Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Game 10: Phillies at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
If the rain holds off, Livan Hernandez will face Joe Blanton tonight at Nationals Park.
When you're going up against the four-time defending NL East champions, you'd like to have your best lineup available. Unfortunately, that's not going to be the case for the Nationals tonight. Not only is Ryan Zimmerman on the DL with a strained abdominal muscle, Adam LaRoche is out with a mild groin strain and Michael Morse is out with flu-like symptoms.

So the heart of the Nationals' lineup includes Matt Stairs, Wilson Ramos and Laynce Nix. Jerry Hairston is at third base today, but Jim Riggleman said that will be a revolving door between Hairston, Alex Cora and Morse. Jesus Flores, just called up from Class AAA Syracuse, will be used mostly as a pinch-hitter. Riggleman said Flores will also get some work during batting practice at first base, just in case he's needed there at some point.

The forecast tonight doesn't look good, but it doesn't look bad enough for the Nats to call the game off in advance. In other words, bring your parka and be prepared for some delays.

Updates to come...

PHILLIES at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN2
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM)
Weather: Chance of rain, 56 degrees, Wind 20 mph in from RF
STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (4-5)
SS Ian Desmond
CF Rick Ankiel
RF Jayson Werth
1B Matt Stairs
C Wilson Ramos
LF Laynce Nix
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Jerry Hairston
P Livan Hernandez

PHILLIES (7-2)
CF Shane Victorino
3B Placido Polanco
SS Jimmy Rollins
1B Ryan Howard
RF Ben Francisco
LF Raul Ibanez
C Carlos Ruiz
2B Wilson Valdez
P Joe Blanton
7:09 p.m. -- We are underway, on time and everything. Skies are gray, but it's dry for now. That said, there is nobody here. This is one of the smallest crowds I can remember seeing here, and I don't think it's only because of no-shows. There are plenty of sections without a single seat filled.

7:12 p.m. -- Nice top of the first for Livan Hernandez. He got a grounder out of Shane Victorino, a flyball to right out of Placido Polanco (Jayson Werth was greeted with boos from the Philly fans after he caught it) and then a shot off the bat of Jimmy Rollins that looked like a sure base hit to right. But wait, was that really Matt Stairs making a lunging grab of the ball to rob Rollins? Yes it was. Nicely done by the 43-year-old first baseman.

7:17 p.m. -- Nothing going on for the Nats in the bottom of the first. Ian Desmond swung at the first pitch he saw and grounded out to short. Rick Ankiel struck out. Werth (greeted by a mixture of cheers and boos, all of them vociferous) worked the count but then tapped a weak grounder to third. He's now hitless in his last 11 at-bats, and we're scoreless after one.

7:34 p.m. -- When Ryan Howard took a 1-0 pitch from Livo to the opposite field, just over the left-field fence to lead off the second, the stadium rose to applaud him. Seriously, are there more than 1,000 Nats fans here tonight? Sure doesn't look like it. There was some nice applause when Wilson Ramos and Laynce Nix each singled in the second and then Ramos scored on Danny Espinosa's sac fly, but not the same kind of roar that greeted Howard's homer. After two, it's now 1-1.

7:46 p.m. -- Livo has made only one mistake so far, the Howard homer. Otherwise, he's retired the other nine batters he's faced, striking out two. The Nats haven't done much against Blanton, though. Desmond and Ankiel are a combined 0-for-4 with two groundballs and two strikeouts. Still 1-1 after three.

7:54 p.m. -- Here's one you don't see very often: Desmond tagged Rollins with his glove as the latter tried to advance to second on a groundball. The ball, however, was in Desmond's right hand as he prepared to throw to first to try to complete a double play. The ball never touched Rollins. Second base ump Tom Hallion had no idea, though, and called Rollins out. The Phillies threatened in the fourth, but Livo got Ibanez to fly out with two on and two out.

8:07 p.m. -- The Nats may need to strike an endorsement deal with Tropicana. Or Charmin. They just love to squeeze. (Sorry, I had to.) For the third time in 10 games, they pulled off a successful squeeze bunt, this one by Livan Hernandez to score Laynce Nix with the Nats' third run of the fourth. They already got a leadoff double from Werth (snapping his 0-for-11 slump), an RBI double from Ramos (now 9-for-19 this season), and singles from Nix and Jerry Hairston. Just like that, the Nats have taken a 4-1 lead.

8:18 p.m. -- So much for Werth's slump. He doubled in the fourth and just clubbed a line drive just inside the left field foul pole for his first homer at Nationals Park as a National. That got some people up on their feet to cheer. Nats lead 5-1 and are taking it to Blanton pretty good.

8:34 p.m. -- Here comes Livo to start the seventh inning, a much needed development. Only once previously this year had a Nats starter pitched into the seventh (Jason Marquis against the Marlins). Livo's only at 79 pitches, so he's obviously got plenty left in the tank. And he's got a 5-1 lead at his disposal.

