Friday, April 8, 2011

Game 7: Nats at Mets

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
It's cold and gray at Citi Field for the Mets' home opener against the Nats.
NEW YORK -- Fresh off last night's exhilarating, 11-inning win in Florida, the bleary-eyed Nationals are back in action this afternoon. It's Opening Day for the Mets at Citi Field, so we've got a rare 4 p.m. Friday afternoon start.

Jordan Zimmermann gets the nod for the Nats. I asked him after last night's game if he had given any consideration to flying in early on his own so he could get a full night's sleep. He said he much preferred to stay with his teammates, watch the game in person and get some rest on the late-night charter flight.

Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, a revelation for the Mets last season, starts the home opener. Our old friend Willie Harris is in the lineup, batting sixth and playing left field with Jason Bay still on the disabled list.

Updates to come throughout...

NATIONALS at METS
Where: Citi Field
Gametime: 4:10 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: WFED (1500 AM), WHFS (1580 AM)
Weather: Light rain, 51 degrees, Wind 8 mph in from RF
STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (2-4)
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Michael Morse
CF Rick Ankiel
2B Danny Espinosa
C Ivan Rodriguez
P Jordan Zimmermann

METS (3-3)
SS Jose Reyes
CF Angel Pagan
3B David Wright
RF Carlos Beltran
1B Ike Davis
LF Willie Harris
2B Brad Emaus
C Josh Thole
P R.A. Dickey
3:13 p.m. -- Two pregame items of note: Though Sean Burnett has been used in both of the Nationals' save situations this season, Jim Riggleman reiterated that he would still use Drew Storen in the ninth if the situation called for it. I've got a full story on that up on CSNwashington.com. Meanwhile, Riggleman said Wilson Ramos will likely start to get more playing time in the next week or two, with slumping Ivan Rodriguez (0-for-10, eight groundballs) transitioning into more of a No. 2 role. Pudge is starting today and is scheduled to start Sunday against the Mets and either Tuesday or Wednesday against the Phillies. But Ramos will get most starts against left-handers (including tomorrow against Chris Capuano and Thursday against Cliff Lee). At this point, Riggleman said he's more concerned about Rodriguez playing solid defense behind the plate than producing at the plate. "It's not an easy adjustment for Pudge to get his stroke going, for Pudge to play every other day or have two days off and play," Riggleman said. "That's a tough adjustment. What we want from Pudge is for him just to continue to catch and throw well and block balls and work with our pitching staff. We'll take the hits as they come."

4:11 p.m. -- Ian Desmond swung mightily at R.A. Dickey's first pitch and sent it to the warning track in left field, just not deep enough. Willie Harris made the catch at the base of the wall to get this game underway. Forty-two degrees here, no precipitation yet, but we could get some later.

4:15 p.m. -- Nothin' doin' for the Nats against Dickey in the first. After Desmond's flyout, Jayson Werth worked the count full and then popped out to second. Ryan Zimmerman then whiffed at a high knuckleball to end the inning. Jordan Zimmermann taking the mound now to face the top of the Mets lineup.

4:27 p.m. -- OK, the bottom of the first was interesting for a couple of reasons. One of which was the fact Zimmermann is very lucky he didn't twist his left knee up when his cleat got caught on the mound, leading to an awkward wild pitch. The right-hander battled through it, though, and got out of the inning without suffering any damage. Threw 12 of his 16 pitches for strikes. Meanwhile, elsewhere in baseball, Manny Ramirez has just retired. Seriously. According to a press release from MLB, Ramirez had some issue with the league's drug abuse and prevention program. Rather than do whatever would have been required of him (ie. serve a 100-game suspension as a two-time offender), Ramirez informed the league he's retiring instead. Wow, talk about your bombshells.

