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Game 30: Nats at Phillies

May 4, 2011, 7:29 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nationals try to get back to .500 tonight at Citizens Bank Park.

PHILADELPHIA — It's a cold, windy and rainy afternoon in Philly right now, though the skies are beginning to clear and there's not expected to be any precipitation worry for the game tonight. It will, however, be chilly, which certainly won't help the Nationals' cause as they try to get their bats hot.

Nothing too dramatic with Jim Riggleman's lineup tonight. Wilson Ramos is back in behind the plate and batting fifth. Jerry Hairston is again in center field, suggesting Rick Ankiel's right hand remains an issue. Alex Cora starts at third base tonight after Brian Bixler got the call last night.

Jason Marquis starts for the Nationals, looking to continue his early season run of success. He'll be opposed by right-hander Vance Worley, a 23-year-old rookie thrust into the Phillies' rotation after Joe Blanton went on the DL.

Updates to come throughout the evening…

NATIONALS at PHILLIES
Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), XM 185
Weather: Partly cloudy, 55 degrees, Wind 9 mph in from LF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (14-15)
2B Danny Espinosa
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche

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  1. Wally - May 4, 2011 at 8:09 PM

    Nix has played more games in CF than any other position. I don't know how good he is there, but it must mean that he is passable. Why not give him a start against a RH?

  2. Les in NC - May 4, 2011 at 8:14 PM

    A golden opportunity for our team to take another game from the Philthies. I hope, and pray, that our lineup can send their rookie (Worley) back down to the minors with a bad taste in his mouth!

  3. Knoxville Nat - May 4, 2011 at 8:19 PM

    With Marquis pitching tonight the bottom of the lineup just got stronger. In fact the entire lineup just got stronger.

  4. SonnyG10 - May 4, 2011 at 8:49 PM

    Go Marquis!!! Go Nats!!!

  5. Nattydread - May 4, 2011 at 9:36 PM

    You have to think Rizzo is shopping around catchers. That seems to be the only hitting position we have right now. With Ramos and Pudge on the 25 man roster, and Flores and Norris in the minors, we have very good chips there. Surely we could package a catcher (anyone not named Ramos) with an AAAA pitcher for a decent top of the line-up outfielder? Now?Right now we need someone to spark the line-up the way Morgan did two years ago. Power will not be a problem when our hitters wake up.In the mean time — this is a solid team. I'm not panicking yet. We haven't been blown out of games. 4-1 vs Hamels and the Philly line-up is respectable.Marquis is hot right now. Gotta figure Werth will do better today.

  6. JaneB - May 4, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    I agree Knoxville! I'm starting to wish Marquis could play some other position the four days he isn't pitching. Almost any other position, so we get his bat!

  7. Frediemac - May 4, 2011 at 10:06 PM

    Please tell me that they won't be using the excuse that's it's cold that they can't hit the ball. Does anybody know why LaRoche using a bat with holes in it?

  8. Frediemac - May 4, 2011 at 10:10 PM

    I hope the Nats don't trade Norris. I believe he's much better than Flores and potentially better than Rodriguez because of his age. Just deal Flores then Pudge before the Trade Deadline.

  9. wally - May 4, 2011 at 10:22 PM

    Does anyone know if Strasburg has started throwing off a mound?

  10. Mark Zuckerman - May 4, 2011 at 10:24 PM

    Wally: Not yet. Trust me, when that does happen, you'll be reading about it here and plenty of other places.

  11. Grandstander - May 4, 2011 at 11:00 PM

    Flores has big question marks surrounding him that would limit his value in a trade. Pudge is the clearer trade target once he has time to build his value. If he can get back into his form he was in the first half of last year, he should be able to fetch us a close-to-the-majors prospect from a contender. Catching is thin around MLB we're really sitting on a goldmine.

  12. Anonymous - May 4, 2011 at 11:15 PM

    The Hitless Wonders are doing their thing again tonight.

  13. Andrew - May 4, 2011 at 11:24 PM

    Nice defense by IDesmond on Polanco. Nice double play!

  14. Manassas Nats Fan - May 4, 2011 at 11:30 PM

    2 innings 3 strikeouts and 2 called third strikes again. They approach the plate like power hitters, but they are not. They need to start approaching the pate as contact hitters.

  15. Knoxville Nat - May 4, 2011 at 11:31 PM

    "right knee soreness"Must have hurt it when he pulled up short on the Ibanez double last night.

  16. Andrew - May 4, 2011 at 11:37 PM

    Mark, was this mentioned anywhere that there was a scoring change on Ramos 2nd hit against Bumgarner? I see it was now changed to reached by error on Tejada in the game Sunday.

  17. Wally - May 4, 2011 at 11:44 PM

    Thanks Mark. Just doing the math, it looks like he probably won't be coming back this year. Is there any rule of thumb to go by there?

