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When it rains, it pours

Apr 26, 2011, 4:01 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Ian Desmond dodges raindrops on his way to third base during tonight’s loss.

PITTSBURGH — At the end of a long (and very wet) road trip, the Nationals could only look to the heavens and ask: Why us? Why does it seem to rain everywhere we go?

“April showers,” John Lanann muttered. “I can’t wait for April to be over. Let’s go to May.”

Lannan, of all people, has a right to feel that way. He’s made five starts now this season, three of which have been disrupted in some fashion by Mother Nature. His season debut included a 55-minute rain delay in the fourth inning. His fourth scheduled start last week in St. Louis was postponed altogether. And his fifth start, Monday in Pittsburgh, featured a 21-minute interruption that completely altered the course of this game.

The Nationals were careful not to blame this 4-2 loss to the Pirates on the conditions. But the look of exasperation in their eyes said it all.

“There’s nothing you can do about it,” said manager Jim Riggleman, whose team has experienced three postponements and three in-game delays in 3 1/2 weeks. “It’s Maryland, it’s Pennsylvania in April, and you’re going to get that. We’ve dealt with it before, and we may not be past it. So it’s just a situation you’ve got to deal with, and no excuses.”
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  1. SonnyG10 - Apr 26, 2011 at 4:12 AM

    I am furious we did not win that game. Lost 2 out of 3 to the Pirates…that is hard to take. The offense needs to kick it in gear right now. We are a better team that this.

  2. Anonymous - Apr 26, 2011 at 4:22 AM

    This is not a 70-win team. Because its the Pirates Coffey and Gaudin didn't turn it into a complete blow-out … which is what would have happened were they St. Louis or Philadelphia. We should all be thankful and grateful for that at least.Its way past time for Professor Rizzo to make some changes. The Nats are projected to commit over 100 errors right now … that is not improvement while the offense is worst … starting pitching can't possibly maintain at this level … its way past time to move Espinosa to short stop and Desmond to second base for starters.

  3. JayB - Apr 26, 2011 at 8:56 AM

    "over 100 errors"??????…..More like over 150 errors….Desmond himself is going to make over 50 at this pace and he has lost his best asset as a SS….confidence…..This is about to get really really ugly because Riggs is not going to change anything.

  4. JayB - Apr 26, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    Team is still much better than past years, but as I said last year, this spring and again now….it will not take off until Riggs is fired……tick tick Jim..June 1st if coming…you are not the cheapest manager in baseball for no reason and it no accident that Nats are the only team who would hire you……end of the line for Riggs…enjoy a nice retirement from baseball….good man, good baseball guy….terrible manager.

  5. Anonymous - Apr 26, 2011 at 11:34 AM

    All 11 loses should be put squarely on Ian Desmond. He is a cancer to the team and is causing all the poor defensive play with all the other players, particularly Jason Werth. After Ian started the season leading off, the team has gone no where, which makes Desmond responsible for all the poor hitting and causing the hitting coach to make poor instruction to the rest of the team. Knowing that Ian Desmond is such a lousy player, the pitchers sometimes worry so much about Desmond that innings like Lannan had in the 4th cause them to throw 7 or 8 pitches per batter every time at bat for four years. Because they knew Desmond was in the minor committing errors and in the back of their mind knew that he would arrive and cause them to lose focus. The 103 loss season a couple of seasons ago is clearly Ian Desmond fault because he would write in blogs about how to play defense, and hit, and pitch, and the Nationals would listen to him, and well, they couldn't hit, or play defense, or pitch. And we all heard about how important leadership is to this current Nats team, and how all the old guys will come in and provide so much of it. That's Ian Desmond's fault too, because we all heard about what a great leader Desmond is, so all the other leaders just followed how Desmond led, and now they're all falling to pieces, because again like the team that lost 103 games in 2008, they all listen to Desmond. All they have to do is, first, get rid of Ian Desmond, put Espi at short, and bring in the minor league phenom who I can't recall his name, put him at second and everything in the Nationals organization will be grand. Just get rid of Desmond. Cut him outright. I am sure the Nationals will catapult to 90 wins…UNTERP

  6. natsfan1a - Apr 26, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    (recalibrating Snarkdar detector – okay, I'm good)

  7. NatsNut - Apr 26, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    It's Maryland???

  8. Manassas Nats Fan - Apr 26, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    Though the fielding has been poor, the hitting has been worse. Too many called strike 3s, to many people trying to pull outside pitches. Too many people who need to take responsibility for their own hitting. The starters in general have been fine. Relievers fine. At least 1/3 of the team has whown up.Tonight's a new game and as always I go in assuming they will win. As I said I wonder if they think about this as much as we as fans do. Took me about an hour and half to fall a sleep as I just couldn't get out of my mind they started the game 3 for 4 and end up 5 for 31. Why?Why does Cliff Lee get kicked around the last two games, and had no problems with the Nats. Why? Mulolm who is a journey man at best looks great against the Nats. Why?All my answer always lead to the same place.

