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Game 97: Nats at Astros

Jul 19, 2011, 8:50 PM EDT

US Presswire file photo
Jordan Zimmermann faces J.A. Happ tonight at Minute Maid Park.

Though his team managed to scrape together five runs last night, Davey Johnson is making one significant tweak to tonight's lineup against the Astros: Danny Espinosa will lead off, with Ian Desmond bumped all the way up to the No. 2 slot.

The primary reason for this: J.A. Happ is starting for Houston, amazingly the first left-hander to start against the Nationals since Johnson took over as manager. And since Roger Bernadina doesn't fare all that well against lefties (career .225 average), it seems like a logical move to bump him down to the 7-hole and go instead with Espinosa (career .277 average vs. lefties).

But there's another byproduct of this: Desmond moving up to the No. 2 slot. He's fared much better up there in his career (slash line: .282/.319/.396) than he has when he's hit eighth (.236/.286/.344). Perhaps this switch might help get Desmond going.

Jordan Zimmermann makes his first start of the second half, as the countdown to his 160-inning limit begins. He enters tonight at 115 innings, so figure seven or eight more outings before he's shut down.

I'm not in Houston for this series, so please enjoy the game and conversation among yourselves…

NATIONALS at ASTROS
Where: Minute Maid Park
Gametime: 8:05 p.m.
TV: MASN2
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 185
Weather: Dome (Outside: 87 degrees, Wind 8 mph in from RF)

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (48-48)
2B Danny Espinosa
SS Ian Desmond
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Michael Morse

Read more »

222 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. TimDz - Jul 19, 2011 at 8:54 PM

    Looking forward to watching Znn pitch tonight. He and SS will make a potentially lethal one-two punch next year.

  2. Mark'd - Jul 19, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    Interesting approach by Davey. I would kept it simple and just flip flipped Bernie and Desi. Espi is .182 leading off.

  3. Anonymous - Jul 19, 2011 at 9:03 PM

    what do you guys think about trading for Denard Span and what will it take to get him.

  4. Anonymous - Jul 19, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    The Nats have designated Riggleman guy Chad Gaudin for assignment. Exposing him to the waiver wire. It begins.

  5. NatStat - Jul 19, 2011 at 9:06 PM

    Interesting batting order move by Davey. I'd like to know what Espis's BA is leading off against LHs. I'll bet it's better than against RHs.Now that Desi is waiting on the ball better, it will be interesting to see his performance tonight.Goooooooooooooooooooooooo Nats!!!

  6. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 19, 2011 at 9:08 PM

    HA! I knew it!Now it has to work. I have a good feeling about it.

  7. phil dunn - Jul 19, 2011 at 9:08 PM

    Dumb move. The lead off slot nearly killed Espi earlier in the season. Desmond is lost at the plate, just like Werthless. Just sit Desmond down. Do something constructive like firing the Incompetent hitting coach.

  8. Anonymous - Jul 19, 2011 at 9:10 PM

    Why is Werth still hitting 5th? He takes the 1st pitch over the plate for strike one. Next pitch is on the outside that he swings and misses or fouls. Next pitch is a ball. Next pitch is on the outside that he either swings and misses or grounds into DP.

  9. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 19, 2011 at 9:13 PM

    Anonymous said…what do you guys think about trading for Denard Span and what will it take to get him[?]Depends on what the Twins want. He's 27, OBP is OK, better than Bernadina's, and he could lead off, but is he enough better to justify sending somebody like Coffey and a AA guy, maybe? I'd just as soon keep the Shark, who might yet get better.

  10. Bowdenball - Jul 19, 2011 at 9:17 PM

    Nationals vs. Astros, Zimmermann vs. Happ. I wonder if tonight is the night that the Nats are the most heavily favored by Las Vegas all season. I think it would be unless they get another very favorable pitching matchup when the Astros come to Washington.

  11. Navy Nats Fan - Jul 19, 2011 at 9:17 PM

    By the way, I can't do the play-by-play tonight. Someone else will have to step up if desired.

  12. Anonymous - Jul 19, 2011 at 9:17 PM

    The Nats should do with Werth what Boston did with Crawford. Similar situations. Early in the season he was hitting .155. The Red Sox wanted him to hit in the 2 spot, but it wasn't working. So they had him batting 8th until he got straightened out. Now he's hitting .246 with 6 home runs, etc. Might be "werth" a shot.

  13. Anonymous - Jul 19, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    I smell (as in really really want) a no-hitter tonight.DL in VA

  14. John C. - Jul 19, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    Breaking news! One Reign of Error is pasing, as the Nats have apparently DFA'd Gaudin:http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/07/nationals-designate-chad-gaudin-for-assignment-.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitterI certainly wish him no ill personally, but I'll be happier if he isn't pitching for a team in which I have a rooting interest.Will be interesting to see who they move into the 40 man roster slot …

  15. natsfan1a - Jul 19, 2011 at 9:39 PM

    I won't request a no-no, but another curly w would be just dandy. Go, Z'nn!! Go, NATS!!

