Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Game 29: Nats at Phillies

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jayson Werth and the Nationals open a three-game series tonight in Philadelphia.
PHILADELPHIA -- There are all kinds of connections between the two teams here tonight at Citizens Bank Park. Obviously, this marks Jayson Werth's return to Philadelphia, and the right fielder is sure to be greeted with plenty of venom from the bleachers when he takes the field for the bottom of the first.

But there are other connections, such as the guys hitting seventh and eighth for the Phillies: Pete Orr at Brian Schneider. Yeah, Orr and Schneider are starting tonight for the four-time NL East champs. Schneider, of course, caught the first game in Nationals history, from Livan Hernandez, right here in this park. And, to complete today's edition of "Six Degrees of Nats and Phillies," this is the 1,000th game in Nationals history, right back where it all started. (If only Terrmel Sledge was here to really commemorate the occasion.)

Some lineup changes for the Nats against lefty Cole Hamels. Rick Ankiel is out, so Jerry Hairston starts in center field, with Brian Bixler at third base. Ian Desmond gets bumped up to the 2-hole. Ivan Rodriguez is catching.

Plenty of updates to come, and be sure to check me out on Comcast SportsNet at 5:15 p.m. live from the ballpark...

NATIONALS at PHILLIES
Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), XM 185
Weather: Chance of showers, 77 degrees, Wind 13 mph out to CF
STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (14-14)
2B Danny Espinosa
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Michael Morse
CF Jerry Hairston
C Ivan Rodriguez
3B Brian Bixler
P Livan Hernandez

PHILLIES (18-9)
SS Jimmy Rollins
CF Shane Victorino
3B Placido Polanco
1B Ryan Howard
RF Ben Francisco
LF Raul Ibanez
2B Pete Orr
C Brian Schneider
P Cole Hamels
6:00 p.m. -- Couple of quick injury updates: Ryan Zimmerman had successful surgery today to repair his torn abdominal muscle. According to Mike Rizzo, the procedure was not as complicated as Philadelphia doctor Bill Meyers thought it might be in advance. Zimmerman will remain in Philly and begin rehabbing tomorrow, then return to D.C. while the club heads to Florida. The expectation, Rizzo said, is that Zimmerman will be ready to return to the lineup in six weeks. ... Meanwhile, Rick Ankiel is not in the lineup tonight, in part because he's got a sore wrist after diving for a couple line drives last night. Ankiel, who may not have started against a lefty anyways, is available to pinch-hit and play defense late if needed.

7:00 p.m. -- First mention of Jayson Werth over the P.A. system here. Plenty of boos, though a good amount of cheers as well from the assembled masses. Werth, by the way, spoke to reporters for about 15 minutes this afternoon from the Nats' dugout. He was swarmed by dozens of Philly area newspapers, TV networks and radio stations.

7:06 p.m. -- We are underway with a strike from Cole Hamels to Danny Espinosa.

7:14 p.m. -- So Jayson Werth stepped to the plate for the first time here as a National and was greeted with a mixture of boos and cheers. He stopped to tip his cap, and the cheers then outweighed the boos, with many fans giving him a standing ovation. Then he drew a two-out walk from Hamels and the boos returned. At the end of the inning, he trotted out to right field, where most fans stood and applauded (with some still booing). Werth again tipped his cap and got more cheers. Hey, it's Philly. What did you expect?

7:19 p.m. -- 1-2-3 bottom of the first from Livan Hernandez. So we're pretty much settled in here now. At least until Werth comes up to bat again.

7:34 p.m. -- How many other pitchers in baseball can strike out Ryan Howard looking at an 84-mph fastball? Not sure I know of one other than Livo, who tossed a 1-2-3 second and has now retired all six batters he's faced so far tonight. Scoreless through two.

7:37 p.m. -- Raul Ibanez, by the way, is now 0 for his last 35. That ties Hall of Famer Joe Morgan for the longest hitless streak by a Phillies player since 1973. Wow.

7:46 p.m. -- OK, who predicted the Phillies' first baserunner tonight would be Hamels? And that he would do it with the first triple of his career? Liars. The left-hander somehow tagged a pitch from Livo to deep right-center, past a lunging attempt from Werth up against the fence, and wound up at third base. The stadium went nuts, and continued it a few minutes later when Rollins singled him home to put the Phillies up 1-0.

7:54 p.m. -- In his second at-bat of the night, Werth was robbed of a possible double down the third-base line by Polanco, who made a nice, diving stop to his right and then gunned down his old teammate. Werth did smoke that ball pretty good, perhaps a sign he's poised for a breakout at the plate. Still 1-0 Phillies as we go to the bottom of the fourth.

