Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Game 42: Nats at Mets

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The rain has followed the Nationals from D.C. to Citi Field.
NEW YORK -- Hey, what do you know? It's raining! Haven't seen much of this lately, have we? The good news is that it appears there's a window of clearing from about 7-9 p.m., enough that they should at least start tonight's game between the Nationals and Mets. Whether there's enough time to finish it remains to be seen.

If they do play, the Nationals will be facing left-hander Jon Niese, not right-hander Dillon Gee as originally announced. The Mets also were rained out last night and decided to push everyone in their rotation back a day. So Niese goes tonight, with Gee in tomorrow's scheduled series finale.

Tom Gorzelanny starts for the Nationals, hoping to revert back to the top form he displayed in back-to-back starts earlier this month (as opposed to the less-than-spectacular form he showed last time out against the Marlins).

If you didn't see the earlier post, Mike Rizzo said on ESPN-980 AM today that Bryce Harper will not reach the big leagues this season, quashing any hope you may have had for that.

Plenty of updates to come from here at Citi Field, including weather updates, so check back often...

NATIONALS at METS
Where: Citi Field
Gametime: 7:10 p.m.
TV: MASN2
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 183
Weather: Chance of rain, 62 degrees, Wind 11 mph RF to LF
STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (20-21)
CF Roger Bernadina
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
C Wilson Ramos
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Michael Morse
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Jerry Hairston
P Tom Gorzelanny

METS (19-22)
SS Jose Reyes
3B Justin Turner
RF Carlos Beltran
LF Jason Bay
1B Daniel Murphy
C Ronny Paulino
CF Scott Hairston
2B Ruben Tejada
P Jon Niese
6:12 p.m. -- Your first weather update of the night: It's been raining pretty steadily all afternoon, but the grounds has just emerged to remove the tarp. Adam Rubin, who covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com, says they won't call this one off early. They'll wait it out for a while if they have to.

6:23 p.m. -- And the Mets just officially announced the game is scheduled to start on time at 7:10 p.m.

6:42 p.m. -- Here's a bunch of updates on Stephen Strasburg, Rick Ankiel, Ryan Zimmerman, Chien-Ming Wang and Oliver Perez.

7:11 p.m. -- And as promised, we are underway on time. There is NOBODY here. This has got to be the smallest crowd I've ever seen at any professional sporting event in New York.

7:20 p.m. -- The Nats tried to string together a two-out rally against Jon Niese, with Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos each singling off the lefty. But Adam LaRoche skied a fly ball to right to end the inning, still scoreless. The rain is coming down harder now, too.

7:29 p.m. -- The bottom of the first could have been bad. Real bad. But Tom Gorzelanny battled to strike out Carlos Beltran, then got a big assist from Ramos. Though Jose Reyes scored on Jason Bay's sac fly to left, Ramos made a great throw back to second base to nail Justin Turner, who had strayed too far. Another fantastic throw from a Nats catcher. Both Ramos and Pudge have been spectacular in that department. Mets lead 1-0 after one.

7:34 p.m. -- Hmm, not sure this was the time to play for one run, but Jim Riggleman just did. After Michael Morse led off the second with a double, Danny Espinosa dropped a sac bunt. Which put the onus on Jerry Hairston to deliver the RBI. He didn't, popping out to second. And when Gorzelanny couldn't beat out a chopper over the mound, the Nats were left with nothing to show for the inning.

7:53 p.m. -- The top of the Nats order couldn't do anything in the third inning, either. Couple of groundballs and a Werth strikeout. The rain has eased up -- it was pouring a little while ago. Still 1-0 Mets heading to the bottom of the third.

8:21 p.m. -- Gorzelanny isn't exactly in top form tonight. He's put at least two men on base each of his four innings. But he's managed to limit the damage so far, allowing only the first-inning run. Got a big groundball out of Reyes with two on and two out in the fourth. Mets still lead 1-0.