  16. Gonat - Jul 19, 2011 at 9:42 PM

    John C., amazingly Gaudin was good when he came in with Inherited Runners. Only 1 of 7 scored. Not that 7 inherited runners is a large sample size statistically, that was the only "nice" stat I could find on him as he was horrible as the "long man".

  17. bobn - Jul 19, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    Nobody commented on my suggestion, half in jest, that Werth go to Harper's eye doc…or has it been done. I endorse one commentor's note of Werth taking first pitch…must be the NL's best known secret.

  18. Farid Rushdi - Jul 19, 2011 at 9:55 PM

    Sec 3, My Sofa said… Anonymous said… what do you guys think about trading for Denard Span and what will it take to get him[?]My opinion: if the Nationals are going to trade for a center fielder, I'd rather give up more and get a really really good one.And after getting fleeced last year (Matt Capps for Wilson Ramos), I don't think there is much interest in another trade with the Nats.

  19. Gonat - Jul 19, 2011 at 9:59 PM

    Farid – trades in hindsight are a great thing. Kind of like essentially Sean Burnett for Joel Hanrahan. Do you think Rizzo and the Pirates will deal again? Or Nyjer Morgan (batting .336) for Cutter Dykstra with the Brewers?Rizzo has been fleeced way more than being the fleecor!

  20. dale - Jul 19, 2011 at 10:02 PM

    Werth to Desi's old spot would be the thinking manager's way to complete the lineup card. So this is only half measures until that finally happens. After last night's gaffe on the bases by Werth there really is no reason to even put him the game at all; can't hit, can't run the bases, and really not impressive defense either. Come to think of it, he really is approaching the playing level of Matt Stairs.

  21. Can Werth Be Traded HAHAHAHAHAHA - Jul 19, 2011 at 10:02 PM

    Contender wish lists:http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/07/contender-wish-lists.html•Red Sox: Right-handed hitting right fielder, lefty reliever, starting pitcher, shortstop__________________________Do you think the Red sox would take Jayson Werth, Sean Burnett, Livan Hernandez and Ian Desmond for their top 4 Minor League Prospects?

  22. Grandstander - Jul 19, 2011 at 10:03 PM

    Astros just traded Keppinger to the Giants for a couple pitching prospects. He was their number 3 hitter coming out of the ASB. Now they only have 2 legitimate hitters (Bourn and Pence).

  23. Ernie - Jul 19, 2011 at 10:03 PM

    Keppinger isn't starting for the Astros anymore…http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/07/giants-acquire-jeff-keppinger-.html

  24. Anonymous8 - Jul 19, 2011 at 10:12 PM

    Grandstander, was just going to post that.

  25. FS - Jul 19, 2011 at 10:23 PM

    It is Angel Sanchez now at 2B and batting 2nd.

  26. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 19, 2011 at 11:00 PM

    In fact, wasn't it Keppinger who was out of position last night on Zimm's single?

  27. Bill W - Jul 19, 2011 at 11:00 PM

    Dale-Half measures availed us nothing

  28. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 19, 2011 at 11:03 PM

    Can Werth Be Traded HAHAHAHAHAHA said… Do you think the Red Sox would take Jayson Werth, Sean Burnett, Livan Hernandez, and Ian Desmond for their top four minor league prospects?I dunno, CWBTH. I'd see if you could get them to take Slaten instead of Burnett.

  29. Sunderland - Jul 19, 2011 at 11:07 PM

    I wonder if Gaudin is really gone or if this is a way to keep him in limbo for a couple days. Because I for one would not mind seeing him join the pen as the long relief Miss Iowa type.

  30. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 19, 2011 at 11:09 PM

    So Houston is playing with 24, or they are bringing somebody up, right now tonight?

  31. Exposremains - Jul 19, 2011 at 11:11 PM

    Wang gives up a homer to 2nd batter, topping at 89mph, then hits guy in the head

  32. Sunderland - Jul 19, 2011 at 11:16 PM

    So Wang hit a fast moving piece of lumber and then a noggin. Sounds like his control is back.

  33. Exposremains - Jul 19, 2011 at 11:18 PM

    but then 2ks, looked pretty good

  34. Anonymous - Jul 19, 2011 at 11:19 PM

    For all you who don't know, Werth has a no trade unless with consent contract. That is all.

  35. Mark'd - Jul 19, 2011 at 11:24 PM

    Yah, for all those that think Wang is ready to replace someone in rotation. A joke.

  36. Exposremains - Jul 19, 2011 at 11:35 PM

    Wang 2H in 2nd, still not throwing much more than 88mph

  37. Anonymous - Jul 19, 2011 at 11:36 PM

    Wang's averaging around 84 mph. Slider is at 77 mph. Lots of balls left up in the zone. Inconsistent to no sink today after 2 innings. Bottom Line: This is the creaky ancient Buffalo Bisons (believe or not Syracuse looks younger and better in spite of the similar records). Wang gets slaughtered if he pitches like this in the majors. Major egg on face for MIke Rizzo et al.

