Thursday, June 23, 2011

Game 75: Mariners at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats have a chance this afternoon to finish their homestand 8-1.
They've won 10 of 11. They've already swept one series on this homestand, with a chance to sweep another. They've reached the elusive .500 mark, with a chance to surpass it this afternoon. This is indeed a good time to be a National, or a baseball fan in Washington, enjoying the best run this team has gone on in six years.

For it to continue today, though, the Nats will need to cobble together some offense against a really tough rookie in Seattle's Michael Pineda. For the first time in two weeks, Jayson Werth won't be hitting leadoff; he's been bumped down to the 2-hole, with Roger Bernadina at the top of Jim Riggleman's lineup. Jason Marquis remains the No. 8 hitter, however, and will be in search today of his team-leading eighth victory.

It's a hot, muggy day in the District, with a chance of afternoon thunderstorms. If you're heading out to the ballpark, be sure to drink plenty of water. If you're stuck in the office, keep yourself tuned right here for updates throughout the game...

MARINERS at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV: MASN, MLB Network (outside D.C.)
Radio: WFED (1500 AM), WHFS (1580 AM), XM 186
Weather: Chance of storms, 91 degrees, Wind 7 mph out to CF
STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (37-37)
CF Roger Bernadina
RF Jayson Werth
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Michael Morse
2B Danny Espinosa
C Ivan Rodriguez
LF Jerry Hairston
P Jason Marquis
SS Ian Desmond

MARINERS (37-36)
RF Ichiro Suzuki
2B Dustin Ackley
3B Adam Kennedy
1B Justin Smoak
C Miguel Olivo
LF Mike Carp
CF Franklin Gutierrez
SS Jack Wilson
P Michael Pineda
12:11 p.m. -- Regarding the switch atop the Nats' lineup: Jim Riggleman said he's been hoping to get Jayson Werth back into the 2-hole, where team officials he will enjoy the most success. It helps that Roger Bernadina has been performing well lately (.318 average, .375 OBP this month). Sounds like this will be the preferred lineup when the Nats are facing a right-hander moving forward. When they face a lefty, though, Werth is likely to go back into the leadoff spot. The inability of Nationals leadoff hitters to get on base has truly been staggering this season. Overall, they're hitting .205 with a .270 OBP. But in the game's first plate appearance, the OBP plummets to .203. The Nats' first batter in the first inning has reached base only 15 times in 74 games this season. Just staggering.

12:17 p.m. -- Meanwhile, the Oakland A's this morning placed Josh Willingham on the DL with an Achilles' tendon injury. Hate to say it, but that's right about on schedule, huh? The Hammer is as solid a ballplayer as you'll ever meet, but he just has not been able to stay healthy through a full season, which was a major reason (THE major reason) Mike Rizzo was willing to trade him over the winter for Henry Rodriguez and Corey Brown.

1:09 p.m. -- Jason Marquis gets Ichiro Suzuki to bounce out to second on the game's first pitch, and we are underway.

1:11 p.m. -- That didn't take long. What an efficient way for Marquis to start the game, retiring the side on five pitches (all strikes). Three groundball outs, with both Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse making nice throws to retire Dustin Ackley and Adam Kennedy, respectively.

1:18 p.m. -- The good: Jayson Werth doubled off the right-field wall, then took third on a wild pitch. The bad: Bo Porter decided to take a chance and have Werth tag on Ryan Zimmerman's flyball to shallow center field. Franklin Gutierrez gunned him down pretty easily, despite Werth's attempt to elude Miguel Olivo's tag. Jim Riggleman came out to argue briefly, but he wasn't too animated. Replays appear to show Olivo just grazing the back of Werth's jersey.

1:33 p.m. -- Hmm, this Pineda kid looks to be quite legit. Not that I didn't suspect that going into today; I just hadn't ever seen him pitch in person. He completely blew away Michael Morse and Danny Espinosa in the bottom of the second. Marquis, meanwhile, has been effective himself through two. So far, this is a scoreless game.

1:35 p.m. -- In other news: The Nats just announced that both Bryce Harper and Brad Peacock will be playing in the All-Star Futures Game (Sunday, July 10 in Phoenix).

1:46 p.m. -- To the surprise of no one, we've got a pitchers' duel brewing here this afternoon. Scoreless through three innings as both Marquis and Pineda cruise along. Each has allowed only one man to reach safely -- Marquis walked Justin Smoak in the second, Pineda surrendered that double to Werth in the first -- and has otherwise dominated.

2:10 p.m. -- Wow, Pineda's pretty impressive, huh? Though he loaded the bases in the fourth on a Bernadina double, Werth walk and Morse single), he escaped the jam by blowing away Espinosa and Pudge, each on fastballs registering 94 or 95 mph. Still scoreless through four.

2:15 p.m. -- Forget about Pineda, how about Marquis. Five innings in the books, and he's yet to allow a base hit. Only two walks. He's at 55 pitches, 37 strikes, and is swimming along having barely broken a sweat yet.

2:28 p.m. -- Oh, well. So much for that. Marquis' no-hit bid comes to an end with one out in the sixth inning when Pineda bloops a single to center field. Yes, that's his first big-league hit.

2:41 p.m. -- Someone will score before this game is enough. That much I feel confident enough to say. But who it will be or when it will happen is beyond me. The way Marquis and Pineda are dominating, it certainly doesn't look like it's going to happen soon. It's still scoreless through six innings.

2:55 p.m. -- Marquis got into a bit of a jam in the seventh, with runners on first and second and one out. But he calmly got Franklin Gutierrez to ground into a 6-4 fielder's choice and Jack Wilson to line out to center. So this game remains scoreless at the seventh-inning stretch. Something's got to give eventually, right?

