Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Game 30: Nats at Phillies

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nationals try to get back to .500 tonight at Citizens Bank Park.
PHILADELPHIA -- It's a cold, windy and rainy afternoon in Philly right now, though the skies are beginning to clear and there's not expected to be any precipitation worry for the game tonight. It will, however, be chilly, which certainly won't help the Nationals' cause as they try to get their bats hot.

Nothing too dramatic with Jim Riggleman's lineup tonight. Wilson Ramos is back in behind the plate and batting fifth. Jerry Hairston is again in center field, suggesting Rick Ankiel's right hand remains an issue. Alex Cora starts at third base tonight after Brian Bixler got the call last night.

Jason Marquis starts for the Nationals, looking to continue his early season run of success. He'll be opposed by right-hander Vance Worley, a 23-year-old rookie thrust into the Phillies' rotation after Joe Blanton went on the DL.

Updates to come throughout the evening...

NATIONALS at PHILLIES
Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), XM 185
Weather: Partly cloudy, 55 degrees, Wind 9 mph in from LF
STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (14-15)
2B Danny Espinosa
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
C Wilson Ramos
LF Michael Morse Laynce Nix
CF Jerry Hairston
3B Alex Cora
P Jason Marquis

PHILLIES (19-9)
SS Jimmy Rollins
CF Shane Victorino
3B Placido Polanco
1B Ryan Howard
RF Ben Francisco
LF Raul Ibanez
C Brian Schneider
2B Wilson Valdez
P Vance Worley
7:04 p.m. -- Last-minute lineup change: Michael Morse has been scratched, and Laynce Nix has taken over in left field. Waiting for word on what happened. The Nats already don't have Rick Ankiel due to a lingering wrist injury. If Morse is hurt, too, the Nats are dealing with a really thin bench tonight.

7:11 p.m. -- Real quick top of the first from Vance Worley, who struck out both Danny Espinosa and Jayson Werth and got Ian Desmond to ground out to short.

7:21 p.m. -- Here's your Morse update: He was scratched with right knee soreness. He is available to play tonight if needed.

7:27 p.m. -- Roy Halladay looks really sharp so far tonight. What? Oh, that's Vance Worley. My mistake. Six of one, half-dozen of the other. Two innings in, only Wilson Ramos has reached base, dropping a double just inside the right-field line. Worley has three strikeouts and has retired six of seven batters faced so far. Scoreless as we go to the bottom of the second.

7:55 p.m. -- We're still scoreless heading into the bottom of the fourth, but that doesn't mean there haven't been fireworks. In fact, Jim Riggleman was just ejected arguing balls and strikes. Adam LaRoche took a called third strike on the outside corner (looked like it was outside when it crossed the plate, then tailed back before landing in Brian Schneider's glove). LaRoche was not happy, dropping the bat and muttering to plate umpire Alfonso Marquez as he walked away. Marquez let LaRoche get away with it. He didn't let Riggleman, who took only a couple of steps out of the dugout and didn't appear to say much before he got the boot. So John McLaren will run the club the rest of the night. Meanwhile, both Worley and Marquis are cruising along.

8:12 p.m. -- Unfortunately, some sad news to pass along: Michael Jacob "Jake" Allen, stepson of Nationals senior adviser Davey Johnson, died yesterday in Orlando from infection and pneumonia. Allen, 34, had been hearing and vision impaired since birth. His mother, Susan Johnson, is Davey's wife. "Anyone who knows of Davey and Susan's limitless devotion to Jake, and the positive energy they brought to his life, cannot help but stand humbled," Mike Rizzo said in a statement released by the Nationals. "Their enormous impact on programs and services for the disabled community reflects not only their love for Jake, but also a deep sense of compassion and responsibility." In lieu of flowers, the Johnson family requests that contributions be made, in Jake's memory, to Lighthouse Central Florida in Orlando. A memorial service honoring him will take place at Florida Hospital Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Orlando Friday at 10:30 a.m.

