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Game 39: Marlins at Nats

May 14, 2011, 4:16 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
After a tough loss last night, the Nationals try to bounce back today.

Plenty going on in advance of this afternoon's ballgame. First up, if you didn't see the news below, the Nationals designated Brian Broderick for assignment and recalled Cole Kimball from Class AAA Sryacuse, giving the bullpen another incredibly hard-thrower (albeit one with no big-league experience).

Forgot to mention this last night, but Ian Desmond strained his left quadriceps muscle during the game. He was able to finish the night out, though Jim Riggleman said he would have used a pinch-runner for the shortstop had he reached in the 11th inning. Desmond is out of the lineup today, and though he's available to come off the bench if needed, Riggleman would love to give him the full day off to make sure he's OK.

Meanwhile, it's "Pups in the Park" day at Nationals Park, featuring a couple of very special guests. If you happen to see a five-month-pregnant blond woman with a little 20-pound, light-brown terrier sitting in Section 140, make sure to say hello to Mrs. Z and Tommy!

I'll probably stop down there at some point to see my wife and pup, but I'll remain up here in the press box most of the afternoon to provide the usual array of updates…

MARLINS at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 187
Weather: Cloudy, 65 degrees, Wind 8 mph RF to LF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (18-20)
CF Roger Bernadina
2B Danny Espinosa
RF Jayson Werth
LF Laynce Nix

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  1. UNTERP.NAT - May 14, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    I'm literally grilling fish tonight, so will the Nats. Go Nats!!!

  2. natsfan1a - May 14, 2011 at 5:07 PM

    Won't be at the game but will watch for Mrs. Z and pup in the seats (hint hint, camera crews, if any of you happen to read here). What kind of terrier is Tommy? One of my siblings has a border terrier who is probably the smartest dog I've ever met (well, maybe I'm a little biased).And now that you mention it, Unterp, I could go for a little bit of that filet-o-fish I tasted on the road trip…

  3. Stranded_in_Philly - May 14, 2011 at 5:10 PM

    Anybody know why we've had Ray Knight instead of F.P. this series? Must have missed any explanation thats come through…

  4. CBinDC - May 14, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    FP has strep throat

  5. CBinDC - May 14, 2011 at 5:55 PM

    so the Nationals are now last in the NL East again again again and now last the batting in the MLB and alll is well ??I know how did we win 18 it's a miracle…..I do not want to panic on Werth just yet but when do you say something is REALLY wrong ……and when does LaRouche get of the early season funk and mean what is the early cutoff point …..btw last years great catch from Nyjer was wasted in a loss they should have won in Baltimore and now this years is the same…. great catch Bernie but the highlight last night was the play at the plate …..

  6. phil dunn - May 14, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    Free agent signings Laroche and Werth are total flops when it comes to offense. Rizzo has turned this into the worst hitting team in MLB.

  7. Anonymous - May 14, 2011 at 6:04 PM

    Espinosa is about to penetrate the Mendoza line. He is totally lost at the plate.

  8. CBinDC - May 14, 2011 at 6:10 PM

    So they are first in something STRIKE OUTS ……so nothing but improvement no need to say look for help in hitting coaching….would not want to lose such a heralded distinction …..so we can lose great played baseball games …..after all it is not how you win it's how you lost that matters They look lost at the plate today so far the only lively person is Livo

  9. masnstinks - May 14, 2011 at 6:10 PM

    Carpenter and Knight in the booth today – they are totally depressing. The last time I looked the score was tied and the pitching was about even. They are making me want to cry with their constant negativity. This seems to happen when the two of them are together. When Carp is with fp he's fine, when Knight does post-game he's not bad. But – together – they make you want to die….

