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Series preview: Nats at Reds

Aug 26, 2011, 1:27 PM EDT

Friday, 7:10 p.m. — RHP Chien-Ming Wang (2-2, 4.33) vs. LHP Dontrelle Willis (0-3, 4.14)
TV: MASN2 Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 189

Saturday, 7:10 p.m. — LHP Ross Detwiler (2-3, 2.61) vs. RHP Mike Leake (10-8, 4.09)
TV: MASN2 Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 189

Sunday, 1:10 p.m. — RHP Jordan Zimmermann (8-11, 3.10) vs. RHP Johnny Cueto (9-5, 2.03)
TV: MASN2, Ch 50 Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 189

REDS UPDATE
Amid worries about Hurricane Irene affecting the entire East Coast, the Reds wound up playing a doubleheader at Florida on Wednesday, giving them a chance to leave town early and enjoy an off-day at home Thursday. Cincinnati split the twinbill, dropping the opener 6-5 before hanging on to win the finale 3-2.

Joey Votto was front-and-center during the doubleheader, going a combined 5-for-7 with two homers and four RBI to extend his recent surge at the plate. The reigning NL MVP is beginning to thrust himself back into the discussion for this year's award. He now leads the league in both on-base percentage (.441) and OPS (.992), to go along with a .328 average, 24 homers and 84 RBI.

The Reds send Dontrelle Willis to the mound for tonight's series opener. It's been a long, strange ride for the left-hander, who burst onto the scene as a dynamic young star for the Marlins duringRead more »

  1. m20832 - Aug 26, 2011 at 1:51 PM

    Let's hope they focus, hit the ball and can win this series!GYFNG!!!

  2. Steve M. - Aug 26, 2011 at 1:56 PM

    Jordan Zimmermann has to be looking at his matchup against Johnny Cueto and saying "Why me"? That just looks like another 0 run performance to finish up Jordan's 2011.I feel sorry for this young man.

  3. natsfan1a - Aug 26, 2011 at 2:10 PM

    As I noted in the previous thread, maybe the Great American Small Park can get their bats going. (Hey, a gal can dream.)Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a bit of storm panic shopping to do. :-)

  4. Steve M. - Aug 26, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    According to MLBTR, one less potential Free Agent big time pitcher as the Cardinals expect to take the team option on Adam Wainwright.

  5. P. Cole - Aug 26, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    2 out of 3 ain't bad

  6. N. Cognito - Aug 26, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    Mark: Where does Strasburg pitch if Syracuse is rained out on Saturday?

  7. N. Cognito - Aug 26, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    Steve M. said… "According to MLBTR, one less potential Free Agent big time pitcher as the Cardinals expect to take the team option on Adam Wainwright."Pretty much as expected.Curious what will happen with C.C. I don't believe he wants to leave the Yankees (absolutely no basis for my statement other than, "it's the Yankees"), so if he does decline his option, I would believe it's merely to try to get more money out of the Yankees.

  8. Grandstander - Aug 26, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    Yonder Alonso has also only started 5 games since getting called up on July 26th. I don't know why the Reds aren't playing him more, but he's only started in consecutive games once and that was 3 weeks ago. In the last 11 games, he's started twice.

  9. Steve M. - Aug 26, 2011 at 3:06 PM

    N. Cognito, I hear you on Wainwright but remember he will be coming back from Tommy John and his surgery was April 2011. Wainwright also has a 2013 option so team control for 2 more years so picking him up makes sense. History on Wainwright was a Georgia kid that the Braves picked in the 1st round and then was traded with Ray King and Jason Marquis to the St. Louis Cardinals for J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero. Amazing how the Braves let him get away.The Cardinals still have the Pujols situation to figure out plus they have a team option on Chris Carpenter which looks like they may pass on.Then you have their 1 year deal on Lance Berkman and what it will cost to extend him or sign him in Free Agency.I agree with you on CC Sabathia as the Yankees will have to shell out more dough but good for the other teams if he declares Free Agency as that will occupy all the big market teams for a while as he has to be the big prize.

  10. N. Cognito - Aug 26, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    I believe Pujols will be with the Cards next year. I believe he wants to play for the Cards but also wants his cost to be bid up. I would not be shocked if he re-signed with the Cards for less than what he is offered by another team(s), but for more than what the Cards offered before this season began.

