Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Lannan nixes Philly curse

Associated Press photo
Laynce Nix homered and made a key catch in left field during the Nats' win.
Well, they did it. The Nationals took a series from the Phillies. And John Lannan beat his long-time nemeses for the first time in his career, leading the way to a 2-1 victory this afternoon.

Laynce Nix played no small role during the proceedings, homering off Roy Oswalt and making a game-saving catch in the sixth to preserve the slim lead.

Rich Dubroff has the full recap on


Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

In my opinion, the biggest win of the season. Lannan gets the monkey off his back, we win the series, they do it without Zim or LaRouche, hell, they won a game without Matt Stares. No, the way they won it is what mattered. Built a small lead courtesy of Laynce Nix, saved it courtesy of Laynce Nix, bullpen was brilliant, defense did enough. And for you Riggs-haters out there, he managed a helluva a game. Managed the bullpen perfectly, took Lannan out just when it appeared he might be whipped in the sauna conditions and managed his bench perfectly. Folks, this isn't football where the coach calls the plays and what-not. All Riggs can do it put his best lineup on the field, manage the bullpen and keep everybody upbeat and on the same page. Today he did that perfectly. So, please, no calls for Riggs' firing until...oh, let's say, June 2.

Grandstander said...

I don't think Riggs managed a helluva game. It doesn't suddenly become a smart move to put Slaten in there because Nix made a spectacular catch. Slaten has no business being on this team. Hell, they may as well call up Lee Hyde!

I agree, this was probably the win of the season, but I'm not letting Riggs off the hook just because we had some major breaks and managed to BARELY avoid losing.

A Large Understanding of Small Ball said...

It took Adam LaRoche to diagnose his own problems, otherwise all the good things that Morse has done lately wouldn't have been done.

And that, my friends,is the largest mistake of the Sad Man's small ball!

A little quicker on the uptake in this area, and the Nats would have won a few more games!

Dave said...

I think JaneB asked this in the game thread: What happened to FP on the MASN broadcast?

I was at the game, and I'm just watching the last strikeout on the replay. I had the TV off for a couple innings, and when I turned in on the bottom of the 8th, Ray Knight is doing the booth analysis. Did FP succumb to the heat?

Drew8 said...

Speaking of the heat, Harper's heating up again. He homered again tonight and knocked in three.

After 51 games he's hitting .335 with 12 homers and 39 RBIs.

Feel Wood said...

They said FP had to leave due to a prior commitment. Also sounds like FP won't be doing the DBacks games, since Carpenter mentioned that Ray Knight would be in Arizona for the series.

Anonymous said...

All Riggs can do it put his best lineup on the field,

He doesn't always do that though. When you as a fan have to suffer watching LaRoche gut it out and not get swapped for Morse who is doing very well? When he trots Rick Ankiel out there and makes him a starter? Puts him at leadoff? When Riggleman consistently, without any bias or emotional crap puts the best lineup out there then you can say that. But he hasn't and he won't ... and that's why in the end he has to go.

Doc said...

I have to say that FP is doing, to my mind, a really good job as the analyst. He has broadcaster skills, in addition to his reflections on what's going on down on the field.

He makes a lot of observations that do well to reveal,again from my perspective, inside baseball stuff.

SonnyG10 said...

Riggleman is not going anywhere. The Nats are going to pick up his option and give him at least a five year extension.

And I agree with Sunshine, Riggleman did manage a helluva game!!!

Nats Outsider said...

I have been reading the attacks and praise for Riggleman with a mixture of amusement and annoyance. Riggleman is not a great manager. He is an *adequate* manager. More importantly, he is probably about the best manager this team can expect at this stage of its development.

The Nats are not going to be able to hire "the next Joe Torre" until they have a team that is on the verge of being World Series caliber. Top managers want to work with top teams. Right now, the Nats are working to prove that they can play .500 ball. They aren't going to the playoffs this year -- or next, short of a minor miracle. Riggleman seems perfectly capable of helping them move to the point of playing consistently decent baseball. The Phillies series shows that they can play decent ball, at least some of the time. Now, they have to do that *most* of the time.

Managers can't play the game. All they can do is move the pieces they have around the board. Riggleman has done a pretty fair job of that. I can't think of anyone who is out there and available that could have done much better.

Just one man's opinion, of course. Let the flames begin!!

Grandstander said...

I don't have a problem with 95% of what Riggs does. I may think a different way is better, but I can see why he did what he did.

But 5% of the time, I'm utterly flaberghasted by his moves. Bringing Slaten in there, who for the month of May owns a .345 BAA and 1.112 OPS, when Coffey has been one of our only reliable relievers outside of Clipp and Storen is baffling.

