Sunday, April 10, 2011

Game 9: Nats at Mets

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jason Marquis faces Chris Young in today's series finale at Citi Field.
NEW YORK -- The Nationals would love to win today's game against the Mets and earn their first series victory of the young season. They'll have to do it, though, without the Face of the Franchise.

Ryan Zimmerman is not in today's lineup. Not sure yet whether he's just getting a day off, or whether he might have injured himself sliding headfirst into second base last night. Zimmerman appeared to jam his left hand when he advanced in the top of the third inning. He was briefly looked at by a trainer but stayed in the game and actually picked up another hit two innings later.

With Zim sidelined, Jayson Werth gets bumped down to the No. 3 slot for the first time this season. Rick Ankiel bumps up to the 2-hole, and Danny Espinosa (who homered last night) hits sixth.

Jason Marquis gets the start against New York's Chris Young. Plenty of updates to come...

NATIONALS at METS
Where: Citi Field
Gametime: 1:10 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM)
Weather: Cloudy, 51 degrees, Wind 8 mph out to LF
STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (3-5)
SS Ian Desmond
CF Rick Ankiel
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Michael Morse
2B Danny Espinosa
C Ivan Rodriguez
3B Alex Cora
P Jason Marquis

METS (4-4)
SS Jose Reyes
LF Willie Harris
3B David Wright
1B Ike Davis
CF Angel Pagan
RF Lucas Duda
2B Brad Emaus
C Josh Thole
P Chris Young
12:07 p.m. -- Your Ryan Zimmerman update: He did indeed hurt himself sliding into second base last night, though it's not his hand. It's actually his abdominal muscle, the same one Zimmerman hurt early in spring training. Apparently, that strain never fully healed and Zim had been playing with a bit of discomfort. He then re-aggravated it last night. The plan, according to Mike Rizzo, is for Zimmerman to rest today and tomorrow (an off-day) and then re-evaluate the situation before Tuesday's game against the Phillies.

1:11 p.m. -- We're underway on a gray, 54-degree afternoon in Queens. Nats again wearing their red jerseys on the road. I may have to keep track of this: I wouldn't be surprised if they end up wearing these jerseys more than any other this season.

1:33 p.m. -- Didn't take long for the Mets to jump on the board. Jose Reyes beat out a well-placed bunt to start the bottom of the first, then took second when Willie Harris struck out but Ivan Rodriguez couldn't handle the pitch. David Wright followed with an RBI single to center, then Ike Davis beat out a little dribbler and Angel Pagan roped another RBI single to center. Just like that, the Nats are down 2-0.

1:45 p.m. -- The Nats got one back in the top of the second, though it took some finagling to make it happen. With two on, one out and Pudge at the plate, Jim Riggleman had Adam LaRoche and Michael Morse double-steal. It was an unconventional move, but it worked, because it put runners on second and third and took the double play out of the mix. So when Pudge rapped a grounder to second, what normally would have been an inning-ending double play instead was merely an RBI groundout. Mets now lead 2-1 in the middle of the second.

1:57 p.m. -- The Nats have made about three really impressive defensive plays so far and haven't gotten anything to show for it. They keep making throws to first base that are just a split-second late, at least according to umpire Larry Vanover. Jose Reyes sure looked out on Alex Cora's sidearm throw with two outs in the second, and Jason Marquis certainly reacted like he was. Vanover thought otherwise. No harm, though, because Marquis struck out Harris for the second time in as many innings. Still 2-1 headed to the third.

2:12 p.m. -- After a shaky first inning, Marquis has settled in. He's retired eight of nine, and the only man to reach was Reyes on that infield single (when Cora's throw may have beaten him). Nats need to get something going offensive to support the right-hander. It'll be Werth, LaRoche and Morse at the plate in the top of the fourth.

3:02 p.m. -- Sorry for the lack of updates. Was in the stands for a few innings visiting with my best friend from childhood, who lives here now and is a Mets partial-season ticket holder. We're in the bottom of the sixth now, the Mets leading 3-1 and the Nats having done nothing at the plate against Chris Young. Young has retired 15 of the last 16 batters to come to the plate, with only Espinosa drawing a walk in the fifth. Marquis has not pitched poorly, and in fact he just became the first Nats starter to surpass the 100-pitch mark this season. But it's not going to count for much if his teammates can't string together soon hits, and soon.