  11. Steve M. - Aug 26, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    Grandstander said… Yonder Alonso has also only started 5 games since getting called up on July 26th. I don't know why the Reds aren't playing him more, but he's only started in consecutive games once and that was 3 weeks ago. In the last 11 games, he's started twice. August 26, 2011 11:00 AM Bad defense was the reason I heard he isn't getting a lot of playing time. He isn't an outfielder instinctively but with Votto cemented at 1st base they finally converted him to LF in Minors this past season. His reads on balls are bad plus they don't play him much against LH pitching. In the 1st Nats game he got a bad read and let a ball drop in for a single.They are going to hope he improves on defense but still have a place for him if Joey Votto walks in Free Agency after 2013. The kid has a good bat and good power. Doesn't he remind you of another LH leftfielder the Reds once had?

  12. Steady Eddie - Aug 26, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    N. Cognito — re Strasburg Sunday, Syracuse forecast is for 30% chance of rain. Western upstate NY is on the farthest fringes of Irene, and may not get anything if it veers further east from NYC. Admission against interest — I have my season package tickets for the 6th, so of course I want the above to be true. But right now, that is whatWeathercom is saying (the more reliable wunderground.com says 50%).

  13. N. Cognito - Aug 26, 2011 at 3:44 PM

    Steady Eddie said… "N. Cognito — re Strasburg Sunday"At Lehigh – closer to the storm center – greater potential for rain?Tickets for the 8th might be looking good.

  14. Mark'd - Aug 26, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    SteveM, I first learned about Yonder Alonso from you over a year ago when you said he was the best logjammed 1st baseman in the Minors.To answer your question reminds me of a low UZR Adam Dunn in LF.

  15. Steve M. - Aug 26, 2011 at 4:02 PM

    Mark'd, thanks by the way on your recall and yes, Dunn is who I was thinking pf and time will tell if Yonder Alonso will improve on defense. He was the only decent truly longjammed 1st baseman I saw out there that I thought would have been a good pickup for the Nats in 2009 and even 2010 if Dunn left (which he did).Think of all the good Rookie 1st baseman we have seen this year in Freddie Freeman, Belt, A. Rizzo, and Goldschmidt and the move of Alonzo. An incredible crop of 1st baseman and Brandon Belt has been playing some outfield also.

  16. Natty Bo - Aug 26, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    N. Gonito,I live outside Syracuse, am heading to the game Sat., virtually no chance of rain during game time. Strasburg should get his innings in, no problem.

  17. Natty Bo - Aug 26, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    sorry, can't spell

  18. jd - Aug 26, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    Alonso is a disaster in left field; the Reds will need to trade one or the other. Can you imagine what they get for Votto especially if he collects a second straight MVP?

  19. Steve M. - Aug 26, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    If this has already been discussed, I apologize but someone told me that Davey Johnson has been making comparisons of Ian Desmond as a young Barry Larkin.At least when Jim Bowden was hyping IDes as a young Jeter it was while he was real young. Larkin was an All Star and Silver Slugger in his 2nd full season. Now Barry was one of the best hitting shortstops and didn't become known right away as a good defensive shortstop as he had a lot of errors himself. Not sure how Davey is trying to make the comparison besides that they both play the same position. Larkin retired with 1 MVP, 3 Gold Gloves, 12 All Star selections and a career .295/.371 slash. I hope Davey is right!

  20. N. Cognito - Aug 26, 2011 at 4:48 PM

    "Not sure how Davey is trying to make the comparison besides that they both play the same position."Raw physical potential?It's the only rationale I can think of.

  21. Steve M. - Aug 26, 2011 at 4:52 PM

    N. Cognito, I believe in potential and think Desmond has shown improvement with the glove but to compare him to Larkin who was one of the better offensive shortstops is an interesting comparisons.

  22. Steve M. - Aug 26, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    jd said… Alonso is a disaster in left field; the Reds will need to trade one or the other. Can you imagine what they get for Votto especially if he collects a second straight MVP? August 26, 2011 12:27 PM You are much more to the point than I. I thought a comparison to Adam Dunn was kinder. LOLNo way the Reds trade Votto now and I think Yonder is their Rendon to Zimmerman if they can't extend Votto. If they can't extend Votto then I agree, he gets traded July 2013.I think the Nats are more willing to spend money and a better chance of extending Zimmerman. Both situations are similar going forward.

