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Game 35: Nats at Braves

May 10, 2011, 8:37 PM EST

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nationals face longtime nemesis Tim Hudson tonight at Turner Field.

The last thing a struggling lineup needs right now is a date with a pitcher who historically has dominated this franchise like few others. But that's what the Nationals get tonight in Tim Hudson and the Braves.

The Nats have scored an average of 2.8 runs over their last 18 games. The Braves have allowed an average of 2.4 earned runs over their last 16 games. Hudson's career numbers in 19 starts against the Nationals/Expos: 11-2, 1.88 ERA. Obviously, this doesn't appear to be a favorable match-up.

But, this is why they play the games. Jason Marquis starts for the Nats, looking to recapture the impressive form he displayed before the Phillies got to him last week. I'm not in Atlanta, but please continue the conversation as always…

Where: Turner Field
Gametime: 7:10 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 184
Weather: Partly cloudy, 87 degrees, Wind 6 mph out to CF

CF Roger Bernadina
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche

Read more »

103 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Sec3MySofa - May 10, 2011 at 8:49 PM

    IIRC, Marquis was drafted by the Braves and played his first several years there. Wonder what his home/away splits were then?

  2. Manassas Nats Fan - May 10, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    Let's win 2 out of 3 like we should every series.

  3. Doc - May 10, 2011 at 8:54 PM

    Morse out again, or just sitting? He got 2 hits in the last game against Sanchez and the Fish.

  4. erocks33 - May 10, 2011 at 8:56 PM

    Zuckerman out again? What up wit' dat?!

  5. phil dunn - May 10, 2011 at 9:20 PM

    Looks like Morse has now been relegated to platooning with Nix in LF.

  6. Big Cat - May 10, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    Mark is like everybody else…..Hudsons pitching for Atlanta……he's bagging it for tonight.As I said earlier, I think we should be very aggressive on that first pitch strike. Look to drive something. I'm just sick and tired of these banjo hitters going up there and taking that first pitch right down the chute, then chasing crap in the dirt. Stop thinking so much up there. Go up there mentally ready to rip.

  7. Big Cat - May 10, 2011 at 9:23 PM

    No charge for those tid bits there Eck. The next one will cost you though

  8. Manassas Nats Fan - May 10, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    Big Cat,You have an I have sat through many game discussing this not swinging at the first good strike that comes in.We are 100% agreement to become aggressive ant timid at the plate.

  9. Manassas Nats Fan - May 10, 2011 at 9:32 PM

    ooops typo. Should have read not timid at the plate.

  10. Grandstander - May 10, 2011 at 9:46 PM

    This platoon makes no sense. Morse is actually better against RHP than LHB, .278 vs. .172. And Nix is hitting .269 against RHB, so it's not like he's much better. Plus Morse looks like he's finding his swing out there. And just yesterday Rizzo said he had confidence in Morse and he was our "everyday left fielder". In May, in his 3 starts, Morse is 5 for 10 with a HR, raising his BA from .216 to .241. Nix has gone 4 for 23 with just a double, crashing his BA from .316 to .259. And he's done that while striking out 9 times.This move makes no sense at all.

  11. Les in NC - May 10, 2011 at 9:55 PM

    GrandStander, neither did the sit Werth against Sanchez and then play the righty Hairston in place of the lefty Cora move against the Marlins…..These moves just don't jive like they ought to and we don't have Mark there to ask why…. It's frustrating to say the least.

  12. HHover - May 10, 2011 at 9:56 PM

    re: Morse's absence–And just as importantly, if you don't start him, how can you double-switch him out?

  13. SonnyG10 - May 10, 2011 at 10:05 PM

    Morse was noticeably limping with his knee last game so his sitting out may be due to that more than anything else.

  14. Anonymous - May 10, 2011 at 10:21 PM

    He'll just double-switch Nix out in the 6th or earlier for Cora. Put Cora at 3rd and Hairston in the outfield. Riggleman will never give up his "smart ball" double-switches? Its kind of like "Moe, Curly: Cheese! bubbububububbubbububub".

