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Game 31: Nats at Phillies

May 5, 2011, 7:36 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
To avoid a sweep at Citizens Bank Park, the Nats will need to beat Roy Halladay.

PHILADELPHIA — We've discussed here before the idea of the "reverse lock," the match-up that looks so lopsided toward one side that it practically ensures the opposite side will triumph. Think Levale Speigner vs. Johan Santana.

Well, tonight's match-up at Citizens Bank Park is so lopsided, it appears to even defy the reverse lock theory. Roy Halladay (4-0, 0.84 ERA in four starts vs. Nats last two years) vs. John Lannan (0-9, 5.80 ERA in 12 career starts vs. Phillies). In Philadelphia, where the Nationals have lost six straight and 29 of 38. With a lineup missing Ryan Zimmerman and perhaps others due to injury. (Neither Michael Morse nor Rick Ankiel is starting, we'll find out soon why.)

But they do play these games for a reason, and stranger things have happened. Probably. OK, maybe not.

Updates to come…

NATIONALS at PHILLIES
Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 185
Weather: Clear, 62 degrees, Wind 12 mph LF to RF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (14-16)
2B Danny Epsinosa
3B Alex Cora
RF Jayson Werth
LF Laynce Nix

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  1. SCNatsFan - May 5, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    At this point do we need an excuse to why neither is starting? Thanks for the updates Mark… love this blog.

  2. erocks33 - May 5, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    Oh Dear God, Alex Cora is batting second!

  3. erocks33 - May 5, 2011 at 7:52 PM

    Hey, and who knows whether Halladay will miss having Ruiz behind the dish tonight. Maybe Dane Sardinha will cause Halladay to look human against the Nats.

  4. Capitol Baseball - May 5, 2011 at 7:52 PM

    I can literally hear the horror in your text, erocks33. It is terrifying.

  5. Anonymous - May 5, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    I have a volunteer meeting tonight that I have been dreading all week … and I just caught myself thinking "thank God I won't be able to see this game."Sigh.

  6. Anonymous - May 5, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    Dane Sardinha has caught Halladay 3 times and Halladay's thrown complete games all 3 times.

  7. Anonymous - May 5, 2011 at 7:56 PM

    The worse that can happen is Doc pitches a perfect game, so I'll go out on a limb and say Nats win 4 – 3…UNTERP

  8. Unkyd - May 5, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    GO NATS!!!! Jump on them early, and give Haliday a holiday!!!

  9. Anonymous - May 5, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    How's the aspirin tasting people? Looking like a 50 win team yet?I do have a remedy … start going to the MiLB games insteadwell away from Giggleman's Isle. Thank God!

  10. Grandstander - May 5, 2011 at 8:09 PM

    Why isn't Riggleman, the lefty/righty matchup king, breaking up Nix and LaRoche's bats? Why not have Ramos 5th behind Nix over the struggling LaRoche?

  11. phil dunn - May 5, 2011 at 8:14 PM

    All you need to know about the Nats feeble lineup is that Cora and Hairston have become regulars.

  12. masnstinks - May 5, 2011 at 8:20 PM

    Didn't we have a game that was 2 hours and 2 minutes the other night – the shortest game in mlb this season? Who wants to lay odds that this one beats it? Maybe Doc will pitch with one hand tied behind his back? Maybe he will pitch with the opposite hand? I say let's get it over with and go on to – oh, wait – it's Florida isn't it? Never mind.

  13. Anonymous - May 5, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    Anon 4:08 pm wrote: "I do have a remedy…start going to the MiLB games instead well away from Giggleman's Isle"Here's another suggestion: keep your comments on MiLB sites, too.

  14. NatsJack in Florida - May 5, 2011 at 8:32 PM

    The one saving element in this road trip is that Josh Johnson is pitching today for the Fish. We miss getting him thrown at us, at least.

  15. Carl in 309 - May 5, 2011 at 8:32 PM

    Let's please remember it's a 162-game season. And (nearly) everyone gets 50 wins and 50 losses. We will have some set of future Brewers and Giants match-ups to enjoy before the leaves fall from the trees.Let's hope the reverse lock shows up (C. Lee would have been a better choice, alas).

  16. SonnyG10 - May 5, 2011 at 8:33 PM

    Yea, it doesn't look good on paper for tonight, but I shall watch with optimism.