  38. anon's radar gun - Jul 19, 2011 at 11:46 PM

    tilt

  39. Anonymous - Jul 19, 2011 at 11:53 PM

    Might wanna consider that before trading Marquis or Livo…

  40. Exposremains - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:02 AM

    Well CMW is not fooling that AAA lineup, hopefully that's not a sign of things to come. He has allowed 3runs in 3IP

  41. Anonymous - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:02 AM

    Marquis looks a whole heck of a lot better than Wang. Albeit Wang may end up in the spot Riggleman put Gaudin in: middle relief on the right side. But he doesn't look like a starter to me at this point. AAA is eating Wang up. His sinker is there … but is inconsistent. Looks about 50-50 right now. No power sinker (ala Lannan/Marquis) over 91. Lots of balls up in the zone. Batting practice.

  42. Anonymous - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:04 AM

    Three runs on six hits in three innings against a decidedly weak Buffalo Bisons lineup who's best hitter might just be former Nat farmhand and Syracuse Chief switch hitter Jason Botts.

  43. Wally - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:05 AM

    Sec 3, My Sofa said…Anonymous said…what do you guys think about trading for Denard Span and what will it take to get him[?]Depends on what the Twins want. He's 27, OBP is OK, better than Bernadina's, and he could lead off, but is he enough better to justify sending somebody like Coffey and a AA guy, maybe? I'd just as soon keep the Shark, who might yet get better.I am in the other camp. I love the guy. He has a career .289/.366/.391 slash line in over 2000 ABs (2011 in line with those numbers before the injury) and is super in the field (fast plus good instincts). And I think that he is signed to a reasonable contract through 2015. Much better than the Shark, imo. It will take more than Coffey and a AA guy, but I would pay that price.

  44. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:06 AM

    A ball from J. Happ to Danny Espinosa, and we're under way at 8:06 Eastern.

  45. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:08 AM

    So, Wally, what *would* you go?

  46. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:09 AM

    For instance, following on Ray in the pre-game, for Clippard alone, Ray would want Span AND a real prospect.

  47. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:11 AM

    Desmond isn't wasting any time making me look smart. :) Swats a one-out double into the right field corner. He hits in the two-hole, I'm tellin ya!

  48. Unkyd - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:14 AM

    So… Desi waits it out, and goes Oppo…. Nice.

  49. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:17 AM

    Zimm whiffs on a fastball at his eyes for the second out, leaving Desmond on second. Morse walks. Jayson Werth …[maybe if I type it first, he'll fool me ...]walks on four pitches.Speaking of Buffalo…

  50. Wally - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:18 AM

    Sec 3 – meaning what would I trade for him? I would include some guys that I otherwise want to keep, because I think that he is a long term answer in CF (I should qualify this by saying that he has been out with a concussion, and I would want to see that he has recovered from it before committing to a trade). And I don't see an internal answer in CF for the next 3-4 years (Goodwin is the only one with a realistic chance, and he hasn't even signed yet).I would give up a good pitching prospect – Robbie Ray, or even Peacock if I had to. And I don't think the Twins do it unless they get some current help at the MLB level, which is either Desi or Clip, I think. So one from column A and one from column B. I would do that for Span. Slightly less for Bourjos (even better D, slightly less O, but more time under team control), and even less for Bourn. I don't want Upton; Bernie is almost as good under longer control and much less $$. And I don't think Rasmus is really available for anything remotely close to what we would pay.I think Ray's pregame comment is just another way of saying that he wants to keep Clip, because I don't think that he is reflecting the way players get valued during trades.

  51. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:19 AM

    Ramos flies to right, probably on ball two, leaving the bases loaded.Astros coming up.

  52. Wally - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:20 AM

    Just to clarify my trade comments, I mostly agree with the 'keep them together and finish above .500' crowd. But I see CF as a real hole that will prevent us from taking that next step towards contention, and feel like we need to be prepared to pay market for the solution

  53. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:21 AM

    Bill Veeck used to say that it's not about what a given player is "worth" objectively–it's what he's worth to the team that wants him.

  54. Mark'd - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:23 AM

    Yep, the RAM smelled Grand Slam and swung at a ball out of the zone.

  55. Wally - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:24 AM

    feel like we need to be prepared to pay market for the solutionand I would like to see it be a superior defender because I think Werth will continue to erode in the field and Harper is going to be … well, an adventure out there, is my guess. Sorry, I hit 'post' too quickly earlierPS my capcha was unmend.

  56. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:28 AM

    Zimmermann just abuses Bourn for the first out. It'll go in the books as "swinging," just because there's no stat for "waving futilely."Sanchez fouled off a bunch of 0-2 pitches, and then grounded one off Znn's left shin, which rolled *exactly* to Morse at first for the second out. He'll have a bruise tomorrow, for sure, but it didn't look bad, and he seems fine. Doesn't seem to have hurt his velocity any. He K's Wallace to end the first inning.

  57. Anonymous - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:30 AM

    I still like BJ Upton over Denard Span. Get him while his offense is on a downward tilt. He is the better deal then. Fewer really good pitching prospects which is something the Rays (perhaps the ONLY TEAM in the majors!) does not need. The Nats DO NOT have that many good prospects. Its still pretty sparse down there whereas before it was almost completely bare. YOU DON'T sell the farm to get guys WHO ARE NOT difference makes like Span and Bourn. Depleting the farm system is a very, very bad idea. Again, as Nancy used to say, Just say NO!