  15. Anonymous - May 10, 2011 at 10:33 PM

    Believe it or not the biggest thing most scouts had against Morse … wasn't that he couldn't hit major league pitchers … they believe he can. Its fragility. He lost an entire year after running into a wall for the Mariners the year before he became a National. Now we know why a former major league shortstop seems so slow afoot? Knee or knees?Morse still has the upside, the potential to be a great hitter but first base or third look to be better positions … in other words: the infield. But is he just a younger Josh Willingham? God forbid, Nick Johnson? He's supposed to be trying to be more athletic like Werth.Perhaps it doesn't matter because a lot could change … A LOT if Rizzo somehow manages to sign Pujols. And one would have to expect that just might be his highest priority after the draft going into next season.

  16. dj in Fl. - May 10, 2011 at 11:12 PM

    SI has an article on all the shutots in mlb on line. the following is from there.As one GM said to me by text, "Look at all the teams choosing the better fielder, the weaker bat, over the better bat, weaker fielder. Those roster and playing time decisions hurt offense two ways: less ABs to good hitters and better defenses."Seems we are built in the same mode of lots of teams. Also, I know Comcast paid a lot for NBC, but it is not fair to cut our coverage to save them money. Give us back Mark!!!!

  17. dryw - May 10, 2011 at 11:16 PM

    Hey, whoever put the jinx on the Braves' fielders….THANKS!!

  18. Mark'd - May 10, 2011 at 11:20 PM

    Looked 2 gift horses in the eye and only scored 1 run.

  19. Anonymous - May 10, 2011 at 11:27 PM

    2 out of 3 games every series. 108 wins a season. With this roster. I hope that was an example of superior sarcasm.

  20. NatsJack in Florida - May 10, 2011 at 11:32 PM

    Fish/Phillies… Howard leads off 2nd with a oppoboppo and Ibanez follows with a double off the wall in left. Josh Johnson not fairing too well.

  21. dryw - May 11, 2011 at 12:00 AM

    And this is why we play the games!

  22. Carl in 309 - May 11, 2011 at 12:01 AM

    I know it's early, but I just want to note that we've made the Braves pay for their 3 errors–it's so nice to do unto others as they have done unto you!

  23. Anonymous - May 11, 2011 at 12:02 AM

    Anytime the opposition makes two errors in an inning, you have to capitalize… and I'm glad the Nats did.What's interesting is that it wasn't a particularly bad pitch.

  24. ChicagoNatsGirl - May 11, 2011 at 12:02 AM

    Go Nats! What fun!

  25. JaneB - May 11, 2011 at 12:05 AM

    …and I'm glad Nix is in tonight. Prado is like the Ibanez for the Braves, against us.Go Nats!!

  26. Unkyd - May 11, 2011 at 12:05 AM

    Is it April fools, again? I think these teams have switched uniforms…. the tricky devils….

  27. Unkyd - May 11, 2011 at 12:08 AM

    Oops! There goes the no no…

  28. dj in Fl. - May 11, 2011 at 12:08 AM

    It looks like Riggleman knew who to in play in left tonight.

  29. FS - May 11, 2011 at 12:21 AM

    I can't decide what is more exciting right now, "End of Time" or Nationals baseball.WOW glad to see we are ahead against Hudson.

  30. RickH - May 11, 2011 at 12:26 AM

    Who are these guys?!!GO NATS!!!

  31. dryw - May 11, 2011 at 12:30 AM

    These are our boys, whaling on the Braves!GO NATS, indeed!!!

  32. Carl in 309 - May 11, 2011 at 12:30 AM

    Dryw, RickH, & Unkyd have clearly got it right. This is why we actually play the games, but really–who are these guys: even our $126M man homered.

  33. UNTERP.NAT - May 11, 2011 at 12:34 AM

    It was 88 degrees at game time. How many times has it been said that the Nationals would begin hitting when it warms up?

  34. TimDz - May 11, 2011 at 12:39 AM

    Grandstander: any thoughts about Nix for Morse now?Just goes to show you that we are sitting at our computers or blackberrys and not in the dugouts for a reason…

  35. Unkyd - May 11, 2011 at 12:41 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  36. Wally - May 11, 2011 at 12:42 AM

    Wow, I missed the game so far because of kid stuff, and then see 7-1. Awesome!