Going on TV one day and saying Bernadina is "our leadoff guy" and then starting Ankiel 2 out of the next 3 games because he "can't abandon him" is ludicrous.

Matt Stares.

These are the things that aggravate me as a fan. This is a far more fundamentally sound team then we've seen since, well, ever. But this stubborn insistence on "playing every man" and "sticking with your vets" has been costing us games.

The nonsensical double-switches, the "playing the percentages" by starting Bixler over Nix in left. It feels like he's overmanagerial (word?). That's my problem with him.

Otherwise I think he's great :)

Anonymous8 said...

"He managed a helluva a game"

Riggleman certainly deserves credit but Riggleman didn't take credit for the "small ball" in the 1st inning with Desmond's bunt as he clearly stated Desmond bunted on his own. I think Bo Porter deserves credit for knowing Ibanez arm strength and testing it against Bernadina's speed which scored the 1st run.

Should Riggleman have brought Coffey in one batter earlier? It all worked out with drama but that is where I go back to it was the Nats game and that is what was meant to be. Everything worked out in the end. A dramatic 2-1 win.

It was a win so Riggleman deserves the credit. I cringed when Tyler Clippard threw 2 innings of relief and that worked out.

Rizzo has to help Riggleman out and get him someone to replace Slaten. For a LOOGY he isn't doing a specialized job as his stats prove out that he is one of the worse in the Majors.

What Riggleman did well was purposely mis-spelling Lannan's name on the lineup card.

Sec3MySofa said...

Question for the stats folks: Any idea what Cliff Lee's record would be if he HAD signed with the Nats this winter? 'Cause he's 4-5 with the very good Phillies, which comes to, in dollars, lessee, carry the one ... wayyy less than they're paying for.

Not that I'm gloating.

Anonymous8 said...

Andrew said...
Something else today on luck, Karma, whatever you want to call it. All plays went for the Nats essentially today.

Drew Storen gets a called 3rd strike on the black against Polanco to end the game. He deserves that call like all [top] pitchers and he actually got it. The home plate ump hesitated a split second and gave it to him and Polanco gave it to the home plate ump.

BTW, the only run scored by the Philthies was a unearned run. Riggleman pulls LannEn one batter too late but in this case Coffey doesn't do his best Coffee break and Slaten was rescued by an amazing catch by Nix.

This was the Nats of mid-April. Glad you are back! Small ball, smart ball, whatever happened in the 1st inning was the little bit of offense that we saw in mid-April that was the difference maker plus that solo jack by Nix (on a changeup no less).

This is soooo sweet!

June 1, 2011 5:34 PM

For anyone wondering if the final strike was on the plate can see that it was just on the black.

Grandstander said...

His W-L record is a poor indicator of how he's been pitching. Much like Nats pitchers, he's suffered from a lack of offense. If you look at his ratios, they're pretty sparkling.

Outside of 2 blow ups, the one against us and his second start against the Bravos, he's been shutdown, never going less than 6 innings with an insanely high K rate.

When you look at the stats that matter, he's been pretty good, sporting a tremendous 4.74 BB/SO (19/90) with a 1.263 WHIP. That's 10.1 K/9. His OPS is .707 and that's with a .344 BABIP, meaning hes been very unlucky.

I don't know about you, but:

A) I doubt his W-L record would be better on the Nats with our anemic offense

B) I would have still payed him what he's getting plus more for those ratios.

You can't blame a pitcher for shitty offense.

Anonymous8 said...

Grandstander said...
Going on TV one day and saying Bernadina is "our leadoff guy" and then starting Ankiel 2 out of the next 3 games because he "can't abandon him" is ludicrous

I don't have a problem with this as he gave Bernie a day off so that made sense and against Halladay he felt Ankiel would give him some more pop and bring Bernie off the bench.

The real head scratcher was Rizzo's proclamation that Bernie has to play every game. It was BS when he said it and it is still BS.

Now if Bernie isn't starting 5 of 7 days consistently, then I will have to wonder about true intentions here.

I actually liked how it was managed today where Ankiel was brought in for defense in the late innings which is how I imagined his role early in Spring Training.

Sec3MySofa said...

grandstander, you're thinking too much. I was making fun of them.

It's a joke, son. A joke!

Grandstander said...

He Bernie 2 days off out of 3 after Ankiel came out and has given Ankiel a suspicious amount of playing time considering his production.

And to say Ankiel has more pop than Bernadina just totally invalidates everything you say. I'm sorry, but only one of those players has "pop" and it sure ain't Ankiel. I think we can at least agree on that.

Grandstander said...


Don't joke with me about statistics.


Drew8 said...

Let's agree on this, too, G. Please back off the profanity in your 12:07 post.

Don't make Mark take out the ruler.

"Barnyard" offense conveys it just fine.

"Offensive offense" does the trick, too.

