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Game 41: Pirates at Nats

May 16, 2011, 9:31 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The tarp is on the field right now, but they should be able to play tonight.

It was just pouring here at Nationals Park a few minutes ago, canceling outdoor batting practice about 10 minutes into the proceedings. But the system seems to be moving out of the area and the forecast looks OK for tonight's series opener against the Pirates.

Ian Desmond is back in the Nationals' lineup after missing two games with a strained quadriceps muscle. Michael Morse is also back in the lineup for only the second time in 13 days, a product of left-hander Paul Maholm starting for Pittsburgh. That also bumps Wilson Ramos into the cleanup spot, with Adam LaRoche and Morse to follow.

John Lannan starts for the Nats, looking to take down a Pirates club that has lost five in a row after surpassing the .500 mark last week.

Updates to come, so check back…

PIRATES at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN2
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 189
Weather: Cloudy, 72 degrees, Wind 7 mph in from CF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (19-21)
CF Roger Bernadina
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
C Wilson Ramos

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  1. Anonymous - May 16, 2011 at 10:04 PM

    first… go nats!

  2. Doc - May 16, 2011 at 10:04 PM

    Nix has been a shot in arm for the Nats–one of Rizzo's better signings last winter although Gorzo and Coffey have done real well for them too.Unfortunately, a review of Nix's stats suggests that he has never done well against LHPs.This is Morse's chance to pick up were he left off in ST–whatever happened in between!Goooooooooooooooooooo Nats!

  3. Unkyd - May 16, 2011 at 10:18 PM

    GOGOGOGOOOOO!!!!!!!

  4. Anonymous - May 16, 2011 at 10:19 PM

    With Nix batting so well, I think Morse is on a "short leash." Morse has got to start proving he is not only a defensive player but can also contribute offensively! The Nats can ill afford a "one-dimensional" position player at the anemic rate they are hitting.

  5. Positively Half St. - May 16, 2011 at 10:58 PM

    I am all for Morse and Nix and winning without Zimmerman. I can only hope for close to .500. In the meantime, I am thinking ahead to the draft and the possibility of having Bubba Starling in center field and Bryce Harper in right. Our whole team will be Boras products eventually.+1/2St.

  6. Andrew - May 16, 2011 at 11:19 PM

    More bad news for the Mets. David Wright has a stress fracture in his lower back. Not sure if he can play through the pain but the Nats travel there on Wednesday.

  7. Rabbit - May 16, 2011 at 11:35 PM

    Lannan is going to lose this game.

  8. 2^3 anon and on - May 16, 2011 at 11:35 PM

    "Bubba"? Srsly, sombody still calls people that? Maybe Whitey will come back as an unironic nickname…

  9. Jim Webster - May 16, 2011 at 11:37 PM

    Bruce Boudreau sitting with Mark Lerner behind batter's box. Who's courting whom?

  10. TimDz - May 16, 2011 at 11:50 PM

    Lannan is all over the place…with our defense, we can hopefully minimize the damage and hope that Lannan can get thru 5 innings…

  11. Anonymous8 - May 16, 2011 at 11:50 PM

    Steve – You called that one!Steve M. said…The job for Lannan is keeping McCutcheon off the bases. He seems to nibble against him and ends up giving up too many walks to him. Make him earn his way on. May 16, 2011 10:27 AM

  12. TimDz - May 17, 2011 at 12:00 AM

    Say what you will about LaRoche's bat, but his glove is MONEY…

  13. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 17, 2011 at 12:03 AM

    "Which then raises this question: Who's the Nats' long man in the bullpen tonight?"Indeed. Apparently, they expect Coffey will be available inside of 15 days, and are willing to play with 24 for as long as it takes him to recover. Detwiler must be really unimpressive nowadays.

  14. Andrew - May 17, 2011 at 12:05 AM

    TimDz, not only LaRoche, nifty play by Desmond to end the Top of the 3rd and Hairston saved a run by keeping a would-be double to an infield single.

  15. Andrew - May 17, 2011 at 12:09 AM

    Nice play Bernie!!!!!

  16. Anonymous - May 17, 2011 at 12:09 AM

    This is as bad as John Lannan has ever been.

  17. Mark'd - May 17, 2011 at 12:11 AM

    Lannan is throwing so uninspired. His defense keeps bailing him out.

  18. Anonymous - May 17, 2011 at 12:14 AM

    That is precisely why the Pirates have been losers since forever.

  19. Candide - May 17, 2011 at 12:14 AM

    Pirates bailed Lannan out this time.