8:16 p.m. -- Well, you just knew Ibanez's slump would end against the Nats, and in dramatic fashion. Sure enough, he got his first hit in 36 at-bats with a blast to deep center, off the warning track. Fortunately for the Nats, the ball bounced over the fence, forcing Howard to hold at third. After a mound conference, Livo decided to intentionally walk Pete Orr and load the bases for Brian Schneider. Worked to perfection, because Schneider bounced back to the mound for a 1-2-3 double play. They needed that, because they're not doing squat at the plate against Hamels. Still 1-0 as we go to the bottom of the fifth.

8:22 p.m. -- Ivan Rodriguez, by the way, doubled to right-center in the top of the fifth, continuing his recent hot streak at the plate. Pudge has started only four of the Nats' last 10 games, but he's 6-for-14 over that span and has looked great behind the plate. Looks to me like he plays better the less he plays.

8:30 p.m. -- Boy, Livo put himself in a real jam there in the bottom of the fifth, though he wasn't helped by Werth, who bobbled Rollins' ball into the corner (it was scored a triple) and misfired to the plate on Polanco's sac fly. The Phillies wound up with the bases loaded, two out and Ibanez at the plate, and for just a moment, it looked like the Nats' streak of five-inning starts was about to end at 28. But Riggleman stuck with the veteran, and he got Ibanez to fly out on his first pitch, ending the fifth with the Nats trailing just 2-0. They're still not doing anything at the plate, though, after another 1-2-3 inning from Hamels in the top of the sixth.

8:48 p.m. -- Livan Hernandez has amazingly put 11 men on base over his last four innings, yet allowed only two runs. That bit of escape artistry has kept the Nats in the game. And Michael Morse just cut the deficit to 2-1 with a solo homer to right, only his second of the year. It's the seventh-inning stretch, and we've got a ballgame here in Philly.

9:02 p.m. -- Well, try as he might to escape all these jams, Livo just couldn't do it one more time. He allowed an RBI single to Howard with one out in the seventh, and he's now done for the night. It's 3-1 Phillies in the seventh, and Todd Coffey is sprinting in from the bullpen ... and even receiving cheers from the Philly crowd! How about that?

9:11 p.m. -- And the wheels are falling off. It's now 4-1 after neither Morse nor Hairston was able to track down Ibanez's deep fly ball to left-center. It's a double, but somebody has to catch that ball. The Morse-Hairston pairing just does not work out there.

9:37 p.m. -- The Phillies have amazingly put 19 men on base over the last six innings. Even more amazingly, they've *only* scored four runs during that span. Not suggesting the Nats are about to stage a ninth-inning rally down 4-1. Just saying this game could easily be a lot more lopsided right now. Last chance coming up.

9:41 p.m. -- That's it. Cole Hamels (4-1) goes the distance and beats the Nationals, 4-1. Livan Hernandez (3-3) takes the loss. Jayson Werth goes 0-for-3 with a walk, a ninth-inning strikeout and some shaky defense in his first game back in Philly.

52 comments:

erocks33 said...

WOW! This looks like a Spring Training type of lineup on BOTH sides ...

arcorcoran said...

I like Ramos in the 4 spot yesterday - where do you think he'll settle?

joemktg said...

Has there been any further discussion/thought regarding Nix in CF?

yankish2 said...

Is it just me or is Jason Werth suffering from the Adam Dunn disease of last year...taking so many pitches. We need Jason to swing the bat and not walk to first base.

Ramos is settling on the bench for tonight's game Arcorcoran. It's a lot of pressure on a rookie to bat him cleanup. I see him as a 5 type hitter but then we don't have a 4. So I suspect it will be cleanup by committee.

Grandstander said...

Really hoping Desmond can pull through in the 2 hole. Ramos should settle into the 5 spot behind LaRoche.

"If only Terrmel Sledge was here to really commemorate the occasion."

We could use him. Wouldn't mind seeing a couple dingers from our guys tonight at CBP. There some balls hit last night that would've been out in Philly.

Not Werth It said...

Very excited for the game tonight. I like Desmond in the 2 spot, hopefully that'll help him continue his post-baby turn around.

I also hope Werth will once again turn it on against his former team, as beating the phillies is pretty much the only way I will ever like him after enduring years of his douchebaggery as a Nats fan living in philly.

I'll be at the stadium tonight, and until Werth lives up to his contract I will finally agree with Philly fans about one thing: it's fun to boo Jayson Werth.

Sunderland said...

Feel Wood, the "cutting room floor" post from the previous thread was hilarious.

I hope we're not the team that gives up a base hit to Raúl Ibañez, 0 for his last 34, sitting at .154 for the year.

Sunderland said...

So as goofy as this sounds, if I'm Rizzo, I'm asking Danny Espinosa to go see an eye doctor....

