Saturday, May 22, 2010

Game 44: Orioles at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats try to get out of their rut this afternoon against the Orioles.
Jim Riggleman, like most managers, lives by the adage that "momentum is only as good as your next day's starting pitcher." He said it yesterday afternoon, only to watch as Scott Olsen (ailing from a tight left shoulder) struggled and was pulled after three innings, setting the tone for last night's 5-3 loss to the Orioles.

Thus, the Nationals enter today's rare 4:05 p.m. start (due to the fact Fox is televising Yankees-Mets in primetime) under .500, having lost seven of their last eight. Clearly, their momentum is careening downhill at this moment.

But all that can change if Craig Stammen takes the mound today and gives the Nats a quality start. After a nice, three-week stretch in which he allowed three earned runs or less in four straight starts, Stammen has regressed some his last two times out (though he's still only allowed four runs each of those two starts).

Check back for updates throughout...

ORIOLES at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 4:05 p.m.
TV: MASN-HD, MASN2-HD
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM, WTEM-980 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 74 degrees, Wind 12 mph RF to LF
STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (21-22)
CF Nyjer Morgan
SS Cristian Guzman
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
LF Josh Willingham
C Ivan Rodriguez
2B Adam Kennedy
RF Roger Bernadina
P Craig Stammen

ORIOLES (14-29)
LF Corey Patterson
RF Nick Markakis
3B Miguel Tejada
1B Luke Scott
2B Ty Wigginton
C Matt Wieters
CF Adam Jones
SS Cesar Izturis
P Brad Bergesen

3:59 p.m. -- We're just about ready to go, but if you haven't seen it already, here's my story on CSNwashington.com about Scott Olsen missing at least one start, and the possibility the Nats could call up Stephen Strasburg to replace him next Saturday in San Diego.

4:05 p.m. -- And this game in underway with a ball from Craig Stammen to Corey Patterson.

4:17 p.m. -- Not a good first inning for Stammen. He served up three singles and a wild pitch, resulting in two runs. It didn't help that Nyjer Morgan, who was given yesterday off, booted Miguel Tejada's base hit and allowed Nick Markakis to advance an extra base on the error. But both runs remain earned, and Stammen must regroup following a ragged, 24-pitch inning. The Orioles lead 2-0.

4:19 p.m. -- Oh, and I forgot to mention: The skies are darkening, and there's a line of storms fast approaching from the southwest.

4:28 p.m. -- Wasted opportunity from the Nats in the bottom of the first. They loaded the bases but couldn't score. It didn't help that Morgan popped up a bunt attempt to begin the inning, something that has happened several times to him already this season. To put it bluntly, Nyjer is strugg-a-ling.

4:34 p.m. -- Much better second inning from Stammen. He retired the side on 12 pitches, 11 of them strikes. Still 2-0 O's.

5:02 p.m. -- The Hammer to the rescue. Josh Willingham hammers a first-pitch fastball from Bergesen into the left-field bleachers, knotting the game at 2 in the bottom of the third.

5:07 p.m. -- Wil Nieves has replaced Ivan Rodriguez behind the plate for the fourth inning. Not that surprising if you saw Pudge grimace after taking a swing in the bottom of the third. He's been dealing with some lower back issues all season, and he probably tweaked it on that swing.

5:15 p.m. -- If Nyjer Morgan is allowed to take his position in center field for the fifth inning, I will be stunned. After missing a leaping attempt at Adam Jones' drive to the wall (a catchable ball), Morgan slammed his glove to the ground, thinking it had cleared the fence. The ball, though, was sitting about five feet from him. By the time Josh Willingham ran all the way over to get it, Jones raced his way around with an inside-the-park home run, the second surrendered by the Nationals in this homestand. This one was totally preventable, and Morgan was entirely to blame. I can't imagine Jim Riggleman will let him take his position for the next inning, but we'll see.

5:25 p.m. -- Wow, what a sequence of events we're seeing here. Nyjer was allowed to hit in the bottom of the fourth and was resoundingly booed as he stepped to the plate. He was then cheered when he singled to right. Moments later, he got a huge jump on a hit-and-run and advanced to third when Guzman's single bounced past the vacant shortstop's hole. It's now 4-3 Orioles in the fifth, and Morgan has retaken the field. This has suddenly turned into a really interesting ballgame. Oh, and they've closed the press box windows, which means rain is imminent.

5:34 p.m. -- And in another bizarre development, first-base coach Dan Radison was ejected for arguing that Zimmerman beat out a grounder in the fourth. So now coaching first base is ... Tim Foli. How is that allowed? Well, bench coach John McLaren is not with the team today (he had an excused absence for a personal matter), so Foli (who works with the team pregame but is not normally allowed to be in the dugout during games) was serving as bench coach for the day. Now he's on the field coaching first. What a strange game this has become.