  20. Anonymous8 - May 17, 2011 at 12:15 AM

    I think Riggleman has to bring in a reliever to start the 5th. Lannan needs to screw his head on. He thought he was throwing BP and bad baserunning, botched suicide squeeze, and tremendous defense bailed him out.

  21. Mark'd - May 17, 2011 at 12:28 AM

    Defense saved him again. Werth with a GREAT catch and Bernadina cutting off that double.

  22. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 17, 2011 at 12:30 AM

    And yet, look at that scoreboard: 1-1, baja 5.Maybe the baseball gods are just going to give Lannan a break for once, for a few innings tonight.

  23. Anonymous - May 17, 2011 at 12:43 AM

    It's official. The Pirates are REALLY bad. How can John Lannan get a quality start with what he's throwing tonight???

  24. yankish2 - May 17, 2011 at 12:43 AM

    Why would any pitcher throw a 3-1 fastball to Jerry Hairston with the pitcher up next? Glad he did but that was dumb.

  25. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 17, 2011 at 12:43 AM

    O-kaaay. The baseball gods, the Pirates, *and* the home plate ump.

  26. TimDz - May 17, 2011 at 12:44 AM

    They only showed the replay once, but Werth may have trapped that ball…not that I'm complaining…Andrew…agreed…the defense has been exceptional…and the Bucs offense has been…helpful…

  27. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 17, 2011 at 12:49 AM

    "I'll tell you what, Jerry has done a pretty nice job as Ryan Zimmerman's primary fill-in at third base. Has played solid defense, and he's come up with several clutch hits to help the cause."Can I get a macro of that?

  28. Anonymous8 - May 17, 2011 at 1:02 AM

    Lannan didn't deserve the "W" but the defense deserves a "W".

  29. Andrew - May 17, 2011 at 1:16 AM

    Cole Kimball batting? Cole Kimball going for his 1st win!

  30. FS - May 17, 2011 at 1:19 AM

    Is that overworking Kimball? If I am not mistaken, third straight game out of the pen for at least an inning.I hope all that negativity about Danny dies down a little bit for some time.

  31. Anonymous - May 17, 2011 at 1:19 AM

    Clearly, Morse should be starting at first base and La Roche should be on the DL. If Morse doesn't succeed they have Marerro + Aubrey and Tyler Moore could be ready later on. LaRoche just isn't right. It makes no sense to continue this.And yes its on Riggleman.

  32. TimDz - May 17, 2011 at 1:20 AM

    Pretty sure that Espy mouthed something like "about $%*@# time" as he trotted down the first base line…

  33. dj in Fl. - May 17, 2011 at 1:22 AM

    Desi must of read all the nice things folks on here said about him over the weekend.Saturday the Marlins tv crew said that after Friday nights game they saw Espinosa still in uniform at 11:30, in the batting cage with Eckstein working on his swing.

  34. Anonymous8 - May 17, 2011 at 1:22 AM

    Riggleman guessed right that the Pirates would load up 2 LH pinch hitters in a row. Glad Xavier Paul swung at ball 4 in a 3-1 count….

  35. Anonymous - May 17, 2011 at 1:23 AM

    Riggleman leaving H-Rod in the bullpen makes no sense either. He needs to developed just as Ramos does Riggleman?

  36. Anonymous - May 17, 2011 at 1:25 AM

    Burnett is also pitching worst than Slaten right now … you sure you want to credit Riggleman's move?

  37. Andrew - May 17, 2011 at 1:27 AM

    I stayed away from the recent Desi and Espi bashing and it was funny that Ray Knight ate his words after the Home Run on criticising Espi's swing but some of the constructive criticism has been on point. Espi has to make adjustments. Those good RH hacks is maybe what he needed.

  38. JaneB - May 17, 2011 at 1:28 AM

    Gosh. Danny can't hit, can he?I couldn't help it. Go Danny! Go Cole! Bring up Collin!GO NATS!

  39. dj in Fl. - May 17, 2011 at 1:30 AM

    A healthy Morse, does not compare to an injured La Roche on defense. The others are in the minors and proving that is where the need to remain.

  40. Anonymous8 - May 17, 2011 at 1:32 AM

    Anonymous said… Burnett is also pitching worst than Slaten right now … you sure you want to credit Riggleman's move? May 16, 2011 9:25 PM __________________________2 bad innings? If that was the case then Matt Capps wouldn't have pitched again after that dreadful Houston series.Riggleman has pushed Slaten next to HenRod now that Broderick has been replaced.