Cwj said...

@ Not Werth- You, as a Nats fan, are going to boo Werth???

What's interesting about this team is that whatever lineup Riggs throws out there they'll score between 2-5 runs.
Pitching, Pitching, and Defense.
Go Nats!

Not Werth It said...

Yes. Yes I am. I made it to opening day at Nats Park and did the same. He has 7 years to win me over, and so far .220-something isn't getting it done.

Plus, it has the added bonus of helping to remind the world what petty, unappreciative bums philly fans are.

Such is the result of living in philly for 4 years.

Anonymous said...

Are there any more updates on Ankiel's wrist?

Cwj said...

Not Werth - Well, when you put it that way it sounds much better :)
BTW, seeing as you are in Philly, do you ever wear Nats caps or shirts to the stadium? I would love to try that but am too chicken :)

Anonymous said...

Not sure how acting like a Philly fan and turning on your own team makes things better...

Anonymous said...

Anybody have an opinion on how Espinosa pans out? To me he looks to be regressing back to .200 once again just like he did after last years hot start. I love the guy, but this is worrisome as he has so many atrocious at bats and strikeouts. I'm really wondering if he's ever going to be a consistent major league hitter. Otherwise I just can't believe we are .500 right now. Proves pitching really is everything as we don't have an everyday starter hitting over .220

Anonymous said...

@Not Werth It
Douchebaggery?
Greatest word ever

Unkyd said...

Anonymous said:

"I'm really wondering if he's ever going to be a consistent major league hitter"

Move over Desi.... After 198 AB, they're ready to throw you out with the bathwater.... "Ever" is a long time... much longer than 198 AB... I'm gonna give Danny boy a few more, before proposing any radical measures....

GO NATS!!!! KILL THE PHILLIES!!!!!

Cwj said...

Anon 6:01 - I was just referring to his line: "it has the added bonus of helping to remind the world what petty, unappreciative bums philly fans are."

Personally I would never boo a Nat unless they were obviously dogging it on the field. Gotta support the team.

Go Nats!

Jim Webster said...

cwj asks "...do you ever wear Nats caps or shirts to the stadium? I would love to try that but am too chicken :)"

It's always fun. Next to last game in 2007 we drove up and went in our Nationals shirts and caps and got thoroughly booed (even with my wife in a wheelchair). Only in Philly.

BTW I have to give some of 'em credit for class for standing ovation for Werth.

BinM said...

Livo is dodging some serious bullets to keep it at 1-0 Phils so far.

BinM said...

Home plate umpire has tightened his strike zone on both sides over the last two innings, imo.

Anonymous8 said...

8:22 p.m. -- Ivan Rodriguez, by the way, doubled to right-center in the top of the fifth, continuing his recent hot streak at the plate. Pudge has started only four of the Nats' last 10 games, but he's 6-for-14 over that span and has looked great behind the plate. Looks to me like he plays better the less he plays.
_____________________________________

"Looks to me like he plays better the less he plays."

Been talked about here a bunch of times in the comment section this year and last year.

Grandstander said...

Can't believe this is a 2-0 game right now. We need to make the Phils pay for their inability to plate runners. It was close, but the streak remains alive.

Anonymous8 said...

For the Anon last week, Top of the 6th was textbook "wheel play" turned to perfection unlike what you saw with Burnett a week ago.

Anonymous8 said...

excuse me, bottom of the 6th...

Tim said...

"Termel Sledge".... funny, Mark. That's one reason I love your writing

We could use Wilky, too.

Anonymous8 said...

By executing the wheel play, it left the double play in order. A thing of beauty run by the infielders!!!

And Michael Morse got OPPO BOPPO

Gonats said...

So Riggleman goes with Livo's plea to pitch to Ryan Howard with 1st base open and gets burned.

I thought Livo was going to give him an unintentional/intentional walk with nothing close to hit.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

It's Ryan Church aaaaallll over again.

Aussie Gus said...

Paging Doug Slaten, your bus to Syracuse is ready to depart.

dj in Fl. said...

Phillies announcers said if Morse had run a good route to the ball, it was an easy out.
We can not play winning defense with him and Harriston in the outfield at the same time.

Anonymous said...

If this is preview of the Nats road trip "firepower," this will be the "Road Trip from H~ll!" I see a Last Place future for the Nats as they come limping home from Atlanta on May 12.

dj in Fl. said...

And anonymous 9:17 you would finally be happy if they weare in last place. You thrive on the negative side on everything associated with this team and it is way past old.
Everyday is a new game that anyone one can win, which is why I look forward to each first pitch of the day. So sorry you can not see the progress we have made and enjoy it.

Grandstander said...