  9. natsfan1a - Apr 26, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    "All my answer always lead to the same place."Um, Maryland?

  10. Anonymous - Apr 26, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    Manassas Nats Fan said… Though the fielding has been poor, the hitting has been worse. Too many called strike 3s, to many people trying to pull outside pitches. Too many people who need to take responsibility for their own hitting. The blame clearly falls on Ian Desmond for his terrible hitting performance as the lead off, could hit at all and took a load of call strike threes and his inability to hit has had a residual effect on the rest of the team and has since he was signed as an 18 year old…UNTERP

  11. Anonymous - Apr 26, 2011 at 12:20 PM

    couldn't hit at all…

  12. JD - Apr 26, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    JayB, Sorry; you are way off base here. I am not a supporter of Riggleman's style in general but he has had a tremendous month managing the lineup he was given to a .500 record with his best player injured and his other superstar slumping. UNTERP, Your position that Desmond is the root of all evil is ludicrous. I agree that his game has some holes in it and that he should never hit anywhere near the top of the order but it's not his fault that our lineup includes: Ankiel, Rodriguez and Hairston. Also; your post may lead someone to believe that we are 1 and 20 or 5 and 16; actually we are 10 and 11 without Zim so everyone needs to relax and stop jumping off the ledge after every loss. I am also amused and the posters who suddenly miss Morgan, Gonzalez et al these superstars who led us to 69 wins last year.

  13. Doc - Apr 26, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    The Mets are down(their 4 WS is an aberration), and now's the time for the Nats to kick them so they stay doooown!I agree with all Nats' fans that are tired of seeing our batters taking strike three! Goooooooooooooo Nats!!!

  14. JD - Apr 26, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    UNTERP; I reread your post and I concluded that you are either sarcastic or that you are inebriated. It's too early for that; put the bottle down.

  15. Steve M. - Apr 26, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    When you put in Ankiel as a Pinch-Hitter in the 9th in a spot that is reserved for Matt Stairs is pitiful along with Morse looking at that strike 3 hanging slider.The bounces all went the way of the Pirates but clearly the Nats looked like they didn't want to be there.

  16. Steve M. - Apr 26, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    I can't find anything to criticize Riggleman about as this is on the players he has. You can't make this veteran crew into anything more than they are. Stairs defined himself in that interview Mark Zuckerman posted.You just have to hope the pitching stays where it is and some of these players can get out of their offensive funks they are in.Real disappointed to only win 1 of 3 in Pittsburgh.

  17. Manassas Nats Fan - Apr 26, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    Actually I believe Riggleman has done a good job. I only have two complaints. First his hitting coach's approach to hitting. The batters in general look at too many strikes. Especially strike 3s. The second is with the fielding coach, nothing apparently is being done about the poor fielding (I am sure something must be happening, but it sure is not apparent.a third general comment is I am disappointed that the manager mistakes working hard with working well. They seem to be satisfied with working hard. I would prefer to be working well.

  18. ehay2k - Apr 26, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    As painful as it is to say: Please send Desi Down (for his own good.) He is way too talented to be playing like this. He needs to learn the reliably do following:1) LOOK THE BALL INTO THE GLOVE2) Know when and when not to charge the ball3) Keep his body in from the the ball and NOT TRY TO PICK IT EVERY TIME.I'm sure there are other fundamentals he needs to work on, but he won't hone them in hte majors with all the pressure to win.

  19. Dave - Apr 26, 2011 at 4:34 PM

    This is a total long shot guess but. . . .I heard FP mention during a broadcast that Desmond has one of the smallest SS gloves he has ever seen.One would assume that he is more comfortable with it, but maybe it is part of the problem. He seems to be snagging a lot of grounders very high in the heel.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 90 64 --
ATLANTA 76 78 14.0
NEW YORK 75 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 80 16.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 84 19.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Saturday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (5) 90 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 88 67 2.5
ST. LOUIS 87 68 3.5
-------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 70 6.0 +1.0
PITTSBURGH 83 71 7.0 --
MILWAUKEE 80 75 10.5 3.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Saturday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
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.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
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