3:10 p.m. -- When did Jason Marquis turn into Stephen Strasburg? He's got nine strikeouts in six innings. That's only the third time in 246 career starts he's recorded nine K's. Pretty impressive.

3:23 p.m. -- Chad Gaudin has gotten into the strikeout act as well. Got both Harris and Wright in the bottom of the seventh. Can't really complain about Nats pitching today. The lineup has simply been overwhelmed by Chris Young. ... But wait, what's this? Young is done. D.J. Carrasco has entered from the bullpen to pitch the eighth. Bottom of the order due up. This might be the Nats' chance.

3:27 p.m. -- For those wondering, I don't believe Ryan Zimmerman is available to pinch-hit today. Didn't get the sense the Nats want to take any chance with his abdominal.

3:35 p.m. -- How about that, the Nats have tied the game. Pudge led off the eighth with a double to right-center, Matt Stairs drew a walk to put two on with one out for Ian Desmond, who blooped an RBI single to center. Desmond then stole second without a throw, and with the infield back, Rick Ankiel delivered an RBI grounder to second. Just like that, we're tied 3-3, and the go-ahead run is on third with Jayson Werth at the plate.

3:48 p.m. -- Just a terrible at-bat from Morse with the bases loaded and two out. Taylor Buchholz had just walked both Werth and LaRoche, and Morse went and swung at three straight curveballs, two of them out of the strike zone. Killer K right there, leaving the game tied as we go to the bottom of the eighth.

3:58 p.m. -- Another 1-2-3 inning of relief from Tyler Clippard, who has now allowed only three hits in 7 2/3 innings of work this season, striking out nine. The pitching staff has done its job today, putting the Nats in position to win. Can the lineup find a way to squeeze out one more run and leave town with a victory?

4:12 p.m. -- Nope, at least not in the top of the ninth. Despite a leadoff walk from Espinosa, the Nats couldn't drive him in. Pudge sacrificed him to second, but Nix struck out looking at a 2-2 fastball at the knees and Hairston flied out to right. We go to the bottom of the ninth, still 3-3, Clippard still on the mound.

4:22 p.m. -- And for the third time on this six-game road trip, the Nats are going to extra innings. Not one of these games has been completed in less than 3 hours and 11 minutes. It's like a Yankees-Red Sox game on Fox!

4:30 p.m. -- The Nats and Mets have now combined to produce a total of four hits over the last eight innings. Four hits! We go to the bottom of the 10th...

4:41 p.m. -- The Mets almost broke through in the 10th. Jose Reyes led off with a single against Drew Storen. Then with one out and David Wright at the plate, Reyes took off. When Wright grounded to third, Reyes kept going and advanced to third without a throw. I don't know if he did that specifically knowing about Adam LaRoche's injured shoulder, but I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case. Either way, brilliant hustle play by Reyes, putting the winning run on third with two outs. But Storen calmly issued an intentional walk to Ike Davis and then got Angel Pagan to ground out to LaRoche. No harm done. We go to the 11th.

4:50 p.m. -- Well this just got really interesting. Not only did the Nats just take a 4-3 lead, they did so on an RBI single by Ivan Rodriguez to score Wilson Ramos, who had to pinch-run for Adam LaRoche, who had to come out of the game after sliding into second base. There's a lot to digest there, and we'll have to see what exactly happened to LaRoche. But for the moment, the key here is that Pudge is going to have to play first base up a run in the bottom of the 11th, with Ramos taking over at catcher. Wow.

4:53 p.m. -- Um, that may not be as much of an issue anymore after Laynce Nix just CRUSHED a ball into the Mets' bullpen. Three-run bomb makes it 7-3 Nats. It's not even going to be a save situation for Sean Burnett anymore.

5:04 p.m. -- Ballgame. Nats win a wild one, 7-3 in 11 innings. They win the series and they head home with a 4-5 record (not to mention injured No. 3 and No. 4 hitters).

77 comments:

Feel Wood said...

