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Game 100: Nats at Dodgers

Jul 23, 2011, 8:51 PM EDT

US Presswire file photo
Tom Gorzelanny faces Ted Lilly tonight at Dodger Stadium.

Behind a couple of surprising home runs (John Lannan's two-run shot, Jerry Hairston's grand slam) and some impressive pitching from Lannan, Sean Burnett, Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen, the Nationals won last night's series opener against the Dodgers, 7-2. In order to make it two in a row tonight, they'll need a similarly strong performance from starter Tom Gorzelanny, who has plenty of incentive when he takes the mound tonight.

Gorzelanny had to depart his last start in Atlanta in the third inning after spraining his ankle in a collision at the plate with Braves catcher Brian McCann. Whether there's any lingering effect remains to be seen. The left-hander also has some pressure on him to perform given the likely addition of Chien-Ming Wang to the Nats' rotation in the next week. If another starter (ie. Jason Marquis) is traded, Wang could take over that spot in the rotation. If not, someone is going to have to get bumped, and Gorzelanny would be a candidate for demotion to the bullpen.

Fellow lefty Ted Lilly starts tonight for the Dodgers, facing a Nationals lineup that has struggled against southpaws this season. They're hitting just .219 with a .651 OPS against lefties, as opposed to .242 and .691 against righties.

I'm going to be out most of the evening, but I'll try to insert the lineups here once they're posted. Enjoy the game and the conversation…

Where: Dodger Stadium
Gametime: 10:10 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 189
Weather: Clear, 69 degrees, Wind 7 mph out to RF

LF Jerry Hairston
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Michael Morse

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218 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. NatsLady - Jul 24, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    IMO, the problem is not so much with the pitching staff Rizzo has assembled, it's with how Davey is using it. silly word is "exces" which is what we had last night of wild pitches.

  2. Anonymous - Jul 24, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    Great unwashed your right. I was kinda holding on hope for that Wcard butttttttt I see I was just dreaming. As a Skins Nats Wizards fan I am just a very frustrated person. HAHA carry on.

  3. Gonat - Jul 24, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    NatsLady, I agree with you. SteveM brought up defining roles in the bullpen and knowing them and also bringing Balester back to put Detwiler in as the 7th inning set-up pitcher. I thought Davey started to define roles better this weekend and then failed to use common sense when you have a pitcher (HenRod) that has totally lost the strike zone. I think HenRod bounced 5 balls in the 7th inning before throwing that WIN killing WILD pitch.Sure, Gorzo pitched a lousy game. He didn't have it and Zim on 2 occassions didn't help with his fielding.It just stinks to score 6 runs and hold the lead to the 7th and lose it. That is where this team had been so good.I thought Detwiler did a great job. Matteus had a great 8th inning. Burnett did his job. Is it time to just use HenRod for a couple of batters? I say bring back Balester as the long-man and move Detwiler to 7th inning set-up and send HenRod back to Syracuse or DFA Burnett.

  4. Drew8 - Jul 24, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    The person with the Oslo tag is of course right about perspective.Brutal losses just seem a bit more brutal at 1:30 in the morning. After eight hours of sleep it's easier to find the better angels of our nature. Look, I know the Nats are not a playoff team this year, but now that they're finally hitting, I hate to see them squander early leads.My new day's resolution: If it's after midnight and Henry Rodriguez comes into the game turn off the TV and go to bed. If it's before midnight, read a book.

  5. Gonat - Jul 24, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    NatsLady said… Put me in the Rizzo camp.1) Willingham and Dunn: Rizzo clearly went for youth over aging sluggers. That doesn't always work out, but that was his plan and he stuck with it. With Dunn, he may have waited too long, but he was probably hoping Dunn would go for fewer years. 2) Greinke: Let's think back. JZimm was coming off surgery. Espy was a prospect, and Storen, though he was clearly going to be good, was not enough to get Greinke. Everyone was clamoring, "get an ace, upgrade the rotation". Yes, we dodged a bullet, but that was only in retrospect.3) Nyjer should have played winter ball as he was asked to do. I miss him, but I've watched him misplay several balls in CF, and he still has no arm, and he still bashes into catchers. July 24, 2011 10:14 AM ______________________________1) He was right to trade Willingham. He just made a lousy trade.2)JZim pitched in 2010 and threw in his 2nd start back one of the most dominating 6 inning games in Nats (short) history. I am sorry if some people can't see the forest for the trees. 2 years of Greinke vs. 4 more years of JZim? I think even straight-up Greinke for JZim would have been a lot. Espinosa was a prospect and he showed us last year that he can play and would certainly be a Gold Glove quality player. Not sure if he could adjust to MLB pitching so he wasn't a sure thing and still isn't but could you imagine 2011 without him? Storen is an Ace in the 'pen. Enough said.3) Nyjer wanted out of Washington, clearly. He should have been traded in November or December when he wouldn't do Winter ball and not traded a couple days before Opening Day when he was given away for next to nothing.NatsLady, you can spin it any way you want to. A GM's job (and his large staff) is to PREDICT the future based on their special knowledge as a scout, statistics guru, and master planner.

