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Game 45: Nats at Giants

May 20, 2013, 10:50 PM EDT

Associated Press
Beautiful AT&T Park hosts the Nationals for the next three days.

What's the best cure for a struggling lineup? How about the return of its best hitter from injury? Bryce Harper is back tonight for the Nationals, having missed the last two games in San Diego over the weekend with a bruised knee (from his collision with the wall in L.A. one week ago). His presence in the No. 3 spot really does make that starting lineup look a lot more formidable, especially with Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche each on a tear at the plate right now.

The Nationals might need an offensive explosion tonight, because they're sending to the mound someone who wasn't in their original Opening Day rotation for the first time this season. With Ross Detwiler hampered by a slight oblique strain, Zach Duke gets the nod for his first MLB start since 2011. The veteran lefty has been erratic out of the bullpen so far, but his background is as a starter, so perhaps he'll be more comfortable taking the ball for the first inning tonight.

Duke will be working with Jhonatan Solano, getting a rare start behind the plate. Struggling Ryan Vogelsong is on the mound for the defending World Series champion Giants, who are struggling themselves at the moment and desperately need to get themselves back on track.

As you know, I'm not on this West Coast trip, but I'll be staying up late and watching along with the rest of you. Enjoy the game and the conversation…

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Where: AT&T Park
Gametime: 10:15 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500), XM 189
Weather: Clear, 63 degrees, Wind 6 mph out to RF

NATIONALS (23-21)
CF Denard Span
2B Steve Lombardozzi
RF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman

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224 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Alphabet Soup Erik - May 21, 2013 at 4:43 AM

    Seriously…has there ever been another team in MLB history that has a mop up guy who throws 100 MPH???

  2. Scott Margenau - May 21, 2013 at 4:43 AM

    do1teach1 said…It feels like we are 1,000 runs behind in this game, with two outs and Espi up and an 0-2 count, facing Sandy Koufax.May 21, 2013 12:28 AMFunniest thing I've read in a long time! U just gotta drink at this point.

  3. Teresa - May 21, 2013 at 4:44 AM

    I don't care what anyone says about it being early, this team is a mere shadow of last year's team. They have no fight, no heart, no mojo and apparently no big hitters. I saw them lose in April 9-0 and was worried then but what I saw. They were just going through the motions. Something has drastically changed in the clubhouse and I think a huge piece of the puzzle is the loss of Mike Morse. Not only was he our biggest bat, but he was a great teammate and clubhouse presence. Rizzo's moves to get Span and resign ALR left Mike with no home. Thanks, Rizzo, for trading away our biggest power hitter for virtually nothing. This team could sorely use his big bat and his big heart right about now.

  4. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 21, 2013 at 4:44 AM

    Sawed off a bat and knocks in 2 runs.When will the Nats decide to start hitting like this?

  5. do1teach1 - May 21, 2013 at 4:45 AM

    FP was saying earlier maybe the Giants have lost intensity, after winning the WS two of the last three years.Tell me now which of these teams has no intensity?

  6. Gonat - May 21, 2013 at 4:46 AM

    MNF, good things happen when you make contact.

  7. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 21, 2013 at 4:46 AM

    Teresa hit the problem, showing no heart, once behind they do nothing to change the direction of the game.If they score first they are fine.

  8. Gonat - May 21, 2013 at 4:47 AM

    Henry's ERA jumps to 3.95 Just when some were writing that he had some of the best stats in the bullpen.First of all, that's ridiculous because he gets the low stress relief appearances.The guy should be DFA'd with Duke.

  9. Depot Master - May 21, 2013 at 4:49 AM

    Teresa, I really understand what you are talking about. However as much as I miss Mike Morse I also think the absence of Jayson Werth is having a similar impact.I think the team is exhibiting good effort in the field, but when it comes to mindset, they're on auto-pilot. Almost like zombies. Davey doesn't seem to be putting a whole lot of thought or ingenuity into his choices, and the result is they are a lot less fun to watch because it looks like they aren't having a lot of fun themselves.Time to inject this team with some life in the clubhouse. You may not even need to shake up the roster very much. Just find someone out there who has a spark plug and replace a goon or two!

  10. Alphabet Soup Erik - May 21, 2013 at 4:49 AM

    Can we trade For Kirk Gibson? That guy will bring some fire!!!

  11. do1teach1 - May 21, 2013 at 4:52 AM

    FP just said what Stras is thinking in the dugout about tomorrow: "Go ahead boys (speaking to the Giants), go ahead and get all the hits you want tonight, because I'll be out there tomorrow."What Stras is really thinking: "I will lose a one-hitter tomorrow night, 1-0, on a Zimmerman throwing error."