  58. DannyEllinosa - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:31 AM

    I still like Roger Bernadina.

  59. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:31 AM

    But I can't help remembering … I think it was Bob Gibson? who took a hard liner off the shin, and broke his leg when he landed on it pitching. I think he pitched two more innings before he told anybody. Tough guy.I probably got that story wrong.Oooh, captcha was "cultist". That's me.

  60. sparks - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:32 AM

    Wally, all good thoughts. Filling both CF and leadoff would be nice.

  61. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:36 AM

    Nobody told Roger Bernadina he doesn't hit lefties. Solid single to left center leading off the second.Wow, this Happ kid really is a human rain delay with men on base.Jerry Hairston didn't miss that pitch by all that much, I think–off the end of the bat for a routine fly to left, actually, but if he barrels that … Really, really nice sac bunt from Znn, but Barmes makes a nice play on Espinosa's ground ball in the hole. Still 0-0.

  62. Anonymous - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:38 AM

    Wang is now throwing mid 70's breaking pitches almost exclusively. He's gone away from his fast ball / sinker in the 5th. Some speculation that the early FB'/sinkers were a part of his rehab/training program but now he is more comfortable with breaking pitches? This does not look good at all Nats fans.

  63. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:43 AM

    Baja 2: Zimmermann, OTOH, is grab-and-go.Hunter Pence out 5-3, Carlos Lee singles to center on a full count.Chris Johnson flies to Werth. (How many guys named Johnson are there in MLB? After Gonzales, that's got to be high on the list.)And Lee watches from first as Clint Barmes gives the Astros a 2-0 lead, into the Crawford Boxes. Znn's 5th HR in 117 innings, Carp says. Fat pitch, there.

  64. Joe Seamhead - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:44 AM

    And who wants to trade Ian?

  65. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:44 AM

    and Desmond with a very nice whirl-leap-throw from the air-play there to end the inning.

  66. DannyEllinosa - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:45 AM

    I still like Ian.

  67. Wally - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:48 AM

    Sec 3 – thanks for updates. I have bed time duty tonight, so I am sitting with my 4 yr old, and we are alternating between 'the blankets are making me on fire' to 'its ice in here'.

  68. Anonymous - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:50 AM

    Think Jordan's leg is hurt?

  69. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:52 AM

    Desmond leads off the third with solid contact, but just got under it a bit, to fly to right.I'm already starting to regret them leaving the bases loaded in the first. Don't tell the players I said that, it might demoralize them.Zimm walks. Morse swings out of his shoes on strike two, fouls another fastball back, and then ties the game into the first row. Not as far as last night, still a HR, his 17th.Beast Mode is in effect, baby.

  70. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:53 AM

    MORSE HACKING THAT GORSE!!!! AGAIN!!!!THIS BEAST WOULD HIT 75 HRs A YEAR IF HE PLAYED IN THIS BANDBOX.GYFNG!!

  71. Gonat - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:53 AM

    BEAST MODE!!!! The equalizer!!!! Then Jayson Werth with his usual to follow up on that.

  72. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:54 AM

    Is his leg hurt? I guarantee it will hurt like hell tomorrow. They appear to have taped it up. I suspect he's fine.

  73. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:57 AM

    Wally, you're getting the best of it. Enjoy. I got you.If you're scoring at home, WW stands for "wasn't watching."I wish I could say I wasn't watching Werth's K. Free Prozac for the first 10,000 fans.Ramos fouls out to first to end the top of the third, but (as Jack Brickhouse used to say) IN THE INNING … 2-2, middle 3.

  74. annandalegyfng - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:57 AM

    So what is up with the negative Fu Manchu on Werth?

  75. Wally - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:01 AM

    Is JZimm's velo normal? I am a little worried about pitching on a sore leg; seems unwise. Hope to be 'free' soon.Btw, Keppinger brought back two guys who weren't part of SF's top 20 prospects. This for a 30 yr old MI hitting .300 and coming off a 2 WAR season last year. Nix, Coffey, even Marquis are not going to bring back that much, so I think we'll probably keep them. Older guys just don't, unless they have star stats. Ok by me.

  76. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:05 AM

    Zimm makes a nice diving stop on a hard grounder by Happ, gets up, and airs one out to Morse, who shows some ups to make it close, but couldn't get the bag. Leadoff E5. I think Carp said that's his 7th error.Not to worry. K. K. F8.Routine fly to center-left, but Bernadina called it emphatically, and Jerry Hairston turned and ran the other way. That was funny.Still 2-2 after 3.

  77. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:11 AM

    FP says it looks like bunts are carrying to right. Roger looked like he wasn't committed to that bunt, I think.But Jerry Hairston is feeling it–too far toward center to reach the short box seats in left, so it's a double high off the wall. With one out, Znn grounds hard up the middle, but not past Happ. Veteran Hairston was digging and diving back already (and you kids at home–that's how it's done). Espinosa grounds to short, Hairston left on second.