4:37 p.m. -- The Nats have taken a 2-0 lead, and they did it just as they likely drew it up: with a two-out, two-run, bases-loaded double from Jordan Zimmermann. Yeah, that's right. Even more amazing: Zimmermann's big hit came moments after Ivan Rodriguez drew a walk to load the bases. Yeah, that's right.

4:39 p.m. -- Actually, Zimmermann only got credited with a single, because he didn't attempt to advance past first as Pudge was being thrown out at third. Still...

4:45 p.m. -- Zimmermann hits, and Zimmermann pitches. What a two-way player. Just struck out the side in the second catching Brad Emaus looking at an 87 mph slider to end the inning. That's six in a row retired by Zimmermann, four of them via strikeout. Off to an impressive start here.

4:56 p.m. -- Since we're in Flushing, across the street from where the Jets used to play many years ago, I'll channel my inner Joe Namath here and say that Michael Morse is strugg-a-ling. Big-time. Just came up with two on and two out in the third and hit a weak grounder to third. Morse is now 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position this season, and overall he's 2-for-19. Not a good start to the season for the guy who couldn't make an out during spring training. Nats still lead 2-0 heading to the bottom of the third.

5:16 p.m. -- Golden opportunity for the Nats in the top of the fourth, with Ankiel on third and nobody out. And they can't get the runner home. Espinosa grounded out to second on the first pitch he saw. Pudge then rapped another grounder at second baseman Brad Emaus, who was drawn in and fired to the plate to nail Ankiel. Zimmermann did smoke a liner, but right at Willie Harris in left field. Inning over. Still 2-0.

5:27 p.m. -- The Mets are on the board. David Wright led off the fourth with a double to deep right-center, then took third on Carlos Beltran's groundout. Ike Davis sent a liner to left, deep enough to bring Wright home without a throw. Nats lead 2-1 after four.

5:40 p.m. -- Hey, Morse picked up an RBI! It took a four-pitch, bases-loaded walk to happen, but hey, he'll take it. Jose Reyes, though, saved an even bigger rally when he went far to his left to scoop up Rick Ankiel's grounder up the middle and turned a nifty 6-3 double play. Nats now lead 3-1 in the fifth.

5:53 p.m. -- Zimmermann is starting to show a few cracks in the armor. He gave up a one-out single to Josh Thole, then an RBI double to pinch-hitter Lucas Duda that just barely stayed fair down the right-field line. So the Mets have trimmed the lead back down to 3-2. On the bright side, the Nats have knocked another starting pitcher out after five innings. Dickey's pitch count was at 97, so D.J. Carrasco has come out of the bullpen to pitch the top of the sixth.

5:59 p.m. -- The march towards history continues. Pudge grounds into a 4-6-3 double play, putting him 17 shy of Cal Ripken's all-time record. He's also now 0-for-12 (with a walk) for the season. Meanwhile, Jordan Zimmermann is returning for the bottom of the sixth, his pitch count at 91. Might only face one batter (Wright) and then hand it over to Doug Slaten to turn around Carlos Beltran and face Ike Davis and Willie Harris.

6:04 p.m. -- Well, Zimmermann got Wright quickly on a 6-3, so Riggleman left him in to face Beltran, who promptly doubled to deep center. So now here comes Slaten to face Davis and Harris, with one out in the sixth and the tying run on second.

6:15 p.m. -- A couple of huge called strikeouts from Slaten and then Chad Gaudin gets the Nats out of the jam and preserves the 3-2 lead. Slaten wasn't exactly sharp against Davis, throwing his first two pitches well out of the strike zone and another off target enough that Pudge couldn't handle it, allowing Beltran to take third. But Slaten managed to slip a slider over the outside corner (at least, according to plate umpire Tony Randazzo) to get Davis. Gaudin then caught Scott Hairston looking to end the sixth.

6:33 p.m. -- Riggleman tried to avoid using Tyler Clippard or Drew Storen today after both guys threw two innings last night. But when Gaudin walked the first two batters in the seventh and then gave up a sac bunt, Riggleman had to turn to Clippard. So the rally-killer is on the mound to face Jose Reyes with runners on second and third and one out. Here we go...

