Monday, April 12, 2010

Game 7: Nats at Phillies

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Phillies host the Nats this afternoon in the home opener at Citizens Bank Park.
PHILADELPHIA -- So, how many Nationals fans do you think will be at Citizens Bank Park today for the Phillies' home opener? Something tells me it won't quite compare to last Monday's invasion on South Capitol Street.

No matter how many visiting fans are in attendance, perhaps the Nats will return the favor and spoil Philadelphia's opener. They certainly arrived here in town feeling good about themselves after taking two of three from the Mets over the weekend.

Obviously, the Phillies are a very different team than the Mets. But the Nats will miss Roy Halladay during this series. They get Cole Hamels today, Kyle Kendrick (who they hit around a little last week) Wednesday and J.A. Happ in Thursday's finale.

Washington will, however, be without Ryan Zimmerman again today. The All-Star third baseman is still battling a tight hamstring and hopes to return Wednesday.

Check back throughout the game for updates, and check the homepage for other news...

Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 3:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM
Weather: Mostly sunny, 68 degrees, Wind 8 mph LF to RF
CF Nyjer Morgan
RF Willy Taveras
2B Cristian Guzman
1B Adam Dunn
LF Josh Willingham
SS Ian Desmond
C Ivan Rodriguez
3B Adam Kennedy
P Jason Marquis

SS Jimmy Rollins
3B Placido Polanco
2B Chase Utley
1B Ryan Howard
RF Jayson Werth
LF Raul Ibanez
CF Shane Victorino
C Carlos Ruiz
P Cole Hamels

2:40 p.m. -- The pregame ceremony is underway. Nice moment when the Phillies players and coaches all came marching into the ballpark through the center field stands. Charlie Manuel raised the 2009 NL championship banner. Nats players and staff are now being introduced. They're getting far less of a negative reaction here today than they did from all those Philly fans in D.C. last week. Seriously.

3:00 p.m. -- Members of the U.S. Navy just parachuted into shallow center field with the game ball.

3:12 p.m. -- And we are finally underway with a strike from Cole Hamels to Nyjer Morgan. The wind has picked up pretty good and is now blowing from left to right fields at a nice clip. As small as this ballpark is, watch out for long drives to right today.

3:13 p.m. -- Breaking news: Jimmy Rollins did not take the field with the rest of the Phillies. Juan Castro is at shortstop.

3:17 p.m. -- A two-out double from Cristian Guzman (on the first pitch he saw, naturally) isn't enough for the Nats in the top of the first. Adam Dunn strikes out swinging to end the inning and sends Jason Marquis out to the mound for the bottom of the first, with Castro the surprise leadoff man for the Phillies.

3:25 p.m. -- Very nice first inning for Marquis, who retired the side on 14 pitches. Meanwhile, here's an update on about Jesus Flores and Chien-Ming Wang. (Tease: Both guys are making progress in their return from shoulder injuries.)

3:28 p.m. -- The Hammer strikes. Josh Willingham crushes a 2-0 fastball from Hamels into the left-field bleachers and puts the Nats up 1-0. Washington has now scored first in six of its seven games this season.

3:39 p.m. -- He's only been out there for 10 innings over the last two days, but so far Adam Kennedy has looked pretty smooth at third base. He just made a nifty backhanded stab of Jayson Werth's hard grounder, then fired a one-hop throw to first that Adam Dunn nicely scooped to complete the play. Marquis has retired all six batters he's faced so far and has thrown only 27 pitches. Nats lead 1-0 after two.

3:43 p.m. -- Jiummy Rollins update: He's got a strained right calf. Weird. He appeared in pregame ceremonies. Did he jog too fast while coming out of the dugout? No, actually he hurt himself while stretching in the outfield just before the start of the game.

3:55 p.m. -- Speaking of impressive defense, how about Dunn? In addition to that nice scoop of Kennedy's one-hopper, he just made a nifty play to snatch Cole Hamels' sharp grounder, then stepped on first and fired a strike to Ian Desmond to complete the double play. After three innings, the Nats lead 1-0 and Marquis has faced the minimum, allowing only a third-inning walk to Carlos Ruiz (after getting ahead in the count 0-2, by the way). Forty-one pitches, 21 strikes for Marquis.

4:12 p.m. -- There are times when walking the No. 8 hitter to get to the pitcher is a sound strategy. But when Jason Marquis is the No. 9 hitter, that changes everything. So with the bases loaded and two outs (following a walk to Adam Kennedy), Marquis just sent a two-run double to left. All of a sudden, the Nats lead 4-0 in the fourth and the boo-birds are out at Citizens Bank Park.