  78. Eugene in Oregon - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:14 AM

    According to the Astros' announcers — I'm watching the MLB.tv feed from Houston — Hairston's double would have been a home run in Minute Maid Park's original incarnation. After a season or two, they repainted the yellow line higher up the wall because too many HRs were being hit.

  79. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:14 AM

    Is there such a thing as a positive fu manchu?I wouldn't worry about it, for now at least, Wally. He seems fine.

  80. sparks - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:14 AM

    Hairston looked like he was having fun at 2B with the Astro's MI's.

  81. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:18 AM

    With one out, Carlos Lee singles in the hole to left, and Johnson doubles over third, which is where Lee stopped, at least for now. Barmes up. Don't throw that pitch again, Jordan, kthxbai.

  82. Gonat - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:26 AM

    That knock to JZim's leg must be bothering him. He is missing locations.

  83. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:27 AM

    Barmes singles to center to score Lee, and goes to third on the throw home, and it could have been worse–he lined a couple the other way that went foul down the line.Carp and FP are talking about how his slider has flattened out, and his fastball has been up (but effectively so far, mostly) all night.If he gets out of this inning … nevermind. Quintero bunts to the right side for an excellently-placed RBI single, and Happ bunts the runners to second and third for the second out.And Bourn doubles to left for two more. Maybe I spoke too soon about not worrying about his leg. Any way I can blame this on Werth? Coffey is getting warm.

  84. Grandstander - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:28 AM

    We just fell victims to the reverse lock. Game's already over. Just pathetic all around.

  85. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:28 AM

    Sanches grounds to Zimm to end the fourth, but not before the Astros take a 6-2 lead.

  86. gonatsgo - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:33 AM

    JZimm has to be having problems pushing off with his leg. On the other hand – he is young and has been ridiculously good and bad nights happen. Still think it's the leg. And the reverse lock, which was bound to take effect – was expecting it last night, actually. Maybe the Nats can pull off a dramatic rally? If so, could you start before the ninth please?

  87. Wally - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:34 AM

    Wow. I have removed my hand from my little boy's sleeping clutches, and am free to watch now.Not sure that I want to.

  88. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:36 AM

    Two-out double to the right-center gap for Morse. I'm not watching I'm not watching I'm not watching ….

  89. nationals7 - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:37 AM

    Jayson Werth- master of consistency.

  90. sjm308 - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:37 AM

    This is the worst I have seen Zimmermann in two years. I am hoping his leg is ok. Do not see a noticable limp but I have already switched to Dave and Charlie to bring us back – Does not look good.As for the "trades" that everyone is getting opinions on. I have stated earlier I am all for keeping the band together for the season and seeing what can be done in the off season. That being said, if Rizzo can pull the Capps for Ramos deal with Ramos = Span and Capps being Clippard, I am for that deal. I would guess that the Twins will not go for that even up and will need a prospect as well. They are actually weak at catcher, behind Mauer (what a surprise) so maybe we send them Norris or Flores. Not giving up on us scoring 7 tonight – well what a surprise, Werth with his 2nd strikeout. When is Davey going to sit him?

  91. Gonat - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:38 AM

    How bad is Werth. Leaning into balls on the outside and on the inside he is pulling off of them. Why is he batting 5th when he is hitting the worst in the lineup.

  92. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:38 AM

    he's not hitting he's not hitting he's not hitting …6-2, Houston, baja 5.

  93. baseballswami - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:38 AM

    Jayson Werth with a man on base – as predictable as the sunrise, death , and taxes.

  94. DannyEllinosa - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:40 AM

    Maybe Morse would mentor Werth if Jayson asked nice.

  95. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:42 AM

    gonatsgo, it hit his left, i.e., landing, leg, not his push leg.Hairston goes about 100 feet to get a fly ball at the wall. Nice play.

  96. nationals7 - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:44 AM

    JZimnn slow walkin off the field.

  97. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:44 AM

    Maybe he's OK. a 1-2-3 fifth. Six-seven-eight guys up for the Nats. If anybody gets on, will Davey hit for him?

  98. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:46 AM

    Is it me, or do Davey's uppers not fit right?

  99. crickets - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:48 AM

    Nobody clears a room like the Sofa…

  100. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:50 AM

    Answer: No. Ankiel out to hit for Zimmerman.JER HAIR!! really seeing a cantaloupe tonight.6-4, and Ankiel is going back to the dugout, for Cora.

  101. baseballswami - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:51 AM

    Doesn't Jordan get ground balls when he is pitching the right way? Kind of surprised ( but yet relieved) to see 3 fly balls. Even though he has been fantastic this year, this is his first full year back. Hope he's ok as it looks like we will pinch hit for him.Nice, Hairston!!

  102. nationals7 - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:51 AM

    Jerry!! Mini beast mode

  103. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:54 AM

    Cora walks, and after Espinosa flies out to left, Desmond is in the box as the tying run.Did I mention Ramos was on for that Hairston home run? Cuz he was.

  104. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 1:55 AM

    But it won't be Happ, he's done. RH Fernanado Rodriguez coming in.

