Sunday, April 11, 2010

Game 6: Nats at Mets

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The temperature is up and Livan Hernandez is on the mound today.
NEW YORK -- So, let's see what has already taken place on this Sunday morning...

-- Garrett Mock was optioned to Class AAA Syracuse following wretched season opener Friday night.

-- Livan Hernandez had his contract purchased so he can now make his season debut this afternoon against the Mets.

-- Scott Olsen is going to be recalled from Syracuse and most likely start Thursday's game in Philadelphia, at which point a reliever will need to be demoted.

-- Mike Morse was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained calf.

-- Roger Bernadina was recalled from Class AAA Syracuse to take Morse's spot and give Jim Riggleman another healthy body off the bench.

-- Ryan Zimmerman is out of the lineup with a tight hamstring and will probably miss tomorrow's game in Philadelphia as well.

-- Adam Kennedy is starting at third base despite having not played a single inning there during spring training. (He did, however, start 82 games at third base last season for the A's.)

-- Oh yeah, and some guy named Strasburg is making his minor-league debut for Class AA Harrisburg this afternoon. (I'll have some updates on him throughout the day, with reports from my special correspondents in Altoona. One thing to note: Strasburg will be limited to 80-85 pitches today, no matter how well he throws. If he's got a no-hitter through five but he's reached his pitch limit, that's it, he's out.)

So, clearly it's a busy day in NatsTown. Check back here for game updates (from New York and Altoona) throughout and check the homepage for other items of interest...

Where: Citi Field
Gametime: 1:10 p.m.
TV: Ch. 50 HD, MASN HD
Radio: WFED-1500 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 67 degrees, Wind 10 mph out to RF
CF Nyjer Morgan
RF Willy Taveras
2B Cristian Guzman
1B Adam Dunn
LF Josh Willingham
SS Ian Desmond
C Wil Nieves
3B Adam Kennedy
P Livan Hernandez

METS (2-3)
SS Jose Reyes
2B Alex Cora
3B David Wright
LF Jason Bay
1B Mike Jacobs
RF Jeff Francoeur
CF Gary Matthews Jr.
C Rod Barajas
P Johan Santana

12:15 p.m. -- For those wondering, the Harrisburg-Altoona game starts at 2 p.m. I believe ESPNews will be showing all of Strasburg's half-innings live. You should also be able to see the game online on

1:11 p.m. -- We're underway with a ball from Santana to Morgan.

1:23 p.m. -- Josh Willingham is about to be credited with a grand slam, once the umpiring crew looks at replay of his shot to left-center field. The umps initially said the ball remained in play, so we had a comedy of ballplayers racing around the bases, with Adam Dunn bowling over Rod Barajas and then Willingham crashing into the catcher as well but getting tagged out. The replay, though, clearly shows the ball striking to the right of an orange line that separates the field of play.

1:25 p.m. -- Overturned call. Grand slam. Nats lead 4-0.

1:43 p.m. -- I am informed by well-placed sources in Altoona that there's a huge traffic jam outside the ballpark. First pitch is coming up in 20 minutes. Hope everyone makes it there in time.

1:53 p.m. -- Here's a full recap of all today's roster moves on

1:58 p.m. -- Josh Willingham's double to center gives him five RBI in three innings and gives the Nats a 5-0 lead. This is not the old Johan Santana on the mound today, and Mets fans are letting him hear it.

2:02 p.m. -- The lead should have been extended to 6-0 just now when Ian Desmond sent a fly ball to right field and Adam Dunn tagged up from third. But Dunn -- perhaps feeling bad about bowling over Rod Barajas two innings ago in what turned out to be unnecessary roughness because of Willingham's grand slam -- went into the plate standing up this time and Barajas tagged him out. So it's still 5-0 heading to the bottom of the third.

2:06 p.m. -- The Harrisburg-Altoona game has begun, and you can watch it online here.

2:15 p.m. -- One inning into his minor-league career, Stephen Strasburg is trailing 1-0. Allowed a two-out double off the right-field wall followed by an RBI single to center.

2:23 p.m. -- Back here in the major leagues ... Livan Hernandez is putting together the best outing by a Nats starter this season. (Is anyone surprised?) Through four innings, the big guy has allowed no runs and four hits. More importantly, he's only thrown 47 pitches (30 strikes). Remember, two nights ago, Garrett Mock threw 84 pitches in 3 1/3 innings. At this rate, Livo could go the distance.

2:50 p.m. -- In Altoona, Strasburg has settled in very nicely. He retired the side in the second and the third and has struck out five. He's consistently hitting 99 mph with his fastball and has reached 100 a couple of times.

3:00 p.m. -- Six scoreless innings for Livan Hernandez. And at only 77 pitches, he's got plenty left in the tank. That, my friends, is called a quality start. Nats still lead 5-0 heading to the seventh.

3:06 p.m. -- Strasburg now trailing 3-0 in the fourth, though the two runs Altoona just scored were largely a product of poor defense.

3:12 p.m. -- Make it 4-0 in Altoona, with three of those runs unearned. Strasburg has allowed four hits and two walks while striking out seven. He's at 71 pitches, so it's possible he's done for the day.

3:25 p.m. -- At least Strasburg can hit. He just doubled in a run to make it 4-1 in the fifth. Back here, Livo has been pulled after seven shutout innings and only 88 pitches. Brian Bruney now on, with Alberto Gonzalez at third base, Willie Harris in left field and Adam Kennedy at first base. Jim Riggleman not taking any chances here, despite the 5-0 lead.