  41. Andrew - May 17, 2011 at 1:40 AM

    I just looked over at the Josh Johnson game vs. the Mets and Willie Harris has taken David Wright's place at 3rd base.

  42. Anonymous8 - May 17, 2011 at 1:43 AM

    Boudreau has left the house. I think he doesn't like anything Pittsburgh!

  43. Andrew - May 17, 2011 at 1:51 AM

    9:48 p.m. — But no worries, cause Drew got the job done. That's your ballgame. Nats win 4-2. Congrats to Cole Kimball, who gets his first career win. And Storen gets his ninth save in nine tries. His updated ERA: 0.38. ======================No worries? Another nailbiter at the end!

  44. JaneB - May 17, 2011 at 1:53 AM

    I feel bad for Mr. Wright. Makes an ab tear look a whole lot better.

  45. Unkyd - May 17, 2011 at 1:55 AM

    So, Espi tagged one (not quite far enough) earlier, too. Does that mean Eck was tryna groove his big ol' swang, in the cage Sat…and not shortening it?

  46. dj in Fl. - May 17, 2011 at 2:12 AM

    No Unkyd-It means that after the game is over that these guys are still working on weaknesses trying to improve. Another part of the game that we do not see. And if this improves his swing and timing, and the ball goes over the fence, I say hooooray!

  47. natsfan1a - May 17, 2011 at 2:20 AM

    Yes, I read about that somewhere. Espi and Eck working in the cage after the game.Also, the way Drew was bouncing around in the bullpen before he came in reminded me of Gerald McBoing-Boing. Yeah, I'm that old. Deal with it. :-)Nice win today. Now to finish off the home stand with another win (weather permitting)…(And the captcha is "cabal." Conspiracy theory, anyone?)

  48. Unkyd - May 17, 2011 at 2:22 AM

    Me too, dj… Just needling the Eyeores. While it makes sense, to me, to have him (and others), any solid contact is good, to me… :)

  49. Waddu eye no - May 17, 2011 at 2:22 AM

    Ahhhh. Once again des & werth can't get on, espy can't hit, and utter failure results. And it's all giggleman's fault.

  50. Unkyd - May 17, 2011 at 2:27 AM

    Makes sense to shorten, meant to say….

  51. Anonymous - May 17, 2011 at 2:34 AM

    Credit to Desmond for a multi-walk game. Hope its a sign of things to come for him.

  52. Unkyd - May 17, 2011 at 2:39 AM

    My Boy….;)

  53. sjm308 - May 17, 2011 at 2:54 AM

    Sure, lets put LaRoche on the bench and allow two to three more batters to reach base each game. Maybe I am not watching the same game as negative anon but who has been more important on defense this year than LaRoche. He has saved so many errors I have lost count. I realize he is hitting poorly but there is no way I take him off the field. This is the first great fielding first baseman we have had. Nick was good but this guy is spectacular. I don,t think he has one error yet! Love to look back at the negative comments after a win but could not let that one go. LaRoche needs to start hitting and I think he will but as long as he makes the plays he has, I will take him even hitting below Mendoza.Nice win for the team with the best bullpen in the majors. If we start hitting we honestly can compete for the wild card.Go Nats!!

  54. SonnyG10 - May 17, 2011 at 3:03 AM

    Wow, another great win…back to within one game of .500. You know these nail biters are more fun to watch the second time around when you know they are going to win. I've recorded some of them for a second viewing in a much more relaxed manner :)

  55. Drew8 - May 17, 2011 at 3:06 AM

    Considering the five daunting series that preceded the Pirates, I'll be really pleased if the Nats get back to .500 tomorrow.Meantime, here's tonight's Bob Evans report (down on the farm.)Harper has another o-fer. Kelso has three hits to catch up with Bryce at .366.At Potomac, Eury Perez is on a hot streak. He's raised his average to .314 and in 20 games he has 13 stolen bases in 14 tries.

Archives

FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 96 66 --
ATLANTA 79 83 17.0
NEW YORK 79 83 17.0
MIAMI 77 85 19.0
PHILADELPHIA 73 89 23.0

NL POSTSEASON SCHEDULE

NL WILD CARD GAME
WED: Giants at Pirates, 8:07 p.m. (ESPN)

NLDS
FRI: Game 1, Pirates at Nats, 12:07 p.m.,
OR Giants at Nats, 3:07 p.m. (FS1)
SAT: Game 2, PIT/SF at Nats, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
MON: Game 3, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (MLBN)
OCT. 7: Game 4, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (FS1)*
OCT. 9: Game 5, PIT/SF at Nats, TBA (FS1)*
*if necessary

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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)...

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