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Game 27: Giants at Nats

May 1, 2011, 4:44 PM EDT

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jordan Zimmermann faces Matt Cain this afternoon at Nationals Park.

One day after becoming the first team in the live-ball era to draw nine walks and get hit by three pitches yet only score one run, the Nationals are going with a little different look at the plate.

Danny Espinosa (2 for his last 24) and Michael Morse (1 for his last 17) are each on the bench this afternoon against the Giants. That puts Jerry Hairston in the leadoff spot and Laynce Nix in left field. Nix also will hit cleanup, ahead of struggling Adam LaRoche.

Jordan Zimmermann takes the mound, hoping to bounce back from two straight outings in which he's allowed five earned runs. He's often been compared to the fellow right-hander starting today for the Giants: Matt Cain.

I'm covering Game 2 of the Caps-Lightning series tonight at Verizon Center, but Rich Dubroff is again filling in for me at CSNwashington.com. I'll be sure to link to his articles later…

GIANTS at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 188
Weather: Sunny, 67 degrees, Wind 9 mph in from LF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (12-14)
3B Jerry Hairston
CF Rick Ankiel
RF Jayson Werth
LF Laynce Nix

Read more »

  1. Anonymous - May 1, 2011 at 4:52 PM

    Sometime twice this season a couple of pitchers will not hit the Nationals.Go Nats!UNTERP

  2. Frediemac - May 1, 2011 at 4:54 PM

    Well I guess our boys are tired and need a day off. ARGH! I guess Riggleman mailed in this one

  3. Les in NC - May 1, 2011 at 5:12 PM

    Frediemac, Our team, bless them, have a way of turning on the jets when it seems that they are completely over matched by the other teams lineup. Lets hope that trend continues today.

  4. Tim - May 1, 2011 at 5:18 PM

    I know LaRoche is a slow starter, but after watching him night after night (and especially after last night), I'm thinking his shoulder IS affecting his hitting.Woukd it be too much to ask for just ONE timely hit!?! Maybe so.

  5. dj in Fl. - May 1, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    Glad to see Nix in place of Morse. I would actually like see more of Nix for Morse. I don't think Morse has shown that his offense can make up for his average defense. I would also leave the leadoff to Harriston or Cora for the time being. Both Desi and Danny seem to be more comfortable near the bottom of the order so build back from that.

  6. masnstinks - May 1, 2011 at 6:04 PM

    pssssst! Matt Stairs needs to retire — pass it on!

  7. Manassas Nats Fan - May 1, 2011 at 6:04 PM

    That was a pathetic effort by Nix. He slowed down as he approached the ball and let it drop. Come on man run hard and either catch it or kick, but don't slow down and let it drop.

  8. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 1, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    Just wondering, not windjing! But does Rich not have blog update permissions?

  9. Cwj - May 1, 2011 at 6:10 PM

    Someone mentioned that Harper has 6 homers so far.Anyone know his other stats, BA, RBI etc? Any errors in the outfield?

  10. Manassas Nats Fan - May 1, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    SO far the RISP averages for the game after 2. Giants 1 for 2, Nats 1 for 4. They have one hit the line, we have Pudge's that fades.Had LaRoche tagged up on the one Rowland caught running away from second, He would have scored on Cora's hit. That is the same play that Lenny Harris did do on Wednesday.

  11. Rob Dibble's Ghost - May 1, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    .333, 23/69, 15 R, 2 2B, 6 HR, 19 RBI, .432 OBP, .681 SLG

  12. Les in NC - May 1, 2011 at 6:22 PM

    @ Cwj:Try this link to the suns individual stats page!http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?t=t_ibp&cid=563&stn=true&sid=t563

  13. Manassas Nats Fan - May 1, 2011 at 6:43 PM

    RISP after 3 innings Giants 1 for 3 Nats 1 for 6. How can the Nats be this bad with RISP? Game after game. I would love to know what the team RISP for the season is, and what the average is when there is no RISP.

  14. Section 222 - May 1, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    Ok, I know this is sacrilege, but I for one will be glad when the Caps' season is over so Mark can get back to covering baseball. :-)

  15. Manassas Nats Fan - May 1, 2011 at 7:20 PM

    Through 5 innings Giants are 1 for RISP and the Nats 1 for 10.. Its hard to believe people can be so pathetic at this. The first two guys all they have to do is a rounder toward the middle or a fly to the outfield.

