Thursday, May 5, 2011

Game 31: Nats at Phillies

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
To avoid a sweep at Citizens Bank Park, the Nats will need to beat Roy Halladay.
PHILADELPHIA -- We've discussed here before the idea of the "reverse lock," the match-up that looks so lopsided toward one side that it practically ensures the opposite side will triumph. Think Levale Speigner vs. Johan Santana.

Well, tonight's match-up at Citizens Bank Park is so lopsided, it appears to even defy the reverse lock theory. Roy Halladay (4-0, 0.84 ERA in four starts vs. Nats last two years) vs. John Lannan (0-9, 5.80 ERA in 12 career starts vs. Phillies). In Philadelphia, where the Nationals have lost six straight and 29 of 38. With a lineup missing Ryan Zimmerman and perhaps others due to injury. (Neither Michael Morse nor Rick Ankiel is starting, we'll find out soon why.)

But they do play these games for a reason, and stranger things have happened. Probably. OK, maybe not.

Updates to come...

NATIONALS at PHILLIES
Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 185
Weather: Clear, 62 degrees, Wind 12 mph LF to RF
STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (14-16)
2B Danny Epsinosa
3B Alex Cora
RF Jayson Werth
LF Laynce Nix
1B Adam LaRoche
C Wilson Ramos
CF Jerry Hairston
SS Ian Desmond
P John Lannan

PHILLIES (20-9)
SS Jimmy Rollins
CF Shane Victorino
3B Placido Polanco
1B Ryan Howard
RF John Mayberry Jr.
LF Raul Ibanez
2B Wilson Valdez
C Dane Sardinha
P Roy Halladay
5:43 p.m. -- Pregame news: Both Rick Ankiel (wrist) and Michael Morse (knee) are still nursing injuries. Ankiel's appears to be more serious. He had an X-ray today, which came back negative, according to Jim Riggleman. The manager said Ankiel is likely to need another day or two off. Morse is not in the lineup tonight, but Riggleman did say he should be available to pinch-hit if needed. ... Meanwhile, Riggleman and Rick Eckstein held an afternoon meeting with all of the Nats' position players. "We really just wanted to get all of our hitters together with Rick and myself and let them know the the confidence level we have in them," Riggleman said. "Just keep pushing, doing all the little things we do: defensively, running the bases and all that kind of stuff. Let's get it going offensively, but in the meantime, let's go win a ballgame, regardless whether it's 2-1 or 10-9. We've just got to try to keep doing the little things that help us win ballgames. I'm very proud of the way our players have done that through some struggles offensively. They've really played hard and played efficient baseball. We've just got to continue to do that."

6:08 p.m. -- And in other pregame news: Jim Riggleman has been selected as a coach for this summer's All-Star Game by NL manager Bruce Bochy, according to two sources familiar with the decision.

7:07 p.m. -- We are underway with a strike from Roy Halladay to Danny Espinosa.

7:15 p.m. -- The good news: The Nationals won't be no-hit tonight. Alex Cora singled sharply to center with one out in the top of the first. And he stole second, giving the heart of a lineup a golden opportunity wit a man in scoring position. The bad news: Jayson Werth and Laynce Nix each struck out, Werth looking at a 2-2 fastball right over the plate. You just can't take that pitch, no way. Nix swung at a 2-2 breaking ball to end the inning.

7:26 p.m. -- Breaking news: John Lannan plunked a Phillies batter. Shocking, I know. He tagged Shane Victorino in the elbow/ribs in the bottom of the first, the ninth Philly batter he's hit in 13 career starts against them. In 89 other big-league starts, Lannan has hit only 13 batters. Fortunately, he got out of this one with no damage, getting Placido Polanco to fly out and then Ryan Howard to strike out to end the first, still scoreless.

7:35 p.m. -- The good news: Adam LaRoche led off the second with a double to deep left-center, so for the second time in two innings the Nats had a man in scoring position against Halladay. And for the second time in two innings, they failed to advance him. Wilson Ramos struck out looking. Jerry Hairston struck out swinging. Ian Desmond grounded out to second. So already tonight the Nats are 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, with four of those batters striking out.