Grandstander said...

Sorry. I've been really trying to not use profanity. I swear, I've made an effort, that was a slip up. Apologies to any who were offended. If I could edit I would.

I get fired up and I'm not used to pulling punches with my language. If I could edit my post, I would, but I can't.

Sorry to all who are offended, it was written in the heat of passion. I hope the comment can stand without the dirty language at the end.

Anonymous said...

Let me help a bit with the "argument": Posnaski anyone (of course everyone has read FJB on how Riggleman is the National League's ultimate small ball oooops forgot its "smart ball".

Let's start with this Posnaski quote:

I like Riggleman. And he likes small ball. And he likes to stick with his players (a noble quality, I think). And he likes to go with his gut sometimes as a manager. That's fine. I mean, no, it's not really "fine" in that that I wouldn't want him to be the manager of my team, but that's because I have a particularly strong distaste for small ball ("smart ball") and overconfidence in gut instincts.

Next let's keep in mind that Steven at FJB uses stats to make a convincing argument that Riggleman intentionally calls for the sacrifice bunt more than any other manager in the National League. In other words small ... ooops I mean "smart ball". Also keep in mind that during his last chat and in other chats Boz has made it a point to say he learned baseball at Earl Weaver's knee. One can't argue with Earl's success right?

Now we come to this interesting comment within Posnaski's blog post by a poster named Mark:

I read a book on baseball in 1971 (yes, I am an old fart) and Earl Weaver contributed a chapter on managing.

Weaver clearly stated that he kept detailed statistics on his players so that he could come up with the best match ups possible, and provided several examples.

He also discussed the sacrifice bunt. It was the first time I learned that a runner on first with nobody out had a better chance of scoring than a man on second with one out. He discussed why you never bunt with your best players (he gave the example of Frank Robinson laying down a sacrifice, after which Boog Powell is intentionally walked. He loses two at bats from his best hitters in exchange for an out and a base. Very bad trade, he called it).

Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that this came out in 1971 and you all know how successful Earl was the rest of his career (I think he is one of the 3 or 4 best managers in history). So Earl was using sabremetrics before sabermetrics had even been invented.

Anonymous said...

Bottom Line: Riggleman and his "smart ball" very bad trade, very bad for the Nats, and likely the true reason why Riggleman always wins below the pythagorean and has the worst winning percentage in modern baseball history.

Riggleman is not a winner.

natsfan1a said...

Haven't yet read the gamer love for the pun in the headline? He included a photo of the guy and everything... :-D

Rabbit said...

Yes, the bullpen was brilliant, and can thank Lance Nix for that. Without him, Slaten would have gotten clobbered and Slaten would have lost the game. It was great to see a win like this. Can they keep it up?

dj in Fl. said...

Since our biggest probem has been driving in anyone who gets on base by any means, it hardly matters what you call it.
Now in this Philly series we had the bunts, doubles, and homers, but most importantly they came at a key time.
Had this been occuring all season I have to think there would be lots less questions about how each moment is being managed.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

of course everyone has ^ read FJB

Doc said...

If Earl Weaver was Nats' manager and had the current sabermetric department that the Nats have, we see at least a .500 club on the field.

Neither Rizzo, nor Uncle Jimmy have a sophisticated regard for stats, and how to best utilize them.

Weaver's players were would frequently follow up Earl's player moves by saying, "...he went to the book...". He was the anti-sac bunt guy, with some minor exceptions.

He was the best manager of his generation; Nats need a guy a lot like Earl The Pearl!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Doc.... they broke the mold after Earl...I don't have a problem with Riggleman as this roster is constituted but as players develope through the system and become contributing major leaguers, I want to follow the Twins formula by advancing an organizational guy through the system (can anyone say Randy Knorr?)to manage players that they've observed through the whole process.

Big Cat said...

agree about Porter. Great decision to send Roger in the first inning. Funny how its always a great decision when the guy is safe, but still, I think Porter knew who was running and who was throwing. Palanco has a pop gun in the Nijer mode. His throw looked good but just about stopped when it hit the ground

Feel Wood said...

"It was a win so Riggleman deserves the credit."

If you're going to give Riggleman credit for the wins, then you need to also blame him for the losses. And of all managers in MLB history who have managed 10+ years, Riggleman's W-L record is by far the worst. So much more blame for him than credit. He's just not a very good manager.

MicheleS said...

Great Win all around! Nix has been a bit of a surprise, not sure why he was on the scrap heap. IF anyone can give insite on that, I would love to know.

And let us all REMEMBER that last year we were at something like 22-50, now we are at least at 24-31. So we are on the way UP!!! Hope the boys do well on the West Coast swing. Dbacks looking awfully good right now. Hopefully, it is smoke and mirrors.

natsfan1a said...

