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Series preview: Nats at Marlins

May 6, 2011, 2:16 PM EDT

Friday, 7:10 p.m. — RHP Jordan Zimmermann (2-4, 4.29) vs. RHP Ricky Nolasco (3-0, 3.35)
TV: MASN2 Radio: WJFK-106.7 FM, WFED-1500 AM

Saturday, 7:10 p.m. — LHP Tom Gorzelanny (1-2, 2.93) vs. RHP Chris Volstad (2-1, 6.00)
TV: MASN Radio: WJFK-106.7 FM, WFED-1500 AM

Sunday, 1:10 p.m. — RHP Livan Hernandez (3-3, 3.57) vs. RHP Anibal Sanchez (1-1, 3.86)
TV: MASN2 Radio: WJFK-106.7 FM, WFED-1500 AM

MARLINS UPDATE
Though they always seem to play competitive baseball and usually exceed expectations, the Marlins may be taking the pattern to new heights this season. They're off to a 19-11 start, trailing only the Phillies in the NL East, thanks to a roster loaded with young talent.

Florida's rotation has been superb, with ace Josh Johnson (3-1, 1.68 ERA) leading the way as an early favorite in the NL Cy Young Award race. Johnson (who took his first loss yesterday to the Cardinals) won't pitch in this series, but the Nationals will still have their hands full tonight against Nolasco (8-3 career vs. Washington) and Sunday against Sanchez (5-0 career vs. Washington).

The real hidden gem of this roster has been its bullpen, which boasts a collective 2.72 ERA. Remade over the winter by GM Larry Beinfest — who never seems to get enough credit for the brilliant job he's doneRead more »

  1. Anonymous - May 6, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    first

  2. UNTERP.NAT - May 6, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    Nats will sweep the Marlins…

  3. Doc - May 6, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    The Nats did it to the World Champion Giants, so I guess anything is possible.Need to have a healthier team though, than the one that played in Philly.

  4. Rob Dibble's Ghost - May 6, 2011 at 4:06 PM

    Looking at how the Marlins pitching has owned Werth, he fits in perfectly with the Nats!

  5. Anonymous - May 6, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    The Nats are leading off with their 3 best pitchers. H-Rod looks like the real deal … could end up closing if he completely overcomes those control issues. Clippard and Storen should be ready. Burnett ready to give it another go. Riggleman's lineup looked confusing last night … but the strategy became clear. He was planning on double-switching the #4 hitter Nix to shoe horn his best hitting in their. Espinosa, the erstwhile lead off hitter and the other rookie in the lineup currently leads the team in RBI. That's not good. You're probably going to see Cora (because he's gotten some hits), Hairston, Ivan Rodriguez and Ankiel in the lineup together which means zero offense in 5 (plus the pitcher) out of nine slots in the lineup. Low scoring games. Nats could get swept but it won't look ugly as Marquis and Lannan won't be pitching.

  6. Anonymous - May 6, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    So … following up on the above … the patented "Peric" prediction would be the Nats desperately need to win given the flagellation in Philly I expect the very best pitching performances from Zimmermann and Gorzelanny. I expect Livo to be Livo. My guess? They just might win 2 out of 3. But expect the series sweeps by the opposition in late June, July and August with this lineup.

  7. P. Cole - May 6, 2011 at 4:29 PM

    I must have missed the press release. When did Matt Stairs get his hit?

  8. phil dunn - May 6, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    Larry Beinfest is a real general manager. He knows have to get most bang for the Marlins buck. Look for Nats killer Hanley Ramirez to break out of his season long slump tonight against the Nats, just like Nats killer Raul Ibanez did in the Phillies series. The Nats will be lucky to win one of three, but if they don't start hitting they'll get swept again. Could they return to DC with a 14-23 record?

  9. Grandstander - May 6, 2011 at 4:55 PM

    Stairs got his hit in the 9th on Wed.Should we be reading anything into the fact the Nats haven't bought Riggleman's option for 2012? His agent has been pressing about it and now Heyman just wrote we should "lock him up".

  10. Anonymous - May 6, 2011 at 5:11 PM

    When you have someone working for you that no one else is going to try to take away from you, there's no need to "lock him up." Lock up Zimmerman, but continue to let Riggleman work as if his job is on the line every day. There's absolutely no downside to that. If he can't win while he's managing scared, there's no way he can win if he's locked up.

