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Series preview: Diamondbacks at Nats

Aug 22, 2011, 3:10 PM EDT

Monday, 7:05 p.m. — LHP Joe Saunders (8-10, 3.91) vs. LHP Ross Detwiler (1-3, 2.87)
TV: MASN Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 189

Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. — RHP Ian Kennedy (15-4, 3.22) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (8-10, 3.11)
TV: MASN Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 189

Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. — RHP Daniel Hudson (12-9, 3.83) vs. RHP Livan Hernandez (7-11, 4.34)
TV: MASN Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 189

Thursday, 7:05 p.m. — LHP Wade Miley (0-1, 11.25)
vs. LHP John Lannan (8-9, 3.61)
TV: MASN Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 189

DIAMONDBACKS UPDATE
It's been a streaky August for the D'backs, who less than one week ago were riding a seven-game winning streak and had opened up a 3 1/2-game lead on the Giants in the NL West. But they've since lost five straight, losing a pair in Philadelphia and then getting swept in Atlanta over the weekend. Their lead over the equally struggling Giants is down to 1 1/2 games.

The problem during this losing streak? A complete lack of offense. Arizona has scored only six total runs in its last five games. All-Star Justin Upton continues to lead the way, and recently promoted rookie first baseman Paul Goldschmidt has been a welcome addition. But the loss of shortstop Stephen Drew to a season-ending injury has beenRead more ยป

  1. TimDz - Aug 22, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    I truly hope cooler heads prevail during this series and that it doesn't turn into a "plunk-fest."A four-game sweep would be nice, but I'd accept three out of four.

  2. NatStat - Aug 22, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    Time to give Flores equal time behind the plate. He's currently hitting better than Ramos, even if Wilson might have a slightly more powerful toss to 2nd.Besides Davey wants to see if Flores can compete like he was doing in 2009 before his injury.

  3. Section 222 - Aug 22, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    You'd think after what happened to Juan Nicasio in Colorado, the idea of throwing baseballs at each other would be a little less appealing. Let's get payback by winning. That was by far the best elixer for surviving the Phan invasion this past weekend.

  4. Steve M. - Aug 22, 2011 at 3:50 PM

    TimDZ, the DBacks have more to play for now with playoffs on their mind so giving up free bases may not be on their agenda. Tuesday's matchup with JZim and the other IanK (not Kinsler) who is under the radar like JZim should be a matchup of both team's best. The Nats get to miss Josh Collmenter this time around as he made the Nats offense look lost when they faced him.On the Nats cold list, Nix is the guy I am most concerned about and still not thinking JFlores is "hot". A few of those hits in his last 6 games were lucky like that swirly ball that went foul then fair and a jam job oppo hit. His .333 could easily be .223 but in baseball, we will take it even though the sample size is small.I like the Wade Miley matchup on Thursday. The others are all good pitchers. Danny Espinosa gets to bat from the right side twice in this series.I see Boswell this morning called the Nats the Cardiac Comebacks so maybe it is the Kardiac Komeback Kids. Does anyone have a master list of the comeback walkoffs? I know Morse, Espinosa, Ramos, Zimmerman all with WalkOff HRs and Werth with a WalkOff wild pitch and Stairs with the WalkOff single and Gomes with the WalkOff HBP. Any others?

  5. NatsLady - Aug 22, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    Here's the deal: The D-Backs are in a really tight race and coming here with a 5-game skid. We have exactly two hitters (Morse and Z). If you think there are not going to be HBP in this series you are kidding yourself. I'm not saying we go first, I'm saying we defend our guys.Jayson got hit THREE times in Arizona (before he went into the slump.) Espi got hit 16 times when he was hot, and not one time since. Marquis hit a guy when his leg was broken. Henry hits guys because he has no idea where his pitches are going. After that, I am suspicious of EVERY HPB.

  6. Steve M. - Aug 22, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    NatStat said… Time to give Flores equal time behind the plate. He's currently hitting better than Ramos, even if Wilson might have a slightly more powerful toss to 2nd.Besides Davey wants to see if Flores can compete like he was doing in 2009 before his injury. August 22, 2011 11:36 AM Don't use 6 games to determine "better". Go back through each games log and what happened. If 2 of Flores hits were outs or that swirly was an error like originally scored, he would go from "hot" to "cool". Too small a sample size because he is in platoon.I think Flores has gotten better and his stock is rising but like yesterday he looked overmatched going 1-4 and was 1-4 against Cincy with a nice HR. I want to see more line drives then defensive looking swings.Maybe Davey will mix it up a little, I just wouldn't get too excited about small samples in the "Hot" list. Morse and Zimmerman are both red hot.