  37. JaneB - May 11, 2011 at 12:44 AM

    I respect Tim Hudson and I'm glad the hit him tonight. Maybe there is something to the warm weather thing!I miss Mark. How d we convince MASN t send him out from now on? What does it take?

  38. UNTERP.NAT - May 11, 2011 at 12:45 AM

    Wally said… Wow, I missed the game so far because of kid stuff, and then see 7-1. Awesome!Haven't really missed much. It's all Desmond's fault…

  39. Unkyd - May 11, 2011 at 12:47 AM

    Could it be that Fatherhood agrees with My Boy? Seems to have softened his hands…. Like Palmolive?

  40. Oldguy - May 11, 2011 at 12:48 AM

    The fact is these guys are capable of beating anyone. Lincincum … whoever.

  41. UNTERP.NAT - May 11, 2011 at 12:49 AM

    Unkyd said… Could it be that Fatherhood agrees with My Boy? Seems to have softened his hands…. Like Palmolive?Yes, needs to work on that second child…

  42. Unkyd - May 11, 2011 at 12:52 AM

    Unterp: LMFHO!!!! (btw… that's "fool head")

  43. Unkyd - May 11, 2011 at 1:08 AM

    I'm listening on radio. Does Desi look as good as it sounds?

  44. Grandstander - May 11, 2011 at 1:09 AM

    I stand by my comments. He got an excellent pitch to hit and nailed it. I'm happy. But stats are stats and I think Morse needs to be in there more. The interesting question is going to be when Ankiel comes off the DL. I can't see how you justify keeping stairs over Bernadina. Maybe Stairs will develop some "tightness" like Gaudin did and we can stash him on the DL.

  45. Anonymous - May 11, 2011 at 1:13 AM

    Unkyd – YES! Desi looks great!

  46. BinM - May 11, 2011 at 1:16 AM

    @JaneB: Mark Z now works for CSN (Comcast), not MASN; An honest mistake – it's ok. I'm sure Mrs Z would rather have him plopped in front of the TV at home then on the road as much as possible this season. @Others: Unless Morse breaks out offensively, a Nix-Morse platoon works at the plate, for me at least. Additionally, Bernadina might be making a case to stay up beyond his current DL replacement for Ankiel; Final decision tbd…

  47. Anonymous8 - May 11, 2011 at 1:19 AM

    One batter too many. Can't understand why you don't have Burnett ready for Hinske as Marquis was losing gas and in the mid-90's in pitches.

  48. dryw - May 11, 2011 at 1:30 AM


  49. dj in Fl. - May 11, 2011 at 1:33 AM

    Wally- go do more kid stuff, quickly.

  50. Unkyd - May 11, 2011 at 1:35 AM


  51. Unkyd - May 11, 2011 at 1:46 AM

    DRUUUUUU!!!!!!' Mow 'Em Down!!!!

  52. dj in Fl. - May 11, 2011 at 1:49 AM

    We may all breathe again.Way to go guys.Lets win this series.

  53. ChicagoNatsGirl - May 11, 2011 at 1:50 AM

    Can we pleeeeezzzeee keep Bernadina? I promise I'll take care of him and feed him and walk him.

  54. Unkyd - May 11, 2011 at 1:51 AM

    WOOT!!!!! Curly W!!!!!

  55. Anonymous8 - May 11, 2011 at 1:52 AM

    NICE WIN! When I wrote my comment above about taking out Marquis earlier, I wrote that long before Clippard gave up that HR to Uggla.This one ended up as a W but easily could have been a loss with that change of momentum.

  56. Unkyd - May 11, 2011 at 1:56 AM

    Word to Charlie Slowes: there are NO laughter, for this team!If Bernie goes down, for Stairs, I forsee torches and farm implements…..