5:42 p.m. -- And here comes the rain. Fans scurrying for cover.

5:46 p.m. -- Craig Stammen just gave up his second homer of the day. The first one (the inside-the-parker) wasn't his fault. This one was. Ty Wigginton crushed a 1-0 fastball from Stammen into the left-field bleachers to put the Orioles on top 6-3. And after a subsequent single by Matt Wieters, Stammen's day is done. Tyler Walker coming in from the bullpen with one out in the sixth.

5:53 p.m. -- We already suspected this, but we have confirmation now that Pudge came out of the game with a strained lower back. His status is day-to-day.

6:12 p.m. -- And after all that, the Nats have retaken the lead. With five hits in the sixth (three off Bergesen, two off Mark Hendrickson), a hit batter and a nice sacrifice bunt by (who else?) Nyjer Morgan, the Nats have scored four runs and now lead 7-6 in a crazy ballgame.

6:23 p.m. -- Today's paid attendance: 30,290. Biggest crowd since Opening Day.

6:31 p.m. -- Looks like it'll be the Clip 'n Save Show today. Tyler Clippard warming up to pitch the eighth.

6:40 p.m. -- Not sure if they showed it on TV, but Nyjer threw his helmet about 30 feet after grounding into that double play to end the seventh. Tim Foli had to jog over to the tarp to retrieve it. Given everything that's happened today, wouldn't you think Morgan would go out of his way not to have any more outbursts or anything that could be construed negatively the rest of the evening.

6:45 p.m. -- Nice, clean inning for Clippard. Set them down in order. Struck out one, got two popouts. He needed one of those. Still 7-6 Nats heading to the bottom of the eighth.

6:53 p.m. -- OK, the Nats were THIS close to just hitting into a triple play. Which would have meant they would have allowed an inside-the-park homer and hit into a triple play twice in four days. And (if they hang on here in the ninth) would have still WON both games!

6:56 p.m. -- Here we go ... the final countdown.

7:03 p.m. -- And there it is, just your average, run-of-the-mill, 7-6 Nats victory. Tyler Walker gets the win. Matt Capps gets his 16th save in 16 tries. Plenty of heroes (and goats) in this one. And plenty for me to dissect in the postgame analysis story. Stay tuned for that one.

66 comments:

BinM said...

Not crazy about Guzman at SS, but he's the teams hottest hitter this month.

Jack T. in Florida said...

Definitely not excited about Nook Morgan (or is it Nyjer Logan?) in CF either

JayB said...

Riggs at it again....do what little he can to get his Vets into games under the pretense of resting Ian D. He is the teams second best player. Play him and end the bromance with Guz....his range is pathetic...last night he let a very playable ball roll through the right side and did not even keep it in the infield to save a run. Guz at second base if you have to Riggs but SS....never again in my view.

NatBiscuit said...

The Nationals are near the top/bottom (most) in errors again this year. While the fielding has improved immensely over the beginning of last year, the team does have challenges defensively. Its easier to overlook because the young talent of Desmond and Bernadina, the professionalism of Dunn, Kennedy, and Rodriguez, and the spectacular playmaking ability of the entire outfield pluz Zimmerman. But, a lot of the errors are mental: not looking the ball into the glove, making a throw when there is no chance of a play, not rushing a play.

When your offense is also not working you have to make compromises and play the better hitters but long term they need complete players who are fundamentally sound. Could be some of the same players they have now, but this is the majors not double A. These players need to focus.

BTW, Dunn is playing pretty well defensively around the bag but if has to keep coming off the bag and up the line to catch Zimmerman and Desmond throws he's going to end up breaking a wrist when he collides with a runner.

Anonymous said...

Man people like to beat dead horses around here. Morgan is in a slump, but you don't get out of a slump by sitting on the bench. Would you rather see Willie Harris out there again?

And there is no point to even try to reason with JayB, just a waste of time.

David said...

actually willie hits with a little power, he's always hit for low average but when he gets a hit it's usually very productive, hence his RBI totals, i have no problem with him being in the lineup...

Anonymous said...

"doesn't hit much but the hits he gets are productive." ??? Are you auditioning for a job in the booth? just kidding.

JayB said...

Morgan is in a mental slum....his decision on the bases and in CF are the problem here...if he was just in a hitting slum I would agree he needs to play his way out. The biggest harm he is doing to the team is his bad baseball decisions....he can not even hit a cut off man or not get double off first on a soft liner....That is cause to sit him for a week until he gets his mind straight again.