  7. Grandstander - Aug 22, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    I see Boswell this morning called the Nats the Cardiac Comebacks so maybe it is the Kardiac Komeback Kids.Wouldn't that make them the KKK?[cue race baiting post about Nyjer Morgan]It's nice to finally see Danny Espinosa of the "who's cold" list. Even though he didn't give it a storybook finish, that was one fine game he had.I think there will be 2 plunks in the series opener and that will be it. I don't think we will get them first. I just hope after they hit Morse, we wait until HRod goes out there. Though if he was trying to hit a batter, he'd probably miss and throw it over the plate.

  8. Big Cat - Aug 22, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    Tuesday gave gonna be a good one. JZimm vs 15-4 Kennedy with a 3.22 era

  9. Mark'd - Aug 22, 2011 at 4:38 PM

    Grandstander, back to Kardiac Kids.

  10. Feel Wood - Aug 22, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    Does anyone have a master list of the comeback walkoffs? I know Morse, Espinosa, Ramos, Zimmerman all with WalkOff HRs and Werth with a WalkOff wild pitch and Stairs with the WalkOff single and Gomes with the WalkOff HBP. Any others?Laynce Nix walkoff sac fly to beat Seattle 1-0 and drive Riggleman over the edge.

  11. jd - Aug 22, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    Steve M. I am not that concerned about Nix because I never bought into him to start with. He would be nice to have coming of the bench but he's not an every day player and that 1st half of his was a mirage.

  12. Mark'd - Aug 22, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    SteveM said…Does anyone havea master list of the comeback walkoffs? I know Morse, Espinosa, Ramos, Zimmerman all with WalkOff HRs and Werth with a WalkOff wild pitch and Stairs with the WalkOff singleand Gomes with the WalkOff HBP. Any others? August 22, 2011 11:50 AM""""""""""""''"""""""""""Add Nix's Walk-off Sac Fly and you still need the Walk-off balk, suicide squeeze, walk, double, triple, passed ball, error and the never been done the walk-off catchers interference and steal of home.

  13. NatsLady - Aug 22, 2011 at 5:46 PM

    Are the Nats too nice? We have been hit a lot more that we are hitting batters. This is a very superficial glance at the stats.The Nats and Reds have the most HBP in the NL (56). Atlanta and Pittsburgh have the fewest (23, and 26). Arizona has 43. League average is 39.The Nats and Arizona are tied at 40 for pitchers who have hit batters. League average is 38. However, as is pointed out in the article below, you might want to consider walks by the team to factor out the "wildness" and get a "meanness" number. http://radicalbaseball.blogspot.com/2011/06/do-red-sox-pitchers-hit-batters.html

  14. Steve M. - Aug 22, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    Feel Wood/Mark'd, thanks for the updates. That walkoff balk is an exciting way to end the game. The Nats lost one of those back in July 2005 when Mike Stanton balked on a walkoff balk. Stanton and Frank Robinson went nuts. The Nats were in 1st place then!Coincidentally, the DBacks lost one last year on a walkoff balk.

  15. natsfan1a - Aug 22, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    If memory serves, that was Stanton's first appearance as a Nat.

  16. Mark'd - Aug 22, 2011 at 6:03 PM

    NatsLady, its a good thing that Danny Espinosa has so many HBP. I would hate to see his OBP without all those.Let the game play out. Davey is old school and will be on top of it and sure the umps are aware of the last series.

  17. HHover - Aug 22, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    NatsLadyI wouldn't say that the Nats as a team have a lot of HBP. They do have two individual players–Espinosa (16) and Morse (11)–who are in the top 6 in HBP and account for more than half of the team total. The Reds, with whom the Nats are tied for #1 in the NL, don't have any single player with more than 6 HBP. So in the Nats' case, rather than looking for any grand theories about team meanness or victimization, I'd look at those two batters. In Morse's case, I think it's in part because of how teams are pitching him. Last year, he seemed more prone to chase and miss outside pitches. He's better at laying off those pitches this year, and I think teams are trying to pitch him inside more. His stance seems generally the same to me, but I wonder if's he's standing closer to the plate, too.

  18. Anonymous - Aug 22, 2011 at 6:12 PM

    West springfield high school alum joe saunders on the hill tonight. Sorry joe, still pulling for the natties

  19. Steve M. - Aug 22, 2011 at 6:15 PM

    natsfan1a said… If memory serves, that was Stanton's first appearance as a Nat. August 22, 2011 2:00 PMImpressive! You are correct. Stanton was released by the New York Yankees and signed by the Nats on July 13, 2005. The walkoff balk occured on his 1st appearance in Milwaukee on July 15th.

