Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Series preview: Mariners at Nats

Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. -- RHP Doug Fister (3-8, 3.53) vs. RHP Livan Hernandez (4-8, 3.77)
TV: MASN2 Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM

Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. -- LHP Erik Bedard (4-4, 3.16) vs. LHP John Lannan (4-5, 3.52)
TV: MASN Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM

Thursday, 1:05 p.m. -- RHP Michael Pineda (7-4, 2.64) vs. RHP Jason Marquis (7-2, 3.86)
TV: MASN Radio: 1500 AM, 1580 AM

MARINERS UPDATE
Seattle makes its first trip to D.C. in six years on something of a roll, having won three of its last four (including two of three from the Phillies over the weekend). Boasting a fantastic pitching staff (and a terrible lineup), the Mariners have managed to stick around the AL West race and enter this series two games over .500 and two games behind the Rangers.

It all starts with a rotation that features five starters with ERAs under 4.00. The Nationals catch a break this week in missing reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez, but that doesn't mean they'll be facing chump change. Doug Fister has recorded seven quality starts (though he's lost three straight). Former Oriole Erik Bedard is rejuvenated after missing all of 2010 following shoulder surgery. And 22-year-old flamethrower Michael Pineda has burst onto the scene and is an early candidate for AL Rookie of the Year honors.

The face of the franchise for the last decade, of course, is Ichiro Suzuki, the most successful Japanese player ever to come to America. Now 37, the right fielder is enduring through his toughest season in the majors, the first one in which he has failed to hit at least .300. It appears, though, a rare benching last week has reinvigorated Ichiro; he's got 16 hits over his last eight games and has raised his batting average 25 points in the process.

The newest addition to the roster is second baseman Dustin Ackley, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 draft (right behind Stephen Strasburg) who made his big-league debut Friday, slugged his first career homer Saturday and looks to provide some much-needed spark to an offense that sports a major-league-worst .229 average and .298 on-base percentage.

Ackley's arrival does bump veteran Adam Kennedy from a starting job. A bust with the Nationals last season, Kennedy has proven a valuable piece in Seattle, one of the club's most-consistent hitters with a .274 average, 12 doubles and five homers. He's likely to see action at a variety of positions now, including third base.

WASHINGTON BATTERS VS. SEATTLE PITCHERS
Nats' best vs. Fister -- Ivan Rodriguez (2-for-3, 2B).
Nats' worst vs. Fister -- Jerry Hairston (0-for-3).
Nats' best vs. Bedard -- Ivan Rodriguez (4-for-7, 2B, 4 RBI, 2 K), Ryan Zimmerman (1-for-3, 2B, K).
Nats' worst vs. Bedard -- Jerry Hairston (0-for-5, K), Jayson Werth (0-for-2, BB, K), Matt Stairs (2-for-8, BB, 5 K).
Nats' best vs. Pineda -- Never faced.
Nats' worst vs. Pineda -- Never faced.

SEATTLE BATTERS VS. WASHINGTON PITCHERS
Mariners' best vs. Hernandez -- Brendan Ryan (6-for-10, HR, 2 RBI, BB), Miguel Olivo (8-for-23, 3 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 3 K), Ichiro Suzuki (3-for-7, 2B, BB), Adam Kennedy (5-for-12, 2B, K).
Mariners' worst vs. Hernandez -- Jack Cust (0-for-2, BB, K), Jack Wilson (5-for-21, 2B, 3 RBI, 3 K).
Mariners' best vs. Lannan -- Miguel Olivo (1-for-2, RBI, BB, K), Jack Wilson (2-for-6, 2B, RBI).
Mariners' worst vs. Lannan -- Brendan Ryan (1-for-10), Adam Kennedy (0-for-3).
Mariners' best vs. Marquis -- Chone Figgins (2-for-3), Brendan Ryan (2-for-5, 3B, RBI, K), Franklin Gutierrez (2-for-6, 2B).
Mariners' worst vs. Marquis -- Miguel Olivo (0-for-4, RBI, K), Ichiro Suzuki (2-for-8, 2 BB), Jack Wilson (12-for-47, 2 2B, HR, 3 RBI, BB, 5 K).

37 comments:

UNTERP.NAT said...

After this series the Nationals will have a .506 winning percentage...

N. Cognito said...

Kennedy just had a [really] bad year when he was with the Nats. Might have gotten rusty from sitting on the bench for the first 3000 or so games of the season

K.D. said...

N.Cognito; Agree that A.K. never got a consistent chance with the Nationals. Wish him all the best, though I hope he sits against Livo tonight.

Pete said...

How is it the Nats always get "steady veterans" that turn out to be lousy (at least for them)? Exhibit A: Adam Kennedy. Exhibit B: Adam LaRoche.