3:05 p.m. -- A great chance for the Nats in the bottom of the seventh after Espinosa bunted his way on and Hairston laced a two-out single to center. With the pitcher's spot up, Riggleman could have gone to the bench, but he elected to leave Marquis (on 94 pitches) in to hit for himself. The thinking (I assume): Laynce Nix is still hampered by a sore Achilles' tendon and isn't 100 percent. Marquis might actually have been his best left-handed hitter in that situation. Not that he looked like it in taking four mighty hacks at Pineda and whiffing on three (fouling off another). Still scoreless after seven.

3:14 p.m. -- Marquis may not have driven in the go-ahead run, but he just went back out and retired the side in the eighth. He's been absolutely fantastic today: 8 innings, 3 hits, 3 walks, 108 pitches (70 strikes). We go to the bottom of the eighth, with David Pauley (who served up Wilson Ramos' game-winner the other night) on in relief of Pineda.

3:24 p.m. -- Chance for Zimmerman to be the hero, with Werth on first and two outs in the eighth. Pauley, though, got ahead of him 0-2, then after a ball, got Zim to pop out weakly to first base. Right before that pitch, I was thinking to myself that Zimmerman is standing way off the plate, his feet almost on the outer line of the batter's box. You'd think pitchers would really try to pound the outside corner against that. Sure enough, Pauley got him reaching on an outside pitch for the final out. So we go to the ninth, still scoreless, with Tyler Clippard on in relief of Marquis.

3:35 p.m. -- Man, was Clippard throwing some serious gas in the top of the ninth or what? Gave up a one-out double to Smoak but then blew away Olivo and Carp on fastballs clocked at 95 and 94 mph. He usually dials it up to 93 or so, but it looks like he had an extra gear today. We go to the bottom of the ninth. Morse, Espinosa and Pudge to face Chris Ray.

3:45 p.m. -- Hey, Washington: You've got a winning baseball team. Laynce Nix delivers the game-winning sac fly, sending a line drive to left with the bases loaded and one out, scoring Brian Bixler to give the Nats a 1-0, walk-off victory. That's an 8-1 homestand, 11 of 12 and a 38-37 record overall. Soak it in, everyone!

186 comments:

UNTERP.NAT said...

.506 anyone?

K.D. said...

They will need to keep their energy up and focus today. This guy is tough to hit against.

Unkyd said...

Unterp.... Mind if I join you? :)

SCNatsFan said...

I'm still not sold on the pitcher hitting 8 but not like I can gripe about the results.

Go Nats! Go Marquis! Continue to add to the fun of the start of summer by racking up curly W's.

Manassas Nats Fan said...

Go for the sweep and head to Chicago on a 3 game streak.

GYFNG

David said...

yes! it can happen.

JaneB said...

Why, yes please. .506 would be lovely.
GYFNG!

SCNatsFan said...

Also see Batista was released by the Cards. He's free to date Ms. Iowa now, a great consolation prize.

Oldguy said...

Did anyone hear the interview with Zim on 106.7 this morning? Sweet mother of Jesus, I wish these radio talk guys would learn something about baseball. (Zim was great--I would have walked out.) The opening day pre-game talk was insulting to any real baseball fan. And all these yahoos who are beginning to get on board now that the Nats are at .500 will drop away like dead flies when we have another losing streak--which we will. (All BB teams do, even the good ones!) I grew up in New York and Boston and heard a lot of baseball talk and saw and read a lot of great players and great games. Willie Mays at the Polo Grounds, for example, and Warren Spahn at Braves Field in Boston. But I have never heard as much ignorance about baseball as I have heard on DC radio. It's a shame, because instead of educating our young fans about the real game, we get this drivel. Sad.
There are dozens of great books about baseball--George Will's for example, or Roger Angell's. They ought to send these guys to school to learn about the game. It's a beautiful game, and they treat it like rollerball.

FS said...

Oldguy, can you please tell us what was said? I am on their site, but can't seem to find it.

Anonymous said...

RE OLDGUY

Could not agree with you more. Those donks don't know anything about baseball. Maybe Charlie and Dave can get a 1 hour morning show on weekday mornings to spell the junkies, and talk nothing but Nats :) One can wish right

NATSFAN10

sjm308 said...

JaneB - from an older post - Bless You!! - the wave is never acceptable at a baseball game, there is always going to be something going on that could change the game. People need to understand that baseball is different and thanks for stopping that foolishness. My group up and around 308 seems to be pretty focused on enjoying the game.
Oldguy - agree with you about our sports radio, its awful - unless it involves the Redskins (or Capitals as long as they are winning) thats all they care about. I think Lovero knows the game but he is a bitter old guy. Its a shame but I heard Kevin Sheahan say he has not played catch with his two boys and they are 10 and 12. What a wasted opportunity just to enjoy your kids. Missed Zimm but I am sure he was classy as they asked their stupid questions.
Off to the stadium!!
Go Nats

Doc said...

@ Oldguy, 11:19

Sad but true. Almost anything of discussive value become bastardized by the popular media--witness political rants. Lack of training and/or lack of preparation, who knows??

And don't get me started on how they handle religious and spiritual matters.

Almost anyone of genuine understanding in their own area of professional endeavor will resent the ignorance of the so-called popular media---including ballplayers.

No wonder players are reluctant to talk to the media unless they are professional sportswriters.

Zim, obviously showed great discretion in the face of willful ignorance.

Anyway, Gooooooooo Nats! They'll have their work cut out for them today against Pineda--a younger Roy Halladay.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

A: Google? Yahoo?? Facebook?!? Nationals Game!

Q: Where can I find the old folks this afternoon?

NatsJack in Florida said...

JaneB... add me to the "BAN THE WAVE" crowd. No one who attends professional sporting events to watch the game wants to be anywhere near a "wave" (unless, of course it's a professional surfing event which requires the real thing).

