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Game 61: Nats at Giants

Jun 8, 2011, 1:30 AM EDT

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jordan Zimmermann faces Jonathan Sanchez tonight at AT&T Park.

The Nationals have held late 4-0 leads each of the last two days, only to watch as the opposition rallied to tie and send the game into extra innings. Sunday in Phoenix, they withstood it and emerged victorious in 11 innings. Last night in San Francisco, they couldn't put together another rally and wound up losing in the 13th.

The most encouraging things about both games were the quality performances the Nats got from their starting pitchers: Jason Marquis and John Lannan. They'll hope for a similar performance tonight from Jordan Zimmermann, who has posted six consecutive quality starts, and then hope the lineup can produce against Giants left-hander Jonathan Sanchez.

Jim Riggleman won't be managing tonight's game — he's serving a one-game suspension handed down today by MLB for his role in Sunday's beanball war. Bench coach John McLaren will be running the show, with help from pitching coach Steve McCatty.

I'm not in San Francisco for this series, but based on last night's comments, it appears many of you are staying up late to watch the game. So please enjoy again tonight…

NATIONALS at GIANTS
Where: AT&T Park
Gametime: 10:15 p.m.
TV: MASN2
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 188
Weather: Partly cloudy, 56 degrees, Wind 13 mph out to CF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (26-34)
LF Roger Bernadina
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
1B Michael Morse

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111 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Anonymous - Jun 8, 2011 at 1:36 AM

    Ha – Line-ups! thanks!

  2. JaneB - Jun 8, 2011 at 1:41 AM

    Glad Nix is in. Hope the BP is ready to take the fourth, on.

  3. Gonat - Jun 8, 2011 at 1:43 AM

    Laynce Nix in against the lefty. This should be a good opportunity for him.

  4. SCNatsFan - Jun 8, 2011 at 1:44 AM

    I love draft days… it always gives you hope for the future thinking every pick will pan out.C;mon Zimm, keep getting stronger with each start.

  5. Anonymous - Jun 8, 2011 at 1:44 AM

    Nats – please – 9 innings only, ahead by MORE than 1 run tonight.

  6. TimDz - Jun 8, 2011 at 1:58 AM

    They need to get home…These 10 PM starts are KILLING me…I KNOW I should just go to bed and see the box score in the morning…but I can't…Good thing I have an office without windows and a solid office door (i.e. with no windows…)

  7. FS - Jun 8, 2011 at 2:03 AM

    Yeah I am going to try to be awake but please keep it to 9 innings.Now I can totally understand why ESPN never gives enough coverage to West teams.

  8. TimDz - Jun 8, 2011 at 2:04 AM

    Re-Posting this from a previous thread…hoping to get some feedback:If memory serves, the Nats signed Robbie Ray for above slot, but "only" to the tune of about 700K….I know its early, but this may turn out to be a VERY shrewd above slot signing bonus…What say you, NatsJack? All other insider denizens….feel free to respond…

  9. masnstinks - Jun 8, 2011 at 2:06 AM

    Yawning a lot already…How about some nice offensive fireworks to keep me awake early in the game?

  10. natsfan1a - Jun 8, 2011 at 2:09 AM

    Good luck staying awake, guys. I'm gonna turn in, dreaming of a Nats win for my in-box tomorrow (blows a kiss). ;-)(Fireworks are okay, but only in the top of the innings.)

  11. Unkyd - Jun 8, 2011 at 2:10 AM

    Lots more pitchers, through the first 10… Love that strategy! The ones that pan out, are tradeable commodities….GO NATS!!!!!

  12. FS - Jun 8, 2011 at 2:16 AM

    It has been only six starts, right? Yes, it is awesome to have him pitch this way but still a long way from majors.Insiders who have seen him pitch in person, will be better at replying I think. I am just presenting the age old argument of small sample.

  13. Anonymous - Jun 8, 2011 at 2:39 AM

    There are no words to describe how pathetic Rick Ankiel is with the bat. He is even worse than Matt Stairs.

  14. Manassas Nats Fan - Jun 8, 2011 at 2:45 AM

    RISP 0 for 3. Maybe Eck needs to be suspended not Riggs.

  15. baseballswami - Jun 8, 2011 at 2:46 AM

    Rick Ankiel is also pathetic in the field. He takes terrible routes to the ball and did not read that triple – went all the way to the wall instead of playing the carom.JZim is getting shelled in the second inning. Ugh. OFfense really needs to get cranking.