Anonymous said...

Wow JayB, how racist can you get? Twice you say Morgan is in a slum? Why not just go all out and say ghetto? Cuz you can't spell such a big word?

An Briosca Mor said...

I think even the Carpenter and Dibble haters among us would have to admit that their favorite days of the baseball season (aside from Opening Day) are the first days back after a weekend of MASN's combined broadcast booth abomination.

Anonymous8 said...

Literally 3 batters into the game and Nyjer has already screwed up. Unbelievable.

dj in Fl. said...

JB,
There is no place on this site for your behavior.
There are plenty of sites on this world wide web featuring bad behavior. Take it there if that is the kind of person you are, but straigten up on here.

DJ said...

Any update on Ross Detwiler and when he begins his rehab?

JayB said...

Facts are facts...Morgan's head is not in the game again....who called it?

Anonymous8 said...

Morgan's head and his approach at the plate. He bunted under the ball in the 1st and popped it up.

One ball hit to him and he booted it.

Pathetic.

On the good side, this team can win without him.

Anonymous8 said...

Good hustle on the groundout by Nyjer. That is one positive I can say about him and of course his contribution of the Silver Elvis wig.

natsone_va said...

Man I hate this Baltimorons!!! Especially the announcers.

natsone_va said...

Oh, but I love Dibble.

Anonymous8 said...

HAMMER TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I swear to god he's become Lastings Morgan.

Michael J. Hayde said...

I'm as high on Nyjer as any fan, but I can't believe I just saw that. I hope Riggleman benches him for that display.

Anonymous said...

Take Nyjer out now. You have to be kidding me. This guy is a joke. A complete joke.

Every time it is hit to him. First of all, he should have caught it. Second, he misses it and turns a double into a 4 bagger.

How much of this do we have to endure?

JayB said...

Mark,

Foli is in the dug out in uniform? I though that was not allowed....what coach if missing?

Bob Neuman said...

I have lost my patience with Nyjer...tragic collapse.

Sec3MySofa said...

Now, that is not a slump. Fifteen years ago, I'd have said that was 'roid rage. Nowadays, it's just knuckleheaded.

Anonymous said...

Are you guys watching the tube gonna turn this off? Maybe there's Gilligan's Island rerun on. This ain't major league play.

Sec3MySofa said...

Maybe get Nyjer some lasik...

JayB said...

This has been coming for over a week. If you watch the games and know what you are looking for you could see this coming. AGAIN...Morgan needs to sit a week

Les in NC said...

Now watch as he proceeds to get picked off...

C'mon Riggs shut him down!

Michael J. Hayde said...

Nice as the single was, it was clear that Morgan's still angry, and that's going to lead to more errors. Keeping my fingers crossed, but this looks like a big mistake on Rig's part. I'll be very interested in his post-game comments on this.

Mark Zuckerman said...

JayB: John McLaren is not with the team today, he had an excused absence for a personal matter. So Foli is allowed in uniform in the dugout to serve as bench coach for this game.

Chris said...

Guzzy has had a nice game. But I guess if you watch games and know what you're looking for you could have seen it coming - so it's no surprise.

Joe said...

Here's a puzzle - in case it becomes necessary - who is on the farm that can serve as a backup catcher? Jamie Burke appears to be listed as on the 7-day DL, but doesn't appear to have seen any playing time.

Anonymous said...

Where is CWJ who was the Nyjer supporter with some Anon. This has been over a week of horrible play.

Nicest guy in an interview. As soon as the camera is off, he becomes MAJOR LEAGUE A-HOLE.

When is Riggles and Rizzo gonna FLUSH the TPlush toilet?

JayB said...

Guz at SS is what is wrong not Guz playing get a clue...he has already let another ball go right by him up the middle. His lack of range up the middle is very well documented Chris.

Sec3MySofa said...

Well, either Riggleman pulls him right then, or he doesn't and deals with it privately. It doesn't matter what he says, I suppose--Pudge is out and the bench is already short in a close game, whatever. It's his prerogative, but man ... I've seen Ponce de Leon 48+ players sat down for that.

Chris said...

I know JayB, just givin ya a little good-natured ribbing.

Desmond started 9 games in a row at short prior to today, so I'm ok with Guzzy playing once in awhile - especially if it means Kennedy is in the lineup at 2B. Adam is a true pro and deserves to play.

Sec3WatchingThisGameGetAway said...

What Would Frank Have Done?
1. Pulled him off the field right then and there. Personally. By the ear.
2. Left him in to finish the defensive half, and traded him during the bottom of the fourth.
3. Waited til he got back in and cussed him out so bad his grandchildren would be born insecure.

