Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Game 54: Phillies at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Can the Nationals stop their string of one-run losses tonight?
The Nationals more than held their own against Roy Halladay yesterday, and that still wasn't enough to win. So tonight, they'll have to both hold their own against Cliff Lee, and hope they hold down the Phillies themselves to pull off a victory and snap their three-game losing streak.

Lee last faced the Nationals on April 14, and the result wasn't pretty: He tossed a three-hit shutout, striking out 12 in the process. Five members of the Nats' lineup from that game are in the lineup tonight: Danny Espinosa, Ian Desmond, Jerry Hairston, Jayson Werth and Michael Morse. The new additions tonight: Ivan Rodriguez, Roger Bernadina and Brian Bixler (who has become the de facto left fielder against lefties).

Jason Marquis, who got rocked by the Phillies at Citzens Bank Park earlier this month, starts for the Nationals. The right-hander is seeking his first win in three outings.

Updates to come...

PHILLIES at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 185
Weather: Clear, 90 degrees, Wind 5 mph in from RF
STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (22-31)
CF Roger Bernadina
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
1B Michael Morse
2B Danny Espinosa
C Ivan Rodriguez
3B Jerry Hairston
LF Brian Bixler
P Jason Marquis

PHILLIES (34-20)
SS Jimmy Rollins
3B Placido Polanco
2B Chase Utley
1B Ryan Howard
LF Raul Ibanez
C Carlos Ruiz
RF Domonic Brown
CF John Mayberry Jr.
P Cliff Lee
6:57 p.m. -- Before we get started, couple of items: The May 17 rainout against the Pirates has been officially rescheduled as a traditional doubleheader on July 2, beginning at 3:35 p.m. ... Also, here's a pregame story I filed on Sean Burnett's surprising struggles this season.

7:07 p.m. -- And we're underway. It's actually not as sweltering as I thought it might be, still 90 degrees at first pitch, though.

7:18 p.m. -- Pretty clean first innings for both starters. Jason Marquis allowed a one-out single to Placido Polanco (who along with Raul Ibanez just seems to destroy Nats pitching) but otherwise was unscathed and needed only 10 pitches to get through the inning. Cliff Lee, meanwhile, needed 11 pitches to retire the side in the bottom of the first, striking out Jayson Werth.

7:37 p.m. -- Ivan Rodriguez's march toward baseball immortality continues. After grounding into a routine 4-6-3 double play to kill a second-inning rally, he's now 14 GIDPs shy of Cal Ripken's all-time record of 350.

7:38 p.m. -- Meanwhile, a Ryan Zimmerman rehab update: He's scheduled to play in his first extended spring training game tomorrow in Viera.

7:55 p.m. -- So, yeah, um, how many of you out there predicted the Nats would score five runs off Cliff Lee in the third inning tonight? Liars! What an unexpected explosion there. Props to Ian Desmond for drawing a big walk to load the bases for Jayson Werth, who lofted a sac fly to right for the first run. Michael Morse added the next with a broken-bat single to left. Danny Espinosa then provided the big blow: a three-run homer into the left-field bullpen on the first pitch he saw from Lee. That's Espinosa's ninth homer, which now leads the team and easily leads all National League rookies. Wow, Nats lead 5-0 after three.

8:05 p.m. -- This being Game No. 54, the Nats have reached the one-third point of the season. Which means Espinosa is on pace to finish his rookie season with 27 homers and 96 RBI. As a second baseman. Wow.

8:20 p.m. -- The Phillies are on the board in the top of the third. Domonic Brown crushes a 3-2 fastball up in the zone from Marquis over the right-field scoreboard. Nats now lead 5-1.

8:23 p.m. -- Make it 5-2 after John Mayberry Jr. follows Brown with his own solo homer. Just like yesterday, the Phillies go back-to-back against the Nats.

8:45 p.m. -- Credit to Marquis, who has seen a few games lately get away from him in the middle innings. But he bounced back from that shaky fifth inning to retire the side in the sixth, striking out both Ibanez and Ruiz. He's at 86 pitches through six innings, the Nats still leading 5-2.

8:49 p.m. -- Holy cow, Espinosa did it again. Rocked a solo homer to left off Lee to lead off the bottom of the sixth. That's his 10th of the year and gives him 33 RBI. Which means he's now on pace for 30 homers and 99 RBI this season. If you're wondering (and I know you are), only seven players in MLB history have hit 30 homers as a rookie. Three of them are Frank Robinson, Ted Williams and Albert Pujols. (One of them is Pete Incaviglia, which we'll just ignore for now.)

