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Game 20: Nats at Pirates

Apr 24, 2011, 4:20 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The tarp's on the field right now, but they should be able to play today at PNC Park.

PITTSBURGH — Good afternoon from soggy PNC Park on the banks of the Allegheny River. There has been rain (or the threat of rain) all weekend, though it looks like things should clear up enough this afternoon for the Nationals and Pirates to play the second game of this series.

No matter the weather conditions, the Nats need to start hitting if they want to snap out of their three-game slide. Considering the lineup they're fielding today, that might be easier said than done. Only two members of the lineup boast batting averages over .225: Danny Espinosa and Jason Marquis (whose .286 average is tops in this lineup by leaps and bounds).

Ian Desmond, who committed two errors during last night's loss, has the day off. He's still in uniform and with the team, though he could leave at any point once his wife goes into labor. Meanwhile, Todd Coffey was officially activated off the DL and is available to pitch.

Plenty of updates to come live from the ballpark, so please check back often…

NATIONALS at PIRATES
Where: PNC Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m.
TV: MASN2
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 186
Weather: Chance of rain, 62 degrees, Wind 5 mph RF to LF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (9-10)
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Rick Ankiel
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche

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  1. Doc - Apr 24, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    You gotta belive!

  2. Kevin Rusch, Section406 - Apr 24, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    Wow, Pudge, Cora _AND_ Hairston? Marquis better throw a shutout AND hit a homer.

  3. sparky - Apr 24, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    Better to belive than the other option.Marquis will keep us in the game.

  4. dj in Fl. - Apr 24, 2011 at 5:25 PM

    The last time we had a lineup like this, we started a 4 game win streak. That would suit me just fine.

  5. Cwj - Apr 24, 2011 at 5:31 PM

    This team has a habit of winning with there B lineup. Just as long as pitching and DEFENSE (ugh, Desmond) hold up.Go Nats. This is a must win game as far as I'm concerned. They gotta stay at around the .500 mark until Zimmerman comes back.

  6. Anonymous - Apr 24, 2011 at 6:02 PM

    anyone else having problems with the feed on Cox Sports (Ch 74) in NoVa?

  7. SCNatsFan - Apr 24, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    Marquis hitting 286 leads us… otherwise not a guy over 250 and 5 guys hitting below 211. Get on the phones Rizzo. We are hovering around .500 by using Harry Potter like magic.And I'm tired of hearing what a magician Eckstein is. If I was the Nats hitting coach I'd be hiding in the locker room right now.

  8. carolync - Apr 24, 2011 at 6:12 PM

    Wasn't going to watch this game because of the beautiful day but a day without Desmond is too much of a treat to pass up.

  9. dj in Fl. - Apr 24, 2011 at 6:29 PM

    2 for 2 with a homer!Break-out time for Morse.

  10. Anonymous - Apr 24, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    Michael finally gets it done!

  11. Anonymous - Apr 24, 2011 at 6:32 PM

    Six hits in three innings. Now we're getting somewhere.

  12. Anonymous - Apr 24, 2011 at 6:33 PM

    @carolync: Zing! That a left a little bruise. LOL.Alas poor DESI THE DAD: last July's manhood of bone has turned to this April's hands of stone………………..

  13. Mark'd - Apr 24, 2011 at 6:33 PM

    So happy for Michael Morse. Nice swing!

  14. Natsochist - Apr 24, 2011 at 6:38 PM

    So with Morse sitting at 2-2 with a hr, he must be due for a double-switch next time Marquis gets into trouble, no?

  15. Cwj - Apr 24, 2011 at 6:39 PM

    Morse is ever so slowly bring his numbers up. Now if 5 or 6 other hitters would do the same…LaRoche continues to amaze me at first base. I can't say enough about this guy.

  16. Anonymous - Apr 24, 2011 at 6:46 PM

    Werthless. Just Werthless.

  17. Jimmy - Apr 24, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    Would anyone know where I can find a Navy Blue Flag with the Curly W in White outlined in Red the Nationals used at home last year, when they took the field. The logo is still the richest and most professional the team has ever used. The Navy Blue has prestige and really set out with the red trim. I cannot understand the Lerners wanting to copy the Phillies, (the closest team in our division to us and our biggest rival) the Reds, Cardinals, Astros, and one of our old teams the Rangers.