  10. Unkyd - May 14, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    Sorry… I just can't be too too discouraged, at this point. I entered this season looking forward to 2013, expecting a better grade of mediocrity than last year, chasing 81 wins, on the way to sniffing around the wild card race, in '12. In that context, I'm seeing about what I'm looking for.Offensively, I think the guys we have now will play better, over the balance of the season… Werth's signing was about the changing expectations for the team… as much about challenging the rest of the organization, and serving notice to the rest of MLB that "We're gonna play Baseball, in this town, and some of the rest of you could do much worse than get involved with us, over the next couple of years!!". Attitude. Jayson won't bat for the same numbers here, as in Philly…. different park…bigger. But when Zim gets back, and the youngsters find just a little more consistent groove, his patient approach will pay off, at the plate, as he'll get more pitches to hit. Until then, I hope he'll get a little more aggressive, without overhauling his approach. He is what we thought he was, once he gets a little more support. I'm thinking LaRoche might be in need of more extensive treatment, on that shoulder, although nobody's mentioned him having problems throwing, in a few weeks, now…. maybe his "notoriously slow" start has simply been exacerbated by the shoulder. Worst case: he gets the work done, and we get a few weeks of peeks at Marerro…it's about time he gets a look-see, anyway. LaRoche isn't under contract for '13, right?Defensively….. C'mon, man! No complaints! If Desi maintains his new found focus this infield is set! And, for years to come, at that! And with Werth and Oppo, we're almost there in the outfield, as well. Maybe Bernie is a long term answer, maybe elite depth… Perez, Brown…. When you consider we have the better part of two years to evaluate and make deals, we'll be likely to be working from a position of strength, buying and selling with an eye toward continuing success, rather than scratching to assemble the AAAA squads of the last few years. I don't see any advantage to keeping Broderick and HenRod. They won't settle in if you don't pitch them, and you can't pitch them til they settle in. "That's some catch, that Catch-22…). Brodericks gone, if you're not gonna pitch Rod… Let him go, too. Bring up Ballystar. And I'm finally in the Detweiler-to-the-'pen camp…. That would be more heat than anyone's ever seen in a BP!!!Keep drafting pitchers, Rizzo! They're the coin of the realm… Let's just not make any desperate deals… The wind is beginning to fill our sails, and we'll soon be running before the wind!

  11. CBinDC - May 14, 2011 at 6:16 PM

    I look at Carpenter as over selling the greatness of the other team. it makes it seem as if there is nothing the Nationals could do now or in the future to over come. Ray in the booth is trying not to over rule anything he sees as a problem of coaching so you get this magical is not working line of thought ….he does better in post game

  12. Stranded_in_Philly - May 14, 2011 at 6:17 PM

    CB,Thanks for the update on F.P. Hopefully he gets back soon… Knight makes me want Dibble back.And for everyone else, as for all the Werth and Laroche hate… its Mid May guys. Relax

  13. CBinDC - May 14, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    For my part on Werth it's not hate but disappointment after all I bought the jersey ( really I did )…..LaRouche well it's not hate but you see him "Olay" the bat and wonder what trade off do you have in keeping him in while he works this out….they have both games on their bats the last two nights and NOTHING

  14. phil dunn - May 14, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    Jason Werth has struck out 40 times in 139 at bats this season. That is shameful. He plays like he doesn't care and, really, why should he? He' set for life and we get to suffer through the next 7 years of his surly attitude and his laconic behavior.

  15. Unkyd - May 14, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    Wow, Phil…. Pretty harsh? Is a slump at the plate really worthy of character assassination?

  16. masnstinks - May 14, 2011 at 6:32 PM

    Now – back to the moment –This is an amazing and epic pitchers duel, baseball fans!!! We have been involved in multiple close games recently and this one is right up there. Sanchez is one of the best and Livo is matching him. Their batters have looked over-matched, too! I want to win as much as anybody, but this is just hard-nosed baseball.

  17. Doc - May 14, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    CBinDC,Thanks for mentioning it, but I too was wondering when spring becomes summer for LaRouche—I mean June 21st is a long way off, for continuous hitting at, or near, the Mendoza line.

  18. CBinDC - May 14, 2011 at 6:43 PM

    ALL RIGHT NOT AGAIN ….not looking at the running situation …who is responsible…for the swing, the approach, the tactics at the plate .it's getting to be lost in space …..remember the Marlins now pitching coach was here …the pitchers seem to have the same lost in space feeling ….you wondered why all the time ….is it really the water and is that why I feel so lost ??

