on Sunday; that's too bad. I'm guessing Lannan at this stage.

  56. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    Broderick has had only 2 outings (including spring training) where he has given up runs. And 3 of his runs were given up my Slaten and Gaudin as inherited runners in his first outing of the regular season.

  57. Gonats - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:32 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… And how about my Broderick call earlier, huh? April 21, 2011 3:22 PM I don't think that was a tough call if you were watching on TV as they showed Broderick warming in the bullpen.

  58. Gonats - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:35 PM

    Grandstander said… For those paying attention, Broderick in his last 3 appearances is now: 7 of those 9 outs were on ground balls. And it was facing the hearts of the Phillies and Cards 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 BBorders.Yeah, we should totally DFA him… April 21, 2011 3:25 PM 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 BB

  59. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:35 PM

    Posted it before he got up. Or certainly before I could switch over to watch.

  60. JaneB - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:42 PM

    Except I happen to know NatsJack saw lots of Broderick in ST, and knew that once he got past the Big League jitters, he would be worth pitching. Which he is. Don't forget that Flores was a Rule 5 guy, and now he is again a real deal, and soon to be our #2 catcher, or someone else's #1. I would love to see Bixler come up for a bit; betting it's Maya. We can't really use Bernie at the moment, I don't think. Gaudin — I know his numbers in the past dangle the hope that he could be terrific. Haven't seen hide nor hair of "terrific" yet.

  61. dj in Fl. - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    "Posted it before he got up. Or certainly before I could switch over to watch". Yes you didI cracked up when they said it on tv here.

  62. JD - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:48 PM

    I could smell that one a mile away.

  63. Gonats - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:49 PM

    Stairs O Hits 9 AB 4 Walks 4 K 0 RBI 0 RunsBalester, not good. 4 run lead is game over.

  64. LoveDaNats - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    Balester finally up to prove how he can help the Nats………FAIL.

  65. Anonymous - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    The Ballestar of 2011 looks a lot like the one from 2010. Fewer throws at batters's heads is all. This is what everyone was screaming about during spring training?Desmond, Morse, Ballestar…I'm getting skeptical of people who say that we should expect improvement from these guys…

  66. Anonymous - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    I've mentioned this before. Even with Zimmerman, this team will go through more periods with virtually not hitting than stretches when the bats are lively. This, perhaps, will be their biggest obstacle. They are what they are, too many old bats, Cora, Hairston, Pudge, Stairs, and weak ones, Morse, Ankiel. But I'm stating the obvious…UNTERP

  67. JD - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    LoveDaNats, No big deal; just a bad outing. This game was lost due to lack of hitting; not bad pitching.

  68. Mark'd - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    Exposremains may want to rewrite his GM moves. Embarrassing ending to this game.

  69. JD - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    UNTERP, And yet; even with a loss today the team will still be 9 – 9 without it's best player. It's amazing how quickly people turn on the team. Balester will be fine too; as will Morse.

  70. Anonymous8 - Apr 21, 2011 at 8:01 PM

    The 2 run lead can be overcome in the 9th. This is a shame because now the 5 runs looks out of reach.Nice to see Slaten do the job too.

  71. Nats Travel Agent X - Apr 21, 2011 at 8:01 PM

    Syracuse bound.

  72. JD - Apr 21, 2011 at 8:01 PM

    Mark'd, What's embarrassing? Balester didn't have it today; so what?

  73. Anonymous - Apr 21, 2011 at 8:05 PM

    Not turning on the team. Just stating the obvious. Opponents will learn quickly to pitch around a couple of their players to get to the weak ones.Small ball is the only means this team has to play on a regular basis, which too will be difficult to execute if they can't get on the base. Perhaps, except for Zimmerman, they don't have anyone on this roster to fear…UNTERP

  74. Jeeves - Apr 21, 2011 at 8:09 PM

    Deitweiler has already proven himself at triple A. In 2009 he was excellent after being sent down. When he was brought up in September, he continued to be excellent. Then he was hurt. I'm not sure that Desi is the answer at short, but the two Chicago shortstops who are considered superb have the same (in one case) and more errors than Desmond in the other case. I wonder do their fans have the same attitude towards their shortstops as do a few people on this site. And offensively, in his rookie year, Desi had offensive stats that were as good as any in the American league, with the possible exception of said Ramirez.

  75. Exposremains - Apr 21, 2011 at 8:37 PM

    At Mark'd I still think that Rodriguez is a better option than broderick, Gaudin has to go, as for Balester that was the one I wasn't sure about, but I'm not a big fan of Coffey.

  76. Exposremains - Apr 21, 2011 at 8:38 PM

    The other thing about Balester, he pitched the night before.

  77. Manassas Nats Fan - Apr 21, 2011 at 8:43 PM

    The common denominator with all the bad batters? They all have same coach, who has not impressed me for three years now.

  78. natsfan1a - Apr 21, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    Catching up with the thread postgame:TimDz: +1 re. leave for Desmond.NJ and DJ: I also love what Werth has brought to date.JD: re. fines for giving up hits after 0-2 count, okay, but only if we can also fine hitters for swinging at the first pitch after a hit and a walk have given us two much needed baserunners (where's a Kangaroo Court when you need it)?Meds comments, I won't lecture there. I do tend to speak up when brain disorders are used as a metaphor, but that's because of the struggles of a loved one rather than for PC reasons (but maybe that's TMI).JD again, point taken re. being 9-9 without Zimm, and I'll take it. Here's hoping that the bats heat up in Pittsburgh (and that pitching and defense hold up their ends).

  79. FS - Apr 21, 2011 at 11:09 PM

    ugh, did not watch the game, nor did follow it on gameday but getting shutout by Lohse is painful. That's pathetic. I hope we don't embarrass ourselves against Pirates.



x-WASHINGTON 92 64 --
ATLANTA 76 81 16.5
NEW YORK 76 81 16.5
MIAMI 75 81 17.0
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Tuesday's games


x-WASHINGTON (2) 92 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 89 68 3.5
y-ST. LOUIS 88 69 4.5
y-PITTSBURGH 86 71 --
MILWAUKEE 80 77 6.0
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Tuesday's early games

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.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Marlins at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
(End of regular season)
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.


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 Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter