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Game 148: Nats at Mets

Sep 15, 2011, 3:08 PM EDT

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats go for a four-game sweep this afternoon at Citi Field.

Fresh off Brad Peacock's first career win last night, the Nationals are back in New York today looking to pull off a rare, four-game sweep of the Mets. To do that, they'll probably need another quality pitching performance from another September call-up: Tommy Milone.

Milone won't be an unknown quantity to the Mets; he made his big-league debut against them 12 days ago at Nationals Park and allowed four runs over 4 1/3 innings. So this could be a good test for the young lefty, the first chance he gets to face a lineup for the second time.

The Mets are sending their own rookie to the mound in right-hander Chris Schwinden. The 24-year-old went 8-8 with a 3.87 ERA in 28 combined games between the Mets' Class AA and Class AAA affiliates this season.

Enjoy the matinee ballgame; I'll be back on the beat from Nationals Park tomorrow for the start of the series against the Marlins…

NATIONALS at METS
Where: Citi Field
Gametime: 1:10 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 183
Weather: Cloudy, 73 degrees, Wind 8 mph out to RF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (70-77)
SS Ian Desmond
CF Rick Ankiel
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Michael Morse

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229 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Drew8 - Sep 16, 2011 at 1:52 AM

    Gonat: I didn't say that I'm enamored with Upton. I said Mike Rizzo is enamored with Upton.That said, I do think Upton brings an unusual and alluring skill set, with 21 homers as of tonight, 73 ribbies and the 29 steals.Most important to me is his career on base percentage of .341.In thinking about hitters for the top of the lineup, I think we need to look beyond the batting average and focus on on base percentage.For instance, Ian's batting average is about 18 points higher than Upton's. But Upton's on base percentage is about 30 points higher than Ian's.By the way, I don't think Lombo is the solution for leadoff. He consistently hit .300 in the minors, but he didn't draw walks, either.You could always go outside of the box. In Oakland and Boston, Youk has done some leadoff duty because of his high on base percentage. Norris hit second in Harrisburg this year because he had a very high on base percentage, despite a batting average that flirted with Mendoza.Whoever winds up in cf, I think we'll see Rendon in one of the top two spots in a year or two. He's an on-base machine. (Don't know if he's a dancing machine, too.)Now let's go catch the Fish and stuff 'em in the microwave until they stink.

  2. A DC Wonk - Sep 16, 2011 at 1:53 AM

    Whoops — I meant:Re: Phillies-Marlins — it's not bad enough for the Marlins (or good enough for the Nats) that they have to play 18 innings the day before playing the Nats — but they are playing more than 18?!Gotta love it! Burn out that bullpen, Florida!!

  3. baseballswami - Sep 16, 2011 at 2:02 AM

    DCWonk – no problem – understood your point – which is a good one! We have got to pound the guppies!

  4. A DC Wonk - Sep 16, 2011 at 2:10 AM

    "pound the guppies" — I like that — it has a nice flow to it! ;-)

  5. SCNatsFan - Sep 16, 2011 at 2:16 AM

    I think the offseason will be interesting, and like Werth signing Rizzo won't tip his hat to what he wants. The biggest domino to fall is Morse; if he is the solution in LF and not 1B then Werth has to play center, Harper right, making a 'true' CF something we don't need. If Morse is seen as the 1B solution then what to do with LaRoche. I still think one of Desi, Espi and Lombard gets moved with a pitcher for a SP; with so many young arms in the system at some point a few will me moved to get a stronger starting 8.First things first though; sign Zim to an extension if he wants to be here.

  6. Gonat - Sep 16, 2011 at 2:22 AM

    Drew8 said…Most important to me is his career on base percentage of .341____________________Again, in 1 year he is a Free Agent, Rizzo should sign him in the Fall of 2012 as a Free Agent. To me, .340 is the magic number so I like his career stats, not his current stats and I am really stuck with the 1 year rental.I am surprised the SFGiants arent pursuing Upton. They are a playoff calibre team that could use him on a 1 year rental.Another crazy idea is move Werth to CF, Morse to RF and bring back Josh Willingham in LF. His offensive numbers blow away Uptons and he is a Free Agent. Give Willingham some rest and he will produce like he did this year for Oak.

  7. Gonat - Sep 16, 2011 at 2:24 AM

    SCNatsFan said… First things first though; sign Zim to an extension if he wants to be here. September 15, 2011 10:16 PM_____________________________Yep, #1 priority.

  8. someguy - Sep 16, 2011 at 2:28 AM

    Coming to the thread late and offtopic here.So I went to the Return Of Strasburg game with my sister a couple weeks ago. We had a great time and we're planning to go to the home finale on the 25th. She was given tickets to that game, but this time I'm going to have to buy them.So, what's the best place to get decent tickets at a reasonable price? I don't want to be sitting 600 feet from home plate, but at the same time I don't want to pay face value for $50 seats if there's anyplace selling them for cheaper.

