Sunday, June 13, 2010

Game 64: Nats at Indians

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Progressive Field will be packed with fans wanting to catch a glimpse of Stephen Strasburg.
CLEVELAND -- The circus has arrived in Cleveland.

A large crowd (anywhere from 30,000-35,000) is expected. An extra 50 media members have been credentialed. There will be three TV crews (MASN in D.C., STO in Cleveland and TBS around the country). All to watch Stephen Strasburg make his second big-league start.

Strasburg will have a little different defense behind him. Ryan Zimmerman will be DH'ing, with Alberto Gonzalez at third base. Michael Morse also is in the lineup, starting in right field.

Check back for updates throughout. There should be plenty...

Where: Progressive Field
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV: Ch. 50-HD, MASN2-HD, TBS-HD (outside D.C. and Cleveland)
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 79 degrees, Wind 8 mph in from LF
2B Cristian Guzman
CF Nyjer Morgan
DH Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
LF Josh Willingham
C Ivan Rodriguez
RF Michael Morse
SS Ian Desmond
3B Alberto Gonzalez
(P Stephen Strasburg)

INDIANS (25-36)
CF Trevor Crowe
RF Shin-Soo Choo
C Carlos Santana
DH Travis Hafner
LF Austin Kearns
1B Russell Branyan
3B Jhonny Peralta
2B Luis Valbuena
SS Anderson Hernandez
(P David Huff)

12:35 p.m. -- The phenom has emerged on the field. Just came walking out of the dugout to head down to right field for stretching and jogging before beginning his bullpwen warm-up. Lots of people in Nats (and more specifically, Strasburg) jerseys here already. It's going to be interesting to see how the crowd reacts to strikeouts today. Will the Indians fans be cheering against their team? I wouldn't be surprised.

12:44 p.m. -- Oh yeah, forgot to mention that Ted and Mark Lerner, along with plenty of other team execs are here today. (And no, ownership doesn't usually travel to a weekend series in Cleveland.)

1:00 p.m. -- The stands still aren't half-full. Lots of people still waiting outside the left-field gate to get in. Good thing Strasburg doesn't take the mound til the bottom of the first.

1:07 p.m. -- We are underway with a 91 fastball from David Huff to Cristian Guzman. I have a feeling the first pitch of the bottom of the inning will come in with a bit more velocity.

1:11 p.m. -- Nothing doin' for the Nats in the top of the first. Guzman lined out to second. Morgan lined out to left. Zimmerman hit a sharp grounder to the hole at short, but Anderson Hernandez (remember him?) gunned him down at first. Clearly, the Nats are intentionally trying to lose this game to make Manny Acta feel better about himself. Meanwhile, here comes the kid...

1:21 p.m. -- Well, anyone worried about a letdown in start No. 2 has nothing to be concerned about. Strasburg blew away the Indians in the bottom of the first. Retired the side, striking out both Trevor Crowe and Shin-Soo Choo to open the game. Carlos Santana did scald a line drive to left for the final out. Still, pretty impressive. 15 pitches, 10 strikes, four of them hit 100 mph on the stadium radar gun. Lots of buzzing in the crowd.

1:29 p.m. -- All you Michael Morse fans out there have plenty to crow about right now. Two-out, RBI single to right scores Dunn (who inadvertently bowled over Santana at the plate) to put the Nats up 1-0.

1:38 p.m. -- Strasburg has been saying all along that major-leaguers can hit 100 mph if it's not located, and Travis Hafner proved it in the bottom of the second. Crushed a 100 mph heater down and in over the right-field fence for a solo homer. It wasn't a horrible pitch by any means, but against a left-handed power pitcher, that's not the best location. Strasburg rebounded from the bomb just fine, though. He got Austin Kearns to fly out, then struck out both Russell Branyan and Jhonny Peralta on curveballs. So it's 1-1 after two innings.

1:39 p.m. -- By the way, Strasburg has now thrown nine big-league innings. His total pitching line: 9 ip, 5 h, 3 er, 0 bb, 18 k. 123 pitches, 84 strikes. Not bad.

1:52 p.m. -- Big-time efficiency from Strasburg in the third. He retired the side on eight pitches, five of them strikes. Three weak groundballs to the right side of the infield. Total of 38 pitches (25 strikes) so far. It's still 1-1 after three.

2:04 p.m. -- A bomb from Adam Dunn puts the Nats on top 2-1 in the fourth. Strasburg is looking to set the record for most strikeouts before issuing his first career walk. The record is 22, by Johnny Cueto of the 2008 Reds. Strasburg is at 18 entering the fourth.