If Zimmerman is out of the lineup for any reason, then Ramos should ALWAYS be in. A 7-8-9 of Pudge, Cora and the pitcher is the same as conceding the game. Actually, today with Marquis the pitcher is the best hitter of those three.

carolync said...

Another blow to this fragile line-up. WaPo is reporting that Zimmerman's hand is injured. I hated the Alberto Gonzalez trade when it happened and it's looking worse all the time.

I'm having a hard time keeping any realistic optimism about our Nats. I'm afraid this series is a preview of a heated race between these two teams to see who winds up in the cellar.

Hope they surprise me.

raymitten said...

Ladson says Zim has an abdominal strain. Probably aggravated the spring training injury with the slide into second last night.

Agree that Ramos HAS to be in the lineup. Pudge is becoming a double play machine.

On the upside Willie Harris is playing for the Mets, so they've got one hand tied behind their back before they even begin.

DCJohn said...

This is the most important week of the young season. The Nats are 3-5 today. What will the record be by the end of next Sunday. Mets today, Phillies and then the Brewers with our old pal Nyjer Morgan taunting us from right field. Impossible would be 9-5, Delerious would be 8-6; Very pleased would 7-7, Grateful would be 6-8, Dispondent would be 4-9, and blow up the team and start all over again would be 3-10. I am sure Rizzo is lighting candels and saying Hail Marys that the Nats can get through this week in reasonable shape. It's time for the veterans to suck it up and prove that they still belong in the game.

Bill B said...

raymitten: Not only is Willie Harris in the lineup for the Mets, but he's batting second! This is very good news for the Nats. (I like Willie's persona, but he just can't hit major league pitching with any consistency.)

BallstonNat said...

When is the end of the 10 day alternating day experiment? Aren't we near enough for common sense needs to prevail with Zimmerman out of the lineup? Also, with Marquis on the mound Pudge's game management abilities aren't needed as much as with a younger pitcher on the mound.

Let Pudge catch J. Zimm to help him grow, and throw him a few games here and there. Wilson can handle the rest.

Big game today, and Riggs is trotting out a lineup that doesn't give optimal opportunity to win. Hopefully the Mets will try harder to find a way to lose than the Nats.

Grandstander said...

I'm just going to leave this here.

Pudge - 13 ABs, 1 H

Cora - 6 ABs, 1 H

Marquis - 2 ABs, 1 H

Why not go ahead and get all LaRussian and go Cora, Marquis, Pudge?

Doc said...

RE: Pudge in lineup. If Riggleman hasn't figured out how to win, after being fired in Chicago, San Diego, and Seattle, he won't in Washington.

Anonymous said...

While we're talking about batting averages, let's talk about Morse. Batting cleanup with a BA of .130. Wow!

Anonymous said...

Wille Harris - .316 BA at the start of the day.

Natsochist said...

Anon @104p - Shoulda seen the scoreboard last night. Before Morse got his late-game hit, he was batting cleanup and hitting .091!

By the way, if anyone watched last night's disaster on MASN, I'm told I made the broadcast - the Nats fan showing off the Curly W shirt in the montage before the 7th inning.

Anonymous said...

The Alberto Gonzalez trade was just another dumb move by Rizzo. Once Rizzo turns on a player because of a voiced displeasure, there's no redemption or forgiveness.

Anonymous said...

Jason Worth-less. You have to admire him though; he fleeced the Lerners out of $125 million. Nobody else can make that claim.

dj in Fl. said...

MLB extra innings has given us the NY tv all weekend, they think everyone in Fl. comes from NY.
Anyway, they showed Riggleman with his arm on Marquis shoulder talking to him after the 1st inning. Marqis looked very upset, starring at the wall initially but slowly developing a look that he knew things were going to be ok. The talked sure worked.
The announcers also called Reyes out and then showed every angle to prove their point.

FS said...

Espinosa seems suited to bat in either Mets or Rays lineup. He strikes out at a scary pace. He should have drove in one run at least in the second inning. Similarly, I am not too eager to evaluate a pitcher's performance against either the Mets or Rays lineup. Either lineup have potential to get no-hit one day and score more than ten runs the next day. But Marquis has recovered nicely from that first inning. Also let us not forget how last year our starters would explode in one or two innings. I am glad that has not happened yet. Then again we will face tougher lineups in the next two series.

