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Game 96: Nats at Astros

Jul 18, 2011, 9:00 PM EDT

US Presswire file photo
Minute Maid Park hosts the Nationals for the next three days.

After an eventful weekend in Atlanta that featured both positives and negatives, the Nationals continue their road trip in Houston, where the Astros boast the majors' worst record and have lost 16 of 19. Quite simply, this is the kind of series the Nats have to win if they've truly made that all-important leap into the fringes of contention.

Davey Johnson fields his regular lineup, with Wilson Ramos back behind the plate after getting yesterday off and Laynce Nix in left field. He's also got an important bench piece back, with Jerry Hairston activated off the DL after missing three weeks with a fractured wrist.

The Astros send rookie Jordan Lyles (a promising right-hander) to the mound for his ninth career start. Lyles, a first-round pick in 2008, is still in search of his first big-league win.

I'm not on the rest of this road trip, but please keep the conversation going as always here…

Where: Minute Maid Park
Gametime: 8:05 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 185
Weather: Partly cloudy, 89 degrees, Wind 9 mph out to LF

CF Roger Bernadina
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Michael Morse

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240 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. masnstinks - Jul 19, 2011 at 2:58 AM

    The more I watch Storen the more impressed I am by him. Most closers are older and much more experienced. He is just so poised and calm in a very high-pressure job. He also seems extremely bright( Stanford) and articulate. He looks young and not at all intimidating, but that is just so deceptive as many a batter has discovered. It just makes you proud to be a Nats fan when you see players like him.

  2. JaneB - Jul 19, 2011 at 2:58 AM

    Navy Nats, Thanks for that replay. It remains one of the worst plays and the best calls in Nats history.

  3. Anonymous8 - Jul 19, 2011 at 2:58 AM

    If I am Davey, here's how I handle tomorrow to keep JZim fresh. I tell him you only get 6 innings unless you are throwing a no-hitter. Then Detwiler comes in for 2 innings and Storen to finish the game.

  4. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 19, 2011 at 2:59 AM

    Gonat, do you remember what happened to the last guy who took Marquis out of a game too early?

  5. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 19, 2011 at 3:01 AM

    Storen: I'm wrong a lot, but I said at the draft two years ago, Drew Storen was the kid to watch.

  6. Gonat - Jul 19, 2011 at 3:05 AM

    Sec 3, LMAO. Oh yes and it was the 4th inning when Riggles pulled him.Before Riggleman saw what happened in the top of the 5th, he yanks him immediately at the end of the 4th. Rookie mistake by Riggleman not to see what would transpire. On a 1 run lead as shakey as Marquis looked that day, if it stayed that way after the top of the 5th, Riggleman should have pulled him then. Instead, Nats score 6 runs in the top of the 5th to take it to 7 runs and cost Marquis a W. I think it is Marquis fire that gets these guys going. He is the type of guy over his career that his teams score for and get wins.

  7. Joe Seamhead - Jul 19, 2011 at 3:05 AM

    Man, I'll take Jason Lyles on my team any day. That kid will be tough if they don't keep leaving him in for over a hundred pitches. Not bad for a 20 year old kid. What a rip by Morse! As to Jason Werth, Son, I think that you need an exorcist. Wow, what a bonehead move that was, or were you trying to make up for not hitting into a double play, and showing us all a new way to get yourself into one?,

  8. sjm308 - Jul 19, 2011 at 3:06 AM

    Gonat: has everyone forgotten that Todd Coffey was and has pitched pretty well the last few weeks but for some reason he has not thrown in four games? Detwiler was also fresh but Coffey would have been my choice. Agreed that everyone else was used up yesterday but what is the deal with Coffey??Zimmnn will only go 6 or 7 tomorrow but hopefully we will have a nice lead and Davey can mix and match since everyone should be available.

  9. sjm308 - Jul 19, 2011 at 3:08 AM

    Davey just mentioned that Coffey was rested so at least he is not hurt. Not sure why he wasn't used in the 8th but it worked.

  10. Gonat - Jul 19, 2011 at 3:13 AM

    Watching the Yankees/Rays game. BJ Upton now batting .236 and in this game struck out 3 times, hit into 1 double play and 1 flyout.Plays in another hitters park. I just don't see it.

  11. Gonat - Jul 19, 2011 at 3:17 AM

    sjm308 said… Gonat: has everyone forgotten that Todd Coffey was and has pitched pretty well the last few weeks but for some reason he has not thrown in four games? Detwiler was also fresh but Coffey would have been my choice. Agreed that everyone else was used up yesterday but what is the deal with Coffey??Zimmnn will only go 6 or 7 tomorrow but hopefully we will have a nice lead and Davey can mix and match since everyone should be available. July 18, 2011 11:06 PM____________________________Someone said that Coffey was banged up so something is up with that. I see your other comment that Davey said he was available.

  12. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 19, 2011 at 3:19 AM

    Did we discuss this already? one (1) FREE Upper Right Field Terrace ticketORUse your FREE birthday ticket for one (1) special seat upgrade opportunity: One (1) Upper Infield Gallery ticket for just $5 (an $18 value) One (1) LF/RF Mezzanine ticket for just $10 (a $30 value) One (1) LF/RF Corner ticket (Field Level) for just $15 (a $36 value)

  13. NatsLady - Jul 19, 2011 at 3:25 AM

    Too late, I already bought my tickets for September…. Oh, well.