Anyone got a number on the GiDP we've induced this season? I feel like we've been turning multiple DPs every game.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone else here notice how often MASN commercials are cut off after the first few seconds?

During spring training, I thought it was some production problem they'd get straight.

But over and over during the regular season, I see Jim Riggleman come on and say "How many games are decided by one run?" Then it is CUT OFF and goes to some other lousy commercial.

Is anyone else seeing this?

Mark'd said...

Lucky the final score wasn't 10-1. Caps looked about as bad. Split screen TV had me seeing double trouble!

Mark'd said...

Livo and Slaten awoke the sleeping Ibanez!

JaneB said...

dj, I'm with you. THIS year, I feel like this team really could win, on any given day. Last year, it always seemed like the opposite. This team has truly gotten better. The glass is half empty is not the way to go through life, at least not for me.

Interesting suggestion for another visit to the eye doc. Why the heck not? It probably seemed dumb when (whomever) suggested Harper go, and look how that turned out.

Not werth it....just don't boo him in our house. One of the best things about Nats Stadium is that we don't diss our own guys, no matter what they get paid.

When is the next Hockey Game? It would be nice to get another win, while Mark's off cpvering those guys. Another example of Zuckerman Effect I think.

TimDz said...

I was halfway hoping for Livo to get pulled before getting thru the 5th inning, if for no other reason than to stop the drivel about the pitching staffs "quest for mediocrity..."

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Mediocrity?! We used to *dream* of mediocrity. Would have been a pennant, to us.

Cwj said...

I guess the positive in this game is that the Nats only gave up 4 runs.
Could have been much worse with all the runners the Phillies put on base.

Still sucks though.

Sec3MySofa said...

We had to sit, all 9000 of us, huddled in a 40-year-old football stadium, no September call-ups, no farm system, no owner, AND have to pay *all the other teams' owners* for the privilege; the GM had to drive a Segway in red leather pants as a condition of his probation; and when we got home, our manager would cry with shame for even having to put our players on the field!

Exposhireman said...

Psssht! C'était un vrai luxe!

We had to start the season in the middle of winter, play every game speaking in a foreign language, trade all our good players for castoffs, and the one time we actually won in spite of that, they cancelled the rest of the season just to spite us! You've got it soft!

Drew8 said...

In other news, here's your nightly Beast report:

Harper had an off night -- only two hits and one RBI.

(He's now hitting .358)

Andrew said...

San Francisco Giants scored 7 runs tonight!!!!!!!!

Doc said...

As others have commented, that high fly ball to left center by Ibanez made Morse and Hairston look like they had never played the OF before--real poor effort!

Ernie said...

@Doc: I thought it made Morse look the same way he's played the outfield for two years!

(I hope by slipping this comment in at the end of the thread I avoid the legions of Michael Morse Lovers who have been silent the past few weeks. Morseketeers, please tell us once again how if Riggleman only played this guy every day he would singlehandedly turn us into contenders! Seduce us with stories of how the professional baseball men running the team know nothing about the true talents of Michael Morse! I miss those innocent days of yesteryear!)

TimDz said...

Sec3: That's my point....we should be past that now...

Anonymous said...

"But over and over during the regular season, I see Jim Riggleman come on and say "How many games are decided by one run?" Then it is CUT OFF and goes to some other lousy commercial.

Is anyone else seeing this?"

Yes, it happens on the Cox Cable MASN feed in Fairfax County. But it is almost surely a cable issue, not a MASN issue. MASN provides a feed to the cable companies that includes some commercials that MASN sells (like hhGregg, Luna floors, etc) and in other breaks where MASN hasn't sold the commercial time they insert the MASN commercials with Riggleman. The local cable companies can sell that time themselves and play their own commercials there, which is what they're doing. They're just slow off the mark in switching over.

This is actually an improvement over a few years ago when it seemed like every time the game was on MASN2 Cox Cable would be so slow in switching over to its local commercials that they would end up bleeding over and blocking the game coverage when it started back up.

Feel Wood said...

"Personally I would never boo a Nat unless they were obviously dogging it on the field."

Speaking of which, Felipe Lopez just got DFA'd by the Rays.

natsfan1a said...

Also on Verizon.

Anonymous said...

"But over and over during the regular season, I see Jim Riggleman come on and say "How many games are decided by one run?" Then it is CUT OFF and goes to some other lousy commercial.

Is anyone else seeing this?"

Yes, it happens on the Cox Cable MASN feed in Fairfax County. But it is almost surely a cable issue, not a MASN issue.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

*sigh.*
There will be a stack of senses of humor by the door on your way out--please pick one up as you go.

natsfan1a said...

sec3, I do recall how at the concession stands, we never used to get a cup. We used to have to drink out of a rolled up newspaper...

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