8:53 p.m. -- And Cliff Lee is DONE after 5 1/3 innings, six runs and seven hits allowed. Wow.

9:14 p.m. -- Nice job by Tyler Clippard to get the Nats out of a jam in the seventh. Marquis was pulled after Ross Gload reached on catcher's interference, putting runners on the corners with one out. Clippard entered and got Rollins to line out to right and Polanco to pop out to short. Nats maintain a 6-2 lead at the stretch.

9:27 p.m. -- Too many times this season (and in seasons past) the Nationals have enjoyed an early offensive outburst, only to go silent the rest of the night. Not tonight. They have never taken their feet off the gas pedal. Three more runs in the bottom of the seventh, thanks to a Morse double and RBI singles from Pudge and Hairston. It's now 9-2 and that sound you hear is a lot of Phillies fans heading for the exits.

9:40 p.m. -- So who would have guessed Cole Kimball, with only eight career relief appearances, would already have two plate appearances? And he just drew a walk off Mike Zagurski -- he's got a .500 OBP!

9:47 p.m. -- On a night in which the Nationals have scored 10 runs behind a lineup that included Brian Bixler, Jerry Hairston and Ivan Rodriguez ... Jayson Werth becomes the last member of the starting nine to record a hit. RBI double in the eighth makes it 10-2 as we go to the ninth.

9:56 p.m. -- That'll do it. The Nationals finish off a much-needed, much-enjoyed, 10-2 thumping of the Phillies. Marquis (6-2) gets the win. Lee (4-5) takes the loss. Espinosa is the hero, with two homers, a single and four RBI. Series finale tomorrow afternoon, with John Lannan trying to beat Philadelphia for the first time in his career and give the Nats a huge series victory.

77 comments:

Anonymous said...

NATS, Just Do IT!

joemktg said...

Danny in the 5 spot really demonstrates the impact of the injuries to Zim and LaRoche.

One step away from picking the lineup out of a hat.

Bowdenball said...

I don't mean to be negative and I don't think it's a condemnation of the entire organization that it first appears to be. But I can't believe that our starting left fielder- a position that most teams use to "hide" their most productive bats- is Brian Bixler.

With that said, go get 'em Nats. Cliff Lee is not invincible. On September 9, 2009, his last appearance in Nats Park before this year, an even more punchless Nats lineup got to him for 10 hits and 4 runs in 7 innings. Interesting note- not one player who was in the lineup that day is on the 25 man roster.

Anonymous said...

And how do you know the lineup wasn't picked out of a hat?

Grandstander said...

Marquis is the lone offensive bright spot 5-9.

Coach Morris Buttermaker: Come on, fellas. Rome wasn't built in a day.
Ogilvie: Yeah, it took several hundred years.

Well, we're facing the Phillies tonight, and you know what that means for the Phillies?

BAD NEWS FOR THE PHILLIES!

joemktg said...

Anon 4:31: I stand corrected.

JaneB said...

Bowdenball wrote:Interesting note- not one player who was in the lineup that day is on the 25 man roster.
So, Zimmerman on the DL now -- surely we had Tyler Clippard then? But come to think of it it -- that's sort of amazing.

Go Nats! SMACK those balls Cliff Lee sends your way!

JD said...

Interesting tidbit:

1) No. 1 overall player in all of AAA - Justin Maxwell; Marrero is top Nat at no. 38.

2) No. 2 overall pitcher in AAA - Tom Milone; 2nd only to Alex Cobb of the Rays.

Ross Detwiler has actually been ridiculously unlucky. His BABIP is .400; league average is .320.

HHover said...

JaneB

You are correct - not only was Clippard on the roster, he was the losing pitcher in a 6-5 game where the bullpen couldn't hold onto the lead. Let's hope that's not a predictor of tonight's outcome.

baseballswami said...

My guess - no matter how many runs we score tonight -- the Phillies will eke out one more than that. A weak single will fall in for them, a ground ball will find a hole, one of our fielders will mysteriously lose a ball in the lights. Expect it.

HHover said...

Oops - in that 2009 game, score was tied when Clippard gave up two home runs--the first one to Jayson Werth.

Turnabout being fair play, maybe Werth will homer off Lee tonight.

Doc said...

@ JD Thanks for the stat on JMax.

Still lots of Ks (about half the ABs) but 16 HRs in 47 games, and a .260 BA; guess he's getting used to AAA pitching.

Anonymous8 said...

JD - If anyone could help Justin Maxwell with his swing it is Kevin Long. Now lets see if JMax gets back to the bigs if he can keep those same type of AAA numbers. Note that he was also raking in Syracuse each time he was there.