  19. Stranded_in_Philly - May 14, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    Werth's slump can be easily attributed to a combination of pressure and not getting to hit in Philly's band box anymore. He has been disappointing to be sure, and I think CB is right on the money with that term, but I fully expect him to come out of it.Laroche is probably having his typical slow start, but the shoulder injury could be playing more into it than he and Riggleman are letting on. I at least credit him for battling when we don't really have another palatable option at first. Hopefully the shoulder injury isn't affecting the swing, and this is just his typical slow start.Either way, I dumped Morse and snagged Laroche off the waiver wire in my 20 team dynasty league. I feel pretty good about that

  20. Unkyd - May 14, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    Just throwing this out there: the post-steroid era is clearly giving pitchers the upper hand. The days of lineups filled with .300 batters and 50 HR guys are, for the most part over. I can't look at this lineup and dismiss them as The Mendoza Family… Maybe it's on Eck, but I'm too ignorant to make that call. I reiterate: our #s will look much better by the end of the year.

  21. masnstinks - May 14, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    Oops, left one right out there for Stanton. He is one big, strong, dude. Repeating a point I made earlier — the NL East gauntlet of pitching is seriously tough. It's not like we're making Joe Schmoe look like Cy Young. These guys are in the running for the Cy Young. My question is this – after facing the Philly, Marlins, Braves pitching, will the pitches thrown by mere mortals we see later look like beach balls? I hope so .. Paging Laynce Nix…

  22. Doc - May 14, 2011 at 7:15 PM

    Hey MarkMeister best photo shot of the year, Mrs. Z and Tommy. Methinks that Tommy has a bit of poodle in him–or is he/she a purebred.Does the park have a special doggy-relieving spot designated—I mean it could get messy??I'll bet that Tommy is better in the field than at bat!

  23. CBinDC - May 14, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    While I hold hope that this year is not a replay of the 8, 9 , 10 seasons it would be nice to not lead or flirt with categories of negative measure. I did not expect the whole team to hit in the 275 to 350 range but do they have to lead in K's and lack of average. I call that a measure of improvement …TO NOT lead the league in those and the other negative categories…also with Broderick DFA at least they stopped hurting the roster by trying to get a player on the cheap ….has any rule 5 for this team really worked out yet …even if they win today I am pointing out things that bother me in the near and long term…..just because Werth had a double DOES NOT mean his troubles are solved

  24. Stranded_in_Philly - May 14, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    Time to DFA Stairs.

  25. Mark Zuckerman - May 14, 2011 at 7:19 PM

    Doc: Tommy is a mutt. Or, at least, we think he is. He was a rescue dog, so we don't know his precise lineage. But he is some kind of combination of terrier.And yes, they've got a "relief" area out in the picnic area under the scoreboard: a big patch of grass for the dogs to take care of business.

  26. waddu eye no - May 14, 2011 at 7:21 PM

    awwwww.mommy and tommy

  27. masnstinks - May 14, 2011 at 7:25 PM

    WAAAAAAY past time to dfa stairs – if he won't do the honorable thing and retire. Bo Porter is the Maytag repairman today. No business. Actually , I think in the whole game only 1 runner for either team has been on 3rd – is that right? ( Not counting Stanton passing through on his way home)

  28. CBinDC - May 14, 2011 at 7:27 PM

    You can not tell me that this hitting problem is all because of Ryan not in the line up …..that would be like the play really feel apart because one performer was out …..they can not hit as a whole team

  29. Unkyd - May 14, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    Hello!! I was on the phone, and came back to see that HRod fanned two! How'd he look? Mark, my late brother used to tell everyone that his rescue was a Heinz Terrier… 57 Varieties :-)

  30. Unkyd - May 14, 2011 at 7:33 PM

    Nice work, Cole. He walked Stanton, with the bases empty and two out… Bright Boy :)

  31. Unkyd - May 14, 2011 at 7:37 PM

    Let's pretend we're normal, and be optimistic about having the heart of the order up, in the bottom of the order, down one…GO NATS!!!!

  32. Unkyd - May 14, 2011 at 7:38 PM

    Ninth. Bottom of the ninth.

  33. CBinDC - May 14, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    Really hitting on this team is for ……..awwwwww …………arggghhhhh

  34. Unkyd - May 14, 2011 at 7:45 PM

    Nice try, fellas….