  16. Cwj - May 1, 2011 at 7:27 PM

    Thanks Les, Tim and Dibble for the Harper stats/links! Wow. How can this team not score after a leadoff triple? Ugh. Well, looks like we are in for these types of games for the foreseeable future.Hopefully they can win half of them.

  17. Cwj - May 1, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    Good job JZimm. Kept the team in the game for 6 innings (I can't believe how well the rotation is doing. Wonderful)Come on Nats. Just another run or two, please!

  18. Cwj - May 1, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    You all are quiet today :)

  19. masnstinks - May 1, 2011 at 7:42 PM

    As frustrating as it is to watch hitter after hitter fold with men on – they also are getting absolutely no breaks or luck. Pudge's ball was sailing, Rowan just got to it. Even when sharp contact is made – they are just not finding any grass. We have been in most of our games right through nine innings. You can tell when the team is not hitting – bloggers focus on Harper. Someday……

  20. Manassas Nats Fan - May 1, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    Clippard looked great.

  21. Tim - May 1, 2011 at 8:07 PM

    Bring up Harper now! He could do as much as our current lineup is doing right now.

  22. Manassas Nats Fan - May 1, 2011 at 8:17 PM

    Pudge's RISP is probably among the better ones on the team. team now 2 for 11. Could win despite that.

  23. David - May 1, 2011 at 8:18 PM

    Finally! A big hit.

  24. sm13 - May 1, 2011 at 8:24 PM

    Okay, do you all finally believe in Pudge!!!

  25. Manassas Nats Fan - May 1, 2011 at 8:27 PM

    Curly W

  26. Oldguy - May 1, 2011 at 8:28 PM

    Zim goes down, the pros step up. That's the way it's supposed to be. Of course, if they had lost we could have blamed it on the doctors. Sheeesh!

  27. Tim - May 1, 2011 at 8:45 PM

    With the starting pitching we're getting, with ANY hitting at all we'd be 5 games over .500 at least.Good win today. I love seeing us run.

  28. Frediemac - May 1, 2011 at 8:50 PM

    Very glad to be wrong about today's lineup. GO NATS! Win this series tomorrow with Gorzelanny

  29. Anonymous - May 1, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    With the starting pitching we're getting, with ANY hitting at all we'd be 5 games over .500 at least.Have to think the starting pitching isn't going to be this good later in the season. Of course they do have some pretty decent possibilities down in the minors this year to supplement the starting pitching … something not available to them in many years! And they do HAVE TWO legitimate ROY candidates! That IS exciting! But again that's still Phase I isn't it?If they manage to average max 12 games a month and with Zimmerman out and Riggleman's bizarre lineups … I mean Hairston leading off? Ankiel batting second? Zero OBP, zero bat. If the starting pitching falters and the bullpen ends up overworked? I still see them winning between 60-70 games which is not an improvement and is instead regression at the major league level? (The minors prospect are vastly improved and it shows …) And Riggleman just is not a good major league manager.

  30. fpcsteve - May 1, 2011 at 9:07 PM

    The old guys had quite the day, didn't they? Good for them. IRod with the big hit. A couple of guys sat that needed to sit. I'm with dj in Fl. I'd like to see more of Nix and less of Morse. Not bad–no less than a split with the world champs.

  31. Golfersal - May 1, 2011 at 9:08 PM

    Now I watch most of Nats telecasts, but with Tivo's I spin though most of the shows. Now I don't do this when I listen to a Dodger game with Vin Scully or last year with Carpenter and Dibble, but this year I have been spinning more than past years to just get the highlights and forget about the announcing. I think that after watching today live I now know the reason for this.Since it was cold and I have a cold I didn't go to the game and watched the game live on the recliner. Now a bit of disclosure, I was a big Dibble fan and the reason was his stories. It wasn't stat after stat, situation after situation but more of a story telling things not only inside the locker room but comparing things happen to past years. Even Bob Carpenter was great with telling stories, something that is great in listening to Vin Scully do announcing wise.But in listening to F.P. Santangelo, it's all about the stats and all about the situation and what a player should do. I got so tired of all this that about the fifth inning I turned the audio off and listened to Charlie and Dave, who are more story orientated than stat talk.We have had Bob Carpenter and F.P. for about a month now and wondering if I am the only person disappointed in this style?It's not like F.P. is terrible, he is smoother and slicker than Ray Knight but Knight would always give us stories instead of stats.Am I just getting to be an old fart that is getting sick of having to work hard on figuring out stats and situations instead of being entertained in watching a game that has stories?Oh, I am writing this while watching Vin do the Dodger/Padre game, I am back in my element.So the question for this board, the season is now an eight finished, do we like F.P. or longing for a Dibble back which we can't have?

