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Game 147: Nats at Mets

Sep 14, 2011, 8:11 PM EDT

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Brad Peacock makes his first career start tonight at Citi Field.

Couple of significant (or not-so-significant, depending on your point of view) things could happen tonight in New York. 1) With a win, the Nationals would get to 70 for the season, surpassing last year's total. 2) With a win, the Nats would be tied with the Mets for third place in the NL East.

And the third thing, of course, is that Brad Peacock is making his first career start, hoping to bounce back from a ragged big-league debut out of the bullpen on the night Stephen Strasburg returned from Tommy John surgery. Peacock, who dominated at both Class AA Harrisburg and Class AAA Syracuse, doesn't seem like the type who would let that one shaky outing get to him. I would expect a solid performance from him tonight.

Typical lineup from Davey Johnson, the only exception being Jesus Flores behind the plate instead of Wilson Ramos (who will probably start tomorrow afternoon's series finale).

Enjoy the game and the conversation…

Where: Citi Field
Gametime: 7:10 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 183
Weather: Chance of storms, 77 degrees, Wind 8 mph out to CF

SS Ian Desmond
CF Rick Ankiel
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Michael Morse

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258 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Drew8 - Sep 15, 2011 at 3:12 AM

    Rick Ankiel has a lot of value off the bench — power, great arm, good jumps and glove in center. But his on base percentage just edges .300 so I wouldn't want to see him start in CF.I still think B.J. Upton is Mike Rizzo's objective.Jayson Werth's improving OPS — .732.B.J. Upton's improving OPS — .734.Rizzo knows the Upton family. Upton grew up with Zim in Tidewater and Rizzo thinks Zim would be a great influence. Upton is a 20-30 guy with a career on base percentage of .341.An offseason deal with Tampa that involves some combination of Desmond and/or Norris and/or Marrero wouldn't surprise me at all.

  2. Gonat - Sep 15, 2011 at 3:26 AM

    Drew8, BJ Upton is a Free Agent after next season and he hasn't been leadoff for a while. I hope you are wrong and Rizzo says NO. Need to save players for July in case the Nats are in the playoff hunt and need to make deadline trades.BJ Upton is a 1 year rental. After the season, Desmond has had since the trade deadline, no way I trade him.Of the names you mentioned, I would trade Norris straight up for BJ Upton.

  3. Drew8 - Sep 15, 2011 at 3:52 AM

    Gonat:Obviously Desmond has been much better after the All-Star break, with a .330 on base percentage built almost exclusively on base hits.My problem with Ian is that he does not draw walks, so his on base percentage lives or dies on whether he's swinging a hot bat.In September he has 51 at bats and ONE walk. His on base percentage for this month is .288!I'm sure Rizzo wouldn't deal prospects for Upton unless he got a window to ink him to a long-term deal, as he tried to do with Greinke.Even if they don't go get Upton, I think they'll eventually move Ian to make room for Rendon. I'd be happy with this lineup for your NL champion 2014 Nats:Goodwin cfRendon 2bZimmerman 3bMorse 1bHarper rfWerth LfEspinosa ssRamos cStrasburg p

  4. Analytical Nat - Sep 15, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    In all honesty the Ankiel catch was slightly more than a routine catch. Just wasn't what most of you have make it out to be. Don't get fooled by showmanship, but I like it.

  5. The Dude Abides - Sep 15, 2011 at 11:37 AM

    Has anybody heard from that famous "69 wins" neganon lately?The last I remember, he had hedged and started saying "71 wins".He's still hedgein' (I bet).

  6. Joe Seamhead - Sep 15, 2011 at 12:00 PM

    Screw 2014 . We're in it to win it in 2013! Those last three home games against Philly next year will be meaningless, as we will have the NL East sewn up by then! Regarding Ian Desmond, I'm supportive of him for now, though I'm "not feeling it" so far as to him being the SS when we win our World Series title.

  7. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 15, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    Hey Seamhead…. I'm all for spending the Lerners money and signing Jose Reyes…. screw the injuries… I'll take my chances….Can you imagine that infield? Zim, Reyes, Espinosa and ….. oh hell, lets get Fielder while we're at it.

  8. YankeeLover - Sep 15, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    Twitter: @BHarper3407 Bryce Harper Just crushed some Benihana sushi! So good! Hiro is a great sushi maker! Oh and he likes the Yankees! #legit

  9. Anonymous8 - Sep 15, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    The Dude Abides, the Orioles anon's have disapearred suddenly. It will be interesting to see from here who the Nats can leap frog in better records. Any chance they can catch Manny Acta's Indians? Looks like the Nats can surpass the Pirates to.

