Saturday, April 24, 2010

Game 18: Dodgers at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats and Dodgers will try to get today's game in before the rain picks up.
When I arrived at Nationals Park around 10 a.m., the sky was blue and it looked like it would be a beautiful day. But the clouds have rolled in, the rain is coming and it's not supposed to stop until tomorrow night.

So that could create some problems here. Team officials are hopeful that the precipitation will be intermittent this afternoon and allow today's game to be played. Tomorrow, however, is a bigger concern. All the more reason to try to get today's game in.

Ryan Zimmerman update: He's out of the lineup again with the hamstring injury. Same deal as last night. He could be available to pinch-hit, but if he does, he won't be allowed to run hard down the line. Jim Riggleman also said it's "doubtful" the third baseman will start tomorrow.

Ivan Rodriguez, meanwhile, could come off the bench to hit today after departing last night's game with tightness in his lower back. It's not serious, and Riggleman was planning to give him today off anyway. He should be back in the lineup tomorrow.

Check back for updates throughout the game...

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Chance of showers, 60 degrees, Wind 10 mph in from RF
CF Nyjer Morgan
SS Ian Desmond
2B Cristian Guzman
1B Adam Dunn
LF Josh Willingham
RF Justin Maxwell
C Wil Nieves
3B Alberto Gonzalez
P Craig Stammen

SS Rafael Furcal
C Russell Martin
RF Andre Ethier
CF Matt Kemp
1B James Loney
3B Casey Blake
LF Xavier Paul
2B Blake DeWitt
P Clayton Kershaw

1:06 p.m. -- We're underway under overcast skies (but no rain).

1:16 p.m. -- If you haven't seen the news I posted to the homepage a few minutes ago ... Aaron Thompson has been promoted from Class AA Harrisburg to Class AAA Syracuse. The left-hander, who was acquired from the Marlins last summer in the Nick Johnson trade, could reach the majors sometime this season.

1:19 p.m. -- Some hustle and fundamental baseball gives the Nats an early 1-0 lead. Ian Desmond roped a shot to the gap in left-center, an easy double. Except the rookie turned on the afterburners and made it to third base without even drawing a throw. Moments later, Cristian Guzman put a 2-1 pitch into play, grounding to shortstop and bringing Desmond home. Good execution there.

1:28 p.m. -- The problem with an 88-mph sinker is that it has to be well-located to be successful. When you throw one that tails back over the heart of the plate waist-high, as Craig Stammen just did to Casey Blake, the result is predictable. Two-run homer to straightaway center field. Dodgers lead 2-1 in the second.

1:49 p.m. -- When did Alberto Gonzalez turn into the second coming of Ryan Zimmerman at third base? Seriously, the guy's made about four or five Zimmerman-esque plays this season while filling in for the injured Gold Glover.

2:18 p.m. -- We're through four innings now, the Dodgers still on top 2-1, though the Nats had a good chance in the third, loading the bases with two outs for Justin Maxwell. These are the type of spots the club wants to see the young outfielder in: runners in scoring position, a left-hander on the mound. Yet Maxwell still hasn't shown he can come through on a consistent basis. This time, he swung through a 94 mph fastball from Kershaw, ending that possible rally. Other than two-run homer to Blake in the second, Stammen has looked good so far.

2:41 p.m. -- Another quality start in the books for Stammen. He's gone six innings, allowing two runs on four hits, issuing nary a walk while striking out three. Unfortunately, the Nationals still trail 2-1 because they haven't been able to solve Clayton Kershaw through five innings.

2:49 p.m. -- Just when you were ready to question Riggleman's decision not to pinch-hit for Stammen right there with a man on second and two outs, the manager and the pitcher come through again. Stammen sent a groundball single up the middle, his second hit of the day. This one scored Alberto Gonzalez and tied the game 2-2 in the sixth.

2:52 p.m. -- Wow, Nyjer Morgan's hustle just cost the Nats the lead. Morgan's double to left should have scored Stammen easily. But Nyjer tried to stretch it into a triple, and the Dodgers threw him out just before Stammen stepped across the plate, so that run doesn't count. If Morgan stays at second and is content with a double, Stammen scores without a throw and the Nats take a 3-2 lead. Instead, it's still 2-2 after six.

3:02 p.m. -- And just like that, the Dodgers re-take the lead. Stammen hangs a 2-2 curveball over the plate to Casey Blake, who belts his second homer of the game. Really a shame for Stammen, who has pitched a fantastic game but has been done in by two bad pitches, both to Blake. Nats now trail 3-2 at the seventh inning stretch.

3:07 p.m. -- Today's paid attendance: 18,039.

3:14 p.m. -- Another baserunning mistake costs the Nats. With runners on the corners and one out in the seventh, Josh Willlingham hits a sharp grounder to third. Ian Desmond hesitated at first, then decided to break for the plate, both poor decisions. The Dodgers immediately got him into a rundown and didn't even allow the trailing runners to advance. Costly mistake by Desmond.