Belongs in the same category as "bang sticks" and "vuvuzelas" or whatever they're called.

Bowdenball said...

Oldguy-

I feel your pain, but I don't think that what you heard was a reflection of the media in DC or DC's attitudes towards baseball in general. I think what you heard was a refection of morning talk radio in general, and the sports junkies in particular. They don't do real, serious sports talk, they do lowest common denominator sports talk entertainment.

I recall them doing a mildly amusing interview with Clippard a while back when they asked him if he wears his specs out to bars to pick up women.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Re: Pineda... "a younger, BIGGER, Haliday".

NatsJack in Florida said...

Halladay (had to fix my auto-correct..previous spelling is a co-worker)

Oldguy said...

FS--a lot of it was about Zim's charity event, and about Werth's $$ vs. his, and "Is it too early to talk playoffs?" Zim handled it all well. The same guys are still on and at the park right now.
I agree that there are knowledgeable people about BB in DC. There are maybe 10-15K hard-core fans who really understand the game--the ones who are there every game or at least once in every series.

One of the best games I attended was a Houston game about two years ago. Monday night. Drizzling rain, wasn't even sure the game would go on. Park had less than 10K fans, but they were all there for the team. Cheers louder than usual (we won) and you knew these were the real fans, not the fair-weather friends.

We have a better record than CWS or LAA--let's hope the road trip is successful.

HHover said...

SC - Hadn't heard about Batista. Thanks.

In other news of former Nats--the As have placed Josh Willingham on the DL. I'm sorry for him that it happened, but I'm not sorry it happened while he was wearing someone else's uniform.

Binx Bolling said...

For those who didn't notice, Steve Lombardozzi has jumped up to AAA Syracuse and is hitting .300 after three games. Will the Nats fill the two inside diamond positions with three men, is Desmond or Lombardozzi destined for a trade, or might Desmond be sent to centerfield?

Big Oil said...

Good day, YFNC(commentors).

For some pre-game reading, I've attempted to link to the comments section of a popular M's blog - it's been great to read through. Sort of like looking in the mirror sometimes over the past few years.

Sorry if I can't get the html right, but both game threads are just agony.

http://www.ussmariner.com/2011/06/22/game-74-mariners-at-nationals/#comments

http://www.ussmariner.com/2011/06/21/game-73-mariners-at-nationals/

Edit: looks like the comments section wont take links. If copy and pasting isnt your thing, just google USS Mariner and check out the game threads.

K.D. said...

I can't stand the generic sports talk radio that just wants to start a controversy for the sake of, well controversy. I will however stomach some of it if they have guests on who actually know what they are talking about, like Zim. It takes all kinds in the media world but would sure appreciate it if people would do their basic homework.

Nats Outsider said...

Yesterday, I commented that the game was more important than usual. The fact that the Nats won makes this game extra important as well, now. Not only would it be nice to go over .500, but it has to be a psychological boost to end a home stand with a sweep.

The White Sox and the Angels are not patsies, so it is unrealistic to expect sweeps in either of the next two series. (But don't let that stop you from trying, guys!!) And if the interim target is .500+ at the All Star break, we need to make use of the Nats home field advantage while we can.

Get those bats limbered up, Nats!!

Steve M. said...

12:17 p.m. -- Meanwhile, the Oakland A's this morning placed Josh Willingham on the DL with an Achilles' tendon injury. Hate to say it, but that's right about on schedule, huh?

Yep, Mark, those are true words and a shame though this year he didn't look like an April/May All Star. His defense isn't great also so the American League is perfect for him.

With that said, I still thought the trade was light and the A's got the better deal. Expect Willingham to be traded on July 31st for prospects to a contender (maybe back to the Nats).

FS said...

That is so not happening. Willingham is a starter and I do not see any room for him right now on our roster, unless we decide to platoon with him Nix for LF job which is kinda insulting to his talent. But if A's willing, they can have Brown back for Hammer. I liked the guy and wish him success. I think those catching duties with Marlins probably ruined his career.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Big Oil.... thanks for those links. I just read through last nites posts and man(!), I think they don't like Chone Figgins.

And Eric Wedge isn't too far behind.

I hope we don't become that cynical when we get 2 games back of the division lead.

SCNatsFan said...

We thought we got a bad deal when we signed Werth but Figgins makes him look like a bargain.

Interesting comment above about us having a glut of middle infielders, and with Rendon on the way we may have more infielders then positions. Wouldn't that be a wonderful problem to have???

Hammer, well, he always seems like an injury waiting to happen. He can be a bat for a contender this year but it won't be us and I wish him well wherever he and his creaky back lands.

Big Oil said...

@NatsJack -

No problem. I enjoy following other teams' blogs when we are playing them to get a sense of their strengths and weaknesses (when you can cut through the hyperbole). If nothing else it offers perspective.

And yea, Figgins is a persona non grata there.

Anonymous said...

That's a pity about Josh. He was always a good player and was very nice to talk to after the game. But that's why we couldn't keep him, he just can't stay healthy. And ironically, Laynce Nix, his replacement, is also hurt with a Achilles tendon strain.

JaneB said...

Bad umpire. Bad.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

BigO, I've long thought there was a niche here for a blog that covers the opposition's fan blogs.

SCNatsFan said...

I was unhappy to see Hanrahan was kicking butt and sorry he wasn't here until I read this. Sorry to post so close to lunch!

http://bustedcoverage.com/2011/06/23/pirates-closer-joel-hanrahan-gets-pedicure-toenails-painted-photos/

JD said...

JaneB,

Why is the umpire bad?

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

JD, see Mark 1:18
The update, not the scripture.

NatsJack in Florida said...

JD... I think it's because he missed the call at the plate.

And listening to Johnny Holliday makes me want to stick pencils in my eye balls!

