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Game 101: Nats at Brewers

Jul 29, 2012, 3:42 PM EDT

US Presswire file photo
The Nationals look for a series victory this afternoon at Miller Park.

Bryce Harper has been battling a stomach virus for several days now, and it was bad enough to keep the rookie out of last night's game. He'll attempt to return to the Nationals' lineup for today's series finale at Miller Park, batting second behind Steve Lombardozzi and ahead of Ryan Zimmerman.

Gio Gonzalez gets the start for the Nats, seeking to become the first NL pitcher to reach 14 wins (only Tampa Bay's David Price has done it so far). The left-hander is coming off perhaps his best start of the season: zero earned runs, two hits in seven innings against the Mets.

A win today would catapult the Nationals to 21 games over .500 for the first time and secure a superb 5-1 road trip in advance of this week's homestand against the Phillies and Marlins.

I'm off again today, but I'll be back at the park Tuesday for the opener against Philadelphia and the trade deadline. In the meantime, enjoy today's game and discussion…

Where: Miller Park
Gametime: 2:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2,, TBS (outside D.C. market)
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 188
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 81 degrees, Wind 9 mph in from RF

2B Steve Lombardozzi
RF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche

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438 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Gonat - Jul 29, 2012 at 11:43 PM

    James McDonald of the Pirates has gone from lights out to lights on as he lost to the Astros giving up 7 walks in 5 innings with 5 runs. Could have been worse.

  2. natsfan1a - Jul 29, 2012 at 11:45 PM

    Swift Eagle, we're sitting in the catbird seat. :-)

  3. natsfan1a - Jul 29, 2012 at 11:45 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Swift Eagle - Jul 29, 2012 at 11:48 PM

    Haha, yes we are Natsfan1a! What seemed like just another 7-3 loss on a lazy Sunday turns into an instant classic…And how many runs have the Nats scored on late inning wild pitch/fast balls? That's become their move…

  5. Swift Eagle - Jul 29, 2012 at 11:49 PM

    er..wild pitch/passed balls..

  6. natsfan1a - Jul 29, 2012 at 11:50 PM

    #20 said it all on the Tweeter:Ian Desmond ‏@IanDesmond20#defibrillatedNats

  7. Gonat - Jul 29, 2012 at 11:50 PM

    NatsFanChris said… I think they let ALR go next year, move Morse to 1st (where he looked great last year) and have either Brown starting in Center or Moore starting in Left. Hard to say which would be preferable. Brown has the edge on D, but Moore seems to have the bigger bat (as of today) July 29, 2012 7:42 PM ________________________________Still plenty of time to decide on LaRoche. Maybe you keep him and make a trade since you have team control. Maybe you do let him walk. Also keep in mind that Morse is a Free Agent after next year.I just think discussing LaRoche's fate is way too premature on July 29.

  8. natsfan1a - Jul 29, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    Yes, it's one of their go-to moves. :-)

  9. Swift Eagle - Jul 29, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    And unlike the Olympics..No Tape Delay!

  10. natsfan1a - Jul 29, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    (the WP, that would be)

  11. Gonat - Jul 29, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    Chris Sale is being shut down temporarily due to tired/fatigued arm.

  12. Swift Eagle - Jul 29, 2012 at 11:55 PM

    You know, I feel sorry for the fans who want to talk only about stats, prospects, future signings, etc, etc. They're missing the best part: The way the Current Players, selected by the GM, with this manager, play the game, on the field, every day…Some of you are missing the big picture..

  13. natsfan1a - Jul 29, 2012 at 11:55 PM

    Also seen on the Tweeter (Kilgore):The Nationals this morning unconditionally released OF/1B Xavier Nady.

  14. Joe Seamhead - Jul 29, 2012 at 11:56 PM

    Incidentally, I fully expect Matheus to be the one optioned between now and Tuesday when Tracy is activated. I've thought that for a while now because of the option factor.

  15. Section 222 - Jul 29, 2012 at 11:56 PM

    JoeS, good point about ALR and how that prompted alot of the switching. That's a curveball that the game threw Davey, and he handled it well, as usual. And I certainly realize that Davey plays his gut and the %s, and he's right alot. In fact, most of the time it's downright scary how he's able to think several innings ahead and make exactly the right move.Sometimes he's wrong though, and today was one of those times. Mattheus' performance in the 7th didn't warrant the confidence Davey showed in him and there were definitely other options available. But I'm certainly not saying I could manage the team better. That's why being a fan is so fun. My eyesight is nowhere near 20/20, but my hindsight definitely is.As for Lannan, he undoubtedly earned a return doubleheader engagement with his clutch performance last weekend. There's absolutely no way they take a flyer with Perry or CMWang, no matter how badly or why Lannan got beat up today. He's lined up to start that game, and I definitely wish him well. I wonder if JZnn will decide to pitch the first game as E-Jax did last time. (Because of the off day tomorrow, I assume everyone's getting an extra day's rest this week.)

