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Game 50: Padres at Nats

May 27, 2011, 7:38 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
After a dismal road trip, the Nationals return home tonight to face the Padres.

There's no sugar-coating this: The Nationals are reeling right now. They've lost five in a row, having just dropped seven of eight on the road. Their $126 million right fielder made some cryptic comments the other day about the need for change. The clubhouse vibe, for the first time this season, is not exactly an upbeat one.

But if ever there was an opportunity to snap out of this funk and get things going in the right direction again, this is it: A weekend series against the equally reeling Padres, who have lost five of six and boast the majors' worst lineup. John Lannan, who hasn't pitched particularly well this month, needs to take advantage of this matchup.

With Clayton Richard on the mound for San Diego, Jim Riggleman is going with what appears to now be his regular lineup against lefties. That means Brian Bixler in left field over Laynce Nix, a career .192 hitter against left-handers.

In other words, first team to score tonight wins. Check back for updates…

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 189
Weather: Chance of storms, 80 degrees, Wind 9 mph out to LF

CF Roger Bernadina
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
1B Michael Morse

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  1. HHover - May 27, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    I can't really disagree with the choice of Bixler, but it's not a good sign your "upgrade" is a guy hitting .239 career vs lefties, and .118 overall this year.That said … go Nats!

  2. Big Cat - May 27, 2011 at 8:01 PM

    Man….its gloom and doom in Washington. I am glad Werth spoke up. Shake things up a little. Couldn't do any worse. The rats will start jumping off the ship as it continues to sink. I'm tired of hearing about the hitting. Shut em out tonight Lannan and we'll win. Boy, if ever we need a shutout….tonights the night. Lets go Nats!

  3. SonnyG10 - May 27, 2011 at 8:07 PM

    Go Nats!!!

  4. Ernie - May 27, 2011 at 8:11 PM

    RE: Needing a shutout# of times Lannan left the game having given up no runs in 2009 = 3# of times Lannan left the game having given up no runs in 2010 = 0# of times Lannan left the game having given up no runs in 2011 = 0The last time he did it was July 21, 2009 against the Mets.Total games started in that period = 68

  5. JD - May 27, 2011 at 8:22 PM

    Here is Fangraphs take on the possibility of the Giants acquiring pudge:Although Ivan Rodriguez is probably the most available catcher on the trade market and still carries quite a bit of name value, there's little to suggest that he can help a team win baseball games at this point in his career. Now 39 years old, Rodriguez hasn't been a productive hitter for several years, and he's bottomed out in Washington with a .256 on-base percentage so far in 2011. In fact, Dan Szymborski's ZiPS projections actually suggest that he's a worse hitter than Whiteside at this point, and his once-legendary defense is hardly an asset anymore.Rodriguez has carried heavy workloads before, but his body isn't what it once was, and he likely would have to share time behind the plate with Whiteside. The upside of making a deal is that the Giants would be able to avoid giving significant at-bats to Stewart, so acquiring Rodriguez would represent an upgrade to the team as long as Rodriguez wouldn't get much more playing time than the superior (and younger) Whiteside.

  6. Doc - May 27, 2011 at 8:37 PM

    Bixler vs. Nix: When it comes to hitting LHPs there's not a lot to expect from Nix, the last time I checked his career stats. All a manager can do sometimes is play the probabilities, and Bixler is, unfortunately, the only alternative.

  7. masnstinks - May 27, 2011 at 8:42 PM

    Supposedly our hitters like hot weather and home games – we're playing the Padres. Last Friday we scored a lot of runs. Does any of this mean anything? Not in the game of baseball, folks. We'll get what we get and none of it will be predictable. Probably why we like it! Go Nats!

  8. Wally - May 27, 2011 at 8:55 PM

    JD – their report seems a little harsh, especially the part about defense, but I definitely agree that there won't be a great prospect coming back. Maybe a Travis Ishikawa (who I think that we could have had on waivers, IIRC). I bet Pudge doesn't get traded because (a) Rizzo values him more highly than anyone else will, and (b) they don't think Flores is ready to play twice a week (needs regular ABs after missing all that time)

  9. Cwj - May 27, 2011 at 8:55 PM

    The Nats absolutely must sweep this series. Time for Lannan to prove that he should remain in the rotation.If he can't handle this lineup, what lineup can he handle? Go Nats!

  10. raymitten - May 27, 2011 at 8:57 PM

    I'm not sure Werth "spoke up", because he really didn't say anything. He fueled a lot of speculation about what he meant, but if you're gonna speak up, say what you mean and own it. I'm a big Werth fan but I think his cryptic comments did no good for anyone — including himself.

  11. wally - May 27, 2011 at 9:02 PM

    By the way, following on the draft discussion from the other thread. here is a pitching recap from Mayo

  12. Mark'd - May 27, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    Orlando Hudson just got placed on the DL.

  13. Sunderland - May 27, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    Won't be there. Someone pick me up and cheer extra loud when Alberto Gonzalez gets his first plate appearance.

  14. Wally - May 27, 2011 at 11:12 PM

    C'mon Morseheads, is no one going to mention the two scoops he made from our intrepid SS? Ok, the first one as a one hopper, but second one was very nice.

