Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Game 8: Nats at Phillies

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Kyle Kendrick delivers tonight's first pitch to Nyjer Morgan.
PHILADELPHIA -- We're back at Citizens Bank Park for game two of this interrupted, three-game series, and this one may be more notable for who's not in the lineup than who's in.

For the Nationals, Ryan Zimmerman is out for the third straight game, apparently still hampered by a tight hamstring. The Nats had hoped Zim would be well enough to play after resting Sunday, Monday and Tuesday's off day, but this hasn't healed as quickly as everyone believed.

So Alberto Gonzalez gets his first start at third base. Cristian Guzman, meanwhile, is at shortstop, with Ian Desmond getting the night off. Strangely enough, both of Desmond's days off so far have come against the Phillies and Kyle Kendrick.

Meanwhile, both Jimmy Rollins (calf) and Jayson Werth (hip) are out for Philadelphia, and there's speculation Rollins will end up on the DL. [UPDATE: Rollins was indeed placed on the 15-day DL and replaced by Wilson Valdez. Werth, though, hopes to be back in the lineup tomorrow.] The Phillies' lineup is still imposing, but doesn't look nearly as scary with Greg Dobbs batting fifth.

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

Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Clear, 63 degrees, Wind 6 mph LF to RF
CF Nyjer Morgan
RF Willie Harris
SS Cristian Guzman
1B Adam Dunn
LF Josh Willingham
2B Adam Kennedy
C Ivan Rodriguez
3B Alberto Gonzalez
P Craig Stammen

CF Shane Victorino
3B Placido Polanco
2B Chase Utley
1B Ryan Howard
RF Greg Dobbs
LF Raul Ibanez
SS Juan Castro
C Carlos Ruiz
P Kyle Kendrick

5:25 p.m. -- An update on Zimmerman: He said his hamstring is "getting better" and he was able to take some hacks in the batting tunnel with no problems. Jim Riggleman said it's possible Zimmerman could be available to pinch-hit tonight, though the club will still be cautious with him and not rush him back, fearing the tweak could get worse. Watching three straight games from the bench, though, hasn't been Zimmerman's idea of a good time. "It's frustrating, but like I said, it's better to miss three or four games than to miss three or four weeks," he said. "That's kind of the mindset. It makes sense, even though it's hard to deal with this early in the season."

5:34 p.m. -- Don't forget the Nats will be making a roster move after the game tonight, with Scott Olsen recalled from Class AAA Syracuse so he can start tomorrow's series finale. The club basically has three choices of relievers to remove from the roster to make room for Olsen (Jesse English, Jason Bergmann or Tyler Walker). Just a hunch here, but I think English will be the choice. Not that the rookie lefty hasn't looked fine so far, but he really could use some more seasoning in the minors (he's never pitched at Class AAA) and Riggleman feels comfortable using Sean Burnett and Tyler Clippard against left-handed hitters, so English's presence in the big-league bullpen may not be all that important at this stage.

7:03 p.m. -- Pat Listach and Pete Mackanin just exchanged lineup cards. The Philly Phanatic watched from a distance, and Listach had an eye on the mascot as he walked back to the dugout. No Lady Ga-Ga act between the two tonight, and I have a hunch the Phanatic will be steering clear of Listach after the Nats' third-base coach made it clear he doesn't enjoy being part of the between-innings entertainment.

7:17 p.m. -- For the seventh time in eight games this season, the Nationals have scored first. Adam Kennedy's bases-loaded double brings three runs home and gives Craig Stammen a 3-0 lead to work with. Kyle Kendrick was all over the place in the inning, plunking Nyjer Morgan on the knee and walking Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham. The right-hander nearly got out of the jam but he left a 1-2 breaking ball out over the plate and Kennedy crushed it to right-center. That quieted the crowd quite a bit.