  12. Scott Margenau - May 21, 2013 at 4:53 AM

    We can't send Duke down….can't. We need his bat!!

  13. Scott Margenau - May 21, 2013 at 4:56 AM

    What Stras is really thinking: "I will lose a one-hitter tomorrow night, 1-0, on a Zimmerman throwing error."Lmao!!

  14. Gonat - May 21, 2013 at 5:03 AM

    Jason Marquis beat the Cardinals and Shelby Miller. Marquis gives up 1 run and improves to 6-2.

  15. do1teach1 - May 21, 2013 at 5:14 AM

    Everyone's missing Mikey Mo. In the post-game show, Davey was asked who he'd like to see back in a Nats uniform this year.His reply: "Riggleman."

  16. David Proctor - May 21, 2013 at 5:26 AM

    "Ryan Mattheus has a broken right hand. Fernando Abad and Yunesky Maya getting called up. Eury Perez heading out."The news just keeps getting better.

  17. Teresa - May 21, 2013 at 5:42 AM

    do1teach1 – Remember it was Davey who was literally begging ALR to re-sign with the Nats, knowing full well that it would mean the loss of Mike Morse. My God, Davey humiliated himself with his comments to ALR during the off-season. So, I have absolutely ZERO sympathy for Davey right now. He as much as threw Mike Morse under the bus with the comments he made. Now, we're all having to live with the consequences of the Nats foolish off-season decisions that led to Morse's trade for which we got virtually NOTHING of real value in return. Absolutely mind-boggling.

  18. EmDash - May 21, 2013 at 6:12 AM

    Ryan Mattheus broke his hand hitting his locker after Sunday's game….ffs.Maya is presumably temporary because of the strain on Duke and Stammen as long men, I'd guess, and will maybe be replaced once Detwiler returns to the rotation (oh please let that go well) with another outfielder. Maybe Eury again, if Werth isn't ready by the time Det is.The overuse of Henry the last few days lead me to suspect they're looking to create a reason to DL him – he's thrown 68 pitches in 2 days, which is crazy. They may bring someone up like Eric Davis after that if so.As for Morse: the Nats got a good value for him. They went for pitching and defense, but anticipated everyone would hit roughly to their career average (better for Harper, perhaps) and they'd end up with at least a league-average offense, which would be fine with great pitching. That hasn't happened, but that doesn't mean the moves were necessarily the worst idea. Every decision is a gamble, even the decision to keep things the same.

  19. Teresa - May 21, 2013 at 6:16 AM

    It's not just the loss of his power and bat that are key, I think. He was a huge part of last year's overall team chemistry. You cannot put a price tag on that. This year's team seems to lack heart, fight and mojo. They seem to have zero confidence in coming from behind. Not saying that Morse would cure everything that ails this team, but his loss is much, much more than just the loss of our best power hitter.

  20. EmDash - May 21, 2013 at 6:19 AM

    Chemistry is pretty largely about winning, I think. If they were winning as much as last year, we'd be hearing all about their heart and mojo.

  21. EmDash - May 21, 2013 at 6:21 AM

    What's amazing about that game is that a Giants player got hit by a pitch and Henry *didn't* throw it.

  22. Secret wasian man - May 21, 2013 at 7:30 AM

    3 hits? And 8 runs given up. I guess it's all Danny's fault. This season is over folks. There is no fix for what ails this team. Mick were are you?

  23. mick - May 21, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    You ask where I was Wasian man… I watched the whole game and after the Nats QUIT 3-0, I took a deep breath, followed Coach SJM's advice and said to myself, "I'm going to go take a nap, when I wake up, if the money is on the table, I know I have a partner, if not, I know I don't" oops, no I said I will not post until tomorrow.So, its Tuesday….out scored 21-4 in back to back games. Of which one of the teams, sucks (Padres). It is not the fact Nats lost to Giants, its the fact that they showed NO HEART or GUTS in trying to score even 1 freakin run!! Duke SUCKS, and the fact he is on this roster makes me question Devey's sanity. I hate to post this, but folks, last season, the NATS never lost 2 back to back games by these kinda scores. This season is over, i will enjoy watching young talent, which I hope may be the few pieces the team needs in 2014. I think this club will lose 85 games this seasonshame on every player last night for NO EFFORT

  24. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 21, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    All over? No way we got the east won.We don't have Espi to complain about with no hitting last night. They need some 5 hour energy

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 55 44 --
ATLANTA 55 46 1.0
NEW YORK 48 53 8.0
MIAMI 47 52 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 43 57 12.5
Through Wednesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: OFF
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.
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.

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