Sunday, May 8, 2011

Game 34: Nats at Marlins

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nationals seek a rare sweep of the Marlins at Sun Life Stadium today.
How much do the Nationals dislike playing in South Florida? Well, consider this is their 20th series played at Sun Life Stadium since relocating from Montreal. They won only three of the previous 19 series, with their only sweep coming in September 2005. Suffice it to say, a victory today (completing their first sweep of the Marlins since) would be a significant accomplishment.

If the Nats are going to pull that off, though, they're going to have to do it without Jayson Werth, who is out of the lineup for only the second time this season. Why sit the $126 million man, especially after a fairly productive game from him last night both at the plate and in the field? Well, if you read my series preview on Friday, you know he's 2-for-22 with 15 strikeouts in his career against Florida starter Anibal Sanchez.

Michael Morse is back in the Nationals lineup after missing four games with a sore knee. Roger Bernadina (2-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base last night) remains in the leadoff spot, with Ian Desmond behind him.

Enjoy the game, and more importantly, hope all you moms out there -- or, as is the case in the Zuckerman household, all you soon-to-be-moms out there -- enjoy a fantastic Mother's Day!...

NATIONALS at MARLINS
Where: Sun Life Stadium
Gametime: 1:10 p.m.
TV: MASN, Ch. 50
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 185
Weather: Partly cloudy, 85 degrees, Wind 6 mph in from RF
STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (16-17)
CF Roger Bernadina
SS Ian Desmond
RF Laynce Nix
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Michael Morse
3B Jerry Hairston
C Ivan Rodriguez
2B Danny Espinosa
P Livan Hernandez

MARLINS (19-13)
LF Emilio Bonifacio
CF Chris Coghlan
SS Hanley Ramirez
1B Gaby Sanchez
RF Mike Stanton
3B Greg Dobbs
C John Buck
2B Omar Infante
P Anibal Sanchez

83 comments:

Anonymous said...

first? let's sweep it up!

UNTERP.NAT said...

Can't wait to see the Miami Marlins new stadium next season. Can't stand this place...

Les in NC said...

Hairston is swinging a hot bat right now, but if we're gonna play the numbers game (sitting Werth) against Sanchez why wouldn't Cora be playing at 3rd? Cora vs. Hairston against Sanchez, 2 for 5 w/ 1 BB vs. 0 for 6 with 2 Ks.

UNTERP.NAT said...

Les in NC said...

Hairston is swinging a hot bat right now

You answered your own question...

Mark'd said...

Did anyone catch ESPN BASEBALL TONIGHT? Just curious if Espi got a WebGem for his thievery last night.

Les in NC said...

but not against Sanchez....

Cora's bat is heating up also, and he is a lefty. So I don't get why he wouldn't be in todays starting lineup.

UNTERP.NAT said...

Les in NC said...

Yeah, you're right. Hope it works out...

Les in NC said...

This is a little late, and I haven't seen anyone mention it on here, Jordan Zimmermann became only the second pitcher in franchise history to record an immaculate inning Friday against the Fish! And only the 42nd different pitcher in baseball history to do it! Quite an accomplishment for our young hurler.

*Begins a round of applause*

Jeeves said...

In terms of the team's offense, Espinosa's stats are interesting, to say the least. Despite a .216 batting average, the second baseman is tied for second in total bases, tied for first in runs scored, and, most significantly, leads the team in RBI's by a good margin.

Mark'd said...

Les, you have to look at Cora beyond the boxscores. Most hits have been dinks and doinks like all 3 in his 3 hit game last week. It is great that he is getting on base but certainly want to see more line drives.

Wally said...

Les - what is an immaculate inning?

Section 223 said...

Congratulations to the Zuckerman household. Go Nats! Fry the fish.

Les in NC said...

An immaculate inning is when a pitcher strikes out the side (of one half inning) on only 9 pitches!

Here's a link to the Wikipedia page.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_League_Baseball_pitchers_who_have_struck_out_three_batters_on_nine_pitches

Sbrent said...

Huge congrats, Mark and Ms. Z!

JaneB said...

Joining Les in applause and Wally in gratitude to know. New baseball term. And stat.