  6. sjm308 - Jul 24, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    Great analysis from all of you!So the jury is still out on Rizzo as he has made both good and bad trades – thanks Gonat for putting it in perspective – I guess I am just upset about the black and white statements like We should still have Willingham. I guess it really was not a good trade even though a trade should have been made. Nyger still has a decent batting ave. but I think I read another negative article about fan interaction just last week. We certainly did not need his attitude here for another year, just wish we could have gotten a little more for him.One thing I am sure of – Rizzo beats the heck out of "Mr. Leather Pants/Segway Man"

  7. natsfan1a - Jul 24, 2011 at 3:20 PM


  8. Dave - Jul 24, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    @JaneB, thanks for the absolution. I know I abandoned ship, but it sounds like I should be happy I missed the last couple innings.

  9. Wally - Jul 24, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    Still not sure why everyone bashes the Willingham trade. Willingham is a good guy, by all accounts, and a reasonable player with some pop and OBP skills, but limited defensive skills and someone that can't be relied upon to play a full season. I am just not sure why people think that translates to a player that brings back a high quality prospect. Rizzo turned that into a reliever with high end skills with current value and high upside. HRod is actually having a fine year. ERA around 3, but he has gone through stretches of consistent quality outings followed by a complete blow up like last night that inflates his ERA. I think, for instance, his ERA was below 2 just a week or so ago. This is a guy that every team in the league would make room for in their bullpen, because he mostly holds his own right now, and he has the chance to turn in to a lights out, high leverage reliever. I think that is a fair return for the Hammer.In general, I do think the jury is out on Rizzo's ability to build a team through trades. My biggest concern is that when he gives up on player, he just wants them gone quickly for whatever scrap is available (the trade version of when he cut Cabrera and said 'I just got tired of seeing him pitch'). Hanrahan is the most glaring example.But this one was fine, imo. And I still can't believe that Rizzo was willing to put JZimm in the Greinke trade – I know that is the perceived truth, but we really don't know (and will probably never know). It just doesn't make sense that he would do it when JZimm was the second best pitcher we had, and pitching is what he is trying to build.

  10. Joe Seamhead - Jul 24, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    I can't believe how many of us are already throwing Henry under the bus. This is still a pretty young kid, with a great arm, very raw, missed almost all of spring training, has had a few very good appearances. I'm not saying that he's going to be the Nolan Ryan, but it's a bit early to give up on him.As to the Willingham trade being a mistake, give me a break. In addition to not being very durable, he is an outfielder, with at best a fair arm, that gets lousy jumps, and runs poor routes to the ball, and that can't consistently hit anything on the outside half of the plate. Like Adam Dunn, he seems like a good guy, but he's just a good enough player to lose with.

  11. natsfan1a - Jul 24, 2011 at 3:46 PM


  12. natsfan1a - Jul 24, 2011 at 3:49 PM


  13. Gonat - Jul 24, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    Wally, everything you say about Willingham is right and I have said that a dozen times. Every time I write about the lousy trade I'm not going to rehash all of Josh's shortcomings like injury prone, falls off later in the year, doesn't play great defense, not great 1st to 3rd, etc. I say he had to be traded just was a lousy trade.Still, you don't trade a high OBP guy like that for a reliever like HenRod. HenRod's WHIP stinks by the way.

  14. sjm308 - Jul 24, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    I have said this before but it seems to me that HRod has a huge upside and if Davey would just stop using him for more than one inning as he gains confidence I think we will have something valuable. I also don't think its a done deal that Brown is a total bust. He is still young and his defensive skills have not regressed. If, and its a big if, he can learn to hit then we have a steal on this trade. As it is, its still a trade that had to be made.I liked Willingham but that is not the point, he was just not worth resigning and Rizzo got what he thought was a decent return.Do we think there will be a trade made in the next week? If history holds true, Rizzo will have to blown away to trade Marquis or Livan. The big difference is, we get nothing for them if they stay with us for the entire season and then sign with someone else next year.

  15. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jul 24, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    Well put on all three counts, NatsLady. I loved Josh Will while he was here, but he's always hurt and we would have never "discovered" Morse can reach the Gorse as we did in ST.Dodging the bullet is the perfect way to describe the Greinke situation.Nyjer may play himself out of favor in Milwaukee, just as he did in Pittsburgh and here. Guy seems to wear out his welcome. The guy I can't believe is leading the NL in saves is Gascanrahan. He was the Henry Rodriguez of his day here, now he's 30 for 31 in saves, or whatever. I am totally shocked.What I worry about is how our defense has gone south since Riggs left. Desi seems back to Desi, circa 2010.I was a Riggs guy. I think Uncle Davey is purely stopgap. I can't believe they'll let this guy handle Jesus, coming off arm surgery. Davey will burn him out by May. I don't have any sure-fire candidates, but I think we need to go a little younger than Davey. Of course, that's just about everybody this side of Trader Jack McKeon.GYFNG, win the series, salvage the finale, fly home and sweep those freaking Fish. I'm going out Tuesday to explain baseball to three visitors from Slovakia. I won't want to have to explain how Emilio Bonifacio beat us. Again.

  16. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 24, 2011 at 5:21 PM

    Whoa, time warp! I thought I'd clicked on a link from last year–Willingham, Nyjer "visualize me with a J–how hard is that to do??" Morgan, Stan Kasten, blown leads … Here's something we didn't have last year:JYFNJ!

  17. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 24, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    Oh, and you think watching HRod was painful? Imagine you're Lancaster's manager. (from 2009)

  18. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 24, 2011 at 6:01 PM

    but just for a sliver of objectivity on spelling rules:The History of English in Ten Minutes: Chapter 7"




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