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Game 115: Nats at Cubs

Aug 8, 2011, 8:09 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats open a three-game series against the Cubs tonight at Wrigley Field.

CHICAGO — Hello from the one and only Friendly Confines, still a great place to watch a ballgame all these years after it opened. It's a bit of a warm, muggy day on the North Side of Chicago, but the wind is blowing in off Lake Michigan, which means the ball won't be carrying into the bleachers tonight.

That should be good news for Chien-Ming Wang, who makes his third start of the season, hoping to pitch a bit deeper into the game and to avoid the disastrous first inning that has plagued him his last two times out.

Davey Johnson is going with his standard lineup against Matt Garza, the lone exception being Jonny Gomes (who gets his second straight start against a right-hander).

Plenty of updates to come, so please check back…

NATIONALS at CUBS
Where: Wrigley Field
Gametime: 8:05 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 187
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 77 degrees, Wind 7 mph in from CF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (55-59)
CF Rick Ankiel
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Michael Morse

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  1. SCNatsFan - Aug 8, 2011 at 8:24 PM

    Maybe they should hypnotize Wang so he goes to the mound believing he already gave up 3 in the first and is going out for the second as he gets the game started.C'mon Nats, I hate the Cubs, make me happy.

  2. sunderland - Aug 8, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    Right, get Wang to throw a simulated first inning.Wonder what's more of a factor in Gomes playing and Nix sitting v the RHP? Nix hurting? Gomes getting some pretty good AB's recently?

  3. Anonymous - Aug 8, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    Damn another Wang Chung tonight. Back to last place Ben Stone back to last place.

  4. sjm308 - Aug 8, 2011 at 8:38 PM

    Mark: Again, I am begging you to leave the pressbox sometime after the 2nd or 3rd inning to go and get a personal story from someone. We all know how that works out for our Nationals!!Serious question. Is Wrigley a great place to watch from a sportswriters perspective? I took my sons years ago and found the stands to be maybe as dirty as RFK but of course there was great history so we overlooked that. We also felt the same way about Fenway. We did love the atmosphere both inside and outside both parks. Am hoping that 1/2 street will someday approach that.Go Nats

  5. Grandstander - Aug 8, 2011 at 8:44 PM

    I have to guess Nix's achilles is still giving him fits. He hasn't started since August 4th and went 0-4 with 2 Ks.I'm really high on Wang throwing a simulated first inning. Davey has had a quick hook lately with our starters. I wonder if he'll start warming someone up 3rd time through even if Wang is looking good.

  6. NatStat - Aug 8, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    Davey needs to call Wang's pitches for him. He's like a rookie in this league, and doesn't know the batters. No more fat non-sinking sinkers over the plate. Slider's way in two-strike counts!Go Davey! Gooooooooooooooooooo Nats!

  7. baseballswami - Aug 8, 2011 at 8:59 PM

    Sunderland, etc. — Nix is sick. Manager said yesterday that he slept in the dugout for most of the game and wouldn't be playing for probably a couple of days. His foot should be well rested by then, too.GYFNG!!!!!

  8. sunderland - Aug 8, 2011 at 9:10 PM

    swami, yes, I now recall Nix sleeping in the dugout last night. NatStat, McCatty wants the opposite. He says Wang's slider ain't good enough, but his sinker is. Who knows.Grandstander is the one who I think first proposed the simulated first inning. I'm worried though that Davey J might pull Wang before that simulated inning ends.

  9. Section 222 - Aug 8, 2011 at 10:07 PM

    Unfortunately, I don't think we have to worry about Davey pulling Wang too early.

  10. Gonat - Aug 8, 2011 at 10:12 PM

    Feel Wood said… There's no point to calling Marrero up to find out if he can hit at the major league level in order to increase his trade value. He wouldn't get enough ABs in September to establish it one way or the other. His trade value is what it is. Also, if they don't call him up they don't burn one of his option years – and having one more available option might make him more attractive in trade. August 8, 2011 3:57 PM _________________________I believe September callup doesn't affect your available options. Maybe Mark can set that straight. Marrero is on the 40 man and should be a lock I would think for callup. I don't think he will get a lot of work but keep in mind that AAA will be over by the time he is called up.