  57. JaneB - May 11, 2011 at 1:58 AM

    To be a Nats fan sometimes means enduring heart in mouth disease.Thanks for the correction of who Mark works for, BinM. COMCAST, of course. One down. Two to go. And against Hudson, too. I like that it's Desmond's fault. :-)PS…if they keep Stairs instead of Bernie, I'll…I don't know WHAT I'll do, but it won't be pretty.

  58. Unkyd - May 11, 2011 at 2:00 AM

    Laughers!!! Not laughter Laffers?

  59. JaneB - May 11, 2011 at 2:01 AM

    "of who mark works for"???? Mrs. Dalton would skin me alive.

  60. Doc - May 11, 2011 at 2:02 AM

    Hoping that our favorite LH reliever starts having more luck. But over the past month, going into May, it looks like the Hanrahan-Burnett trade is in the Pirates favor.

  61. Cwj - May 11, 2011 at 2:08 AM

    So I tune in when it's 7-1, do some other things and come back to see Storen pitching the 9th with a 1 run lead!Anyway Go Nats!

  62. Anonymous - May 11, 2011 at 2:08 AM

    The fact is these guys are capable of beating anyone. Lincincum … whoever.IFF : they get good starting pitching at least 6 preferably seven and a quality start.IFF: the bullpen doesn't implode and manages to pitch lights out in the 8th and ninth.Given what we've seen a minimal offense is all that's required along with solid defense in the field.

  63. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 11, 2011 at 2:08 AM

    Take that you Cracker Barrel-loving, tomahawk-chopping, Dixie-loving Braves fans! I've hated this team for being the employer who gave us StanK and Don "I'm Only Pompous When I Talk" Sutton. Let's sweep this morons. It must be the bourbon and Maalox that got me through that eighth inning.

  64. Anonymous8 - May 11, 2011 at 2:11 AM

    Doc, I thought Burnett made some good pitches. The momentum swing had the Braves hitters smelling it.I also agree with FP that Clippard had to be a few inches higher to Uggla and in FP's favor he said to throw the high cheese out of the strike zone before that HR pitch.

  65. Unkyd - May 11, 2011 at 2:14 AM

    Drink better bourbon, Sunshine….that Maalox will kill you!

  66. masnstinks - May 11, 2011 at 2:24 AM

    Wow – we needed each and every one of those 7 runs. It seems like we just can't function unless it's close. That was a little scary — BUT — everyone in mlb seemed to think we didn't have a chance tonight – very sweet win.

  67. Gonats - May 11, 2011 at 2:29 AM

    The Nats did a decent job of taking advantage of Braves mistakes. At the beginning of the season, Riggleman had a quicker hook for the starters, this one almost cost the Nats. No lead really is ever large enough.

  68. Wally - May 11, 2011 at 2:33 AM

    DJ – I did! My girl was having a meltdown, so I stayed with her until she fell asleep.Just doing my part for the team. But my wow became a whoa when I saw the final score.

  69. Drew8 - May 11, 2011 at 2:38 AM

    It's great to get a win against tough Tim Hudson. The way this team has hit, 17-18 is worthy of Houdini.If the reverse lock doesn't work tomorrow night, we'll still have a good chance Thursday to salvage this 9-game gauntlet.Update from the Sally: With two more hits each Harper's at .377; Kelso's at .364.The South Atlantic is some crazy hitter's league. Going into tonight, Harper was FOURTH in batting at .376. Kelso, hitting .360, was tied for seventh. Orioles uberprospect Manny Machado was tied for 12th at .333.It will be interesting to see how these guys fare in the Carolina league. Obviously, Harper and Machado are the real deal, but I wonder whether Kelso is wheat or chaff.Somebody made a fair point last night — the Carolina is a big step up — witness the outfielders' tough adjustments at Potomac.

  70. SonnyG10 - May 11, 2011 at 2:53 AM

    Doc, even if Hanrahan becomes an ace closer and Burnett goes into the tank, I still like the trade because we got some good production out of Morgan for half a year, and good production from Burnett at a time Hanrahan was not doing so well. For the present and future, we've got good replacements coming for the bull pen if need be.