  15. Mark'd - May 27, 2011 at 11:13 PM

    Michael Morse really trying to show he can play 'D' as well as hit!!!!

  16. Wally - May 27, 2011 at 11:21 PM

    I think Espy just sprinted 40yds for that catch. Nats playing some D so far

  17. Anonymous8 - May 27, 2011 at 11:22 PM

    Wally, lets hope it all comes together for the Nats!

  18. JaneB - May 27, 2011 at 11:39 PM

    Why did the PA guy go away?

  19. Wally - May 27, 2011 at 11:53 PM

    Tough time for a rain delay for Lannan, he was on on a roll. I think that this is the third time it has happened to him this year.

  20. TimDz - May 27, 2011 at 11:56 PM

    There will be a bit of a delay…just went through this cell in Stafford (the trees went at a 45 degree angle for a while there). The good news is that the weather passed quickly…Lannan looks good so far…hopefully, the system will pass quickly…

  21. Feel Wood - May 28, 2011 at 12:22 AM

    Everyone has always said that Clint is nothing but a Ryan Seacrest wannabe. Dick Clark has a stroke, who's there to step right in? Ryan Seacrest. Jerome "falls ill" and who's there to step right in? Clint.No coincidence that the thunder hits and the skies open shortly thereafter. The world is coming to an end, one week late.

  22. Anonymous8 - May 28, 2011 at 1:32 AM

    Sorry, I would be pinch hitting for Lannan and go to the bullpen. 7 full shutout innings from Lannan and give it to the 'pen.

  23. Anonymous8 - May 28, 2011 at 1:33 AM

    I almost ate my words there. Nice pop on that one Lannan.

  24. Anonymous - May 28, 2011 at 1:34 AM

    Definitely Lannan should have been pinch hit for … here's double-switch Riggleman not pulling the double-switch (as he should) for a Riggleman 'fav' guy. Inconsistent and incompetent: Interim Jim Riggleman.

  25. Mark'd - May 28, 2011 at 1:40 AM

    Whether Lannan makes it through this 8th or not facing the bottom of the order, Lannan should have been pinch hit for.

  26. Anonymous - May 28, 2011 at 1:40 AM

    If they lose this game: that's "ON Rig and his coaches" as Boz would put it.

  27. Anonymous8 - May 28, 2011 at 1:46 AM

    See, this isn't second guessing. This was written before Lannan put 2 on base. Just not the situation you want to be in a 1-0 game.Should have handed a clean inning to Clippard and if you got to a lefty then have Burnett finish him off and then Storen to get a clean 9th inning.

  28. Mark'd - May 28, 2011 at 1:50 AM

    Anon8, it is smart baseball as you pinch hit for him as the smart play. This isn't the 5th inning. Storen got them out of trouble luckily.

  29. JaneB - May 28, 2011 at 1:50 AM

    I'm glad it was Storen and not another HRod experiment.

  30. Andrew - May 28, 2011 at 1:59 AM

    Anonymous8 said… Should have handed a clean inning to Clippard and if you got to a lefty then have Burnett finish him off and then Storen to get a clean 9th inning. May 27, 2011 9:46 PMWell, you said it. Wish it wasn't the case.

  31. Anonymous - May 28, 2011 at 1:59 AM

    Actually H-Rod first followed by Storen would have been the best solution JaneB. But H-Rod has worked a lot recently … and so … here we are … again this loss on Rig and his coaches.

  32. Anonymous - May 28, 2011 at 2:00 AM

    Time for a change … I'm betting on Werth showing big smiles and a long sighs of relief when that happens … he is already tired of Giggleman Island reruns.

  33. Sam - May 28, 2011 at 2:01 AM

    Why, exactly, would it have been better to bring in Rodriguez before Storen? Storen is the best reliever on the team, hands down. 2 outs, 8th inning, tying run on second. That is the perfect time to bring him in. No questions asked. I'm really proud of Riggleman on that one. He just happened to make one bad pitch in the 9th.

  34. Sam - May 28, 2011 at 2:03 AM

    On a different note, any reason Cora came in for Bixler? Why couldn't Bixler have grabbed his infield glove and moved to 3B? Was it so important to bring in Cora as part of a triple switch?

  35. Andrew - May 28, 2011 at 2:05 AM

    MICHAEL MORSE is on FIRE!!!!Well deserved!!!!!!

  36. Les in NC - May 28, 2011 at 2:05 AM

    Thank you Morse for cleaning up this mess!

  37. Anonymous - May 28, 2011 at 2:06 AM

    Thank god for "In Giggleman's dog house" Michael Morse … saving your hash Rig. Sheesh. Wanna double-switch for the guy now ???

  38. Ivan Tuski - May 28, 2011 at 2:12 AM

    wow, did we need that. great managing and some clutch plays. It is time everyone takes a deep breath and enjoys baseball in Washington.:-)

  39. Anonymous - May 28, 2011 at 2:12 AM

    Michael Morse now ties Zimmerman with 4 homers in 4 games. Would you double-switch for Zimmerman Rig?