  17. Unkyd - May 5, 2011 at 8:48 PM

    I'll miss Gary……

  18. Anonymous - May 5, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    Unkyd said… I'll miss Gary……Me too…UNTERP

  19. sjm308 - May 5, 2011 at 9:25 PM

    I will miss him as well. He definitely should be asked to throw out the first pitch in one of our next home series.Big win tonight to quiet all the anonsgo nats

  20. waddy eye no - May 5, 2011 at 9:45 PM

    that giggleman crap was old when it started.

  21. Tim - May 5, 2011 at 10:27 PM

    Waddy,He's a troll. Pay him no mind.I have a good feeling about tonight.

  22. Grandstander - May 5, 2011 at 10:57 PM

    Interesting trivia. Since Halladay came to Philly, Lannan has faced the Phillies 5 times. 4 of those times, he's faced Halladay. Talk about drawing the short stick.

  23. BinM - May 5, 2011 at 11:03 PM

    Grandstander: Here's hoping that Lannan rises to the occaision tonight & takes down Halladay.

  24. Andrew - May 5, 2011 at 11:10 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Steve M…. Thanks for the invite. I just spent the Mets series and Friday's Giants game in DC. Got to spend the Mets series in two adjoining suites as a guest of the Mets. Coming back up for the O's series in late June the week end after the Cards series so I'll have to pass. May 5, 2011 3:16 PM ________________________________Will you be there on June 19th? Sorry you can't meet SteveM and me and a few others. Mark'd, BrettH, NatsJack, Anon8(MichaelLG) call me. 202-716-8500

  25. dj in Fl. - May 5, 2011 at 11:14 PM

    Why would you not want Cora playing?3 hits last night and look, now one tonight.

  26. SCNatsFan - May 5, 2011 at 11:19 PM

    Hey no need for us to erect a statue to Werth; he's a living statue at the plate right now.I wish he would stop looking for walks and swing the darn bat.C'mon Nats, get those bats moving, even on this tough night.

  27. Les in NC - May 5, 2011 at 11:21 PM

    I vote Cora bats second for the rest of the time Zimmerman is out! (Unless he demonstrates that he can't play a lick of defense at third, of course!)Thanks Alex for not letting us get no hit tonight!

  28. dj in Fl. - May 5, 2011 at 11:42 PM

    Phillies announcers said they heard rumblings about Nats fans upset over Werth looking at third strikes. They said we will get used to it, it is part of his m.o.I can not believe Gary is retiring already. It has only been 22 years, though he did make it clear that working under Yow made 15 years feel like a lifetime. The feud continues!

  29. JaneB - May 5, 2011 at 11:52 PM

    I'm voting Cora bats lead off. For as long as we have him, anyway.For the moaners, just think back to two seasons ago, where we'd only won about two and half games by now. Things are better! They just are.Go Nats!

  30. Les in NC - May 5, 2011 at 11:54 PM

    Now that we're through the lineup once, and everyone has seen a first pitch fastball for a strike, can we have someone actually try to HIT that ball the next time up? (Instead of watching it sail gracefully by?)Just a thought…

  31. WilliamTells - May 5, 2011 at 11:57 PM

    Well, that was fun while it lasted. 2-0 Phils. Two runs too many for the Nats to score against Halladay. G'Night, all.

  32. Anonymous8 - May 6, 2011 at 12:03 AM

    That is how you hit a pitcher that can't hit his spots.

  33. JaneB - May 6, 2011 at 12:04 AM

    End of the quality start streak!

  34. Anonymous - May 6, 2011 at 12:04 AM

    John "Batting Practice" Lannan makes his return to the roster. All the old memories return. And the circle is complete – it is 2009 again.

  35. BinM - May 6, 2011 at 12:07 AM

    To follow up on my 7:03 comment – Unfortunately, it was not to be. The Phillies are apparently still inside Lannan's head & are able to light him up at will.