8:52 p.m. -- His right arm may fall off at some point, but for now Tyler Clippard has just been downright amazing. Came in to relieve Livo with the bases loaded, two outs and Victorino at the plate. And blew him away for his 11th strikeout in nine innings this season. Just when it looked like things were getting dicey, Riggleman summons his rally killer to pitch out of yet another jam. Still 5-1 at the seventh inning stretch.

9:11 p.m. -- Another tack-on run for the Nats in the bottom of the seventh, thanks to three consecutive walks by Philly relievers, including one to Michael Morse (who was feeling well enough to pinch-hit and now take over at first base) and one to Wilson Ramos with the bases loaded. So it's 6-1 as we go to the eighth, Clippard still on the mound.

9:24 p.m. -- Hmm, maybe I spoke too soon. Clippard just put three straight guys on with one out in the eighth, including back-to-back walks. All of a sudden, Sean Burnett is entering to face Raul Ibanez with the bases loaded, up five runs, in what amazingly is a save situation.

9:29 p.m. -- Well, Burnett just allowed two of his inherited runners to score, both of them charged to Clippard (who no longer has a 0.00 ERA). But ultimately, he did what was most important: record two outs to end the eighth. It's now 6-3.

9:39 p.m. -- Another tack-on run in the bottom of the eighth as Espinosa draws a leadoff walk, moves to second on Pudge's groundball and then scores on Cora's single. For the record, this makeshift lineup everybody was panning earlier this afternoon has produced seven runs, nine hits and five walks.

9:451 p.m. -- That's your ballgame. Got a little dicey late, but the Nats win 7-4. Livo (1-1) gets the win. Burnett gets his third save, though his Nats-record 22 2/3-innings scoreless streak comes to an end. Werth goes 2-for-3 with a homer, double and walk against his old team. And, yes, the Nationals are a .500 ballclub at this moment, tied with the Marlins for second place in the NL East, two games behind the Phillies.

70 comments:

Peyton Dowdy said...

Watch em go and score 12 runs with the most ridiculous lineup of the year.

Go Nats!

Steveospeak said...

With this lineup the Nats should be hoping they can call the game due to rain.

With LaRoche ailing and Morse sick, it makes even less sense to bring up Flores. Bixler could legitimately fill in at every position. And Bernadina could allow both Hairston and Cora in the infield (not that makes it an ideal situation). Flores really doesn't do anything for the Nats lineup issues.

The Michael said...

Stairs at 1B? Gold help us all! Tonight is must see TV.

joemktg said...

Ponderous man, ponderous. Zim's out 3 weeks: get Espy into the top portion of the lineup, put Pudge at 1B (guess Riggs didn't read Pudge's stats vs. Phillies that Mark posted). Just a strange, weak lineup.

masnstinks said...

That is one ugly line-up. And it's a cold, rainy Tuesday night. Not exactly what Jayson Werth had in mind for our first game against the phils when he signed that contract.

Nattydread said...

Scary. Please let it rain.

Naterial Guy said...

Heck, I like Stairs, but if we were willing to use a roster spot for a DH (Matt Stairs) why didn't we just keep Adam Dunn as a Bench Pplayer? He could have played Outfield or First Base in a pinch better than Stairs!!
Oh well we probably weren't going to sweep them anyway.

Go Nats!

Grandstander said...

So, whoever can tell me why Severino isn't on the Syracuse roster, and Syracuse's website has Bixler as being on the 40-man roster gets a cookie.

Anonymous said...

Remember the ad campaigns all winter? Washington Nationals - Expect it.

I did my best. I tried to expect it. But this? This I did not expect.

Steveospeak said...

@ Grandstander

Severino is I believe still working down in Florida, and if I remember correctly the Nats thought his arm was a little tired, and they are letting him rest down at their team facility. I don't know any time table for him to be back to pitching in the minors.

As for Bixler being on the 40-man, that is a problem with Milb.com they list a ton of minor leaguers as on a 40-man when they aren't any longer. For instance J.D. Martin is still listed on the 40 man, as is I believe Matt Chico. It's not fully updated so hopefully it will be soon, because that threw me as well.

Ernie said...

What's the average age of this lineup? This might be the oldest set of 9 players we've ever fielded. Until Pudge gets his start tomorrow, of course.

Richard said...

On this wet, soggy day, as we wait for the Nats, I was wondering what the Nats Insider crew thinks about F.P. Santangelo's commentary. I think whoever hired him deserves a very large medal. I've enjoyed his commentary very much and especially his perspective on hitting; it's a pro hitter's approach and thought process. Great stuff.

Dave said...

@ richard RE: F.P

+1

Original Nats Fan said...

