Friday, May 28, 2010

Game 49: Nats at Padres

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Petco Park, the beautiful home of baseball in beautiful San Diego.
SAN DIEGO -- Hello from heaven on earth, otherwise known as San Diego. It just doesn't get any better than this place.

And for the first time in several years, this fantastic town has a good baseball team to call its own. The surprising Padres own the National League's best record at 28-19, thanks to a deep and talented pitching staff that takes full advantage of the spacious outfield here at Petco Park.

Left-hander Clayton Richard, one of the key acquisitions from the White Sox in last year's Jake Peavy trade, takes the mound tonight looking to improve to 5-2. Jim Riggleman counters with a lineup somewhat similar to yesterday's (Adam Dunn hits third, with Ryan Zimmerman fourth) though Nyjer Morgan is back at the top with Justin Maxwell in right and Cristian Guzman at second. Better defensive alignment for this park. John Lannan looks to build off back-to-back strong starts.

Check back for updates throughout...

Where: Petco Park
Gametime: 10:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 63 degrees, Wind 10 mph LF to RF
CF Nyjer Morgan
2B Cristian Guzman
1B Adam Dunn
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Josh Willingham
SS Ian Desmond
RF Justin Maxwell
C Wil Nieves
P John Lannan

PADRES (28-19)
LF Will Venable
2B David Eckstein
1B Adrian Gonzalez
3B Chase Headley
C Yorvit Torrealba
LF Oscar Salazar
SS Jerry Hairston
CF Chris Denorfia
P Clayton Richard

8:56 p.m. -- Jordan Zimmermann update: The right-hander, coming back from Tommy John surgery, pitched one inning in an intrasquad game in Viera earlier this week, a key step in his rehab. The Nats, though, still plan to be very cautious with Zimmermann. They won't let him return to the majors until he is a full 12 months removed from the surgery (which took place last August).

10:06 p.m. -- Let's play ball! Clayton Richard starts Nyjer Morgan off with a ball.

10:09 p.m. -- Quick top of the first for Richard, who retired the side on 11 pitches. John Lannan takes the mound for the Nats. Pennant fever hasn't exactly gripped San Diego. I think I've seen bigger crowds at a Marlins home game.

10:11 p.m. -- Uh-oh, we've got some kind of lineup card issue here.

10:14 p.m. -- You know, I wonder if someone forgot to flip-flop Dunn and Zimmerman, meaning Dunn just batted illegally in the top of the first.

10:17 p.m. -- OK, here's what happened: The official lineup card given by the Padres had Adam Russell listed as the starting pitcher, not Clayton Richard. Russell was sent down earlier today. The Nats have protested, saying the Padres made an illegal substitution. The umpires have accepted the protest. So if the Nats lose this game, this could get really interesting!

10:24 p.m. -- Richard has retired all six Nationals batters he's faced so far. The real question: Will any of this matter by the end of the night?

10:31 p.m. -- OK, here's how this all works ... The Nationals formally protest because the Padres submitted an invalid lineup card. The umpiring crew accepted the protest, which basically means they accept this is a valid reason to protest. They don't have the final say. It will have to go to the commissioner's office for a ruling. The question will be: Did the incorrect lineup card in any way alter the outcome of the game? It's probably going to be hard to prove that. The Nats knew Richard was tonight's starting pitcher all along and probably just noticed the Padres made a mistake. Russell was optioned to Class AAA earlier today, so it's not like anyone legitimately thought he was going to start this game. In the end, this is probably all much ado about nothing. But that doesn't change the fact it's really bizarre.

10:47 p.m. -- For what it's worth, teams file protests all the time. But MLB hasn't upheld one since 1986. Seems pretty unlikely they'd do it in this case.

10:49 p.m. -- The Nats can make this all moot by simply winning the game. And thanks to Josh Willingham's three-run homer to center in the top of the fourth, they're now headed in that direction. A three-run deficit, to the Padres, is like a 30-run deficit.

10:56 p.m. -- And as if on cue, the Padres pounce on Lannan for a run in the bottom of the fourth. Back-to-back hits from David Eckstein and Adrian Gonzalez. That's just inexcusable for the Nats to allow a hit to Eckstein. If anyone should have a scouting report on that guy, it's a Nationals coaching staff that -- HELLO! -- includes his brother Rick!

11:34 p.m. -- So anyways, the Nationals now lead 4-1 at the seventh-inning stretch, with Ian Desmond providing the latest run on a solo homer in the top of this inning. John Lannan has just been cruising through the San Diego lineup and sits at only 77 pitches through six. This is vintage Lannan, and it certainly looks like he's past his elbow problems from earlier in the season.

11:42 p.m. -- The Padres picked up another run in the seventh (thanks to a throwing error on Ian Desmond on a play in which Adam Dunn may have tagged Oscar Salazar anyway). No harm, though. Lannan pitched out of it without allowing anything more, so the Nats will carry a 4-2 lead into the eighth. Lannan's due up second, we'll see if he gets to hit or not.

11:45 p.m. -- Michael Morse pinch-hitting for Lannan. Really nice outing for the lefty. His final line: 7 ip, 7 h, 2 r, 1 er, 0 bb, 1 k. 88 pitches, 56 strikes.

11:50 p.m. -- It's Clip 'n Save time. Tyler Clippard on to pitch the eighth. If that goes well, Matt Capps will be on for the ninth.

12:03 a.m. -- Clippard did his job. Eckstein singled with one out, but he blew away Gonzalez with a high 93 mph fastball and then got Headley to fly out to end the inning. We go to the ninth, still 4-2 Nats.

