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Game 32: Nats at Reds

May 11, 2012, 8:07 PM EDT

US Presswire file photo
Great American Ball Park hosts the Nationals this weekend.

Davey Johnson preached consistency all week in Pittsburgh, so why change now? Fresh off a much-needed, 4-2 win over the Pirates, the Nationals manager is sending the exact same lineup out to face the Reds tonight in their series opener in Cincinnati (except for a swap of catchers, with Wilson Ramos back behind the plate).

The Nats' stagnant bats finally exploded last night, with Roger Bernadina, Adam LaRoche and Rick Ankiel all connecting for home runs. And now that they get to spend the weekend in the much-cozier Great American Ball Park, don't be surprised if you see some more power displays. This wouldn't be a bad place for Bryce Harper to club his first career homer.

It also wouldn't be a bad place for Gio Gonzalez to launch the first longball of his career. Call me crazy, but I could see the gregarious left-hander doing it tonight. He's been showing off some serious skills with the bat lately, and something tells me he might just be swinging for the fences when he steps to the plate against Mike Leake.

I'm not in Cincinnati for the series this weekend, going to spend some quality time with the family back here in D.C. But please continue and enjoy the conversation as always…

Where: Great American Ball Park
Gametime: 7:10 p.m. EDT
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 188
Weather: Clear, 71 degrees, Wind 2 mph in from RF

SS Ian Desmond
LF Roger Bernadina
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche

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247 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Theophilus T. S. - May 12, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    Somebody should say something nice about Stammen. Really locked the Reds in the closet for two innings. Troubles in the 8th are what happen when you try to play baseball on a pool table. I'm really getting to hat "Great American" park as much as the Citizens Bandbox.

  2. natsfan1a - May 12, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    That note is awesome, NatsLady. Thanks for sharing.

  3. MicheleS - May 12, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    Theo.. yup, Stammen has been critical. Who Knew! Glad to see Craig develop into a specialist role.Agree on the park.. yuk.. I like parks that are neutral and fair, not bandboxes or caverns.And NatsLady, that Axeford note was classic!

  4. Drew - May 12, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    I appreciate the kid's passion, but Davey needs to post some NO BOPPO signs in the tunnel.

  5. NatsLady - May 12, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    From notes on last night's game:Gonzalez gave up a pair of runs and didn't allow a homer in one of the majors' most hitter-friendly ballparks. He hasn't allowed a homer in his last eight starts since Sept. 23, a span of 50 innings that is the longest such streak of his career. It's also the longest active streak in the majors.

  6. baseballswami - May 12, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    Considering the fact that something was not right with Gio last night and at times he struggled in that teeny weeny park – that was almost his most heroic performance. Strassie working out of a jam the night before, Gio bringing it when he was out of gas, Mattheus wriggling out of trouble, Stammen quietly getting it done. We are seeing some of that character that we have heard about.

  7. NatsLady - May 12, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    From Twitter:Winner “@craigcalcaterra: That bat that hit Harper in the face is classless, gutless and chickenshit. It's fake tough.”

  8. mick - May 12, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    I like 20-12, I hope Bernadina and Espi can be consistent. I also hope Bernadina knows this is best and final opportunity

  9. NatsLady - May 12, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    Here is a better pic of Axford's note. Love the cliches!john-axford-pretty-much-rules can be HAD!!! Go Nats!!!

  10. m20832 - May 12, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    20-12! Gotta Luvit! Guess I'm a cheering kind of fan!So Boys, let's do it again today! And are those O's for real?

  11. m20832 - May 12, 2012 at 1:41 PM


  12. sm13 - May 12, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    That note from Axford is a classic – it should go to Cooperstown. I hope bam-bam does not have a concussion, as we've seen the timetable for returning will then become very dicey. A day or two off at this point won't be bad for the kid, but the team is feeding off his energy and needs him back.

  13. MicheleS - May 12, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    FS.. on ESPN Sunday night in May at the Braves. They haven't posted the Sunday night Schedule beyond May, so we may get more. I am betting that Sunday Yankees game will be moved to a night game

  14. MicheleS - May 12, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    Drew.. good one.. No Boppo…M20832.. i am happy for Nick J. Glad to see him get a dinger last night. I am actualy happy for O's fans as well, they have suffered under that owner. Not happy for that owner. Too bad Bud can't force him out like he did with McCourt.

