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Game 32: Nats at Marlins

May 6, 2011, 7:54 PM EDT

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nationals open a three-game series tonight at Sun Life Stadium.

Stuck in a three-game losing streak, desperately trying to get some production out of a lineup that has been among the majors' worst, the Nationals take the field tonight in Miami facing yet another uphill battle.

As if their longstanding struggles against the Marlins aren't enough to overcome, they must again try to do it without a full deck. For the fourth straight day, Rick Ankiel is out of the lineup with a wrist injury. For the third straight day, Michael Morse is out of the lineup with a knee injury. Not the easiest way to try to take down a tough right-hander like Ricky Nolasco.

Jordan Zimmermann is on the hill for the Nats, making his fourth career start against the Marlins. Though he doesn't own a victory yet, he's pitched quite well against them, especially last August 31 when he allowed one hit while striking out nine over six superb innings (in a 1-0 loss).

I'm not in Florida for this weekend's series, so please enjoy the conversation with each another…

NATIONALS at MARLINS
Where: Sun Life Stadium
Gametime: 7:10 p.m.
TV: MASN2
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 188
Weather: Scattered storms, 79 degrees, Wind 7 mph out to LF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (14-17)
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Alex Cora
RF Jayson Werth
LF Laynce Nix

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  1. NatsJack in Florida - May 6, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    I remember beating the Giants on Monday night which would make this a 3 game losing streak.

  2. Mark Zuckerman - May 6, 2011 at 8:03 PM

    Er, yes. Three-game losing streak. Sorry, it only felt like four losses up in Philly this week!

  3. Donald - May 6, 2011 at 8:05 PM

    What's up with Michael Morse and Rick Ankiel? Are they injured?

  4. NatsJack in Florida - May 6, 2011 at 8:06 PM

    Plus covering the Caps could have made it seem longer.

  5. JaneB - May 6, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    Not to mention the third inning last night!

  6. JD - May 6, 2011 at 8:23 PM

    Donald,You have to be kidding me.Did you even read the article? it's right there:'Rick Ankiel is out of the lineup with a wrist injury. For the third straight day, Michael Morse is out of the lineup with a knee injury'.

  7. JD - May 6, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    JaneB, I read your suggestion that Cora hit leadoff; I guess it's not a horrible idea even if he has a lifetime OBP of .311. The other thing that intrigued me yesterday was Hairston 14 pitch at bat against Haliday; it was utterly brilliant; he fouled off pitch after nasty pitch and then finally singled to extend the rally. How can he look so great in that situation and completely effective less in every other instance? Also; after that at bat it would have been nice to get a more professional effort from Desmond than a lazy fly ball on the 1st pitch. I really thought we could do some damage against Haliday there and I knew that we were pretty much toast when he got out of it.

  8. Doc - May 6, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    Actually Mark, getting beat by the Phillies in those 3 games, felt like a 10 game losing streak!Goooooooooooooooooooo Nats!

  9. Anonymous - May 6, 2011 at 9:16 PM

    Meanwhile, KC a team everyone relegated to last place this year, which had a worst record than the Nats last year … is now considered a possible contender since their plethora of prospects seem to have finally put it together. Capped off by bringing top prospect 1B Eric Hosmer up from AAA to be in the heart of their order. They do have the top ranked farm system in major league baseball … in June it will likely drop to 2nd after Tampa Bay gets to pick 11 (I think?) in the first 90 picks.Uh Mr. Rizzo? Buehler? Buehler?

  10. masnstinks - May 6, 2011 at 9:18 PM

    Just saw on mlb – Nyger is up to his old antics,having a hissy fit in the dugout. Is the honeymoon over in Milwaukee? I thought someone posted that he is on the dl? Anyway – here's to all of the new nats – tonight it begins, game on, bring it–tonight we get some breaks that go our way, some balls that fall in or go out –GO NATS!!!

