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Game 6: Nats at Mets

Apr 11, 2012, 3:08 PM EDT

US Presswire file photo
Aces Stephen Strasburg and Johan Santana meet today at Citi Field.

With the title of "staff ace" comes an important responsibility: The daunting task of going up against fellow aces, especially early in the season when most teams' rotations are in sync.

So Stephen Strasburg isn't only facing the Mets lineup this afternoon at Citi Field. He's also facing Johan Santana, the two-time Cy Young Award winner who is now attempting to return from the same shoulder surgery that sidelined Chien-Ming Wang for two years. Obviously, Strasburg isn't going head-to-head with Santana (except when the pitchers bat) but he has to figure his lineup is going to struggle to score runs against the New York left-hander, making his own strong performance all the more necessary.

Speaking of the Nats lineup, Davey Johnson is going with more tweaks today than we've seen in any of the previous five games because his club is facing a left-handed starter for the first time. So Jayson Werth (fresh off a four-hit game last night) is hitting cleanup, with Mark DeRosa behind him and Adam LaRoche bumped all the way down to the 6-hole. Werth also is starting in center field for the first time this year, with Xavier Nady in right. Jesus Flores also makes his second start behind the plate in three days.

As you know, I'm not in New York for this series (though I'll be watching this game with particular interest and will post some instant analysis as soon as it ends). Enjoy this great early-season matchup and the conversation that comes with it…

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at NEW YORK METS
Where: Citi Field
Gametime: 1:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB Network (outside D.C. area), MLB.tv
Radio: WFED (1500 AM), WHFS (1580 AM), XM 183
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 52 degrees, Wind 10 mph out to RF

NATIONALS (3-2)
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
CF Jayson Werth

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275 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Will - Apr 11, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    Section 3, name a pitcher that has succeeded in baseball who walked more batters than he struck out.

  2. MicheleS - Apr 11, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    NatsJack. I think we would like 1 game where we didn't feel like we needed to reach for the bourbon and Maalox. We try to reserve that for MPHRod only (other wise our livers won't hold up for the season).

  3. Bowdenball - Apr 11, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    Honestly, people. When a guy like Ryan Mattheus is your fourth best option out of the pen even after your closer goes to the DL, you probably shouldn't be scared. You should probably thank whatever God you worship for making your team's bullpen so incredible.

  4. Erik - Apr 11, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    My nerves are already getting shot…this is like watching a 162 game playoff series. Beats the hell out of the alternative, though.

  5. jd - Apr 11, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    Will,I think by good results he means decent ERA which for a middle reliever means nothing. You can crap the bed all you want and as long as Clip or someone else cleans it up your ERA will look good. Similarly you can come in with the bases loaded and let all the runs score but record an out or 2 and bingo your ERA looks splendid.

  6. Scott from Burke - Apr 11, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    Zuckerman, I love you, but the season is just a baby, Stras was starting, the game was a 30 minute plane ride or five hour drive…shouldn't you be there? Whose calling the shots on this? Yesterday the game was on Masn2 (TWO!) and only on AM radio. Damnit, it's time for this team to be treated like a big league team.

  7. Will - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    Jesus doing his best DeRosa impression.

  8. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    Will, you miss the point. He was successful, that's all that matters. The rest is just window dressing.

  9. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    Wally, it was an elite skill for Murray, even in MLB. But yes, you would like to think so.

  10. MicheleS - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    Umm Scott. There is a baby, his name is Brian, his dad (Mark) has to travel A LOT and won't be around much from now until late October, His Mom would like to have Dad around a little, you know so she can have a break.As for MASN 2 and being on AM radio.. totally agree with you!

  11. Wally - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    You think its Clip for the 8th? Seems like he has been pitching a lot. What about Henry? The more that I think about it, we should try pretty hard to find an .800 OPS+ OF for this year. The circumstances are there for us to make a run this year, and with Morse being such a question mark, we ought to try to do something. I don't think that we have to mortgage our future to do it, either, but expecting Derosa to play every day just doesn't seem warranted with his injury history.

  12. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    Scott, tell you what, I'll personally refund what you paid to view this site. And Eric–it's a GAME. It's supposed to be fun, dammit. Have fun. It's a long season. A marathon, as it were. As opposed to something shorter and faster.

  13. Will - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    Sec3, what are you using to determine successfulness?I think he did an alright job last year, but as I said before, I'm skeptical that he can maintain that "success" unless he cuts down on his walks, and strikes out more guys.I'm not rooting against him, but he doesn't instill much confidence in me.

  14. baseballswami - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    If I could, I would personally congratulate Mattheus for today – I still think he is the weakest pitcher in the pen and he still makes me nervous – not bad stuff, just still pretty green.

  15. MicheleS - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    Wally, Agree on DeRo, but why haven't we seen Carroll? Did he crawl into DJ's dog house?

  16. Scott from Burke - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    MicheleS…that's sweet…but it's called a job…i'm sure mom loves having him around…but he follows baseball for a living..it's a sweet job..i'm sure there are plenty of young fathers..and lots of childless men and women..who would be in new york today..and yesterday…and the day before..i need a better explanation than that

  17. Anonymous - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    We sure do squander a lot of opportunities.

  18. Erik - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    Wally-Agree on the need for another OF. I mentioned Johnny Damon earlier since he is a free agent and will likely only cost $2-3 million. NatsJack and Seamhead shot it down because they say he can't play anymore. I am not saying that he CAN, but definitely worth a look considering he had a statistically better season than anyone on our current roster. But hey, what do I know???

  19. Wally - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    Voldemort!

  20. Scott from Burke - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    squander opportunities…that's baseball..and life…3-0 though..good stuff

  21. MicheleS - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    Scott.. Then I bet you could ask CSN about that. They foot the bill for all of this.

  22. Will - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    Interesting scoring opportunities.Scored on a wild pitch, a walk, and a ground out.Unconventional, the Nats are.

  23. MicheleS - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    Wally – I missed the reason for the Voldemort comment… can you explain please?

  24. UnkyD - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    Scott. That's cold, man. I actually don't believe you said that…. Wow.

  25. MicheleS - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    Bad throw.. he should have flipped to Desi

  26. SFNats - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    Weak link? The guy had what, one bad outing so far? What is wrong with you people?First, they came for LaRoche…

  27. Section 222 - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    So does HRod get the call in the 9th? I'm just following on Gameday. Who's warming up? We're on the verge of winning another series away from home!

  28. Scott from Burke - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    I'm not mad at Zuckerman…it's his bosses..get him, or someone..on the road…gotta run…sorry about the rant..the am radio crap last night bothered me..106.7 was playing the bullets/wizards….not happy about it

  29. Veronica - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    "Will said…Interesting scoring opportunities.Scored on a wild pitch, a walk, and a ground out.Unconventional, the Nats are."If they score on a balk next, is that unusual scoring for the cycle?

  30. MicheleS - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    Just fyi.. MLB Network has been flipping into the Nats game with the SNY broadcast.

  31. UnkyD - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    Ok… The radio coverage is a legit rant…. SeeYa, Scott!

  32. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    for those of us who personally know Mark, I say we ban Scott from Burke from the site.

  33. Section 222 - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    At least Scott put his name on this thoughts. I hope Mark doesn't feel he has to respond though. We're lucky he kept this blog going once he landed his gig with CSN. Oh, and did you notice his post on Morse at 12:38 am this morning?Beatwriters don't cover every game, and bloggers certainly don't have to. I don't begrudge Mark any of the time he takes off to be with his family. And if any of those young fathers or childless men or women you mentioned want to start their own blog like Mark did and head up to the next away series, no one's stopping them.

  34. Anonymous - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    Put me down in the Mattheus-skeptic camp. That 2.81 ERA he put up last year was a mirage. He was very wild (walked 15 guys in 32 IP), and struck almost no one out (only 12 K). That's a recipe for disaster.You guys barely follow the Nats … if you saw Mattheus in the minors … bandwagon fans … you don't know pitching or a good pitcher if he came up and bit you in the ass. Sheesh. Mattheus looks a hell of a lot better than Joel Hanrahan on his best day. And has Storen level talent. There's Sooners and Laters … clearly a couple of Laters.