  23. Get Some Players Score Some Runs - Aug 26, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    Let's hope the Nats don't make the Reds pitching staff look like Cy Young award winners like they did with AZ.

  24. Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 26, 2011 at 5:58 PM

    SteveM & al., Davey said they have similar body types, both fast, good arms, and clubhouse leadership personalities, to the best of my recollection.

  25. Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 26, 2011 at 6:01 PM

    I was wondering if anyone asked Larkin what he thought.

  26. fpcsteve - Aug 26, 2011 at 6:12 PM

    Steve M., I wonder if you noticed and/or thought about this: Early in the season ID's defense was much improved, but his hitting fell off from last year. When his hitting strated to come around (lately), the errors increased. It is like he can do one or the other, but not both at the same time. That is just an observation. What do you think? As a former coach, I had kids like that. He isn't going to be "all that" until he can do both at the same time.

  27. jd - Aug 26, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    Steve M. The frustration with ID is that it's all there. The big problem with his hitting (and Davey said as much) is that he is over aggressive and he gets himself out too many times. Sam looked him up and discovered that he had about an 8% walk ratio throughout his career in the minors so I guess there is still hope. As far as Votto is concerned I was think maybe a big blockbuster trade like Starling Castro + 2 more top prospects for Votto. It kind of makes sense because Alonso will be many times cheaper than Votto and Castro is still a couple of years away from the big bucks.

  28. carolync - Aug 26, 2011 at 7:05 PM

    The Desmond-Larkin comparison was around last year and I think it came from Phil Wood who gave Larkin as an example of a player who made a lot of errors in his first year and then cut them down. The statement I remember had nothing to do with style, body type, hitting, etc., just number of errors.Desmond will be 26 on Sept 20 so he's running out of time to be considered a young anything. By age 26, Barry Larkin was already established as one of baseball's top offensive shortstops.I'm interested to see what Rizzo does or doesn't do with the middle infield in the coming months.

  29. JamesFan - Aug 26, 2011 at 7:25 PM

    Players up the middle have become our problem. Except for Ramos, they are a group of .220 hitters who aren't delivering anywhere in the lineup. Which Espi do we have? First half or has he run out of gas in the second half? The love affair with Desi is a complete mystery to me. Errors, sometimes at critical points, light hitter over the long haul. To win big, we can't keep all these guys if what we see now is what we get. We've got to have some offense, and you can't just blame Werth for all of this.

  30. jd - Aug 26, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    JamesFan, Espinosa is 2.9 WAR which makes him the 3rd best 2nd baseman in the NL behind Weeks and Phillips. Let's try to keep some perspective. Batting averages only tell a small part of the story.

  31. jd - Aug 26, 2011 at 7:49 PM

    Correction 4th best; Utley wasn't listed because of fewer at bats but his 3.9 WAR.

  32. baseballswami - Aug 26, 2011 at 8:32 PM

    Been out of the loop the last couple of days with work and family stuff. I noticed that Ankiel didn't start yesterday and is not starting today. Is he hurt and I missed it or is it a righty, lefty thing? Just Bixler earning some time? I know no one has been hitting. especially with risp and the pen got lit up last night, other than that – let's go nats!Every time I type risp I think of Aretha — r-i-s-p(ect, find out what it means to me!)

  33. Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 26, 2011 at 8:35 PM

    Davey was discussing Desmond-as-Larkin in an interview the other night on MASN, looked like from the dugout.

  34. Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 26, 2011 at 8:36 PM

    Don't know if he's hurt, swami, but he does look really lost at the plate compared to several weeks ago.

  35. Mark'd - Aug 26, 2011 at 8:47 PM

    I think part of Espi's problem has been some days off that he needed and didn't get. Keeping in perspective, he is a Rookie. I think he will have a great sophomore year.

  36. JamesFan - Aug 26, 2011 at 10:16 PM

    I'm not interested in a great secondbaseman who hits .220 on a team that can't score

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 75 57 --
ATLANTA 70 64 6.0
MIAMI 65 67 10.0
NEW YORK 62 72 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 61 72 14.5
Through Thursday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
FRI: Nats at Mariners, 10:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Mariners, 9:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Mariners, 4:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 4:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
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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