8:58 p.m. -- As many guys as Gorzelanny was putting on base (two in each of the first six innings), you just had a feeling he couldn't keep tempting fate and living to tell about it. Sure enough, he gave up a two-run double to Evan Turner in the sixth. That puts the Mets up 3-0 and brings Henry Rodriguez into the game. With a muddy mound and a wet ball. This could be interesting.

9:01 p.m. -- Give Rodriguez credit. He got out of it, inducing a shallow fly ball to center out of Carlos Beltran. So it remains 3-0 after six. At some point, the Nats' lineup has got to do something, right? Right?

9:07 p.m. -- Remember how awful Cristian Guzman was in 2005? Well, his batting average never dipped below .180 after April 25. Adam LaRoche, ladies and gentlemen, is now hitting .179. On March 18. This no longer qualifies as another of his trademark slow starts. This is legitimately bad.

9:19 p.m. -- Speaking of legitimately bad ... it was just raining as hard as you can imagine while it's still feasible to play baseball. Really, the umps should have called for the tarp, but with two on and two out in the seventh, they were probably waiting for the inning to end first. Then Brian Bixler battled his way through a long at-bat against Niese, finally beating out a chopper to third. Bixler now has two hits in 14 at-bats this year, both of them infield singles. Now the bases were loaded for Roger Bernadina, and though there was standing water all around the infield, the rain eased up, so play continued. And Bernadina, after working the count full, grounded out to first base, killing the rally. Still 3-0 Mets aat the seventh-inning stretch, and now the grounds crew is out trying to dry out the infield.

9:31 p.m. -- While we wait for the grounds crew to again dry out the infield only three outs after having done it previously ... you may be wondering what a .179-hitting, slick-fielding first baseman is worth. Well, according to baseball-reference.com, LaRoche's WAR is 0.2. According to Fangraphs.com (which uses a different formula), it's -0.2. Either way, advanced stats say LaRoche's glove has pretty much made up for his bat.

9:38 p.m. -- Make that a .177-hitting, slick-fielding first baseman after LaRoche flies out to end the eighth. Still 3-0 Mets, and the Nats have given no reason to believe they've got a rally in them.

10:02 p.m. -- That's all she wrote. Nats lose 3-0. It's the sixth time in 42 games this season they've been shut out. So, an average of once a week. Also the third time in their last nine games. Is that good?

72 comments:

natsfan1a said...

Pretty soon players will be able to field balls with their feet. Because, you know, of the webbing that'll grow there and all. Quack!

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha I agree with Rizzo that Harper isn't ready yet -- but I ask: La Roche is ready? Drop this Defense only one-handed, slower than slow swinging sissy to the 8th spot. And bat him 9th when Jason and Livan are pitching.

5th tonight -- Riggleman, are you losing sleep yet over PC decisions? La Roche 5th -- you don't deserve to manage professionally -- girls softball maybe?

Sam said...

Well, I have tickets for the game but no way of going. So, now I am hoping that it pours like there's no tomorrow so that I can redeem the tickets for something in the future.

Anonymous said...

Dont worry, Sam. Since they're not playing the Pirates, they'll get this game in, even it takes until the curfew.

Tcostant said...

I love Rizzo's double talk. In one breath he says Harper won’t play in the bigs this year. Yet later he says that is development will dictate where he plays. Which is it? Of course the answer is the former, but only because he doesn’t want the arbitration / free agent clock to begin ticking. The soonest we see Harper in the bigs, is early May; no matter how he does. I’m not saying I disagree with this plan, just that what was said was contradictory.

Grandstander said...

Nice to see Morse back in the lineup. He was starting to heat up before he hurt his knee and has looked much better at the plate recently. I'd really like to see him put together a couple of nice games.

Manassas Nats Fan said...

Lets have another sweep. Back to back sweeps would be great.

Andrew said...

I just watched the Ballpark Cam on the MLB Network. It is a terrential rain at Citifield now.

2 1/2 hours before first pitch.....

natsfan1a said...

As in torrents of it coming down? ;-)

A sweep *would* be fun. Let's go Na-tion-als! Clapclap-clapclapclap.

natsfan1a said...