Jeeves said...

The negative comments are now bordering on the absurd. Espinosa is batting over 300, is over 500 in slugging, and has a 370 on base average and FS is complaining that he strikes out at a scary pace. Geeze! I think he might also be leading the team in RBI's.

phil dunn said...

The problem this year is absolutely no offense and shabby middle inning relief pitching. This looks like another long, painful season.

jd said...

What's with the umps today?. Duda was way out and called safe.

dj in Fl. said...

Another bad call....Per the Mets crew.
Duda was out! His leg was in the air when the tag was applied. Of course this ump had the keyhole strike zone Friday.
We better start making our own breaks, the umps are not going to help us.

Grandstander said...

This is probably just confirmation bias, but does anyone else feel we seem to have an abundance of blown calls going in favor of the Mets every season? I feel like every series against them has a ton of BLOWN calls. Not just close stuff going to them, but straight up obvious shit too. I can't believe how bad some of these calls have been.

Cwj said...

@ Jeeves - Yeah the negative comments 9 games in to a 162 game season are beyond absurd.
Lighten up guys. Sheesh.

Go Nats!

Cwj said...

@Grandstander - Oh yes. The umps almost seem biased against the Nats this series.
Just now a ball was called for strike 3...frustrating, but there's absolutely nothing the team can do about it.
These umps are terrible.

Anonymous said...

That pitch to Espi wasn't even close to being a strike...wtf is up with MLB umpires? The last 3 years they have been declining rapidly into some of the most inconsistent pro officials.

BallstonNat said...

Well, we will get to see if Riggs wants to attempt to win, or keep his HOF catcher happy. Pudge's position leads off. Would be a nice time to ph Ramos to try and jump-start the offense.

phil dunn said...

This past off season, Rizzo could have signed Chris Young on the cheap but he opted to instead gamble on another season of no production from Wang.

Matt said...

It looks like Gaudin is having some series control problems. He's not walking anyone (this time) but he hasn't thrown a pitch yet where Pudge was set up for it.

Cwj said...

Carpenter and FP are all over the umps.
At least we aren't alone in this.
@Anon 3:18 - yeah seriously. I've noticed this trend as well. Something has to be done.
Are umpires ever suspended by MLB? If not, they should be.

jd said...

Mark,

Is Zim available to pinch hit?

Manassas Nats Fan said...

The reason for the negative comments is quite simple. The problems the team has had pretty much for 5 seasons are the same problems we have seen in the first 9 games. Nothing has changed. Faces change, but same problems occur, and people would like a change for a change.

As Dr. Phil says best predictor of future events is to look at past events.

People want to positive, but hard to get that way the way the team plays.

I always assume the team is going to win until they lose the game. Then I get bitterly disappointed (more so I am afraid then the team is as I ponder why things are not improving.)

dj in Fl. said...

I was hopeful when they put the umps under Joe Torre's office they might show a bit more consistency across the board. Wrong !
At least the home plate ump just gave us,Gaudin the same pitch as a strike.

Cwj said...

Mark Z. - Just a random question. Given what happened at Dodger stadium on opening day (the assault), I was wondering if you have ever noticed that type of scary activity at any of the games/ballparks you've attended.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Cwj: While I've certainly seen some boorish behavior and a few violent acts by fans, I've never seen anything close to what apparently happened at Dodger Stadium. Not sure anyone has ever seen something that ghastly at a ballpark before.

Cwj said...

@Manassas - I disagree. Something different this year is how well the starting pitching has been. Wouldn't you agree?

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

I just tuned in, but it doesn't look like either Duda or Pagan was going very hard after the two hits in the 8th inning here.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

or have I just become accustomed to outfielders breaking the wrong way, and then running like hell?

dj in Fl. said...

@sec 3
I would think that the outfielders were in the same trance they have been able to be in all game. We had not given them a challenge today. Maybe you should have tuned in earlier.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Great Maker, what a terrible at-bat from Morse. He looks lost right now.

Jim Webster said...

What may be Bob Carpenter's best, if most understated, line of the season (in the bottom of the 7th): "The umpiring has been very suspect this weekend."