  105. Anonymous - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:00 AM

    Although the Werth deal has a swamp-iike oder at this point …There's still the comparison between Dunn/Willingham withMorse/Nix. There's no comparison the Nats win that one hands down.From an offensive/defensive/injury perspective. Rizzo gets three stars.

  106. nationals7 - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:00 AM

    What They have on the bench is Ankiel, Flores & Blech-stairs?

  107. Unkyd - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:02 AM

    Ian Desmond: Offensive Machine!!!

  108. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:02 AM

    Ground ball over the mound and over second base for Desmond! He likes the 2 hole, did I mention that?6-5 now, Zimm up.

  109. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:05 AM

    And Zimm looks at one at the knees, putatively on the black. But in the inning … Nats get three of the four back.

  110. baseballswami - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:05 AM

    And it's now a one-run game. Of course it is.

  111. nationals7 - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:08 AM

    Coffey's perking

  112. DannyEllinosa - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:12 AM

    Coffee's getting cold…

  113. JaneB - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:13 AM

    Just tuning in now. Had plenty of bourbon. Thinking I may need the maalox now. My 7year old grandson wants to know why people don't think Ian is the best, and why is Todd Coffey still pitching, I'm wondering the same things.

  114. Anonymous - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:15 AM

    Just came back from the grocery store and saw a picture of Jayson Werth's offense on a milk carton.Is that a bad sign?

  115. JaneB - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:15 AM

    DannyEllinosa…he is. Even a seven year old can see that. Yank him!

  116. nationals7 - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:16 AM

    Oy.

  117. Gonat - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:17 AM

    Come on Coffey. All the momentum back to the Nats and you can't go 1-2-3 to the bottom of the order.

  118. DannyEllinosa - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:17 AM

    I coulda told Davey that Coughie would cough up at least a run

  119. gonatsgo - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:18 AM

    OUCH.

  120. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:18 AM

    Coffey starts hot but cools off fast. He whiffs Cliff Johnson, he can-of-corns (1a will get me for that verb) Barmes (and the Shark is CAAAAALLLLLLLLING fly balls), and gets a ground ball from Quintero, but past Zimm in the hole for a single, then walks the pinch-hitter Bogacevic. Is it me, or Zimmerman playing in a step extra tonight?Burnett warming.Bourn singles, UH-gain, over Zimmerman, for one run, 7-5 now.Angel Sanchez up with first and second, and the crowd, IN HOUSTON, is actually getting into it. Been a while since you've heard that, I think.

  121. Gonat - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:20 AM

    Bob Carpenter "The big guns are coming up. Morse, Werth, and Ramos".Bob, are you for real? Werth hasn't hit a Home Run in 2 months. Yes, he is due and could hit a Home Run in this band box, and seriously, Werth a big gun?

  122. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:20 AM

    Sanchez strikes out swinging, but it's a 2-run game now, 7-5.

  123. nationals7 - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:20 AM

    Anon 10:15- funny!

  124. DannyEllinosa - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:21 AM

    Now let's get the runs back and pray for the bullpen…

  125. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:21 AM

    To be fair, gonat, Werth's last HR was June 17, which only seems like two years, err, months ago.

  126. baseballswami - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:22 AM

    Just distracting myself by looking at player info. Do you know that Coffey is listed as being 40 pounds heavier than……Tyler Clippard. OK, then. Did sec3 say that Burnett is warming…. oh.

  127. DannyEllinosa - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:23 AM

    MORSE… awesome!

  128. Jonathan England - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:23 AM

    can Werth just bunt him over please

  129. nationals7 - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:25 AM

    My cable is acting up – shows Werth on base

  130. DannyEllinosa - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:26 AM

    WERTH… nice surprise!

  131. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:26 AM

    Beast Mode still in effect! Morse one-hops the fence in center for an automatic double (see, it's not "ground rule" because it's a double everywhere, not based on a park's ground rules. Carp is getting snarky on Werth–hoping he gets an RBI to catch Bourn for the season.Well, no RBI, but a line drive to left. First and third, nobody out.

  132. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:26 AM

    )

  133. Jayson Werth's Mom - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:26 AM

    Nice single honey! We knew you could do it, and we are so proud of you!!!!!

  134. A DC Wonk - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:26 AM

    Has this guy Carpenter pitched in the bigs before? Was this his debut?(If so, then the mandatory: "welcome to the big leagues, kid" from the Beast!)

  135. Anonymous8 - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:27 AM

    Is Werth sleeping? Come on guy. That was a wild pitch!

  136. Gonat - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:28 AM

    If Werth took that wild pitch, no double play. Unreal

  137. nationals7 - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:29 AM

    If Werth had run on the wild pitch…

  138. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:29 AM

    Would have been a a wild pitch if Jayson Werth had gone to second. Ramos wasn't waving him over to help, and I didn't see it on TV, but Bob said he went halfway there and ran back.Which immediately bites them in the butt. Ramos hits one off the pitcher's foot, to the second baseman, for a 1-4-6 GIFDP. Run scores, no RBI. 7-6 now, nobody on, two out.

  139. Bench Werth - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:30 AM

    Even when Jayson Werth gets on base he has a way of screwing up.