  36. Nataholic - May 6, 2011 at 12:10 AM

    I've been pretty happy with Riggleman and this team so far and can't understand all this doom and gloom. And the Trolls need to go to the WaPo or something. Let's look at reality, the Nats best player is out and their line-up is pretty anemic even when he is in there. (Dunn's bat is sorely missed.) I know that statistically Batting protection cannot be proven but I think it matters psychologically to these players. I believe a big bat to anchor this lineup would probably help everyone else relax a bit up there and at least approach some sort of replacement level ability with the lumber. But I can't really gripe; they play hard and win some. And they might flirt with .500 for more of this season. The vets are also better than I thought they would be. Ankiel and Nix in particular. Ankiel for his overall game, which is not as bad as Nyjer's was last season. I mean ideally Ankiel is your 4th outfielder but I think the Nats brain trust already knows that. And Nix so far has surprised. He might be a better solution in LF than MM. Anyway, when I look at this team, I wouldn't say they are overachieving, but I would say that they are playing at the level they should. As for the Frillies, they are just a better team. Tip your cap to them. If the Nats steal a game that's great, but I'm not the miracle expecting type. I'm more interested in how they match up with the Fish and the Mets to see improvement….

  37. jd - May 6, 2011 at 12:12 AM

    that was not fun at all.

  38. Mark Zuckerman - May 6, 2011 at 12:16 AM

    Grandstander: Could you please try to stop dropping F-bombs on here? You've done it a couple of times this week, and I've gotten complaints from multiple readers. I know we're mostly adults here, and I let some obscenities slide by. But your usages have been particularly egregious, and I'm sure most everyone around here would appreciate if you didn't do it. Thanks for understanding.

  39. jd - May 6, 2011 at 12:28 AM

    what an at bat by Hairston.

  40. dj in Fl. - May 6, 2011 at 12:30 AM

    Mark-I think Lannan might actually become a better pitcher over all if he knew he would never have to face these guys again. I sort of ignored the info that the Phillies had their best April ever. Guess they really are pretty good.Nataholic well said.

  41. Les in NC - May 6, 2011 at 12:35 AM

    I'm just pleased that everyone that came to the plate in the top of the fourth actually swung at that first pitch fastball!!…And we scored 2 runs….coincidence?

  42. TimDz - May 6, 2011 at 12:36 AM

    At least we no longer have to hear about that inane 5 inning thing…Nice to see them get a couple of runs back…BTW…thanks for the ride Gary

  43. Anonymous8 - May 6, 2011 at 12:40 AM

    Nice to hit Halladay. I don't think Ramos knows who some of the pitchers are because he gets in the box and battles. Nice RBI hit!Then Hairston battles to pitch 13.

  44. Naterialguy - May 6, 2011 at 12:45 AM

    @nataholicWell said. i agree totally

  45. Naterialguy - May 6, 2011 at 12:46 AM

    Nice job coffey? (never thought I'd say that)

  46. Naterialguy - May 6, 2011 at 12:47 AM

    Lets get a couple more in the 5th

  47. Anonymous8 - May 6, 2011 at 12:55 AM

    Just when you want to compliment Coffey he grooves a meatball to Ibanez.

  48. Grandstander - May 6, 2011 at 1:02 AM

    Honestly had no idea I'd have to censor myself on a blog about baseball. But it's your site, so I'll try to tone it down. Just a question though. What is and is not acceptable language? Can I say Riggleman manages like an *ss? Jason Werth can't get a hit for s**t? Is it just the hard F or is it anything?

  49. Anonymous - May 6, 2011 at 1:06 AM

    Well, it's now a 5 run lead, and with their anemic situational hitting, the Nats might as well be behind by 15 runs. I'm starting to doze off. Maybe it's just Bobby Carpenter's voice. Or maybe it's FP. Or maybe it's both of them. Good night, all.

  50. Mark Zuckerman - May 6, 2011 at 1:12 AM

    Grandstander: I don't feel like I need to set any hard and fast rules, or come up with a George Carlin-style "7 Words You Can't Type on Nats Insider." Just use your best judgment. I guess the best guideline would be to try to keep to to PG-13 language, not R.Thanks, I appreciate it.

  51. Anonymous8 - May 6, 2011 at 1:21 AM

    Nyjer Morgan tonight, 1 error and 1 caught stealing. Glad to see he is getting in mid-season form.

  52. jmacss - May 6, 2011 at 1:23 AM

    When can the John Lannan experiment end? Why won't they just cut ties with this guy and bring up Detwiler, or anyone else? This guy is not a Major League pitcher. He would not start on any other team. I'm willing to bet that when he throws the ball, it makes the same "thud" sound as when you put a ball through a JUGS machine. Dude is not good.