  16. Les in NC - Jun 8, 2011 at 2:55 AM

    Exactly why is Nix batting 8th tonight? 'Cuz he's a lefty? Last I checked so is the Anchor (Ankiel.)If I were the opposing pitcher, Nix wouldn't get anything close to a decent pitch to hit tonight, not with the pitcher's spot behind him. Who puts one of our best hitter in the 8 hole? So frustrating…

  17. Gonat - Jun 8, 2011 at 2:56 AM

    That is what the 8th inning was like against the Nats last night.

  18. Anonymous - Jun 8, 2011 at 2:56 AM

    Laynce Nix!!! and —Bernie gets plunked.

  19. TimDz - Jun 8, 2011 at 2:57 AM

    Is it just me or did the Bat pitchers learn to bunt bbetween last year and this year?

  20. Anonymous8 - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:01 AM

    Since Riggleman took over he saw how bad it was under Acta.

  21. Anonymous8 - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:02 AM

    for bunting that is.

  22. baseballswami - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:02 AM

    TimDz – I was thinking the same thing – our pitchers are bunting and fielding their positions so much better this year.

  23. TimDz - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:03 AM

    Nat pitchers….stupid auto correct…

  24. Gonat - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:04 AM

    A chance to load on some runs with 2nd and 3rd and 1 out. This has to be the recurring story from this season.

  25. rmoore446 - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:06 AM

    The two strikeouts with runners in scoring position were pitiful. One takes a called strike three and the other swings at a ball at his ankles.

  26. Manassas Nats Fan - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:06 AM

    I wonder how Ecksteon prepares these batters? 1 for 6 RIS now.Espinosa lets one go right over the middle for strike 3.Romos swings at one a foot inside and low.Maybe they all need their eyesight checked, as the team is terrible about this. Not just a few a vast majority.

  27. Gonat - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:16 AM

    Manassas, we must not be watching the same game as the strike 3 to Espinosa was a curve ball low in the zone.

  28. Les in NC - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:18 AM

    Well, well…Nix walks on 4 pitches again… who've thunk it?

  29. Anonymous8 - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:18 AM

    Jordan Zimmermann, nice! Great job by Ankiel!

  30. Sec3MySofa - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:20 AM

    Espinosa took strike three on a curve ball low in the zone. Don't ask me why. Morse swung and missed–and a good thing, too, because he would have broken at least one of his own ankles if his bat had gotten to where the ball was.

  31. TimDz - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:21 AM

    Gotta love the bunt AGAIN by Jordan..

  32. Gonat - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:25 AM

    JZim is not getting the same borderline pitches as Sanchez. That 1st pitch to Desmond was below the knees.

  33. Anonymous8 - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:34 AM

    Another generous strike to Sanchez costs the Nats a walk to Espinosa.Just typical homer umpiring that the Nats never see. Would have been nice to have 1 on and no outs for Morse.

  34. TimDz - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:36 AM

    TWO at bats that Espinosa got FORKED on…No auto correct needed there…

  35. Mark'd - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:41 AM

    Gonat, agree with the ever changing strike zone. Took a while for Carpenter to say it. Dibble would have been going nutz

  36. Anonymous8 - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:45 AM

    There was Nix's opportunity against a lefty with bases loaded and a pitcher missing his spots. Strike 3 swing on a ball in the dirt.

  37. Gonat - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:47 AM

    This becomes easy. Hairston to the DL for the returning Ryan Zimmerman. Matt Stairs gets to stay 15 more days.

  38. Andrew - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:49 AM

    How much is this game like Sanchez back in Washington? Gave the Nats plenty of opportunities and the Nats could only put together 2 runs.

  39. Mark'd - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:52 AM

    Sanchez got too many gifts from the ump and the Nats jitters.

  40. Mark'd - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:54 AM

    Nats jitters and Nats hitters….

  41. Gonat - Jun 8, 2011 at 4:04 AM

    You have to be kidding me. Espinosa looks at a strike 1 right down the middle. Swings and misses badly at strike 2 and then weakly taps back to the pitcher for a 1-6-3 double play.What is it with guys batting in the 3 hole?

