Sunday, July 3, 2011

Game 85: Pirates at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jason Marquis faces Kevin Correia today at Nationals Park.
Despite their obvious struggles at the plate (coughJaysonWerthcoughRyanZimmerman) the Nationals still find themselves in position today to take three of four from the Pirates and get their record back over the .500 mark.

To do that, they'll need to get another quality start out of Jason Marquis, not to mention a couple of timely hits off Kevin Correia (who is shooting for his NL-leading 11th win). Unfortunately, they'll be without one of their top run producers: Michael Morse, who is still feeling the effects of a fastball to the left forearm late in last night's game. X-rays came back negative, but Davey Johnson is still giving Morse a day off.

The other big news of the day is the announcement of this year's All-Star teams. The selection show airs on TBS at noon, and I can assure you it will be watched closely by everyone in the Nationals clubhouse.

Check the homepage for news on the Midsummer Classic, and check back here for updates throughout today's game...

PIRATES at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m.
TV: MASN2
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 188
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 86 degrees, Wind 8 mph out to RF
STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (42-42)
LF Roger Bernadina
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Matt Stairs
RF Jayson Werth
CF Rick Ankiel
C Wilson Ramos
SS Ian Desmond
P Jason Marquis

PIRATES (42-41)
LF Alex Presley
SS Chase d'Arnaud
RF Garrett Jones
CF Andrew McCutchen
2B Neil Walker
1B Lyle Overbay
3B Brandon Wood
C Mike McKenry
P Kevin Correia
12:50 p.m. -- All-Star news: Tyler Clippard has made the team as a member of the NL bullpen. Michael Morse is also still in the running as one of five players up for the Final Man vote on MLB.com. Full story with quotes from both guys here.

1:37 p.m. -- And we are underway with a strike from Jason Marquis to Alex Presley. It's a scorcher today, 91 degrees at first pitch and a threat of storms later this afternoon.

1:50 p.m. -- Really shaky top of the first for Marquis. Four singles, a throwing error on an attempted forceout at second base (though Danny Espinosa will surely say he should've caught that ball) and the Pirates have stormed out to a 3-0 lead. No real cheapies, either. Marquis got hit hard, even on Mike McKenry's deep fly ball to center to end the inning. The Nats have their work cut out for them now.

2:04 p.m. -- Two things of note in the bottom of the first: 1) 43-year-old cleanup hitter Matt Stairs beat out an infield single. Yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds. It's still true. 2) Jayson Werth struck out with two on and two out. Over his last 10 games, he's now got seven total bases and 18 strikeouts.

2:17 p.m. -- It's probably safe to say that if the Nationals clubhouse was allowed to pick the entire All-Star roster, Andrew McCutchen would be a unanimous selection. The Pirates center fielder has just killed the Nats this weekend, and after roping another RBI double (his sixth extra-base hit of the series) the score is now 6-0 and Marquis is done. In a very 2010-like performance, the right-hander gives up six runs (so far) having recorded only four outs. Yikes. ... Whoops, make it 7-0 after McCutchen scores on Neil Walker's single off Collin Balester. Wow.

2:22 p.m. -- Oy, it's 8-0 after another double. Prediction: Matt Stairs will pitch in this game before it's over.

2:29 p.m. -- Wilson Ramos gets the Nats on the board with a 2-run homer, "trimming" the lead to 8-2. Marquis, by the way, saw his ERA skyrocket from 3.62 to 4.11 in the span of about 45 minutes. During that same span, his track stock plummeted worse than BP oil.

2:51 p.m. -- Three innings in the books. It's still 8-2. It's still really hot.

3:08 p.m. -- Four innings in the books. It's still 8-2. It's still really hot. Sorry, I got nothing else for you right now.

3:11 p.m. -- I take it back. I do have something else for you: Ramon Ortiz will be starting Tuesday night for the Cubs against the Nats. Yes, THAT Ramon Ortiz. It's crazy, man!

3:33 p.m. -- Well, if nothing else, Collin Balester did a nice job getting this game under control. Four scoreless innings of relief, keeping the deficit at 8-2. Henry Rodriguez now on to pitch with one out and two on the sixth.

3:44 p.m. -- Maybe Balester should have just stayed in there til his arm fell off. Rodriguez certainly didn't perform any better, especially when he walked No. 8 hitter Mike McKenry with the bases loaded. Two runs score in the sixth, and it's now 10-2 Pirates.

3:48 p.m. -- Ouch. Werth drilled in the left hand/wrist by a Correia fastball. He's coming out of the game, replaced by Brian Bixler.

4:01 p.m. -- Seventh-inning stretch. Still 10-2. There are at least five people currently trying to hoist a guy in a Spongebob Squarepants costume onto the dugout. They can't do it.