7:39 p.m. -- And for the sixth time in eight games, the Nationals take an early lead and then give it all back to the opponent.
Right on cue, Craig Stammen allowed the first five men to reach safely (including a walk to Chase Utley after getting ahead 0-2) and served up a bases-loaded single to Ryan Howard to get the scoring started. Greg Dobbs then roped a double just inside the first-base line (with Dunn not exactly making a fine attempt at it) to make it 3-3 before an out was even recorded. A sac fly by Raul Ibanez brought another run home and put the Phillies on top, 4-3, after one wild inning. Stammen wasn't hitting his spots at all, missing Pudge Rodriguez's glove by six-plus inches several times. Thirty-seven pitches for Stammen in the inning.

7:47 p.m. -- At this rate, it's going to take five hours to play nine innings tonight. Joe West, who happens to be umpiring first base, can't be happy with this.

7:57 p.m. -- And that's it for Kyle Kendrick. Phillies starter goes 1 2/3 innings, allowing six runs (so far) on six hits, with three walks and a HBP. He got a hero's serenade from the home crowd. Nelson "Softball Girl" Figueroa coming on to clean up the mess. Nat lead 6-4 and we're still in the top of the second.

8:09 p.m. -- If you were wondering, Placido Polanco is now 11-for-20 with three doubles, a homer and eight RBI against the Nats this season. This year's Raul Ibanez.

8:11 p.m. -- It takes a special ability to be able to consistently give away leads like this. Craig Stammen, then, is quite special. After allowing a three-run homer to Chase Utley, the Phillies now have re-taken a 7-6 lead and Stammen is done. Jesse English on. Stammen's final line (and hide the women and children before reading this): 1.1 ip, 7 h, 7 er, 1 bb, 0 k.

8:17 p.m. -- Hide the women and children again: The combined pitching lines for Stammen and Kendrick tonight: 3 ip, 13 h, 13 er, 4 bb, 1 k, 1 hbp, 1 hr. 105 pitches.

8:18 p.m. -- And the one strikeout came when Stammen fouled off a bunt attempt for strike three.

8:33 p.m. -- Nelson Figueroa -- I repeat, NELSON FIGUEROA -- is 2-for-2 with a single and a double. This game has officially become a farce, and we're still only in the bottom of the third.

8:39 p.m. -- Stop the presses! A scoreless half-inning! Still 7-7 after three.

8:51 p.m. -- OK, credit Jesse English for putting the fire out and tossing 2 2/3 innings of scoreless ball. It's a bit misleading because he allowed four hits, but the rookie got it done when it counted and brought some decorum to this travesty of a ballgame. Is that enough to spare him a demotion to Syracuse?

9:07 p.m. -- So it's going to come down to a battle of bullpens. Good thing the Nats still have an eight-man pen tonight. They'll be down to seven tomorrow. Oh, and Jason Marquis is no longer available to pitch if needed because Riggleman sent him to the plate as a pinch-hitter in the fifth. Hit a sharp liner, but right to the shortstop.

9:14 p.m. -- If Jason Bergmann wanted to quash any possibility of getting DFA'd, he's not helping his cause. After issuing a one-out walk to No. 8 hitter Carlos Ruiz, he then serves up a two-run homer to Shane Victorino on a 3-1 fastball right down the middle of the plate. Phillies lead 9-7 after five.

9:27 p.m. -- Chase Utley goes deep for the second time tonight, a laser of a solo homer into the second deck down the right-field line on a 3-2 pitch from Sean Burnett. That makes it 10-7 in the sixth. And seeing how the Nats' lineup has predictably gone silent after the early onslaught, this is looking more and more like another wasted opportunity at Citizens Bank Park.

9:52 p.m. -- Brian Bruney, showing exactly how not to pitch when trailing by three runs in the seventh. The right-hander just walked the Phillies' 7-8-9 hitters in succession, leaving the bases loaded with nobody out for the top of the lineup. It's up to Tyler Clippard to clean this up and keep the game within striking distance.