Anonymous8 said...

How did Bernadina get the pick for tonight over Ankiel? Going up against the lefty Lee is a tough assignment. Let's hope Bernie frustrates them with a drag bunt towards 2nd base.

The Baseball Guy said...

It's gonna be hard to watch another Phillie fan invasion tonight..hopefully Marquis can shut them up (maybe with the addition of some clutch hits?)

The Baseball Guy said...

Anonymous8-Bernadina actually gets on base a decent amount, as opposed to Ankiel, who seemingly flies out on the first pitch of almost every at-bat.

Anonymous said...

Ok - so Bernie actually gets on, has speed and is probably going to be a part of our organization. Ankiel is -- oh, a friend of the manager's - now I see!

JaneB said...

2009 was the year I had to leave the stadium or turn off the tv i the seventh (if not sooner) because the bull pen would blow up so regularly. At least we don't have THAT anymore. I still believe in this BP, overall, even if we have not much good stuff from the left these days.

Go NATS! That guy will be pitching to you like it's pasta BATTING PRACTICE!

Anonymous said...

Why isn't Matt Stares playing first???? Cmon Riggleman, "That Lupus Kid hasn't played yet

Manassas Nats Fan said...

We got this game in the bag. Nats 3 Phillies 2.

The Baseball Guy said...

JaneB-
2009 was miserable. Lets hope that this year's bullpen isn't starting to catch the '09 fever..

HHover said...

I'm not that impressed with Ankiel, but people need to stop talking about Bernie like he's Curtis Granderson or something.

Ankiel's numbers don't look good this year, but he's also suffering from an atrocious BABIP (.253 vs .290 career), suggesting that his BA will come up as his luck evens out. Ankiel's 2010 numbers were comparable to Bernie's, which weren't that hot:

2010 #s
Ankiel - .232/.321/.389
Bernie - .246/.307/.384

On the basis of defense, Ankiel actually comes out with a higher WAR than Bernie so far this season, tho neither is anything to shout about: 0.3 for Ankiel, -0.2 for Bernie.

There are reasons to play Bernie. He's a better base stealer, and is certainly better suited to the lead off slot; he has a chance to be part of the team's future, so they might as well see what they have. If you want to make that last argument, of course, you have to be prepared for the "this ain't a development league" comeback. Either way, don't pretend there's a night and day difference between what Bernie and Ankiel can offer the Nats this year.

Anonymous8 said...

The Baseball Guy said...
Anonymous8-Bernadina actually gets on base a decent amount, as opposed to Ankiel, who seemingly flies out on the first pitch of almost every at-bat.
__________________________

Sorry was trying to be facetious as Bernadina gets the LH Cliff Lee vs the RH Halladay. Neither are great but if I am a LH batter, I choose Halladay.

The Baseball Guy said...

Anonymous8- My bad, the recent losing has me a little bit anxious..I agree, that's tough luck for Bernie.

carolync said...

I'm not going to the game tonight so there's a good chance the Nats will put it to Cliff Lee. Last game I missed Marquis outpitched Lincecum and we beat the Giants.

I was at that 2009 game Bowdenball mentioned and remember it well. JMax led off and got 3 hits. I wouldn't call that line-up punchless as it included Zimmerman, Dunn, Willingham and Guzman.

I'll go along with Nats 3 Phillies 2 with Bixler scoring the winning run from 3rd on a Matt Stairs ground-rule double.

joemktg said...

"I'll go along with Nats 3 Phillies 2 with Bixler scoring the winning run from 3rd on a Matt Stairs ground-rule double."

WAITER: another round for my friend.

Debbie Taylor said...

Why are the Nats wearing their home whites?

Mark, can you check and see when was the last time a visiting team wore their Home uni?

Grandstander said...

Debbie, that sounds like a good story for the hard hitting reporting you're known for.

Grandstander said...

GiDPudge strikes again!

Will said...

Was anyone else absolutely certain Pudge was going to ground into a double play there?

I was sitting her hoping that he'd just watch every pitch and take a strike out, since it only counts for one out.

Anonymous said...

BOZ WAS RIGHT! atta boy Espi! 5-0 against Lee? I'll take it.

I wonder what amazing way we're gonna find to mess this one up?

FS said...

I love Danny, in a non-gay way. I mean I loved him when he came up last September and loving him right now as our everyday 2B.

I read Boswell's article. Not sure whether he is right about all BABIP talk or not but this guy looks special every time I check him out.

Anonymous said...