  16. natsfan1a - Jul 29, 2012 at 11:57 PM

    Agreed, Swift Eagle. As one might have said of today's home plate ump, they're missing one heck of a ballgame. :-)

  17. Gonat - Jul 29, 2012 at 11:57 PM

    NatsFanChris said… Corey Brown sure does look good. With Brown, Moore and Werth soon to return it seems like we have more OFs than we know what to do with.July 29, 2012 7:42 PM _______________________________Also bringing back Chad Tracy. Really like that Corey Brown will make sending him down a tough call. Whoever gets sent down, they will be back on Sept 1st.The team is holding up well without Ian Desmond, Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos.

  18. natsfan1a - Jul 29, 2012 at 11:58 PM

    sec 222, on the plus side, Mattheus did have an awesome postgame quote, per Kilgore's Tweeter:Adam Kilgore ‏@AdamKilgoreWPFrom Ryan Mattheus, a lament heard only at Miller Park: “That guy shouldn’t have went down that slide as many times as he did.”

  19. Gonat - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:00 AM

    Joe Seamhead said… Incidentally, I fully expect Matheus to be the one optioned between now and Tuesday when Tracy is activated. I've thought that for a while now because of the option factor.___________________________________I fully expect a Henry should soreness injury to the DL and back on Sept 1st.

  20. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:04 AM

    Ghost, that would be the only "experiment" that Davey tried in this game, namely, can Mattheus go two innings? After the first HR, he had set down three in a row, and Davey himself said he didn't conceive Aoki would hit one out, and how much the ball flies when the roof is open. So–the only effective relievers for the Brewers, Livo and some guy they brought up from the minors.

  21. Swift Eagle - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    NatsLady, don't we all remember when our bullpen was like that?? Ouch! We fans deserve this!

  22. baseballswami - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:10 AM

    So apparently Rizzo told Peter Gammons that John Lannan is better than anyone he could trade for at this point. Nice vote of confidence. I do think that Lannan has to work on pitches and stay healthy at this point. I also think that , with his ground ball style, his outcomes are much, much, better with major league defenders. Not talking errors- talking balls that are gotten to and plays that are made that might not be in the minors. Just a couple of those per game can make a huge difference. If you watched the game last Saturday you saw a nice rhythm develop between him with that contact style and those premiere defenders. It was quite magical at times. He is not going to get that in Syracuse. Pitching to contact just requires a very good defense.

  23. Swift Eagle - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:14 AM

    I'm sure Lannan is just not able to bring the same focus to a minor league's like a veteran police officer on traffic duty, just hard to believe he's going to be totally into it…

  24. Section 222 - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:15 AM

    1a, thank goodness they didn't show that guy on the slide on the TBS broadcast. I hate that guy, particularly because they always show him sliding, but never landing in the water!!

  25. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:24 AM

    Re: use of Mattheus, start w/ something Carp said, Storen "was unavailable." (Henry, of course, was "deeply unavailable." Johnson saw the game going into extra innings. Because they were on the road, he was going to need (almost certainly) a save from Clippard. Thus, he couldn't use Clippard until he had the lead. The plan, then was to get Mattheus through the eighth, then Burnett through the ninth (if still tied), then Clippard in hopefully, not later than the tenth. Except Mattheus couldn't make it through the eighth — Stammen had to be called in, and he pitched the 9th because the Brewers had three RH hitters, and the 10th because, after the LH, Aoki, the Brewers were all right-handed down to Izturis and it was not an ideal situation for the LH Burnett (who also pitched yesterday). Except for Mattheus trying to throw raw meat past a lion a couple of times (Ray Knight's analysis), things would have been fine. Johnson's planned use of his bullpen was fine.

  26. NatsLady - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:25 AM

    Plus, we don't know… Burnett has had back problems and elbow problems. If he was "not available," Davey would never say so–why tell the opposition anything?

  27. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:31 AM

    Theo, I could be wrong, but I think Henry was up in the 8th and 9th.

  28. baseballswami - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:33 AM

    Re: Mattheus – Davey said the match ups looked good for him – no way of knowing he would melt down. Or continue to disintegrate. He also said that Mattheus gets amped up and tries to over throw the ball. Ray Knight said the same thing. He has a great sinker but doesn't trust it. Don't know about the leaving him in just a tad too long, though. Other than that- young pitcher's mental issues. We've got those in spades these days.

