Monday, June 6, 2011

Series preview: Nats at Giants

Monday, 10:15 p.m. -- LHP John Lannan (3-5, 4.05) vs. RHP Tim Lincecum (5-4, 2.59)
TV: MASN2 Radio: WJFK-106.7 FM, WFED-1500 AM

Tuesday, 10:15 p.m. -- RHP Jordan Zimmermann (3-6, 3.61) vs. LHP Jonathan Sanchez (4-3, 3.50)
TV: MASN2 Radio: WJFK-106.7 FM, WFED-1500 AM

Wednesday, 3:45 p.m. -- RHP Yunesky Maya (0-1, 8.00) vs. RHP Matt Cain (4-4 3.64)
TV: MASN2 Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WHFS-1580 AM

It's been quite an eventful month since the Nationals last saw the Giants in D.C., highlighted of course by Buster Posey's season-ending injury. Posey's collision at home plate with the Marlins' Scott Cousins (resulting in a leg fracture and torn ligaments) has been baseball's biggest story for the last two weeks, and the Giants haven't exactly handled it well.

GM Brian Sabean went on the radio last week and tore Cousins to shreds. "If I never hear from Cousins again, or he doesn't play another day in the big-leagues, I think we'll all be happy," Sabean stunningly said. He's since apologized, as has Cousins, who has repeatedly said he's sorry for injuring Posey.

Through this all, the Giants have managed to keep playing well. They enter this series 33-26, up 1/2-game on the Diamondbacks in the NL West. Though the Posey injury figures to have a devastating effect on the lineup, they've actually scored more (4.2 runs per game) since he got hurt than they did prior to the injury (3.5 runs per game). Veteran first baseman Aubrey Huff has helped pick up the slack, posting a .962 OPS over his last 10 games.

Pitching, of course, remains San Francisco's strength. All five members of the current rotation sport ERAs under 3.64, but the best of the group is not who you'd expect. While Tim Lincecum, Jonathan Sanchez, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner have all pitched well in their own right, unheralded Ryan Vogelsong has come out of nowhere and dominated. Out of the big leagues for five years, the right-hander got another shot after Barry Zito got hurt and has gone 4-1 with a 1.68 ERA in 10 games (eight starts).

Nats' best vs. Lincecum -- Ian Desmond (5-for-6, 2 2B, 3 RBI), Laynce Nix (2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, K), Ivan Rodriguez (3-for-5, 2B, 3B, BB, 2 K).
Nats' worst vs. Lincecum -- Rick Ankiel (2-for-17, 2B, RBI, BB, 4 K), Alex Cora (2-for-13, BB, 3 K), Jayson Werth (4-for-18, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 8 K).
Nats' best vs. Sanchez -- Alex Cora (1-for-3), Rick Ankiel (2-for-7, 2B, RBI, 2 K), Michael Morse (1-for-5, HR, RBI, 3 K).
Nats' worst vs. Sanchez -- Jayson Werth (0-for-17, RBI, 3 BB, 9 K), Jerry Hairston (2-for-14, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K), Ian Desmond (0-for-3, K).
Nats' best vs. Cain -- Laynce Nix (8-for-16, 2B, HR, RBI, 2 K), Jayson Werth (4-for-8, BB, 2 K), Jerry Hairston (3-for-10, 2B, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 2 K).
Nats' worst vs. Cain -- Brian Bixler (0-for-4, 3 K), Ian Desmond (0-for-3, 2 K), Rick Ankiel (3-for-13, 2 2B, RBI, 2 BB, 3 K).

Giants' best vs. Lannan -- Eli Whiteside (1-for-2, HR, RBI, BB, K), Aubrey Huff (2-for-8, 2 RBI, 2 BB, K), Pat Burrell (2-for-9, RBI, 4 BB, K).
Giants' worst vs. Lannan -- Miguel Tejada (2-for-14, K), Freddy Sanchez (2-for-11), Cody Ross (3-for-14, 2 2B, RBI, BB, K).
Giants' best vs. Zimmermann -- Miguel Tejada (2-for-6, RBI), Freddy Sanchez (1-for-3), Emmanuel Burriss (1-for-4, RBI, BB, K).
Giants' worst vs. Zimmermann -- Aubrey Huff (0-for-5, BB, K), Aaron Rowand (1-for-9, 2 K), Nate Schierholtz (1-for-6, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 K).
Giants' best vs. Maya -- Never faced.
Giants' worst vs. Maya -- Never faced.


masnstinks said...