  11. Gonat - Aug 8, 2011 at 10:23 PM

    JD said… Mark'd,When you say no offensive progress this year I disagree. This is his 1st year at this level and he has maintained the same level of OBP. Some hitters are more patient and some less but the bottom line is he gets on base a lot and his BABIP is a ridiculously low .247 which means that he has been extremely unlucky.Of course this is just my opinion and I could be wrong but I stand by my earlier prediction that Norris will be a solid above average major league catcher. August 8, 2011 5:34 PM ____________________________JD, How can you say he has maintained the same level of OBP?Norris was .235/.419 in Potomac last year. This year at Harrisburg .212/.373 That is regression and on the batting average of 23 points and 46 points on his OBP. That is approx a 10% drop in both. You have to progress to stay viable in the Minor Leagues. When you look at a high OBP player like Komatsu who also carries a decent batting average, that is viable.Baseball America and ESPN has removed Norris from Top 100 Prospects.

  12. Gonat - Aug 8, 2011 at 10:27 PM

    Mark'd said… I like the predictions. It is easy to talk smack after the fact. I say Bernadina, Marrero and Lombo. 3rd catcher of Pudge/Flores.Stammen, Mock, Milone for pitchers with Martis as a long shot. August 8, 2011 3:41 PM _____________________________I agree with your position players and I think Martis has been one of the hottest pitchers between AA and AAA in the last month. Just seems outside of Milone that the pitcher names are just retreads. Stammen, Mock, Martin, etc.

  13. Anonymous8 - Aug 8, 2011 at 10:33 PM

    No excuses on Rockie mountain altitude or bad mound dirt or humidity tonight for Wang. 3rd time better be the charm for Wang or time for Gorzelanny and Wang to switch spots.I am also hoping I will be pleasantly surprised and will have to say I was wrong to all the Wang supporters (known as jocks).For better or worse, NO MORE EXCUSES. Let your eyes judge what you see and let the stats tell the rest of the story.

  14. NatsLady in Chicago - Aug 8, 2011 at 10:35 PM

    To those who asked me where I am sitting in Wrigley Field: right now I am sitting in the RAIN. More later (if there is a game.)

  15. Bryan Scrafford - Aug 8, 2011 at 10:49 PM

    I still haven't gotten to take in a game at Wrigley. I've seen several games at US Cellular, but the Cubs have never been in town when I've been in Chicago. It's definitely on my baseball bucket list though to make it out to the Friendly Confines.

  16. baseballswami - Aug 8, 2011 at 11:13 PM

    NatsLady – that does not sound good. I hope you are somewhere safe. Let us know if you hear any updates about a start time of postponement.

  17. gonatsgo - Aug 8, 2011 at 11:17 PM

    Hey , Mark — Prince William County just last week allocated 400K in funds to improve Pfitzner. In this economy, no less. The owner is also talking about finding private funds to rebuild. Harper skipping Potomac really turned their heads.

  18. FS - Aug 8, 2011 at 11:31 PM

    Good to hear about Nicasio.

  19. NatsLady in Chicago - Aug 8, 2011 at 11:32 PM

    Sea gulls are making nests on the tarp. Can't. see the scoreboard from my seat. Up under the overhang 3B side. Anyone want a Cubs cap? It was free. Too early for announcements. I see Nats fans on the 1B side.

  20. NatsLady in Chicago - Aug 8, 2011 at 11:44 PM

    It's pouring. But the bullpen pitchers are in RF throwing. To each other.

  21. Anonymous - Aug 8, 2011 at 11:55 PM

    Here's a story about the funding for Pfitzner Stadium that gonatsgo was talking about. http://ballparkbanter.mlblogs.com/2011/08/08/pfitzner-stadium-home-of-the-p-nats-gets-funding-for-improvements/

  22. Anonymous - Aug 9, 2011 at 12:00 AM

    FS – what about Nicasio?

  23. Anonymous - Aug 9, 2011 at 12:01 AM

    FS – sorry , just saw the update – needed to up , not down on the post.

  24. Gonat - Aug 9, 2011 at 12:03 AM

    Nicasio walked today.

  25. flynnie - Aug 9, 2011 at 12:07 AM

    So far, Wang's holding them scoreless.

  26. Anonymous - Aug 9, 2011 at 12:07 AM

    Rain delay :(

  27. baseballswami - Aug 9, 2011 at 12:09 AM

    Good one, Flynnie, as usual!