  42. FS - Jun 8, 2011 at 4:10 AM

    WOW I feel sorry for fantasy owners who have Danny on their teams. He is having the worst possible night a hitter could have.Nats have stranded too many runners on, once more against JS. Last time we did that, they made us regret it. Let us hope we can hold to this lead until game is over or add more runs and win it.

  43. Gonat - Jun 8, 2011 at 4:19 AM

    Amazing the Nats aren't warming up anyone. Even though Jordan is doing well, I don't get it as you have Clippard good to go tonight.

  44. Drew8 - Jun 8, 2011 at 4:20 AM

    We've seen this movie too many times….

  45. Anonymous8 - Jun 8, 2011 at 4:21 AM

    JZim really deserves a double play here.

  46. Andrew - Jun 8, 2011 at 4:23 AM

    What a quick throw by Ramos and pick by Espinosa on the caught stealing! HUGE!!!!!

  47. Anonymous8 - Jun 8, 2011 at 4:33 AM

    Now I know why Nix isn't in vs. lefties pitchers. 5 of the 6 strikes in the last 2 K's were swing and misses.Ankiel isn't much better but he got that nice double and scored on the squeeze.

  48. Gonat - Jun 8, 2011 at 4:36 AM

    Clippard doesn't get the call on the pitch Sanchez got all night. Typical.

  49. Gonat - Jun 8, 2011 at 4:38 AM

    Need a double play here!

  50. FS - Jun 8, 2011 at 4:39 AM

    LOL @ Drew8's comment. Hilarious dude.What I am interested in is a comparison of this lineup to Washington Senators's lineup when Walter Johnson used to pitch in DC.

  51. Anonymous8 - Jun 8, 2011 at 4:42 AM

    Great job Clippard!!!

  52. Gonat - Jun 8, 2011 at 4:45 AM

    So, do the Nats bring in Burnett to face the lefty Huff to start off the 9th?Espinosa gets a hit, albeit a bunt hit!

  53. Andrew - Jun 8, 2011 at 4:53 AM

    YES!!!! Very nice Nats pitching tonight! Jordan Zimmermann with another gem!!!

  54. Ankiel Strikes Out, Hairston's Next - Jun 8, 2011 at 4:53 AM

    Cheddar Onion McChicken!!!!

  55. TimDz - Jun 8, 2011 at 4:57 AM

    Nice win tonight boys… I can actually get to bed at a reasonably sane hour…

  56. Drew8 - Jun 8, 2011 at 4:58 AM

    Yessir! And it's two hours ahead of last night's bedtime.I wish we didn't have Maya Angelou on the mound Wednesday. But as that famed scout Scarlett O'Hara used to say: "I'll worry about that tomorrow."

  57. FS - Jun 8, 2011 at 5:11 AM

    Drew8, it is already tomorrow on this side.Anyways, JZ won us this game. Otherwise, our hitters were ready to disappoint us once more.

  58. Anonymous - Jun 8, 2011 at 5:18 AM

    Ankiel isn't much better but he got that nice double and scored on the squeeze. Ankiel is hitting .197. Its going to get worse not better. Isn't that great a fielder but he does have an awesome arm. One tool. He's far and away a worse outfielder than Austin Kearns and look how everyone railed against him? The guy is a bench player he should never have been made a starter … he didn't earn it in ST. Riggleman's cronyism wins the day again … and people want them to extend Riggleman? So, he can bring in even more fading, half-baked veterans from the various organizations he's worked in? So that he can pencil them into the starting lineup and let fans watch their team finish with a .441 winning percentage max? The lowest in major league history?Not for me thank you.