6:40 p.m. -- ... and Clippard does it again. Struck out Reyes. Got Pagan to hit a weak comebacker. Stranded two more runners in scoring position. The Nats still cling to a 3-2 lead as we head to the eighth.

6:57 p.m. -- Stop the presses! Pudge got a hit! And drove in two runs in the process! With the bases loaded and one out in the eighth, Rodriguez delivered a two-run single through the right side hole. It's now 5-2.

7:01 p.m. -- Make it 6-2 after Desmond brings home another run on a groundball to short. No save situation at the moment, but Drew Storen is entering to pitch the eighth.

7:09 p.m. -- Another 1-2-3 inning from Storen, who really has pitched well the last few days. Pounding the strike zone. We go to the ninth.

7:16 p.m. -- And with a four-run lead in the ninth, your closer today is ... Todd Coffey. I imagine Sean Burnett has a ball and glove in hand and will start warming up at the first sign of trouble.

7:24 p.m. -- No need for help. Coffey gets the job done, and the Nats win 6-2. Zimmermann gets the win, improves to 1-1. Dickey takes the loss, falls to 1-1. Clutch hits from Ivan Rodriguez and ... Jordan Zimmermann. And another rally snuffed out by Tyler Clippard. Nice victory all-around for the Nationals, who are suddenly 3-4 and feeling much better about themselves than they were 24 hours ago.

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

Go Nats!





UNTERP

josh f said...

Last series Desmond got going, now Morse has to do it.

Knoxville Nat said...

And Desmond needs to keep hitting and stay away from base running mistakes.

JaneB said...

Mets get a wet opening day, too - but ten extra degrees!

Dave said...

Did Desmond have a baserunning mistake last night? I didn't see the first part of the game, only the 8th through the 11th.

Of course, it was Espinosa who got caught stealing third late in the game yesterday.

sparky said...

If we win tonight, and the Braves and Marlins lose, then we're tied for 2nd, and probably within a game and a half of a wild card spot!

Knoxville Nat said...

Dave,

I was referring to Wednesday night's game when he tried to go from second to third on a ground ball to his right and he was easily thrown out by Hanley Ramierz. Not a smart play by Desmaond at all.

JD said...

'Last series Desmond got going, now Morse has to do it'

BA is .261 OBP is .261; no walks no HBP. We need to see steady OBP in the high .300's before we agree that Desmond got going.

N. Cognito said...

Desmond also screwed up the other night when he went from 2nd to 3rd on the sac fly that scored Ramos (?). Desmond slid into third with his lead leg up in the air. His back leg is the one that touched the bag first. Even after replays, it looked to me as hewas tagged before that back leg touched the base.

Tim said...

Geeze. Some fans on here. 1 week in and we are already defeated back biting bunch. Think I might go back to WaPost.

John O'Connor said...

"'Last series Desmond got going, now Morse has to do it'

BA is .261 OBP is .261; no walks no HBP. We need to see steady OBP in the high .300's before we agree that Desmond got going."

--------

In fairness, the poster said Desmkoind got it going "Last series." Last series, Desmond's OBP was .600, which is pretty good. I do not mexpect him to maintain a .600 OBP that is all batting average though.

Anonymous said...

JD said...

'BA is .261 OBP is .261; no walks no HBP. We need to see steady OBP in the high .300's before we agree that Desmond got going.'



The guy just went 6 for 10 over the last 2 games. I would say that is getting things going just as much as everyone else was calling for his head after the first 3 games where he was 0 for 13. Both are small sample sizes and people should just stop talking about stuff like that til May 1st.

Jeeves said...