  29. Section 222 - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:42 AM

    We get it NL. Davey never makes a mistake in your view. You're entitled to your opinion. But surely you recognize that Stammen was available. In fact, he pitched 2 1/3 innings once Mattheus threw his third gopher ball. Are you saying that was the absolute max he could have gone? Don't think so since he's gone 3 innings several times this season, and probably would have come out for the 11th if the Nats hadn't scored. Theo, I'm not saying that Mattheus shouldn't have been used in the 7th. I'm saying he shouldn't have pitched in the 8th, or should have been removed after the first HR in the 8th. Davey needed a quicker hook, whether it was for Stammen, Gonzales, Burnett, or Gorzo. (I agree this was not the situation for H-Rod.) And his plan was to use Stammen in the 9th for as long as it took to get to Clipp for the save. But he had to bring him in early, he just didn't do it early enough.

  30. Swift Eagle - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:50 AM

    Of course Davey makes mistakes, just like every other manager in baseball history…He doesn't need to be perfect, he just needs to be better than the opponentsLast time I checked, you can't do any better than 1st place…Enjoy the ride, especially after a win like today

  31. baseballswami - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:50 AM

    Looks like Werth and Tracy both had a good day in AAA today, which is bringing the inevitable much closer. Someone who contributed big time to today's win is going down. That is just painful with the chemistry that they have going on. An embarrassment of riches. Since I am still giddy after that win ( after eating pounds of crow because I kind of, sort of, considered the game lost – guilty), I must give one more shout out to our amazing crop of rookies! Did someone offer the opinion that Lombo could never be an everyday player? Surely not! By the way, Bernadina, the perpetual scapegoat with the clutch homer today. What a week it's been for the nats!

  32. natsfan1a - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:53 AM

    sec 222, yeah, Bernie the Brewer is very annoying.Swift Eagle, definitely do remember those days with the 'pen. In fact, was flashing back to them a bit earlier.Ghost, I thought I saw Henry up in the 'pen as well. Don't recall which inning it was.btw, there is a new post up, with video. We'll have our work cut out for us to get it over 400 comments. :-)

  33. peric - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:01 AM

    But surely you recognize that Stammen was available. In fact, he pitched 2 1/3 innings once Mattheus threw his third gopher ball. Are you saying that was the absolute max he could have gone?Hey 222,Davey now has eight guys in the bullpen. He has to find ways to get all of them work because he feels he is going to need them. With Storen back Mattheus has not been getting as much work … nor has Gorzelanny … with Storen and H-Rod "rehabbing" in the majors. Give the guy a chance to work out a system to get everybody reps out of the bullpen. You try to win but its a marathon fool. He still has 61 games left in the season plus playoffs. And the games get tougher as more is at stake. And as we've seen injuries do happen. Give the guy a chance to work people in so they don't get rusty will ya dude?

  34. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:03 AM

    NatsFan1a, thanks for your recollection.baseballswami @8:50, good points. 24 very good players plus Henry and 3 on the DL (Werth, Tracy, Desi).3 moves to be made.

  35. peric - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:15 AM

    Looks like Werth and Tracy both had a good day in AAA today, which is bringing the inevitable much closer. Someone who contributed big time to today's win is going down.It'll happen when it happens. Davey isn't rushing to get them back the way he did with DeRosa. Or even Storen. More like CM Wang or Nady. Guess we'll just have to see what happens.Besides their contributions were have been overshadowed by Carlos Rivero who is making himself into a solid top prospect at age 23. Advanced stats followed by the Phuture Phillies showed how he project as a potential sleeper with a break out year in the offing. Another right prediction for advanced stats. Kudos to Rizzo and his scouts for getting this one right!Carlos Rivero: a study in signing International Talent.And then there's Jeff Mandel last night … throwing a 1 hitter for six with a close to 2 ERA. At age 27 a late bloomer but one that is looking pretty impressive … far more than NatsJack's guy Garcia. They are so impressed with Christian Garcian they went out and again signed 35 year old Mike MacDougal. Mike, the reliever with 31 walks and 31 strikeouts. Just as likely to issue a walk as a strike out. But throws mid to upper nineties.

  36. Joe Seamhead - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:47 AM

    Folks, speaking of moves, we can only imagine what/who the Phillies will be putting on the field on Tuesday,as many think that Victorina, Blanton, and Pierre have probably played their last game for them. Who else? Many of them have too heavy contracts to be worth much to any other team.

  37. waddu eye no - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:30 AM

    ok you stat-heads. what's the record for most posts per game? 437 and counting for today…

  38. JaneB - Jul 30, 2012 at 3:21 AM

    I don't think I've ever seen this many comments! I came on to just say how nice it was that they battled back to win, my husband did not believe the way my daughter and I did. He promises to do better. So so glad to hear Rizzo say he couldn't trade for anyone as good as Lannan is. That's good news. I'm curious about the MacDougall move; what that could be about. And a day with now baseball tomorrow. It sure is fun, this period, isn't it?




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