  32. JaneB - May 1, 2011 at 9:14 PM

    Anon at 4:54… But this line up won.Go Nats! Take it tomorrow!

  33. JaneB - May 1, 2011 at 9:17 PM

    Also… It occurs to me that Mark Z is a sportswriter. Maybe he LIKES covering that Other Sport, even though WE dont like to share. Hmmmmm

  34. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me - May 1, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    Very well put, as usual, JaneB. Mark now is an employee of CSN, as well as the proprietor of this site. Sometimes, at the very least, employers ask their employees to, uh, what's the right word, oh, yeah, WORK! I know that might seem foreign to the GS1-and-a-half nation that populates this area, but that's the facts, folks. Mark has a job. This is part of that job, but not the whole part. Give the guy a break…Go, Nats. Take three of four from these World Chumps.

  35. Anonymous - May 1, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    Also… It occurs to me that Mark Z is a sportswriter. Maybe he LIKES covering that Other Sport, even though WE dont like to share. HmmmmmJaneB,Mark (and Ben following) have been covering Nats pathetic futility since 2005. Let him enjoy covering a winning franchise … the Caps.

  36. Manassas Nats Fan - May 1, 2011 at 9:25 PM

    I still am going with 76 wins.

  37. masnstinks - May 1, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    This team gives new meaning to the phrase "scratching out a win". I'll take it anyway we can get it. I like FP very much – our last two color guys have been pitchers and as such – that's all they talked about or knew much about . FP played a an actual position, batted and coached and he brings a lot more depth.Pitchers are prima donnas – Sutton was arrogant, Dibble was " look at me" – this guy is refreshing.

  38. Steve - May 1, 2011 at 9:38 PM

    Nice to see a win in my first visit to the ballpark this year — the pitching and defense makes it worth watching. How 'bout some love for Flash Jordan fielding the comebacker between his legs?Oh, and has anyone noticed that Manny's Indians are an MLB best 19-8? (Not that I want him back…)

  39. TimDz - May 1, 2011 at 9:43 PM

    Regarding FP: I don't have a problem with him one way or the other…I DO think he could be the basis of a nice drinking game……We can call it the "Dead Red" game…

  40. Drew8 - May 1, 2011 at 9:44 PM

    Harper had another run-scoring double today, giving him 20 RBI in 22 games.He hasn't built that .329 average on souffle singles, either.Of his 24 hits, more than half are for extra bases — 7 doubles and 6 jacks. Kid has some kinda' pop.

  41. SonnyG10 - May 1, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    I enjoyed watching today's game very much and am happy with the win.As to the color guy, I was a Rob Dibble fan, but I also like FP now. Since we can't have Dibble back, I'm ok with FP.I also have noted how well Manny's Indians are doing and I am glad for Manny. I liked him a lot but he just wasn't right for our club at this time. Of course we didn't have quality players for him to manage (other than Zimmerman) so that probably had a lot to do with it.Adam LaRoach hasn't been hitting, but boy I sure like watching him play 1st base. He is as smooth as silk there. And how about Pudge nailing Ford trying to steal 2nd base. What a throw.I would like to see a little more of Laynce Nix in games over Mike Morse. If he can hit left-handed pitching, I think he would be a step up from Morse.

  42. Mark'd - May 1, 2011 at 9:58 PM

    Amazing they couldn't pick up Werth at 3rd with no outs but s FRESH Pudge came thru in the clutch. Nice to see after last night.

  43. Mark'd - May 1, 2011 at 10:05 PM

    This Ramos/Pudge platoon could work out longer term. A rested Pudge is a better Pudge and they are getting real good production now from the catcher position.LaRoche is just not getting good contact. Is if his shoulder? Does he need rest?

  44. SonnyG10 - May 1, 2011 at 10:10 PM

    LaRoche has been a slow starter at the plate, but I don't think his past slow starts have been this bad. It seems to me that he has finished a lot of his swings one-handed. I don't know if that's normal for him, but I wonder if its because of his shoulder.

  45. Mark'd - May 1, 2011 at 10:10 PM

    I heard on the radio broadcast that JZim was bringing it at 94-96 MPH. Glad to see he got the win today.

