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Game 57: Nats at Red Sox

Jun 9, 2012, 4:45 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Behind Gio Gonzalez, the Nationals try to make it two in a row at Fenway Park.

BOSTON — All of New England was buzzing last night about Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals, and the locals were still buzzing this morning about the performances of those two young stars during a series-opening, 7-4 victory at Fenway Park. (Witness the cover of today's Boston Globe sports section.)

But, as is always the case in baseball, there's another game to be played today, and you can't rest on your laurels for long. So the spotlight now turns to Gio Gonzalez and Daisuke Matsuzaka, the former looking to bounce back from a sub-par outing against the Braves and the latter making his season debut after missing 12 months following Tommy John surgery.

With the right-handed Dice-K on the mound, Davey Johnson brings back his regular lineup, with one slight twist. Michael Morse will remain as DH, so Rick Ankiel makes his first start in center field since May 29.

Plenty of updates and analysis to come…

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at BOSTON RED SOX
Where: Fenway Park
Gametime: 4:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv, MLB Network (outside D.C. area)
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 177
Weather: Partly cloudy, 75 degrees, Wind 7 mph LF to RF

NATIONALS (33-23)
LF Steve Lombardozzi
RF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche

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  1. Scooter - Jun 9, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    I had heard they were thinking about putting Gonzalez in the outfield. I see now that this will be his 12th game here this year, so I guess they made good on the threat.

  2. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 9, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    Tjeu want to get Will Meadowbrooks in the line up more. Like we want to get Steve Lombardozzi in the lineup more. (except Meadowbrooks has more power).GO GIO lets win the series today.

  3. baseballswami - Jun 9, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    I was listening to a tv talking head freak out about EJax being a pinch runner and about how pitchers can get hurt, etc. etc. The AL types always act like their pitchers are fragile china dolls. They are highly paid athletes and can basically get hurt sneezing, closing a door on their fingers or cutting themselves in the kitchen. Our pitchers in particular seem to be very athletic in fielding their position, hitting and running bases. Any player can get hurt doing anything at all. I think they should be actual baseball players like everyone else on the team – but then maybe that's just my NL kind of mind-set. Just like their precious DH guys at some point knew how to play a position. Not up on the Sox – where does Adrian Gonzalez usually play? I guess I am just used to the Nats way of doing things – you play where and when the team needs you , you adjust and you play the game you have been playing for years and do it well. I love the versatility and adaptability of our guys. You were a catcher or a 1B? Now you're an outfielder – do it!

  4. phil dunton - Jun 9, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    Please, not Ankiel. Put Bernadina in CF. Ankiel's arm isn't worth four strikeouts!

  5. SonnyG10 - Jun 9, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    Well we certainly got Boston's attention.

  6. Grandstander - Jun 9, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    Rick Ankiel is slashing .223/.284/.385Roger Bernadina is slashing .239/.333/.386That's 50 points worth of OBP that's sitting on the bench right now. The reason for the drastic difference is obvious.Ankiel's K% is 32.6%! Highest on the team, including Espinosa. His 0.24 BB/K ratio is second worst on the team, after only Desmond, who never walks, but at least he gets hits.In addition, his .321 BABIP suggests his .223 average is actually higher than it should be and will regress.That's just a huge hole in the lineup. I'm not saying Roger Bernadina is a much better replacement, but he is slightly better. Fangraphs has him beating Ankiel in WAR 0.2/0.0 and BR has him beating Ankiel in WAR -0.1/-0.6, so Ankiel's defense isn't making up for his K's at the plate.

  7. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 9, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    Would be great if you are wrong today an Ankiel go 4 for 4. Of course we always cheer for all of them to get hits. We just know some do not do it very often. When you have more K's than hits that is very not good.

  8. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 9, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    Davey really likes Bernadina as his left handed pinch hitter with Tracey o

  9. Steady Eddie - Jun 9, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    Sad to say, there's not a great deal to choose from between Ank and Shark as starters. Shark's best hitting this year has been as a PH; and just maybe (this is hope not belief) Davey thinks Ank has learned more plate patience with off the plate garbage per his two walks vs the Mets this week. Like I said, I don't really believe it, but in Davey we trust.

  10. Drew - Jun 9, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    Looks like another terrific clash today. GYFNG!! One postscript from the last thread — we shouldn't overlook a dandy contemporary duo.Last year there was considerable legitimate debate as to whether Justin Verlander or Miguel Cabrera was the Tigers' MVP — and, by extension, the AL MVP.

  11. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 9, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    Turn on the flagship station hoping to hear Byron Kerr and some Nats talk, and they are talking about the Redskins again. I like football come September (but really don't want to talk about it at all during baseball season). COme on lets do more promotions flagship station.

  12. hiramhover - Jun 9, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    As to Ankiel vs Bernie Ankiel is the better and more experienced CF, which helps in that odd and unfamiliar OF–esp with 2 rookies at the corners.And he did draw 2 BBs the other day vs the Mets.

  13. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 9, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    Flagship stations till talking football. It is June 9th lets talk baseball.

  14. Will - Jun 9, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    Just to chime in on the CF debate. Over the past month, Bernadina has batted .308/.378/.513(!)Ankiel has batted .169/.270/.354 in that same time…

  15. Steady Eddie - Jun 9, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    hiramhover — you're basically right re Ankiel being a slightly better fielder, though I was referring to their hitting as starters. I've seen them both misread liners hit over their heads; Shark's speed sometimes enables him to catch up to them better and make some of those highlight reel snags, but he also tends to misread liners in front of him whereas Ankiel has made some very nice charging catches this year. And of course the Shark has teeth but no comparison at all with The Arm.