9:59 p.m. -- Well, you had to see that coming. Clippard serves up a bases-clearing triple to Shane Victorino, giving the Phillies a 13-7 lead and blowing this game wide open. The runs are all charged to Bruney, but you had to figure Clippard's magical start to the season was going to end eventually.

10:01 p.m. -- And the extra point makes it 14-7.

10:25 p.m. -- Thus concludes the ugliest game of the young season. The Nats score seven runs in the first three innings and lose 14-7. They've scored a grand total of two runs after the fourth inning in eight games this year. TWO! There will be at least one roster change tonight (Olsen up, reliever down). Could there be more changes after this travesty?


Daniel said...

Should we be worried about Zim?

Anonymous said...

So maybe Riggelman's comment about getting Guzzman ready to play third base was a dot to be connected, and I wasn't just paranoid when I thought of it.

Anonymous said...

These interrupted series--one game, day off, then two games--are just plain dumb scheduling. Who thought that gem up?

phil dunn said...

I thought Desmond won the SS job? Why does he need a day off when yesterday was an off day? This is a rather bizarre way to find out if he can do the job. Either play him or send him to Syracuse, but don't jerk him around.

Souldrummer said...

I don't have a problem with Desmond sitting. I thought he was overaggressive at times and Guzman has earned some playing time by hitting well in the reserve role so far.

My bigger issue is that out machine at 3B. Eric Bartlett please hit your way onto this lineup. The General sounds like a great nickname for a Chief.

Time for Dunn to awaken, hopefully following some extra BP due to the off day. He just needs to hit the mistakes a long way. The eye is certainly there.

Tcostant said...

To 3:59pm post.

They do that schuduling, only when opening day is the first day. It just much easier to slide opening day tickets to that off day the next day in case of rain. This way their is no conflict and don't want to loss that gate which is the largest of the year for most teams.

Monday was Philly's opening day, last Monday was the Nationals (but some would say that it was also the Phils opening day based on the crowd). The off days were both the the Tuesday after Opening day.

natscan reduxit said...

... why do I have this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that Zim isn't as healthy as we might have wanted or expected? And I'm married, so I know nagging.

Go Nats!!

BowdenBall said...

"I don't have a problem with Desmond sitting. I thought he was overaggressive at times and Guzman has earned some playing time by hitting well in the reserve role so far."

With Zimm sitting, all three could play, with Kennedy at third, Desmond at SS, and Guz at 2B. So this amounts to trading Desmond for Alberto Gonzales in the lineup. Nobody likes that.

Sure, this way Kennedy and Guzman stay at their natural positions, so maybe there's a minor defensive uptick. But Desmond, for his faults thus far, was at least a regular thread to knock the ball out of the park or at least off the wall. We're basically down to two such hitters now. That's ugly. If you're playing in a bandbox, put in some guys who have a chance to take advantage of that fact.

Jack T. In Florida said...

If the next thing I hear about Zim is "15 day disabled list" I'm going to demand a new training staff!

PDowdy83 said...

Tell me about it Jack T. This just follows right along with all the other players who start off day to day then end up missing 3 or 4 games then the next step, just like Morse, is the 15 day DL.

Anonymous said...

Further to the post-opening day off-day discussion, note that these off-days are not scheduled for opening days played in domes/retractable roofs or in warm climates with little chance of rain (e.g., San Diego). With Minnesota's new open-air stadium, I'm surprised they did not schedule an off-week just to be safe.

Sam said...

I agree that English could use some work in the minor leagues. However, when it comes to choosing between him, Bergmann, Walker, and Batista, I vote to let all of them go (well, English to the minor leagues). If they had such a tight leash on Mock, why not on these guys? None of them has been good in the major leagues for a long time. Walker didn't pitch much last year, and he has only had good years in which he pitched few innings. Batista has been useless for 3 years now, and Bergmann flat-out stinks (although, he's a nice guy).

natsfan1a said...

Crud. I meant to post this in the latest thread. The 1500 signal is awful in my area, so this is intriguing news.