No running into catchers tonight, boys. No plunking in Arizona, no collisions in San Fran. Play nice and you won't get excused early.

Get Some Players said...

I cannot believe they aare letting Maya start another game. Say it ain't so!

James said...

When will this team take better swings? On the strikeouts that Morse had on Saturday - he shouwed very little patience and I am wondering is ANYONE talking to the batting coach to handle this? Too many times we are laving runners in scoring postion with les than 2 outs - and this is NOT what winning baseball is all about.

masnstinks said...

Agreed ( get some players) - I think it should be Stammen - however, there may be a short hook, with Stammen waiting in the wings. How many appearances constitute a fair chance? I don't see improvement from start to start either. Which Nats team shows up tonight? The, strike-out, no offense, no spark team? Or the highly competitive, aggressive base-running, sparkly defense team? Or does the team just have a multiple personality disorder?

Pitch Out said...

Maya loves his curve balls---so do hitters!

Where's Rosco Det when we need him??

erocks33 said...

Mark -- shouldn't that read "Lannen"? ("a player on a streak has to respect the streak" -- although can winning one-game technically be considered a streak?)

NatsJack in Florida said...

Just read Boswells Q & A from this mornings WaPo. Can't believe he mixed up B.J. Upton, drafted, signed and playing for Tampa with Justin Upton, drafted, signed (by Rizzo) and playing for the D-backs.

But if Boswell says it, it has to be true!

josh f said...

Mark - % chance that Zim joins the team in San Diego on Thursday?

masnstinks said...

Josh f - Zim's interview sounded like he is not wanting to rush back. He sure looked good yesterday, but of course, single A pitching, and with basically 2 months off. Don't let the P-Nats hear you say San Diego on Thursday! Perhaps one game each at Hagerstown, P-Nats and Harrisburg? -- Syracuse is a little farther out geographically. Sell some minor league tickets , Zim!

Knoxville Nat said...

Anyone see the pictures of Plaxico Burress being released from prison this morning? I chuckled when I saw him wearing a Phillies cap and thought, "how appropriate".

NatsJack in Florida said...

Another thing about the Boswell Q & A.... I was suprised to hear (as was Ladson and several posters on this site, I'm sure) that Riggleman has been a PROMOTER of Michael Morse and upper management has been his detractors.

Knoxville Nat.... I saw the picture and laughed as well. The Eagles are being touted as a landing place for yet another convicted felon but I'd be suprised if Eagles management would want to go down the Drew Rosenhaus road again.

Anonymous said...

Boswell and reality are often not residents of the same zip code. Take anything you read from him with a fair dose of skepticism.

natsfan1a said...

Bos also disagreed with Reid's grade of Rizzo (as being too low), though he also said that Reid had made some good points (whatever ;-)).

Hope that Zimm doesn't rush back. Sounded as though he was having some discomfort on throws as well as getting winded. I would think that they'd prefer to keep him closer rather than running him around to all the MiLB affiliates. The P-Nats are home from 6/6-19, and our players often seem to rehab there.

Re. Sabean, I understand the team's upset at losing Posey (heck, I have a soft spot for the kid, too), but imo he did cross a line in his comments re. Cousins. It sounds as though the two FOs have been making nice since then, though, and SFO papers were reporting that Sabean has since spoken to Cousins personally.

The Giants were my late big brother's fave team but for the next three days I have to say go NATS!

natsfan1a said...

Well, then. Just looked at the P-Nats site and it says that Zimm is on rehab assignment there tonight (7:05 start time).

Grandstander said...

I wonder if the Nats would consider using a Stammen-Maya combo. After the 3rd, pull Maya. After the 6th, pull Stammen.