JD said...

I don't have access to video but Mark seems to indicate that Olivo grazed Werth's Jersey.

Big Oil said...

@sec 3 -

agreed

Sam said...

I challenge Mark's notion that no one is surprised that today's game is a pitching duel. Pineda is obviously very good. Marquis is not. Quite probably, the only reason Marquis has a good ERA this year is because his walks are down. Unless at age 32 Marquis learned some new skills, I doubt he will be able to keep this up the entire year. His walk rates have been climbing every month this year. He's going to blow up soon. Expect it.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Sam: I said it's not a surprise because 1) Pineda is good, 2) Marquis has pitched well this season and 3) Both teams have weak lineups. So far, this one has pretty much gone exactly as I expected.

NatsJack in Florida said...

A Johnny Holliday qoute from the Nats last at bat..."Pudge has 6 Grand Slams in his career, with the bases loaded".

Tcostant said...

Can you say no-hitter?

Sam said...

Mark: I guess we all have our own expectations. And if any of us was constantly right, we would be rich.

I expected the Nationals to get killed today. Sweeps are so improbable. Plus, I would expect the Mariners to be highly motivated to get a monkey of their backs considering the ways they have lost the last two games.

NatHat said...

Pudge had a great at bat, especially since he is usually riding the pine.

NatsJack in Florida said...

So much for the superstitious... MASN just texted that Marquis has a no-no going.

d'OH said...

If any of us WERE constantly right.

FS said...

WOW we should have scored at least one run back then. Come on Danny boy, don't let a rookie beat you. :P

K.D. said...

Yikes, do I dare leave the office?

baseballswami said...

The Washington Nationals = Nothing is ever easy. Ever, Ever, Ever.

Wally said...

Sam - not sure why you say that about Marquis.

k/9= career average (5.21 v 5.23)
BB/9 > CA (2.4 v 3.45)
HR/9 > CA (.63 v 1.09)
GB% > CA (52.3% v 50.1%)
BABIP well worse than his CA (.316 v. .286)

So walks are down v career, and HRs also down, suggesting some regression. But BaBIP means he he has been unlucky on batted balls, which should regress the other way. There is nothing here that shouts out huge fall off in performance to follow.

SCNatsFan said...

I still get the uneasy feeling watching this team that if the other team scores first, on any given night, we might be toast. And boy do we strike out alot.

C'mon boys, give Jason something to work with.

I'm just sayin said...

NatsJack in Florida said...
So much for the superstitious... MASN just texted that Marquis has a no-no going.
June 23, 2011 2:22 PM
---------------
2:28 p.m. [Mark Z.]-- Oh, well. So much for that. Marquis' no-hit bid comes to an end with one out in the sixth inning when Pineda bloops a single to center field. Yes, that's his first big-league hit

Exposremains said...

no, no you have to pinch hit for marquis

Wally said...

Seems like Nix or even Stairs should be pinchhitting here

Debbie Taylor said...

Matt Stares could have done that!

dd011980-9dcb-11e0-932b-000bcdcb8a73 said...

I would love to punch Jim Riggleman in the face right now.

Harper is Awesome said...

This is bullshit. Makes no sense whatsoever! Marquis does not make it through this inning without givign up a run. You heard it hear first folks.

FS said...

Come on man, are you serious? Couple of coaching decisions I did not like. You do not run on a Gold Glove arm, Franklin is known to have. Bases loaded with one out, maybe we should have tried squeeze bunt. And now Marquis hitting with two on and two out, bottom of the seventh. I mean come on, at best you will get one inning out of him.

Tcostant said...

I agree Exposremains, you need to pinch hit there, he already gave you 7 solid innings and 94 pitches. Just stupid! Only way a pitcher should stay to hit in that situation is if he can bunt a guy over a base. Just plain stupid!!!

Exposremains said...

since that incident in baltimore with marquis, it seems like riggleman is scared of pulling out his starters

Sam said...

Wally, the reason why I said what I said is that everything about Marquis is similar to previous years except that his walk rate is lower (and his HR rate). And I don't think he became a new pitcher all of the sudden. I think his walks will revert back, and he will be the same mediocre pitcher he has always been.

The Dude Abides said...

The neg anons have arrived.

Anonymous said...

Maybe, maybe not, Sam, but you have no idea when that will happen.
So far, so good.

Anonymous said...

I'm not negative! Marquis is a better hitter than Stairs this year!!! This Anon agrees with Riggs!

NatsJack in Florida said...

I'll take 8 solid shut out innings any day. And he isn't the only Nats hitter to look overmatched by Pineda. today.

FS said...

Sam, why would you expect his walk rate to revert back to his career average? Does it usually happen to pitchers?

Anonymous said...

...and that is why internet posters do not have managerial jobs in MLB. Just shut up with the drama and hysterics already.

Goant said...

Sam said...
I challenge Mark's notion that no one is surprised that today's game is a pitching duel. Pineda is obviously very good. Marquis is not. Quite probably, the only reason Marquis has a good ERA this year is because his walks are down. Unless at age 32 Marquis learned some new skills, I doubt he will be able to keep this up the entire year. His walk rates have been climbing every month this year. He's going to blow up soon. Expect it.

June 23, 2011 2:00 PM
_______________________________

Pineda is a young stud, no doubt about it but to diss Marquis and what he has accomplished this year becomes a head scratcher. This guy has put up Halladay numbers for his team in which his team before today is 11-3 in Marquis starts. He may not look like an ace but I saw him outduel Cliff Lee on May 31st.

Gonat said...

Morse, Espinosa, and Pudge, who is going to step up as today's Hero?

NatsJack in Florida said...

Clip is still the MAN!

Wally said...