Sorry, Andrew. I let my pinch-lip editorial genes take over there. :-)

Cool news about Storen's Fan Cave appearance (mlb.com piece currently linked to at left). Will look forward to seeing the TWIB segment this weekend, as they've been featuring it. Why no gals at the Fan Cave, though? Some of us have basement sports lairs, too, ya know. :-)

NaterialGuy said...

lets get the first game won before we start talking of sweeps. We still have a ways to go before we can talk like that without it biting us.

P. Cole said...

Mark, when does Ankiel come off the DL and what moves will the team make. Bernie and Nix have got to be here to stay, right?

Also, random question but what ever happened to Jesse English?

Ivan Tuski said...

They say Ankiel due back next week.

masnstinks said...

Perfect opportunity to part ways with Matt Stairs.

Anonymous said...

Mark, when does Ankiel come off the DL and what moves will the team make. Bernie and Nix have got to be here to stay, right?

In point-of-fact ... probably not. Rizzo was also asked about this on the radio spot today and his answer was that they felt that Bernadina had the tools and makeup to be an everyday player. He would play every day.

What that means is that if Riggleman decides to start Ankiel Bernadina returns to Syracuse where he would likely start in CF every day. Moving Bernadina to left and Ankiel to center would be a disaster as there is absolutely NO OFFENSE coming from the corner infield positions. And that too you can lay on Riggleman. Three guys who really can't hit at this point due to age, injury or lack of talent: Ankiel, Hairston, and LaRoche in the lineup is asking for the worst record in the majors.

WilliamTells said...

If anyone wants an on the ground report, I'm standing outside Citi and they are not letting anyone in. No word on a gate opening from security. You'd think the mets would want my beer money after Madoff.

WilliamTells said...

P.S. - it's barely drizzling. The Wilpons make us look downright competent.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

"absolutely NO OFFENSE coming from the corner infield positions. And that too you can lay on Riggleman."

What, it's the manager's fault Zimmerman slid on his belly and pulled a muscle? Or that LaRoche is a chronically slow starter, epvery year?

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

From the looks of the radar, they shouldn't have a problem.

P. Cole said...

masnstinks said...

Perfect opportunity to part ways with Matt Stairs.

True Dat! Offer him a coaching job or a one-way ticket to Nova Scotia.

Tim said...

I heard a great thing said by Jim Bowden (who I don't like at all) today on MLB Radio...

In essence he said that if he had veteran, established players that were struggling early on, he'd tell them, "I feel sorry for the pitchers who are going to see you the next few weeks." the player would ask "Why?" and Bowden would say, "Because, statistically, you're gonna be making up for your slow start in the next few weeks, and you'll end up with stats on the back of your baseball card just like you do every year. Those pitchers you're facing in the next few weeks are going be sorry they're facing you."

That's what I'm thinking/hoping with Werth and LaRoche.

phil dunn said...

Watch out for Ronny Paulino who has been a Nats killer with his bat over the years, both when he was with the Pirates and with the Marlins. He hits the Nats pitching much like Raul Ibanez does.

A DC Wonk said...

Tim -- I sure hope so. But that's what everyone kept thinking about Austin Kearns . . . until he ended the entire year batting .219 -- he never did turn it around that year. I sure hope that's not the case with these guys this year . . .

Grandstander said...

If you send Bernadina to Syracuse, you no longer have a leadoff man. I'm not sure why they're they're trying so hard to work Ankiel back into the lineup. They were vocal about his lack of production before he hit the DL. They went out and Blanco to take Bernadina's spot in Syracuse.

Ankiel is a 4th outfielder/defensive replacement if he's anything.

Sec3MySofa said...

I'm inclined to agree with Grandstander there, and I liked the Ankiel signing. Apparently, Riggleman wants Roger at leadoff, too.

NatinBeantown said...

Why does Rigs plau small ball in the 2nd inning with the bottom of the order coming up? It doesn't make any sense! Quit taking the bats out of their hands!

Anonymous8 said...

FP called that Hairston at-bat perfectly with the infield back. Personally I thought they were not going to give him anything hittable with the pitcher coming up.

