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Game 85: Pirates at Nats

Jul 3, 2011, 3:10 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jason Marquis faces Kevin Correia today at Nationals Park.

Despite their obvious struggles at the plate (coughJaysonWerthcoughRyanZimmerman) the Nationals still find themselves in position today to take three of four from the Pirates and get their record back over the .500 mark.

To do that, they'll need to get another quality start out of Jason Marquis, not to mention a couple of timely hits off Kevin Correia (who is shooting for his NL-leading 11th win). Unfortunately, they'll be without one of their top run producers: Michael Morse, who is still feeling the effects of a fastball to the left forearm late in last night's game. X-rays came back negative, but Davey Johnson is still giving Morse a day off.

The other big news of the day is the announcement of this year's All-Star teams. The selection show airs on TBS at noon, and I can assure you it will be watched closely by everyone in the Nationals clubhouse.

Check the homepage for news on the Midsummer Classic, and check back here for updates throughout today's game…

PIRATES at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m.
TV: MASN2
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 188
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 86 degrees, Wind 8 mph out to RF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (42-42)
LF Roger Bernadina
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Matt Stairs

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  1. JaneB - Jul 3, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    Wow. Not Cora at first? No Bixler at first? It seems like a prettttttttty glaring hole in the defense right there. I hope Davey's shot at injecting confidence into Stairs by playing him there pays off. It's giving me a stomach ache.

  2. MicheleS - Jul 3, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    Stairs at first.. hmmm.. need to get the supplies together..Food – CheckAntacid tablets – checkDefibrulator – checkspiked root beer – check..Okay.. I am ready for this

  3. Grandstander - Jul 3, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    The last time Stairs had a start at 1B was 2007. I understand you want to get the guy playing time, but it wouldn't surprise me to see some infield hits down there with the speed of the Bucs. Yeesh.

  4. HHover - Jul 3, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    Wow – those throws to first better not be in the dirt … or wide … or anything but laser guided to Matt Stairs' glove. I do not have a good feeling about this.

  5. Nats fan in NJ - Jul 3, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    Wow, Stairs at first. I'm with Michele re needing supplies in advance of this game. I see several bunts down the first base line for hits in this game…

  6. carolync - Jul 3, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    Stairs played 1st before under Riggleman and did a decent job. I worry about his baserunning should he get a hit. I guess they could then put in Cora or Bixler to pinch run and then play 1st. Course none of the three is going to be able to field the off-target throws from Desmond and Zimmerman like Morse does. He amazed me several times during the doubleheader. Hope it doesn't turn out to be a serious injury.Hoping for some better hitting today. Marquis adds a bat.Go Nats!

  7. ExposedinDC - Jul 3, 2011 at 3:50 PM

    Stairs……..Stairs…….Are you f' in kidding me……I guess I will go the beach after all.

  8. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 3, 2011 at 3:56 PM

    Oh, fer cryin out loud. Suck it UP, people.GYFMSG

  9. Big Cat - Jul 3, 2011 at 3:56 PM

    one thing about Davey……he does things his way and he doesn't care what people think…..unlike Riggs, who saw demons at night in his hotel room.

  10. MicheleS - Jul 3, 2011 at 3:57 PM

    Sec3.. I am with you…You gotta believe People!!!

  11. natsfan1a - Jul 3, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    Second that, sec3. GYFNG! (as well as the, um, vacuum admonition)(And I already had the DVR set up for the ASG selection show. :-))

  12. MicheleS - Jul 3, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    BTW.. if anyone needs a dose of Koolaid.. read Boz this morning.. I want what he is having.

  13. UNTERP.NAT - Jul 3, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    A couple of things: Werth needs to find the little boy in him, not the little league little boy but the sandlot little boy and have some God damn fun. About Zim I., not worried about the arm or the bat; he always goes into a slump every year at the plate and when he comes out of it, watch out. He tore the cover off the ball yesterday, just that the ball was hit at defenders. Desmond needs to move his family to Washington, nuff said…

  14. Wally - Jul 3, 2011 at 4:11 PM

    I am cool with Stairs. he is hitting lately, maybe he can keep it up. Hopefully Mighty Morse is back tomorrow.Allstars today – my prediction is JZimm. Espy if we get two.