  10. Gonat - Sep 15, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    Steve M. said… Here's my random thoughts on Peacock tonight. He is facing an offensively challenged team so he needs to do what Detwiler did for his 1st 5 innings on Monday: Shut down Reyes and Wright. You don't have to be perfect, but those are the 2 to keep off base. September 14, 2011 10:51 AM ______________________He didn't let Wright on base and the only time Reyes got a hit on him was with 2 outs after the ump blew a 3rd strike call.2 hits and no runs in 5 innings w/ the Win is a nice box score. The 3 walks and throwing 95 pitches tell a story of many pitches thrown per batter.The ump may have also squeezed the strike zone as some pointed out which added to the pitch count and Zimmerman missing that foul popup cost Peacock to throw 6 or 7 extra pitches.Next start has to be more efficient with his pitches.

  11. Mark'd - Sep 15, 2011 at 12:36 PM

    Will Bixlers and Lombo be the starting middle infield today? HenryRod hasn't pitched since Sunday, hope we don't see him today although Davey needs a spot closer.The Mets offense looks worse than the Nats did during that losing streak 2 weeks ago.

  12. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2011 at 12:40 PM

    Maybe Henry for 7-8 and Burnett to close. Let's hope Milone can go 6. How about my man Clip last night?

  13. A DC Wonk - Sep 15, 2011 at 12:48 PM

    Analytical Nat said… In all honesty the Ankiel catch was slightly more than a routine catch. Just wasn't what most of you have make it out to be. Don't get fooled by showmanship, but I like it.I agree that it wasn't really a _diving_ catch — he could have caught it without diving, although diving was probably the safer route (so that he wouldn't trip or fall as he had to lean so far).On the other hand, he got a great jump on the ball, read it well, and used good speed to get to it, as the ball was curving away from him.The Mets offense looks worse than the Nats did during that losing streak 2 weeks ago.The Mets have the second highest BA in the NL — perhaps they are in a slump, but some amount of credit needs to go to the Nats pitching — particularly the bullpen.As far as Rendon goes — somebody a few days back asked if it was possible we'd see him sooner than other draft picks, since he's a hitter rather than a pitcher, and because he's a college guy.That seems logical to me. Great college hitters have the highest percentage of successfully making it to the big leagues, and also the quickest. I'm looking forward to hearing reports about him from the Instruc League, and the Ariz league.

  14. Gonat - Sep 15, 2011 at 12:50 PM

    NatsLady, I think that was his most dominating performance between last night and Monday. The mix of pitches is looking like a 3 PLUS pitch reliever. When people said he wasn't as good as Venters I think he took it to heart. Word is that he has been working on the big breaker.

  15. A DC Wonk - Sep 15, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    Speaking of Burnett — anyone catch that story that he's been solidly lights out since he moved where he stands on the pitching rubber.Key quote:The results have been dramatic, a small change making a huge difference. Since Burnett switched sides of the rubber, he has appeared in 22 games and allowed three earned runs in 19 2/3 innings, good for a 1.37 ERA. “He’s been as good as anybody I’ve had out there for the last 30 games,” Manager Davey Johnson said.Full story here

  16. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    Wonk, saw that story. Remember when there was a "closer competition" between Burnett and Storen? Seems like forever ago…

  17. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 15, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    Ok everybody…. I should be able to provide 3 or 4 weekly "eyeball" reports from Fall Instructional League starting late next week…. And Rendon is definitely on top of my "watch" list.I'm looking forward to reconnecting with Robbie Ray and A.J. Cole as I got to know them both fairly well last Fall. There are going to be a BUNCH of arms to monitor this Fall.

  18. RIchard - Sep 15, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    Boz has an column this a.m. re the Nats potentially being Werth and the Home Growns next year. I hope so. So many free agent big buck contracts go wrong. There's a huge, ugly list. And the Nats' attempts in that regard (Marquis, LaRoche, and, dare I say it, even Werth — altho' I like the guy's game) that ya gotta hope the Nats stand pat. The center fielders avialable for a one-year deal don't seem much better than Ankiel (wow! re the last two nights!) and company. Ankiel deserves another year IMO and they have Bernadina for occasionally duty and could use Werth in CF and re-sign Gomes and Nix presumably to help in the corners and off the bench. All this until Harper is ready, hopefully in June 2012 but maybe 2013 … unless the Nats think Morse's success is flash in the pan stuff.