4:21 p.m. -- Just to clear something up about Stephen Strasburg and a report out there yesterday that claimed he's being limited to 100 innings this season ... that's not at all accurate. Strasburg threw about 130 total innings last year between San Diego State, the Florida instructional league and the Arizona Fall League. The Nats will let him throw more than that this year, probably somewhere in the vicinity of 150 innings combined minors and majors. The report might have been trying to say Strasburg will be limited to 100 pitches per start, but the innings thing definitely isn't correct.

4:26 p.m. -- Jim Riggleman just got ejected by plate umpire Paul Schrieber. During a visit to the mound, the manager was complaining about Schrieber's strike zone and quickly got the boot. Looks like Marquis has been squeezed several times, but as you know, you can't argue balls and strikes. Bench coach John McLaren now in charge for the Nats.

4:36 p.m. -- Meanwhile, the Phillies scored two runs off Marquis during that eventful fourth inning. An RBI single by Howard on a 3-2 pitch (moments after a close pitch was called a ball by Schrieber, perhaps setting off Riggleman) was among the key blows. Nats now lead 4-2 in the fifth.

4:49 p.m. -- There are times when a manager's ejection gets a team fired up. This hasn't been one of those. The Nats have squandered their entire four-run lead and the Phillies now lead 7-4 in the fifth. Nightmare fifth for Jason Marquis and Co. The key mistake actually came from Ivan Rodriguez, who made an ill-advised throw to second on a Cole Hamels sac bunt attempt. The throw was in the dirt (and it might not have made it in time anyway) and that allowed the inning to devolve. Juan Castro roped a double off the wall. New Nat-killer Placido Polanco drove home two with a single and Chase Utley just ended Marquis' day with a towering, two-run homer off the foul pole in right. So after retiring nine of the first 10 batters he faced, Marquis retired only three of the next 11.

5:09 p.m. -- Some minor-league news: Danny Espinosa, the Nats' top shortstop prospect, has been placed on the 7-day DL at Class AA Harrisburg with a sore hamstring. The move, though, is retroactive to Saturday and Espinosa is expected to return this weekend when he becomes eligible.

5:24 p.m. -- The Nationals have had some moments in the last week in which they've pounced on an opposing pitcher and strung together some runs. But they haven't shown an ability to keep their foot on the gas pedal, and today has been another example of that. After scoring four runs on Cole Hamels in four innings, they've been silenced in three innings since, with Chad Durbin and Jose Contreras taking over for Hamels. This offense needs to learn how to sustain production over an entire game and not just be content with a couple of early runs, especially the way the majority of this pitching staff has performed.

5:40 p.m. -- Time's running out for the Nats. They haven't come close to touched the Philly bullpen, only one hit over the last four innings. It's still 7-4 heading to the bottom of the eighth.

5:57 p.m. -- An eminently winnable game for the Nationals instead goes down as a 7-4 loss. They took a 4-0 lead in the top of the fourth, then saw it all come crashing down amid Jim Riggleman's ejection and Jason Marquis' disastrous fifth inning. Washington is now 3-4 and hoping to get back to the .500 mark Wednesday night, with Craig Stammen facing Kyle Kendrick.


WFY said...

In 2005, tickets to the 1st Nats game, Phillies Opening Day, were available the week before -- got 4 together about five days before the game.

Anonymous said...

Mark, why would Riggs even think about Guzman at 3B (Ladson tweet) unless Zimm's injury is worse than indica, like so many others in the past.

Eric said...

I was there, too, in 2005. It was impressive how well I was treated with my curly W hat on by Phillies fans.

Jim Webster said...

We were able to score a pair of accessible seats in Citizens Bank Park for the last game of the 2008 season, just after the Nats had eliminated the Mets from contention for the division championship. Our thanks from the Phillies fans? They booed an old lady in a wheelchair wearing a Nats hat and shirt.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to point out to everyone here, (I am not a Guzzy fan.. Go Desmond!).... BUT only the games that Guzman has started, have we won. Lets keep him at 2b/ Rf and Maybe Kennedy should be the utility guy. Just a thought.

Doc said...

Right on Anonymous! Since the latter part of ST, I've thought that Kennedy should be utility, and Guzzy should be regular 2b. I think that his days as a SS are mostly over, but he has better range at 2nd than Kennedy. Also, time will tell, but I think that he has the better bat.