7:45 p.m. -- Near-disaster for Lannan in the bottom of the second. With two on and two on, Halladay smoked a line drive right back up the middle. Lannan, though, stuck out his glove and made the catch, quashing a possible rally. He's thrown 24 of his 35 pitches for strikes so far. Game is still scoreless after two.

8:04 p.m. -- It's not scoreless anymore. Lannan got beat around in the third, allowing a two-run homer to Victorino that just slipped inside the left-field foul pole. The hits kept on coming, with RBI doubles from John Mayberry and (who else?) Raul Ibanez. All told, six straight batters reached to open the third, and that's it for Lannan. The streak of five-inning starts is officially over at 30. Nats trail 5-0, with Brian Broderick on to pitch.

8:10 p.m. -- Here you go: Tonight's bang-your-head-against-the-wall stat. In his career against the Phillies, John Lannan is now 0-9 (soon-to-be 0-10) with a 6.44 ERA. In his career against everyone else, he's 30-32 with a 3.88 ERA. Drastic as this sounds, maybe it's time to align the rotation so he never faces these guys again. Phillies now lead 6-0 after three.

8:29 p.m. -- Well, the Nats have scored twice off Halladay. Unfortunately, they put themselves in a 6-0 hole before doing it. Still, there's something positive that can be taken out of the top of the fourth just now, especially the incredible at-bat put forth by Hairston. He kept fouling off pitch after pitch from Halladay, finally singling to right on the right-hander's 13th offering. Desmond drove in a run moments later with a sac fly, and sensing this might be his best chance of the night, Riggleman sent up Matt Stairs to pinch-hit in the fourth inning. Made solid contact but grounded out to first to end the inning. It's 6-2, but Halladay has thrown a bunch of pitches (70) through four innings.

8:38 p.m. -- Todd Coffey just had to call for the trainer because he had a nosebleed while on the pitcher's mound. How does that even happen?

8:45 p.m. -- And Coffey proceeds to strike out Howard and Mayberry after the incident. Umps may need to check to make he was doctoring the ball with blood.

9:05 p.m. -- Hey, what do you know? Raul Ibanez has homered again! And not just a run-of-the-mill homer. An absolute bomb. Yes, the guy who was 0 for his last 35 two days ago is now 7 for his last 10 with two homers and three doubles. Ibanez's updated stats vs. the Nationals over the last three seasons: .358 average, .436 OBP, .709 slugging, 1.145 OPS. Insane. It's 7-2 Phillies in the sixth.

9:25 p.m. -- You know how a couple of innings ago it looked like the Nats might be inflicting a little damage on Halladay. Yeah, not any more. He's mowed down the last 11 batters faced and now has 10 strikeouts through seven innings. Still 7-2.

9:30 p.m. -- Hey, Ibanez just singled, making him 8 for his last 10. Actually, though, that will lower his OPS vs. the Nats. Progress!

9:46 p.m. -- Nats got a run back in the eighth on a sac fly by Werth, only his eighth RBI of the season. It's 7-3 as we go to the bottom of the eighth.

10:03 p.m. -- It's over. Final score: 7-3. Nats get swept. They never led once in this series. They've lost seven in a row, and 30 of 39 in Philly.

67 comments:

SCNatsFan said...

At this point do we need an excuse to why neither is starting?

Thanks for the updates Mark... love this blog.

erocks33 said...

Oh Dear God, Alex Cora is batting second!

erocks33 said...

Hey, and who knows whether Halladay will miss having Ruiz behind the dish tonight. Maybe Dane Sardinha will cause Halladay to look human against the Nats.

Capitol Baseball said...

I can literally hear the horror in your text, erocks33. It is terrifying.

Anonymous said...

I have a volunteer meeting tonight that I have been dreading all week ... and I just caught myself thinking "thank God I won't be able to see this game."

Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Dane Sardinha has caught Halladay 3 times and Halladay's thrown complete games all 3 times.

Anonymous said...

The worse that can happen is Doc pitches a perfect game, so I'll go out on a limb and say Nats win 4 - 3...