4:05 p.m. -- Now they're trying to get Spongebob back up about 100 steps to the top of the concourse. Sideways, because he's too fat to make it up the aisle the normal way. And yes, this is more interesting than this game right now.

4:24 p.m. -- We go to the ninth. It's still 10-2. It's still really hot. Fortunately, this game is almost over.

4:46 p.m. -- And that will do it. For all intents and purposes, this game ended about 2 1/2 hours ago. But it's now officially over. Nats lose 10-2. They're back to one game under .500 heading into tomorrow's Independence Day tilt with the Cubs.

67 comments:

JaneB said...

Wow. Not Cora at first? No Bixler at first? It seems like a prettttttttty glaring hole in the defense right there. I hope Davey's shot at injecting confidence into Stairs by playing him there pays off. It's giving me a stomach ache.

MicheleS said...

Stairs at first.. hmmm.. need to get the supplies together..

Food - Check
Antacid tablets - check
Defibrulator - check
spiked root beer - check..

Okay.. I am ready for this

Grandstander said...

The last time Stairs had a start at 1B was 2007. I understand you want to get the guy playing time, but it wouldn't surprise me to see some infield hits down there with the speed of the Bucs. Yeesh.

HHover said...

Wow - those throws to first better not be in the dirt ... or wide ... or anything but laser guided to Matt Stairs' glove.

I do not have a good feeling about this.

Nats fan in NJ said...

Wow, Stairs at first. I'm with Michele re needing supplies in advance of this game. I see several bunts down the first base line for hits in this game...

carolync said...

Stairs played 1st before under Riggleman and did a decent job. I worry about his baserunning should he get a hit. I guess they could then put in Cora or Bixler to pinch run and then play 1st. Course none of the three is going to be able to field the off-target throws from Desmond and Zimmerman like Morse does. He amazed me several times during the doubleheader. Hope it doesn't turn out to be a serious injury.

Hoping for some better hitting today. Marquis adds a bat.

Go Nats!

ExposedinDC said...

Stairs........Stairs.......Are you f' in kidding me......I guess I will go the beach after all.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Oh, fer cryin out loud. Suck it UP, people.

GYFMSG

Big Cat said...

one thing about Davey......he does things his way and he doesn't care what people think.....unlike Riggs, who saw demons at night in his hotel room.

MicheleS said...

Sec3.. I am with you...

You gotta believe People!!!

natsfan1a said...

Second that, sec3. GYFNG! (as well as the, um, vacuum admonition)

(And I already had the DVR set up for the ASG selection show. :-))

MicheleS said...

BTW.. if anyone needs a dose of Koolaid.. read Boz this morning.. I want what he is having.

UNTERP.NAT said...

A couple of things: Werth needs to find the little boy in him, not the little league little boy but the sandlot little boy and have some God damn fun. About Zim I., not worried about the arm or the bat; he always goes into a slump every year at the plate and when he comes out of it, watch out. He tore the cover off the ball yesterday, just that the ball was hit at defenders. Desmond needs to move his family to Washington, nuff said...

Wally said...

I am cool with Stairs. he is hitting lately, maybe he can keep it up. Hopefully Mighty Morse is back tomorrow.

Allstars today - my prediction is JZimm. Espy if we get two.

Bill B said...

Oh, c'mon, let's give Stairs a chance at first base. Without Morse we have only a couple of bats in the lineup. If Stairs connects, he hits the ball hard. Go Matt! You've converted me!

Still no Nix in the lineup. At least Ankiel is hitting again. I agitated for dumping Ankiel in a comment on an earlier post, but maybe that was premature. Maybe, just maybe, Davey knows more about baseball and about the Nats than I do?

Bill B said...

What Wally said about Morse! I'm toying with going to the game tomorrow. I want to see Morse hit! I love that kid!

Anonymous said...

Zimmerman will have four throwing errors today with stairs at first base.

Anonymous said...

Some quick numbers on the light-hitting 2011 Nats:

Our team batting average is .232 here at the rough mid-pint of 2010, while we batted .250 for the entire season in 2010. That is a big, big drop.

While we had the 6th-highest (in MLB) number of strikeouts as a team in 2010, we have moved "up" to second place for 2011 in this category, with a stunning 665 K's. The Rangers have 491 K's during this same period.

Patiently watching so many strikes,especially third ones, has not vaulted us to the top, or anywhere near the top, of the Walks list. We come in at a middling 18 of 30 teams on this comparison.

Opposing managers, and pitchers, know what this all means: The Nats pride themselves on watching lots of pitches. If you throw strikes to the Nats, they will watch most of them, hoping in vain for walks, or at least hoping for high number-of-pitches-per-at-bat numbers. Continue to throw them strikes and they will strike out at very high rates, and walk at below-MLB-average rates.

The answer here is to swing the damned baseball bat.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Stairs won't be able to finish the game after he takes a bullet throw from Espinosa square on the nose.