  46. Drew8 - May 1, 2011 at 10:17 PM

    In a year or so, when the boys are back in town and the team gets really good, my wife might watch a few games. I'm going to have to get an F.P. translation guide."He's sitting dead red here. He's going to get a nice piece of cheese." (Looking to go oppo boppo, no doubt.)Then again, I've been known to tell my bride that "The Nation and The Empire are on the Deuce."

  47. natsfan1a - May 1, 2011 at 10:26 PM

    I liked Dibble, but FP seems okay. I think it's a bit soon to judge, but that's just me. I don't drink so don't do drinking games, but why not "good old fashioned country hardball"?Good to get the win today. I think the Pudge throw was my fave part (turned to my hubby and said, "I'm not going to lie to you – that was a missile.). His bat seems to be picking up a bit, too. The stranding of Werth at 3rd may have been my least fave part. Hope they'll finish off with another curly W tomorrow!

  48. natsfan1a - May 1, 2011 at 10:43 PM

    Oh, and I also noticed what's happening in Cleveland and am happy for Acta.

  49. Cwj - May 1, 2011 at 10:51 PM

    JaneB- There's just no pleasing the negative anonymous posters is there? We need more positive Anons (there are a few) :)Good to see Burnett pitching in a setup role (where he thrived the past 2 seasons). Storen is clearly the closer, regardless of what Riggs said today.Still think the whole "closer" label is overrated, but if they absolutely must have one then Storen is the right guy for the job.Go Nats!

  50. carolync - May 1, 2011 at 11:17 PM

    Phew! Who knew the Giants were this bad. I'm going to be very disappointed if we don't take the series tomorrow.They did everything they could to give us that stinker of a game yesterday. The pitching/defense was better today but the offense didn't show up. They wouldn't have scored the two runs they did except for sloppy fielding on that pop-up down the third base line. Talk to each other, boys!Leaving Werth on 3rd was ugly. Still too many stranded runners.I really think LaRoche is injured. I watched him and he just looks like it hurts to walk. Sure hope I'm wrong as we need his glove.Not the prettiest of wins but still a win!Go Nats!

  51. Anonymous - May 2, 2011 at 12:05 AM

    JaneB- There's just no pleasing the negative anonymous posters is there? We need more positive Anons (there are a few) :)@CWJ,The facts are the facts … FP Sant'Angelo (too much like Angelos? ~grin~) is okay but he does spend an awful lot of time making excuses for over-the-hill very-little-if-any-gas-in-the-tank veterans? He lavishes praise (much like Riggleman) over even the smallest thing they do …Dude, this again says exactly what @Manassas Nats Fan said: 76 wins. And I believe he is wildly optimistic. This IS NOT a good team at the major league level. Again the minor league prospects are far and away better than what this franchise has seen since it moved to DC. And getting better. But the product at the major league level. NO improvement to regression. You have to call 'em like you see 'em. This kind of pitching … and well, luck … won't work in June, July, and August when the pennant races are on and the top tier teams need to pad the win column. The hapless Nats will be hapless. I mean c'mon Hairston leading off? Ankiel batting second? That is last place looking for the first pick in the first round lineups from Interim Jim. And playing Pudge ever other day or third day when you have a legit ROY candidate in Ramos? And playing Ankiel over Nix? Decrepit veterans will have their games … but they will become fewer and further in between as the season progresses. Not a good sign for these Washington Nationals. And sets the stage for abandonment by the team's fan base. Not good.

  52. Tim - May 2, 2011 at 1:09 AM

    I like FP. Dibble is an egomaniac. If you listen to MLB Radio in the morning, his tirades are very boring. Same things over and over again. Yes, Mr. "Good Ole Fashioned Country Hardball" repeats himself too, but he's not a self-proclaimed know-it-all. FP has a dry wit and I like it.Everyone here seems to call for Riggleman's head, but I think he's an excellent manager and we're starting to see the kind a baseball he likes to play: run, run, run! I love it! I loved seeing Dunn hit bombs but I think this brand of baseball is more exciting. (disclaimer: I wouldn't mind more HRs 8-). )

  53. Tim - May 2, 2011 at 1:14 AM

    One more thing: Pudge will be gone by the trade deadline… That's why he's still playing now… And playing well, I might add. Ramos has been electric and he's learning from one classy future Hall of Famer.Ankiel will probably be gone by the deadline, too, although he briings a lot of intangibles, defense, arm, etc.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 77 56 --
ATLANTA 72 65 6.0
MIAMI 68 69 11.0
NEW YORK 64 73 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 62 74 15.5
Through Sunday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
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.

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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