UNTERP

Unkyd said...

GO NATS!!!! Jump on them early, and give Haliday a holiday!!!

Anonymous said...

How's the aspirin tasting people? Looking like a 50 win team yet?
I do have a remedy ... start going to the MiLB games instead
well away from Giggleman's Isle. Thank God!

Grandstander said...

Why isn't Riggleman, the lefty/righty matchup king, breaking up Nix and LaRoche's bats? Why not have Ramos 5th behind Nix over the struggling LaRoche?

phil dunn said...

All you need to know about the Nats feeble lineup is that Cora and Hairston have become regulars.

masnstinks said...

Didn't we have a game that was 2 hours and 2 minutes the other night - the shortest game in mlb this season? Who wants to lay odds that this one beats it? Maybe Doc will pitch with one hand tied behind his back? Maybe he will pitch with the opposite hand? I say let's get it over with and go on to - oh, wait - it's Florida isn't it? Never mind.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:08 pm wrote: "I do have a remedy...start going to the MiLB games instead well away from Giggleman's Isle"

Here's another suggestion: keep your comments on MiLB sites, too.

NatsJack in Florida said...

The one saving element in this road trip is that Josh Johnson is pitching today for the Fish. We miss getting him thrown at us, at least.

Carl in 309 said...

Let's please remember it's a 162-game season. And (nearly) everyone gets 50 wins and 50 losses. We will have some set of future Brewers and Giants match-ups to enjoy before the leaves fall from the trees.

Let's hope the reverse lock shows up (C. Lee would have been a better choice, alas).

SonnyG10 said...

Yea, it doesn't look good on paper for tonight, but I shall watch with optimism.

Unkyd said...

I'll miss Gary......

Anonymous said...

Unkyd said...

I'll miss Gary......

Me too...


UNTERP

sjm308 said...

I will miss him as well. He definitely should be asked to throw out the first pitch in one of our next home series.

Big win tonight to quiet all the anons

go nats

waddy eye no said...

that giggleman crap was old when it started.

Tim said...

Waddy,

He's a troll. Pay him no mind.

I have a good feeling about tonight.

Grandstander said...

Interesting trivia. Since Halladay came to Philly, Lannan has faced the Phillies 5 times. 4 of those times, he's faced Halladay. Talk about drawing the short stick.

BinM said...

Grandstander: Here's hoping that Lannan rises to the occaision tonight & takes down Halladay.

Andrew said...

NatsJack in Florida said...
Steve M.... Thanks for the invite. I just spent the Mets series and Friday's Giants game in DC.

Got to spend the Mets series in two adjoining suites as a guest of the Mets. Coming back up for the O's series in late June the week end after the Cards series so I'll have to pass.

May 5, 2011 3:16 PM
________________________________

Will you be there on June 19th? Sorry you can't meet SteveM and me and a few others. Mark'd, BrettH, NatsJack, Anon8(MichaelLG) call me. 202-716-8500

dj in Fl. said...

Why would you not want Cora playing?
3 hits last night and look, now one tonight.

SCNatsFan said...

Hey no need for us to erect a statue to Werth; he's a living statue at the plate right now.

I wish he would stop looking for walks and swing the darn bat.

C'mon Nats, get those bats moving, even on this tough night.

Les in NC said...

I vote Cora bats second for the rest of the time Zimmerman is out! (Unless he demonstrates that he can't play a lick of defense at third, of course!)

Thanks Alex for not letting us get no hit tonight!

dj in Fl. said...

Phillies announcers said they heard rumblings about Nats fans upset over Werth looking at third strikes. They said we will get used to it, it is part of his m.o.

I can not believe Gary is retiring already. It has only been 22 years, though he did make it clear that working under Yow made 15 years feel like a lifetime. The feud continues!

JaneB said...

I'm voting Cora bats lead off. For as long as we have him, anyway.

For the moaners, just think back to two seasons ago, where we'd only won about two and half games by now. Things are better! They just are.

Go Nats!

Les in NC said...