  9. Wally - Sep 16, 2011 at 2:36 AM

    NatsLady said…I have a question– I didn't see the game yesterday. Which Met is the smurf and why?I called Herrera a smurf, not sure if anyone else did. He is like, I dunno, 5'5", with a shaggy head of hair. With the blue hat, it just seemed to fit.Although today I switched to an Oompa Loompa. The hair made me do it.

  10. A DC Wonk - Sep 16, 2011 at 2:43 AM

    Re: Tickets. I was wondering the same thing.When I read a Nats story at WaPo online, in the bottom left, there is a link to cheap tickets. It's an aggregator of sorts — listing tix from StubHub, eBay, TicketsNetwork, and more.I went to the listings on the 25th, clicked on "see more", and got this:http://tickets.washingtonpost.com/teams/allteams/tickets/?BrandID=wapostIFrame&EventID=1133493565&PublisherID=30087&WidgetID=1120601483I see infield box seats for as low as $17 there.So — I ask the collective wisdom of NI here: is this a good way to go? If so, is there anything I need to know?

  11. Gonat - Sep 16, 2011 at 2:50 AM

    The 4 game sweep of the Mets was the first 4 game sweep by a Washington team in NY since the Senators swept the Yankees in 1924.Terry Collins told the NY media that he was "unhappy with his club's effort again the Nats"…and so it begins!

  12. Gonat - Sep 16, 2011 at 2:59 AM

    Steve M. said… 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. September 15, 2011 10:24 AM ________________________________Looks like you changed your mind on him this morning. Wait till you update your numbers based on his start tonight. Glad to read your thoughts. After watching him tonight, I am off the Buehrle train. He doesn't look right. He gave up 15 hits tonight and looks fried. He needs to be shut down.

  13. Drew8 - Sep 16, 2011 at 3:08 AM

    SC: Ditto on the Zim extension.I think Morse starts the year in left, then moves back to 1b when LaRoche is dealt at the deadline. Harper comes up to play right and Werth moves to left, presuming they've acquired a centerfielder.They'll keep Morse because, aside from his manifest ability, he costs millions less than LaRoche and he's under team control for a couple of years.Gonat: One more time — I'm sure that Rizzo will not pull the trigger on a trade for Upton unless Upton agrees to an extension. This is why Rizzo did not get Greinke.

  14. Scooter - Sep 16, 2011 at 3:13 AM

    Quoth Drew8…By the way, I don't think Lombo is the solution for leadoff. He consistently hit .300 in the minors, but he didn't draw walks, either.Drew, I like where you're going in general, but I wonder whether you had someone else's stat sheet in front of you?.298 average, .369 OBP, 9.1% walk rateNow, I'm not very conversant in walk rates. I looked up a few major-leaguers we might know, just to get a frame of reference. Her are their career (major-league) walk rates:Kevin Youkilis – 12.6%BJ Upton – 11.2%Ryan Zimmerman – 9.2%Ian Desmond – 5.3%Cristian Guzman – 4.6%So, 9.1% sounds like a decent walk rate to me, especially in the non-slugger category.

  15. Scooter - Sep 16, 2011 at 3:15 AM

    I said…Her are their career walk rates:Obviously, that is a typo.I meant to say, "SHE IS their career walk rates:"

  16. Gonat - Sep 16, 2011 at 3:15 AM

    Drew8 said… Gonat: One more time — I'm sure that Rizzo will not pull the trigger on a trade for Upton unless Upton agrees to an extension. This is why Rizzo did not get Greinke. September 15, 2011 11:08 PM ________________________________ If you are sure, I can go to sleep happy. Thanks.BTW, that isn't why Rizzo didn't get Greinke according to Greinke. Greinke said he wanted to go to a contender.

  17. Drew8 - Sep 16, 2011 at 3:23 AM

    Gonat: I don't disagree. Rizzo couldn't sign Greinke so he couldn't make the deal.On another topic: Johnny Damon ties sweet swinging Billy Williams for 61st place at 2,711 hits.Williams will be the 106th current Hall of Famer that Damon has passed — so far.

  18. NatsLady - Sep 16, 2011 at 3:26 AM

    Yeah, I saw when I did the game logs that Buerhle got lit in his first two September starts and asked was that an orange flag? So tonight makes three. Do we change the orange flag to red? September is both the best and the worst time to flame out. With expanded rosters you have options. But if you are in the hunt, you don't want to shut down a key member of the rotation…

  19. NatsLady - Sep 16, 2011 at 3:30 AM

    And, if by some lucky chance, the Nats are in the hunt in 2012, we would already be shutting down Stras on an innings limit. So–? Buerhle, a September risk we would maybe not want to take?