  59. Drew8 - Jun 8, 2011 at 5:56 AM

    A story from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram includes a statement from lefty Matt Purke, the Nats' 3rd round pick. The statement was released by TCU, so it's not from the Horned Frog's mouth, but at least it sounds like the kid is willing to listen.BY STEFAN STEVENSONsstevenson@star-telegram.comTCU sophomore Matt Purke was among four Horned Frogs selected Tuesday in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.Purke was chosen by the Washington Nationals with the 96th pick in the third round. He's the fifth-highest draft pick under TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle."The Nationals are an up-and-coming organization and they are doing a lot of good things," Purke said in a statement released by TCU. "I am excited to do business with them. It's always a good thing to be drafted and there's never a bad day when you are selected."Purke, who battled a sore shoulder to a 5-1 record, was 16-0 as a freshman in 2010. The Texas Rangers drafted Purke 14th overall out of Klein High School in the 2009 draft, but after negotiations faltered, he decided to attend TCU."I knew what to expect," Purke said. "This time around, I know how it works. You can't predict how these things are going to happen. As a player you are taught to take things in your hands, but in this situation you have to just let things happen."In two seasons, Purke is 21-1 in 31 appearances, including 29 starts. He has a career ERA of 2.61, including 1.71 in 522/3 innings in 2011. He struck out 203 batters with 54 walks in two seasons."He is certainly more talented than the slot he was drafted but we all understand the many facets that go into these things," Schlossnagle said. "We support Matt in any decision he chooses to make and would certainly welcome him back to TCU if he decides to return."

  60. Big Cat - Jun 8, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    Here's a question. When was the last time the Nats were absolutely blown out in a game. I don't remember. I would have to check the stats. So every night we are competitive. This is a very good sign. We are heading in the right direction. Rizzo knows what wins…..its pitching and defense.So what if Harper blew a kiss at the pitcher. They plunked him in the knee the night before. I like the kids moxy

  61. natsfan1a - Jun 8, 2011 at 10:31 AM

    Yay! A happy game results email. Will get to watch today's game as it's at a decent hour (dang West Coast road trips). So far 3-3 for the trip is not to shabby, imho.

  62. natsfan1a - Jun 8, 2011 at 10:33 AM

    Um, "too" shabby. I need some coffee, and I didn't even stay up late.

  63. sjm308 - Jun 8, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    @Anon at 1:18AM – if its not for you, why do you keep posting the same old thing time after time. We get it, Riggs plays NO ONE but his favorites, he needs to go!!!!! and "its not for you" but you keep posting. I like what Big Cat just said, we are competitive, we stay in ball games. We are catching the ball so much better than last year and I have to believe our pitching has also improved. More important, I look in the dugout and see teammates who really look like they like each other and play the game hard. Some of that is the manager. We all realize we need to hit better and yes, Ankiel would be a better than average 4th outfielder since he can play all 3 positions but that is not our call. All I can do is root for the guys Riggs puts on the field and I think its a better product than last year. Thank you very much.Go Nats

  64. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 8, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    Big Cat… that's exactly what I said after the Padres series when everybody was blasting the organization. This team was built to be highly competitive and, hopefully, figure out how to win. No one expected a playoff team. I have also stated that the team that broke camp would not be the same team that finished the season. I expect the team that finishes the season to be better than the team we have now.Once Ankiel, Stairs, Gaudin, Slaten, Maya, Hairston and Pudge are replaced, you'll see an even more competitive team.Anybody notice that Brad Peacock had one of his worst outings last night? Yet it was still a good outing, just not great like his others.

  65. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 8, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    sjm308…. did you remind him that Riggs didn't even manage last nights game? That it was McLarren?

  66. sjm308 - Jun 8, 2011 at 11:52 AM

    NatsJack – of course, now I know why we won, Riggs wasn't even in the dugout (ha,ha). I almost apologized immediately for ranting at another poster (even if I don't know his name) I really do like reading other opinions about the team and I also realize we are not perfect and baseball lends itself to constant critiquing. I really do get tired of hearing (fill in the name) must go!! Of the players you listed as being replaced I can't argue with any but wouldn't you like to see Pudge hang around just for the value of his attitude, knowledge and he actually still can catch? I realize he could fall off fast at 39 and I also realize we have two young catchers coming on but I do like having Pudge on this team. Win tonight and we will have won 2 out of 3 series against good teams and split the 3rd.Go Nats

  67. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 8, 2011 at 12:02 PM

    sjm308… of everbody on that list, Pudge is the one that brings the most positives. If can accept the fact that he will not reach 3,000 hits, then maybe we can keep him in some bench coach capacity, but as long as that's his driving force, we can't have him taking up a roster spot for the next 5 years.