  11. Grandstander - May 6, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    He kicked a hole in the drywall of the dugout after he broke his finger on the bunt.

  12. SonnyG10 - May 6, 2011 at 10:06 PM

    Now's a good time to come out of our hitting slump and give Jordan some run support. Wonder if Nyjer broke his toe kicking the dugout?Go Nats!!!

  13. Anonymous - May 6, 2011 at 10:32 PM

    Morgan broke his middle finger sliding I think. The big news in that part of the world is Grienke starting …… and seeing what that trade did for the resurgent KC Royals.

  14. JaneB - May 6, 2011 at 10:50 PM

    They must have planned Mark's non-travel when they thought there'd be something to report in terms of That Other Sport.

  15. Cwj - May 6, 2011 at 11:16 PM

    Ugh, at least the Philly series is behind us now.What misery that was!Come on Nats, time to turn it around.BTW, I didn't watch yesterday's "game", how did H.Rod look? Did he bring the 100mph heat?

  16. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 6, 2011 at 11:18 PM

    N.Y.J.E.R.Read it. Remember it.

  17. Cwj - May 6, 2011 at 11:19 PM

    What about Nyjer? He's gone. Time to move on

  18. Dave - May 6, 2011 at 11:28 PM

    What is it about Nyjer Morgan's name that makes it so hard for some people to spell?Is the comedian called Gerry Seinfeld?Is the star of "Friends" called Gennifer Anniston?Is the former general manager of the Nats called Gim Bowden?

  19. Cwj - May 7, 2011 at 12:05 AM

    Dave- Some people just type too fast for any type of spelling accuracy :)Myself, I sit here using two fingers. Takes forever but I'm usually pretty accurate :)

  20. Cwj - May 7, 2011 at 12:20 AM

    Hanley Ramirez is hitting .198??? Wow I had no idea!The Nats aren't the only ones not hitting.Another year of the Pitcher I suppose.

  21. Cwj - May 7, 2011 at 12:22 AM

    Just checked, the MLB avg is .250!

  22. Grandstander - May 7, 2011 at 12:45 AM

    We've had a lot of "years of the pitcher" since they started testing for PEDs.

  23. Cwj - May 7, 2011 at 12:48 AM

    True. I think we can officially call an end to the "steroid era".

  24. CBinDC - May 7, 2011 at 12:48 AM

    Is the former general manager of the Nats called Gim Bowden? Why yes he is and you do'nt have to call me Johnson

  25. masnstinks - May 7, 2011 at 1:09 AM

    So — Matt Stairs with the big choke – can't even make contact for the sac fly. Very sad and frustrating to have a guy on third with one out and you can't get him in.

  26. BinM - May 7, 2011 at 1:14 AM

    Same old, same old against the Marlins. Can't find a way to put them down – They always just manage to hang around long enough to get a 'kill-shot' opportunity to cash in on. I've got an uneasy feeling it's going to happen again.

  27. Mark'd - May 7, 2011 at 1:14 AM

    Matt Stairs, costs this team again. Yet another strikeout.

  28. Unkyd - May 7, 2011 at 1:15 AM

    Please………oh PLEASE…..!!!Give it up, Stairs! Show some self respect! Save Rizz'n Riggs from themselves!!! C'mon, now……

  29. Cwj - May 7, 2011 at 1:18 AM

    Wow Clippard lives by the high fastball. What a strikeout artist.

  30. Grandstander - May 7, 2011 at 1:20 AM

    So, offtopic, but is anyone finding that WM ad behind home plate somewhat comical?Part Bag.Part Dumpster.Marlins.comMaybe I'm just drunk.

  31. Mark'd - May 7, 2011 at 1:22 AM

    The difference between JMax and Stares is that JMax didn't come in as a pinch hitter with ducks on the pond and less than 2 out and JMax could contribute on defense.