  19. natsfan1a - Sep 15, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    Link to Boz piece (which MicheleS originally pointed out last night):

  20. Wally - Sep 15, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said…Ok everybody…. I should be able to provide 3 or 4 weekly "eyeball" reports from Fall Instructional League starting late next week…. And Rendon is definitely on top of my "watch" list.I look forward to this, NJ, and appreciate it. Rendon and Purke are high on my list to hear about.When does the AFL start, November?

  21. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    Honestly, I'm not so worried about 3rd place as I am about not dropping 5 of 6 to the stinkin' Fish. With the new kids around, there should NOT be any fear of a last-place worn out club… The Fillies and Braves will be resting their regulars to charge up for October, so we should have a good chance. GO NATS!!

  22. Mark'd - Sep 15, 2011 at 1:46 PM

    NatsLady, Fish have a day night doubleheader in Philly which should hopefully tire them out

  23. N. Cognito - Sep 15, 2011 at 1:46 PM

    The Braves are still fighting for the Wild Card. They have only a 4.5 game lead over the Cards.

  24. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 15, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    Wally…. AFL starts up about the third week in October. Looking forward to a great afternoon of baseball. Get off work at 11:30 AM for a long week end then head to my local watering hole to quench my thirst for both the Nats and Miller Lite.

  25. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 15, 2011 at 1:52 PM

    Starts Oct. 4, actuallyArizona Fall League schedule here (PDF)("Arena Football League?? Why does he want … oh. Nevermind.")

  26. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 15, 2011 at 1:54 PM

    N. Cognito said… The Braves are still fighting for the Wild Card. They have only a 4.5 game lead over the Cards.So you're saying the Nats can do some damage here, eh? EX-cellent!Have I mentioned that I don't like the Braves?

  27. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    N. Cog, would rather have the Braves get it (hopefully clinched) before we see them. Let them wear themselves out fighting… Am not a friend of StL. Nothing against the Braves except the tomahawk chop, but isn't their rotation falling apart? I see them as the team to beat next year in our division.

  28. sjm308 - Sep 15, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    Natsjack – will be looking forward to your reports just like I enjoy spring trainingDCWonk – that was me asking about Rendon and I hope he will make great strides and move quickly thru our systemNatslady – no no no to HRod going two innings – just one please and we have plenty of arms out there to keep the mets humble – yes Burnett has been lights out and I actually like him to close today if we need it (could also use Coffey)Anon8 – I am just like you, watching how many teams we can finish ahead of. Was surprised how far we are ahead of the Twins, we have crushed the Pirates as well. I made a bet early in the year that we would finish with a better record than Manny's tribe and it looks like I am going to owe one of my ex-swimmers a fitted curly W hat unless the Indians go totally spastic and we stay on the great roll (just for the record, if I did win the Indians hat it would not be worn except doing yard work)5 more win please!! (and then we will reprogram)go nats!!

  29. sjm308 - Sep 15, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    I realize not many will miss my missives but I will miss communicating here. Its a great release. Off to Montreal and then up the St. Lawrence for the next 8 days. I will not have my computer but will have use of an ipad if my spousal type person is in a good mood. hard for me to write but I will be reading with great interest. Thanks to all of you for making this an important part of my day.5 more wins please!!go nats

  30. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    Go, Scorpions!!! Another Mark Buerhle story here.

  31. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2011 at 2:06 PM

    sjm308==> I'll miss you. Have a great trip!

  32. Steve M. - Sep 15, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    sjm, have a great trip and lets hope for at least 5 more wins. 10% improvement over last season would be a very good sign which is 76 wins.NatsLady, good Buerhle info on his durability. The one thing I noticed on his durability is that he also drops off in the latter part of the season. He is one of these pitchers who will help you more April to July like Marquis. His ERA in the 1st half was 3.42 and 2nd half 3.88. Still have to wonder how he would do facing 8 and a pitcher vs 8 and a DH. –My big negative on him is that he is poor on the road and that concerns me–.Like JD and I discussed before, for the right price you get him. He will be one of the top Lefty arms on the market.

  33. jd - Sep 15, 2011 at 2:25 PM

    If we are trying to figure out Rendon's ETA a great barometer is Dustin Ackley; I believe it took him a year and change to graduate; translation June 1st 2013.