Happy Mother's Day. I think a sweep would be a lovely present for Ian Desmond's wife.

CBinDC said...

Mark'd said...

Did anyone catch ESPN BASEBALL TONIGHT? Just curious if Espi got a WebGem for his thievery last night.

I tried to stay with it long enough to seer but they did single out his catch in LF which they measured at 78 feet from second and this was the only mention during the game recap

Luqman said...

A day off for Jason Werth means good things for the Nats. They have a day off, Riggleman should go straight to Atlanta tomorrow, so they can enjoy the day to check the city. I herd its a nice city.

Grandstander said...

7 batters, 6 Ks.

dryw said...

How many people are at the game today? The stands look almost entirely empty. I know, it's Florida, but still....

dj in Fl. said...

@dryw
Everybody is still in line at Denny's trying to treat mom special.

Rabbit said...

Go NATS!! It's nice to see Werth is out of the lineup!! I predict Livo will have a difficult rest of the day. Come on hitters, get hot!

David said...

1) I was also surprised that no one mentioned JZ's 9 pitch, three strike-out inning. 2) I smell a perfect game for A. Sanchez and the Fish right now. Perfect through 4 so far, I think? (Hopefully that jinxes it.)

Luis said...

When I saw Sanchez was pitching today I feared what's happening now. So let this be the jinx for that no hitter.

FS said...

He is not perfect, but with all these no-hitters being thrown, you wonder if it is our turn to get no-hit now.

Harper is Awesome said...

This is painful to watch right now.. livo's taking forever in between pitches and were not even close to scoring a run

Les in NC said...

I know Hanley is slumping badly, but who walks anybody to get to him?
I figured that would be a bad decision...

Tim said...

We've GOT to keep it within striking distance. Sanchez has too many pitches to stay in there the whole way. We might be able to break through late. Come on
Livo!

dryw said...

DJ....of course! Why didn't I think of that?

Tim, so much for staying within striking distance. When's the last time the Nats scored more than 6 runs? Sigh.

FS said...

Objective now is to not get no-hit. I am sorry but I don't think our offense is capable of coming back from this deficit. However, I will root for them to win this game until the last pitch.

Tim said...

I guess that's my fault. Grrrrrr....

Harper is Awesome said...

I'm rooting for a no hitter cuz we aint winning this game

JaneB said...

Yikes. I guess Livo isn't indestructible. He's better when he's working fast. Abd when Sanchez doesn't pitch. Grrrr.

Les in NC said...

...And that's the ballgame, or at least what looks to be an insurmountable deficit. It was nice to take 2 from the Marlins and even the season series against them.

Cora pinch hitting against Sanchez...at least he didn't strike out... What could he have done if that was his third time against him today I wonder...

David said...

Still within a touchdown. Nobody panic. As for that zero in the hits column...

Unkyd said...

Cy Young, strikes again! I'll be glad when we start hitting consistently enough to feel like we have a chance against all the Cy dopplegangers...

Tim said...

Did you see Bermie try to throw out the runner at the plate and throw to the wrong base? That's why he gets sent down to AAA. Fundamentals. It kills me to watch him. I like him offemsively and I like his speed, but his fundamentals are lacking, to say the least.

CBinDC said...

Here we go again Livo is no longer effective as the teams have had enough time to adjust ....so is time to replace ???

Unkyd said...

Livo has enough tricks to adjust right right back... Dont count the young fella out, just yet....

David said...

A "2" in the hits column for D.C., at least.

Anonymous said...

I don't particularly think teams have adjusted to Livo -- he just wasn't hitting his spots today. Notice how many times Pudge had to adjust the mitt? Usually doesn't happen (at least, not that often).

Les in NC said...

I did not like to see Broderick load the bases, but seeing him get 2 K's to get out of the inning was nice.

Anonymous said...

Will we ever get an answer about why Matt Stairs is still on this roster?

sjm308 said...

I think Peric called this pretty accurately. Livan has been a special pitcher for us but it might be time to see what Maya can do. Move Livan to long relief, spot starts, try and make a trade for Broderick if you really like him that much and start to bring some of the talent we have developed up to the big leagues. It took us years to overcome what major league baseball and Jim Bowdin did and I would love to see those results start to shape our team. Looks like I got my broom out of the closet way too soon. I could give it to the person I live with for mothers day but I fear how she might use it.