Another early missed opportunity after Morse got his double and Espi made an effective sac bunt.

Sec3MySofa said...

probably because it *was* the bottom of the order, beans.
But you just can't get yourself popped up, there.

Gonat said...

NatinBeantown said...
Why does Rigs plau small ball in the 2nd inning with the bottom of the order coming up? It doesn't make any sense! Quit taking the bats out of their hands!

May 18, 2011 7:39 PM
_________________________________

This team at the bottom of the order is where you do play small ball. That is how they won a bunch of games at the beginning of the season. It was executed poorly and could have been 1-0.

Sec3MySofa said...

Misery Loves Company Dept.:
http://blogs.dailyherald.com/node/5704
Will Cubs go winless on this trip?
by Bruce Miles on Wed, 05/18/2011 - 12:25

Sec3MySofa said...

Well put, gonat. I think I heard that somewhere before.

Sec3MySofa said...

Say what you will about Carp, but he knows how to pronounce Des Plaines.

NatinBeantown said...

I agree if it was Hairston or the pitcher's spot up. But with Morse already in scoring position, I think you have a better chance of scoring with Espi hitting away. i'm a Rigs defender but I do think he gives away too many outs, especially early in games.

Sec3MySofa said...

Wow. According to FP, Elias SB says the Nationals have had the hardest schedule in MLB to date.

Sec3MySofa said...

Bean, I do believe a fair number of stats guys agree with you.

Anonymous8 said...

Sec3 at 8:00PM, we have commentors that brought that up hours ago:
__________________________________
Mark'd said...
Wash Times confirms thru Elias Sports Bureau that the Nats 1st 1/4 season was the toughest schedule so far in the MLB.

I remember when predictions were made on this site at the end of March someone cleverly gave a prediction of wins broken down as MLB East victories and then the rest of the "field" which is how Wash Times broke it down.

The NL East is looking like the best division in all of baseball as a factor of ERA and runs generated.

May 18, 2011 2:54 PM

Unkyd said...

If you send Bernadina to Syracuse, you no longer have a leadoff man. I'm not sure why they're they're trying so hard to work Ankiel back into the lineup. They were vocal about his lack of production before he hit the DL. They went out and Blanco to take Bernadina's spot in Syracuse.

Ankiel is a 4th outfielder/defensive replacement if he's anything.

Yep... And PH and PR.... Plenty to keep Ankiel busy. We just don't need him starting, right now...

masnstinks said...

Bernie has really added a spark, not just in the outfield -- "the catch", but on the bases, bunting for a hit - so many things that Ankiel just does not provide. But - the manager and the fo seem to really have man-crushes on Ankiel. I remember it being that way with Manny Acta and Austin Kearns. So frustrating.

JaneB said...

Sitting in Fenway, a few rows behind home plate, freezing my behind off, and it's drizzling and so foggy you really can't see all the way across the field...and the place is PACKED. No wusses here, except for me. How fun it will be when Nats Stadium is packed with such devoted fans.

Meanwhile, keep Bernie in Center...release Stairs. Go Nats!

Anonymous said...

Anon8, I stand updated. TY.
Sec3

NatinBeantown said...

JaneB, welcome to town. Sox fans are a site to behold (the real, longtime ones I mean. They loathe the bandwagoneers of the past 8 years as much as everyone else. It will be great to get Nats Park feeling the same way.

Andrew said...

In my opinion on the Desmond bunt with Bernadina on base, Murphy took a huge chance going to 2nd. It worked for the Mets but easily could have been 2 on with no out.

Anonymous said...

Bernadina was playing too shallow there ... is it the rain or was he pulled in by Riggleman? He hasn't had a good game in the field and it looks like the rain has affected him.

Gorzelanny put his heart out there ... its really a shame ...

Anonymous8 said...

So Bob and FP are saying how great it is for Riggles to let Gorzo qualify for the win and BAM, 3-0 lead.

The Managers toughest job is knowing when to pull a pitcher. Gorzo is lucky he was facing an injury depleted Mets because this could have been 6-0 as easily as it could have stayed 1-0.