  71. SonnyG10 - May 11, 2011 at 3:01 AM

    JaneB and BinM, it would be ok with me if you could convince MASN to pay to send Mark Z to the away games :)

  72. Big Cat - May 11, 2011 at 11:15 AM

    Damn the pitch count! Marquis was cruising. Let him pitch Sad Man. You about lost this game for us tonight. Also, who is our lefthanded specialist in the pen? Is it Slaten? If you don't have any faith in him, get him outa here, you're wasting a roster spot. Put Detwiler in that role, cause I'll tell ya, he will never be a sucessful starter in the bigs. As the innings go by 6…7…8…you can just see Sad Mans fanny get tighter and tighter. He starts getting antsy and looking around…..sweat beads on his forehead…."I gotta make a move" he mutters to himself, "I don't know what, but I gotta do something."

  73. NatsJack in Florida - May 11, 2011 at 11:35 AM

    Second guessing is always easy when the decisions don't go as planned. Even though Prado dug out a low sinker and spanked it to left, Marquis had been leaving putches up for the past 2 innings and was having trouble with his command. Riggs made the correct decision to bring in a reliever; I'm just not sure Burnett was the right call. He's shown signs of slight wildness over his last 3 or 4 outings.At any rate, Clippard would have been my first choice in the 8th inning and I would have saved Burnett for the left hand match up with McCann or Hinske should it come to that.

  74. Tim - May 11, 2011 at 11:43 AM

    LH Specialist with a lead: BurnettLH Specialist with the game tied or trailing: SlatenI was having a flashback to the Chief. He could make you bite your nails (or drink bourbon). Good thing Andruw Jones doesn't still play for the Braves. He was a Nat killer. I remember him hitting a HR late off Chad to beat us after we had a big lead. Anyway…A win is a win is a win. Now to win the series…

  75. alexva - May 11, 2011 at 11:43 AM

    I'm with you on this one Big Cat. I was only listening the radio so I can't say for sure whether Marquis was laboring, but with a 7-1 and McCatty on the mound stalling for time, then bringing in Burnett. I swear I could sense the desperation and I'm sure the Braves could too. A win's a win I guess, and their record to date is better than you'd expect, but Riggleman does not bring the qualities I want in a manager.

  76. Ernie - May 11, 2011 at 12:00 PM

    We have a Bad-News-Bears caliber team that is one game below .500, just took a rare series win from the Marlins, and beat evil nemesis Tim Hudson, and I sign on this morning to see that we're STILL picking on Riggleman. This team has more heart than it has in a while. They are competitive. They stay in games and generally play baseball that is fun to watch, even when they aren't hitting. If you want the Yankees, watch the Yankees. If you like numbers, play fantasy baseball. Me, I like watching a well-played baseball game and seeing a team and players grow up. I was sick of Desmond earlier this year but the last week has been exciting for him. Our pitching staff is mediocre at best, but think about where it's been and try not to be excited about how they're playing now. (Morse and Stairs, well, we all need something to grumble about…) No one thinks this roster is amazing, but if you really hate the team that much, stop watching. Personally, I'm having fun this year.

  77. Big Cat - May 11, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    To top it off, Marquis had owned Chipper all night. So Chipper kindly says "thanks Sad Man" and burns a BB right past Burnett's ear. Oh well….a Curly in the books is a Curly in the books and as NatsJack says, it is always easy to second guess………especially with Sad Man

  78. Cwj - May 11, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    I'm not too worried about Burnett. But somehow I think he's being misused. For one thing I think he needs to be pitching more often. Like Clippard, he seems to get better when getting steady work.I think there are at least 2 too many relievers on the roster. Clip, Store, Burn are all capable of multi-inning outings. I don't see the point in having 7 or 8 relievers when you can have 5 and open up some other roster spots.

  79. Cwj - May 11, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    I'm with you Ernie!BTW, where did the nickname "Sad Man" come from?

  80. NatsJack in Florida - May 11, 2011 at 12:20 PM

    Cwj… you're kidding, right?…. It only seems like we have too many relievers due to the fact that we are finally getting consecutive quality starts out of the starting 5. When you are only concerned about using your bull pen for the last 7 outs, you can exist with 3 or 4 relievers. But the second you have to get 16 outs from your bull pen in 3 out of 5 starts, you'll wish you had 10 guys out there.