8:26 p.m. -- This just in: Raul Ibanez OWNS the Nationals. He just crushed a solo homer off Marquis to lead off the fifth, putting the Phillies up 1-0. Ibanez is now 4-for-6 with a homer, two doubles and a single in this series. The same Ibanez who was 0 for his last 35 entering his second at-bat last night. Over the last three years, he's got the following stats: .265 average, .340 OBP, .474 slugging, .814 OPS. Over the last three years against the Nats: .349 average, .419 OBP, .692 slugging, 1.111 OPS. That's just insane.

8:32 p.m. -- Well, on the bright side, the Nats' streak of 5-inning starts has been extended to 30 games. On the not-so-bright side, Marquis gave up three runs in the fifth on the Ibanez homer, three singles and a walk. Really started to labor there. So now the Nats are facing a 3-0 deficit that looks insurmountable against Hallad... er, Worley. Sorry, I keep getting these guys confused with each other.

8:46 p.m. -- Whoa, base hit for LaRoche, snapping an 0-for-19 slump. It even went for an RBI double, scoring Espinosa. Nats now trail 3-1 in the sixth.

9:05 p.m. -- Tonight's version of "The Wheels Come Falling Off" is complete. The Nats just gave up four runs in the bottom of the sixth, all of them charged to Marquis, though three of them scored with Brian Broderick on the mound, and one of them was unearned thanks to Ian Desmond's throwing error trying to complete a double play. This one has gotten U-G-L-Y, and fast. Marquis ends up allowing nine of the last 13 batters he faced to reach safely and allows six earned runs on 10 hits in 5-plus innings. Phillies lead 7-1 after six.

9:30 p.m. -- I'd offer some more commentary here, but there's really not much left to say. It's still 7-1, heading to the bottom of the eighth. The Nats have done nothing at the plate tonight. Todd Coffey is now pitching. Sorry, that's all I've got for now.

9:49 p.m. -- Holy cow, Matt Stairs got a hit! That's the 100th pinch-hit of his career.

9:50 p.m. -- And now Danny Espinosa belts a three-run homer to make it 7-4 with two outs in the ninth ... and before I can post that, Ian Desmond grounds out to end the game. Final score: 7-4. It's the Nats' sixth straight loss at Citizens Bank Park, their 29th in their last 38 games here.

59 comments:

Wally said...

Nix has played more games in CF than any other position. I don't know how good he is there, but it must mean that he is passable. Why not give him a start against a RH?

Les in NC said...

A golden opportunity for our team to take another game from the Philthies. I hope, and pray, that our lineup can send their rookie (Worley) back down to the minors with a bad taste in his mouth!

Knoxville Nat said...

With Marquis pitching tonight the bottom of the lineup just got stronger. In fact the entire lineup just got stronger.

SonnyG10 said...

Go Marquis!!! Go Nats!!!

Nattydread said...

You have to think Rizzo is shopping around catchers. That seems to be the only hitting position we have right now. With Ramos and Pudge on the 25 man roster, and Flores and Norris in the minors, we have very good chips there. Surely we could package a catcher (anyone not named Ramos) with an AAAA pitcher for a decent top of the line-up outfielder? Now?

Right now we need someone to spark the line-up the way Morgan did two years ago. Power will not be a problem when our hitters wake up.

In the mean time --- this is a solid team. I'm not panicking yet. We haven't been blown out of games. 4-1 vs Hamels and the Philly line-up is respectable.

Marquis is hot right now. Gotta figure Werth will do better today.

JaneB said...

I agree Knoxville! I'm starting to wish Marquis could play some other position the four days he isn't pitching. Almost any other position, so we get his bat!

Frediemac said...

Please tell me that they won't be using the excuse that's it's cold that they can't hit the ball. Does anybody know why LaRoche using a bat with holes in it?

Frediemac said...

I hope the Nats don't trade Norris. I believe he's much better than Flores and potentially better than Rodriguez because of his age. Just deal Flores then Pudge before the Trade Deadline.

wally said...

Does anyone know if Strasburg has started throwing off a mound?

Mark Zuckerman said...

Wally: Not yet. Trust me, when that does happen, you'll be reading about it here and plenty of other places.

Grandstander said...