  34. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2011 at 2:25 PM

    From Fangraphs, as of this morning. Tyler vs. Jonny Venters!!! (WPA – Win Probability Added)WPA: RelieversTyler Clippard 5.36Jonny Venters 5.23John Axford 4.56Jonathan Papelbon 3.94David Robertson 3.84

  35. PAY TO PLAY - Sep 15, 2011 at 2:28 PM

    jd, didn't Ackley also have a position change? 1st base to 2nd base or am I thinking of someone else?

  36. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 15, 2011 at 2:29 PM

    sjm, don't give up the cap. They're only 3 back of Manny in the loss column, and Cleveland has that 162nd game to lose.

  37. jd - Sep 15, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    A lot of Nats pitching prospects questions on Klaw's latest chat. Summary: 1)Between Peacock, Milone, Rosenbaum – all # 5 starters at best. 2) Solis # 4. 3) A.J.Cole – Higher than a No. 3. So to extrapolate a future rotation may look something like this:1)SS2)J Zimm3)AJ Cole4)Solis5)Peacock? There is of course also: Meyer and Purke. I,m sure I left out others (Ray?) but there's a lot there.

  38. Nats Outsider - Sep 15, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    NatsLady, I *hope* the Phils will be resting their regulars when the Nats play them, but that's not certain yet. The Philthydelphia papers noted that the team has only cliched a playoff berth, not the division, and certainly not home field advantage through the playoffs. It will take several more wins before they do that. That may include our games, unfortunately.

  39. Oldguy - Sep 15, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    Just went through our current roster and weeded out the obvious (Cora, etc.) Was left with 27 players, none of whom I would want to get rid of. (Too many pitchers–not a bad problem.) I'm with Richard–you take what's in house and make it work. There's not a guy on our team who can't hit or can't pitch–though they don't always do it. And I have been listening to Davey's manager's reports with Charley on 106.7 almost every night. Although I had problems with him at first, he has talked a lot about conversations he has had with a number of players–Danny, Desi, Bix and a few others. And the results show. He likes all three of those guys, and I'm betting none of them are going anywhere. Regarding FA's, there are a few out there that make the Werth deal look great–John Lackey, for example. (Pitchers are especially dicey in this regard. Pitchers can lose games without any help, whereas position players rarely do.) And that list of 27, by the way, did not include Harper and the other young guys who are still out there, like Rendon, etc.

  40. jd - Sep 15, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    PTP, He absolutely did; from the outfield to 2nd base actually. NatsLady, No doubt about it. Clippard is our best reliever; you should have heard the Mets broadcasters gushing over him. They couldn't believe he wasn't left in to close last night.

  41. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    And, just for fun, if you go by WPA, Clip and Venters beat out ALL the starting pitchers, Halliday, you name him. Pitchers ranked by WPA It's not really comparable, but, for those who think starting and closing are the "glamour" jobs…

  42. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 15, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    P2P, yes, the Mariners moved Ackley to second after they drafted him.from his Wikipedia page:"He came to University of North Carolina as a shortstop but later moved to centerfield, and then later to first base. UNC coach Mike Fox first tried to play Ackley at second base, but later settled in the outfield."

  43. Steve M. - Sep 15, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    So Milone gets to face the Mets again. Last time he barely got through the 4th but that game set up the Zim walkoff broken bat hit to right field.Milone was not getting his inside strikes to the RH batters and it hurt him the 2nd time through the order as they hit him well.His challenge will be seeing if the umpire will give him the inside pitch. If he gets it, I think he can be effective today. Not sure if Turner will start today but if he does, he could have Reyes and Turner from the right side. He did well against the LH Duda so the Mets should rest him and go with a very RH lineup against him. Wright will probably bat 3rd or cleanup. Pagan is another switch hitter so Milone may only see 1 or 2 lefties at most today.This is Milone's biggest test. The Mets are hungry to get a win. Day game after a night game and Milone has to show he can make it through the 6th. The bullpen could use the rest also.

  44. Wally - Sep 15, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    SJM – have a great time. I did a trip like that with my wife a while back (pre-marriage). Old town Quebec was fun. Big hotel right on the water (Frontenac, maybe?) – didn't stay there but it was very beautiful. Enjoy.P2P – yes, that is Ackley and he switched from 1B/Cf to 2B. He is a good comp, I think. Very similar profiles coming out of school

  45. jd - Sep 15, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    Steve M. I view Milone as a cheaper version of Lannan at best. I'm no expert but he seems to lack a putaway pitch. In the minors his biggest asset was that he didn't walk anybody and that's a very good thing.