  81. Anonymous8 - May 11, 2011 at 12:22 PM

    Drew8 said… Update from the Sally: With two more hits each Harper's at .377; Kelso's at .364.______________________________________I hope they promote both of them together with Selik. It is good for these guys to move up together as it makes the start at the next level a little easier. Looking forward to a Potomac outfield of Hood, Eury Perez and Harper. I bet Potomac steps up their game when Harper gets there.

  82. Anonymous - May 11, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    CwjWhen is the last time you saw Riggleman smile. They say he didn't even smile at his daughters wedding

  83. natsfan1a - May 11, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    Emerging briefly from crunch mode to say, nice to pull that one off last night. I was a bit afraid that they might snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Anyhoo, back to work now.Oh, and I watched the first four innings before interruptions took me away from the tv. I tuned back in just before Clippard gave one up to (beaten with) Uggla (stick). Am I allowed to watch anymore?

  84. Cwj - May 11, 2011 at 12:34 PM

    Anon- yeah I know why some here call him "sad Man", but was curious who actually coined the name.NatsJack- Point taken.

  85. Big Cat - May 11, 2011 at 12:36 PM

    Here is another thing with Riggs that bothers me. Get 2 relievers up in late game…. lefty/righty. Last night he has Burnett up and warming. He should of had Clippard throwing too. So now Burnett comes in and start stinking it up. So now we gotta go out and stall and wait for Clip to get ready. Have them both ready to go

  86. Anonymous8 - May 11, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    Anonymous said… CwjWhen is the last time you saw Riggleman smile. They say he didn't even smile at his daughters wedding May 11, 2011 8:28 AM __________________________________Jim only has a son so your intel is wrong as is your point on him smiling.

  87. Anonymous - May 11, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    This site used to be the best, now not even a wrapmup blog….off to read Kilgore.

  88. JD - May 11, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    Anon8, I suspect that Harper at least will be moved up any day now; probably when Hagerstown completes their home stand. I do expect some normal regression with the promotion because that's been the history of almost everyone who made that step including: Norris, Marrero, Burgess etc. I for one happen to think that a bit of a struggle at every level is good for Harper because it gives him a chance to figure things out and get a bit better. It was good to see Robbie Ray's debut on Monday night. I am anxious to see where Solis (Potomac or Harrisburgh) and Cole (Hagerstown) start. This is the foundation of our franchise; never mind the over priced over the hill free agents.

  89. Anonymous - May 11, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    Wrap-up …no coffee yet

  90. jd - May 11, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    Big Cat, Take a 69 win team. Take away their 3,4 and 5 hitters; take away their phenom starter; take away their best player. Have the top 2 off season signings get off to terrible starts; have their 2 promising middle infielders get off to bad starts; their left fielder who dominated the 2nd half and spring training get off to a horrible start. Mix that all in and come up with a 17 – 18 record. You wanna criticize the manager? even you must be a little embarrassed.

  91. A DC Wonk - May 11, 2011 at 1:03 PM

    jd — well put!

  92. Anonymous - May 11, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    Yeah, bring Detwiler up. He has a 4+ ERA in AAA ball. I'm sure he will set the NL on fire,

  93. NatsJack in Florida - May 11, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    Good post jd…. There are those who continually harp on their favorite perceived Nats problem (for me, it was Nyjer Morgan) and will do anything to voice their displeasure, win or lose.Riggs has done an outstanding job this season.

  94. Doc - May 11, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    No wonder Riggleman didn't smile at his 'daughter's' wedding, if he only has a son.Watching the Nats has been fun this year. Not everything has worked out (check out the Bosox and Carl Crawford on that score, or talk to Ozzie about the Chisox), but 17-18 ain't too shabby, all things considered.The guys have been playing really good defense lately, they are running the bases like they never did before, and McCatty has built a pitching staff.And moreover I can't wait for the Oppo Boppo guy and SS to make the scene.Gooooooooooooooooo Nats!