Sam - here is maybe where we disagree. I think that you are understating what Marquis has done in his career, and overstating how good he is doing this year. He is a career 4.5 ERA guy, which in today's post-PED world where scoring is down ~ 10%, translates to about 4.00. (If you take out his absolutely abysmal 2006, you can probably knock those numbers down by .25).

Is he performing better than mediocre this year? yes, but not enormously so (35th in NL ERA), explained almost exactly by his walk, GB% and HR% improvements. Is there value to a mediocre (ie average) SP? Absolutely yes.

Would you expect an average SP to perform well against a bad offense? Of course yes. 8 shutout innings may be more than I expected too, but I certainly expected him to do well.

SCNatsFan said...

Some Nat fans won't appreciate Marquis because of the putrid numbers he put up last year but he's been as solid as it gets. I'm happy he's here and if he signed for 2 more years I wouldn't object.

Sam said...

FS, walks are a skill that pitchers control (for the most part), unlike, for example, where batted balls go. So, at age 32, I would expect that he wouldn't all of the sudden become a control ace. It's possible, sure, but I think the odds are against him.

To whoever corrected me with my verb use with the word "any," you are incorrect. Sorry. "Any" refers to a singular entity, and, therefore, requires a singular verb.

FS said...

A bunt would be sane about now or no?

Pos D'Oh said...

Sam, it wasn't the number, it was the verb mood. That's a subjunctive.

Gonat said...

Love putting Bixler in but very surprised that Jordan Zimmermann wasn't the bunter but Riggleman had faith in Pudge and he got it done.

Tcostant said...

Bases loaded - no outs. How can we loss now?

Andrew said...

YES!!!!!!! Laynce Nix is the hero!!!!!!!

PosAnons Win! said...

Great Year For Nix, Gang!

Andrew said...

with an assist to Danny Espinosa!

Big Oil said...

HEY-OH!

Unkyd said...

Boy!! I sure love that Klaxon, on the radio!!!

Tcostant said...

Nats Win!!!

Nix hit sacrifice fly to shallow left, for the win.

I'm glad we're now over .500

NatsJack in Florida said...

And I'm not sure Olivo ever touched home plate on the great play by Wilson. But WHO CARES NOW!

GYFNG!!!!

FS said...

WOW we almost did not have that one. LOL, thank you Carp for your crappy throw. Good thing we won.

I thought Nix was not available. Anyways, glad he could pick us up.

I remember Ray as O's closer. Poor guy used to be very good with them.

Andrew said...

Nats are now 12-3 in games Marquis starts. What an incredible stat when you think of what that means in context.

Sam said...

@Pos D'Oh: Okay, I'll eat my words. I was wrong.

Anyway, I'm in a good mood. Bang zoom!

RickH said...

Mark ... It was Espinosa who scored the winning run.

Gonat said...

First win for Tyler Clippard this year. Wasn't Clip like 8 wins at this point last season?

Also for stats, Espinosa deserves a hit on that 1st bunt that he got on! Should have been 2-4 and hope the official scorer changes it back to a hit.

JD said...

Wally; I think the point with Marquis is this. When a player is putting up numbers which are better than what should be anticipated (and Marquis superficial numbers such as wins and ERA are better than we had a right to expect) you can do one of 2 things:

1) The Jim Bowden way which has been advocated by several posters which is to give him an extension therefore buying high.

2) Maximize his value by trading him to a team in a playoff race which needs a fair pitcher for it's 4th or 5th spot. This way you are selling high.

I understand that most GM's aren't idiots and they also know that Marquis isn't Lincecum but don't under estimate the pressure to make a move at the deadline when you are right there in the hunt.

Charlie Slowes said...

Unbelievable!!

Water23 said...

Just awesome!

Wally said...

Holy hell! Riggs resigned

Grandstander said...

WOW

Riggs resigned.

Holy cow!

Cwj said...

I'm stunned!!!
Man oh man!

Tcostant said...

I just heard the same thing om ESPN 980am; you think he asked for an extention and when he didn't get he quite.

masnstinks said...

Did anybody see this coming/

NG said...

Riggleman -- WTF????

FS said...

What? This is very shocking, given that we are doing so well and might have a shot at contention this season. Riggs, why?

Cwj said...

But why would he quit??? He was in no danger of being fired any time soon...
I'm shocked by this

baseballswami said...

I guess all the riggs haters are happy now...

FS said...

This is like a bad movie script. The coach resigns, right when the team is doing great. What now? the players will ask for Jim to be brought back? or is he preparing himself for Florida job. I seriously hope not.

Cwj said...

Mark Z- Looking forward to an article about Riggs. Am very curious for your take on this.

Tcostant said...

Wow - I guess he didn't have as much leverage as he thought.

Nationals manager Jim Riggleman has resigned.
The Nationals jumped over .500 with a victory over the Mariners on Thursday afternoon and have won 11 of their last 12 games in an incredible and promising stretch of quality baseball. But Riggleman has decided to call it quits due to a rift with management over his unexercised option for 2012. It's a shocking turn of events.

http://www.rotoworld.com/headlines/mlb/329857/jim-riggleman-resigns-from-winning-nats

Rizzo confirms it! Live on 980am

NatsJack in Florida said...

Something tells me it's health related. He's an honorable guy and wouldn't resign over contract issues at this stage of the season.

SCNatsFan said...

Unless it is health related then its a crappy move by Riggs. Finally get on a roll and this happens if what the posters are saying is true.

Grandstander said...

He gave an ultimatum to Rizzo to pick up his option by the end of the game and Rizzo told him what he could do with that ultimatum.

TheRube said...

Hard to believe it's health related. Rizzo just threw Riggs under the bus saying it was a selfish move by putting himself before the team.

Totally blown away...

Tcostant said...

Rizzo said Riggs talk him yesterday and said if his option wasn't picking up by today he would not be going on the road trip. Amazing.