BTW where are all you Mikey Morse clamorers these days? (top of the 8th).

josh f said...

I like the guy, but Morse has to be dropped in the lineup. Hard to do that, though, when Zim and Ramos aren't playing.

Manassas Nats Fan said...

CWJ it is better to a point yes I agree. My concern for the most part is the hitting and fielding.

RISP last year stunk and is worse this year. They have scored 3 run despite going 1 for 7 RISP.

Also a perfect example of very poor coaching 2 consecutive walks, and Morse swings at a ball not near the strike zone on the first pitch, and strikes out on the same pitch 2 pitches later. Coaches remind you all the time not to swing after to bases on balls in a row. They do from Little League to major leagues. So obviously Eckstein if he is coaching it is not respected enough by his players to be listened to. Either way, it same problem as last year as team.

jd said...

Morse just needs to relax. He is really pressing.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

"Pressing" hardly does it justice.

www.textile-machine-manufacturer.com/machines%20new/kms-280.jpg

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

And Nix is guessing.
Guessing and pressing.

Not a good idea.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Carpenter: "...and the Nats cannot *buy* a two-out hit."

They aren't putting many one-out hits on layaway, even.

Manassas Nats Fan said...

RISP now 1 for 9.

rmoore446 said...

Morse is pressing but Werth seems to be pressing even more. Our starting pitching this year has been much improved but some key hitters have yet to come around. It is early but I did hope for a decent start this year.

Grandstander said...

The only thing keeping us in this game is the Mets are just as ineffective with RiSP. And man, I like Willie Harris, but I'm very happy he's no longer on this team.

Joe Seamhead said...

Wow! Way to go, Drew!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Feel Wood....I have to call you out on your Chris Young comment. Rizzo had a slightly better offer on the table and Young decided to take Alderson's offer instead.

The Mets pretty much guaranteed Young the 5th spot while we only offered to give him a shot at it.

Steady Eddie said...

Pudge! Nix!!!!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Sorry Feel Wood.....should be calling out Phil Dunn......

And let's figure out who to rip so they can lead us to wins like Pudge and Lance Nix.

Jim Webster said...

"Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
-- Ivan Rodriguez (or was it Dylan Thomas?)

Matt said...

Met announcers say the Nats struck out 17. Although 4 of those were Willie Harris...

lucretius said...

now where is everyone who was ripping riggleman for playing pudge today?2 for 4, 2 RBI.. maybe riggs knows a thing or two, like you don't panic if your HOF catcher starts off a season 1 for 10

JD said...

lucretius,

calm down. The winning hit was a ground ball slightly to the left of the 2nd baseman where anyone other than Daniel Murphy has a shot for a double play. I love that we won but let's relax with the HOF comments because we all know that pudge is not that anymore.

We won a game with 0 contribution for Werth, Zim and very little from Morse; that actually bodes well because all of them will produce. I am concerned about LaRoche because I am not sure were we go for plan B.

Cwj said...

Awesome win!
Wow, the bullpen is red hot.
Marquis is really pitching well.

,What's kinda cool is that this bullpen could be even better, if any of the lesser guys struggle there are some good arms in the minors or DL
Clippard, Storen and Burnett absolutely dominate the late innings, so there's really no worry about who is actually the closer. All three of them are the "closer".

Just a few of my thoughts :)

lucretius said...

jd, pudge's single was a hard hit ball, it was totally legit, so was his double. listen, i know pudge isn't what he was but i get tired of people on this blog ripping riggleman for every decision he makes.

NatsJack in Florida said...

lucretius.....Riggleman was pretty much a genius all day today. From running LaRoche and Morse early to avoid a double play opportunity for the Mets, to using J. Zimm to lay down the sac bunt to running Ramos (he runs great for a cather) and inserting Nix.

But the haters won't give him credit. Not today....not ever.

Rabbit said...

There is only one reason the Nats won today....current baseball mentality. Young was pitching a teriffic one hit game through seven innings. Then baseball mentality took over. 'Let's not allow him to "hurt" his arm. We don't want him to get too tired. Even though he is eraning millions a year let's take him out and give other pitchers a chance to lose the game'. Well, it worked. The Mets lost and I'm happy for that. We were handed a game due to baseball mentality. GO NATS!! Unfortunately we are going to give up lots of games just like that.

