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Missing Zimmerman more than ever

Jun 5, 2011, 4:51 AM EST

US Presswire photo
Ian Desmond was safe at third in the first inning but couldn’t score.

PHOENIX — There has been no more productive hitter in baseball the last month than Michael Morse, whose .405 average since May 1 leads all major leaguers. But even Morse would be the first to admit he’s no Ryan Zimmerman, and he certainly doesn’t command the kind of respect normally afforded the Nationals’ Silver Slugger third baseman.

So the fact the Diamondbacks were perfectly willing to pitch around Jayson Werth three times during Saturday’s game at Chase Field and take their chances with Morse shouldn’t have come as much surprise. If Zimmerman is hitting behind Werth, that doesn’t happen.

What also shouldn’t come as a surprise was the outcome of this game: a 2-0 loss to Arizona, the ninth time the Nationals have been shut out this season, the fifth time with Livan Hernandez on the mound.

It’s hard to imagine another pitcher in the majors having been dealt a tougher hand than Livo, who despite a 3.76 ERA and seven quality starts has just three wins and is tied for the NL lead with seven losses.

“Myself, right on down through the coaching staff and the players, we all feel just terrible about the way we’ve squandered chances to win ballgames when we’ve pitched this well,” manager Jim Riggleman said
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  1. Anonymous - Jun 5, 2011 at 5:05 AM

    No, we're missing a real manager. Just so everyone is clear Pittsburgh the poster child for small market, low budget teams is now 28-29. They also beat the Phillies twice in a row.The Riggleman "smart ball" Nats are? With Ankiel a pitcher who really can't hit starting in CF?Yes, Rizzo is responsible, but this is a roster designed for Riggleman's management style. "Smart Ball", its for losers who have the worst winning percentage of all major league managers since 1900. Its past time for a change …

  2. Anonymous - Jun 5, 2011 at 10:10 AM

    Pittsburg has a good hitting coach in Greg Ritchie. We have a hitting coach who is a good guy.

  3. Anonymous - Jun 5, 2011 at 10:29 AM

    The latest Koufax? Local guy…Joe Saunders. He of the 3-5 record and 4.32 era.Eck has gotta go

  4. Come home soon! - Jun 5, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    Nats have the worst road record in the NL. It was terrible last year also. What does this mean? What are the reasons for being so consistently bad on the road? It's not like we have a great home field fan presence boosting the team when they get back to DC.

  5. Batter Down - Jun 5, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    It'd be easy to blame Eck, but by all accounts he's the hardest working coach in MLB. He did have a Nats' team hitting .268 a couple of years back. And Morse gives him credit for his great month of May—last night's 3 Ks were his own.The batters have to make their own adjustments to the ball coming over the plate; a nice guy like Ankiel may never be able to make them, and hasn't in some 60 odd games in the 2011 season.There were 3 guys in the lineup last night that are bench guys at best, 3 guys still learning what it is to hit in The Bigs, and that leaves 2 guys to carry the load.Hard to blame a hitting coach for that lineup–good or bad.

  6. MicheleS - Jun 5, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    Can Livo sue for non support? This is depressing! We have a couple good games, then take 2 steps back! And I don't blame Eck either… It's the lineup. When your best hitter is on the DL, your second best hitter is in Low A ball learning the game… At some point we are going to be good right?Also would like to give PROPS to McCatty for the job he is doing with the pitching staff. The fact that they haven't publicly called out the hitters is amazing

  7. MicheleS - Jun 5, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    BTW.. Nice Article on WaPo about Strasburg… I was there that night and it was a Great One.. Hopefully we will see him soon.

  8. CBinDC - Jun 5, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    Every year they get to this place and again the " we are better then this" line. Yet again last in the NL and soon last in MLB. And they call this progress. They are a better team in their minds but I was under the impression you should do it out in the 3D time space for it to count. And again again again again again again no one seems to at least talk about the failure, they sure are chatty when the smallest success happens but silence if it goes the usual. A Culture OF LOSING baseball team is their current condition and that is a culture they seem helpless to do anything about.