Go Nats!!

Grandstander said...

HRod is doing his Rick Vaughn impersonation.

Anonymous said...

Henry Rodriguez seems like a keeper ... but for whatever reason he works best under pressure ... not in blow-outs. No one can hit that slider he throws they are laying off of it. If he can just get that over he doesn't have to throw the heater except every once in awhile to keep the batter's honest (fear of getting a 101 mph ball in the ribs). He has everything to be the top reliever in the NL. But the control issues were also all there in this non-save unimportant 8th inning. Walks and wild pitches. But, he scares the bejeebers out of batters ... that makes him good so far ...

@sjm308, you could really see this all unfolding in Spring Training. But you know the hope of Nats fans the good news. The day Strasburg reappears at the top of the rotation just before JZimmnn ... who is just before Tom Gorzelanny. Now that is the beginning of a pitching rotation that truly can compete with the Phillies, the Giants, the Marlins ... pretty much anybody. Only one more solid pitcher ... perhaps Maya?

And then one top free agent ace. If that were to happen somehow even with the current pathetic lineup ... even with Riggleman ... but with this bullpen.

You'd have to call it a playoff contender and almost a lock to get in.

Its really frustrating when it feels like its that close ... just that close ...

Anonymous said...

Will we ever get an answer about why Matt Stairs is still on this roster?

Two words: JIm Riggleman.

Today Riggleman said that Morse could no longer play that role as Stairs was already in it ... at age 43 going on 44. There is something very, very wrong with that picture.

Anonymous said...

Do you think Marquis' two starts before his one in Philly were signs of improvement? Not trying to be sarcastic there.

As an ardent follower of the Nats farm system and prospects let's hope so! Or at least achieve his mean at his age! Rizzo absolutely has to flip him in a trade for some top close-to-major league ready positional players. And Lannan for some low-A potential prospects. This has to be executed before the two of them diminish in value to the point where the Nats get Cutter Dykstra or Tim Hulett for them.

Marquis can serve a contender as a great fourth/fifth starter. Lannan is a left handed pitcher who can fill the same need for a team. Probably out of contention though. Perhaps Lannan gets packaged with Pudge and sent to KC. KC has a swimming pool full of good prospects and they just might be a contender already!

Right now it sure seems like its Strasburg, Zimmermann and Gorzelanny in the top 3 slots.

-- peric

natsfan1a said...

Programming note: just noticed that the documentary "Jews and Baseball" is airing on MPT this evening from 6-7:30. I had the opportunity to see it at a Maryland theater some time ago showing and enjoyed it.

Drew8 said...

With Strasburg, Zimm and Gorzelanny, they'll have the makings of a top-flight rotation, with Pick 6, Cole, Ray and Solis on the rise, not to mention Detwiler.

If you look at the free agent pitchers on the market at the end of this season, there's not much ace material there, unless C.C. opts out of his deal. Do you want to back up the truck for Carpenter or Oswalt in their late 30s?

A more interesting option might be the Rangers' C.J. Wilson, who's having another excellent year.

As for the minors, Harper got two more hits and an RBI today. He's hitting .371 with 11 doubles to go with 7 homers.

As someone mentioned the other day, keep an eye on Harper's teammate, infielder Blake Kelso. The Houston Kid is hitting .355. He hit .309 at Vermont last year. Kid might be a steal.

Unfortunately, Brad Peacock turned back into a pumpkin today.

Anonymous said...

Is Mike Epstein in it?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, Brad Peacock turned back into a pumpkin today.

Bradley Meyers is probably the guy to watch. He's the dark horse that got Chico moved to Harrisburg along with a large part of last year's SYR rotation in Martis and Atilano when he was bumped up to AAA.
He has yet to start a game for the Chiefs. Fresh meat.

natsfan1a said...

Sorry, Anon@5:15, but I can barely recall what I had for breakfast half the time. Here's the film's site:

http://jewsandbaseball.com/

Anonymous said...