Now that we're through the lineup once, and everyone has seen a first pitch fastball for a strike, can we have someone actually try to HIT that ball the next time up? (Instead of watching it sail gracefully by?)

Just a thought...

WilliamTells said...

Well, that was fun while it lasted. 2-0 Phils. Two runs too many for the Nats to score against Halladay. G'Night, all.

Anonymous8 said...

That is how you hit a pitcher that can't hit his spots.

JaneB said...

End of the quality start streak!

Anonymous said...

John "Batting Practice" Lannan makes his return to the roster. All the old memories return. And the circle is complete - it is 2009 again.

BinM said...

To follow up on my 7:03 comment - Unfortunately, it was not to be. The Phillies are apparently still inside Lannan's head & are able to light him up at will.

Nataholic said...

I've been pretty happy with Riggleman and this team so far and can't understand all this doom and gloom. And the Trolls need to go to the WaPo or something. Let's look at reality, the Nats best player is out and their line-up is pretty anemic even when he is in there. (Dunn's bat is sorely missed.) I know that statistically Batting protection cannot be proven but I think it matters psychologically to these players. I believe a big bat to anchor this lineup would probably help everyone else relax a bit up there and at least approach some sort of replacement level ability with the lumber. But I can't really gripe; they play hard and win some. And they might flirt with .500 for more of this season. The vets are also better than I thought they would be. Ankiel and Nix in particular. Ankiel for his overall game, which is not as bad as Nyjer's was last season. I mean ideally Ankiel is your 4th outfielder but I think the Nats brain trust already knows that. And Nix so far has surprised. He might be a better solution in LF than MM. Anyway, when I look at this team, I wouldn't say they are overachieving, but I would say that they are playing at the level they should. As for the Frillies, they are just a better team. Tip your cap to them. If the Nats steal a game that's great, but I'm not the miracle expecting type. I'm more interested in how they match up with the Fish and the Mets to see improvement....

jd said...

that was not fun at all.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Grandstander: Could you please try to stop dropping F-bombs on here? You've done it a couple of times this week, and I've gotten complaints from multiple readers. I know we're mostly adults here, and I let some obscenities slide by. But your usages have been particularly egregious, and I'm sure most everyone around here would appreciate if you didn't do it. Thanks for understanding.

jd said...

what an at bat by Hairston.

dj in Fl. said...

Mark-
I think Lannan might actually become a better pitcher over all if he knew he would never have to face these guys again. I sort of ignored the info that the Phillies had their best April ever. Guess they really are pretty good.

Nataholic well said.

Les in NC said...

I'm just pleased that everyone that came to the plate in the top of the fourth actually swung at that first pitch fastball!!

...And we scored 2 runs....coincidence?

TimDz said...

At least we no longer have to hear about that inane 5 inning thing...
Nice to see them get a couple of runs back...
BTW...thanks for the ride Gary

Anonymous8 said...

Nice to hit Halladay. I don't think Ramos knows who some of the pitchers are because he gets in the box and battles. Nice RBI hit!

Then Hairston battles to pitch 13.

Naterialguy said...

@nataholic
Well said. i agree totally

Naterialguy said...

Nice job coffey? (never thought I'd say that)

Naterialguy said...

Lets get a couple more in the 5th

Anonymous8 said...

Just when you want to compliment Coffey he grooves a meatball to Ibanez.

Grandstander said...

Honestly had no idea I'd have to censor myself on a blog about baseball. But it's your site, so I'll try to tone it down.

Just a question though. What is and is not acceptable language? Can I say Riggleman manages like an *ss? Jason Werth can't get a hit for s**t? Is it just the hard F or is it anything?

Anonymous said...

Well, it's now a 5 run lead, and with their anemic situational hitting, the Nats might as well be behind by 15 runs. I'm starting to doze off. Maybe it's just Bobby Carpenter's voice. Or maybe it's FP. Or maybe it's both of them. Good night, all.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Grandstander: I don't feel like I need to set any hard and fast rules, or come up with a George Carlin-style "7 Words You Can't Type on Nats Insider." Just use your best judgment. I guess the best guideline would be to try to keep to to PG-13 language, not R.