  20. NatsLady - Aug 22, 2011 at 6:29 PM

    Agree on Morse, it can be partly the batter's stance and aggressiveness about the inside of the plate. Did Espi change his stance also (I haven't looked at videos)? If he did, could that have contributed to his slump as well as to getting hit less? And if it did, then you COULD say that pitchers were "successful" in getting him to back off the plate and hit less. But, of course, there could be other factors in his slump.

  21. gonatsgo - Aug 22, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    Michael Schwimer ( Michael, meet Danny — Danny, meet Michael) from yesterday is a local alum – St. Stephen/St.Agnes in Fairfax and UVA. Perhaps we can give him the exact same reception. What do you think Danny? Are you now the welcoming committee?

  22. NatsLady - Aug 22, 2011 at 6:42 PM

    BTW, I'm not speaking of grand conspiracy theories of "meanness,"I don't actually think that, despite the article cited.I do however think that pitchers/managers/teams try to focus on the best hitters–in part by pitching them inside, which results in their getting hit. The Reds have six hitters with a BA over 250 (200+PA). So they don't have such obvious "targets" in the batting order. Their stats don't show that the best hitters have been all been HBP the most, it's more spread around.Remember, you are giving away free bases. Morse is followed by Werth, who will get on base, but most often with a walk. The Nats have two batters over .250, but I'm counting Espi in the analysis because of the "split" he had in his batting. (Zimm's only been HPB once.) Oh, and the Reds hitter with a .210 average who has been hit 5 times?? Our own Jonny Gomes.

  23. NatsLady - Aug 22, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    Or maybe they stopped pitching Espi inside (with the risk of plunking him) because he was hitting 2nd in the order with Zimm and Morse following him, thus making it more risky to give him a free base. So many factors, so many stats… too bad I have to work for a while.

  24. N. Cognito - Aug 22, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    We should sign Ron Hunt.Don't laugh – it would have been a better signing than Matt Stairs.

  25. JaneB - Aug 22, 2011 at 8:04 PM

    I think the DBacks need to wipe the slate clean, too — just sometime after they leave DC! I used to be a "no intentional plunking" kinda gal. Then I changed. I think the sloooooooow trot around the bases to win in Ramos' walk-off in AZ in June was better than a plunking. But if they so much as swipe the buttons of one of our guys, then we need to send a ball aimed right at a soft spot, no bone. Not too hard. Livan will take care of it if he needs to, but he doesn't pitch till the end of the series.

  26. Navy Nats Fan - Aug 22, 2011 at 8:12 PM

    Mark'd – the walk-off catcher's interference has been done before, but it's in fiction – one of my favorite books of all time: The 30 Hit Season by D. Michael Tomkins. It's so great because it has everything all of us have ever dreamed about – being a middle-age baseball fan, making a barehanded catch on a foul scorching line drive to save the face of a young girl, meeting the team owner, and being convinced that no matter how old, out of shape, and over-the-hill you are, you for some reason have the magical ability to get 30 hits no matter what. Since the author is from Seattle, it's set in and around the Mariners of the late 90s / early 2000s (Ichiro, Edgar Martinez, etc). An awesome read!

  27. NatStat - Aug 22, 2011 at 8:12 PM

    RE: Steve M. and Flores/RamosYou're right about the small sample. That's why Davey should play Flores more, so the sample gets expanded.

  28. Joe Seamhead - Aug 22, 2011 at 8:25 PM

    Batting second and playing centerfield tonight, none other then Brian Bixler. Jonny Gomes is starting in left.

  29. Joe Seamhead - Aug 22, 2011 at 8:28 PM

    And Wilson Ramos is catching.

  30. sunderland - Aug 22, 2011 at 9:10 PM

    So, watching the 9th yesterday and as the ball off of Desmond's bat landed in the OF bleachers, I could see one Nat fan in a see of Philly fans. The Nats fan was a guy wearing an unbuttoned Strasbourg jersey,and he was yelling and gesturing at all his Philly friends. I looked at that replay a couple times and decided "that guy there? that's Joe Seamhead."Bless you Joe.

  31. Anonymous - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:37 PM

    Blessed are the peacemakers. Really.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
WASHINGTON 78 59 -- 18
ATLANTA 72 67 7.0
MIAMI 67 70 11.0
NEW YORK 65 74 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 64 74 14.5
Through Tuesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Braves at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Braves at Nats, 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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