  68. Anonymous8 - Jun 8, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    Getting no sleep is great when the Nats win. FP Santangelo has impressed me. In the post-game, he said a lot of what Big Cat said.I say they play to the level of their competition.The Nats got lucky last night as they brought JZim out for the 7th and he put a guy on 1st. A botched hit and run with the caught stealing at 2nd was the biggest play in the game as the air got sucked out of San Fran after that.Clippard was available and pitched his ONE inning. Storen pitched his best ONE inning of the season.The Nats had to have this win. For all the Ankiel haters, he got it done last night. Double and winning run scored. Many good jumps coming in on balls. @NatsJack writes: Once Ankiel, Stairs, Gaudin, Slaten, Maya, Hairston and Pudge are replaced, you'll see an even more competitive team.I agree with NatsJack but we have been saying that since Game #1. A poorly constructed bench and bullpen. I can live with Pudge playing 1 to 2 days a week, just hard to get Monday's game out of my mind as he looked bad. The rest are horrible and re-treads like Stammen can be added to that list.Antonelli needs to be brought up. He is on fire in Syracuse. He can take Hairston's spot as he is ready for the DL. It took McClaren 3 innings to see the guy hurt himself.Jordan Zimmermann was great again. His pitching to contact strategy is working well. While it looks like he is throwing fastballs right over the plate, only 2 Giants got any bats on him. The defense again was brilliant.

  69. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 8, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    And I've got to rant one more time on the fact that the Florida Marlins can call up a AA starting pitcher from Jacksonville with a 3.54 ERA, put him on the bump against the Atlanta Braves, get 6 innings of 1 hit (albeit a HR) and 1 run ball, why oh why do we have to put up Yunesky Maya?…. and why is Garrett Mock, Atahualpa Severino and even Adam Carr still on the 40 man roster. I can see several 40 man spots opening up when it becomes apparent that Wang can't break a pane of 1/4" glass, and Gaudin and Slaten are washed up. We definitely are carrying some dead wood on the 40 man.

  70. joemktg - Jun 8, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    1) Marquis' appeal: delaying a 5 day suspension puts his next start in jeopardy. Why screw around with the rotation? Take the "medicine" and fix things during the Diamondbacks visit to NP.2) Can Zimmermann please teach Lannan how to bunt?

  71. Big Cat - Jun 8, 2011 at 12:17 PM

    So you get the team playing close ballgames every night. Then you need a good manager to juggle the bullpen, pinch hitters and know when to play small ball. Does anybody know our record in 1 run games?

  72. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 8, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    hey "8"… you are correct on Antonelli but the Nats have to clear a spot on the 40 Man…. hence my previous rant.

  73. Manassas Nats Fan - Jun 8, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    There have only been 5 games that the Nats were blown out (at least in my definition.April 3 Braves 11-2Cardinals April 21 5-0April 23 Pirates 7-2May 21 Orioles 7-2May 23 Brewers 11-3For the record they play at home June 21 and 23 against the mariners. (as I had noticed a pattern)

  74. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 8, 2011 at 12:27 PM

    And to the poster commenting on the teams improvement in the bunting department (sans Lannan)… sorry to inform all the Eckstein haters but put that one squarely on his shoulders. I watched 2 weeks worth of ST starting 2 days BEFORE pitchers and catchers reported and it was a daily drill for well over an hour each day with ever pitcher in camp spread over 4 fields. And even after the regular ST games started you coud hear the bat hitting the ball on the short PFP field behind right field and the covered batting cages at Space Coast Stadium where every pitcher not throwing that day continued the bunting practice.

  75. Mark'd - Jun 8, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    Anon8, right you are but stranding so many RISP and guys at 3rd with less than 2 outs and making Saunders look like Cy Young II is frustrating.Also, small ball scored the winning run.

  76. Manassas Nats Fan - Jun 8, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    @ joemktgThe appeal will no win, the way to do the whole thing is easy start the suspension the day after his next start. When his turn comes up (it will be the 5th day) Stammen does that start and Marquis pitches the next day. ALl other starters will get a one day extra rest where at this time they could use the extra day.

  77. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 8, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    Big Cat…. I've got us at 7 – 13 in one run games and 4 – 6 in two run games. That leaves us at 16 – 15 in games decided by 3 runs or more.

  78. joemktg - Jun 8, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    Manassas Nats Fan: that makes sense, and given the scheduled off days on the 13th and the 20th, it may not interfere at all with the rotation.NatsJack: damn sin that they've wasted that ST work by not continuing the focus during the season.

  79. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 8, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    Manassa Nats Fan… or you could insert Stammen and skip Zimmermann for one start (depending on how the teams playing) thereby extending Zim a little further into August/September.