Boy good ol' man Ladson: already changed the depth chart knocking Ankiel completely off the CF list and placing Bernadina on top. That was fast. Normally, it takes weeks before he replaces an injured starter like that ...

Hmmmm ... doesn't anyone ever question this guy ... except on Podcasts and in jest? ~laughing~

dj in Fl. said...

We have obtained Gregor Blanco CF from Royals, for a player to be named later.

Anonymous said...

Marquis vs Hudson. Then Lannan vs. Beachy seems likely. Beachy has been pitching pretty good so far ... first two games do not look good for the Nats.

sjm308 said...

I have to honest, I hardly ever go to Ladson's site anymore and have never read the comments. We have so much good talk and reporting here and at NJ that I am pretty well saturated. Also want to thank Mark for listing the other blogs on the left side of this column. I have learned much from some of them as well, I love NationalsProspects and am starting to enjoy Nationals Arm Race as well. Pretty soon I will be either working out, gardening or reading about baseball between my naps with no time for beer - Wait, that doesn't sound reasonable. OK, that's it Ladson is gone.

dj in Fl. said...

Update:
Blanco, 27, is a career .258/.358/.324 hitter who came to the Royals with Tim Collins and Jesse Chavez in the trade that sent Kyle Farnsworth and Rick Ankiel to Atlanta last season. Ironically, Blanco may be an option to challenge Ankiel for playing time in Washington. The Nationals have been looking for center field options after trading Nyjer Morgan to Milwaukee and making Ankiel their everyday center fielder. Ankiel has struggled with just a .221/.302/.288 slash line in 118 PAs.

Blanco's best assets are his ability to draw a walk (career BB% of 12.8%) and his speed. He owns 209 minor league stolen bases to go along with 26 at the Major League level. While he struggled early in his career, his success rate has improved over the past few seasons.

sjm308 said...

Just looked up Blanco. In the small world department KC traded Rick Ankiel to get him. 27 year old outfielder with decent speed but nothing special in his stats jumped out at me. Hope we didn't give up much. Does this mean Corey Brown is not working out??

CBinDC said...

Anonymous said...

Is Mike Epstein in it?

Yes he is I saw this on WETA a few months ago

dj in Fl. said...

ps that update was from MLB Trade Rumors

greg said...

unless they figure ankiel won't be back any time soon, i don't understand the blanco trade. both are LH hitters. if blanco was RH, i could see it as a platoon. but neither is all that much of a hitter and ankiel is a better defender. what's the point?

as far as corey brown, i think he's just not ready.

TimDz said...

Okay...the Nats screwed the pooch today...but they took the series (I call that progress)...

My Blanco take (for what it is worth...):

Blanco takes Bernadina's place in Syracuse...
Bernadina takes Stairs' spot on the 25 man...

Hey...A guy can dream, right...?

dj in Fl. said...

I have to think this may be one of a few changes coming. When we were thinking 500 for the season it was not with a number of these players. With as close to 500 as they are playing lets hope Rizzo is ready to do a few upgrades.

Unkyd said...

Thanks, Greg.... Are there no RH CFs available?

TimDz said...

Went to Nats Journal at WAPO and looked at the Natosphere (all the Nationals websites)...

I noticed that "NationalsProspects.com" (Sue Dinems site) was not on the list...

Pretty sure it was before...IMO, it is the "go to site," especially in the absence of Natsfarm.com (Hope all is well for you, Brian...)...Am I wrong, or was it removed?

Mark'd said...

Blanco is another LH outfielder who hasn't shown an ability to hit MLB pitching and the team has LH Corey Brown and Bernadina, and of course Ankiel.

This team does need the Royals RH Lorenzo Cain who can't hit RH pitching but hits LH pitchers which makes him the perfect platoon and bench guy.

jd said...

Mark'd,

Blanco is a much better OBP guy than any of the players you mentioned; I think he's worth a try.

Grandstander said...

Blanco is organizational depth. You don't trade ML players for a PTBNL. He's just taking Bernadina's spot in Syracuse.

Manassas Nats Fan said...

I was on the road today, and heard an interesting stat. Felix Pie was pinch hitting in the O's game. He was 1 for 1 in pinch hitting and the team was 3 for 4 for the season. Pie got a double, so now they are 4 for 5 or .800,

Nats have had over 30 ABs now and I think they are now up to two pinch hits.