2:08 p.m. -- And there's the walk to Santana. Streak ends at 19. You knew that was going to happen.

2:17 p.m. -- Strasburg followed up his first walk with another walk. Funny how that happens. No problem, though. He merely struck out Kearns and Branyan on fastballs. So not a single ball was put into play in the fourth. It's like a Little League game. Strasburg's line through four: 4 ip, 1 h, 1 r, 2 bb, 7 k. 63 pitches, 39 strikes.

2:22 p.m. -- Strasburg has been having problems with the mound all afternoon, especially where his left foot lands. The umps have called for the grounds crew to take care of it. Gonna be a slight delay here.

2:35 p.m. -- Another walk, another strikeout and one really nice play by Alberto Gonzalez in the fifth. With two outs and a man on first, Crowe dropped a bunt. Gonzo, doing his best Zimmerman imitation, calmly scooped the ball and fired to first for the out. It's still 2-1 Nats through five. Strasburg at 79 pitches (47 strikes). Probably has one more inning in him, anthat'll be it.

2:46 p.m. -- Big, BIG hit from Pudge right there. Two-out, two-run double to left-center puts the Nats up 4-1 in the sixth. Some much-appreciated breathing room for Strasburg and the bullpen.

2:52 p.m. -- Make it 6-1 after Trevor Crowe takes a bad route on Ian Desmond's smoked line drive to center. Turned into a two-run triple and even more cushion for Strasburg and Co.

3:01 p.m. -- More mound problems in the sixth. After allowing a single and walking Hafner, Strasburg notes that he's slipping. Jim Riggleman comes out to talk to the umps and gets the grounds crew back out. The crowd doesn't like it. Drew Storen is warming, by the way. Strasburg's just about finished for the day.

3:06 p.m. -- Another walk, more mound issues and that's it for Strasburg. He's pulled with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth. Fellow 2009 first-round pick Drew Storen is on to pitch out of this jam, facing a tough hitter in Russell Branyan.

3:15 p.m. -- How bout some love for Drew Storen? Got out of the bases-loaded jam by getting Branyan to pop out and then blowing away Peralta with a 96 mph fastball. Preserves the 6-1 lead after six.

3:35 p.m. -- Today's paid attendance: 32,876. That included 3,823 fans who walked up and bought tickets at the ballpark today. Pretty impressive.

3:43 p.m. -- This is turning into a rout. Roger Bernadina crushes a two-run homer to right-center, putting the Nats up 8-1 in the eighth.

4:31 p.m. -- It's over. It's all over. Nationals win, 9-4. Strasburg gets the win, improves to 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA. He's allowed six hits and five walks in 12 1/3 innings, striking out 22. The Nats avoid a series sweep in Cleveland and head to Detroit at 31-33. Lannan and Scherzer on Tuesday night at Comerica Park.


Brian said...

A much better lineup today, though Bernadina in CF might be better. I'm disappointed that I have to go up to MD since my parents made reservations for brunch at 1:15. What were they thinking???

Doc said...

Mark, Brian brings up a good point. I think that Bernadina is the better fit for CF, and potentially a better hitter than Morgan.

Do you think that Bernadina will get more time in CF during the last half of the season?

Anonymous said...

Riggleman should sit Morgan and play Bernadina in CF and Morse in RF. This team is offensively challenged so Morse needs to play regularly.

JayB said...

Mark seems too busy chasing the sexy story today (one win) verses the two self inflicted loses to one of the worst teams in baseball. Oh well he is following the money, which I understand I guess but I am not sure that is what I paid my dues for.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what the best way to watch a Nats game overseas is? I'm in Germany for work and don't want to miss this game.

Andrew said...

Anon - Sign up for MLB.TV right now! I think they have a $79 special running then you can watch on your computer.

Anonymous said...

Anon. - (TBS)

Mark Zuckerman said...

JayB: What exactly is it you want me to be doing? Ask Riggleman if he's intentionally trying to lose a ballgame because he's not starting Michael Morse? Ask him five different times why Ryan Zimmerman is DHing today? The Nats lost two games. They didn't play well. They were dominated by a very good pitcher last night. You know what? It happens. Teams lose ballgames. It's a 162-game season. Each one isn't life and death.

In other words: Chill out, dude.

Arlington Big Fish said...