  15. Bill B - Jul 3, 2011 at 4:11 PM

    Oh, c'mon, let's give Stairs a chance at first base. Without Morse we have only a couple of bats in the lineup. If Stairs connects, he hits the ball hard. Go Matt! You've converted me! Still no Nix in the lineup. At least Ankiel is hitting again. I agitated for dumping Ankiel in a comment on an earlier post, but maybe that was premature. Maybe, just maybe, Davey knows more about baseball and about the Nats than I do?

  16. Bill B - Jul 3, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    What Wally said about Morse! I'm toying with going to the game tomorrow. I want to see Morse hit! I love that kid!

  17. Anonymous - Jul 3, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    Zimmerman will have four throwing errors today with stairs at first base.

  18. Anonymous - Jul 3, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    Some quick numbers on the light-hitting 2011 Nats:Our team batting average is .232 here at the rough mid-pint of 2010, while we batted .250 for the entire season in 2010. That is a big, big drop.While we had the 6th-highest (in MLB) number of strikeouts as a team in 2010, we have moved "up" to second place for 2011 in this category, with a stunning 665 K's. The Rangers have 491 K's during this same period.Patiently watching so many strikes,especially third ones, has not vaulted us to the top, or anywhere near the top, of the Walks list. We come in at a middling 18 of 30 teams on this comparison.Opposing managers, and pitchers, know what this all means: The Nats pride themselves on watching lots of pitches. If you throw strikes to the Nats, they will watch most of them, hoping in vain for walks, or at least hoping for high number-of-pitches-per-at-bat numbers. Continue to throw them strikes and they will strike out at very high rates, and walk at below-MLB-average rates.The answer here is to swing the damned baseball bat.

  19. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 3, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    Stairs won't be able to finish the game after he takes a bullet throw from Espinosa square on the nose.

  20. Mark'd - Jul 3, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    So is the Nats All Star Morse, Espy, Marquis, Storen or Clip or a major surprise like JZIM.

  21. MIcheleS - Jul 3, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    NatsJack.. LMAO at that one!!!!

  22. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 3, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    It does make for a funny (but sad) visual.

  23. MicheleS - Jul 3, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    CLIPP!!!

  24. N. Cognito - Jul 3, 2011 at 4:34 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… "Stairs won't be able to finish the game after he takes a bullet throw from Espinosa square on the nose."Matt Stairs and Mark Lerner…Separated at birth?

  25. UNTERP.NAT - Jul 3, 2011 at 4:34 PM

    Congratulations Clipp!

  26. MicheleS - Jul 3, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    N Cognito..So TRUE.. that could explain why he is on the team?

  27. Section 222 - Jul 3, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    Carolync– not to worry about Stairs' baserunning. Odds are he won't get any hits. I guess understand DJ's mind games here, but does he really have to bat him cleanup? I wonder how many 0-4 games with 2 Ks we will have to endure before Stairs has recovered his confidence and timing enough to get a key hit. Ok, hopefully that's enough Stairs hate to ensure that he has a good game, or at least not make any crucial errors.

  28. Frediemac - Jul 3, 2011 at 4:38 PM

    No way Espinosa should have been on the squad

  29. Another_Sam - Jul 3, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    Unterp.nat: regarding Werth — I was in the stands yesterday and it looked to me like Werth dogged it just a bit out there on defense. It may have been an odd sun field caused by the unusual start time, or my view of him may have been colored by my opinion of his anemic offensive work lately, though. He did still display that great wing, I admit.

  30. NatsNut - Jul 3, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    Hooray for Clippard!!!

  31. Another_Sam - Jul 3, 2011 at 4:46 PM

    Did I read the current issue of Sports Illustrated correctly: the most that Yogi struck out in any one season was 38 times? Can that be right? I wonder if he's a free agent now?

  32. MicheleS - Jul 3, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    Mike Morse Write in campaign starts NOW!

  33. JaneB - Jul 3, 2011 at 4:51 PM

    I was driving he and feeling bad for posting the way I did.GYFNG! No matter what your name is or what position you are playing today.And

  34. Michael "I thought we discussed this" Morse - Jul 3, 2011 at 4:56 PM

    It's Michael.Not Mike.Not Mickey.Not Mac, Mic, Mikhail, or Mookie.Michael.