  9. still waiting....... - Jun 5, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    it is time for Mr Rizzo to get his head outta the draft clouds and make some changes. he will first need to admit he put together a terrible roster. Ankiel is to Riggleman what Weurful was to the Ball coach. he cant stop himself from playing him. Stairs is a black hole of a roster is June, wake up and smell last place!

  10. Manassas Nats Fan - Jun 5, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    You can't convince me that at this stage Ankiel is better than Harper. No way.

  11. still waiting....... - Jun 5, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    there are reasons to keep Harper down on the farm, maturity and arbritration clock among them. there is no excuse for Ankiel facing LHP and Nix not.having Ankiel and Stairs on the ML roster pretty mcuh tells you the position player cubbard is can use the option card on some of the pitchers, but this organization has done a terrible job in placing position players.

  12. Anonymous - Jun 5, 2011 at 1:42 PM

    There has got to be some guys in the minors that could hit better than what we have. we have pitchers with higher avgs then some of these guys. I really think this team will stink for a longggggggg time.

  13. Anonymous - Jun 5, 2011 at 1:44 PM

    CbinDc you hit the nail dead on the head!!

  14. slade - Jun 5, 2011 at 1:55 PM

    Let's see, a former pitcher, Hairston leading off, Bixler, two rookies and one of your best hitters on the bench….not sure that lineup would compete in AA.

  15. Rabbit - Jun 5, 2011 at 2:05 PM


  16. CBinDC - Jun 5, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    Well the continued Culture of Losing extends to the way the team has addressed the fans. Run down every experience that the you have with this team from radio, to TV, to the papers, to the ball park can you say it has been the best or even just good.BTW Mark's reporting has been the little bright spot over all of these years and really welcome the last two years.Here are just a few of the Culture of Losing points of interestThe stadium in recent article was rated 26 out of 30 by the NYTimes.The Post at one point had a beat writer who hated sports.The TV is held hostage by the owner of another team and treats them like 4 class citizens The radio team is great but the stations that have carried treat them as fifth class citizens, the current flagship hosts sneer when they mention the team as if they have a fungus they need to address. The fireworks are replaced with a sub horn to honor a Navy facility that never made subs but did make canon, guns and ships……ohh yeah I could go on but the point is if a Culture of Losing is to be eliminated then these issues need to be addressed also because Harper Stausberg Zimmerman etc will not over come such an deep and pervasive Culture of Losing otherwise all we will be doing is waiting for Godot

  17. Canada's #1 Nats Fan - Jun 5, 2011 at 2:35 PM

    No excuse for having Bixler and Ankiel in the starting line-up instead of Nix and Bernadina just because there was a lefty starting. We need the guys with the highest batting averages in the line-up everyday. Ankiel can be a late-inning defensive replacement, otherwise he shouldn't see the field. Some nights we're beat as soon as Riggs hands in the line-up card.

  18. Gonat - Jun 5, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    Here's the problem, unless you move Werth to CF vs. LHP, the Nats have to play Ankiel or Bernadina in CF. Sorry, Nix isn't going to start vs. LHP in most situations. These multiple posts about the same thing won't change the outcome. Get over it!

  19. Anonymous8 - Jun 5, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    MicheleS said… Can Livo sue for non support? ____________________________Jordan Zimmermann also. JZim has been not only the victim of low run support but his ERA has been beat up at the hands of letting his inherited runners scoring by Slaten & Burnett.Double sucks!

  20. Anonymous8 - Jun 5, 2011 at 2:59 PM

    This isn't about Ankiel or Nix or Riggleman. Situation to blow the game open with the LH Saunders to Michael Morse with 1 out and men on 3rd and 1st and he doesn't get it done and didn't get it done in 2 more clutch situations. You think Nix would have done better?-Charter Member of the Michael Morse Fan Club

  21. UNTERP.NAT - Jun 5, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    Before Flores went down two seasons ago in May, he was leading the team with RBIs. Why, because he is the most clutch player in the organization. He should be the starting catcher, but everybody knows better than I do. Rizzo and Riggleman are plain stupid…