Thanks, I appreciate it.

Anonymous8 said...

Nyjer Morgan tonight, 1 error and 1 caught stealing. Glad to see he is getting in mid-season form.

jmacss said...

When can the John Lannan experiment end? Why won't they just cut ties with this guy and bring up Detwiler, or anyone else? This guy is not a Major League pitcher. He would not start on any other team. I'm willing to bet that when he throws the ball, it makes the same "thud" sound as when you put a ball through a JUGS machine. Dude is not good.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Dude, just quit it.

Les in NC said...

Please stop the bring up Detwiler to the Nats starting rotation campaign. His numbers at Syracuse are not stellar, and he probably needs to be a reliever if he is anything at the major league level. If someone needs to be replaced it should be Maya that does the replacing, IMO.

Anonymous8 said...

Les, I am with you. How long before Rizzo figures that out. That Syracuse team is horrible outside of Bernadina, Maya, Detwiler, Kimball and Balester.

Team batting average is .217

TimDz said...

Regarding Maya/Detwiler...
What are the respective records, ERA 's etc?

jmacss said...

Well Les, I did leave that statement open to "anyone else". Bring up Maya, go sign Simon Birch. I don't care. I just really loathe watching Lannan pitch.

Anonymous said...

When, please when is a Nats pitcher going to brush Ibanez off the plate???

Andrew said...

Tim:

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?t=t_ibp&cid=552&stn=true&sid=t552

Anonymous said...

Feeble. Anemic. Ineffectual. Now come the encomiums about the superiority of Phillies pitching. Our TV guys even said their bullpen was awesome. It's the same pattern: who.ever.pitches.against.Washington.is.Cy.Young.

Two stupid, needless points on our latest lost cause:

1. The Nationals need to be quiet next year, from spring training forward. All their verbal hype means nothing (see Redskins, Wizards, Caps, Georgetown, Maryland).

2. The Phillies will dominate us for the next decade. They have a superior organization, ownership, management, scouting, and player development. We are hype, they are real. Get very, very used to it.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

More Nyjer: Out two to four weeks with a broken finger. Is this moron still sliding head first?

Manassas Nats Fan said...

The Pitching this round of the rotation is lowering itself to the hitter's standards. Last rotation great 3/5 though this one not so good.

My complaint of the series is with the advance scout for the Nats.

Coming into this series in the last 10 games Ibanez goes 0 for 34. In these three games he goes 8 for 12. What did the advance scout tell McCatty and Riggleman Ibonez was getting out with. Id he told them, and the pitchers just didn't pitch there that is one thing, but I am guessing the pitchers couldn't have screwed up that much.

Or am I barking up the wrong tree, and they don't send advance scouts out with as many games that are on TV (I am watching Colorado and Arizona as I type) that they do not send scouts any longer.

Well since we messed up these three games, we need to sweep the marlins to get back to even.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

@Manassas: The advance scout told them they were getting Ibanez out ... with other teams' pitchers.

josh f said...

Another Nats-Phillies series to forget...the optimist in me saw some better swings from LaRoche and Espy the last two days, though. We miss Josh Johnson in Florida this time around - will that be enough?

Drew8 said...

Hey Mark:

Thanks for the comeuppance to that guy who demonstrates the cleverness of a 13-year-old.

Here's tonight's silver lining, folks. Harper hit his 7th homer. In 25 games he has 19 runs scored, 23 RBIs, 5 steals and a tidy .357 average.

In the words of that famed scout, Bruce Springsteen:

"At the end of every hard-earned day
people find some reason to believe."

Doc said...

Detweiler must be going through a rough spell--Stammen is ahead of him on the Syracuse 'depth chart'!

FS said...

That one statistic which is being thrown around a lot lately (BABIP), is .409 for Detwiler this season in AAA. Mean anything?

Terrible terrible performance all around in this series. Nothing worked, pitchers could not live up to their expectations, hitters continued struggling, defense was not the bright spot either. More than manager or hitting coach, I think these failures are a mental thing. To be honest, I just feel this team has potential to be better than it was in this series.

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