Mark'd said...

So is the Nats All Star Morse, Espy, Marquis, Storen or Clip or a major surprise like JZIM.

MIcheleS said...

NatsJack.. LMAO at that one!!!!

NatsJack in Florida said...

It does make for a funny (but sad) visual.

MicheleS said...

CLIPP!!!

N. Cognito said...

NatsJack in Florida said...
"Stairs won't be able to finish the game after he takes a bullet throw from Espinosa square on the nose."

Matt Stairs and Mark Lerner...Separated at birth?

UNTERP.NAT said...

Congratulations Clipp!

MicheleS said...

N Cognito..

So TRUE.. that could explain why he is on the team?

Section 222 said...

Carolync-- not to worry about Stairs' baserunning. Odds are he won't get any hits. I guess understand DJ's mind games here, but does he really have to bat him cleanup? I wonder how many 0-4 games with 2 Ks we will have to endure before Stairs has recovered his confidence and timing enough to get a key hit.

Ok, hopefully that's enough Stairs hate to ensure that he has a good game, or at least not make any crucial errors.

Frediemac said...

No way Espinosa should have been on the squad

Another_Sam said...

Unterp.nat: regarding Werth -- I was in the stands yesterday and it looked to me like Werth dogged it just a bit out there on defense. It may have been an odd sun field caused by the unusual start time, or my view of him may have been colored by my opinion of his anemic offensive work lately, though. He did still display that great wing, I admit.

NatsNut said...

Hooray for Clippard!!!

Another_Sam said...

Did I read the current issue of Sports Illustrated correctly: the most that Yogi struck out in any one season was 38 times? Can that be right? I wonder if he's a free agent now?

MicheleS said...

Mike Morse Write in campaign starts NOW!

JaneB said...

I was driving he and feeling bad for posting the way I did.

GYFNG! No matter what your name is or what position you are playing today.

And

Michael "I thought we discussed this" Morse said...

It's Michael.
Not Mike.
Not Mickey.
Not Mac, Mic, Mikhail, or Mookie.

Michael.

UNTERP.NAT said...

Another_Sam said...

I don't really think Werth was dogging it as much as I think its a reflection of his overall pit he has dug himself in. This is a game, not life and death. He needs to take some pointers from Pudge and stop taking himself so seriously. Take a leaf out of Davey Johnson's hand book of life and have some fun and smile, damn...

natsfan1a said...

Atta boy, sec 222!

Also, congrats to Clippard, and like Morse said, vote early and often. Had hoped Espinosa might get a nod, but I guess he'll just have to settle for ROY. :-) Coupla familiar names in the noteworthy selections category, former Nat Hanrahan and don't-wanna-be-a-Nat Aaron F. Crowe.

Section 222 said...

Ok, hopefully that's enough Stairs hate to ensure that he has a good game, or at least not make any crucial errors.
July 3, 2011 12:37 PM

Big Cat said...

I think Davey just said Werth is gonna hit 5th.....period. That is where he hit with the Phils. Riggs had him all over the place and to Werth's credit, he never complained. i have complained about Werth also, but he is a pro and in the long run will be a huge asset to the club. Hopefully starting today

Big Cat said...

Hmmmmmm.....the Bucs drill Morse pretty good in the forearm. Look for Marquis to get a little wild against McCutcheon today. Tit for tat as they say

Tim said...

I hate playin catchup from the get-go and that's what we've been doing a lot of recently. Can't keep doing this with our offense... unless we have Popeye playing 1B... Oh, wait... we do. ;-)

Drew8 said...

"In order to know virtue, we must first acquaint ourselves with vice."

-- Marquis de Sade

dj in Fl. said...

Knowbody had Stairs beating out an infield hit.
You just never know about this game.

Tim said...

Marquis doesn't know where his pitches are going. Let's beat the Bucs 11-10!

MicheleS said...

So we have Bad Jason today...

Drew.. Great.. Marquis de Sade quote!

dj in Fl. said...

Bet Marquis does not throw a tantrum with Davey when he pulls him.
His trade value is dropping like a rock as the score soars.

Anonymous said...

Yep, bad Marquis today. ERA over 4 again. Trade bait even if its for less value at this point.

Drew8 said...

They should have invited ExpungeBob.

carolync said...

Stairs appears to be among the least of our worries today!

Ugly but the good news is there's lots of game left.

Go, Nats!

Tim said...

I think we need a brawl to snap out of this funk. Where's Nyger when you need him?

MicheleS said...

Tim...
I believe you called the score....

Anonymous said...

Ahh!! I went downstairs for like 10 minutes and I come back to see it's 8-0 and Balester's pitching! Seems like a return to the Marquis of last season. Come to think of it, his last start wasn't good either... are we sure he's ok? But hey, let's go Wilson Ramos!

here we go again said...

N-Y-J-E-R

TimDz said...

