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Game 39: Orioles at Nats

May 18, 2012, 11:00 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
This year's Battle of the Beltways begins tonight at Nationals Park.

Yes, this weekend's series against the Orioles is significant for the Nationals. But it also represents the start of a very significant stretch of games that could go a long toward determining whether this franchise is going to keep itself at or near the top of the NL East all summer.

Beginning tonight, the Nats will play 30 of their next 33 games against teams that currently own winning records: the Orioles (twice), Phillies, Braves (twice), Marlins, Mets, Blue Jays, Yankees and Rays. The only team that's not over .500 during this stretch: the Red Sox, who are two games under and showing signs of life. Wow, good luck with that.

First things first, of course. Tonight, it'll be Edwin Jackson on the mound against Baltimore's Jake Arrieta. Plenty of updates and analysis to come throughout the game, so please check back often…

BALTIMORE ORIOLES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WWXT (92.7 FM), WWXX (94.3 FM), WTEM (980 AM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 183
Weather: Mostly clear, 72 degrees, Wind 8 mph in from RF

NATIONALS (23-15)
SS Ian Desmond
LF Roger Bernadina
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche

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210 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Gonat - May 19, 2012 at 2:25 AM

    baseballswami said… Prediction: not once this season will Davey ever take responsibility for a bad decision. He will throw the players under the bus. May 18, 2012 10:21 PM ____________________________Tonight he will talk about poor execution and you know what, that part is true.On the other hande, hit and run with the pitcher at-bat and a catcher running?Ankiel not bunting?Espinosa bunting with 2 stikes? HUH?Desmond against a pitcher who can't throw a strike and he has the bunt sign on instead of the TAKE until he threw a strike. Where is the brain? We are saying this as it is going on and not in hindsight.Very disappointed plus the umpiring was beyond bad behind the plate.

  2. ehay2k - May 19, 2012 at 2:27 AM

    This is on Davey – Ankiel should have bunted Espi over in the previous inning. Instead, he chased fastballs at his neck and we didn't advance the runner. I know Davey likes big hits, but in that situation, you need just one run. A bunt was called for. I know it's one game, but we have given away our most of our losses recently. We seem to have lost a lot of discipline in the field and at the plate, and we sure as hell can't hit.

  3. D'Gourds - May 19, 2012 at 2:27 AM

    Burnett wears his hat the same way. But I understand your frustration. I'm pissed. Espinosa, Ankiel and Desmond had some horrible at bats tonight. Shake it off. Two more to go.

  4. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 19, 2012 at 2:29 AM

    Strop looking like Henry Rodriguez and the Nats let him off the hook.I don't mind Desi showing Bunt but you can't help Strop out.

  5. Gonat - May 19, 2012 at 2:29 AM

    Davey said it well "You don't have to force the execution of the bunt"

  6. Gonat - May 19, 2012 at 2:32 AM

    D'Gourds said… Burnett wears his hat the same way. But I understand your frustration. I'm pissed. Espinosa, Ankiel and Desmond had some horrible at bats tonight. Shake it off. Two more to go. May 18, 2012 10:27 PM ________________________________There was nothing wrong with Desi's at-bats tonight and as a matter of fact he is the only reason it went to extra innings unless you forgot that. Even that doubleplay was smashed. Easily could have been a double or triple if the 1st baseman wasn't on the line. That's why its a game of inches.

  7. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 19, 2012 at 2:36 AM

    What a disappointing effort by a mass majority of the team. Ejax made one mistake walking the first batter, and it back fires.Desmond can't get a bunt down, and then grounds into a double play. (that is coaching for sure, despite the fact some of you think coaches are just advisors. That is why they should be coaching). 97 MPH pitch to end the game on an 2-0 pitch that dribbles 50 feet. One of the few times all year ALR looked clueless. Still can win the series, but sure can't with the hitters taking the night off again.

  8. ehay2k - May 19, 2012 at 2:42 AM

    Go at, the bunt attempts on balls that were way out of the zone – that was an at-bat that was beyond bad. He hit the DP ball hard, but he should have WALKED. That was pitiful, and Davey called Desi on it in the postgame. No, I'm not a Desi hater, but my 11 year old son knows to lay off pitches when the pitcher is struggling. And if the team needs a base runner (and always if the bases are loaded) he will let a wild pitch hit him. Sometimes, these Nats cannot think.

  9. Swift Eagle - May 19, 2012 at 2:45 AM

    Manassas Fan, I guess we just disagree on the role of a MLB hitting coach. I don't think Eck is deciding who bunts and which guys take more pitches or choke up. I don't think it's his role. maybe it should be, but it isnt. Agree to disagree

  10. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 19, 2012 at 3:09 AM

    If it isn't his rile, why pay him? he writes all kinds of things in his binder. Seems like a waste. If I hire someone to coach a group, that would be what I would expect him to do. Strategies are the managers responsibility, being trained to execute the strategy is the coach's responsibility. excuting the plan is the player's responsibility, and few of our hitter's take that resposnibility and actually do it in RISP situations. Easier to fire the hitting coach and at least pretend you care, than to just let it go. We do not agree on what the role is I can tell.However the get rid of Eck bus is alive and well (and has been for three years) at my house. I know if I did my job that poorly I would get canned.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 73 54 --
ATLANTA 68 61 6.0
MIAMI 64 63 9.0
NEW YORK 60 69 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 57 71 17.5
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Mariners, 10:10 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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