12:08 a.m. -- We had a good discussion earlier today about when (or if) to sub Adam Dunn out for defense. Well, Jim Riggleman just did it here, sending up Adam Kennedy to pinch-run in the top of the ninth with a two-run lead. Based on all of your arguments earlier, I'd say about half of you like this move and half of you don't.

12:12 a.m. -- Wow, a perfect squeeze bunt from Desmond adds an insurance run. Nats lead 5-2. Beautifully executed by Desmond.

12:23 a.m. -- Uh-oh. Bases loaded, nobody out. Winning run at the plate. Shades of Sept. 18, 2005 here...

12:26 a.m. -- It's 5-3 after four straight singles off Capps (one of them a bad play by Desmond, another a little dribbler to third). Bases still loaded, winning run on first, Matt Stairs at the plate.

12:31 a.m. -- Wow, what a pitch from Capps to Stairs. 3-2 slider caught him looking. Still only one out, bases still loaded for Will Venable.

12:33 a.m. -- And now Capps blows away Venable with a 95 mph fastball for out two. David Eckstein the Padres' last hope.

12:19 a.m. -- Ballgame. Nats win, 5-3. Guess that protest proved to be worthless in the end. Lannan gets the win. Capps gets the save. Willingham and Desmond provide all the offense.


JayB said...


What is the combined numbers for the Catching position since Pudge went down....fielding and batting please?

Aussie Gus said...

Jayb, it's called the Internet mate, and it's got great features, like baseball stats on it. You should try it one day.

Steve M. said...

So the lefty pitcher gives Justin Maxwell another go at it?

Opportunity #19?

Souldrummer said...

@Steve M.
Yep, I have no problem with that. Justin Maxwell has much better splits against lefties. .854 OPS career against lefties. .699 OPS against righties career.

Maxwell platooning with Nyjer and Bernadina is a good plan and probably a better option for us than Willie Harris. I thought he contributed well yesterday, and you might as well give him a shot at some big league experience because he will likely be sent back down tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Mark, you're visiting the 2 of the best places in the country (I'm jealous), followed by the worst one (I'm not). Quite a trip! If only they could relocate the US Capitol to the Gas Lamp District, then we'd be in business! Make sure you go to the Fish Market while in SD.

Steve M. said...

MM said...
Jordan Zimmermann update -

don't see this posted here yet but apparently Jordan Zimmermann pitched a 1-2-3 inning with 1K yesterday in an extended spring training game against the Astros.

Rehab start set for 6/22.

MLB return? can you say late-July???!!!

Mark - I searched the internet and couldn't find anything on this.

This is potentially huge!

Can you confirm? Thanks.

Steve M. said...

Souldrummer - Why not Mike Morse in RF? I thought Mike Morse was going to platoon with Roger Bernadina.

Who gets sent down or DFA'd tomorrow when JD Martin gets called up?

Grandstander said...

I believe Maxwell already has his bags packed.

Anonymous said...

Tonight's start is a lovely parting gift for JMax.

Steve M. said...

Grandstander - Sure, Maxwell is the logical choice but I could also see with their love affair with JMax that Morse could be DFA'd or someone else.

I hope not but nothing would surprise me with this group.

Since Morse came back on in Mid-May, he has only had 8 at-bats with 3 hits.

Sam said...

Someone on the tube last week against the Orioles posed the question of who is the biggest surprise on the the club this year. For me, the biggest surprise is a close call between Livo and Nyger.

Steve M. said...

"@Mark Z. 8:56 p.m. -- Jordan Zimmermann update: The right-hander, coming back from Tommy John surgery, pitched one inning in an intrasquad game in Viera earlier this week, a key step in his rehab. The Nats, though, still plan to be very cautious with Zimmermann. They won't let him return to the majors until he is a full 12 months removed from the surgery (which took place last August)."

That is still some great news. I for one thought Jordan Zimmermann was the Nats best pitcher through the All Star break in 2009.

I could forsee Strasburg and JZim as a great tandem 1-2 punch and the key to a legit rotation to lead the Nats starting in August and beyond!

Mark, thanks for the update!!!

Souldrummer said...

@Steve M.
Morse is not that good a defender in RF. His main role on the team should be to be a right handed 1B who can sub for Dunn and a right handed pinch hit bat. Bernadina is deserving of an extended look in RF.

Morse's problem is that he really hasn't hit with enough power to justify his bad defense anywhere in the field. Hopefully he'll get a chance to show that he can be a solid pinch hitter. But Riggles doesn't really use straight pinch hitters but so often. He seems more inclined to use double switches and he's going to use his better defenders for those double switches.

N. Cognito said...


What is the Nats record this year on days that end in "y?"

Les in Nc said...

Mark, could you elaborate on the ramifications an accepted protest has on the game?

Les in NC said...

Thanks for the quick explanation!

It did get me thinking though, how many times do these lineup issues come up over the course of the season?

Anonymous said...

It is me or do Nats starters ALWAYS give back runs/leads when the offense give it them. It seems every time the Nats score the opposition scores immediately in the next half inning.

Suicide Squeeze said...

If the Padres line-up card gaffe has no chance to affect the outcome of the game, I think the Nats should follow their lead and list Strasburg as their SP for every single game going forward,,,,

Les in NC said...

Lannan was meant to play in spacious Petco Park. Where he can pitch to contact without a care in the world... Oh and also against the 27th ranked slugging % Padres....

On a side note- Can we call Desmond the Wizard of ID?

Cwj said...

Capps escaped that 9th inning bases loaded 0 out jam by throwing STRIKES. The stat freaks are right: A high K:BB ratio = success.
Nevermind that the umpires were clearly against the Nats tonight :)

Andrew said...

Who is ready for some Maalox

Andrew said...

Ok Maxwell sent down

Post a Comment