@ FS,

So you love Danny in a non-happy way? I there such a thing as unhappy love?
Seriously though, there really isn't any room here on the blog for any kind of "bashing", so please think before you post.

Stranded_in_Philly said...

Warm up the pen. Marquis can't get his pitches down.

Stranded_in_Philly said...

Oh wait, I forgot. Riggs will let him finish at least 5 to qualify for the win, even if it ends up a 4 run inning.

SCNatsFan said...

Want to see our future CF? He's pitching right now for the Nats. Marquis will fetch us something good at the deadline, hopefully a Corey Brown who can actually play at this level.

FS said...

Anon 8:22, you are reading too much into my statement.

NatinBeantown said...

Why is it when Carp makes an observation that is immediately refuted on the field, it's so annoying, but when Charlie and Dave do the same thing on the air, it's hilarious. They were in the midst of seriously doubting Espi's power and RBI production pace when he drilled that no-doubter to the RP. The "well, then again..." observations that followed cracked me up.

But seriously, Espi for ROY! Go Nats!

TimDz said...

FS..I agree with you...people need to lighten up...
Nice Homer # 2 by Espinosa...CRUSHED that one....
I don't know about anyone else, but I really like the Naval air horn after the home runs...

Anonymous said...

Hmm, okay maybe not Storen maybe rookie Espinosa to the All Star game?

Oh I guess Boz was wrong looks like maybe Rizzo did replace Adam Dunn? With the guy you just wrote about. Just that Riggleman bats him in the wrong slot in the batting order.

Adam Dunn 203PA/166BA .181 10 doubles 0 triples, 5 HR 23 RBI
Danny Espinosa 210PA/179AB .245 6 doubles, 4 triples, 10 HR 32 RBI
And Espy is a superlative fielder who can steal bases!

Boy just after Boz's article on him what timing? Yep, he's going to be a big star.

Anonymous said...

Yah, SCNatsFan you can tell Marquis is pitching for potential suitors. He wants off of Giggleman's Isle.

oldtar said...

TimDz - the naval air horn is actually called a Klaxon and they are on submarines. Brings back a lot of memories of my navy days. Since Nats Park is right near the navy yard, it seems fitting.

NatinBeantown said...

TimDz,
I actually like the sub horn a lot too. I listen to a lot of games on the internet radio feed.

Nice start by Marquis. Put out the fire Tyler.

Anonymous said...

Yep, get Marquis a W and let Rizzo, Clark, Harris, Kline, Scialaba et al get us another Espinosa or two for him.

Anonymous said...

TimDz - the naval air horn is actually called a Klaxon and they are on submarines. Brings back a lot of memories of my navy days. Since Nats Park is right near the navy yard, it seems fitting.

They could have also used something else since the Park is close to Blue Plains. Given the way they've played since 2005 due mostly to the Lerner's frugality it may have been more apropos.

TimDz said...

oldtar...I appreciate your sharing of the knowledge...I knew it was a Naval horn, but was not sure of the actual name or from the vessel from which it came.

Oldguy said...

The players have been saying they're close. Could be. Looking good right now.

NatinBeantown said...

Anon 9:17,
I know you're just being negative and clever, because that's what anonymous posters do. But given the team's actual location near the Navy Yard and DC's obvious military connections, I like the change. The fact that the three bursts are the signal for the sub to "power up" and make a rapid ascent to surface in an emergency.

oldtar said...

The klaxon is the alert signal - you hear it on old movies along with "dive, dive, dive" - I always feel like I need to run to my battle station when I hear it! I wonder if there are other old bubbleheads out there who feel themselves responding to the alarm?

Oldguy said...

That double play in top 8 is as good as you will ever see.

NatinBeantown said...

What a great game.

BowieNat said...

Oldguy - I must agree 100%! Give credit where credit is due! GO NATS! Maybe tonight?

Eugene in Oregon said...

Really enjoyed that 3-6-1 double play (how many of those has the official scorer recorded?). Morse continues to prove impressive at 1B -- and, of course, at bat. Praise to all for a well-played game (so far).

Eugene (red-faced) in Oregon said...

Sorry - meant 3-5-1.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

This game is such a laugher that I might not need my usual bourbon and Maalox chaser to get through the ninth.

GYFNG.

Anonymous said...

I know you're just being negative and clever, because that's what anonymous posters do.

Dude if you think I'm clever and negative read Boz's chat today ... I'm willing to bet real money its why the Nats bats woke up tonight. We need to get the damned "small brain, smart ball" out of them and light the fire in their belly for some power alley action. To heck with Riggleman's strategies! Moar Espinosa batting fifth or fourth Nats RBI king and ROY.