Hello Is Bobby Valentine there?

FS said...

I mean just straight up resigned. Ask for an extension first dude. Come on, this is unbelievable. This is more gruesome than the movie I am watching right now, Alien.

A DC Wonk said...

He gave an ultimatum to Rizzo to pick up his option by the end of the game

When did he give that ultimatum? Surely he gave Rizzo more than 9 hours notice. Didn't he?

Wally said...

My guess is that Riggs has been embarrassed all along that he entered this year without a contract, and played a heavy hand. It is pretty unusual, especially with such a low $ amount. Rizzo basically said that Riggs demanded it be picked up, and he refused. Rizzo also seemed very uncomfortable the whole press conference.

Should be some happy posters here. I am not one of them, though. I am mixed on Riggs, but this is embarrassing for the team, regardless how it is spun.

Grandstander said...

Bobby V would be an awesome choice, but I have to wonder if they might not slide Bo Porter in there and keep McLaren on the bench. I have a huge man crush on Bo Porter.

Anonymous said...

This isn't just a today thing - this has been hanging on embarassingly long. what else did the guy need to do? Kind of don't blame him.

Anonymous said...

Uh Oh, what is MASN going to do with all those commercials?

Grandstander said...

Rizzo said he told him before the game.

A DC Wonk said...

So, he gave him _one day_ notice?!?

Isn't it usual that there's not progress on contracts until after the season? (Not that it's unusual, it's just that there is a significant number of folks who don't like to do contact stuff during a season).

Coach from Rockville said...

To Do List:
1. Get Nats above .500
2. Burn bridge
3. Subscribe to MLB.TV

masnstinks said...

commentators are starting to recover now -Phil Wood seems to be in support of riggs, saying this should have happened already. I feel sorry for the team - they have been playing their butts off - I really hope they can hang together. Now we will see if they are really a tight unit.

NatsJack in Florida said...

I stand corrected. Apparently, he's not as honorable as I thought. A contract is a contract. I can understand the organization has a priority to sign their draftees right now so, obviously, someone under contract right now, with 3 or 4 more months to go can wait till the end of the draft signing period to get something done.

I've lost alot of respect for Riggs.

And I sure don't want McClarren as an interim.

Tcostant said...

DC Wonk the answer is 24 hours, Riggs told Rizzo to pick up the option or he wouldn't be going on the road trip.

Besides Bobby V., how about Davey Johnson, he works for the team and maybe he gets inspired by what happen in Florida.

Anonymous said...

I disagree on riggs being dishonorable - the fo has been dishonorable to him. He has done everything they have asked of him and gotten a lot out of this team - there is only so much disrespect you can take. I think you will see that they have had someone in mind all the time and they have been just letting him hang.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like they have been blowing him off.

Anonymous said...

Selfish. That's all I can think. Your team is doing amazing and is finally coming together, and you give them one days notice and resign because they won't give you an EXTENSION? Really? Thought you were better than that, Riggs. This is the kind of stuff that can seriously screw up a team. Thanks for that.

Anonymous said...

Ray Knight is the answer.

Anonymous said...

At 75, Frank Robinson wouldn't be the oldest manager in the league!

Grandstander said...

In other news, Rick Ankiel and Matt Stairs have been given their unconditional release.

N. Cognito said...

"the fo has been dishonorable to him"

Absolute BS.
He has a contract and he's leaving the team in a lurch. Not getting your contract extended this early in the season is not an unusual occurence.

Riggs might possibly have ended any possibility of him getting another managerial job in MLB.

Cwj said...

Riggs is absolutely trashing the Nationals in this interview.
He is coming across as a little bizarre...

Jim Webster said...

Congratulations all you Riggs bashers; you got your wish.

Wally said...

Gotta be an interim guy from the current staff. Porter sounds like a good choice (if he'll take it: he refused it in Florida last year).

Btw, if you were Rizzo and heard this before the game, (i) would you do it?, and (ii) if no, wouldn't you have figured out who was the interim guy so that you could at least avoid saying 'we'll make a decision by tomorrow's game?'

My answers to my own questions - no, I wouldn't give in to the demand. I have managed a lot of people in my business career, and you can never give in to that kind of threat. Your credibility is gone. Now, I would have picked up the option a while ago to avoid this situation. Regardless of the views on Riggs, it is very unusual for a manager to be on a 1 year deal, and especially with it being such a low deal, I think that on balance they should have picked up his option at the beginning of the year. It also helps give the manager some cred with the players. Nevertheless, once there, you have to stick to your guns. And yes, I obviously would have spent the few hours that I had to come up with the interim guy. That just looks foolish.

The truth is, each side looks bad here, to me.

baseballswami said...

so he did NOT say - pick up his option or he resigns - he said he wanted a conversation about it and once again, Rizzo blew him off.

Anonymous said...

so money is first? what about winning? the team is 38-37

NatsJack in Florida said...

So who's stopped honoring their contract? Where I come from, people that don't honor their contract are called quitters.

Maybe he can go manage Handley Ramirez. He likes to quit on stuff.

Tcostant said...

The contract Riggs got did suck, low pay, the club had all the advantages. Maybe he should have fired his agent.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Hanley

N. Cognito said...

Grandstander said...
"In other news, Rick Ankiel and Matt Stairs have been given their unconditional release."

Are you BSing us?
We've already got the good news that Lindsay Czarniak is leaving WRC and Dan Snyder's lap to go to ESPN.

Cwj said...

Crazy stuff.
Anyway, Go Nats! 38-37! :)

Anonymous said...

so - Matt Stairs gets to stay and Riggs is gone? Doesn't sound like Rizzo even broke a sweat to try to keep him. I think Riggs was right - they never planned on letting him keep this team once they were good - they were using him and stringing him along.

Anonymous said...