JD said...

lucretius,

When you say that the Pudge's double was legit you are absolutely right; it landed in right center and no one caught it.

Nats Jack,

I am not a hater; I defended Riggllman throughout last year and you are right the moves you mention were very good (other than the Ramos pinch run as he was the last remaining non pitcher left).

My criticisms of him are that he takes his starters out too soon (this was not the case today where Marquis was taken out when he was begining to lose his command) and that he over manages.

My last point is that you should not judge moves based on results alone and this is exactly what people do; you can make a great move and have it blow up in your face and you can make a dumb move and have it work.

Manassas Nats Fan said...

A win is a win. Team stayed tough, and the Nets bullpen which has been weak most of the season, didn't do the job. I had this team winning 76 at the beginning, and will stay there as the clutch hitting is to inconsistent to be much better. If it improves than they can win more.

Anonymous said...

Been around BB since the 1940s--can't understand some of the negative comments. You have a brand new team--after the game Nix on MLB said they are still getting to know each other. Considering that hardly anybody playing regularly was around last year, they are putting it together pretty fast, it seems. Many bright spots--everyone on the team can be expected to produce.
PS Watched Nyjer strike out with the bases loaded last night.

JayB said...

Njack,

He had a good day....I like the running game and the small ball....I remember being at a ST lunch and having Acta belittle a fan question about playing small ball......Riggs pull all the right strings today....My view is he is still a losing manager from way back. He has no fire and as the vets get traded this summer, Porter is a much better choice to hold the younger guys accountable.....we shall see....oh and like I have been saying for over 3 months now.....this team will win more than they lose this year....because of talent and fundamentals....I have never seen so many good bunts from Nationals in a whole season as we have seen this week.

SonnyG10 said...

Wow, what a great comeback victory today. Its nice to see different guys contributing to a win so we don't have to depend only on Zimmerman and Werth to provide all the offense. As for Riggleman, I have no problems with his management style. He did great today and I think for the most part he has done well given the talent he has had to work with.

Go Nats!!!

FS said...

@ Jeeves, I agree my analysis of Danny was a little premature and negative but he does seem to strikeout whenever I follow his at bats. Maybe I should stop watching him hit, because otherwise he is getting on base at a good rate and might as well push Desmond to #2 spot (if either Ryan, Adam or both start missing games). He just needs to prove himself on the basepaths.

Anyways, I will take a win in any form against Mets. I still think we are better than the Mets and should finish so in the standings at the end of the season too. CBS are really doing their job as relievers. If only Broderick could perform like he showed he could in ST, we would not need to worry about bullpen. It is also good to see our starters six and more innings. It is the hitters that really need to start producing.

TimDz said...

Regarding Chris Young....if he pitched at Nationals Park today, Morse would have hit a home run instead of a warning track shot...
The fact that Citi Field is a HUGE pitchers park may have been the reason why Young chose to sign with the Mets...
That field helped him look like Cy Young today...

fpcsteve said...

Great veteran leadership today from Rodriguez and Nix. Good results. Good to have different guys contributing. When the hitting comes around, this might be a lot of fun.

Grandstander said...

@ JayB - Great point on the bunting. That was one of the most excruciatingly frustrating things the past few season and I can't recall a flawed bunt so far this season. Watching JZimm come into the game today and just dropping that perfect bunt was my personal highlight of the day.

Knoxville Nat said...

JayB,

Why is it so important for Riggleman to have or to show "fire"? Did Walter Alston ever show any "fire" when he managed the Dodgers all those years? Did you consider Joe Torre as a manager who demonstrated a lot of "fire"?

If this team wins as many games as you seem to think they are capable (I believe you have thrown oit 81 or 82 wins this year), why in heaven's name do you want to get rid of the manager who would have taken them from 59 wins to 81 or 82 in just 2 years? You make no sense to me.

Knoxville Nat said...

uh, that should have read "...thrown OUT 81 or 82 win"

Grey Goose got me!

Grandstander said...

For others who may appreciate Schadenfreude, Aaron Heilman, I mean Blaine Boyer was just DFA'd to bring up Izzy. Glad he gave us a win before he left!