  14. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 19, 2011 at 3:25 AM

    And while we're on the subject: this is cold, but funny.Get an Ice Cold 16oz Pabst Blue Ribbon for Werth's Batting Duffy's is in DC, close to the 9:30 club. Some of you already know the joint.Facebook:

  15. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 19, 2011 at 3:26 AM

    that's Sunday, for the Dodgers game, btw

  16. A DC Wonk - Jul 19, 2011 at 3:47 AM

    It's amazing that the three winning runs were scored because of fielder positioning.The game-winning hit was because the 2d baseman was holding Bernadina on too close, and he didn't get back to the gap fast enough.The next two runs scores on a bouncer that would have been an easy play for the first baseman, except with the infield in, it bounced over his head.But — we'll take it!A really superb game by Marquis and Storen.

  17. RickH - Jul 19, 2011 at 3:54 AM

    Sec 3 … hilarious!

  18. Cwj - Jul 19, 2011 at 4:01 AM

    @Gonat- Probably because Detwiler would have been clobbered and then we'd all be blaming Davey for a loss :-)

  19. JaneB - Jul 19, 2011 at 4:17 AM

    Not only do we miss Marks live blogging, we miss the gamer, too.

  20. Scooter - Jul 19, 2011 at 4:41 AM

    Yeah, I really wish they'd let him go on more road trips. Though these games do let me catch up to the rest of y'all on the comments.Good observation, Wonky-Wonk.

  21. nats guy - Jul 19, 2011 at 4:55 AM

    Hey Eugene in Oregon,Do u truly live in Eugene, Oregon. I live in Corvallis and there aren't very many Nats fans in Oregon.

  22. Drew8 - Jul 19, 2011 at 5:15 AM

    If you haven't seen Kilgore's interview with Rizzo this evening, it ends with the following two graphs:“You always trade from depth and strength,” Rizzo said. “We feel that we’ve put together some depth at certain positions.”One example: With middle infielder Stephen Lombardozzi playing well at Class AAA Syracuse, and infielder Anthony Rendon having been drafted with the sixth overall pick this year, the Nationals could be more willing to part with shortstop Ian Desmond.(Yes, Desmond made a dandy throw tonight. That's great. I'm just saying that Lombo and Rendon are both fine fielders, and Rendon will be a much better hitter.)As for Marquis, of course I'm glad that he pitched well tonight, that the Nats won and that Marquis dropped his career ERA from 4.53 to 4.52.To paraphrase that famed scout, Popeye, they am who they am.P.S. Bad night down on the farm. Robbie Ray gave up 3 ER and 4 walks in 2.3 innings.Harper dropped sub-Mendoza at .194. Some poor sap is going to get hurt when he breaks out.Prediction: Harper breaks out this weekend in Richmond. Harrisburg is coming to town Thursday-Sunday for SIX games, including doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday.

  23. Unkyd - Jul 19, 2011 at 9:36 AM

    If Lombardozzi is such a hot prospect, then he ought to fetch a similarly endowed CF prospect…. Why hasn't anyone suggested moving him?

  24. sjm308 - Jul 19, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    The only criticism I have heard about Lombardozzi is that he does not have a decent arm to play SS or 3rd so he can't fill the utility role. I am guessing they will sign Rendon at the deadline (wish it were sooner) and if he is as good as people say we would have great depth along with Antonelli who has actually put up numbers as good as Lombardozzi and can play 3 positions. Seems to me you try and move one of the two minor leaguers now in some sort of package, then let Rendon show us what he can do in Arizona and spring training and only then do you think about moving Danny to SS. I do see that Desmond is not hitting but again, leave them alone for the rest of this year, not so Danny can win ROY but because you just don't want to make two switches this late in the season. These guys know their pitchers, they know where to line up for different hitters, they make the double play, they know who is the cutoff man, etc. I am not saying the new guys won't, its just silly to change now when we are having the best season since 2005. Just my opinion and I will stick with it as I play in traffic with no brain.

  25. sjm308 - Jul 19, 2011 at 11:47 AM

    By the way, 224 comments for a fairly meaningless game in July. Tell me the Washington Nationals and Nationals Insider are not taking off!!!Go Nats!!

  26. m20832 - Jul 19, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    One game at a time! Luvit when the Boys are in a winning mode! And ahead of the mets and fish! GYFNG!!!

  27. Anonymous - Jul 19, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    sjm308 – well, most of the extra comments were probably the running play by play since Mark Z. took the night off. But much appreciated by those without radio or TV covergae. For instance, here's the ESPN description of the Werth baserunning blunder – "W Ramos popped out to shortstop, J Werth tagged out at home." Leaves a little to be desired!

  28. baseballswami - Jul 19, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    We just have to keep the gas pedal on. The Mets and Fish are playing each other. Without actually checking stats – it looks like our runs per game might be inching up. Now if we can just keep the pitching going….. Is there an off day on Thursday? Late, late games coming up, too. Even more than winning, this team needs to be clicking on all cylinders when they come home and face the nl east.