3:37 p.m. -- Strasburg is now done. His final line: 5 ip, 4 h, 4 r, 1 er, 2 bb, 8 k, 82 pitches. Here in Queens, Bruney allowed a towering, two-run homer to Mike Jacobs in the eighth. So the shutout quest is over, and the Nats now lead 5-2.

3:43 p.m. -- Just when you thought things might be getting a little hairy here, Jason Bergmann to the rescue. Seriously. Bergmann comes on in relief of Bruney with a runner on second and two outs and then strikes out Gary Matthews Jr. on three pitches. Looks like Matt Capps is warming up and will pitch the ninth, hoping to protect a three-run lead and record his third save.

3:49 p.m. -- Whoa, hot tempers here at Citi Field. K-Rod plunks Willie Harris (yesterday's hero) on the elbow and the two have words as Harris trots down the line. Both benches and bullpens empty. No punches were thrown. No ejections, but both benches were warned. Doesn't look like anything serious. In fact, it looks like K-Rod may have started it, saying something as Harris trotted down the line.

4:04 p.m. -- The Nats get the last laugh. Matt Capps pitches a perfect ninth and preserves a 5-2 victory. At 3-3, Washington is now in sole possession of something other than last place in the NL East for the first time since April 6, 2008. Yeah, it's been awhile. Enjoy it.


Ashraf said...

What time does Strasburg's start begin? I heard it will be on ESPNEWS

Knoxville Nat said...

I thought the MLB network was televising SS debut today?

TBC said...

Olsen will start Thursday against the Phillies even though that would be Lannan's normal start if he pitched every fifth day? Is that because they don't want the Phillies damaging Lannan's psyche any further so early in the season?

Anonymous said...

Olsen did not throw well his first time out for Syracuse. But JD Martin threw a quality start? This seems a bit risky given that this effectively finishes up all of Olsen's options.

DJ said...


Sunday - Hernandez
Monday - Marquis
Wednesday - Stammen
Thursday - Olsen
Friday - Lannan

Steven J. Berke said...

Options don't work that way. Think of option years, not an option as a single act. Olsen can go back and forth this year as often as the Nats want. He just can't be sent down next year without going through waivers.

hleeo3 said...

Olsen threw better in ST than Martin. Not to mention has more major league experience and appears to be throwing his fastball 90+ again. Its an easy decision.

NatBiscuit said...

Oh brother, "...If he's got a no-hitter through five but he's reached his pitch limit, that's it, he's out...."

Could we get a little grip here. Hype is one thing, but the expectations might be a little bit high.

Let's dial it down just a wee bit.

Sam said...

I was ripping Willy Taveras before the beginning of the year. Now, it's only been 5 games (and one at-bat), but if he is willing to take walks and try to get on base, then I take back everything I said about him. Of course, I am listening on the radio today (and for the next month), so I'm not sure if the pitches he took were just simply unhittable or if he really had a good eye. To summarize my point, if he performs as an average hitter this year, then I gladly welcome him to the team.

Anonymous said...

Do you think Dibble will stop talking about how perfect Santanna is now that we're up 4-0?

Carl in 309 said...

Well, it is early in the game (I'm monitoring it via computer on ESPN gamecast), but handing Livo four early runs on Josh's grand slam certainly is a help. And Santana is clearly no CC.

Anonymous said...

They're showing the Harrisburg game on espn3 (formerly espn360) if your ISP supports it.


TBC said...


Sunday - Hernandez
Monday - Marquis
Wednesday - Stammen
Thursday - Olsen
Friday - Lannan"

Due to the off day Tuesday, Lannan could pitch on Thursday with regular rest. That's my point. Actually, if Lannan pitched Thursday, Livo could pitch Friday, Marquis could pitch Saturday and they wouldn't need Olsen until next Sunday.

Janner33 said...

Can someone tell me why exactly Livo was pulled with a shutout bid going? His pitch count wasn't even close to what he's capable of. Now we're only up by 3; not enough of a cushion to make me feel relaxed.

Nervous Nats Fan said...

Mets announcers are saying Willie said something to K-Rod as he was running down the line. I want to know what it was.

Anonymous said...

@TBC - It's probably to set the rotation for the next couple of weeks, considering they don't have a bye until the 29th after Tuesday.

Jeff Wang said...

We're #4! We're #4!

Positively Half St. said...

What a nice weekend this has been. Let's go at least 3-3 the next 6 (or even the next 156) games.

HALjr said...

Janner33 - Riggs said that Livo said he was out of gas. His arm felt ok but his legs were about gone.

Anonymous said...

How come only Livo can get quality starts? You can see why McCatty is so incensed with Mock. It must make him look bad.

Michael J. Hayde said...

"In fact, it looks like K-Rod may have started it, saying something as Harris trotted down the line."

Heh. MASN showed K-Rod approaching Harris, and you could easily see what he was saying. As the late George Carlin put it, he used the two-word phrase that's "used to hurt people. It's a heavy - it's the one you save for the end of the argument."

And he said it at least three times.

natsfan1a said...

Yeah, "F-Rod" suits him better than "K-Rod," methinks. :-) It looked to me like Willie may have been saying something like "golly gee willikers, that really hurt" as he went up the line.

In the post-game, Riggleman said that Livo told him he was gassed.

Janner33 said...

HALjr - Thanks, though i would have thought all that racquetball in the offseason would have prevented that! :)

E. Fudd said...

Be vewwy, vewwy qui-et. We'w hunting F-Wods...

natsfan1a said...

Hey, at least we didn't cheer like softball girls... :-)

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