38 Ks's in 3 games (winning 2 of them) against the marlins. The nats are not a Power team, why are they stiking out so much. I am guessing they are over swinging (or over guessing).

jd said...

grandstander,

Blanco has a .360 OBP in the majors and this year even though he is hitting .208 he has a .390 OBP. he may be organizational depth for other teams but he is better than the guys we have.

natteringnabob said...

Nats needed some OF depth, and Syracuse OF is presently Frazier (.139), Whiting (.159) and Brown (.195).

Anonymous said...

The Chiefs, just like the Nats, need someone to hit at the top of the order and get on base. Blanco is exactly what the doctor ordered ... perfect.

(Yeah, I know the Nats need that too but Riggleman prefers to play small minded smart ball which means watching washed up veterans play K-ball as in strike out. For Riggleman Ankiel is a #2 hitter. Apparently not for Knorr who appears to believe in OBP.)

Its just another Rizzo move similar to acquiring players like Morse, Bixler, Frazier, Aubrey, Padilla and their ilk. Rizzo promised the Chiefs they would be competitive ... it isn't happening right now with real prospects versus mostly ringers and extended 40-man depth.

However, the team the transaction occurred with is interesting given that the Royals are one team with lots of prospects yet need a catcher. None of their prospect catchers are even close ...

Richard said...

Enjoyed the anon post at 11:49 and, to join that line of thought for a bit, the debacle in Syracuse this year is frustrating -- after a good year last year. Rizzo or whoever determines the roster re the Chiefs has some serious anti-Midas goin'. And, should I mention the Maxwell trade? It looks especially bad. Maxwell has 11 HRs and 24 RBIs and an OBP north of .350 (BA is at a not-so-good .238 but OBP is a much better stat) for the AAA Yankees, and the traded-for Olbrychowski's ERA for the A+ P-Nats -- who are really bad this year -- is 9.80! Outside of Hagerstown few down on the Nats' farm are hitting. Somebody doesn't know what their doin'? Either drafters or coaches? Or maybe this is the price we pay for the necessary Rizzo focus of late on drafting and otherwise acquiring pitching. I should note that the Harrisburg Senators are doing okay even though seriously not hitting.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Gawd, I hate off days.

natsfan1a said...

Me, too, especially when they come after a loss. Well, I guess I'll just have to go do some actual, you know, work...

Manassas Nats Fan said...

I bet you the players hate off days on the road the most. If you are on the road that has to be bad. Unless the Phils and Braves were playing tonight (I didn't check the schedule) it would have been better to play M-W and have Thursday off at home.

Big Cat said...

Gosh, we got the frickin Braves again. Pencil in an L in the Hudson game. Don't we ever play any easy teams. When do we get Nyjer and the Brewers again

NatsJack in Florida said...

Phillies and Fish tonite. I'll be watching my second TV tomorrow night when Halladay goes against Josh Johnson.

Really looking forward to the day it's a Strasburg/Halladay or Strasburg/Johnson match up.

UNTERP.NAT said...

MLB has Hudson, Hanson, Beachy
MASN postgame show had Hudson, Hanson, Lowe

either way, this will be a tough series, lucky to win one, hope to win two...

Big Cat said...

Maybe try and jump on that first pitch against Hudson. Seems like he is always workin 0-1 against us. Maybe try and start driving that first strike. Couldn't hurt. Have to consult Eckstein on this. What do you think Manassas N-Fan?

Anonymous said...

Eck is probably sleeping now. Somebody said he has been up all night working....always working to get these guys out of their slump

Harper_ROY_2012 said...

With all of our hitting woes recently, we need the following lineup:

Bernadina CF
Espinosa 2B
Nix LF
Ramos C
Werth RF
LaRoche 1B
Morse 3B
Desmond SS

Manassas Nats Fan said...

Eck like most batting coaches are killing the hitter's averages as you know Big Cat.

I wrote a long explanation that the server crashed on. When I get around to it again I will explain what I heard on the Cardinal Pregame show last week, and explains why their average is nearly .300 (and it is not just the players, it is the approach).

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