  15. NatsLady - May 12, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    Livo, loading the bases twice and getting out of it, for his first win in relief. Livo–don't you know who your friends are? Would one more walk have hurt ya?Regrettably, I fear Gio just answered the question of what will happen to the rotation when Chien-Ming Wang comes back.

  16. UnkyD - May 12, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    Natslady:"Regrettably, I fear Gio just answered the question of what will happen to the rotation when Chien-Ming Wang comes back."———?!?!

  17. howl31 - May 12, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    All I have to say is… thank goodness whatever hit Harper above his eye didn't hit him IN his eye… that could have brought his career to a grinding halt… Love the passion, but obviously that was completely stupid (and publically embarrassing) so hopefully he has learned his lesson… and let him ride the pine for 1 day to mull on how close he came to ruining his career…

  18. Steady Eddie - May 12, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    Nats Lady, to echo Unkyd, was there supposed to be a link there? Very cryptic, do tell.

  19. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 12, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    @Scott: re Infield fly — the batter is out, therefore there is no force play if the ball falls. Once the ball hits the ground, the runners may advance at their risk, but don't have to, because there is no force–the batter is already out. On this particular play, since Zim did catch it in the air, we'll never know what kind of bounce it would have taken. It would be a little unusual for it to get away, but unusual stuff happens every day in baseball. Certainly not unheard of. Again, minor play in this game, but this rule always seems to need clarifications.

  20. NatsLady - May 12, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    No link. I think Gio is hurt. Either some kind of leg strain or wrist or something. He bunted twice w/ two strikes so he either can't hit or doesn't want to get on base. And his beautiful curve pretty much went missing last night. I foresee one more start–hopefully–and then a DL stint.

  21. Steady Eddie - May 12, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    Nats Lady, are you assuming DL? PLEASE — we've had more than our share of bad news on that front without projecting the worst on what may just have been a precautionary step for the evening. Kentucky of time to agonize about bad news IF and when it comes.

  22. FS=Faraz Shaikh - May 12, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    thanks MicheleS for that ESPN comments. I really hope GioG isn't injured.

  23. NatsLady - May 12, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    Eddie, not assuming. Just observing.

  24. Steady Eddie - May 12, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    I'd hope if there was any question they'd let him miss a turn or two in the rotation and have Gorzy or Wang if he's back take it.And "Kentucky" out of "plenty"? Thank you autocorrect.

  25. D'Gourds - May 12, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    Stammen is awesome!! I love that guy. I still think he's closer material. A strike throwing, nasty slider machine!

  26. NatsLady - May 12, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Also, I feel it can't be a serious injury or he wouldn't have pitched yesterday, and just look at those K's! Probably something that rest and treatment will take care of. The chances of the Nats' starting five going from April to August–until Sras shutdown–is practically nil. That's why Rizzo got Ejax and (so far) refuses to trade Lannan.

  27. NatsLady - May 12, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Yes, Eddie, I think so too. They will not put him on the DL until absolutely necessary, they'll hold him out for a couple of starts and backdate it if he's not ready and CMW is pitching ok. CMW comes up and takes a couple of starts.

  28. TimDz - May 12, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Was looking for news on Gio and found nothing…Found myself looking at clips from last season and found this in MPHRod: RodriguezThis inning is one good example of why The Nats will not give up on him…

  29. Exposremains - May 12, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    TimDz,That video reminded me that Hrod is effective when he throws his breaking pitches in the Strike zone not in the dirt.

  30. ehay2k - May 12, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    TimDZ, thanks for that. Funny that in the video Henry was throwing 100MPH and under control, and recently he appears to have dialed it back (he was throwing 96-98) and is wild. I wonder if he is perhaps one of those guys who just needs to be throwing all-out in order to feel comfortable?At any rate, it's early, and he is definitely developing along with the other guys. Davey appears to be leaving these guys in when they struggle so they can learn to battle through tough innings. Riggleman would have given all of them the hook. Not much development going to happen there.