  80. Andrew - Jun 8, 2011 at 12:47 PM

    Manassas, you are correct and that is the strategy but they have an off day Monday so all starters can stay on schedule and move Lannan ahead of Marquis so essentially Marquis gets 1 extra day of rest.

  81. Big Cat - Jun 8, 2011 at 12:50 PM

    11-19 in games decided by 2 runs or less. How about extra inning games? I think you know what I'm getting at here don't you?

  82. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 8, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    joemktg….. ???? the whole teams ability to bunt is MILES better than it's ever been in the past. Nobody gets down every bunt every time in game conditions.In the past, even when the other team was consceding the out, we couldn't execute.

  83. masnstinks - Jun 8, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    So it's not my imagination – most of our games are scary-close. Once again, the pitching and defense are there, we're horrible with risp, the game stays close, sometimes we win, sometimes they win. The Nats – vintage 2011. This team also seems to have a very tenacious, competitive feel – mentally tough. Building blocks – got some – need more.

  84. baseballswami - Jun 8, 2011 at 1:03 PM

    Before the season started, we thought our key players/hitters/leaders were going to be Zimmerman, Werth, LaRoche — look at last night's game, and a lot of the season so far – is that what you see? I , for one, did not see this coming – the way our team is right now. I did not see the pitching being this good, I did not see Nix being so solid, or the younger guys being the leaders. This game is truly not predictable. Leadership is not something you can bestow on someone or pay them for – it just happens. I love the idea that we will be watching Danny with his competitive fire, Desi with his super-improved defense, MM, Ramos the beast and JZim and Storen for a long time!

  85. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 8, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    Big Cat…. yes but I'm with masnstinks…. it's more about our inability to hit with runners in scoring position. The Nats have been beaten 1 – 0 twice, 2 – 0 once, 3 – 0 twice and 2 – 1 three times. That's 6 games where timely hitting would make a major difference.

  86. Big Cat - Jun 8, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    Yes Swami….and don't forget about Strasburg. And you just know some of these young kids we are drafting are gonna race thru the minors. Lannan, Zim and Kimball all were in Potomac and in the bigs a year later. Rizzo is a solid GM who is a good judge of talent. So glad Bowden is gone

  87. Big Cat - Jun 8, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    Yeah, the RISP thing is almost comically bad. I have never seen anything like it. Boy when Morse hit that one to rightcenter the other night for 2 rbi's I almost wet my pants.I feel like the old guy in Damn Yankees who says "I'd sell my soul for a long ball hitter." and My Favorite Martian appears. Only with me, it would be Mannassas Nats Fan who would appear

  88. fpcsteve - Jun 8, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    A couple of Syracuse-related notes… Corey Brown didn't hit in the A's farm system, and it doesn't look like he will hit here either. And Balester got lit up last night. The next pitcher to come up from Syracuse may be Mattheus. It's unfortunate, but the Nats seem to have a few pitchers who offer us hope for the future and then take it away. Balester was looking good for a while but not so good recently. Antonelli is interesting. Hit for the Padres' AAA ball club but not so much in the bigs. He is hitting at Syracuse. Will he here? Good question. Just a couple of thoughts…

  89. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 8, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    As for the draft, Purke could be an absolute steal if we can sign him. The Nats also drafted a 6'8, 230 lb. RH pitching high school kid out of Biloxi, Mississippi deep into the later rounds that could be a diamond in the rough. I watched his video and, for his size his mechanics looked really good.

  90. natsfan1a - Jun 8, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    Speaking of Syracuse, and for those who have MLB Network as I do, the Louisville-Syracuse game is scheduled to air live at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday.

  91. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 8, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    fpcsteve… check Balesters stats for last night and while he gave up 5 hits in .1 innings, it appears that he gave up the triple that scored the inherited runners from Atalhaupo and the 4 singles that scored the triple and one other run. Quite possibly 4 singles leading to one additional run indicates bleeders or infield hits so, while he certainly was unsuccessful, I wouldn't classify him as a total failure as yet.

  92. Richard - Jun 8, 2011 at 1:51 PM

    On the topic of the minors, sad to note that our friend Garrett Mock got lit up for 3 runs in the 1st inning last night in Binghamton and ultimately went 4 innings giving up 4 ER. The Senators went on to score 5 in the last inning to win 7-6 to sweep a DH. … Two affiliates doing well, two not so much.

