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Game 71: Nats at Rockies

Jun 25, 2012, 10:40 PM EDT

US Presswire file photo
Coors Field hosts Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals tonight.

Stephen Strasburg has never pitched at Coors Field before, but he has pitched at high altitude. This is a guy, remember, who played in the Mountain West Conference while at San Diego State and appeared plenty of times in Colorado and Utah. Still, it will be interesting to see how the altitude affects Strasburg tonight, if at all, especially his curveball.

The Rockies' starter is Jeff Francis, a veteran left-hander who was at one point the ace of this staff but these days is struggling both to stay healthy and effective. Don't look for Francis to throw more than 85 pitches; Colorado manager Jim Tracy is experimenting with a four-man rotation, a move that requires each starter to avoid triple-digit pitch counts.

Sounds like a golden opportunity for a Nationals lineup that desperately could use a breakout game. Ryan Zimmerman is again batting third, with Michael Morse right behind him. Tyler Moore, meanwhile, starts in left field, and with today's move to place Xavier Nady on the DL (while activating Mark DeRosa) don't be surprised if Moore gets even more playing time.

I'm not in Denver for this week's series, so please enjoy the game and the conversation here as always…

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at COLORADO ROCKIES
Where: Coors Field
Gametime: 8:40 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 188
Weather: Clear, 95 degrees, Wind 12 mph out to CF

NATIONALS (41-29)
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Michael Morse

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228 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 26, 2012 at 3:23 AM

    With Tyler Moore on second after a bloop single, and Flores on first with a ground ball single through the right side, Bernadina pinch-hitting in the 9-hole crushes a line drive right at Michael Cuddyer. Tough luck, there–either side of him and the game is tied.And Angel Hernandez's strike zone hasn't improved.Espinosa grounds out to second. Ballgame. 4-2.

  2. Gonat - Jun 26, 2012 at 3:24 AM

    Section 222 said… Ryan Zimmerman take note. You can get better pitches to hit if you work the count like Tyler Moore. Thanks for listening. _________________________________No kidding. Tyler Moore absorbed what he saw during the NYY series. Zim must have been liking what he saw from Rick Ankiel.

  3. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 26, 2012 at 3:24 AM

    Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash … wherever you are.

  4. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 26, 2012 at 3:25 AM

    That is two in row that we led at half time that we let get away. 25 runs now in the last 10 games. I believe I care more than they do. Unforunately I can't do anything about it, and they don't do anything about it, though they could.

  5. baseballswami - Jun 26, 2012 at 3:27 AM

    Tyler Moore with another professional ab. Bernie just scorched that ball – had rbi written all over it. We couldn't hit fastballs in Balmer and we can't hit soft stuff or breaking pitches here. What does that leave? Good luck tomorrow, Gio. By the way – I think I expressed the fear of the reverse lock earlier today. Sorry. If I had any kind of power over the baseball universe I would use it for good and not evil.

  6. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 26, 2012 at 3:30 AM

    Remember the definitionof insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different results. The line up that has been basically used for 11 games now is getting less effective. Davey needs to come out and do something radically different tomorrow.colorado Rockie the worse pitching team in the majors, and we manage 2 runs on them. We have problem with the hitting and I do not see that management has a solution because they keep the same lineup

  7. Gonat - Jun 26, 2012 at 3:32 AM

    Time to shake things up with this lineup. 2 runs tonight and one of them via the pitcher's double. Beyond pathetic.

  8. NatsLady - Jun 26, 2012 at 3:32 AM

    Sorry, this never gets old.coolstandings ‏@coolstandingsSTL 8, FLA 7. #Marlins playoff chances now 1.5%. coolstandings ‏@coolstandingsCOL 4, WAS 2. #Nationals playoff chances now 70.1%.

  9. NatsLady - Jun 26, 2012 at 3:34 AM

    Tommy Milone 5 shutout innings (so far) in Seattle, A's leading 1-0.

  10. rogieshan - Jun 26, 2012 at 3:36 AM

    What more is there to say, other than my ulcer is acting up again.We're the Baltimore Ravens of baseball.

  11. fresh2death1997 - Jun 26, 2012 at 3:38 AM

    Love the comment Gonat! lol, and great comparison rogieshan.

  12. mick - Jun 26, 2012 at 3:40 AM

    I waited until game is over to post. It is one thing to only score 2 or less runs per game against the Yankees or the Rays and even the O's, but another thing to score only 2 runs against the worst pitching staff in MLB and second worst team over all in baseball who just came off a very bad road trip,The bottom half of our lineup I have more confidence in than the top of the lineup and what is scary is that our bottom half sucks! I knew the game was over at 3-2, and Zim's, pathetic first pitch swing his last AB followed by Morse's effortless AB says it all about this offense. You knew Espinoza was going too ground out, he just stinks period and in fact this is the WORST Nats offense since 2005 and the stats bare this out. Also, kudos to Nats Lady who made the point a while back that Gorzo always gives up at least one run when he pitches, not that it matter tonight. Davey look clueless too and I really have my doubts if this group will ever hit.There is no defending this gang… this is against a pathetic team with no pitching and the Nats are clearly the worst hitting team in baseball. This is why stars like Strassburg, Gio and Bryce may get out of here when their contracts are up, they want to win and play with guys who at least show some heart when they are at bat.

  13. Fear and Ignorance - Jun 26, 2012 at 3:44 AM

    I am buying into this 41-30 start about as much as I was buying into the Redskins 3-1 start and the Caps 7-0 start. I am so sick of hearing…"we are still in soul possession of 1st place," and "we are so much better than everyone thought." What a joke. It is not how you start, it is how you finish. This team is heading in the wrong direction…and fast. Anybody with a baseball IQ can see that. They have spent $300 million on their 3-6 hitters, and not one of them can hit. At least teams like the Astros, Pirates and Padres have reasons they can't hit. We have spent about $280 million more than any of them on offense, and still can't hit.