Neither can give you 6 innings on their own, but together, they are the ungodly beast of a starting pitcher known as MAMMEN.

Plus it gives Riggs another double-switch opportunity, so you know he'll be on board. He won't have to abandon Maya either.

As for the Giants offense, I think those numbers are a bit deceiving. They were positively anemic against Colorado this weekend against some not good pitching. Miguel Tejada is batting second! Without Posey and Belt, there's no one there who is particularly worrisome.

Nattydread said...

Nats - Giants match-ups play to Washington's strengths. Two of three in SF would not surprise me.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if you went through all of these preview posts what percentage of "Nats Worst Vs." contain the name Rick Ankiel. My guess is like 92%.

After he was walked to bring Morse up with the bases loaded, I said "Morse is going to hit an effing dinger here."

Go Nats!

raymitten said...

I like Ankiel a lot. His defense is great and I thought prior to the injury he got some timely hits, even if the average didn't show it. His excellent at bat (as opposed to say, Desmond's) show that this guy is a ballplayer. Phil Wood seems on a crusade to run him out of town by putting him in the Matt Stairs category. Phil would probably react to Ankiel differently if he was an ex-Oriole.

Anonymous said...

that Riggleman has been a PROMOTER of Michael Morse and upper management has been his detractors.

Was it upper management that was double-switching him out of games? Me thinks Riggleman could also be characterized as one piece of "upper management".

Morse is not an ego-maniac like Ankiel. He's not a guy whose head won't fit through the doorway when he comes into the clubhouse like Ankiel. He has a confidence problem probably stemming from his first experience in the majors in Seattle ... as a 6'10" shortstop. Who was upper management there? Oh wait ... that's right Riggleman and McLaren were both there weren't they?

baseballswami said...

Raymitten - Ankiel has a reputation for being a good defender , but if you watch his routes to balls - they are absolutely Lastings Milledge-like. His plays often look like circus catches because he makes them look harder than they need to be. On the contrary - Nix has a reputation for not being a good defender, but he has been very solid and sometimes spectacular. I think Ankiel has been a major disappointment.His defense is adequate at best. Bernie is better -- all-around.

Anonymous said...

Maya pitching again when Stammen has been called up--that makes no sense to me. Of all the things that irritate me about Riggleman, and there are many, the thing that bothers me the most is Riggleman's stubborness. In all his starts, Maya has never pitched well. He hardly ever gets beyond the third inning without getting bombed, yet Riggleman is giving him yet another chance. This is just like his love affairs with Stairs, Bixler and Ankiel. There is no hope for Riggleman.

Doc said...

I just 'dug out' the Boswell quote on Morse.

If true then we have to question the FO's (and their affiliated Hangers-On)judgement. These are the same clowns that didn't know that Marquis had bone chips in his arm when they signed him for $15 mill, and didn't know that LaRoche had a torn labrum and rotator cuff problems when they signed him for $16 mill.

Not too many 1B guys can play defense like Mickey Morse, period, and that's something they should have known!

I still say that MM is capable of 30-35 HRs if he stays healthy---let's see Nats Fans, let's really see!!!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Boswell this morning......"I'll try to give a Morse answer because I think he's got a 2-3 year window here as a very good player at a very sensible price. Okay, here it is. In the last two seasons, plus spring training '11 __I know using ST is cheating, so sue me)__ Morse has 35 HR, 99 RBI, .298 in 537 ABs."

"Give Riggleman credit on this. He's been a big internal backer of Morse while the front office and scouts have been tepidly cheerful, but not waving their arms like Rig."

Only quoting that baseball genius Tom Boswell.

fpcsteve said...

Who in the world has (in print or on the air) accused Ankiel of being a headcase? I haven't read that article or seen that interview.

Anonymous said...

Oh no trouble in paradise for Riggleman-hating Anon and the love of his life Mr. Boswell.

And for the record- no one considers Field Managers "upper" management. Read it and weep dear Riggleman-hater. Read it and weep.

joemktg said...

natsfan1a: thanks for the heads up.

masnstinks said...