  93. Manassas Nats Fan - Jun 8, 2011 at 1:52 PM

    @ Big Cat. Ray Ralston a classic,

  94. Drew8 - Jun 8, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    Way, way off topic, here's something to chew on along with the morning granola.Johnny Damon is going to the Hall of Fame. I know it sounds counterintuitive — or just plain bats, if you prefer. But at 37 the guy is getting into some very serious company. Consider:* Damon now has 2,637 base hits. Within a year he'll join the 47 players with 2,800. Of those 47, only two who are eligible for the Hall of Fame are not in — Harold Baines (bum knee) and Rafael Palmeiro (bum).* Damon has 1,590 runs scored. With 80 more he'll be in the top 30 players all time. Of those 30 players, the only 5 who are not in the Hall are not eligible (Jeter, AROD, Biggio, Bonds, Rose).* Damon has 497 career doubles, currently 57th and rising fast. To put 497 doubles in perspective: Ruth had 506; Mays 523; Ted Willliams 525.Like Phil Niekro and Don Sutton, Damon is quietly building a good case based on career value, not peak value. Importantly for Damon, he still has a starting job and he's hitting .288. If he plays another year or two, he will be way up on the all-time leader boards.You heard it here first — the Caveman is going to Cooperstown.

  95. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 8, 2011 at 2:06 PM

    Drew8… we (my bar buddies) do this all the time and Damon has received a thumbs up from us based on his projected numbers (2 more seasons).We certainly aren't first ballot proponents but do see him getting there on the 3rd or 4th year.

  96. Bowdenball - Jun 8, 2011 at 2:10 PM

    Ankiel Strikes Out, Hairston's Next said… Cheddar Onion McChicken!!!!Absolutely brilliant. They should use this instead of "another curly W…" for all future Zimmermann starts.

  97. fpcsteve - Jun 8, 2011 at 2:29 PM

    NatsJack, what is the timeline for Norris? Anf Flores's future with the Nats? Who finishes the season at Syracuse? Seems to me Flores would be part of a trade package (doing OK but not great). He has proven that he is back and healthy. OTOH, I wouldn't make Norris a part of any trade package. What do you think? Interesting because Ramos seems set for the near future.

  98. Steve M. - Jun 8, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    Here's what I love about baseball and football. You can usually look back to 1 or 2 plays that were key plays (positive and negative) that were game changers. You can do the same with a team strategy, physical or mental error, and use of personnel.Over the weekend, a big strategical personnel mistake was made on Sunday on how the bullpen was used. The effects were then felt on Monday as Clippard was unavailable due to overuse.Last night, I still believe JZim should have finished his night strong in the 6th. They brought him out for the 7th and somehow, the Nats got the break on the swinging miss on the hit & run and Ramos showed his gun off with the quickest release in the Majors and Espinosa dug the ball out. That was 1 of the 2 key plays I refer to.Then you bring in your Clip for the 8th which you didn't have on Monday due to his being overworked on Sunday.This bullpen has to be better defined. Outside of Storen closing, it seems to be piecing these guys together. Is Coffey a stopper or a 1 inning guy or both and same for Clippard?Sunday's debacle win took these relievers out of what I think is defined roles and the same for Monday's loss.Last night was defined roles but why wasn't Coffey up throwing last night as soon as a man got on base if he is a stopper. I saw Burnett and Clippard get up.When you are in so many close games, this bullpen is going to make you or break you and you can't derivate (much) from the plan. Have Coffey, HenRod and Burnett as your situational stoppers. Have Clippard as your 8th inning guy and Kimball as your 7th inning guy and give Storen the closers title. That leaves one guy as your long man and that becomes Stammen or Maya or someone else once Gorzo gets back.And I watched last nights game and saw Nix get walked twice on 4 pitch walks and after that he looked horrible. He did nothing in the field so what am I missing? Ankiel has proven to be the old Willie Harris and slightly better. This team really needs a RH outfielder other than Werth. My suggestion is get Chris Marrero in here so on nights like last night Michael Morse can play outfield.

  99. Mark'd - Jun 8, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    SteveM, good question on defined roles for the 'pen. Heck, they don't even want to name Storen the closer.Do most team other than the Braves have defined roles. Outside of your closer some teams have setup relievers.Also, I don't like either name for long man but certainly don't want Gaudin or Slaten back here either.