  140. NatsLady - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:30 AM

    Evening, folks. That run given up by Coffey looking pretty big right now.

  141. DannyEllinosa - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:31 AM

    At least Jayson got a hit and I was happy for a moment

  142. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:31 AM

    1-4-6-3. I knew that was missing something.Bernadina grounds out. 7-6 (as in, one run), Astros, middle 7.

  143. JaneB - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:32 AM

    Putting seven year old to bed: "who puts Ian to bed at night? Why is Mr. Werth still a National?" a direct quote. At least he got on. Mr. Werth, not the seven year old,

  144. Anonymous - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:32 AM

    Alright, obligatory HR given up by Burnett before he settles in?

  145. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:32 AM

    Burnett in for the bottom of the seventh. This might be interesting.

  146. gonatsgo - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:34 AM

    Burnett – can't watch. Tell me when it's over.

  147. nationals7 - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:35 AM

    Seven year olds are smart!

  148. Eugene in Oregon - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:35 AM

    For what it's worth, Astros' announcers said that Quintero had Werth's number last year, possibly explaining why Werth was gun shy (run shy?).

  149. Anonymous - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:36 AM

    Jayson Werth got on base and still managed to kill a rally.

  150. DannyEllinosa - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:39 AM

    Good for Sean. A scary but scoreless inning. Now Davey, please don't let him pitch anymore tonite.

  151. Gonat - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:40 AM

    Whoaaaa Burnett….Kardiac Kids had my heart skip a few beats._/__/__/

  152. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:40 AM

    Man, we've been watching Espinosa for what, five months now? This guy is something else. Not highlight plays there by any means–he is just so solid, adept, and what an arm.I really like watching this guy.With two outs (both 4-3), Burnett walks Carlos Lee, which isn't the worst thing if he gets RH Chris Johnson.Buuuuut… no. Bloop down the line in right, first and third, Barmes … flies to center. A one-run game.

  153. Unkyd - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:42 AM

    Annnd…. Burnett escapes. (Unkyd exhales, the color returns to his face…)Sheesh….. Nice job, Burnie!

  154. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:43 AM

    Jerry Hairston, pinchhitter Laynce Nix, and Espinosa for the 8th.

  155. Gnashnail - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:44 AM

    Again, Werth screws up, this time on defense. Although it didn't cost a run, he should have caught the bloop fly ball down the line in front of him. He decelerated and appeared to let the ball drop to see if it was foul or fair. I'm beginning to think 7 yr and how many million $ is foul!

  156. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:45 AM

    Hairston bangs one off the wall in left, and Carlos Lee makes a very good throw to get him at second by about six inches. Good baserunning, just not fast enough.

  157. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:47 AM

    I don't think Werth had a play on that ball without diving, and if he does that and misses, the run scores. He's still a bum, but that wasn't his fault.

  158. Anonymous - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:48 AM

    Espinosa hates it when Morse is tied with him for Homers. Let's see if he does something about that … ;)

  159. Gonat - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:49 AM

    Back to the top of the order. Brad Mills is burning up his bullpen. I hope Danny shows Mills how he has big power from the left side.

  160. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:53 AM

    1-2-3 with a hit, nobody left. Mattheus on for the bottom of the 8th, Texas hold 'em.

  161. Wally - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:54 AM

    Been watching since 6-2, just too lazy to grab the iPad. Agree Werth couldn't get that bloop.Wanted to be pissed at Hairston, but can't. Right call to go. Perfect throw. It happens. Interesting its Mattheus, not HRod, here.

  162. gonatsgo - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:59 AM

    Funny how we couldn't score this many runs when our pitching was nearly perfect.

  163. Anonymous - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:02 AM

    Our pitching staff has been a little snake-bit lately. Not just getting shelled, but Lannan hit in the face, JZimm in the leg, Gorzo taking on McCann in a wwf showdown. Did somebody paint targets on them?

  164. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:03 AM

    I do believe Roger Bernadina has learned his lesson. He's been very, very clear indeed calling fly balls.But what happened to that glove, there, Beast? Not a routine play, but he had that one lined up, and missed it to put Bourn (who else?) at second. No harm, we go to the ninth, Nats need one to tie, two for the lead. Desmond, Zimm, Morse. So there's that. Which is nice.

  165. DannyEllinosa - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:03 AM

    gonatsgo… I was thinking the same thing tonite.

  166. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:06 AM

    Desmond pops behind the mound to the shortstop.25 outs, still 2 left.

  167. Wally - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:06 AM

    Sec 3 – Diner?

  168. Jonathan England - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:07 AM

    damnit

  169. Wally - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:07 AM

    I meant Caddyshack

  170. Anonymous - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:09 AM

    Yeah its ashame … they could make up some ground tonight with a win over the first "seller" basement dwellers Astros. Give credit to the 'Stros and Bourn … playing like he is saying "take me! me! me!" to Rizzo.

  171. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:09 AM

    oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh.Zimmerman misses a oppo by inches, just foul, plenty of distance.Anyone hear the attendance? They are into it.Zimm grounds to second.That's 26 outs. Morse, or else.