  35. Wally - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    MicheleS said… Wally – I missed the reason for the Voldemort comment… can you explain please?Michele – it was last year in the first half when Burnett was struggling. The usual crowd of in-game posters were kvetching. We were winning late and Riggs brought in Burnett. Someone, I think it was Drew or Drew8, said some thing like 'Oh my God, not Burnett again. At least it isn't Voldemort'.I enjoyed it immensely, and almost always think of it when he comes in now. As my wife could warn you, my humor tends towards the low brow, and I will happily go over the same thing over and over again if it makes me laugh. Sorry to subject you to it. I am aware that it can be annoying to others, but I can't quite stop.

  36. UnkyD - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    Hey, he stood down… It's cool.

  37. Erik - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:25 PM

    Section 3-Oh…I AM having fun!!! What more could you ask for as a baseball fan? Maybe a blowout win here or there, but to have EVERY pitch be meaningful is great fun. I may age from my early 30's to my late 40's this year, but it sure is fun to have a chance at a playoff season!!! If this team could be just league average in the hitting department, they could win 95 games.

  38. Section 222 - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    The Mets bullpen must be in sorry shape if they have to go to Miss Iowa three games in a row….

  39. Will - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    The Nats struggles with scoring against starting pitchers continues through today.Only 1 ER off Santana.Fortunately it was followed by another 2 ER against the relievers.

  40. MicheleS - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    Wlly.. Not annoying, just wondering (and thanks for the insight), and it makes sense. I would have thought Henry could have been Voldemort too.

  41. Will - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    IIRC, that makes it bases loaded with 0 or 1 outs now in the 6th, 7th and 9th, and first and third in the 8th.Hope we can come out of this with a few more than 3 runs!

  42. Veronica - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    Bases loaded again? Balk time!

  43. Wally - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    Michelle – on Carroll, I assume that (a) partly because today was the first LH, and (b) it seems like Davey has changed his mind on him.Erik – I think Damon can still hit effectively (and better than Bernie or Ankiel) but he is probably a big liability in the field. Hard to know, since he hasn't played it in a few years, although he was average the last time he did for any length of time. With Morse's injury, I'd like to see them shoot for someone better.Sec 222 – they flashed to HRod warming up a little while ago.Well, have to run to pick up my son. Let's hope for an uneventful end to the game.

  44. UnkyD - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    Bases loaded-again?! I'm all for having base runners, but it's too cold to leave them just standing around… They'll catch their death! C'mon, crack this nut open…

  45. Anonymous - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    If it weren't for the bad 'pens of both the Cubs and now the Mets, would we have any wins yet this year?

  46. dj in Fl - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    Will that is one more than Santana gave up in his other start. Besides, somtimes one will do it.

  47. Erik - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    And BTW…THANK YOU MARK for making Nats Insider the best baseball blog out there!!! Nothing more needs to be said!!!

  48. Will - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    Veronica, here's to hoping!These foul outs and strike outs aren't doing the job, that's for sure!

  49. Will - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    The Nats impotence with RISP is actually quite remarkable.

  50. baseballswami - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    Bases loaded again — I can't even begin to do the math that adds up how many runners we have stranded today. Waay too many, that's for sure.

  51. Will - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    Big Brett Carroll to show the rest of the team how it's done?

  52. Tcostant - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    Who said 4 runs…

  53. sjm308 - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    Erik – I was a huge Damon fan early on in his career and I think if he had been picked up early in spring training he would have definitely been a plus for us. I just am not sure how bringing someone in who has not been in the clubhouse, worked with Davey or the other coaches, doesn't really know the players could work this late. We have some really really decent young guys who I think will be here sooner than later. Like I said earlier, we win the first two series and come home tied for first and its really hard to make changes just for change sake. Very frustrating, leaving all these players on base. Just hope these last 3 outs come easy.Oops just put the negative jinx on the Mets. Four runs makes this a lot easier and I think that was the prediction in the early early posts!!Does anyone know what time the gates open tomorrow? I normally drink outside the park but kinda just want to enjoy the entire experience. They have stuck us 20 game packages way out in left center but I am not complaining.Go Nats!!

  54. Will - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    Tcostant, next time can you please predict 10 or more runs?

  55. Tcostant - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    I think the CF gates open at 10:30am

  56. MicheleS - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    And that would be why we haven't seen Carroll.Yea Tcostant.. please predict more runs. Also, do you have the Mega Millions numbers for this week?