  32. Cwj - May 7, 2011 at 1:24 AM

    Grandstander – Must have missed it. I see the "Lucas Oil" add…

  33. Cwj - May 7, 2011 at 1:26 AM

    One more run and they got this game in the bag. Please Nats…just ONE more run

  34. Cwj - May 7, 2011 at 1:31 AM

    What? How is swinging a bat interference???I don't get it.

  35. Candide - May 7, 2011 at 1:33 AM

    @Grandstander – I noticed it too, and I'm not drunk.

  36. Grandstander - May 7, 2011 at 1:33 AM

    It's not intentional, but it's still interference. We'd be screaming for it if the roles were reversed. These Ks… My oh my, do they kill a rally or what.

  37. Cwj - May 7, 2011 at 1:38 AM

    Yeah these Ks are hard to take

  38. Mark'd - May 7, 2011 at 1:40 AM

    The Marlins really use that bullpen. All these re-treads.

  39. Cwj - May 7, 2011 at 1:44 AM

    Clippard: Strikes out the side in both innings.2IP 6(!) Ks

  40. dj in Fl - May 7, 2011 at 1:45 AM

    Talk about strikeouts!Get em Clip, 6 in a row! Yikes!!!!!26 between the two teams. Fl. announcers just said thank goodness Clip is due up in the 9th.

  41. Matt - May 7, 2011 at 1:45 AM

    Wow, Clipps sees 6… and strikes every single one of them out!Is he great to watch or what?

  42. Unkyd - May 7, 2011 at 1:46 AM

    KKKKKK. Magnificent!!!!

  43. JaneB - May 7, 2011 at 1:47 AM

    I miss Mark's posts!

  44. Cwj - May 7, 2011 at 1:48 AM

    Matt- Yeah, Clippard may not throw 98mph, but wow what a fun K artist to watch indeed. His control has improved this season as well.

  45. masnstinks - May 7, 2011 at 2:01 AM

    Jordan and Tyler – your teammates owe you big time. Such a shame to see those pitching performances go to waste.

  46. Mark'd - May 7, 2011 at 2:08 AM

    Nats have had so many opportunities to score runs. How much longer will we have to endure Stairs?

  47. masnstinks - May 7, 2011 at 2:10 AM

    Pretty funny about the yahoo sport page having the game over at 3-2 on Stanton's hr.

  48. dj in Fl. - May 7, 2011 at 2:33 AM

    Excellent!!!!!!

  49. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 7, 2011 at 2:34 AM

    We finally beat these blokes. Way to go, Riggs and the boys!

  50. Mark'd - May 7, 2011 at 2:35 AM

    What a heartburner win. Anyone have Rolaids!?!?

  51. Cwj - May 7, 2011 at 2:35 AM

    Nats win! Awesome.I had a bad feeling when Riggs replaced Storen with Burnett. Yet, it worked.Go Nats!

  52. CBinDC - May 7, 2011 at 2:35 AM

    Well about damn time we get on the good foot :)

  53. RickH - May 7, 2011 at 2:36 AM

    Nats Win!

  54. Grandstander - May 7, 2011 at 2:39 AM

    Golly me, that sure was a fun baseball match to watch. While all those strikeouts frustrated me to great degree, it sure is swell to pull off the win.

  55. masnstinks - May 7, 2011 at 2:40 AM

    That was one ugly win.Don't get me wrong – I'll take it! Now Yahoo sports page has us winning 4-2 – hilarious. Does JZimmnn get the curly w?

  56. Cwj - May 7, 2011 at 2:41 AM

    Clip-Store-and Burn for tonight.Pitching wins another game :)I would give the game ball to Clippard. He was absolutely dominant.

  57. Cwj - May 7, 2011 at 2:43 AM

    Ugly win? How is 3-2 in 10 innings ugly?

  58. masnstinks - May 7, 2011 at 2:48 AM

    Ugly because of the extreme number of K's and stranded base-runners. Pitching was beautiful, though!