  172. Wally - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:09 AM

    Bullsh!t

  173. joNAThan - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:10 AM

    How will Werth get out?

  174. SilverSpring8 - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:11 AM

    Just got home and turned on the TV … it appears we have two out, one on and Werth up … I don't have a good feeling about this.

  175. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:11 AM

    Oh well.No, Morse is on base, HBP right in the numbers. Ankiel in to run.But Werth is up. And he takes a first strike fastball right up the gut. I could have hit that!!!

  176. DannyEllinosa - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:12 AM

    He takes first pitch for a strike down the middle…

  177. Anonymous - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:12 AM

    Like an intentional walk, only faster. Closer nails Morse with the first pitch to get to Werthless.

  178. DannyEllinosa - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:13 AM

    And it stinks that Morse was HBP.

  179. SilverSpring8 - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:14 AM

    JAYSON!! First, do no harm.

  180. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:15 AM

    3-2, 2 outs, tying run on first, one run game, top of the ninth …and Werth walks.Don't the Astros pitchers read this blog???

  181. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:16 AM

    Ramos up with the tying run at second now, lead on first, and the Buffalo their last hope.

  182. SilverSpring8 - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:16 AM

    "…Don't the Astros pitchers read this blog??? "lol, sec3

  183. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:17 AM

    This is where you go into Kevin Mitchell mode: "I just don't want to make the last out."

  184. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:18 AM

    But he does, on a curve ball in the dirt away.Ballgame. 7-6. Coulda shoulda woulda.

  185. Gonat - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:19 AM

    DannyEllinosa said… And it stinks that Morse was HBP. July 19, 2011 11:13 PM ________________________That was an intentional HBP so he didn't have to walk him and throw 4 pitches.

  186. NatsLady - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:20 AM

    Well, you can't blame this one on Davey.

  187. Scooter - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:21 AM

    Nvts.(captcha: lesseye. What Ramos just showed.)

  188. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:21 AM

    I got laundry to fold. Somebody else here tomorrow? My boss is back in town.

  189. rogieshan - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:21 AM

    Carlos Lee will get a 78mph fastball in his rear end from Livo tomorrow.

  190. NatsLady - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:22 AM

    We really ARE a .500 team.

  191. josh f - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:40 AM

    Game of inches. Hairston getting thrown out at 2nd, Zim's foul ball HR, and there were a few other close ones tonight. It's too bad J-Zimm didn't have it tonight, because we finally gave him some run support. Hope he's okay.

  192. Manassas Nats Fan - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:43 AM

    Werth took a siesta that cost us a run. Had he gone to second on the non wild putch, he would ahve gone to third on Ramos' grounder, and scored on Bernadina's grounder. Got to wonder what is going on, because if it isn't one thing it is another. It is hard to believe one person can do so many things to screw the team's chances.A side note The Almighty Nats bullpen leads the majors in blown saves. Just think if he had the average number of blown saves we would be 14 games over .500.

  193. Manassas Nats Fan - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:52 AM

    RISP kills us again.Nats 2 for 10 (1 was Werth's hit that didn't score Morse, the other Desmond that did score Cora.)Astros 4 for 8. Had he been 4 for 10, we probably win. Come on Eck get these guys hitting with RISP.

  194. Drew8 - Jul 20, 2011 at 4:14 AM

    Harper is hitting .171 at Harrisburg.Hey, it beats Adam Dunn's .158 in Chicago.Put another way — Jason Werth is outhitting The Big Errorstotle by 54 points.

  195. Anonymous - Jul 20, 2011 at 4:21 AM

    We really ARE a .500 team.Which is still a vast improvement … VAST, GINORMOUS … if they can maintain it.

  196. Anonymous - Jul 20, 2011 at 4:23 AM

    I got laundry to fold. Somebody else here tomorrow? My boss is back in town.Mebbe Mark's wife can figure out a way to stream in Patrick's play-by-play over at Federal Baseball? Makes more sense.

  197. Anonymous - Jul 20, 2011 at 4:27 AM

    And the real drama came with Davey Johnson's post-game interview. Boy, he was very upset about losing this one ….

  198. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jul 20, 2011 at 5:21 AM

    Yeah, Uncle Davey was none to kind afterward on his pitchers. Said he loved the hitting, though.Myself, that game was Utt-Bugly. Shades of '07 and '08…play just bad enough to lose.

  199. Anonymous - Jul 20, 2011 at 10:20 AM

    This loss all on JZ. He was terrible. Throwing meatballs out there while ahead in the count. 6 runs should win you a game, especially against the STROS!! Gonna need at least 10 runs today, Livo is pitching. Can he get through two innings without us being down 4 or 5 ????

  200. A DC Wonk - Jul 20, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    A side note The Almighty Nats bullpen leads the majors in blown saves. Just think if he had the average number of blown saves we would be 14 games over .500. That statistic is way not enough to judge anything.First off, the Nats have won a number of those blown save games.Secondly, you have to take into account how many save opportunities there were. For example, the Nats are also (tied for) 5th in successful saves, and 4th best in number of Holds.

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