DFL said...

Funny, Adam Kennedy is having a better year than Adam Dunn or Adam LaRoche. And Cristian Guzman, whose presence pushed Kennedy to the bench last season, is out of baseball.

Tcostant said...

Good luck to you Chad! You'll be missed. Let this be a lesson to all of us, never count you rchickens before their hatched. You gave us all something to see, in those early years of baseballs return to D.C.

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/06/21/former-saves-leader-chad-cordero-announces-retirement/

natsfan1a said...

No ill will for Kennedy here, but I don't mind if he and his teammates do not excel over the next 3 days.

fwiw, in addition to the broadcast airing on MASN as usual, MLB Network lists Thursday's Nats game (and alternatively the OAK @ NYM game) on their schedule. I believe they would air the Mets game here, but fans in other parts of the country may be able to tune in the Nats game on MLB Network if it's in their cable plan.

natsfan1a said...

Yes, someone mentioned in an earlier thread re. Chief's retirement. I'll always have a soft spot for the kid and his role on the 2005 squad that won my heart (and I'll always think JimBo is a jerk for the way he non-tendered him over the radio - humph).

UNTERP.NAT said...

from Washingtonpost Journal

"The Mariners still had the worst record in the majors heading into those final days. On the 24th, the Nationals and Mariners both lost. On the 25th, the Nationals were off and the Mariners lost again. Heading into the last series of the season, the Mariners had a 1 ½ game “lead” in the Strasburg sweepstakes. And then, with Riggleman managing, they won three straight and finished 61-101. The Nationals got swept and finished 59-102."

Riggleman is pure genius!

NatsNut said...

I think Adam Kennedy was a "bust" only because Riggleman juggled him with Guzman for playing time, then when Guzzie got traded, Espinosa came up. He didn't get a chance to get in his groove.

Bowdenball said...

Pete said...

"How is it the Nats always get "steady veterans" that turn out to be lousy (at least for them)? Exhibit A: Adam Kennedy. Exhibit B: Adam LaRoche."


Exhibit C: Laynce Nix
Exhibit D: Livan Hernandez.

The Nats are like any other team. They try to fill the roster with premier talent. And when they can't they have to look through the bargain bin for value. Sometimes they get a great value, sometimes they get a dud, and sometimes it's somewhere in between.

Cwj said...

Bowdenball- Agreed.
and to continue...
Exhibit E: Jason Marquis
Exhibit F: Ivan Rodriguez (way past his prime, but still an asset to this team).
Could go on but I'm sure Pete gets the point.

UNTERP.NAT said...

I would not trade Jason Marquis (and others with him) for just a mid range prospect. If they can't get what will fill a need (i.e., lead off or CF), try to sign him for a two year deal before the trade deadline. Otherwise they will be looking to sign a couple of pitchers in the off season anyway...

FS said...

Ichiro is my all time favorite player, more than any Nationals current or past. All by himself, he proved that a hitter need not have a bulky frame and swing for the fences all the time. Game's most complete hitter, showed everyone how the game was played before steroids era. First ballot future-HoF, he would own most hitting records, had he started his baseball career in US instead of Japan. Let us not even talk about his arm. I still watch THE THROW from RF that got Terrence Long at 3B. I was so excited to know that Ichiro is coming to town and had planned everything to come down to DC and watch the series. Unfortunately, I am too busy at the moment with school and work. Best of luck to Nationals and Ichiro.

Anonymous said...

LaRoche isn't lousy. He's hurt. There IS a difference.

Anonymous said...

I've read elsewhere that Adam Kennedy was something other than a happy camper while with the Nats .. that was known for grousing about the lack of playing time. There was also a hint that he was aggressive in his hazing of the rookies (Desmond?) and generally not a good guy in the locker room. In other words, his teammates don't miss him and the manager & GM don't miss his bat or his glove.

Mark in Arlington

swang said...

Hell, when he's hurt, he still isn't lousy. Below average hitting, sure, but overall, not THAT bad.

DFL said...

I read that Kennedy and Desmond, despite almost ten years of age separating the men, got along like brothers.

Big Cat said...

I think all you people trashing Laroch will be surprised in the long run. The guy is a quality big league player who tried to play through a torn labrum. Before he finally relented to season ending surgery he was rehabbing 2 hours a day. He will be back next year

Yes, will always remember The Chief coming in and challenging guys with his 90 mph fastball. Good luck to you Chief

Anonymous said...

Kennedy was a bum here. Good riddance

Donald said...

@Unterp.nat -- I don't think the options for Marquis are to trade him for a need (lead-off or CF) vs. signing him to a 2-year deal. If they don't trade him at the deadline, he goes into free agency at the end of the season as one of the top pitchers available and will command more than 2 years and a lot of money. So they risk getting nothing if they don't accept what's offered.