Anonymous said...

Ankiel is a 4th outfielder/defensive replacement if he's anything.

Yep... And PH and PR.... Plenty to keep Ankiel busy. We just don't need him starting, right now...

That's up to Riggleman. If Riggleman decides Ankiel starts then Bernadina goes back to the minors to play every day ... because that's what Rizzo meant when he was asked this. He said Bernadina has the tools and make up to play every day and that's what they want him to do.

The problem is both he and Ankiel can't play every day. And making Ankiel a corner outfielder would make what is already a pretty pathetic lineup even more so.

Anonymous said...

LaRoche now has the worst batting average in the NL and its getting worst. Isn't it time to put this guy on the DL Riggleman? I mean c'mon dude! WTF is wrong with you?

Anonymous said...

2 on, 2 outs, top 7, you're down 3 runs, and Nix isn't in to pinch hit? Bixler, really?

Anonymous said...

and, no, i don't care that he got a hit. why not use the guy who's crushing the ball?

CBinDC said...

Question of the day

How low does a batting average have to be that good defense is not enough to make up for the lack of hitting ?

I really have no idea ...so what say you all

Anonymous8 said...

How didn't that inning backfire on the Mets. The Nats have almost nothing falling their way tonight.

Anonymous said...

How low does a batting average have to be that good defense is not enough to make up for the lack of hitting ?

Well first its beside the point. The guy is clearly and obviously HURTING! And this is hurting LaRoche's career and reputation. He has to have offense to be a viable starting first baseman in this league. Its not like they are heading for the playoffs or god forbid the world series? This team can barely get out alive playing the deteriorating Mets club!!! WTF!!! Is Morse that bad?

To answer your question: Nick Johnson was clearly a great first baseman fielding-wise. Do you think that's why they kept inserting him in the lineup after every injury? Or was it his excellent hitting and high OBP?

This is silly and its pretty disgusting.

Anonymous said...

And gee according what we were told in ST Matt Stairs is in great shape and can play the outfield or first base? Put him out there Riggs if you must have a left-handed hitter ...

Anonymous8 said...

CBinDC said...
Question of the day

How low does a batting average have to be that good defense is not enough to make up for the lack of hitting ?

I really have no idea ...so what say you all

May 18, 2011 9:16 PM
___________________________

Call up Earl Weaver. He did that for years with Mark Belanger. Not apples to apples but teams sometimes conceded offense for defense at SS 40 years ago and I think Cal Ripken changed that mindset.

Adam Dunn was probably the opposite case and lucky they have a DH in the AL although he is hovering on the Mendoza himself right now.

Anonymous said...

Otherwise, bring up Aubrey or Marerro if you don't want to use Morse ... sheesh what a horrific manager Riggleman is.

Anonymous8 said...

Finally MASN has updated video to current roster players on these Riggleman commercials. So ridiculous watching Nyjer, Willie, Guzman on some of these clips (especially Nyjer)

Anonymous8 said...

Anonymous said...
Otherwise, bring up Aubrey or Marerro if you don't want to use Morse ... sheesh what a horrific manager Riggleman is.

May 18, 2011 9:26 PM
__________________________

So you think it is solely Riggleman's decision to make roster moves? Better check the GM job description and hold your breath for an hour.

Anonymous8 said...

you may be wondering what a .179-hitting, slick-fielding first baseman is worth. Well, according to baseball-reference.com, LaRoche's WAR is 0.2. According to Fangraphs.com (which uses a different formula), it's -0.2. Either way, advanced stats say LaRoche's glove has pretty much made up for his bat.
________________________________

Plus you keep waiting for LaRoche to break out. I liked the idea of pushing him back further in the order, like to the 9 hole when Jason Marquis is pitching!!!!

CBinDC said...

I am sorry if you really think a question that I was applying to not just LaRoche but anybody since the whole team is mired in this lack of hitting is disgusting.

It is a legit question when does one thing no longer balance out to lack of the other. And if LaRoche was not valued for the glove he would be sitting some games right now.

