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Game 89: Cubs at Nats

Jul 7, 2011, 7:30 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats try to complete a four-game sweep of the Cubs tonight.

If you're going to be an above-average team in this league, you've got to be able to consistently beat below-average teams. Which is exactly what the Nationals have been doing this week to the obviously struggling Cubs. They've won the first three games of this series (albeit each by one run) and tonight have a chance to finish off a four-game series sweep.

Livan Hernandez (who has been excellent his last two starts) takes the ball for the Nats. He'll face Matt Garza, who was a potential trade target of the Nationals over the winter and has been OK (but not great) for Chicago.

Couple of changes to the Nats' lineup tonight. Laynce Nix takes a seat, perhaps to rest his sore Achilles' tendon, so Roger Bernadina slides to left field and Rick Ankiel starts in center. Ivan Rodriguez is behind the plate, giving Wilson Ramos the night off.

In other roster news: The Nationals have officially secured optional waivers on Collin Balester. He's reported to Class AAA Syracuse, and he's back on the 40-man roster.

Updates to come…

CUBS at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN2
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 187
Weather: Partly cloudy, 90 degrees, Wind 8 mph out to LF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (45-43)
LF Roger Bernadina
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Michael Morse

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217 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. FS - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:22 AM

    CBinDC, do you hold something against Davey? I think you are being too harsh on the guy. Yes, he is mainly responsible for the loss. But none of our pitchers were spot on to begin with. Yes, he managed this possible win to a loss with having Stairs up. But after his first walk-off hit, even I thought maybe he has turned the corner and deserves few more chances. I just hope Davey knows what he is doing.@the guy who suggested we get rid of Livo, his ERA before that sixth inning was 3.73 (league average I think) and still is a respectable 4.01. Not sure what is wrong with Burnett. Our bullpen is being used too often so ASG can not come sooner.

  2. Manassas Nats Fan - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:24 AM

    When your up 8-0, the manager just needs to manage the momentum, and stop it really quick if it starts the other way. Number 1 job. I didn't see any urgency to slow the momentum. Granted Quade was just as bad in the third inning. It doesn't take rocket science to understand how momendum works. Slowing down doesn't mean necessarily moving someone one, but Ramos needs to go out and settle down the pitcher. Morse or Zim need to come in. Didn't see much of that.Did you notice after Ankiel got hit. Pena immediately was at the mound. He understands slowing momendum.Watched Stairs pop up again. It was a hanging slider. That should have been a piece of cake to drive. What on earth happened there. he simple swung to low.

  3. N. Cognito - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:25 AM

    We could have the combined genius of the best 5 managers in MLB history as our manager, and if we lost, he'd be a horrible manager.We could have a rock as a manager, and if we won, he'd be headed to the Hall of Fame for his managing exploits.

  4. Manassas Nats Fan - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:27 AM

    Dave this looked just like 2008 and 2009, we thought we outgrew that crap.

  5. Anonymous - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:27 AM

    The combined genius of the best managers in MLB history wouldn't have had Matt Stairs batting in the 9th.

  6. Dave - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:28 AM

    @N. Cognito: We could have the combined genius of the best 5 managers in MLB history as our manager, and if we lost, he'd be a horrible manager. We could have a rock as a manager, and if we won, he'd be headed to the Hall of Fame for his managing exploits."+1. Comment of the day.

  7. Grandstander - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:34 AM

    You can defend it all you want, but having Stairs bat over Cora in that situation will remain a stupid move. There's simply no justification.

  8. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_ - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:34 AM

    Burnett will either go on the DL or get Pattersoned by the A-S break. C'mon, Yanks, give us a bag of balls for this guy.And, again, I say: Stares is harder to get rid of than Athlete's Foot in a sauna.Where's all the "accountability" everybody was yakking about in ST?

  9. HHover - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:40 AM

    DaveWorst experience? Not even close.Worst loss? Statistically, maybe so.According to fangraphs, the Nats win expectancy was 99.6% after Livo recorded the 2d out of the 6th. But they somehow managed to seize that 4 tenths of 1 percent chance out of the jaws of victory.That takes some doin'.

  10. Navy Nats Fan - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:48 AM

    Where have I heard that kind of win expectancy before? Oh, right, in the 9th inning against Seattle when the Mariners were at (or above) that number. But we won that one.Yes, DJ blew it tonight. Yes, it sucks. That's baseball. 162 game season, it happens.

  11. Anonymous - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:55 AM

    I think some here are missing the point.If it were possible, your points would be valid if all the right things were done and you still lost the 8-run lead. I don't know if it's possible to do all the right things and lose an 8-run lead though.The problem is there were some glaring pivot points in this game that could have saved it. You have to line up a lot of wrong things to lose an 8-run lead and nobody stopped those things from happening and a lot of us think it could have been done.

  12. JaneB - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:07 AM

    Listen to our brother Dave. He is right about this.

  13. NatsLady - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:10 AM

    It was a bad loss. But a man died in the Rangers stadium in front of his kid, leaning over the stands after he caught a ball. That is really sad, and keeps things in perspective.So it was a bad game.

  14. Drew8 - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:21 AM

    Gosh, I'm sorry to hear about the tragedy in Texas.FYI: Kilgore reports that Baseball America is out with its midseason list of the game's Top 50 prospects.Bryce Harper is No. 1 and Brad Peacock has rocketed from obscurity to No. 42!http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/2011/07/midseason-top-50-prospects-list/

  15. Joe Seamhead - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:23 AM

    Dave, thanks for a touch of sanity. I just got home from the game,which was stunning to lose, but still very entertaining. There's a lot of if's about this game, but one thing I saw from my seats in 311 is it sure looked like Johnson and McCatty were in a heated exchange when Burnett hung that 1st pitch to Pena. Also, things are not looking good with Pudge tonight. He may go on the DL, so are we seeing a Norris in our near future? One last note, I said on an earlier blog that Wang may be a wild card for the Nats after the All Star break and was called out on it by an anon, asking me who he'd replace. J-Zimm will be phased down and Marquis getting traded is almost even money. Wang looked very good tonight by all accounts. I wish him nothing but good luck and truly hope that we have something in him that is close to what he was with the Yankees.

  16. Joe Seamhead - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:57 AM

    I said Norris…maybe Jesus Flores is more likely to be called up.

  17. Anonymous - Jul 8, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    The thing that's becoming very clear is that this team has a tough time playing with a lead. Blown saves, close 1-run games. While I love my Nats, they make it very frustrating with their inability to grab the opportunities (and scoring opportunities) when they present themselves. Do they lack the killer instinct?

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 55 44 --
ATLANTA 55 46 1.0
NEW YORK 48 53 8.0
MIAMI 47 52 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 43 57 12.5
Through Wednesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
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