Flores has big question marks surrounding him that would limit his value in a trade. Pudge is the clearer trade target once he has time to build his value. If he can get back into his form he was in the first half of last year, he should be able to fetch us a close-to-the-majors prospect from a contender. Catching is thin around MLB we're really sitting on a goldmine.

Anonymous said...

The Hitless Wonders are doing their thing again tonight.

Andrew said...

Nice defense by IDesmond on Polanco. Nice double play!

Manassas Nats Fan said...

2 innings 3 strikeouts and 2 called third strikes again. They approach the plate like power hitters, but they are not. They need to start approaching the pate as contact hitters.

Knoxville Nat said...

"right knee soreness"

Must have hurt it when he pulled up short on the Ibanez double last night.

Andrew said...

Mark, was this mentioned anywhere that there was a scoring change on Ramos 2nd hit against Bumgarner? I see it was now changed to reached by error on Tejada in the game Sunday.

Wally said...

Thanks Mark. Just doing the math, it looks like he probably won't be coming back this year. Is there any rule of thumb to go by there?

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Wally, yes: look for him when you see him coming.
Srsly, 12-18 mos, depending.

Wally said...

Sec 3 - agreed, I was just speculating. He is about a month behind where JZimm was at this time last year, and he came back at the end of August.

No biggie, it will be what it will be. Like I said, just speculating.

bgib said...

It looks like LaRoche is praying for a walk every time up now. Whether the injury is affecting his swing or not, why in the world do they continue to bat him fourth?

Mark Zuckerman said...

Andrew said...
Mark, was this mentioned anywhere that there was a scoring change on Ramos 2nd hit against Bumgarner? I see it was now changed to reached by error on Tejada in the game Sunday.


Yes, they changed the scoring of that play right after the game ended. Thought I mentioned it here, maybe I only posted it on Twitter. Was definitely the correct call in the end.

Wally said...

Marquis off to another good start. Jonah Keri speculated on Fangraphs today that Marquis may actually have become a different pitcher (ie better) because he is throwing his change up much more than in the past. K rate way up (for him) and walks way down. Not sure why that has any effect on walks, but otherwise an interesting read.

Andrew said...

Mark, I agree that it was the right call and I am sure Bumgarner's ERA appreciated it too.

I figured you probably mentioned it somewhere. When MASN put up Ramos' Batting Average I knew they must have adjusted the at-bat and I went back to the game log.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Ball game over!

Will said...

What does it say that I switch to a different ballgame at 2-0 because it's an insurmountable lead for our offense? Ugh.

Andrew said...

Zack Greinke is pitching tonight in Atlanta and in his 1st start labored through the 1st inning giving up 1 run.

Aussie Gus said...

I reckon opposing pitchers own the Nats as well. Anyone know where I can find hitting stats for pitchers?

TimDz said...

Just saw the "Wired Wednesday" piece with Brian Bixler....riviting stuff...where's the no-doze?

phil dunn said...

Werth is beginning to look like Justin Maxwell at the plate.

CBinDC said...

Mark is the FO and those who matter really happy with the production right now. This is the worst since 2005

Anonymous said...

If the front office was concerned, they would go out and hire a real hitting coach.

Anonymous said...

Not sure half of out lineup could hit a golfball off the tee these days.

CBinDC said...

Whenever I hear them explain how this team is put together it reminds me of the guy who is selling cars below cost and when asked how do you make any money he explains in volume.

Sec3MySofa said...

No relation to JoAnne Worley, I suppose?

Does that count as a chicken joke?

Sec3MySofa said...

And the captcha was "sillies" -- the Ghost of Dave Madden inna house.

CBinDC said...

I really hoped we had removed Bowden think and talk from this organization but the start of this year has me doubting that is the case

CBinDC said...

Desmond had an error on the throw into the crowd after that explosion of an inning

Anonymous8 said...

phil dunn said...
Werth is beginning to look like Justin Maxwell at the plate.

May 4, 2011 8:44 PM
_______________________________

Now that is a low low blow!

Anonymous said...

Sad, just plain sad.

josh f said...

I just think I'm gonna barf...

Grant said...