So - Lincecum is trying to break some kind of strike-out record tonight ( not sure what #) - think he's got a chance? Go Nats! Go Lannan -- oh, sorry , LannEn! You have got to have goals - try to prevent the record. You see how that worked with Barry Bonds and Randy Johnson, don't you? Why is it the Nats they have to use as whipping boys? We just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

baseballswami sez: Ankiel has a reputation for being a good defender , but if you watch his routes to balls - they are absolutely Lastings Milledge-like.

Absolutely. I totally agree. Ankiel is the original corner flag fly pattern to the ball. The guy is getting a total pass on this. But you're right, swami. Don't let his PR get in the way. He almost dropped a routine ball to center yesterday. Ball snowconed out, I think it was in the meltdown eighth. Total luck he didn't drop it.

My solution: Anky, Bixler, Stares DFA

NatsJack in Florida said...

fpcsteve....I've never seen an article on Ankiel being a "head case" nor have I ever thought him as such, however, there are those that attribute his pitching problems years ago to some sort of mental block.

NatsJack in Florida said...

masnstinks.... Lincecum is only like 4 K's away from reaching 1,000 K's in his first 5 seasons.

NATSONE said...

Natsjack: The Freak might reach that milestone in the first inning tonight.

Manassas Nats Fan said...

Lets win 2 out of 3 (and not be embarrassed in the non win.

Gonats said...

If Maya starts, the first sign of trouble you pull him and go to Stammen.

If you have both, use them until Gorzo is ready to come back.

To the Nix fan club, he should be starting tonight and Wednesday night and pinch hit on Tuesday.

Anonymous said...

I still say that MM is capable of 30-35 HRs if he stays healthy---let's see Nats Fans, let's really see!!!

Well one this is certain Reddington, the Expo's fan guy, isn't a fan of Morse ... I think he came up with the "Mickey Morse" deal. I wonder how he looks to him now?

Boz is right. Morse fits best at fifth, sixth in the lineup and you should slide Nix in front of him, every single game. This is due in large part to Morse's confidence and his ability to handle the pressure of being "the man".

When Zim gets back to full strength at the plate I suspect we'll see more power production from Morse. He's going to see better pitches to hit.

Either way he is going to hit around .300 no matter what. T'would be nice to get that OBP a lot higher though.

Anonymous said...

If Maya starts, the first sign of trouble you pull him and go to Stammen.

Stammen has been one of the Chief's top starters from April on. I can't see them suddenly putting him back into the bullpen in the majors? That doesn't sound like Nats player development.

Don't be surprised to see Stammen's name instead of Maya's during this series. Perhaps Maya will come down with the Cuban flu?

masnstinks said...

Sunshine Bobby - Do you really think Bixler is that bad? He's got ridiculous speed and some versatility. So - Lincecum needs 4 or 5 K's to break a record against us. Barry Bonds vs. Mike Bascik - huge celebration. Randy Johnson - broke a record at Nats Park in a rain-delayed game. Do they save this stuff up for us? And the giants have been so bitter about Posey that they really want to celebrate something.I say - make him wait!! I don't think Lincecum hits people very often, though. Jayson Werth should not need to show up wearing a suit of armor.

Anonymous said...

Interesting point by @Sunshine + @Boz. Have to wonder if two blown signings of Marquis followed by LaRoche might cause the replacement of some of the senior scouts who follow the major league teams. The guys following the new potential prospects seem to be doing pretty well ... so what's up with the major league scouts?

DL in VA said...

NATSONE, I know you're being funny (and I did laugh), but it is interesting just how many strikeouts we've had where we swung at a pitch that the catcher couldn't hold on to, and had to run down to first base. So, I guess it is possible for Lincecum to end up with 4 K's in the first inning. Hopefully only after 3+ runs score too.

Anonymous said...

Bixler might end up on the DL ;) ... and perhaps so too will Matt Stairs, the 60-day DL for the 43 year old.

baseballswami said...

He's 43 - I am sure that he's got something that hurts!

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