  29. Gonat - Jul 19, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    Drew8 said… If you haven't seen Kilgore's interview with Rizzo this evening, it ends with the following two graphs:“You always trade from depth and strength,” Rizzo said. “We feel that we’ve put together some depth at certain positions.”______________________________________Proof that Rizzo read the criticsm thrown at him here. LOL Depth? Can he define that? I see a team so thin that when a player goes down, the replacement is a big downgrade.From strength? Giving away Willingham for a 4.55 ERA reliever and a AA outfielder was strength? Giving away Milwaukee's newest best Nyjer Morgan for a career minor leaguer Cutter Dykstra was strength? Giving away Alberto Gonzalez for a A ball pitcher was strength? Proposing Jordan Zimmermann, Danny Espinosa and Drew Storen for Zach Greinke was strength?The way Rizzo trades without Kasten overseeing is not strength, it looks like he doesn't know what he is doing.Rizzo's job isn't to make trades for the sake of making trades and making other teams better. The Nats need sure things in trades. Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen are sure things.BJ Upton is not a sure thing. His boxscore last night of 3 K's and hitting into a double play and batting .236 is better than Werth but not an upgrade. Michael Bourn is a slight upgrade over Roger Bernadina until you look into the numbers away from Minute Maid where his numbers are very similar to Bernadina's.Again, Rizzo, don't make a trade for the sake of making a trade.

  30. NatsLady - Jul 19, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    Marquis is making $7.5 mil this year. He's not even a class B free agent, so if/when he leaves at the end of this season, we get nothing in return. So, of course, everyone is eager to trade him, assuming he would ask for a 3-4 year deal which from us he will not get. However, he's said likes it here. I bet he would not mind being in a rotation with Strass and JZimm'nn, heading up. I say, Rizz, offer him 2 years. He might take it, you never know. People, there is nothing you, me, or the lamppost can do about Werth, and all the complaining in the world won't solve him. We (fans) moaned about GasCanrahan and Nyjer, and look where they are now. (OK, I didn't moan about Nyjer). Every team has someone not holding up their end, believe me, just look at their boards. Thanks, folks, for remembering Nook Logan and his being caught off third to end a game? It could be worse. This could be 2009. I say, just ignore Werth til things get better for him and in the meantime, we are the designated .500 team for MLB, so — savor it!!

  31. Drew8 - Jul 19, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    The folks who last night were urging Mark to post game updates from home need to get a little perspective. This isn't the man's hobby. It's his job.Why should he follow up his day's work by working at home for three more hours to amuse us? Wouldn't you consider that unreasonable?Bill Lumbergh: Oh, oh, and I almost forgot. Ahh, I'm also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too… (And don't forget the cover sheet on your TPS reports.)

  32. NatsLady - Jul 19, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    baseballswami — yeah, runs are getting better. Unfortunately, we had the two big losses (10-9) and (9-8). What we need to look at is run differential, is that creeping up? We had that 11-1 against us, but aside from that we've had close games, even some 3 run laughers. HATE THE FISH HATE THE FISH HATE THE FISH.

  33. Slidell - Jul 19, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    1 game spread between Nats, Mets and Marlins. Gotta keep winning.

  34. NatsLady - Jul 19, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    P.S. I will miss the boys this weekend, but can you believe their luck being in LA with the heat coming here??? Great scheduling job!! Also we got homestands for all three holiday weekends…Did you see what happened to Doc? I am so glad our guys will not be on the mound with 112 degree heat index.

  35. Mark'd - Jul 19, 2011 at 1:50 PM

    NatsLady, 2 years to Marquis would make sense as he is a winner here. Rizzo patting himself on his back is laughable. Trader Joe's he is not. Obviously if you can't extend Marquis you have to trade him for quality but don't give him away for another Cutter Dykstra type.

  36. Anonymous - Jul 19, 2011 at 1:53 PM

    Did you see what happened to Doc?Fill in the clueless on that one?

  37. Scooter - Jul 19, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    Drew, you're right that it's not a hobby for Zuckerman. I can only speak for myself, but I (selfishly) just wish his job included fewer days off. I sort of feel like I need an emergency backup beat writer for when CSN won't spring for a ticket.For that matter, I also wish he hadn't been pulled off the Nats beat to write about hockey back in April. Sure, I got to save my buck-fifty this year, but life is about tradeoffs. I have my own thoughts on whether this one was worth it. (And our intrepid blogger doubtless has his own thoughts, I wish him well, he doesn't need to ask me before taking a job, etc., etc., no purchase necessary, void where prohibited.)

  38. NatsLady - Jul 19, 2011 at 2:05 PM

    Phillies pitcher (Doc Halliday) has to leave the game in Chicago in the 5th inning due to the heat.

  39. Anonymous - Jul 19, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    Doc Holliday left one batter into the fifth inning last night with something like heat exhaustion. Cubs beat the Phillies 6-1.

  40. Anonymous - Jul 19, 2011 at 4:51 PM

    I'm trying to feel sorry for him but.. he is a Philly…




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