  95. JD - May 11, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    Doc, On May 13th Hagerstown goes on the road and Potomac starts a home stand. I predict that at least Harper and maybe Kelso move up on that date.If I,m wrong then it'l probably be around June 1st. Harper really has nothing more to prove at the level he's at. Move him on up.

  96. fpcsteve - May 11, 2011 at 1:36 PM

    Riggleman has done a great job. Solid pitching, solid, sometimes spectacular defense… The hitting has to improve. If the season ended today, we would be sitting on .500, a 12 game improvement from last year. How could that not be great? Riggleman has gotten more out of less. And NatsJack is right. Everyone has a hero and villain. Part of the game, I guess.

  97. NatsJack in Florida - May 11, 2011 at 1:52 PM

    On the Bryce Harper issue, it wouldn't suprise me if they keep him in Hagerstown through the Sally League All-Star game on June 21. That would coincide with the draft and the ability to assign guys who sign early or have proven themselves in Florida extended ST.

  98. Knoxville Nat - May 11, 2011 at 2:15 PM

    I have to jump in here and add my two cents worth for all the Riggleman bashers. NatsJack, jd, fpcsteve are all correct…Riggleman has done an excellent job this season in getting this team to be competitive night in and night out. I've said it before and I'll say it again, if he can manage a .500 record this season (which I don't think is likely)with SS being out, RZ likely missing most of 2 months and abysmal hitting from almost every player, than Riggleman deserves serious consideration for Manager of the year and not the bashing he takes on this board and others.

  99. Ernie - May 11, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    I would never have believed last year that I would be saying this, but I think the Nats should extend Riggleman at least one more year. He has a lot more tools than he did last year, so his managing makes more sense. Late-inning defensive substitutions drove a lot of the wackiness last year. This year, other than Morse, there is little need for that, so he's been able to run the team his way. I think he's been working his bullpen well this year, not overusing any one reliever, and letting his starters go longer (and I agree that Marquis last night needed to be pulled). Yes there are odd decisions – the intentional walk in that Giants game stands out – but I think he's really running this team well. The roster is not his fault. Extend him!(Of course, if we had lost last night I probably would still be on the floor in the fetal position, screaming for his head… The joy of being a fan is that you don't have to be consistent!)

  100. Doc - May 11, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    Thanks for the update JD. I think that they should move Prince Oppo Boppo and Kelso all the way to the 'Burg. Harper could be doing what Bernadina is doing in CF, but that's another story.Bryce Harper comes with so much narrative, it must be hard for fans in Hagerstown to see him go.

  101. Steve M. - May 11, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    Good stuff on Riggleman and glad there are a few here that have been willing to point out the positives of what Jim has accomplished. Jim was criticized for pulling starters too quick early in the season, and I think he is some times letting them go too long in my opinion and last night is the 3rd time in the last 2 weeks. That 7-1 lead got to look real small at 7-2 with men on base. As far as the job Burnett and Clippard did last night, I also think credit has to go to the hitters and I also saw the umpire going to a smaller strike zone which didn't help. Clippard also had to know that Uggla likes them inside and at the top of the strike zone but again credit to the hitter for getting it.Last year, the Nats would have found a way to lose that game last night. The defense was great and the only mis-play was that late inning single that Nix broke back on, instead of coming in on. Bernadina's throw to nail Freeman at 2nd was huge along with his 9th inning catch at the wall and Desmond looked amazing with his range all game.If this team learned anything versus other team's star pitchers is that you have to back your pitchers up with stellar defense. Ironically, Halladay didn't get it last night in Florida nor did Hudson in Atlanta.

  102. Unkyd - May 11, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    Anon 8:43:… Care to elaborate? How can we make your experience more enjoyable?jd: nice ….. HereHere!!Anybody…: I mostly listen, rather than watch. Desi's range has always been remarked upon… I assume he's making better throws, and better decisions re: throwing. It was the stuff in front of him that was eating him up. Is he being more aggressive, and charging those, as well, or have they not been hitting it right at him, lately? And…. Count me among the Rigglefans!!! :)

  103. Big Cat - May 11, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    I got nothing to say. I have been beaten into submission.





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

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