  53. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 6, 2011 at 1:32 AM

    Dude, just quit it.

  54. Les in NC - May 6, 2011 at 1:39 AM

    Please stop the bring up Detwiler to the Nats starting rotation campaign. His numbers at Syracuse are not stellar, and he probably needs to be a reliever if he is anything at the major league level. If someone needs to be replaced it should be Maya that does the replacing, IMO.

  55. Anonymous8 - May 6, 2011 at 1:52 AM

    Les, I am with you. How long before Rizzo figures that out. That Syracuse team is horrible outside of Bernadina, Maya, Detwiler, Kimball and Balester. Team batting average is .217

  56. TimDz - May 6, 2011 at 1:55 AM

    Regarding Maya/Detwiler…What are the respective records, ERA 's etc?

  57. jmacss - May 6, 2011 at 2:06 AM

    Well Les, I did leave that statement open to "anyone else". Bring up Maya, go sign Simon Birch. I don't care. I just really loathe watching Lannan pitch.

  58. Anonymous - May 6, 2011 at 2:07 AM

    When, please when is a Nats pitcher going to brush Ibanez off the plate???

  59. Anonymous - May 6, 2011 at 2:27 AM

    Feeble. Anemic. Ineffectual. Now come the encomiums about the superiority of Phillies pitching. Our TV guys even said their bullpen was awesome. It's the same pattern: who.ever.pitches.against.Washington.is.Cy.Young.Two stupid, needless points on our latest lost cause:1. The Nationals need to be quiet next year, from spring training forward. All their verbal hype means nothing (see Redskins, Wizards, Caps, Georgetown, Maryland).2. The Phillies will dominate us for the next decade. They have a superior organization, ownership, management, scouting, and player development. We are hype, they are real. Get very, very used to it.

  60. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 6, 2011 at 2:30 AM

    More Nyjer: Out two to four weeks with a broken finger. Is this moron still sliding head first?

  61. Manassas Nats Fan - May 6, 2011 at 2:51 AM

    The Pitching this round of the rotation is lowering itself to the hitter's standards. Last rotation great 3/5 though this one not so good.My complaint of the series is with the advance scout for the Nats.Coming into this series in the last 10 games Ibanez goes 0 for 34. In these three games he goes 8 for 12. What did the advance scout tell McCatty and Riggleman Ibonez was getting out with. Id he told them, and the pitchers just didn't pitch there that is one thing, but I am guessing the pitchers couldn't have screwed up that much.Or am I barking up the wrong tree, and they don't send advance scouts out with as many games that are on TV (I am watching Colorado and Arizona as I type) that they do not send scouts any longer.Well since we messed up these three games, we need to sweep the marlins to get back to even.

  62. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 6, 2011 at 3:03 AM

    @Manassas: The advance scout told them they were getting Ibanez out … with other teams' pitchers.

  63. josh f - May 6, 2011 at 3:18 AM

    Another Nats-Phillies series to forget…the optimist in me saw some better swings from LaRoche and Espy the last two days, though. We miss Josh Johnson in Florida this time around – will that be enough?

  64. Drew8 - May 6, 2011 at 3:33 AM

    Hey Mark:Thanks for the comeuppance to that guy who demonstrates the cleverness of a 13-year-old.Here's tonight's silver lining, folks. Harper hit his 7th homer. In 25 games he has 19 runs scored, 23 RBIs, 5 steals and a tidy .357 average.In the words of that famed scout, Bruce Springsteen:"At the end of every hard-earned daypeople find some reason to believe."

  65. Doc - May 6, 2011 at 3:49 AM

    Detweiler must be going through a rough spell–Stammen is ahead of him on the Syracuse 'depth chart'!

  66. FS - May 6, 2011 at 4:16 AM

    That one statistic which is being thrown around a lot lately (BABIP), is .409 for Detwiler this season in AAA. Mean anything?Terrible terrible performance all around in this series. Nothing worked, pitchers could not live up to their expectations, hitters continued struggling, defense was not the bright spot either. More than manager or hitting coach, I think these failures are a mental thing. To be honest, I just feel this team has potential to be better than it was in this series.

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.

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