  46. PAY TO PLAY - Sep 15, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    Thanks jd/NatsLady for the Ackley points. I thought he was a position change. He was a very good hitter in College and Rendon is better than Ackley.Lets hope it translates that way at the MLB level also.

  47. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    You like how I'm giving Clip points for his arbitration? According to fangraphs, he was "worth" $5mill this year. Pay the man! Him and RZimm.jd, OK, thanks, for fun, I will go back on and listen to that. I think Clip was not left in to close because of Storen. Partly because of their relationship, but also because Storen needs to learn how to close consistently with less "drama." (He didn't learn it last night, though). You may not want to consider the wishes/feelings of pitchers, but you have to. Also, the two inning jobs do drain a guy. You want to save those for when he has to strand a couple of inherited runners and then work another inning–although I'm starting to like Coffey in the fireman role, and HotRod could/should be getting to where he could strand a runner and come back in for another inning.I have no problem with Davey not leaving Clip in. This is a NICE problem to have.

  48. jd - Sep 15, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    Wally, Chateau Frontenac – Beautiful hotel. SJM, Enjoy your trip.

  49. Wally - Sep 15, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    Mark – FYI – I had a site comment. It gets a little cumbersome to post when the comments go over 200. When you start typing, it takes you back to the old comments (1-200) as you are typing, and then when you finish, it also brings you back to the original comments. So you don't get the benefit of seeing whether anyone posted newer comments (which is why I responded to P2P after three others about Ackley).Is there any way to have it keep you on the newest strand of comments?

  50. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    I was in the car driving or I would have posted it last night when they were speculating–there was ZERO chance Davey was leaving Clip in for the 9th. None.

  51. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 15, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    I don't think Davey manages by the seat of his pants like that. Storen is the closer; he was available last night; he's pitching the ninth there, because that's his job.

  52. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    Sofa, exactly. Davey is not going to have Clip take saves from Storen. In a pinch, he might put Burnett in there, or if he's in a teaching mood, HotRod. But not Clip.

  53. Steve M. - Sep 15, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    jd, better control than Lannan. He needs that inside corner.I unfortunately/fortunately concur with Klaw on the Nats pitchers. Every team needs a #5 pitcher, but you hope for some of these guys to step up and show they can be mid-3's for ERA and become a #3 or #4. Have to like what he thinks of AJ Cole. I really like Purke and hope he can be there in the mix. When the Nats are playoff bound, they may have to make a pickup to get them over the top. Other thought is AJ Cole could be further away than Purke may be.So far out of Wang, Detwiler, Milone and Peacock, I am most impressed by Peacock. To get out of the bases loaded in the 4th and also get out of a squeezed strike zone and mis-calls, Peacock was better than his pitch count. Reyes was struck out and he got a hit. The 3 walks were really his biggest problem. I was glad he started his 1st game in NY. It can build confidence as it is a pitcher's park.His next start will be the one to really see improvement.

  54. A DC Wonk - Sep 15, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    jd said… A lot of Nats pitching prospects questions on Klaw's latest chat. Summary: 1)Between Peacock, Milone, Rosenbaum – all # 5 starters at best.Why in the world does Klaw think Peacock is #5 "at best"? He had a killer AAA season, and he hit 95 mph a number of times last night.I'm not saying Peacock is a lock for better than #5 — I have no idea. But how can someone say he will _never_ be better than #5? What am I missing here?

  55. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 15, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    Wally, that's a "known issue" with Blogger, at least with this standard template–not sure if other templates offer a work-around yet, but I haven't heard of one, and a quick google came up empty, so I'm doubting it.

  56. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 15, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    Wally–but you asked for a workaround to stay on the last page, not for the 200 comment limit, didn't you? Try this, it may be a little better: Open the latest page (like this one here) in a new tab. When you post, use the first page to submit it, then switch back to this one and refresh it (F5 key). Not much better, really, but it's all I've got.

  57. jd - Sep 15, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    DC Wonk, Klaw never said that Peacock will never be better than #5; his scouting impression is that Peacock tops at #5. To Klaw's credit; he acknowledges when he's wrong and admits that he's wrong a lot of the times. So basically it's just his opinion based on what he sees.

  58. natsfan1a - Sep 15, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    Of course we'll miss you, sjm. Have a good trip!I can't root against Manny's (and my aunt's) tribe, but I'll root to pass other teams in the standings.




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