  40. dryw - May 28, 2011 at 2:13 AM

    Michael Morse!!

  41. Anonymous8 - May 28, 2011 at 2:18 AM

    San Diego stinks but the Nats defense was great as the Nationals bats couldn't get clutch hits again so my frustration is that 1-0 had to hold up. Riggles had the perfect opportunity to pinch hit for Lannan and go to Clippard for the 8th and Storen for a clean 9th. Michael Morse bailed Riggles out.

  42. Drew8 - May 28, 2011 at 2:19 AM

    Well, I've never been so pleased to be wrong.I criticize the Nats for not bringing up Marrero and Morse goes off.I hammer Lannan and he throws a gem.As that famed scout Michael Corleone used to say:"Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in."P.S. If any of you are going to Saturday's game, I'll be the guy in the Nats cap.

  43. Doc - May 28, 2011 at 2:24 AM

    Someone needs to tell me what LaRoche does at 1B that Morse can't–man, what a play to stretch and catch that ball in the early innings. I wonder if Riggleman knows what Morse is doing for this team, both AB and in the field.I too am surprised that Riggleman didn't double switch Morse. Rizzo needs to double switch Riggleman!

  44. Anonymous8 - May 28, 2011 at 2:28 AM

    I am another Riggleman guy but have no problem criticizing him when he goes bone head.He needs to study his own work. Pinch hit for Lannan. If you don't have confidence that Clippard can go 1-2-3 against the bottom of the Padres odor (mis-spelled on purpose) then shame on Riggleman because the Padres STINK!

  45. Drew8 - May 28, 2011 at 2:40 AM

    Dunn — 5 homers, 22 RBIs, .186Morse — 6 homers, 20 RBIs, .288Wow.

  46. Sam - May 28, 2011 at 2:57 AM

    @Anonymous8: I don't think it was a bad move at all. Lannan was dealing and had only thrown 77 pitches. Plus, no one on the bench can hit worth a crap. You can't predict the future, so Riggleman had no idea Lannan would seemingly fall apart (although, I would have left him in to face Denorfia).It's about time the starters went more than 6 innings. You can't rely on Clippard, Storen, Burnett, et al every day. Sure, there was an off-day yesterday, but one isn't good enough. The less you have to use them the better.

  47. Manassas Nats Fan - May 28, 2011 at 3:02 AM

    1 more win to win the series. Lets get it done tomorrow.

  48. NatsJack in Florida - May 28, 2011 at 3:10 AM

    Two ponts in a win that I do not undertand.In a game you are winnibg 1 – 0, why does your starting pitcher hit with a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the 7th, and in the same inning, who in the hell let Desmond swing away at 3 – 0 with a man on first THAT JUST FRIGGIN WALKED? WITH NOBODY OUT!!!We won this game in spite of Jim….

  49. Anonymous8 - May 28, 2011 at 3:14 AM

    Sam said… It's about time the starters went more than 6 innings. May 27, 2011 10:57 PM -________________________________Sam, he pitched 7 full innings. With men on 1st and 2nd, and a 1 run lead, go to a pinch hitter and give Clippard the 8th inning.ALSO IN CASE YOU DIDN'T HEAR, GORZELANNY TO THE DL FOR ELBOW INFLAMMATION

  50. SonnyG10 - May 28, 2011 at 3:18 AM

    Hot Diggidy Dog….We Won!!! Go Nats!!!

  51. SonnyG10 - May 28, 2011 at 3:24 AM

    I was going to rip Desmond tonight for swinging on the first pitch after a 3-0 count, when the batter before him walked…he should have taken at least one pitch; then later on he strikes out on a passed ball and just stood there instead of running to first base right away. By the time he did run, it was too late.But all's well that ends well.

  52. Grandstander - May 28, 2011 at 4:52 AM

    Some of these comments are ridiculous. I mean, I'm in the "negative camp" I guess, because I'm like, realistic. But why would you pull Lannan when he was under 80 pitches in the 7th and cruising with a 1 hit ball game? I wasn't angry at all even with the outcome. Pulling him would have been moronic, but as soon as it was clear he was tired, Riggs got Storen, basically our only reliable, 100% reliever to get the last out.He made a mistake to Bartlett, but are you really not going to have Storen pitch there? I mean, seriously? He messed up but he recovered.Also, not bringing Bixler to 3rd, really? Really? Bixler was only in tonight because he was right-handed. Put your best defense out there. Smart move in that place after Hairston was tossed. The only move I saw that I thought was dumb was Espinosa's steal, setting up Bixler's iBB to get Lannan out. But I'm not even sure that came from the bench.Overall, an awesome win, so much fun and energy at the park, even with the delay. I guess we know what it feels like to face us, because Lannan pitched a gem.

  53. dryw - May 28, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    Drew8, what a coincidence…you will be the guy named Drew in a Nats cap, and I will be the girl named Dryw in a Nats cap! Think we're twins?NatsJack…I'm not convinced there is much in the world that can prevent Desi from swinging his bat, even on 3-0 after a walk. The boy does love to swing…





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