You're right Tim, but those fans are in the minority. (I think!) Desmond has been playing well defensively and yes, I believe he 'got going' offensively. Some people here have a difficult time with the half full concept.
For example, a blogger, on a previous post complained all the way through last night's game about how the Nats would lose. Of course, when they won, there was no comments from him at all.

DFL said...

Desmond needs to hit second. Espinosa first. How can I pound that into Riggs?

JaneB said...

Tim, stick around. It's not all bitterness and rage here. In fact, people are usually pretty supportive of our Nats. Really. And you don't get Mark Z at WaPo, either -- that should be reason enough to stick around here!

JD said...

DFL

Espinosa - same problem as Desmond; no walks, no HBP; just hits. If you them 1,2 there is a strong possibility that Werth will come up with 2 outs and no one on too often.

TimDz said...

Tim...Jeeves & Jane are right. There are negative comments, but they're in the minority. And having Marks insight male it worth putting up with a bit of carping from the minions. There is also less troll infestation here...

DFL said...

Who else does the Nats have as a leadoff batter for right now? Leadoff batters with On Base Percentages over .330 don't fall off trees, about as common as catchers who can run. Espinosa should get the job by default. I like the idea of three fast men ahead of Zimmerman and LaRoche.

natsfan1a said...

I second (um, fourth?) Jeeves, JaneB, and TimDz.

Rob Dibble said...

Mark -- Is there any way to stream Nats radio broadcasts on the PC?

Seems like 106.7FM and 1580AM have other programming on their internet feeds.

Gotta get my Charlie and Dave fix here at work.

Manassas Nats Fan said...

WJFK has been pathetic so far as a flagship station.

mark what is the deal with them. No Wizard game to interfere with.

Chad Dukes and Lavar aren't talking baseball what is the deal here?

Anonymous said...

You have to pay MLB.com to get streaming radio broadcasts.

Wally said...

I have to say, I am a little disappointed in some of the base running decisions lately. Several times in the last few games runners have been thrown out at third which, if it happened before the other runner scored, would have prevented a run. Pudge just did it today. Aggressive is good, but some sense of the situation needs to be there too.

sjm308 said...

Can anyone explain how I can sync the tv broadcast with Charlie & Dave? Just can't stand Bob and the radio guys are terrific. My radio broadcast comes in at least one and sometimes two pitches ahead of what I am watching and that is no fun.

Tim: hang in there with us, most fans are supportive and even the negative ones are passionate about our Nats. We have a couple that continue to harp on the same issues over & over but Mark is worth the price of admission alone.

Now for the game. They rocked Jordan in the 1st inning but all right at people. Nice to see us jump out in front but who was trying to move our catcher from 1st to 3rd on a single? if that was Porter, thats two mistakes in the last few games. I love being aggressive but we need to run the bases well the way we are struggling.

Go Nats!!!

Wally said...

Wow, Zimm looks great.

Anonymous said...

Agreed with Manassas Nats fan...JFK apparently didn't look up "flagship" before they signed up.

Anonymous said...

But he's throwing too many pitches!! His 100% arm is going to explode into a million pieces!

Rob Dibble said...

Anonymous said...
You have to pay MLB.com to get streaming radio broadcasts.

^^ Saw this. Looks like there's a blackberry app but nothing available for Android or iPhone? Hmmm

Wally said...

Ok, gotta say this. When they do a closeup of a RH batter, they show the stands behind the plate a little up the 3B line. There is a girl towards the top side of the screen (wearing a gray sweatshirt) that is a dead ringer for the girl friend from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Anyone, anyone?

rmoore446 said...

The MLB audio subscription is the way to go on radio and its a bargain. Gives you all the radio feeds and sometimes late at night I listen to West Coast games and right now I'm listening to the Mets broadcast. I like to hear it from the other side at times and I know others do as well.

Wally said...

RISP has luck to it, I know that, but all these missed chances are really getting to me.

The Ghost of Tony Plush said...

Rmoore446:

Is through a computer the only way to stream? It looks like the mobile options are limited.