  14. NatsFanJim - Jun 26, 2012 at 3:49 AM

    Hitting — what happened to it? We're swinging at so many bad pitches. Seldom do you see any team swing so consistently at bad pitches (while leaving so many over the middle go by).Do we blame the hitters or do we lay some blame on Eck. But I do know the team approach to hitting sucks. Are they all guess hitters now? Is that Eck's thinking or just group think with the Nats?

  15. NatsFanJim - Jun 26, 2012 at 3:53 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. mick - Jun 26, 2012 at 3:56 AM

    Fear and Ign…. I hope your wrong, but I have a feeling you may be spot on… this team has over paid for some very lame hitters. We have played 80 games and all the excuses, Zim's shoulder, Morse juts getting back, Danny learning to hit L handed is now OLD! I will never equate Davey to the skins or Caps because the man has won a championship, however, I think you are correct by pointing out the delusional fans who think it is great to still be in first, I bet by All star break this team is 3rd in the East and less than 6 games over 500. I hope Natsfan1 will re post this when I am right

  17. mick - Jun 26, 2012 at 4:03 AM

    You know what, I am not going to blame Eckstein again… I was wrong, how can you possibly coach players that just can't hit period or have no confidence when they approach the plate. Two runs verse the Rockies is not any coaches fault, this is all on the players who right now are worst hitting team in Nats history and I'm going back to the Senators!

  18. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 26, 2012 at 4:06 AM

    Mick, thank you.Maybe the Ponce player is the wrong idea–if they're going to score like a soccer team, maybe they should call up somebody from DC United.

  19. mick - Jun 26, 2012 at 4:09 AM

    The scary part is that Davey thinks DeRosa will help this team… If DeRosa does get time, he quite possibly could lower the teams batting average to a historic and MLB low. I have another prediction and I hope I am really wrong on this, the Nats will be no hit once this season and possibly have a perfect game tossed at them

  20. NatsLady - Jun 26, 2012 at 4:12 AM

    Arran Andersen ‏@arranandersenJim Tracy sayMarco Scutaro is ''ok'' after being beaned by Stephen Strasburg. Todd Helton expects ''to see him play tomorrow''. #ROCKIES

  21. mick - Jun 26, 2012 at 4:14 AM

    good news on Scutaro and thank God for batting helmets, that was one nasty hit to the head.

  22. baseballswami - Jun 26, 2012 at 7:14 AM

    Well, since I can't sleep….. I am not sure if it's entirely on Eckstein, although I do think maybe it's time for a change there. I think this "hitting " philosophy is on Davey. He is of the " bloop and a blast" school of thought. This line up is just not made for that. Since it's not working, perhaps they could just TRY a couple of games of working the count. Seems they didn't see the yankees doing it to us. Sometimes when you are stuck you need to just try something different to shake things up. What can it hurt? Can't be much worse. Was tonight one of those times when you hit bottom and have to come up?

  23. JayB - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:03 AM

    “We’ve just got to change our approach, get a little smarter,” Johnson said. “That’s all.”Njack will tell you that based on the fact he knows everything and he has access to the key decision makers all the time and they tell him everything they are thinking all the time……..that Rick E. is in now trouble……I disagree based on years of under performing hitting from this team……Rizzo and Johnson have both said one thing like Lannan or Wang is my guy only to do the opposite the next day. New hitting coach by all star break if they do not turn it around is justified by the comment…..New Approach is Needed…..that is a shot across the bow if I ever heard one.

  24. JayB - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    Not in trouble

  25. ehay2k - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    As the season wears on, our hitting is getting worse. Granted, Zimm's travails are hurting the rest of the batting order. Desi would be a better option at #3 in the order right now. I said before that I hope they give Zimm a couple of days off before the ASB, without a full stint on the DL. There is still time.But, last night, I'm sure Rick told them that it's a pitcher's park, that slow breaking balls really move a lot and drop out of the zone, and high fastballs always drop down. No other way to explain some of the at bats. If the entire class is failing, it never hurts to make sure it isn't the teacher. Bring in an assistant, or a new teacher. Unless Rick has some sort of tenure…

  26. natsfan1a - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    That would be Balking Bob Davidson, I believe.Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa said… Who was it got suspended a couple of weeks ago for basically being a crappy umpire? It's rare, but it should be. June 25, 2012 10:32 PM

  27. natsfan1a - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. natsfan1a - Jun 26, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    Did you mean me, Mick (1a)? I'd be happy to repost it, if you're right. Only thing is, how will we know which Mick it was from? If you'll recall, the other one I posted was from a different Mick. ;-)Special thanks to sec3 for the excellent PBP, if it's any consolation, which it probably is not. And, yes, I think it was an excellent time for the "It's Just a Game" speech.Oh, and nice comeback re. the two kinds of people, Eddie.mick said…Fear and Ign…. I hope your wrong, but I have a feeling you may be spot on… this team has over paid for some very lame hitters. We have played 80 games and all the excuses, Zim's shoulder, Morse juts getting back, Danny learning to hit L handed is now OLD! I will never equate Davey to the skins or Caps because the man has won a championship, however, I think you are correct by pointing out the delusional fans who think it is great to still be in first, I bet by All star break this team is 3rd in the East and less than 6 games over 500.I hope Natsfan1 will re post this when I am rightJune 25, 2012 11:56 PM

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