Anonymous said...

Can someone posit an outfield lineup for tomorrow?

Sec3Booing said...

Anon 5:59, sure. Any of us can. Still have to wait for Riggleman's, though.

Les in NC said...

Why pinch hit there for Walker? Bernadina was at 3rd with nobody out, even if Walker K's we have 2 more outs to get Roger in.
The bench is already depleted... I dont understand the move. Someone give me some insight?

Anonymous8 said...

SEC3, agreed. No doubt. Riggleman will take care of Nyjer just won't do it in the dugout like he did with Sammy Sosa in 1997.

Another note, Nyjer will rename himself with a new nickname. I am thinking NO BRAIN-ER or Tony FLUSH (already suggested). What do you all think?

Look how Adam Jones backed up Markakis on that missed catch?

Nice hit Bernadina!!!!!!!!!!

Sec3again said...

Les, I think AG has your insight right there.

Sec3ADAMDUNN said...

Good point, Anon8. I'd forgotten that one.

Chris said...

@ Les

1. Tyler Walker sucks. We still have Clip, Slaten, Burnett and possibly Bautista available in the pen. And we still have Morse and Willie to pinch hit.

2. We've been terrible lately with RISP. No way you can sacrifice an out there, especially when you're down.

Chris said...

and now Capps enters the picture. I wonder if we'll see Drew next inning.

Anonymous said...

GREAT hustle by ZIM!!!!! Dunn comes through in the clutch!

Doc said...

After throwing his glove, it may be time to flush Tony Plush!

Anonymous said...

Need security runs in the bottom of the 7th!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Kennedy needs to sell that "SAFE" at 2nd better. Come on dude, you are a veteran. Fake it if you have to....

joe said...

Why try to have Bernadina sacrifice, especially after a four-pitch walk to lead off the inning? Bernadina isn't likely to GIDP - granted, he's facing a lefty, but why give away the out?

Anonymous8 said...

Hows about getting Bernadina to drag a bunt???? At least try for a base hit as he is a good drag bunter.

Mike Morse showing why he is with the club. A good PH.

Figures, FLUSH hit into a DP. Go figure. When you got a rain cloud over your head. Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

I now know why Riggles didn't pull the plug on the FLUSH, he didn't want to waste a position player.

Remember, a FLUSH, is a terrible thing to waste.

Anonymous8 said...

Zim doing a Nyjer imitation. Stupid. What did he think, Nyjer was playing CF for the Orioles????????

Sec3StillHere said...

Mark, they did show Morgan tossing his helmet. Speaking of which, thanks for the detail about the new Rawlings helmet Norris was wearing.

And now Zimm is wandering around like he's playing in some other game. Did somebody spike the Gatorade??

Anonymous said...

There've been some interesting aspects to this game but we'll remember only the bush league outbursts from NG. Unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Zim did that as a Team leader so Nyjer wouldn't feel bad?

Sec3LetsGoCapps said...

and wow, you're right--Cristian Guzman's baserunning savvy was the only thing between them and another Daily Double!

Sec3MySofa said...

And Matt Capps goes out of his way to pull Morgan out from under the bus. Classy. Professional. They must really like and respect the guy. Which should count for something here.

Anonymous said...

Nyjer needs to be benched!!! He is a major D-bag, no wonder why he is SBF's favorite Nat, birds of a feather right!?

Doc said...

"...cussed him out so bad, his grandchildren would be born insecure...". I love that ditty(and that's exactly what Frank really would have done). I'm gonna use it in my future recriminations (if it isn't copyrighted!!!!).

It's time to add to the after game clubhouse awards. How about the Tony Flush goat-of-the game award---a golden toilet plunger--to be carried on the bus back to the hotel!

Anonymous said...

I wasn't able to see the game - can someone describe the "almost triple play" ?

Sec3 said...

Anon 7:19, with Guzman on 2nd and Zimm on 1st, Willingham hit a sinking liner into the R-C gap. Guzman went halfway to third and waited, but Zimm (with the play in front of him) just about ran right up Guzzie's back, near short.

Anonymous8 said...

It wasn't close to a triple play. Zim just ran like it was a gapper from 1st and was past 2nd.

Sec3 said...

About that time, Jones make a nice running catch on the ball, and Guzman was frantically waving Zimm back, but the ball was on its way in. It's a good thing the throw back to first wasn't muffed, though, because Zimm was barely jogging back to the bag.

Anonymous8 said...

Doc, that is great. The golden plunger!!!

Just listened to Riggs and he answered the tough questions well on Nyjer.

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