  31. Scott from Burke - May 12, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said… Scott: re Infield fly –I know the rule..i'm sure you've seen bunts, where no infield fly rule is in effect, where th infielder drops the ball on purpose…i wish Zim had missed the ball, purposely or misplay…to see how the reds reacted…could have gotten out of the inning on that play…but i don't think the runners would have moved…brandon phillips had already been thrown out on a dumb play…couldnt see it happening again

  32. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 12, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    Too clever by half. That sort of thing will bite you in the ass often as not. That's why you almost never see it happen.

  33. baseballswami - May 12, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    Gio – something was clearly wrong with him – not pitching arm related. Someone posted that they saw him wearing a cast on his right hand – not an elbow guard, a cast. Perhaps that's why he couldn't grip the bat? I think whatever it is they are thinking that it is not pitching related and will resolve by his next start. He also did not throw even one of his bugs bunny curves last night. Something going on and being kept very hush hush.

  34. NatsLady - May 12, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    So my eighth-grade student comes in yesterday for her piano lesson sporting a Nats jersey and says breathlessly, "Oh, Miss Rose, I UNDERSTAND, I UNDERSTAND!!!" She can now name everyone on the team, but, of course, is totally in the tank for Bam-Bam (this was before he decided to go 0 for 6 last night–one extra at-bat for his head). Adolescent female crowd will bump the attendance by 10,000.

  35. MicheleS - May 12, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    Natslady.. the Justin Bieber factor has kicked in. I am betting my niece will start asking to go to games. At which point, I will shoot myself.

  36. baseballswami - May 12, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    College aged daughter of a friend – she is a crazy baseball fan — wants to come and visit me this summer. I am so sure I am not the attraction. She wants to see Bryce. He is still so young, Mormon and focused on baseball. I am sure that are some very determined young cleat chasers out there in DC that will be working overtime to try to get his attention. He could prove to be a challenge.

  37. peric - May 12, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    No link. I think Gio is hurt. Either some kind of leg strain or wrist or something. Its the hand according to FP and Carp. Surprised no one asked Davey about it?

  38. peric - May 12, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    At any rate, it's early, and he is definitely developing along with the other guys. Davey appears to be leaving these guys in when they struggle so they can learn to battle through tough innings. I will admit that I believe Riggleman would yank for Clippard and have him throw 3 innings … but in his defense Johnson doesn't care if the Nats fire him tomorrow. His wife would probably welcome it. Riggleman apparently was constantly worried about job security fostering a bad attitude. Johnson believes firmly in the philosophy of developing from within. He believes himself so good at advanced prospect development that he can win while accomplishing player development goals. So far Johnson has been putting his money where his mouth is. That's pretty rare in baseball. At his core Mike Rizzo believes the same as Johnson its just that he more inclined to use the minors for development, the majors for performance. I think Rizzo may be coming around to the idea that development must continue in the majors as well. But you need the right clubhouse, with a consensus on moving toward development goals as well as winning. Its working. Don't fix it.

  39. MicheleS - May 12, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    According to Amanda and Kilgore.. BamBam is in the lineup tonight

  40. baseballswami - May 12, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    Of course he is…. I do think he could have used a game off to slow things down a little. He looked like he was about to explode last night – oh, wait – he did explode. I bet he looks fierce right now. Even before this, I think the old Flintstones kid Bam-Bam nickname suited him. Hope it sticks. He is some intense kid.

  41. NatsLady - May 12, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    Bourjos and Trout together in Angels lineup. (Pujols and his .192 BA are DH'ing).

  42. Theophilus T. S. - May 12, 2012 at 7:52 PM

    NatsLady — I would put Harper down as 1 for 6, not 0h-fer. At least he made contact, albeit on the rebound.

  43. NatsLady - May 12, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    Twitter rumor: Nats are working on "big big" trade… FWIW.

  44. FS=Faraz Shaikh - May 12, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    natslady, what's the source?

  45. NatsLady - May 12, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    Josh Norris (NY/NJ writer.) Have no idea if he is reliable. Said he got it from someone "in the know."

  46. FS=Faraz Shaikh - May 12, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    thanks NatsLady. Let's wait to hear more from our local or even more known National writers.




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