  35. masnstinks - May 14, 2011 at 8:03 PM

    Heard Carpenter go on and on – oh, it's a bad day for the Nats. Ok- so we can't hit our way out of a paper bag, but it was Sanchez and he didn't no hit us. But, look at the job Livo and our defense did, look at HRod and Kimball coming in under pressure, look at us battling in the bottom of the ninth. Mistakes were made – swinging at first pitch strikes that were bad – with men on, for example. The ump also gave Sanchez some gifts on strike calls. 1 – 0 — another close game with a team near the top in our division, with a lights-out pitcher. We're hanging in there in tough games.

  36. natsfan1a - May 14, 2011 at 8:12 PM

    What a cute pic of Mrs. Z and Tommy. He kinda looks like my sister's terrier. Good on you for getting a rescue dog!Unkyd: funny, my mom used to say the same thing about our family lineage – Heinz 57. (Tangential bonus comment: On our recent Pittsburgh trip we visited the Heinz 57 store and I bought a t-shirt to wear to the next family reunion. Heh.)On a game note, I'm enjoying the pitching and defense but whoo boy that (non)situational hitting is not so good. Yikes. Are they pressing or what?On a broadcasting note, I'm ready to welcome FP back any time now. I'm sure that Ray's a great guy but, dang… :-)

  37. natsfan1a - May 14, 2011 at 8:14 PM

    Oh, I did enjoy seeing (not Richard) Kimball, although I think maybe my husband was getting a bit tired of my "fugitive" jokes.

  38. Unkyd - May 14, 2011 at 8:19 PM

    Well said, Stinky!! I'm wich'oo….

  39. Cwj - May 14, 2011 at 8:23 PM

    Masnstinks- I agree. Well said.I was impressed with both HRodriguez and Kimball.Lot of lively arms in the pen now.We'll get them tomorrow :)

  40. Ribuld - May 14, 2011 at 8:26 PM

    This isn't just about not being able to hit today. We're 20% into the season and these guys have no clue. Criticizing the Nats for leading the league in strikeouts with pop gun hitters is valid.

  41. Cwj - May 14, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    Ribuld- of course it's valid to criticize the hitters.But they are surprisingly good for a team with next to no offense. I still see them winning about 75-77 games. I just have a hard time believing that these hitters will continue to struggle for the entire season.

  42. JD - May 14, 2011 at 8:52 PM

    Ramos slump was predictable. With the game on the line in the 9th he should have been calmed down by Eckstein and told to let Nunez come to him; he'll be all right. Werth and LaRoche will be fine too; I think Morse will start producing any time now but then Nix will likely decline. Bernadina looks OK at the top of the order and with Zim this will be a passable lineup. Sanchez was lights out; what are you gonna do?

  43. Ribuld - May 14, 2011 at 9:09 PM

    That's pretty optimistic. The Roach is hurt and Zim will miss half the season. Bernadina hit .247 last year and looks to be a 4th outfielder in the majors. I guess Werth will get better but his swing looks painful (literally). Who knows what Morse will do but it's beginning to look like pitchers have his number.I'm normally optimistic but it's getting old finishing last in the NL East. Not to mention losing to the stinking Orioles.

  44. JD - May 14, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    Ribuild, Look at LaRoche's career; always does badly in April and May and always hits well in the summer. Zim won't miss half the season and I'm expecting Bernadina to improve over his rookie year. Werth had a couple of nice at bats today including the walk in the 9th and Morse has started to hit but including an almost game winner last night; he's not getting a chance to play because Nix has been hot. There; don't you feel better?

  45. Anonymous - May 14, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    Look at LaRoche's career; always does badly in April and May and always hits well in the summer. La Roche's throwing shoulder may have a torn tendon. I wouldn't expect any improvement … although perhaps Morse will take over at some point hopefully leaving Nix in left and Bernadina in center.The problem is you know what Riggleman will do when Ankiel comes back. Put that bench player in the starting lineup and in the #2 hole batting. Riggleman and his lineups, his "veteran bench" have as much to do with the offensive short comings as anything else.

  46. Ribuld - May 14, 2011 at 9:42 PM

    Thanks JD :)I think the bench is fine, it's the regulars who are struggling.