Anybody who tweets - any of the players commenting?

Frediemac said...

The Lerners are just the worst cheapskates in all of sports. Bill Bidwell level cheap.

Although Riggleman should be ashamed of quitting during the season.

Constant Reader said...

Obviously Riggs couldn't have issued this ultimatum on Memorial Day. Apparently he thought he earned the right to issue an ultimatum today. How Riggs thinks he will ever get a job again is beyond me.

Cwj said...

I will be very interested in hearing how the players reacted to the news.
Now the fun time of looking for a new manager begins :)

dj in Fl. said...

Many TV commentators have expressed shock that Riggs option had not been picked up. Rizzo's quote last week seemed to make it sound as if he could care less about getting it done any time soon.
I think the FO has once again shown a lack of class by not picking it up and if Riggs had not had this conversation before toda,y then he was wrong also. But he waited till after the draft, knowing most important signings will not take place till August, and asked that it be addressed then Rizzo and the front office is very wrong. And do not think Bobby V. would manage here with all the decisions being made by the FO.
We have lost a damn good manger today.

N. Cognito said...

Frediemac said...
"The Lerners are just the worst cheapskates in all of sports. Bill Bidwell level cheap."
Take your idiotic comments back to BPG.

Anonymous said...

I blame rizzo here. He's been skating around this for a while. The Nats season just officially ended. they will lose 5 out of the next 6. Idiots!!!!!!! This is the kind of BS the Redskins are made of.

Grandstander said...

Why is Phil Wood so high on Riggleman? He's talking like the season is lost now and Rizzo was insane not to pick up his option.

erocks33 said...

I can almost guarantee that Riggs wanted more than just the option picked up and that he wanted an extension. If that's the case, then no manager would re-sign for just a one or two year extension. He would probably demand a 3+ year extension, and while I'm pretty "meh" with Riggs as the manager, there is no way in heck I would ever extend him for 3+ years.

So, if he did give an ultimatum, then I think Rizzo did the correct thing by not extending him.

Frediemac said...

Sorry but they are CHEAP!

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

How long before Quade is let go? And speaking of the Cubs, Ryne Sandberg may be available for the Nats job.

Anonymous said...

Rizzo is really acting in a class-less way - I have lost respect for HIM today, not Riggleman. He has showed no respect for Jim at all and basically lied in his statement - Riggs did NOT SAY pick up the option today , he said have a conversation.He is acting like Riggs had no value to this team at all and it will make no difference who the manager is. We'll see.I guess this is how you show loyalty to your people.

A DC Wonk said...

The Lerners are just the worst cheapskates in all of sports. Bill Bidwell level cheap.

Yep. And Werth, Strasberg, and Harper are all in agreement with you.

Not.

Riggs had a contract with an option year. Unless the contact said the option had to be exorcized by June 23, 2011 -- he's doesn't seem to be standing on firm ground here.

N. Cognito said...

Since some of you people seem to think you know what's going on in the front office, please tell us what has transpired this season in talks between Rizzo and Riggs.
Haters gotta hate.

A DC Wonk said...

Rizzo is really acting in a class-less way ... .I guess this is how you show loyalty to your people.

Oh, and Riggs showed loyalty to his players today? Quitting during the hottest streak in baseball?

waddu eye no said...

riggs looks relieved that it's over. and i agree with him that he should get the respect that goes with a conversation about his contract. rizzo "it wasn't the time." how much time does it take? i think after getting back above 500 for the first june since 05 is a great time.

TimDZ said...

I put this on Riggleman...
When you have the record that he has, you are in NO position to give ultimatums. The team is 38-37 this after losing 90 plus last year.

I am sorry that he resigned, but I don't see this as Armagedon.

A DC Wonk said...

N. Cognito said...

Since some of you people seem to think you know what's going on in the front office, please tell us what has transpired this season in talks between Rizzo and Riggs.
Haters gotta hate.


Good point, N.C. Something like this could be all the fault of one party, or the other, or part of both, or misplaced pride, or whatever -- and unless we were flies on the wall, it's surely impossible, at least at this early time, to know.

FS said...

This does not look good on the franchise. However attractive they made themselves look by making all this progress, do you think any impact free agent would be willing to overlook this sort of unstability?

I want to know every detail of what happened from a credible source before I say anything. Don't want to look stupid.

Constant Reader said...

Still blown away that Riggs felt strongly enough about it to make this decision. On Memorial Day, we had lost 8 of 9 and Riggs was on every media short list of managers likely to be fired. Rizzo did not fire him. We go on a wonderful hot streak and Riggs just can't go forward as manager without a decision on his future. Unbelieveable.

Natman said...

I've quit a job when I was getting underpaid. "Classless" is a label that Riggleman does not deserve. Ironically, I'm not a Riggleman lover. But I do understand business. All you haters take a bath!

Sunderland said...

You can not blamce Rizzo. He can't be allow himself to be pushed around. Riggs had a contract. He had to stay the season. This is pretty absurd, pretty out there.
Rizzo (it seems based on what we know now) could have made this go away by picking up the 2012 extension for $600K. Then can Rizzo at season end. And you still pay him the $600K and you still paid less than market value for a manager. But Rizzo could not cave in.
Wonder how RIggs agent is feeling about this?

masnstinks said...

I really hope the players don't start taking sides in this the way all of us posters have. They are really going to be challenged to stick together and play ball. We've been saying that this is a high character team - I guess they will be further tested now. I really like this team and I am sure that this will be a tough road trip. I am personally going to stop taking sides and think good thoughts for the team. Let's all just get behind the guys and continue to cheer them on - let the bureaucrats figure out the rest.Go Nats - sweep the white sox! Ignore the talking heads and just play baseball!

A DC Wonk said...

rizzo "it wasn't the time." how much time does it take?