MM said...

a quick Wang update for those who're asking based on Apple Daily Taiwan story on 4/12:

Wang's throwing 120 feet long toss on flat ground. They're still working with his throwing mechanics/arm slot after he complained pain and tightness in his throwing shoulder and was shut down for a few days toward the end of the spring training. A brief quote from Wang in the story reads "the right shoulder is not as uncomfortable as before." Mark Grater (a coach?) had been videotaping his throwing sessions and sent to Spin Williams and Lee Kuntz. Once they're happy with what they see they'll plan for bullpen.

here's linky to the print story

here's linky to the TV story (warning: it takes forever to load, not for the faint of heart:)

cadeck13 said...

Ok, got MLB radio on, Nats Insider in-game thread, I'm ready to beat the Phillies......Let's go Nationals!!

Positively Half St. said...


Thanks. I am putting a lot of hope in C-M Wang, more than probably the great majority of The Constituency. I hope he doesn't let us down.


Traveler8 said...

Yeah Hammer! First HR in Citizens Park for the year! (Phillies have gotta hate that!)

Tcostant said...

Re: Strasburg sooner rather than later

A full year of service entails 172 days on the active roster. If Strasburg isn’t called up in the first 20 days of the season, it will push his free-agent clock to 2016. This means that the Nats, if they wanted to, could bring Strasburg up at the end of April or May 1st and still push his free agency year out to 2010. (Source:;_ylt=AnII4SrJlTsHddy1hn1neis5nYcB?slug=jp-servicetime041110)

We hear all this talk about Super 2 status, but it makes no sense to me. Strasburg’s contract is for 4 years, so assuming he is bought up anytime in 2010, when his 4 year contract is up, he would be eligible for arbitration regardless of how long he is in the minors this year.

Mark --> can you comment on this: Can you comment on why the fact that he has a 4 year contract is being ignored in regards to his Super 2 possible status? Am I missing something?

Note: I posted this under Strasburg post, but I'm not sure you would go back and look two post over.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Tcostant: OK, here's a quick explanation ... Strasburg's 4-year contract runs through '12. But if he's not called up until June '10, he still won't have enough service time for arbitration in '13. So technically, he'll still be a zero-to-three player in '13 and thus would command a smaller contract than he would if he was guaranteed arbitration.

If, however, the Nats called him up later this month, he'd be arb-eligible in '13 (as a Super 2 player) and command a higher salary.

I think I've got that right. Hope it makes sense.

greg said...

go marquis!

it's such a great positive when your pitcher can hit a little.

Tcostant said...

Mark -

I appriate the reply. I now get it! Thank you. I see he will make $3M in the final year of his deal in 2012; so if we wait until June this year he won't be arbitration eligible in 2013 and can be offered what the team deams is fair, but no less than 80% of his prior year salary.

I get it - thanks so much. I just assumed that the contract when past 2012, because the contract was not signed until August, but that is not the case.

Thanks again - I'll rest easy now.

Will said...

To paraphrase Bull Durham..."Jim Riggleman uses a certain word that's a no-no with umpires..."

Unknown said...

Welp that got real ugly real quick. Phillies umps FTL

Anonymous said...

I like to see a manager get thrown out winning a game 4 - 0 because he is standing up for his pitcher. Very refreshing after the Acta years.

Nervous Nats Fan said...

Seeing Tyler Walker come in the game does not make me feel good about our chances today.

Anonymous said...

1/2 Street: Wang is coming off of the same sort of injury that Flores suffered. He is 30 years old. He has had soreness which I assume he has now mitigated by "changing his pitching mechanics". The previous 2 years he was been terrible ... worst than any starter on the Nats staff.

What about this makes you hopeful? I would place more faith in Jordan Zimmermann, Scott Olsen, and Steven Strasburg were I you. Unless you are a Chinese National (get it?) LOL ;)

wpcorbett said...

Somebody please tell Kasten to stop Carpenter and Dibble from whining about the umpires.

In my only season as a minor league play-by-play broadcaster, the team's general manager, an elderly baseball lifer named Ed Doherty, gave me two instructions: (1) Don't mention the gamblers in the stands. (2) Don't criticize the umpires. Blaming the umpires is the mark of a loser.

Warren Corbett

PDowdy83 said...

Aeoliano, you are quite wrong on Wang being "worst" than any starter on the Nats the last 2 years. Last year yes, but in '08 he went 8-2 w/ a 4.07 ERA in 15 starts. Name 1 starter, not named Lannan that has even won half of their starts.

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