  100. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 8, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    fpcsteve…. depends on the trading partner and what the Nats are offered in return. If the partner is looking for immediate catching help, then Flores goes and the Nats will receive prospects but if the Nats are seeking an everyday guy whether its an outfielder or a starter, most likely Norris would be in the trade as he has the higher upside. There are other solid catchers in the system but Norris's bat would be hard to give up.Norris needs to catch everyday in order to continue his progress so I find it hard to see him as a catcher in our organization in the forseeable future.

  101. Manassas Nats Fan - Jun 8, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    After studying the schedule.Wednesday MayaThursday Livo Friday Marquis (then go on suspensionSaturday LannenSunday JzimTuesday Maya/Stammen/GonzoWednesday Livo Thursday Lannen (Marquis' suspension is up)Friday MarquisSaturday Jzim Sunday Maya/Stammen/GonzoTuesday LivoWednesday LannenThursday MarquisFriday JZimSince JZim is on an inning count they can have Stammen or Maya start the next JZim slot after GOnzo is back.

  102. Steve M. - Jun 8, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    Mark'd, I know that Clippard is valuable but do you want him as your 8th inning guy or the guy that puts out the fire if you have Coffey, Burnett and HenRod for that role?You can't overuse Clippard. This team doesn't have pitchers throwing complete games and rarely are you getting through the 6th inning. Why not have your 7th inning guy, 8th inning guy and closer defined.Then define your specialty guys. They got Clippard up in the 7th with Burnett and my point was that overuses Clippard. His effectiveness drops when he is used multiple innings.

  103. fpcsteve - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:01 PM

    NatsJack, you're right; Norris is blocked. In that case, Flores is the keeper, and Norris goes. But the return has to be big. In your opinion, how much would Norris fetch in a trade? Just for the sake of conversation, who (as an example) would he bring in return?

  104. Water23 - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    Steal of the draft in the 30th Round! I guess getting Bryan was a way of making Bryce feel better?

  105. masnstinks - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    SteveM – agreed that you don't want to overuse Clip – but he is a very unique pitcher in that he actually pitches better when he pitches more often. Coffey, maybe because he is older, also seems to be ok with lots of work – this year's Miss Iowa?

  106. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    May I chime in? @fps re : Norris's value … Ramos for Capps may be your benchmark. Re: defined roles… yes, but–these guys aren't robots. 1. They can't pitch in every game. And as was noted, the games have been mostly close. 2. On a given day, maybe sonebody isn' close to 100%, for reasons the team doesn't want public. We don't always know what they know.

  107. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:30 PM

    *somebody isn'tClearly, I'm not.

  108. Steve M. - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    masnstinks said… SteveM – agreed that you don't want to overuse Clip – but he is a very unique pitcher in that he actually pitches better when he pitches more often. Coffey, maybe because he is older, also seems to be ok with lots of work – this year's Miss Iowa? June 8, 2011 11:25 AM Yes, but keep him no more than an inning a day to keep the trouble away.

  109. natsfan1a - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    I must be dense because I still don't get it.Bowdenball said… Ankiel Strikes Out, Hairston's Next said… Cheddar Onion McChicken!!!! Absolutely brilliant. They should use this instead of "another curly W…" for all future Zimmermann starts. June 8, 2011 10:10 AM

  110. Steve M. - Jun 8, 2011 at 3:59 PM

    I am the same way. I saw the advertisement behind home plate for the Cheddar Onion McChicken in the 7th or 8th inning but what is your reference about.

  111. Drew8 - Jun 8, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    1A and Steve:"Ankiel strikes out" was alluding to the phrase "Winner, Winner chicken dinner!"It comes from Las Vegas. Winning on a $2 bet paid enough for the $1.98 chicken special.The gag is the reference to the McChicken ad visible behind the plate in San Fran.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 90 64 --
ATLANTA 76 78 14.0
NEW YORK 75 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 80 16.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 84 19.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Saturday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (5) 90 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 88 67 2.5
ST. LOUIS 87 68 3.5
-------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 70 6.0 +1.0
PITTSBURGH 83 71 7.0 --
MILWAUKEE 80 75 10.5 3.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Saturday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
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.
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