  47. Unkyd - May 14, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    The Catch…. In the final, against a Durant dunk, in ESPN's "winners bracket" show…out if twenty great plays of the week….

  48. Knoxville Nat - May 14, 2011 at 9:55 PM

    Anon 5:30……Riggs is well aware that this team's biggest need is a lead off hitter who gets on base consistently. As long as Bernie performs like he has the past week or so he will stay in the lineup and bat lead off. Ankiel got the CF job coming out of ST by default with Morgan having been traded and Bernie needing some time in Syracuse. I would look for Stairs to be DFA when Ankiel returns to action.

  49. Unkyd - May 14, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    Shark Wins!!!

  50. natsfan1a - May 14, 2011 at 10:00 PM

    Sa-weet!

  51. JD - May 14, 2011 at 10:04 PM

    Here's a bit of good news: 1) Brad Meyers pitched 7 shutout innings for Syracuse in an 11-0 win; Michael Aubrey hit 4 home runs – nice but not a prospect. 2) Robbie Ray pitched 6 shutout innings for Hagerstown (2 hits 1 walk and 7 k's) – 19 year old left hander; protect the heck out of him; don't rush him. Harper has hit a home run for a 1 – 0 lead in the 7th.

  52. Cwj - May 14, 2011 at 10:44 PM

    JD- Thanks for those minor league updates!I need to catch up on the Minors more frequently. Much appreciated!

  53. Cwj - May 14, 2011 at 10:46 PM

    …seriously, 4 home runs?? Wow! An impressive feat at any level of baseball.

  54. SonnyG10 - May 14, 2011 at 10:58 PM

    I have enjoyed watching the Nats play error free baseball and for the most part, pitching great. Of course I would enjoy it a little more if they would win more often.I am so pleased with LaRoache's defense. I think he is saving us a bunch of runs and is very valuable even if he isn't hitting. I bet Desmond's error total last year would have been a lot lower if we had had LaRoache at first.

  55. Cwj - May 14, 2011 at 11:13 PM

    SonnyG- agree completely. LaRoche will start hitting, and he's a huge plus on defense. It's hard to blame him for his weak hitting when he's consistently awesome at first base.I do believe that he'll start hitting. (Unless there's some kind of more serious injury of course)

  56. Manassas Nats Fan - May 14, 2011 at 11:16 PM

    When Ankiel comes back, he can take Stairs place as the late left handed pinch hitter. With today's game we are at about the 1/4 pole. I believe this slow starter stuff is now way pass due. You get paied to play a full season, so play a full season and don't use excuses. Zim on the DL has had only a few less RBIs.When will Eck quit working hard, and start coaching these guys to perform. Every time I see him on the bench he writing something. That isn't coaching, that is writing.

  57. MIkeD - May 15, 2011 at 1:34 AM

    Before you complain too much about Carpenter and Knight, I live in Florida and have to watch the Fox Fla feed, because MASN is blacked out. The play by play guy is good, but the analyst Tommy Hudson is the biggest tool in sports broadcasting. It's painful.

  58. The Perfectionist - May 15, 2011 at 1:56 AM

    I miss Dibble.

  59. Doc - May 15, 2011 at 3:41 AM

    Wait'll next year!

  60. Doc - May 15, 2011 at 5:20 AM

    Prepare for some 'cardiac times' with CKim and HRod. They both cough up their share of BBs. As good as CKim was at Syracuse, he had 5.14 BBs/9.But I'm really looking forward to watching them put some more juice into the BP. HRod's heat before/after Clip's Oephus pitches–that'll be fun to watch! Hey, the Nats' BP will for sure lead the Bigs in Ks!!!

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 92 64 --
ATLANTA 76 81 16.5
NEW YORK 76 81 16.5
MIAMI 75 81 17.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 86 21.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Tuesday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (2) 92 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 89 68 3.5
y-ST. LOUIS 88 69 4.5
-------------------------
y-PITTSBURGH 86 71 --
SAN FRANCISCO 85 71 0.5
MILWAUKEE 80 77 6.0
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Tuesday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Marlins at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
(End of regular season)
MON: OFF
TUE: OFF
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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