  18. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 4, 2011 at 11:53 PM

    Wally, yes: look for him when you see him coming.Srsly, 12-18 mos, depending.

  19. Wally - May 4, 2011 at 11:58 PM

    Sec 3 – agreed, I was just speculating. He is about a month behind where JZimm was at this time last year, and he came back at the end of August.No biggie, it will be what it will be. Like I said, just speculating.

  20. bgib - May 5, 2011 at 12:07 AM

    It looks like LaRoche is praying for a walk every time up now. Whether the injury is affecting his swing or not, why in the world do they continue to bat him fourth?

  21. Mark Zuckerman - May 5, 2011 at 12:08 AM

    Andrew said…Mark, was this mentioned anywhere that there was a scoring change on Ramos 2nd hit against Bumgarner? I see it was now changed to reached by error on Tejada in the game Sunday.Yes, they changed the scoring of that play right after the game ended. Thought I mentioned it here, maybe I only posted it on Twitter. Was definitely the correct call in the end.

  22. Wally - May 5, 2011 at 12:13 AM

    Marquis off to another good start. Jonah Keri speculated on Fangraphs today that Marquis may actually have become a different pitcher (ie better) because he is throwing his change up much more than in the past. K rate way up (for him) and walks way down. Not sure why that has any effect on walks, but otherwise an interesting read.

  23. Andrew - May 5, 2011 at 12:14 AM

    Mark, I agree that it was the right call and I am sure Bumgarner's ERA appreciated it too.I figured you probably mentioned it somewhere. When MASN put up Ramos' Batting Average I knew they must have adjusted the at-bat and I went back to the game log.Thanks!

  24. Anonymous - May 5, 2011 at 12:33 AM

    Ball game over!

  25. Will - May 5, 2011 at 12:34 AM

    What does it say that I switch to a different ballgame at 2-0 because it's an insurmountable lead for our offense? Ugh.

  26. Andrew - May 5, 2011 at 12:34 AM

    Zack Greinke is pitching tonight in Atlanta and in his 1st start labored through the 1st inning giving up 1 run.

  27. Aussie Gus - May 5, 2011 at 12:38 AM

    I reckon opposing pitchers own the Nats as well. Anyone know where I can find hitting stats for pitchers?

  28. TimDz - May 5, 2011 at 12:43 AM

    Just saw the "Wired Wednesday" piece with Brian Bixler….riviting stuff…where's the no-doze?

  29. phil dunn - May 5, 2011 at 12:44 AM

    Werth is beginning to look like Justin Maxwell at the plate.

  30. CBinDC - May 5, 2011 at 12:45 AM

    Mark is the FO and those who matter really happy with the production right now. This is the worst since 2005

  31. Anonymous - May 5, 2011 at 12:53 AM

    If the front office was concerned, they would go out and hire a real hitting coach.

  32. Anonymous - May 5, 2011 at 12:57 AM

    Not sure half of out lineup could hit a golfball off the tee these days.

  33. CBinDC - May 5, 2011 at 12:59 AM

    Whenever I hear them explain how this team is put together it reminds me of the guy who is selling cars below cost and when asked how do you make any money he explains in volume.

  34. Sec3MySofa - May 5, 2011 at 1:01 AM

    No relation to JoAnne Worley, I suppose?Does that count as a chicken joke?

  35. Sec3MySofa - May 5, 2011 at 1:01 AM

    And the captcha was "sillies" — the Ghost of Dave Madden inna house.

  36. CBinDC - May 5, 2011 at 1:02 AM

    I really hoped we had removed Bowden think and talk from this organization but the start of this year has me doubting that is the case

  37. CBinDC - May 5, 2011 at 1:05 AM

    Desmond had an error on the throw into the crowd after that explosion of an inning

  38. Anonymous8 - May 5, 2011 at 1:13 AM

    phil dunn said… Werth is beginning to look like Justin Maxwell at the plate. May 4, 2011 8:44 PM _______________________________Now that is a low low blow!

  39. Anonymous - May 5, 2011 at 1:13 AM

    Sad, just plain sad.

  40. josh f - May 5, 2011 at 1:13 AM

    I just think I'm gonna barf…

  41. Grant - May 5, 2011 at 1:18 AM

    This is one of those games where I'm done being upset and screaming at my TV and have moved straight to depression. This team really breaks my heart sometimes.

  42. Anonymous - May 5, 2011 at 1:18 AM

    This team stinks. It was only a matter of time before the pitching regressed. Failure is now in everyone's head. Hold on for a 0-9 road trip!