  28. flynnie - Aug 9, 2011 at 12:13 AM

    Thanks, swami, and a very pleasant evening to you!

  29. baseballswami - Aug 9, 2011 at 12:16 AM

    Feeling bad for NatsLady sitting in the rain in Wrigley.

  30. Anonymous - Aug 9, 2011 at 12:16 AM

    Hey NatsLady – I have someone I work with who is a HUGE Cubs fan and would love the hat. We're not speaking this week but I would give it to her next week.Navy Nats Fan (whose new computer is not playing well with blogger and can't log in)

  31. flynnie - Aug 9, 2011 at 12:17 AM

    Has she committed on the Italian Beef? Is she bringing us some back?

  32. MicheleS - Aug 9, 2011 at 12:30 AM

    For those of you that need an Italian beef fix in NoVA.. there is a great place in downtown leesburg called Windy City Red Hots… Italian Beef and Chicago Style Hot Dogs – they use the Vienna Beef Hot Dogs – wErth the Drive.. Also they have a food truck that is parked at Bluemont Nursery on Rt 7 and Smith Switch road

  33. Anonymous - Aug 9, 2011 at 12:30 AM

    Mark…There have been rumors that the nationals (along with the angels and redsox) will go hard after reyes this offseason. Have you heard anything?

  34. NatsLady in Chicago - Aug 9, 2011 at 12:32 AM

    They ran out of hot dogs. Had a brat. It is dirty but the ladies room was clean and every stall door is green w/ Cubs logo. Sign in bright lights says "Welcome Washington Nationals Fans."

  35. flynnie - Aug 9, 2011 at 12:39 AM

    Rain out official. Day game on Thursday at 2:20 pm.

  36. flynnie - Aug 9, 2011 at 12:40 AM

    I'm on my way to Leesburg tomorrow, MicheleS!

  37. NatsLady bored in Chicago - Aug 9, 2011 at 12:41 AM

    Tarp is blue w/ Cubs logo. Probably no on North Side food. Family won't go for it, sorry. Game postponed until Thursday afternoon. Navy, glad to give you cap. Anything else your friend wants let me know, will try again tomorrow.

  38. flynnie - Aug 9, 2011 at 12:43 AM

    Charlie and Dave sign off to "I Love a Rainy Night"!

  39. baseballswami - Aug 9, 2011 at 12:43 AM

    Yeah, nats don't lose! Does that mean wang tomorrow and everyone moves a day ahead?

  40. flynnie - Aug 9, 2011 at 12:45 AM

    @NatsLady – We can have a meet-up at Windy City in Leesburg and spare you the trip to the North Side. And now there's baseball on Thursday afternoon!

  41. flynnie - Aug 9, 2011 at 12:47 AM

    swami, there are 2 million reasons that I predict Wang starting tomorrow. May he be known from then on as "6-gun Wang" instead of "6 run Wang."

  42. Anonymous - Aug 9, 2011 at 12:53 AM

    who gets a september callup? Does Maerrero get one? he his killing it right now in AAA and has been consistent all year. if he gets a callup, does he play everyday(he can only play 1b) and what happens to Morse(back to full time left field?) and Nix? Same thing goes with Lombardozzi-what happens to Desi or Spinner. Also Antonelli has been somewhat consistent all season. does he get a callup. I know Davey talked about wanting to see Peacock and Milone but Peocock has not yet adjusted to tripple A, does he still get a callup. On a side note, just saw lombardozzi and he has a slight facial resemblance to Espinosa.

  43. Anonymous - Aug 9, 2011 at 1:05 AM

    just saw a Marrero home run right now. He really deserves a callup.

  44. MicheleS - Aug 9, 2011 at 1:14 AM

    Bummer!

  45. Bzl. - Aug 9, 2011 at 2:49 AM

    Fish lose, so we're out of last place! (Mets win in big comeback fashion.)

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
ATLANTA 76 77 13.0
MIAMI 74 79 15.0
NEW YORK 74 80 15.5
PHILADELPHIA 70 84 19.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Friday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
LOS ANGELES 88 66 1.5
ST. LOUIS 86 68 3.5
-----------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 69 5.0 +1.0
PITTSBURGH 83 70 6.0 --
MILWAUKEE 79 75 10.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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