F.P.has really grown on me. He has an understated sense of humor. He talks so quietly that you almost miss the insight he's sharing.

Anonymous said...

Why do people keep making a big deal out of Bixler? In 166 plate appearances in the majors he has a .475 OPS ad has K'd 62 of those at bats.

Not to mention his 11 errors in 386 innings in the field.

In case you were wondering, his rate of errors is the same rate that Desmond had a SS last year that everybody complained about so much. Bixler is not the answer people.

If you were going to bring a right handed hitting minor league infield utility guy up and add them to the 40 roster I'd rather have Seth Bynum over him for his power.

Grandstander said...

Steveospeak, I owe you a cookie.

I've been pleasantly surprised by FP. A lot of good insight, but not too overbearing. Kind of like the anti-Dibble. He's gotta brush up on his trivia chops though.

carolync said...

Perhaps Peyton Dowdy is right. This situation may just be bad enough to make our players rise to the occasion.
Stairs has played quite a bit of 1B in his career with a decent fld% so that move is not as ridiculous as it sounds. Course he's no taller than Pudge so we have to hope Desmond is having one of his good nights.
Worst part as usual will be the Phillies fans.
Go Nats!

David said...

I don't mind FP, except that he sounds like a high schooler. Seriously the first time I hard his voice on air, I thought to myself "Who let the intern on the mic?".

WhatNat said...

I've grown to really like FP. Some of his lines are surprisingly funny. As he relaxed in the job he's gotten really good.

Manassas Nats Fan said...

All I can say is at least the game is on WJFK for a change.

Go Nats.

Manassas Nats Fan said...

Second comment. I wrote to complain to WJFK for being the flagship stations but wimping out on weekday afternoon games. Like who cares about Dukes and LaVar. Put real sports on not sports talk.

As expected, no one bothered to reply.

Drew8 said...

It's the reverse lock lineup!

Sunderland said...

I'm OK with FP. It's a tough job to be interesting day after day.
The radio situation does stink. And for once, it's MLB that has the best option. $15 for the whole year on your phone or computer.
Kinda glad to be home, warm and dry tonight.

dj in Fl. said...

So Matt can't field! Well, I will take that kind of no glove any day.
Look like a pitchers duel tonight.

JD said...

Desmond is just a disaster at leadoff.

phildunn said...

Ramos is the real deal!

Anonymous said...

Is Ramos this good, a legitimate 5-6 hitter in a good lineup? I'm interested to see how he does as his playing time picks up.

JD said...

I think Ramos is definitely a legit major league catcher and hitter. Most project him to hit around .260 - .270 with decent power. Ideally he should hit around 6th or 7th.

JD said...

Squeeze... good call by Riggleman.

N. Cognito said...

Ian Desmond will never be a good hitter until he stops trying to pull everything.

Yuri Gagarin said...

I suspect one reason there aren't many Nats fans at the game is they don't want to have to put up with all the Phillies fans. Have to admit I'm guilty of this.

JD said...

N.cognito

he may want to take a pitch now and then. I think he should swap places with Espinosa for now; the latter has much more productive at bats for the most part.

NatsNut said...

Okay boys. You got a good lead, but stay with us. Don't relax for even a minute.

dj in Fl. said...

I like the production at the bottom of the order and would not want to mess with it.
They just have to knock it into Desmonds head to hit line drives to right. He seems to be swinging for the fence every time.

Go Livo. Pitch all 9 tonight.

NatinBeantown said...

Livo K's Howard on 67 and 61 mph curves and then an 85 mph fastball. Suck on it, Fangraphs. The man is an artist.

Anonymous said...

Like "Yuri" above, I didnt go to tonight's game b/c of the Phillies fans -- hubby and a friend are there. Mind you, it's not the Phillies themselves I can't tolerate, its the fans. I'm warm at home tonight but will be at Friday's game!

joemktg said...

something special going on tonight

JD said...

Wow. Clippard is on I just hope his arm doesn't fall off like last year.

Grandstander said...

I also didn't go today specifically because of the Philly fans. Any other team I'm there, regardless of weather. If Kasten wants Philly fans to buy our tickets, he can sell them mine. I like to enjoy my games.

Joe Seamhead said...

I think Morse's walk was a great AB and then Ramo's walk was icing!

dj in Fl. said...

We've come a long way!

First walk by our staff at the 8 1/3 inning mark.
Remember when our staff thought that was how to begin each inning.

rmoore446 said...

I'm still not feeling great about this as we let them creep back into the game. We need to beat this bunch!

rmoore446 said...

That insurance run from the bottom of the order really helps. Another would be even better!

NatsNut said...

Agreed. I have been holding my breath since the 7th inning.

fpcsteve said...

Zimmerman's replacements tonight (Hairston and Cora) have been solid. Good night for the bench. Good night for the vets. Go Nats!