  18. Cwj - Apr 24, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    Werthless? Nonsense. He'll be fine. It's a long season.

  19. Anonymous - Apr 24, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    Desmond is on track for 50+ errors this year. Hopefully, he will like paternity leave and never return.

  20. Anonymous - Apr 24, 2011 at 7:46 PM

    Werthless is toast because he has no lineup protection like he had last year in Philadelphia.

  21. dj in Fl. - Apr 24, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    It looked as if Riggleman was giving Marquis the 'you can pitch better than this' talk in the 5th.We are going to have to continue getting innings out of our starters to do well the next 16 days.

  22. NatinBeantown - Apr 24, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    Mark,How has Laroche's shoulder looked on the multiple put outs at 2nd (especially the DP ball)? Just catching up on the game after Easter festivities…

  23. Mark Zuckerman - Apr 24, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    NatinBeantown: Not so great. Those are definitely the plays when you notice the shoulder injury the most. One of them would have been a routine double play if LaRoche is able to throw with his regular "oomph."

  24. Tim - Apr 24, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    You remember Bagwell at the end of his career? He couldn't throw either. He threw just like LaRoche is throwing right now. I wonder if it was the same injury.If I were the opposing team, I'd try to make LaRoche field and throw.

  25. Cwj - Apr 24, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    Anon 3:46 – When Zimmerman comes back, that changes. Werth – Zimm. – LaRoche (I don't think the order matters that much with them).Ideally I would bat Espinosa #2, but they don't have anyone to replace him as leadoff hitter.

  26. Bill - Apr 24, 2011 at 8:04 PM

    Agree with Jimmy. Blue was the base color of the original Senators, and the blye flag, blue-based uniforms would have looked much classier.BTW: I am watching on RCN, not Cox, and the feed is constantly freezing.

  27. Cwj - Apr 24, 2011 at 8:06 PM

    I still say even an unhealthy LaRoche is a plus first baseman. I honestly can't tell he's not 100% in the field. Looks fine to me.

  28. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 24, 2011 at 8:11 PM

    And I still like Lance Nix.

  29. Cwj - Apr 24, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    So, assuming the Nats enter the last of the 9th with a "save situation", who do you throw out there?Storen or Burnett?I'll go with Burnett, needs to regain some confidence.

  30. Sam - Apr 24, 2011 at 8:19 PM

    Just about any Major League pitcher should be able to get 3 outs with a 3-run lead. I would throw Coffey out there. Or Gaudin. No point in wasting Burnett or Storen today.It's really silly to be so confined by "save situations."

  31. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 24, 2011 at 8:20 PM

    Either one is fine by me. May go to Storen based on Diaz as a PH and McCutchen to follow, two right haners.

  32. Sam - Apr 24, 2011 at 8:27 PM

    I wonder who would be pitching now if the "save" didn't exist.

  33. Cwj - Apr 24, 2011 at 8:28 PM

    Sam – That's why I put "save situation" in quotes ;)It's a weird stat. In fact, I believe Clippard has "saved" many more games than the "closers" this year. Often in the 7th inning!

  34. Sam - Apr 24, 2011 at 8:31 PM

    Sorry. I'm not attacking you. You seem to have exactly the same thought process as me. I am attacking the establishment as a whole.With no days off for two weeks, it's situations like these where you would like to save your best relievers for when you might actually need them.

  35. Cwj - Apr 24, 2011 at 8:33 PM

    No prob Sam!I completely agree

  36. Cwj - Apr 24, 2011 at 8:35 PM

    Wow! Werth has a GUN of an arm. Nats win!Awesome

  37. Sam - Apr 24, 2011 at 8:36 PM

    $126 million throw right there.

  38. Unkyd - Apr 24, 2011 at 8:37 PM

    Out at the plate. Curly W.Werthless…?

  39. Anonymous - Apr 24, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    5 LOB. Yes, Werthless.

  40. NatinBeantown - Apr 24, 2011 at 8:48 PM

    Thanks Mark. I was afraid of that looking at all the 4-6's.