JaneB said...

Thanks for the link to the Chief's retirement. Man, was he fun to watch. I'm glad to see people defending LaRoche with the truth -- he was really injured and played brilliant defense in the mean time. And we did get some GREAT veterans, so thanks for getting that out there.

Anyone know why Ichiro was doing poorly? I don't wish him ill, but I do hope he goes cold these next three games.

FS said...

Oh forgot to say one thing. We should continue with Werth leading off and pitcher hitting eighth lineup.

Also would love to have Bourn, one of the fastest guy in the league, instead of Upton.

And Marquis will most likely be traded because I do not see him with this team short- or long-term. We actually have five starters for next season, SS, JZ, Lannan, Livo, Gorzo. Instead of adding marquis to this mix, I prefer getting an ace in the off-season if available.

Anonymous said...

LaRoche isn't lousy. He's hurt. There IS a difference.

Within the Nats underlying offensive philosophy he might have had better offensive stats that usual. That left handed bat could have been extremely valuable. Its a real shame he can't play any another position. He seems athletic enough.

Sec3mysofa said...

Marquis may well be traded, but if not, he's worth extending. There is no way those five guys all stay off the DL all of 2012.

Tcostant said...

FS - I couldn't agree more with you on Ichiro. He will be in both HoF (Japan and US), he will likely finish with 2,000 hits in both places. I watch how the manager used him in the last World Baseball Classic, hitting him 3rd and he was a great cluch hitter there. I think he could have been a huge RBI guy if he hit there his whole time here in the states.

A great hitter.

Sec3mysofa said...

OTOH, Marquis may not be worth several million dollars in salary for a few months to a would-be contender, plus a good prospect. And if the Nationals have to pay him anyway to make the trade, it would have to be a really good prospect.

Knoxville Nat said...

With all the discussion going on her about Marquis, impending FA status, do we trade him, sign him, etc, it got me to wondering isn't Gorzelanny also a FA after this season?

BinM said...

Knoxville: Gorzelanny should be in his 2nd year of arbitration next year.

Anonymous said...

Gorzelanny still has one or maybe two arbitration years left after this season before he becomes a FA.

SCNatsFan said...

For LaRoche all you have to do is look at Marquis; if your hurt then you aren't the player you "are" but you are on a new team, trying to play thru pain and earn your dollars. No doubt if his shoulder is repaired then we see the more normal LaRoche just like we are seeing the true Marquis.

As for Marquis, if he wants to stay then extend him. Not like we can have too many arms. I have to believe that should he continue to pitch like he has then if you package him and another player like a Bernadina or Nix you might get something quite useful back.

FS said...

Gorzo is a free agent in 2014, with Ryan and Morse. That off-season could be the time we actually see where we are going in future.

Tconstant, I forgot to note that he can perform in clutch as well. In his career, he bats .330 with men on and .336 with RISP. He may not have the best slugging with runners on, but he can hit as good as anyone. I would bat him 3rd down in my lineup.

JaneB, I keep reading that Ichiro struggles might have something to do with that tragedy in Japan. I am not sure I agree with that, but whatever it is, has affected all aspects of his game this season, except base running. I noticed his BABIP is at .300 which is below average for him. I think his career BABIP is like .350 or something. Also lot more ground balls than usual finding infielders because he tends to get lots of infield hits, but not this season. Hopefully he will continue that last 8 game surge the rest of the season.

Sec3mysofa, all five that I named are major league starting pitchers. you can not have all six on the opening day roster. The scenarios where I see Marquis as a Nats: Gorzo moves to pen and Marquis takes his place; Livo is not signed and Marquis replaces him; Gorzo moves to pen, Livo is not signed, and Marquis with another FA starter completes the rotation. Another possible spot opens if Lannan is traded like many have called for. I don't see any of these things happening. Please let someone else buy into Marquis as a top pitcher theory.

UNTERP.NAT said...

Lineup for today and my favorite order:

1. Jayson Werth, RF

2. Bernadina, CF

3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4. Laynce Nix, LF

5. Michael Morse, 1B

6. Danny Espinosa, 2B

7. Wilson Ramos, C

8. Livan Hernandez, SP

9. Ian Desmond, SS

NatHat said...

UNTERP.NAT; My favorite too only with Pudge catching Livo.

FS said...

If anyone wondering about draft results 2011, http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/team/draft.jsp?c_id=was&year=2011

Unterp, love the lineup that puts our best players in the field at each position I think. But I think Pudge was supposed to start today, right?

UNTERP.NAT said...

NatHat said...

Ramos/Pudge is what I meant to put in. I like Pudge a lot too...

UNTERP.NAT said...

I wish Werth would unleash his powers...

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