A DC Wonk said...

Knoxville Nat wrote:

"Why is it so important for Riggleman to have or to show "fire"? Did Walter Alston ever show any "fire" when he managed the Dodgers all those years? Did you consider Joe Torre as a manager who demonstrated a lot of "fire"?"

Good point -- thanks for making it. There's more than one way to motivate players. That goes for baseball (see above), for basketball (compare, say, Dean Smith and Coach K vs Bobby Knight), for football (Parcells vs Tony Dungy), etc etc. We don't know the personalities of the players, we don't know what goes on in the locker room, or behind closed doors. Looking like you're about to burst a blood vessel is not the only way to motivate players and/or hold them accountable.

sjm308 said...

Glad to see others come to Riggs defense. I see an intense manager who backs his players both on the field and in the press. Like DC Wonk says, we have no idea what is going on in the locker room but the early quotes from players seems like this team likes each other and is getting closer each day. Pudge also gets crushed here and yet he is constantly upbeat and positive and helps in little ways that we will never know.
I also question what JayB means by "fire"? What do you want us to see, a pep talk every inning? Lots of hand clapping? I am not a psychologist but there are times the camera is on Riggs and I see lots of fire in his eyes. bottom line is people on this blog need a whipping boy and replacing Millege, Morgan, Guzman etc is a Hall of Fame Catcher and a veteran manager. Go figure.
We are 4-5, pitching has been better than hoped for and while we now have some serious injuries to deal with and some poor hitting we are going into a key series with the first place team in our division with our heads up. I love it.

Go Nats!!

JayB said...

To me "Fire" is a passion to win every game you play. "Fire" is doing everything you can every game to win. That means putting the best line up on the field and using the best players. Riggs manages like a little league manager who worries about vet feelings and making sure everyone is happy with their playing time. Sitting your starting infield on the 4th game so your vets feel good is stupid. Riggs is a find AAA manager but their is a good reason why he has always lost, has the highest losing % in baseball (Acta is there too with less games) and works so cheap....no other team wanted him or will want him.....sorry but that is the way it is.

natsfan1a said...

Catching up with comments after the fact, interesting to see many of my own in-the-moment reactions to the game were voiced here already. Agree with JayB and Grandstander re. the improved bunting, which I'd been commenting on to my husband. Also agree re. the Morse at-bat with the bases loaded. Not a good one (which I said to my tv set at the time, um, in a slightly different manner). Generally speaking, hope that they'll improve on hitting with RISP. Nice to see another win in extra innings. Seems to me that we've lost those more often than won in years past.

Knoxville Nat said...

Sitting Desmond in game four when he was what, 0 for 16 or something like that is stupid? Keeping your bench sharp after most of them had not had a plate appearance in over a week is stupid? I suppose if he were to bench Michael Morse and his sub .200 batting avearge right now against Halladay or Oswalt you would probably say that was stupid as well. With two off days in the first week of the season I have no trouble with this move.

As for "fire" representing "a passion to win every game you play", all I can say to you sir is Jim Riggleman wants to win as much as anyone I've ever met. And as for your comment about Riggleman's losing record do a little homework and research and check out the rosters of those clubs he has managed in the past. Check out just how bad the talent was in San Diego where he inherited a last place team with a losing culture and an owner who was determined to trade away all of his established veterans (Tony Gwynn being the exception)for prospects. Check out how he managed to get the Cubs into the playoffs and also had another season with a winning record. Check out how many injuries he had to work around with his front line players, especially pitchers in his five years in Chicago. Check out how Mark Grace and Shawon Dunston both to this day claim Riggleman was the best manager they ever played for. Check out how he took over a last place dysfunctional Seattle Mariners team in mid season only to lead them to a better record in the half season he had them, a record that allowed the Mariners to post a better won/loss record than the 2008 Nationals thereby giving the Nats the first pick to draft Strasburg in 2009.

Yes JayB Riggleman's record doesn't look good on the surface, but dig beneath and find out just what he has done with the limited resources he has ben given to work with. If the Nationals should somehow find themselves at .500 at the end of the season, Riggleman deserves serious consideration for manager of the year.

JayB said...
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