  16. Steady Eddie - Jun 9, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    Will — most of the Shark's good hitting has come off the bench — he may be slightly better hitter than Ankiel as a starter, but not by much IIRC, and Ankiel is certainly the preferable CF in a very challenging park like Fenway.

  17. MicheleS - Jun 9, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    GO GIO! GYFNG! ! i know we can beat Dice-K!!

  18. NCNatsie - Jun 9, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    Maybe Ankiel will be great at the plate today. Maybe in exchange for the pitching tips Ankiel gave Stras before yesterday's game, Stras returned the favor and talked to Ankiel about hitting. :)

  19. hiramhover - Jun 9, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    SteadyThe 2 BBs did come as a PH–my point was simply that they're his most recent ABs. I think Ankiel understands that even for a player with a high K rate, his K rate this year is atrocious, and perhaps Thursday's performance reflects an effort to change. Certainly, out hitters should be patient today, and make Dice-K throw strikes in his first appearance in more than a year–he's probably going to be a low-ish pitch count anyway.

  20. mick - Jun 9, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    where's Tyler Moore, I thought Davey said he needs to play every day? This is where Davey loses me

  21. mick - Jun 9, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    at least have him DH

  22. mick - Jun 9, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    not loses but confuses me

  23. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 9, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    Let's score 3 in the first today.

  24. mick - Jun 9, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    quick beer run and then will watch Nats on flat screen, outdoor party

  25. Steady Eddie - Jun 9, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    mick — Davey had TMoore in to hit against a LHP and play LF. He has Lombo in to hit LH (he's weak from the other side of the plate) against Dice-K, who's a righty.This one is not complicated.

  26. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 9, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    Tyler Moore or Steve Lombo…….you can't have both.

  27. baseballswami - Jun 9, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    Oh, come on, NatsJack – that's too hard of a choice. Please?

  28. Corky - Jun 9, 2012 at 9:02 PM

    I like and agree with Mark's comment about Desmond's D. It turns out that the Nats' executives knew what they were doing. Let us try to remember that. ;)

  29. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 9, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    Flagship stations till talking football. It is June 9th lets talk baseball.I don't listen to talk radio–do they call themselves the "flagship" station, or are we just using the term loosely?

  30. Steady Eddie - Jun 9, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    Is Guo dealing today or what? Those hammers to AGon were wicked good, and then Desi with yet another GG play to get Papi.These guys are cookin'!

  31. waddu eye no - Jun 9, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    am i the only guy in rome listening to the game?gyfng

  32. baseballswami - Jun 9, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    no :)

  33. Section 222 - Jun 9, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    Gio needs to practice getting over the cover first. He's just a spectator out there.

  34. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 9, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    We have good pitchers, but one thing as a whole they do too much of is walk sub .200 hitters. I think it is concentration. they concentrate better on the great hitters.

  35. MicheleS - Jun 9, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    222Look @ Boz on twitter. He is hammering Gio about that very point

  36. MicheleS - Jun 9, 2012 at 9:53 PM

    Danny has some hops! Our defense is soooo good!

  37. jeffwx - Jun 9, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    espi gets an assist from right field 9-3

  38. Grandstander - Jun 9, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    Gio is pissed as well he should be. He was absolutely dealing and just took his foot off the gas.

  39. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 9, 2012 at 10:18 PM

    No walks damn it.

  40. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 9, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    Walking people is the kiss of death at Fenway 9and Coors) why do they do it? Earlier walking a .190 hitter. totally illogical.

  41. baseballswami - Jun 9, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    so quiet here today…

  42. Unknown - Jun 9, 2012 at 10:52 PM

    Nats seem to think four runs will win every game. As that old song goes, "It ain't necessarily so."

  43. JaneB - Jun 9, 2012 at 10:59 PM

    Just checking in here — quiet day here. I missed the reference for why Clip is one out away from walking to the ballpark…can anyone 'splain me? How can these fans interfere so often? They're grown ups aren't they?

  44. NatsNut - Jun 9, 2012 at 10:59 PM

    Opps, tying run a the plate!

  45. Eugene in Oregon - Jun 9, 2012 at 11:00 PM

    Cue MicheleS…

  46. JaneB - Jun 9, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    We have to channel MichelleS now…I love that Davey is being nice to Gio now. Plus I love Gio. Plus I love Clippard.Plus I love all of them, actually.

  47. Drew - Jun 9, 2012 at 11:08 PM

    JaneB:It took the team bus 90 minutes to go from the hotel to the ballpark today because of a parade. Clippard was one of the guys who got out and walked, deciding it would be quicker.

  48. Candide - Jun 10, 2012 at 12:00 AM

    Since MicheleS isn't here…WOO-HOOOOOOOOO!!!

  49. SonnyG10 - Jun 10, 2012 at 12:08 AM

    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.Four to two. Nats win! Thaaaaaaa Nats win!!!!!

  50. MicheleS - Jun 10, 2012 at 12:50 AM

    Thanks for picking me up. Have been out with the family! WOOOOOO HOOOOOO!

  51. Candide - Jun 10, 2012 at 1:54 AM

    Cunegonde and I have been out of town this weekend in the wilds of NJ with nothing but MLB Lite and Nats Insider to keep us abreast of our boys – can you believe you can't get the Nats on local TV here? Went to a graduation party today and got to talking with some NYC area baseball fans and they seems to be as impressed with our two young phenoms as we are. One of them compared Bam Bam to my boyhood hero, Mickey Mantle, "except he seems to have more brains and less alcohol than Mantle."

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 55 44 --
ATLANTA 55 47 1.5
MIAMI 48 52 8.0
NEW YORK 48 54 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 44 58 12.5
Through Thursday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies 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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