3:39 p.m. -- Well, Nyjer Morgan just made up for his earlier gaffe. First, though, kudos to Adam Kennedy, who got a great jump on Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton to steal second, then took third when the throw sailed into center field. Morgan lined Broxton's next pitch to left for a base hit, bringing home Kennedy and tying this game 3-3.

3:56 p.m. -- Matt Capps escapes a two-on, two-out jam in the top of the ninth, so we're going to the bottom of the ninth tied. Chance for the Nats to walk off and improve to two games over .500.

4:10 p.m. -- Free baseball at Nationals Park. 3-3 as we go to the 10th.

4:24 p.m. -- Both teams go down in order in the 10th. Why do I have a feeling we're going to be here for a while?

4:32 p.m. -- Great defense from the Nats in the top of the 11th. Willie Harris makes a catch slamming into the right-field fence and falling over. Wil Nieves then guns down Matt Kemp trying to steal second, with a nice tag from Ian Desmond completing the play.

4:39 p.m. -- And we move to the 12th. If you're wondering about remaining players on the bench, the Nats still have Ryan Zimmerman and Ivan Rodriguez (both limited because of injury). The Dodgers have only backup catcher A.J. Ellis.

4:46 p.m. -- Another thing to consider: The rain is approaching.

5:00 p.m. -- Let's play 13! Miguel Batista back out to the mound for his third inning of relief. The Nats are well-stocked in the bullpen, with Tyler Clippard, Sean Burnett, Tyler Walker and Jesse English all still available. The Dodgers are down to only Carlos Monasterios (who's currently in the game) and Ramon Ortiz.

5:09 p.m. -- And the Dodgers take the lead. Furcal singles and steals second. Martin then sends a sinking liner to center field that Morgan can't handle on one hop, allowing Furcal to score the go-ahead run. It's 4-3 L.A.

5:12 p.m. -- This being the middle of the 13th, it's time for another Presidents Race! Abe wins, passing Teddy down the stretch.

5:25 p.m. -- Despite putting runners on second and third with one out in the bottom of the 13th, the Nats can't bring the tying run home. So that'll do it. After four hours and 19 minutes, the Nats fall to the Dodgers 4-3. Back at it tomorrow afternoon for the rubber game of the weekend series (weather permitting).


sec3 said...

re AG/Zimm. He's not the only one, either--Willie Harris didn't make anyone wish Zimmerman were in there instead. I was wondering if that has some affect on these guys, knowing they're in for a Gold Glover, and upping their game on account of it.

Les in NC said...

C'mon Josh, when you're in a 1-2 hole you HAVE to swing at the close pitches thereafter! These called 3rd strikes are really disappointing to see, especially with RISP. I'm looking at you 2 Nyger!

mde said...

Boneheaded play by Morgan there. Should be a Nats lead. Ugh.

Les in NC said...

I like Morgan, but have to agree that was a greedy/boneheaded play! I hope it doesnt cost us later...

NatinBeantown said...

Boneheaded play by Morgan, or should Stammen have been running harder? Hard to fault your pitcher who's got 2H and an RBI, but still...

mde said...

Agree Les.

And like they say, baserunning mistakes usually come back to haunt you. And it just did.

Anonymous said...

[Where are all you posters today?] I'd like to see those baseruning erros and dropped balls end. Z - do you think that this club has an unusual amount of baserunning blunders. [This year I mean] If so, to what do you attribute it?

Anonymous said...

Mark, whatever you do... DON'T leave the pressbox!!!

Les in NC said...

I didnt realize the 'Hammer" had the speedy wheels he is sporting so far this season. 4 SB's already! As a whole the team is really burning up the paths, are we implementing some new strategies by Riggleman or is it just a small sample?

sec3 said...

It's definitely Riggleman.

sec3 said...

so if it rains and they suspend, I guess they come back to it before tomorrow's game, but it's supposed to rain all day tomorrow. LA isn't back here again, so they are really going to do everything to get this in, I gotta figure.

Joe said...

Is there a reason why Pudge has to run the bases? Are Atilano, Olson, and Lannan really riskier on the basepaths? I remember Tomo Ohka pinch running on an emergency basis for the Nats - is there nobody on the team who fills that role now? Or perhaps there is - but it is Stammen and/or Marquis?

Doc said...

Where does Listach figure in the baserunning blunders by Morgan and Desmond??? My feeling is similar to others that Nats make too many base running mistakes. Also, Morgan has great skills, but he makes more mistiakes in judgement than might be expected.

sec3MySofa said...

@Joe-Pudge was the last catcher, can't pinch-run there. If Zimm had hit for Nieves, they could run for him and bring Pudge in, but the guy is hitting four-something. Bad break, there, is all.

@Doc--Not at all. Morgan got himself thrown out all by himself--play was in front of him the whole way. I doubt he even looked for Listach.
Desmond's was a reaction play--by the time the coach is yelling "BACK!" Desmond had already broken the wrong way and committed himself.

Too many mistakes? Sure. How many is the right amount?

Nyjer plays at 110mph, that's just how he is, and it still took 2 very good throws to get him (from the team with the most errors in the league). (But still, you cannot get thrown out there. Dumb.) Desmond is young--a boneheaded mistake he will, hopefully, learn from.

Post a Comment