No insights on the prior lack of interest in Nix but I'm also happy for the win and his contributions yesterday.

Not to be a wisegal re. the record, but I just looked at Baseball Reference and believe that the comparable record would be June 3, 2010, when the team was 26-29 as opposed to 24-31 today (22-50 adding up to more games and thus being apples and oranges in that regard).

Knoxville Nat said...


Thanks for the insight as to this year's record vs. same point last year. As one who likes to see the glass as half full and not half empty, I'm fairly pleased that, without our best pitcher all season, our best player for all but 8 games, and a distinct lack of hitting by most of the roster, we are only 2 games behind where we were last season. A season that saw us win 10 games more than the previous year. I have faith that this team will continue to play hard, will continue to improve their hitting and will increase the number of wins so that in 2011 we will again show an improvement over the previous year. I said in the beginning of the year that a 75 win season +/- a game or two,would be where the Nats end up and I stand by that number.

fpcsteve said...

NatsJack, I was thinking yesterday afternoon about Nix and the trading deadline. If he contiinues to play well, what are the chances he is moved in an effort to get the Nats younger and more athletic (as in Capps for Ramos)? Or is he playing so well that he has made himself a key part of the club this year? The trading deadline is usually about pitching, but he may change that a bit. Would a contender buy high on him? What do you think?

natsfan1a said...

You're welcome, Knoxville. I'm not a predictions person but I am a glass half full person who won't give up on the team. Cheers!

NatsJack in Florida said...

fpcsteve.... I have a friend of mine who's a huge Reds fan and he can't believe that they released him.

I think he's a keeper.

When I first saw him in Spring Training before the regulars reported, I couldn't believe how big he was. Apparently, he took on an extremely difficult work out regimine during the off season and added about 20 lbs of muscle.

A DC Wonk said...

I'm thinking that small-ball is what you use when you have an anemic lineup. Of _course_ Weaver disdained small ball, but look who he had in his lineups -- Robinson, Boog, etc etc. If I had the 1927 Yankees I'd never bunt either. Big deal. That doesn't tell me much. One size doesn't fit all.

As for those criticizing Riggs saying that he got lucky because Nix made that fantastic play -- let's not forget that, had the ball fallen in -- we'd be saying that the batter made a lucky hit. It wasn't like Lannan got hit hard on that one -- it was a flare/blooper for crying out loud.

And, finally -- again: look at Joe Torre's record as manager with the Mets. By the time he left (by which time the Mets had shown no improvement for four lousy years), everybody and their brother thought Torre was a lousy manager and was wondering why he hadn't gotten fired earlier.

You manage with what you got -- and what we got is an extremely weak hitting team, and a good fielding and relief pitching team. That gets you into a lot of one run games, and that's why it's not a bad choice to go small-ball, and that's why the Nats lose more then they win: it's mostly the players.

Anonymous said...

I think he's a keeper.

Given the fact that player development wants Bernadina to play every day you would think they would move Ankiel. But Riggleman would have a cow. He almost did when they moved Guzman. And Ankiel provides zero offense and would be difficult to move. But, its been done before do who knows?

But given three left handed bats for 2 positions, plus 1 right handed bat that is now at first base ... you would think they would move at least 1.

Anonymous said...

You manage with what you got -- and what we got is an extremely weak hitting team, and a good fielding and relief pitching team.

Good managers DO NOT finish below their team's pythagorean. Riggleman prefers and even FORCES rosters to play small ball. The stats Steven@FJB uses showing Riggleman calling for the sacrifice bunt more than any other manager were from **2010** and last year's roster WAS NOT a roster one should play small ball with given the team speed.

Riggleman plays his "smart ball, small brain". Riggleman has the worst winning percentage in the history of modern baseball. Joe Torre does not have that ... nor does any current manager in the major leagues.

"Riggleman" is the antonym for "winner".

JaneB said...

Anonymous Riggleman hater: We get it. You hate him. You want him gone. If we promise to remember that, will you please stop posting these rants against him? It's just ugly, changes nothing, and better fits some other blog. We have better things to talk about here.

fpcsteve said...

Anonymous 11:42, I agree. And Ankiel is probably the best candidate. What would be great is getting younger and more athletic in making that move. But this AM's Syracuse stats don't suggest any candidates there. Of course, another trade (perhaps Coffey) could bring us an upgrade in the OF. He is looking like this year's Capps. Just a thought or two...

Anonymous said...

"Nats need a guy a lot like Earl The Pearl!"

Wholeheartedly agree. Adding a basketball player is what the Nats need.

Doc said...

@ Anon. 1:02

Different 'Earl' and different 'Pearl'. But, yeah anybody who could make the Nats jump through the 'hoops'!

SonnyG10 said...

Amen JaneB!!!

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