Just got in...stopped at the store to get a six pack...

May have to rethink THAT strategy...

Arlington BigFish said...

Jayson Werth is not in a slump. Jayson Werth has completely lost his ability to hit a major league pitch. We've heard of pitchers suddenly lost the ability to throw a strike (Steve Blass, Ankiel). But I can't think of any hitter falling off a cliff -- until Werth.

Will said...

TimDz - on the other hand, you'll need that six pack.

Drew8 said...

ArlingtonBigFish said:

"I can't think of any hitter falling off a cliff -- until Werth."

Check out 1980 ROY Joe Charboneau.

Anonymous said...

"I can't think of any hitter falling off a cliff -- until Werth."

Adam Dunn?

JaneB said...

My summation of this game: it sure hot out there, but in none of the ways I like baseball hot.

I'm sorry Werth got drilled, maybe the 15 day DL and then a rehab assignment out of the limelight will be just what he needs. I'm hoping so.

There's always tomorrow.

FS said...

I am off to watch a movie. Hopefully we will get on the right track by tomorrow.

Dave said...

@JaneB, I'm not watching the game on TV--been getting updates on the iPhone app while at the pool--but I think you're right. Give Werth a little DL time, which runs right up to the All Star break, and see if he can clear the cobwebs.

Obviously pitching wasn't anything to write home about. But I saw the first three games of this series, and starting pitching was decent every time. Marquis is usually good; he's hit some bumpy places in the road the past couple of starts.

But if the guys never get hits, or never hit with anybody on base, then there's nothing the pitching staff can do about it.

Tim said...

Only 59 comments here... Seems like we had as much energy as the Nats did.

Werth needs to see a shrink while he's rehabbing. Did anybobdy hear when Mighty Morse will be back? Tomorrow, I hope.

Davey's record? 2-5 so far?

I'm smelling a tailspin. Sorry folks, but I'm not feeling that mojo.

natsfan1a said...

Glad that one's over. At least they didn't have to play two today. Did like Bernie's catch and hustle. Also Ramos' hits. And Balester really stepped up, I thought. Rodriguez didn't get the best backup from his infield, I thought.

Re. Tuesday's pitcher for the Cubs, as Ortiz has been known to say himself, unbelievable! (Hope he doesn't no-hit us; or hit a dinger.) :-)

And it's still really hot. I'm going for a smoothie.

natsfan1a said...

Tim, it's seemed to me lately that the number of comments tends to be higher when the team is on the road, but I could be wrong.

Speaking of seeing shrinks, I read where Dunn went on a golf outing with the White Sox' team guy. Dunn was quoted as saying that the fellow was a pretty good golfer, so that he was under even more stress trying to compete. I can just imagine Adam making up "traumatic" childhood stories to tell the dude - "and that's why the color yellow makes me sad..." :-)

baseballswami said...

Tim - kind of agree about the momentum shift. Lots of changes and experiments going on - things a little shaky. And , sure, I'm buying this -- Jayson is just used to hitting 5th, let's just make him comfortable and then everything will just be hunky dory. Anyway - my question to my fellow posters - what do you think of Jayson getting booed a lot now? I heard the White Sox fans killing Dunn when we played out there. Is it just wrong to boo your own guy, or is it a good sign that the nats fans have expectations now? I feel like you shouldn't boo bad luck, but it's ok to boo a lack of effort. Werth is starting to show a distinct lack of effort in the field. I know - we hear all about his work in the cages, but maybe he does need to see a sports psychologist. Is he really open to listening to what people advise him or is he just waiting for it to get better? If he wasn't getting paid so much, would fans still boo him?

gonatsgo said...

natsfan1a - agreed about Bernie and Ramos - they have both been playing well. Missed MM today, hope that heals up for him quickly. Collin Ballester made a good showing today - this might have been his opportunity to show that he can be the long guy that is on the new guy's Dear Santa list,( along with some offense). Is it my imagination or where the crowds loud this weekend? Yesterday's crowd was huge and it sounded loud on tv. Today I could hear cheering even in the last innings. I hope the guys can find some energy and intensity tomorrow against the cubbies - bound to be a lot of chicago fans in the park. GYFNG!

natsfan1a said...

Dunn link. I'm rooting for ya, big guy.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/6231215-419/white-sox-slugger-adam-dunn-unsure-about-shrinks-game.html

Re. booing, imo it has nothing to do with changed expectations for the team, as there have been those who have booed individual players ever since the team came to town (remember trying to distinguish whether they were saying "Guz" or "boo"?). I do think there can be a tendency for more ire to be focused on players with big contracts. But it has more to do with the individual (by which I mean the boo-er, not the boo-eee) than with the contract or team record. Again, imho.

NatsLady said...

No boos for Jayson today. Just a collective sigh.

Scooter said...

I was saying "Boo-urns."

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