Anonymous said...

So you think it is solely Riggleman's decision to make roster moves? Better check the GM job description and hold your breath for an hour.

The 25-man roster HELL YES: and if you believe otherwise I have a bridge crossing the Potomac to sell you dude! Read it and weep: REPOST

@anoymous8 or someone like him querying Boz on this bone of contetion:


SEC 114, ROW E
Bos, we lost a game in Atlanta last week because we had 2 pitchers (Broderick and Hot-Rod) that the manager didn't trust - which means all of the other pitchers were burned out before the game even started. Is that Riggs' fault for not trusting/just using what he has? Or, is this one on Rizzo for not giving the manager useful players? Of course, since then they DFA'd Broderick and Hot Rod seems to have it sorted out. For now... Speaking of hard throwers, have you seen the numbers from Aroldis Chapman's last 2 outings? 7 walks, 1 HBP, and recorded 1 out.
– May 16, 2011 10:57 AM Permalink

A.
THOMAS BOSWELL :
My impression is that Rig and his staff were high on Broderick and Gaudin. To me, Broderick was a waste of time. A nice story but never going to be more than a fifth starter and the Nats have 17 of them. Gaudin? Look at the back of his baseball card. No chance he gets better. Others (me among them) prefered Kimball and thought the staff was poorly built, which would be on Rig and his coaches. But we're past that now. This is the pitching roster I'd prefer.

Anonymous8 said...

Anon, the question was bringing up Aubrey or Marrero, that is the GM's call.

Don't change it mid-stream to Boz as it isn't the same comparison, and Boz is real observant on the stale cheese in the bullpen. Anyone that follows the Nats saw that.

Mark'd said...

Anon8, don't bother arguing with this guy. You will only frustrate yourself trying to educate him.

Unkyd said...

sheesh what a horrific manager Riggleman is.

And yet...... His club has won almost half of them, facing the toughest schedule in he bigs, thus far. Atl, Phi, and Fla: #s 2,3 & 5, respectively, in staff ERA, and that's who we've been battling, for the most part.

Horrific. (hope I'm not yelling too loud. It's frustrating to know so little about baseball....)

Unkyd said...

Mark'd: doesn't frustrate me... I'm a little disappointed, when he doesn't post. Although that usually means we've won a game, which for some reason, doesn't interest him as much, it seems.

And, I learn SO much about baseball, from him ....

Anonymous8 said...

Unkyd, agreed and like they say, the Manager can't bat for these guys. How many opportunities did the Nats squander tonight?

My only criticism is that Riggles went from the quick hook after his pitchers completed 5 (early in the season) to now letting the starters labor through trouble. For a team that can't generate offense, you have to use your bullpen to keep any advantage you have. A 1-0 deficit in the 7 looks a lot better than that 3-0 leaving the 6th. I know about hindsight.

Unkyd said...

So.... Let's make it a split, tomorrow, eh?!

Then we can sweep two from the Oyos, go 1 over .500, and wipe the smile off the Crypt Keepers face!!! Sounds like a SWEET weekend!!

A DC Wonk said...

Can someone help me -- I never did see that great Bernadina catch. Can someone remind me which day it was (or, even better, post a url)?

Thanks, all

TimDz said...

Wonk: Not the best quality, but here is a youtube video (btw, it was last Friday's game):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMLzM5sZ2D0

WilliamTells said...

I'm not saying it was helpful or productive, but it did feel really good to yell out a big "YOU SUCK, LAROCHE" in the CitiField dead silence after his second hopeless K.

A DC Wonk said...

Thanks TimDz!

Anonymous said...

Your mother must be very proud of you, William.

WilliamTells said...

She is, actually. Just as yours must be every time you rip someone anonymously on the Internet. If you think it's so beneath the sport for someone to yell a non-profane heckle to a .179 number 5 hitter, I suggest you take up watching polo, Anonymous.

rmoore446 said...

I think WilliamTells mother is very proud of him. Otherwise she wouldn't be balancing that apple on top of her head.

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