  43. Golfersal - May 5, 2011 at 1:23 AM

    Just trying to see what is reality and fact.Is the Nationals just this bad or is the Phillies just this good?The scary fact is that we aren't even seeing the Phillies at there best and we caught a break in the starting pictures for this serie.After two loses (I think we wll lose the game tonight) it's up against Mr. Holiday tomorrow.Joy

  44. Les in NC - May 5, 2011 at 1:30 AM

    Gotta blame this one on Riggs for getting thrown out of the game for arguing balls and strikes…And Mclaren for watching Marquis labor through the 5th then waiting too long to pull him out in the 6th. Its not like our pen has been taxed in recent days, c'mon man!

  45. Anonymous - May 5, 2011 at 1:36 AM

    Seems as if this part of the fan base is turning a corner. That's unfortunate, but understandable. Something has to happen on this trip–if they come back 2-7 or so a lot of us are going to tune out.PS I think Riggs getting thrown out was deliberate–trying to stir things up. Didn't work.

  46. CBinDC - May 5, 2011 at 1:47 AM

    the fan turned ages ago …..that is why just telling to wait does not work anymore ….the fan base is tired of losing and disappointment and after tonight the DC sports fan base is not getting better it is getting worse ……almost disaster worse This is something TV crew still does not understand.

  47. Anonymous8 - May 5, 2011 at 1:49 AM

    Lincecum went 7 innings of shut out ball tonight, and Greinke went 4 innings of 4 earned run ball tonight.

  48. CBinDC - May 5, 2011 at 1:50 AM

    Wow Stairs gets a worthless PH hit

  49. dryw - May 5, 2011 at 1:50 AM

    And Matt Stairs has a batting average…..

  50. Anonymous8 - May 5, 2011 at 1:50 AM

    …and Matt Stairs stays on the roster with a Pinch Hit single. In other news, Rizzo pops the champagne!

  51. josh f - May 5, 2011 at 1:53 AM

    Well, Espy has me feeling a little better tonight. Tomorrow night is another story…

  52. JaneB - May 5, 2011 at 1:54 AM

    Okay, we lose, but Stairs hit AND Danny got a homer. That's something.Now Matt can quit and we can bring up Bernie.

  53. Gonats - May 5, 2011 at 1:59 AM

    JaneB, from your mouth to Rizzo's ear!

  54. Les in NC - May 5, 2011 at 2:03 AM

    With 2 outfielders dinged up, I'd say Matt "Stares" is on the outs anyway, JaneB. At least I hope he is….

  55. Golfersal - May 5, 2011 at 2:07 AM

    Boy, Nats management needs to look at these boards, the natives are getting restless

  56. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 5, 2011 at 2:07 AM

    Once again, I vote for JaneB for GM for her prescient comment:Now Matt can quit and we can bring up Bernie.

  57. Doc - May 5, 2011 at 2:26 AM

    JaneB for GM…….and Hmmmmm, I got it….the Anonymous Brothers for manager by committee. In time we'll figure out the hitting and pitching coaches.

  58. Manassas Nats Fan - May 5, 2011 at 2:32 AM

    We are the fans who care that is why we are restless.Ray Knight hit the nail on the head, and I have been preaching this for three years. The hitting approach the teams is doing is terrible. They swing for the fences too much for a team with mediocre power. Way too many strikeouts. This is a team of contact hitters, and they play like they are 8 Ryan Howards each at bat. They should approach it as 8 Tony Gwynss. Unfortunately they they think chicks dig the long ball. I always found out growing up Chicks dig wins more.

  59. Anonymous - May 5, 2011 at 3:23 AM

    Andrew said…Mark, was this mentioned anywhere that there was a scoring change on Ramos 2nd hit against Bumgarner? I see it was now changed to reached by error on Tejada in the game Sunday.Yes, they changed the scoring of that play right after the game ended. Thought I mentioned it here, maybe I only posted it on Twitter. Was definitely the correct call in the end.It may have been the correct call, but an error should be called on the Nationals Park official scorer negating the change. He waited until several pitches into the next at bat to even call it a hit in the first place. By that time the replay had been shown on the big screen in the ballpark and presumably also in the press box, giving the scorer everything he needed to make up his mind. If he's going to take that long to make the call, he should be stuck with the call he makes. This is definitely not the first time this kind of thing has happened, either. Play happens, scorer takes forever to make the call and then a little bit later he reverses it. Ridiculous. Make a decision, dude, and have the cojones to stick with it.And whatever happened to the concept of the home team scorer giving players the benefit of the doubt and scoring such plays as hits in their home ballpark? It's as old as baseball itself. Yet another reason DC is not a true baseball town.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
WASHINGTON 78 58 -- 19
ATLANTA 72 66 7.0
MIAMI 67 69 11.0
NEW YORK 64 74 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 63 74 15.5
Through Monday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
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.
MON: Braves at Nats, 7:05 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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