If Rizzo thought it more important to get the contracts done on the 2011 draft class -- he made the right call.

phil dunn said...

Riggs crapped in his mess kit. He had nothing to lose by staying the rest of the season. Now he is unemployed with no income. He also walks away from his buyout if they didn't pick up his option for next season.

sparky said...

I think it is classless to take this winning streak and try to use it for your personal gain. Why didn't he do this 3 weeks ago? Because he'd have be laughed out of town. Yes, classless. And no, not a hater. Man I hate that term.

N. Cognito said...

A DC Wonk said...
"N. Cognito said...

Since some of you people seem to think you know what's going on in the front office, please tell us what has transpired this season in talks between Rizzo and Riggs.
Haters gotta hate.


Good point, N.C. Something like this could be all the fault of one party, or the other, or part of both, or misplaced pride, or whatever -- and unless we were flies on the wall, it's surely impossible, at least at this early time, to know."

If someone knows of some promise Riggs isn't keeping (i.e. promised to make a decision by June 1st) I'll jump on the Riggs bashing bandwagon.

Anonymous said...

masnstinks - agreed - we need to rally around the guys. I am just so sorry that they won't be at home where we can show support for THEM -- fans don't wear jerseys with manager and gm's names on them!

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

I can't believe the extension was the only issue. The guy is a baseball lifer, and from the area. You don't walk out on that over a contract alone.
Well, I wouldn't.

And let me be the first volunteer to fill in for the rest of the season!

Ribuld said...

I think it's obvious Rizzo had no plans for Riggs to be anything more than a caretaker manager.

If that's Rizzo's attitude he should have no problems finding another caretaker on the cheap.

dj in Fl. said...

We have to remember that the only folks with loyalty are fans. To the players, coaches and FO this is a business first, and formost.
And in sports contracts have little meaning, it is all about what you have done for me today.
I do not think they wanted to have Riggs come back, but couldn't be men about it and tell him.
A bad day for those that are the loyal fans.

Anonymous said...

Wonder how the guys are feeling after that great win and sweep - then - wtf? This is just freaking crazy.

N. Cognito said...

Ribuld said...
"I think it's obvious Rizzo had no plans for Riggs to be anything more than a caretaker manager."

Even if true, what's your point? Do you really think this doesn't happen on other teams? In other businesses?

JaneB said...

I wish they had given the guy the respect he earned. Look what he has accomplished...without Zimm or Srrasburg! I think everyone knew he was being disrespected, and how do you manage like that? I didn't lose any respect for him. None at all. No Davey Johnson and no Bobby Valentine. I can't imagine what it's like for the players now.

I wish Jim only the best, and I am grateful for what he was able to do to get these guys where they are.

But Grandstand...I agree that Ankiel and Staires are history. A least I hope so.

baseballswami said...

Ribuld - I think you are right that he was just a caretaker - and he saw the handwriting on the wall. It was pretty obvious that Rizzo thought he would be pretty easily replaced.

Anonymous said...

Can Stairs go with him, please?

JaneB said...

Man, on TV they are saying Riggleman DIDN'T want Stairs. And that he did want Bernie from the start. Hmmmmm. No more Stairs was the o e bright light I saw here.

phil dunn said...

Matt Stairs next nats manager? That would explain why he is still on the rostr.

Bzl. said...

Very bizarre. What a turn of emotions if you went to the game today. Exhilaration over the drama (again) in the 9th inning, then going to your car radio and turning on Charlie and Dave. I heard the "play of the game" then they switched very suddenly to Rizzo on the post-game conference talking about having accepted the resignation. Holy moly.

PS Debbi Taylor is an abomination. Just thought I'd throw that in. She is an embarrassment to journalists everywhere. Riggleman blew off her inane question about having a 2-year contract, then Rizzo tried to be polite as she asked dopey questions. What is she doing on the air?

Ribuld said...

N. Cognito said...

"Even if true, what's your point? Do you really think this doesn't happen on other teams? In other businesses?"

It happens everywhere especially in sports.
I guess it took Riggs this long to figure out he wasn't in the Nats long term plans. He felt dissed when Rizzo wouldn't talk to him and quit.

If Rizzo had no use for Riggs he should have layed it on the line to Riggs instead of stringing him along.

JoeGish said...

Jackie Moon says: "ELE! Everybody love everybody!"

Anonymous said...

The Mets must be salivating.

Alan_A said...

Seems like Riggs is the kind of guy to build up a lot of anger without letting anybody see it. These guys who seem to be calm almost never are. In a different way (tension, not anger), cf. Willie Randolph.

And speaking of ex-Mets managers - please, not Bobby Valentine, no, no, no, no, no. Not unless you like media grandstanding, general dishonesty and a tendency to throw his players under the bus. I lived with it in NY and I don't want to go through it again.

Davey Johnson, I could deal with.

Willie Randolph, I could deal with, though I have no sense he's a realistic possibility.

Ribuld said...

Mr. Z coming up on 980 at 5:30.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Just guessing, not suggesting: Bob Brenley. The A's beat Rizzo to BoMel.

Anonymous said...

How does this affect the All Star Game deal? I am guessing there is no way he is involved now.

Joe Seamhead said...

Jim Riggleman is a good guy that made a bad decision. He had a contract. He gave an ultimatum, or did he? It doesn't matter. He was under contract, Rizzo could not allow himself, or the team to give in to threats. Rizzo, and maybe the Lerners, didn't want to talk extension at this time. I think Jim is a great guy, but he does seem to take losing too graciously, not unlike a certain first basemen that Rizzo let walk. Personally, I never thought that Jim was the long term answer for the Nationals to win with.He made what seems to be a very terminal move for his future in baseball. I wish him luck. Who's next? The king is dead, long live the king! Whoever it is going to be!

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