JaneB said...

MARK WROTE:
For the record, this makeshift lineup everybody was panning earlier this afternoon has produced seven runs, nine hits and five walks.

Point taken. Because if I had read this earlier, I would have been whining too. I love Livo, thank Blanton, and hope for the curlie W to be posted soon.

RickH said...

Way to go, Nats!!!

Joe Seamhead said...

Nice,nice win! First base ump really tried to make it interesting,eh? Very bad call. Hey, is three in a row a streak, Mr. Werth?

dj in Fl. said...

Good managing all the way around tonight. Everyone appeared to understand their responsibility, and went out and met the expectations, of the manager, not necessarily of those who comment here.
Way to go boys.

A DC Wonk said...

Great day for Werth to break out of his little slump. Gotta love that the Nats can do the little things right (squeezes, pitchers not giveing up walks). Improved defense. Improved bench. Those things add up.

And beating that Phttht team is always great!

josh f said...

Really needed this one. Beating the Phillies is always sweet, and to do it tonight, without Zim and LaRoche, is even sweeter.

FS said...

WOW let us not forget the real hero here, that is Livan Hernandez. That guy, like someone said earlier, is an artist. I want to see Howard's strikeout now since it involved couple of curveballs. If Danny can maintain or improve his OBP over next couple of series, I say move him into two spot after Desmond, and move Werth and co down one spot in the lineup. Then Werth can really do the job he was hired for, drive in runs not be driven in by Ryan or Adam. Oh and eager to see how Werth performs against Halladay and Lee. Glad to see him knock Blanton around.

natsfan1a said...

Atta team, Nats!

Andrew said...

The Nats kept the Phillies away from the big inning. Even with a few bobbled balls and botched plays, they didn't throw the ball away. I liked during the 8th when Espi delivered the ball to Desi at 2nd a high relay that Desi ate the ball. That is progress as last year Desi would have thrown it away.

I also commend Riggleman for pulling Clippard as quick as he did. This was a must win with Halladay and Cliff Lee in the next 2 games.

Anonymous8 said...

phildunn said...
Ramos is the real deal!

April 12, 2011 8:04 PM
______________________________

You can say that again!!!!!!

Gonats said...

Richard said...
On this wet, soggy day, as we wait for the Nats, I was wondering what the Nats Insider crew thinks about F.P. Santangelo's commentary. I think whoever hired him deserves a very large medal. I've enjoyed his commentary very much and especially his perspective on hitting; it's a pro hitter's approach and thought process. Great stuff.

April 12, 2011 5:20 PM
______________________________
I am getting used to him. He is such a polar opposite to that blowhard and was hoping for someone who is a little more exciteable but humble.

So it could be better but could be a lot worse. Some would say he was a safe bet after the debacle MASN had on their hands.

Andrew said...

I TiVo'd the Postgame show. I like what Riggs had to say about pulling Clippard.

LoveDaNats said...

I'm a believer.

A DC Wonk said...

"I like what Riggs had to say about pulling Clippard."

I didn't see it -- can you summarize?

SonnyG10 said...

What a nice win... .500 baseball thru tonight anyway. Wonderful to see our backup guys playing so well.

I also have come to like FP...so glad we don't have to listen to Ray Knight as the color man. He's a fine fellow, but I like for him to stay with the pre- and post-game shows.

Doc said...

Sleep tight Nats fans---two more wins to go against the Demented Philly Nation!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I don't have to hear "HE SHOULD'VE THROWN [the pitch he did not throw]" from that meathead. When I first heard the Nats hired a man named "Frank-Paul Santangelo" I was afraid he was the wrong kind of upgrade from Dibble. But thank God.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

I'm happy.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

In small part because it is clear Bobo ain't got no.

Rob Dibble's Ghost said...

I ended up going at the last minute thanks to a customer who had extra tickets. It was a small crowd, but a good one. Lots of Phillies fans, but only saw a couple of obnoxious ones. This was a better game than I expected since our lineup featured three hitters (Stairs, Hairston, and Livo) hitting .000 coming in.

Anonymous said...

I was there tonight. It's time for you wussies sitting at home, warm in front of your TV, to come out and help the Nats win. I detest the Phillies' scum in Nats Park, but I am man enough to go to the park and cheer our team on. Are you?

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

And yet you aren't willing to keep a coherent identity...

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Not that I don't encourage the sentiment... I do.

N. Cognito said...

I almost went to the game. I chose to stay home because it looked like it was gonna be one of those cold rainy games with rain delays. I HATE those games. I figured I'd just swap my tickets for one of the unused ticket exchange dates.

MC 703 said...

Did anyone hear Philly fans boo Ramos as he went back to the screen for an out of play popup? I'm not sure what inning it was I had just gotten in the car but it was right after the inning where Morse and Ramos walked.

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