Grandstander said...

It's becoming crystal clear that Pudge's bat has become a huge liability in our lineup. Riggleman saying "we'll take the hits when they come" doesn't justify why he can't get the ball in the air. He seems capable of only hitting weak infield grounders.

Anonymous said...

@Rob Dibble: There's an Android app.
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.bamnetworks.mobile.android.gameday.atbat2011.full&feature=search_result

SCNatsFan said...

I don't care how good a career Pudge has had, I don't care if he's a future HOF, I don't care how well he handles pitchers... if he can't hit the ball anywhere but on the ground - weakly - to 2B over and over then its his time to move on.

Sad part is most teams walk the 8 hitter and get to the pitcher... no need to do it 1/2 the games the Nats play.

Anonymous said...

Pudge looks pathetic at the plate. It's sad when players of his caliber hang on too long.

Grandstander said...

Why didn't they have Pudge bunt there? Everyone knew he would ground it weakly to second to set up the play. Why not just admit it and bunt?

JD said...

Better yet; give him the take sign and Espi the steal sign. Can't keep this automatic out in the lineup too much longer.

Matt said...

gIdpRod

fpcsteve said...

Nice to see Ankiel having a good day. re: Rodriguez... Manny Ramirez juts retired because he got caught cheating again (PED). Maybe Rodriguez (who has not been caught but has been suspected of using PED's) is one of the smart guys not tempting fate. Maybe this is all he has left. Maybe... Just a thought...

Grandstander said...

I'm making this a petition to hereby refer to our relief pitcher as "Gas Can Gaudin" - Why, oh why, did Riggleman leave him in?

Wally said...

Flippin' Gaudin is making me switch to the Masters

Jim Webster said...

Ah Pudge ... so sorry I doubted you.

Smatt1001 said...

And Pudge DIDN'T gidp!!

Wally said...

Ok, finally some luck. Pudge hits his obligatory GB to 2B, but Emaus playing too much up the middle, so it is a two run single. Hooray.

dj in Fl. said...

Now shut up about Pudge!
He shortened up and got the hit we needed.
He has a role, to get Ramos career going the correct way, and fill in until Flores is in playing shape.
Winning vets are needed to end this losing mindset that is all our youngsters have experinced.

Anonymous said...

At this rate, Clippard is on track to appear in 116 games...

Anonymous said...

Might want to be a little more respectful of our Hall of Fame catcher, Mark.

waddu eye no said...

speaking of dibble:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/post/stan_kasten_rob_dibbles_account_of_his_firing_fictional_and_sad/2011/04/08/AFGySm3C_blog.html?wprss=nationals-journal

love the snide attitude from both kasten and kilgore. on dibble's level.

Natsochist said...

@Grandstander, sorry...that nickname will forever be reserved for the one and only Joel Hanrahan. Or gascanrahan, as we not-so-affectionately grew to call him.

On a more positive note, very happy to see Pudge break through finally.

Mark'd said...

What is up with Bob Carpenters hair? Blonde, Gray, Brown and Black

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
You have to pay MLB.com to get streaming radio broadcasts.

^^ Saw this. Looks like there's a blackberry app but nothing available for Android or iPhone? Hmmm"

MLB At Bat app is available for iPhone. $15 for the season gets you streaming audio for every single game plus playoffs and WS.

Manassas Nats Fan said...

Anyone figure out why the Flagship station was worthless today. Listening on the computer is great when I am at home, but not in my car. I have Sirius vice XM so that doesn't help either.

Manassas Nats Fan said...

I just wrote WJFK to see what their problem is. I old them there is only 2 sports season in my book.

Baseball season, and waiting for baseball season. The other sports just take during the waiting for baseball season period.

Anonymous said...

I'm in Manassas too, and the signal on 1580 AM actually came in on my car. Which is great for days when the games aren't on 106.7, because 1500 AM is just static here.

Post a Comment