Anonymous said...

You are neither...

A DC Wonk said...

Memo from Pudge to DC fans: I'm _still_ not dead yet.

BowieNat said...

10-2 wow, we can do that! Why not more often?

PS - No Stairs....

Anonymous said...

You are neither...
But Boz might be ... I think the invasion of the Phillie Phans made the old-time DC native extra feisty. I like it ... and it appears to have awoken the Nats offense at least for one night.

fpcsteve said...

Unless I'm mistaken, every starter including the SP has at least one hit. The hitting looks like it is starting to warm up. I'm not a Morse fan, but he ought to be getting all of the PT at 1B for the forseeable future. The Phillies came to town, and we got better. You can't make this up.

Nationals "Rapture Day" Shark said...

No Stairs ... sigh back to the murky depths to await Matty Stair's eventual return!

A DC Wonk said...

Yeah, really brilliant: the Nats' bats woke up because the players read Boz's chat. Brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, really brilliant: the Nats' bats woke up because the players read Boz's chat. Brilliant.

Perhaps not dude. But bet ya a C-note NatsPR straight away and clued in Riggleman and Rizzo. Have to think Riggleman said something to this team before the game ... but then again ...

Anonymous said...

Yeah, really brilliant: the Nats' bats woke up because the players read Boz's chat. Brilliant.

Speaking of negative ... but that's not unexpected from a wonk.

Navy Nats Fan said...

Old Tar - I'm a bubblehead too - four tours on the boats and still on active duty. Every time I hear it I get chills (or as Chris Matthews would say, a tingle runs up my leg). Plus it means something good just happened!

Brutus said...

Down with caesar! I heard there was a revolution! Fire Riggleman!

What? Not tonight? Oh. Never mind then.

Nationals "Rapture" Shark said...

Rick Ankiel looked mighty appetizing after another double-seaweed 0 for 2 night at the plate but Interim Jim always swims fast to rescue him ... he won't abandon him.

Manassas Nats Fan said...

I missed the prediction od 3-2. I had the Phillies right though.

Richard said...

The Boz article re Espinoza's unusually low BABIP and the mention of same above for Rick Ankiel has me wondering whether this stat, though interesting, can be misleading. For example, a guy who hits a lot of flyballs and pop-ups would have a low BABIP, period, vs. a line-drive hitter. Ankiel vs. Espinoza. So we'd have to ask what kind of a hitter a guy was before the stat becomes meaningful, right? Boz used it like it's useful without further analysis, which could render the stat not all that useful.

Mr. Consistency said...

I'm glad they didn't fire Eckstein last night. I'll let you all know after tomorrow's game if they should fire him today.

skidge said...

Happy happy. That's all for now!

FS said...

Let us not forget that Lannan is pitching tomorrow. I was so happy about tonight's win until I saw Lannan and Phillies in the same sentence at Nats' website.

Golfersal said...

Went to my first game since the Giants.
Shocked that if you listen to the radio you hear fireworks like we are use to.

But the real fireworks are gone, supposedly according to Phil Wood the neighborhood complained and forced the Nats to stop the fireworks, thus we have the submarine call. But what bothers me is the "fake" fireworks on the radio, sorry that is a all time low and makes me mistrust the good folks that put in fake effects.

Sorry, wonder if anyone else is miffed over this?

Great game tonight, wish the Nats could package what this did tonight

On the All-star game, yes Espinosa looks like a good choice, but if Morse continues his hot bat he could be the guy.

Just some thoughts

Andrew said...

I was there tonight. The Phillies fans were leaving by the thousands in the 7th inning. It was a great sight to behold!

Real fun game!

Scooter said...

Richard, you're probably gone, but here it is. You are absolutely right about one thing: Boswell did try to get BABIP to say a little more than it really says. But only a little.

His main point was true: for almost any hitter, guessing "about .300" will get you in the neighborhood. As you add more information -- the guy's speed, how many line drives he hits, and his historical BABIP -- you can refine your guess. But an extreme number like .209 or .413 is just very, very unlikely to hold up. (Of course, one reason the .209 doesn't hold up is that the guy eventually gets cut. That's one potential pitfall in this kind of analysis. Selection bias at work!)

Going even further, there's actually something called expected BABIP (xBABIP): punch in a guy's line drives and speed, and I forget what-all else, and it spits out what the BABIP should be. Crazy.

Like any predictive stat, BABIP analysis is going to miss on some guys. But it's useful as an indicator of what's probable.

JaneB said...

Scooter, you are awesome. Mr. Consistency, you made me laugh out loud. What a great game, and great to relive this morning.

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