  20. Drew8 - Sep 16, 2011 at 3:32 AM

    Scooter:Thanks. Looks like I was wrong on Lombo. I had not seen the walk rate, which is better than I realized.Your research on walk rates shows that Upton has a chance to get on base even when he's slumping.

  21. Anonymous8 - Sep 16, 2011 at 3:38 AM

    NatsLady/Gonat, I don't know enough about Buerle except to say his stock dropped. Is he injured? 30 days ago Buerle was looking like the answer to the middle of the Nats rotation.Can you strike lightning again with Jason Marquis? He did nothing but get the team behind him this year and win.

  22. NatsLady - Sep 16, 2011 at 3:45 AM

    Watching SF game. Kung Fu Panda hit for the cycle. And Cody Ross got caught in a rundown and the Rockies couldn't tag him out. Strange game, the Giants have 8 runs.

  23. Scooter - Sep 16, 2011 at 4:03 AM

    Drew8 said… Your research on walk rates shows that Upton has a chance to get on base even when he's slumping.Nah, you showed that already, just by quoting his stats. Dude's hitting .230some, I think you said, and his OBP is STILL above league average.(I'm not wading into that particular morass. For me, Upton falls into the category of "No need to pre-act to something that hasn't happened." I can see why the team would do it; not sure whether I would; no point getting worked up about speculation.)Captcha: hityphic – another way to get on base, as Espinosa ably demonstrates

  24. Scooter - Sep 16, 2011 at 5:09 AM

    Hey, I've got another cookie for you, Drew. I see that you're on about Johnny Damon again, I think because you're concerned he'll get into the Hall of Fame, if memory serves. I remembered something Joe Posnanski wrote earlier this year, and I thought you might get a bang out of it:Until 1991, every single player with 400 homers was inducted into the Hall of Fame. This caused a now-funny bit of Millennium Bug panic when Dave Kingman hit his 400th homer. What would the vote[r]s do? Dave Kingman was clearly not a Hall of Famer. But he hit 400 home runs! What would the voters do?What the voters did was give Kingman exactly three votes. And from that point on, 400 homers was no longer a Hall of Fame standard.http://joeposnanski.blogspot.com/2011/01/trading-walks-for-hits.html

  25. baseballswami - Sep 16, 2011 at 10:36 AM

    Re: Desi – if you get enough hits then you don't have to walk as much–and, if you hit well, then they will pitch you more carefully, too, maybe leading to more walks. My main concern in our 1 and 2 in the line up is their ambush type hitting – they just don't see enough pitches or let the guys in back of them see enough pitches. I think both Desi and Ankiel can be taught ( ordered?) to change their approaches at least some. Maybe not Ankiel anymore, though, who could move farther down in the lineup if someone else could be a better number 2.

  26. natsfan1a - Sep 16, 2011 at 11:23 AM

    I love the smell of Schadenfreude in the morning. More from Collins, as told to Ladson.Mets manager Terry Collins would like to see his club finish ahead of the Nats in the division.[The Nationals] are playing for the exact same thing we are, and that's pride," Collins said. "That's a place in the standings that when you walk away you'll be proud. They're playing for exactly the same things. So yes, I've been proud of the way this team has played all year long, but we're not done. We've got two weeks to go. And if we're going to fold it up, that tells me something. That tells me a lot about how it's going to be when it comes crunch time next year, when we are fighting for something."It obvious the Nationals are going beyond playing for pride.

  27. natsfan1a - Sep 16, 2011 at 11:24 AM

    Preach it, brother!Scooter said:(I'm not wading into that particular morass. For me, Upton falls into the category of "No need to pre-act to something that hasn't happened." I can see why the team would do it; not sure whether I would; no point getting worked up about speculation.)

  28. Drew8 - Sep 16, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    Scoot:I don't think Johnny Damon is a Hall of Famer at 2,711 hits. I'm just saying: Holy cow, Johnny Damon is coming up on the outside.If he can land a starting job for two more seasons — no sure thing — he'll have 3,000 hits and he'll be a Hall of Famer.

  29. Scooter - Sep 16, 2011 at 2:25 PM

    But that's my point, Drew: having 3,000 hits doesn't make him a Hall of Famer. It makes him a guy with 3,000 hits (which is very impressive).You know, I may be mis-remembering, and you weren't the one talking about how weird was the idea of Johnny Damon, Hall of Famer. If so, my point is kind of … well … pointless, and I should just move on.

Archives

NLDS: NATIONALS VS. GIANTS

FRI: Game 1 at Washington, 3:07 p.m. (FS1)
SAT: Game 2 at Washington, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
MON: Game 3 at San Francisco, TBA (MLBN)
TUE: Game 4 at San Francisco, TBA (FS1)*
THU: Game 5 at Washington, TBA (FS1)*
*if necessary

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.

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