  35. UNTERP.NAT - Jul 3, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    Another_Sam said… I don't really think Werth was dogging it as much as I think its a reflection of his overall pit he has dug himself in. This is a game, not life and death. He needs to take some pointers from Pudge and stop taking himself so seriously. Take a leaf out of Davey Johnson's hand book of life and have some fun and smile, damn…

  36. natsfan1a - Jul 3, 2011 at 5:11 PM

    Atta boy, sec 222!Also, congrats to Clippard, and like Morse said, vote early and often. Had hoped Espinosa might get a nod, but I guess he'll just have to settle for ROY. :-) Coupla familiar names in the noteworthy selections category, former Nat Hanrahan and don't-wanna-be-a-Nat Aaron F. Crowe.Section 222 said… Ok, hopefully that's enough Stairs hate to ensure that he has a good game, or at least not make any crucial errors. July 3, 2011 12:37 PM

  37. Big Cat - Jul 3, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    I think Davey just said Werth is gonna hit 5th…..period. That is where he hit with the Phils. Riggs had him all over the place and to Werth's credit, he never complained. i have complained about Werth also, but he is a pro and in the long run will be a huge asset to the club. Hopefully starting today

  38. Big Cat - Jul 3, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    Hmmmmmm…..the Bucs drill Morse pretty good in the forearm. Look for Marquis to get a little wild against McCutcheon today. Tit for tat as they say

  39. Tim - Jul 3, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    I hate playin catchup from the get-go and that's what we've been doing a lot of recently. Can't keep doing this with our offense… unless we have Popeye playing 1B… Oh, wait… we do. ;-)

  40. Drew8 - Jul 3, 2011 at 5:58 PM

    "In order to know virtue, we must first acquaint ourselves with vice." — Marquis de Sade

  41. dj in Fl. - Jul 3, 2011 at 6:02 PM

    Knowbody had Stairs beating out an infield hit.You just never know about this game.

  42. Tim - Jul 3, 2011 at 6:15 PM

    Marquis doesn't know where his pitches are going. Let's beat the Bucs 11-10!

  43. MicheleS - Jul 3, 2011 at 6:15 PM

    So we have Bad Jason today…Drew.. Great.. Marquis de Sade quote!

  44. dj in Fl. - Jul 3, 2011 at 6:15 PM

    Bet Marquis does not throw a tantrum with Davey when he pulls him. His trade value is dropping like a rock as the score soars.

  45. Anonymous - Jul 3, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    Yep, bad Marquis today. ERA over 4 again. Trade bait even if its for less value at this point.

  46. Drew8 - Jul 3, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    They should have invited ExpungeBob.

  47. carolync - Jul 3, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    Stairs appears to be among the least of our worries today!Ugly but the good news is there's lots of game left.Go, Nats!

  48. Tim - Jul 3, 2011 at 6:27 PM

    I think we need a brawl to snap out of this funk. Where's Nyger when you need him?

  49. MicheleS - Jul 3, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    Tim…I believe you called the score….

  50. Anonymous - Jul 3, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    Ahh!! I went downstairs for like 10 minutes and I come back to see it's 8-0 and Balester's pitching! Seems like a return to the Marquis of last season. Come to think of it, his last start wasn't good either… are we sure he's ok? But hey, let's go Wilson Ramos!

  51. here we go again - Jul 3, 2011 at 6:29 PM

    N-Y-J-E-R

  52. TimDz - Jul 3, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    Just got in…stopped at the store to get a six pack…May have to rethink THAT strategy…

  53. Arlington BigFish - Jul 3, 2011 at 6:33 PM

    Jayson Werth is not in a slump. Jayson Werth has completely lost his ability to hit a major league pitch. We've heard of pitchers suddenly lost the ability to throw a strike (Steve Blass, Ankiel). But I can't think of any hitter falling off a cliff — until Werth.

  54. Will - Jul 3, 2011 at 6:39 PM

    TimDz – on the other hand, you'll need that six pack.

  55. Drew8 - Jul 3, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    ArlingtonBigFish said:"I can't think of any hitter falling off a cliff — until Werth."Check out 1980 ROY Joe Charboneau.

  56. Anonymous - Jul 3, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    "I can't think of any hitter falling off a cliff — until Werth."Adam Dunn?

  57. JaneB - Jul 3, 2011 at 8:07 PM

    My summation of this game: it sure hot out there, but in none of the ways I like baseball hot.I'm sorry Werth got drilled, maybe the 15 day DL and then a rehab assignment out of the limelight will be just what he needs. I'm hoping so.There's always tomorrow.