  57. Rabbit - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    LOUSY GAME. We pitched well. The hitters stunk up the place. GO NATIONALS!!!

  58. Maijo - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    Will said…The Nats impotence with RISP is actually quite remarkable.___________________________Does Pfizer make RISP-AGRA?

  59. Tcostant - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    Will – I just call it how I feel it after I see the lineups. No guess tomorrow, since I'll be at the game.PLAY BALL!

  60. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    (dang job is interfering with my baseball!)I think he did an alright job last year, but as I said before, I'm skeptical that he can maintain that "success" unless he cuts down on his walks, and strikes out more guys.I'm not rooting against him, but he doesn't instill much confidence in me. I appreciate that, but again, I think you're missing the point. He's a relief pitcher. His only job is to keep runs from scoring. That's it. Not strike guys out, not avoid walks, (means to an end, merely), and certainly not impress me or you or little Brian Zuckerman. Just don't let runs score, that's his job. And to the extent he did that, he was successful. Will he maintain it? Absolutely not. I can positively guarantee it. The universe itself is not sustainable. In the long run, everybody's dead. How long can he keep it up? That's what we pay to find out. Having said all that, they are NOT going to beat good teams by waiting for bases-loaded fricken walks!@ HIT SOMETHING, YOU BUMS@!

  61. Joe Seamhead - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    Interesting game today. I loved watching Santana and Strasburg.You know, I've read about twenty times that it's a long season. I never think of the season as being long. It's not "long" to me, it just " is." What's long is the off season. It's seemingly endless.Nats win! First place!

  62. MicheleS - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    Another series win! We are in First place again!! WOOO HOOO!!!!

  63. Anonymous - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    Did anyone hear Bob slip and Say "Debbie" instead of Kristina.. HA!

  64. Steady Eddie - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    Bizarre — According to Gameday, HRod's strike zone was really getting squeezed against Thole, with what looked like 2 strikes getting called balls. And then he gets squeezed on the first "ball" against Nieuwenhuis — and then gets a called third strike on ball four. Or was it ball three and he already struck him out?Anyway, gets Cedeno and we're 4-2 on the road!

  65. sjm308 - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    FIRST PLACE as we return to DC!!!! (sorry I can't do bold, italics, links or much else, but I can use Capital Letters).The Red Curly W home cap is on for a 2nd night in a row. Of to a nice jazz show at the Strathmore Mansion. Life is good!!

  66. whatsanattau - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    Nice win today. Tie for first right?

  67. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    But maybe that's what happens with two weak-hitting teams and a strike zone all over the place–batters get confused, back on their heels, unaggressive.OK, back to work…

  68. RickH - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    I'll take it!!!

  69. Anonymous - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    New post …

  70. Gonat - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:55 PM

    New name to add to the Kardiac Kids. Henry is Heart Attack Henry or HAHGoes in for a low leverage situation and was helped by the ump according to pitch track.

  71. Anonymous8 - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    Have to love 2 series winners of 2 games to 1 and back in 1st Place!

  72. JaneB - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    Tconstant nailed the score again today. May we please order up a win again tomorrow? Even by one run will do. Just let us know in advance what to look for!

  73. Anonymous - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    Scott from Burke said… Zuckerman, I love you, but the season is just a baby, Stras was starting, the game was a 30 minute plane ride or five hour drive…shouldn't you be there? Whose calling the shots on this? Yesterday the game was on Masn2 (TWO!) and only on AM radio. Damnit, it's time for this team to be treated like a big league team. April 11, 2012 3:59 PM——————–Agreed! 107FM had the Wiz, really? Sorry Ted!Great Game Today! Go Nata! NasFan05

  74. iffatali - Apr 20, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    The undiscovered country form whose born no traveler returns.Flights to Addis Ababa

  75. iffatali - Apr 20, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    The undiscovered country form whose born no traveler returns.Flights to Addis Ababa

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
x-WASHINGTON 87 64 -- 0
ATLANTA 76 76 11.5
MIAMI 74 77 13.0
NEW YORK 73 80 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 69 82 18.0
Through Wednesday's early games
x-Clinched division title

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
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.
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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