Interesting item on nats320 re. FM radio possibilities for Nats games starting in May:

PDowdy83 said...

And who would you replace all 4 of them with Sam? Walker has looked great twice and not so good the other times. Bergmann and Batista could disappear and I'd be happy.

kyle said...

Drew Storen perhaps?

Seriously, a few more adequate bodies in the bullpen would be nice.

Gus said...

Mark, do you know how many innings this season where the Nats have scored, only for the opposition to score in the bottom on the innings, or at the top of the next?

Nervous Nats Fan said...

Oh man. Those two outs too forever. Now, please please please get a third here.

Nervous Nats Fan said...


Mark Zuckerman said...

Gus: That's now NINE times in seven-plus games where the Nats have scored in their half of the inning and then immediately given up a run in the next half-inning. Staggering.

Gus said...

Staggering is a great adjective.

Anonymous said...

Guzmann is hitting, Desmond isn't. Bottom line--Desmond is toast for now. End of story.

Doc said...

So far this season, the Nats have 2 pitchers who can come close to pitching in the Bigs. Stammen's performance to-night seems suggest that spring training performances are not the predictors that they should be.

Gus said...

That's TEN times. Can we use F&%KED UP instead of staggering?

phil dunn said...

Stammen just bought a one way ticket to Syracuse tonight.

Nervous Nats Fan said...

Phil - I worry that having such a short leash on the young pitchers (e.g., Mock) makes all the pitchers worse. They seem so worried about being perfect that they stink. Or maybe they just aren't very good to begin with. Either way, I don't think it's a good policy.

bobn said...

Mark--why do some of the Nat's jerseys have a gold mark on the back numbers and some don't?

Mark Zuckerman said...

BobN: You mean the gold trim around the numbers? Don't they all have those?

Janner33 said...

@ Mark Z, nah, i think bobn means the gold fleck on the right number on the back of the jersey... noticed that a few games this season

natscan reduxit said...

... so Jason Marquis is trying out for another role on the team, in case the one he has now doesn't work out.

Janner33 said...

I think Bergmann is packing his bags for Syracuse after this game. Man, this guy is frustrating!

LoveDaNats said...

So send Bergmann and keep English.

natscan reduxit said...

... I agree with Janner33 about Bergmann. I have heard and read a lot of stuff this spring about the tenuous statuses of many bullpen pitchers, but it always seems that Jason B. gets a pass in those considerations. I often wonder if it's because he's got pictures stashed somewhere. If he does, maybe they should go with him the the farm.

Janner33 said...

LOL at the "stashed pictures". Seems like for Bergmann every batter faced works a full count, then either a walk, or home run. English pitched a pretty decent game tonight.

Suicide Squeeze said...

Ran into the J-Berg riding the metro after a game with his wife -- they were with a couple of friends going somewhere with them, not riding the train for kicks. If you've seen his wife, you know why he is being kept around. At least one of 'em is hot right now...

natscan reduxit said...

... hey Suicide: yeah, but can she toss a decent slider?

natscan reduxit said...

... seriously though folks, I've been thinking (a dangerous habit at the best of times), and it seems to me that these games against the hottest team in the east will serve the Nats well in the future. They have proven to me, and to themselves, that if they can stand in there with the Phils, they will most surely be able to bring it against the rest of the division. They don't play Philly for the entire season.

Go Nats!!

K.D. said...

Hey, Does anybody else think Bruney might be hurt? I mean other than his feelings.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me said...

Keep Mrs. Bergie. Send down Mr. Bergie.

Suicide Squeeze said...

I wonder if Riggles has the balls to go for two and the win if the Nats score the last minute TD....

Spike94wl said...

What changes could we possibly make (other than getting rid of Bergman)? I sure hope Rizzo doesn't panic and call Stras and Storen up too soon.

Sunderland said...

Here's something to chew on. Opposing pitchers are batting .412 against the Nats this season.

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