  58. FS - Jul 3, 2011 at 8:20 PM

    I am off to watch a movie. Hopefully we will get on the right track by tomorrow.

  59. Dave - Jul 3, 2011 at 8:25 PM

    @JaneB, I'm not watching the game on TV–been getting updates on the iPhone app while at the pool–but I think you're right. Give Werth a little DL time, which runs right up to the All Star break, and see if he can clear the cobwebs.Obviously pitching wasn't anything to write home about. But I saw the first three games of this series, and starting pitching was decent every time. Marquis is usually good; he's hit some bumpy places in the road the past couple of starts.But if the guys never get hits, or never hit with anybody on base, then there's nothing the pitching staff can do about it.

  60. Tim - Jul 3, 2011 at 9:19 PM

    Only 59 comments here… Seems like we had as much energy as the Nats did.Werth needs to see a shrink while he's rehabbing. Did anybobdy hear when Mighty Morse will be back? Tomorrow, I hope.Davey's record? 2-5 so far?I'm smelling a tailspin. Sorry folks, but I'm not feeling that mojo.

  61. natsfan1a - Jul 3, 2011 at 9:22 PM

    Glad that one's over. At least they didn't have to play two today. Did like Bernie's catch and hustle. Also Ramos' hits. And Balester really stepped up, I thought. Rodriguez didn't get the best backup from his infield, I thought.Re. Tuesday's pitcher for the Cubs, as Ortiz has been known to say himself, unbelievable! (Hope he doesn't no-hit us; or hit a dinger.) :-)And it's still really hot. I'm going for a smoothie.

  62. natsfan1a - Jul 3, 2011 at 9:26 PM

    Tim, it's seemed to me lately that the number of comments tends to be higher when the team is on the road, but I could be wrong.Speaking of seeing shrinks, I read where Dunn went on a golf outing with the White Sox' team guy. Dunn was quoted as saying that the fellow was a pretty good golfer, so that he was under even more stress trying to compete. I can just imagine Adam making up "traumatic" childhood stories to tell the dude – "and that's why the color yellow makes me sad…" :-)

  63. baseballswami - Jul 3, 2011 at 9:28 PM

    Tim – kind of agree about the momentum shift. Lots of changes and experiments going on – things a little shaky. And , sure, I'm buying this — Jayson is just used to hitting 5th, let's just make him comfortable and then everything will just be hunky dory. Anyway – my question to my fellow posters – what do you think of Jayson getting booed a lot now? I heard the White Sox fans killing Dunn when we played out there. Is it just wrong to boo your own guy, or is it a good sign that the nats fans have expectations now? I feel like you shouldn't boo bad luck, but it's ok to boo a lack of effort. Werth is starting to show a distinct lack of effort in the field. I know – we hear all about his work in the cages, but maybe he does need to see a sports psychologist. Is he really open to listening to what people advise him or is he just waiting for it to get better? If he wasn't getting paid so much, would fans still boo him?

  64. gonatsgo - Jul 3, 2011 at 9:34 PM

    natsfan1a – agreed about Bernie and Ramos – they have both been playing well. Missed MM today, hope that heals up for him quickly. Collin Ballester made a good showing today – this might have been his opportunity to show that he can be the long guy that is on the new guy's Dear Santa list,( along with some offense). Is it my imagination or where the crowds loud this weekend? Yesterday's crowd was huge and it sounded loud on tv. Today I could hear cheering even in the last innings. I hope the guys can find some energy and intensity tomorrow against the cubbies – bound to be a lot of chicago fans in the park. GYFNG!

  65. natsfan1a - Jul 3, 2011 at 9:42 PM

    Dunn link. I'm rooting for ya, big guy.http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/6231215-419/white-sox-slugger-adam-dunn-unsure-about-shrinks-game.htmlRe. booing, imo it has nothing to do with changed expectations for the team, as there have been those who have booed individual players ever since the team came to town (remember trying to distinguish whether they were saying "Guz" or "boo"?). I do think there can be a tendency for more ire to be focused on players with big contracts. But it has more to do with the individual (by which I mean the boo-er, not the boo-eee) than with the contract or team record. Again, imho.

  66. NatsLady - Jul 3, 2011 at 10:51 PM

    No boos for Jayson today. Just a collective sigh.

  67. Scooter - Jul 4, 2011 at 5:53 AM

    I was saying "Boo-urns."

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