  59. Grandstander - May 7, 2011 at 2:49 AM

    Ugly win? How is 3-2 in 10 innings ugly?——————————————-I'm guessing that has something to do with the 17 runners left on base. Also putting men on the corners with no one out in the bottom of the 10th wasn't too spectacular. I honestly couldn't believe we won the game after that.

  60. dj in Fl. - May 7, 2011 at 2:49 AM

    Most total strikeouts in nine innings this year.Excellent job Riggs, get them running for the win. No reason to wait for someone to move them over, or hit into a double play.

  61. JaneB - May 7, 2011 at 2:52 AM

    No such thing as an ugly win if WE are the ones winning. A Curlie W is a Curlie W. I love Clippard. Almost as much as Livo, though not AS much.Happy birthday Willie Mays!

  62. masnstinks - May 7, 2011 at 2:55 AM

    Clippard is my hero. My heart rate is finally starting to slow down!

  63. Drew8 - May 7, 2011 at 3:08 AM

    Had 'em all the way, baybee. (Ha!)Harper cracks two more doubles and raises his average to .368. Of his 32 hits 17(!) are for extra bases — 10 doubles and 7 jacks.In the words of that famed scout, Mary Poppins:Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

  64. Cwj - May 7, 2011 at 3:09 AM

    Good points, but this type of win will be common this season.

  65. Doc - May 7, 2011 at 3:16 AM

    With Clip and Stor both pitching 2 innings, and each throwing over 20 pitches, who's gonna pitch late inning relief tomorrow??Maybe it's time to put HRod to work. He's thrown 4 zero run innings so far.

  66. Doc - May 7, 2011 at 3:20 AM

    Looks like Prince Oppo Boppo is living up to his own predictions on his arrival in Natsland by June.

  67. Anonymous - May 7, 2011 at 3:45 AM

    Looks like Ibanez is hitting against the Braves too. You knew he had to come out of the slump against us, but it's not ONLY us. A win makes it all look less bad. I bet we sweep the Marlins for the first time ever this weekend.

  68. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 7, 2011 at 4:02 AM

    Ankiel goes on the DL.Back comes Bernie?

  69. naterialguy - May 7, 2011 at 4:04 AM

    Yeah Nats!

  70. Manassas Nats Fan - May 7, 2011 at 4:17 AM

    Anon 1145 what on earth are you talking about Ibonez went 0 for 3 just like he was doing before the Nats series.When are they going to try a different hitting approach, one I like and it is is exactly what Ray Knight is calling for. In fact lets make it real easy can Eckstein Hire Knight as hitting coach. What Eckstein is preaching is not effective for a team that has no power. You can't wait deep into counts and take a strike or two all the time. Power hitters can other cannot, and the Nats all do it way too much.

  71. Grandstander - May 7, 2011 at 5:22 AM

    You can wait deep into counts if you can protect the plate. Look at Hairston's AB against Halladay. The problem isn't taking pitches, the problem is taking strike 3. You gotta find a way to make contact on nasty stuff and wait for your pitch.This is little league.

  72. Doc - May 7, 2011 at 7:01 PM

    According to Ben Goessling (5/7/11) there are players on the current Nats' team that think that the Oppp Boppo guy could help them.The only things that are keeping Harper in the minors this year are: 1)Bureaucratic/Financial, i.e. Super2 status; and 2)quasi-developmental issues that can be seen as somewhat plausible, given his age and experience. Learning CF makes sense; hitting progression makes less sense.According to Goessling, Rizzo avoids a straight answer (not unusual for Rizzo) on Harper's advancemnt.Underlings in the FO who suggest that they don't want to put pressure on Harper, make even less sense. This kid thrives under pressure. He was born to play baseball, and he knows it.There are MLB scouts, and players on the team, that think that Oppo Boppo can perform on the 25 man roster, and that's good enough for me–even if he doesn't appear in the Bigs until 2012

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