  22. Drew8 - Jun 5, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    The answer to the offensive centerfield play might fall into the Nats' laps at Number 6 Monday evening.Hey Mark: If the Royals take UCLA's Bauer at 5, will the Nats take big cf Bubba Starling at 6 — and fire up Boras on the speed dial — or will they go for the next best college arm?I'd be happy with either Bauer or Starling — both sound like superlative talents — but an eventual outfield of Harper, Starling and Werth is pretty tantalizing.Then again, it still leaves the leadoff spot unresolved.It would be something if the Nats could get 5-tool Starling at No. 6 and still get big Alex Meyer of Kentucky at 23. The Nats also could grab another arm at 34.Draft night will be a lot more fun than this weekend's games.

  23. Richard - Jun 5, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    When I heard that Ankiel actually got a hit last night I felt the same way as I do when I hear that the groundhog sees its shadow: 6 more weeks of winter.

  24. Unkyd - Jun 5, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    Gonat: before I "get over it", please to explain the advantage of having the not-hitting-at-all-and-always-has-trouble-with-lefties Mr. Ankiel hacking the gorse 2-3 times through, over having the HOT bat-over-the-last-few-weeks-always-has-trouble-with-lefties Mr. Nix… When the BPGuy comes in, you still have Nix to bat. And, please stop implying that we're all idiots, when you're making about as much sense as rescuing Stairs from the jaws of the Nats Rapture Shark…..

  25. Unkyd - Jun 5, 2011 at 4:46 PM

    Hmmmm… That would be the First 2-3 times through….

  26. natsfan1a - Jun 5, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    Glad you clarified, Unk. I was just about to Google "hacking the gorse" as I figured it was some esoteric (perhaps golf- or skeet-related) expression I'd not yet come across. I do like the sound of it, "he really hacked the gorse that time." :-)Re. the draft generally, I agree that it will be interesting, but I always thought one did not draft for need?

  27. Unkyd - Jun 5, 2011 at 5:19 PM

    Lol, 1A! I'm gonna have to work "hacking the gorse" into my daily usage, somehow!Re: draft… Sometimes happy happenstance places a team's need at the right spot in the first round. If Starling is there at #6, then a potential 5 tool, plus plus outfielder coming up in a couple if years would be just what the doctor ordered. Especially with pitchers being so plentiful, so they say. I know Pastor Mark has cautioned us about the allure of playing QB at Nebraska, but he doesn't need Boras to get into college. Rizzo and Scotty speak the same language, and if they pick him, I gotta think they have a good chance if signing him.. 'Mon in, Bubba!! The water's fine…..

  28. Richard - Jun 5, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    Signing Bubba away from Nebraska reportedly is going to cost the Nats or whoever does it large $$$ over slot. Do the Nats have the stomach for it after Strasburg and Harper? What with all those big arms available? And we know how Rizzo loves big arms. It'll fun to see. Who do the Nats have in the minor league outfield pipeline that's hitterish, other than our man in Hagerstown? Hmmmm … Seems to be slim pickins'. Maybe that's an argument for Bubba. Ol' Bill Ladson is reporting that the Nats are "still" interested in B.J. Upton if the Rays are interested by the trade deadline. Don't know where Bill comes up with this stuff. Upton slash line is currently .228/.324/.389, so he'd fit right in.

  29. Anonymous - Jun 5, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    Hairston states that he expects the Z-man to play for the Nats for another 10-15 years. I GUARANTEE you that if the Nats continue to be "cellar dwellers," the Z-man will opt for ANYWHERE else but here when he becomes a free agent in 2013. He wants a ring and at the rate the Nats are going, he ain't gonna get it here! Can you blame him?!?!? Expect it!

  30. natsfan1a - Jun 5, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    Thanks, Unk and Richard. Didn't think about the Boras factor.

  31. Anonymous - Jun 5, 2011 at 7:32 PM

    I believe Cincinnati drafted and signed Adam Dunn out of HS with the understanding that he would play football at Texas, too, which he did for a year until the UT moved him to tight end at spring practice, at which point he went with ballball full time. So maybe there are options.





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