  41. A DC Wonk - Apr 24, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    What an ending. First of all, McCutchen was safe. But, more importantly, it was a major bonehead play on McCutchen's part. You don't try to tag up in the ninth when you're three runs down. That decision was, shall we say, Morgan-esque?(Maybe he learned it from Morgan when Morgan was over there a few years back)

  42. A DC Wonk - Apr 24, 2011 at 9:36 PM

    Bill said…"Agree with Jimmy. Blue was the base color of the original Senators, and the blye flag, blue-based uniforms would have looked much classier."And I agree with both of you. Going red was the first ridiculously bad decision they made. And, on top of that, red makes me think of Phillies (ugh ugh patooie)

  43. Cwj - Apr 24, 2011 at 9:49 PM

    DC Wonk – I'm not so sure. Who would have thought the Nats (specifically Werth) would not concede the run?

  44. NatinBeantown - Apr 24, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    Er, 3-6's.Let's see a series win tomorrow.

  45. fpcsteve - Apr 24, 2011 at 9:59 PM

    Good win. Good day for the vets. Good for them and good for the Nats. Go Nats!

  46. SonnyG10 - Apr 24, 2011 at 10:28 PM

    A nice win to get us back to .500. Could have done without the ugly errors, though. Really happy Morse got his first home run today. Boy did he have a big smile on his face when he crossed home plate. I believe a lot of our batting averages will go up once the warm weather kicks in for good.

  47. A DC Wonk - Apr 24, 2011 at 10:56 PM

    Cwj said…"DC Wonk – I'm not so sure. Who would have thought the Nats (specifically Werth) would not concede the run?"So, go halfway and see if Werth was throwing it.Look — I'd agree if somebody else was on base. But why would the Nats concede a run if nobody else is on base — what else is Werth going to do with the ball? He might as well just throw it home in case something good happens.McCutchen's run at that point in the game was 100% irrelevant. Whether he scored or not, two more Pirates still needed to get on base and score that inning. His scoring from third, at that time, didn't help the Pirates at all — they would have been in the same position either way. The only thing it did was increase the odds of a third out. Total bonehead play. No excuse. This is basic high school baseball stuff. You never ever ever risk making an out in the ninth when you are not the tying or winning run. Ever.BTW, I was listening on the radio. If anybody was watching it — what was the third base coach doing? (He should have been standing in McCutchen's way to make sure he didn't do anything stupid ;-) — but, seriously, he should have told McCutchen before the play not to do anything like that).

  48. sjm308 - Apr 24, 2011 at 11:17 PM

    Watched the game at relatives. Thought on the way home about how many would be screaming at Riggs for the double switch of Morse but it worked out well. Nix made a nice running catch and drove in run #6. Also liked Riggs leaving in Marquis for the 6th inning. Totally disagree about early posters calling for Coffey or Gaudin in this game. You play to win NOW and Clip and Storen were as good as usual. We still have Burnett, Gaudin, Slaten, Coffey and Broderick for tomorrow so our bullpen is not stressed at this time. Love that we are hovering around .500 without Zimm.Go Nats

  49. Sam - Apr 24, 2011 at 11:56 PM

    I think you're missing the point. Any Major League reliever should be able to get 3 outs with a 3-run lead. If not, that reliever does not belong in the Major Leagues.

  50. Navy Nats Fan - Apr 25, 2011 at 3:00 AM

    DC Wonk – check the slo-mo replay at the end of this highlights package – he was definitely out. And FP had it right – if you are tagging on that play you need to be high-fiving your teammates by the time the throw reaches home. He never should have run. And I loved the quote from Pirates manager Clint Hurdle – "The only reason we're asked that question is because he's out," Hurdle said. "There are probably two guys in the league that can make that throw. He's one of them."Um, then why were you running on him, Skip?

  51. Joe Seamhead - Apr 25, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    Mark Z said: 3:49 p.m. — OK, who had the seventh inning in today's "When will Michael Morse be double-switched out" pool? Tyler Clippard on to pitch in relief of Marquis. Laynce Nix in to play left field in place of Morse.OK, Nix got an RBI hit, but the Riggleman continual switching with Morse is kind of weird. What a great way to pat the guy on the back by going 3-4.Nothing can slow up a guy getting hot at the plate like yanking him just as starts heating up.

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