  11. alexva - May 6, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    There are plenty of reasons not to "lock him up". Motivation is not one of them.

  12. Grandstander - May 6, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    Just for our personal entertainment, this is what Heyman wrote:Perhaps the Nationals ought to consider locking up manager Jim Riggleman. Washington has stayed afloat without its best pitcher (Stephen Strasburg) or best position player (Ryan Zimmerman). Kudos to Riggleman.When you apply the "Heyman Principle" to do the opposite of whatever he thinks is right, that's the strongest case yet that we should dump Riggs.

  13. masnstinks - May 6, 2011 at 5:30 PM

    Losing sure brings out the nasty streak, doesn't it? Next thing someone will be suggesting that Riggleman wasn't even born in the usa and needs to produce a birth certificate. And quit the bold print "shouting" – we hear you. Some baseball fans aren't happy unless they are miserable. Go Nats!!! Beat the Fish!!!

  14. UNTERP.NAT - May 6, 2011 at 5:31 PM

    All these posts about Jim Riggleman are funny. I've said this a few times or something like it and maybe it don't mean squat. But you can't paint with oil when all you have is water colors…

  15. The Joker - May 6, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    Riggleman double-switched his birth certificate. Osama bin-Laden was born in New Jersey and Riggleman was born in Saudi Arabia.

  16. Anonymous - May 6, 2011 at 5:41 PM

    I was struck by this almost profound blurb by minor league baseball expert John Sickels. It was profound because one could almost describe Mike Rizzo with a few changes …Here is the quote:As a GM, I think Dayton Moore has done a lot of things right in terms of building the farm system, drafting well, and (most importantly) convincing ownership to actually put money into the team. It's amazing what your scouts can do when you actually have the resources for player development, which was the biggest problem in KC previously. On the negative side, many of Moore's moves on the major league roster haven't worked well, and in my view there seems to be an excessive fetish for ex-Braves in the organization. We can change this to:As a GM, I think Mike Rizzo has done a lot of things right in terms of building the farm system, drafting well, and (most importantly) convincing ownership to actually put money into the team. It's amazing what your scouts can do when you actually have the resources for player development, which was the biggest problem in Washington DC previously. On the negative side, many of Rizzo's moves on the major league roster haven't worked well, and in my view there seems to be an excessive fetish for low-cost, in deep sloping downside of their careers veteran players previously coached by JIm Riggleman on the major league roster.… continuing this looks to be about the same for Rizzo.Overall, it's a mixed picture, but the organization is certainly in better shape than it was five years ago. I'm neither a basher nor a booster, and am quite willing to see how "the process" works out. Maybe it is just easier for me to take that approach since I'm not emotionally invested, but that's the way I see it.

  17. Unkyd - May 6, 2011 at 5:46 PM

    Good one, Joker! lol… GO NATS!!!!!!!

  18. sparky - May 6, 2011 at 6:17 PM

    Nats' worst vs. Sanchez — Jayson Werth (2-for-22, 2B, 15 K)Really? 15K's in 22 AB's?Really?

  19. masnstinks - May 6, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    He and Matt Stairs really do like to watch that ball as it goes by – is there something written on there that we should know about?Or is it a magic hypnotizing ball? In reference to above thread about the GM's — from which franchise have we gotten the most "Used" players? My first guess would have to be Pittsburgh?

  20. Grandstander - May 6, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    For awhile it was the Reds. Bowden loved him some ex-Reds.

  21. Mark'd - May 6, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    Nyjer on the DL as he broke a finger Bunting.

  22. P. Cole - May 6, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    At least Nyjer is making contact on his bunt attempts now.

  23. masnstinks - May 6, 2011 at 7:42 PM

    I saw Nyger on tv — caught stealing — again…Are any of our escapees from last year doing well this year? Maybe Matt Capps?

  24. Mark'd - May 6, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    Masnstinks, caught stealing, error, weak ARM. The luck for him is in the 2 hole they have Ryan Braun on deck plus he is only facing righties. His BA is at .375 and everything else is same old Nyjer.

  25. JaneB - May 6, 2011 at 10:48 PM

    I think the Twins are pretty happy with Matt. When they get to use him.

  26. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 6, 2011 at 11:12 PM

    J

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