This is one of those games where I'm done being upset and screaming at my TV and have moved straight to depression. This team really breaks my heart sometimes.

Anonymous said...

This team stinks. It was only a matter of time before the pitching regressed. Failure is now in everyone's head. Hold on for a 0-9 road trip!

Golfersal said...

Just trying to see what is reality and fact.

Is the Nationals just this bad or is the Phillies just this good?

The scary fact is that we aren't even seeing the Phillies at there best and we caught a break in the starting pictures for this serie.
After two loses (I think we wll lose the game tonight) it's up against Mr. Holiday tomorrow.

Joy

Les in NC said...

Gotta blame this one on Riggs for getting thrown out of the game for arguing balls and strikes...
And Mclaren for watching Marquis labor through the 5th then waiting too long to pull him out in the 6th. Its not like our pen has been taxed in recent days, c'mon man!

Anonymous said...

Seems as if this part of the fan base is turning a corner. That's unfortunate, but understandable. Something has to happen on this trip--if they come back 2-7 or so a lot of us are going to tune out.

PS I think Riggs getting thrown out was deliberate--trying to stir things up. Didn't work.

CBinDC said...

the fan turned ages ago .....that is why just telling to wait does not work anymore ....the fan base is tired of losing and disappointment and after tonight the DC sports fan base is not getting better it is getting worse ......almost disaster worse This is something TV crew still does not understand.

Anonymous8 said...

Lincecum went 7 innings of shut out ball tonight, and Greinke went 4 innings of 4 earned run ball tonight.

CBinDC said...

Wow Stairs gets a worthless PH hit

dryw said...

And Matt Stairs has a batting average.....

Anonymous8 said...

...and Matt Stairs stays on the roster with a Pinch Hit single. In other news, Rizzo pops the champagne!

josh f said...

Well, Espy has me feeling a little better tonight. Tomorrow night is another story...

JaneB said...

Okay, we lose, but Stairs hit AND Danny got a homer. That's something.

Now Matt can quit and we can bring up Bernie.

Gonats said...

JaneB, from your mouth to Rizzo's ear!

Les in NC said...

With 2 outfielders dinged up, I'd say Matt "Stares" is on the outs anyway, JaneB. At least I hope he is....

Golfersal said...

Boy, Nats management needs to look at these boards, the natives are getting restless

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Once again, I vote for JaneB for GM for her prescient comment:


Now Matt can quit and we can bring up Bernie.

Doc said...

JaneB for GM.......and Hmmmmm, I got it....the Anonymous Brothers for manager by committee. In time we'll figure out the hitting and pitching coaches.

Manassas Nats Fan said...

We are the fans who care that is why we are restless.

Ray Knight hit the nail on the head, and I have been preaching this for three years.

The hitting approach the teams is doing is terrible. They swing for the fences too much for a team with mediocre power. Way too many strikeouts. This is a team of contact hitters, and they play like they are 8 Ryan Howards each at bat. They should approach it as 8 Tony Gwynss. Unfortunately they they think chicks dig the long ball. I always found out growing up Chicks dig wins more.

Anonymous said...

Andrew said...
Mark, was this mentioned anywhere that there was a scoring change on Ramos 2nd hit against Bumgarner? I see it was now changed to reached by error on Tejada in the game Sunday.

Yes, they changed the scoring of that play right after the game ended. Thought I mentioned it here, maybe I only posted it on Twitter. Was definitely the correct call in the end.


It may have been the correct call, but an error should be called on the Nationals Park official scorer negating the change. He waited until several pitches into the next at bat to even call it a hit in the first place. By that time the replay had been shown on the big screen in the ballpark and presumably also in the press box, giving the scorer everything he needed to make up his mind. If he's going to take that long to make the call, he should be stuck with the call he makes. This is definitely not the first time this kind of thing has happened, either. Play happens, scorer takes forever to make the call and then a little bit later he reverses it. Ridiculous. Make a decision, dude, and have the cojones to stick with it.

And whatever happened to the concept of the home team scorer giving players the benefit of the doubt and scoring such plays as hits in their home ballpark? It's as old as baseball itself. Yet another reason DC is not a true baseball town.

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