Mark, don't let JayB get your goat. We all know he (she?)'s a chronic complainer. Keep up the good work; I think I'm getting more than my money's worth

JayB said...


Yes that is what I want to know.

Riggs rationalizations about Harris and Kennedy make no sense with respect to what he is doing with Morse.

DHing Zim makes no sense and DHing Harris last night with Willingham in LF makes not sense. Going into a 3 game set with the chance to get to .500 and putting those line ups out there set a losing tone.

Fausto was facing a Nats line up with 4 guys hitting under .200 for the Month. Was he that good or was the Nats lineup that bad?

I honestly do believe that Riggs planned out long ago to go into Cleveland and play a weak lineup to give Acta a boost. That is just what he did not to lose on purpose but to time when he was going to to it to Acta's benifit. Was anyone surprised that Kennedy made another error? Harris struck out twice?

Anonymous said...

JayB = moron. Just refund his money, Mark.

Jim Webster said...

JayB's screed is the silliest one could imagine. Let's just suppose he's in training to be a failed novelist.

Chris said...

Please listen to anonymous and tell JayB he's no longer welcome, Mark.

This place would be a much better place without him.

Anonymous said...

I know which posts to skip.

Anony-miss said...

JayB's conspiracy theory. The Friday and Saturday games were fugly so JayB thinks Riggleman had the fix on?

I also saw Shoeless Joe running across the field!

peric said...

And you jack-o-ninnies give me grief?

I was a Morse and JD Martin fan from the very start. Well before anyone else dudes. Yeah Mark what do you think of that? Huh? And I was right about Trevor Holder.

Now look at everyone ... and your whining ... you sound a lot worst than I ever did ...

And BTW, did any of you ever play this game? Have you ever done anything other than look at stats and play fantasy leagues?

Sheesh what a bunch of couch potatoes.

A DC Wonk said...

Hey -- what's the record for consecutive strike-outs by a rookie -- and, can it be over two games?

He struck out the last seven last game, and the first two this game.

Is that a record? (And might be the second-longest for everybody? Seaver's record was 10)

Chris said...

You're crowing about being a J.D. Martin fan? Uhh, congrats man, you sure do know how to pick out AAAA quality starters...

And what were you right about with Holder?

Big Oil said...

You know who really impresses me? Carlos Santana. At least Tribe fans have something to look forward to.

Appears that we are going to strand Dunn at second in the second.

In about a season's worth of data, Morse's career slash line is .301/.364/.420 (420 PAs). He certainly deserves more PT. Anddd no sooner do I say that than Morse comes up with a clutch hit and Dunn plows Santana.

Dryw Loves the Nats said...

Watching the replay, I feel for that catcher! Adam Dunn is a large man.

Anonymous said...

i'm sure not a morse fan. [showed zero the week i saw sprint training.] and martin who? who's that. and anon above: i'll chip in a few bucks.

do you guys think this would be a better lineup with adam kennedy in there instead of gonzales? maybe RZ back home at third, AK DH'ing?

and i never played beyond high school, where i was a very good rider of the pint. lol. as for fantasy league play, i feel for riggleman. i've but two starters on my fantasy team that i count on -- Livan and SS. ha!

A DC Wonk said...

MLB Gameday says that Strasburg's first pitch, and _every_ fastball in the first inning, except one, as 100 mph. (The other fast ball was 99).

Is that accurate?

greg said...

wow, jayb just topped himself and any other crazy whackjob poster with that one.

"I honestly do believe that Riggs planned out long ago to go into Cleveland and play a weak lineup to give Acta a boost."

check your dosage, i think your pharmacist made a mistake.

and peric coming in a weak second today, but still distancing the rest of the pack.

can we just create a separate commenting thread for jayb and peric?? sure would make reading the comments much more pleasant.

i'm with the others, just refund jayb's money and wash your hands of him.

A DC Wonk said...

the phrase "don't feed the trolls" comes to mind . . .

Nervous Nats Fan said...

Is it good or bad that I'm disappointed every time Stras gets an out by some other means than K?

Also, feel bad for the ump on that Nyjer bunt. Ouch.

A DC Wonk said...


Anonymous8 said...

Very nice Pudge!

bobn said...

Will S.S. go on Friday?

Doc said...

Time for Gonzo to be back at 2nd. He had some hand problems last year, and he's been riding Rigg's bench so far. But he's the answer at 2nd. Maybe he can lead-off too!

A DC Wonk said...

Holy moley -- did you see that Strasburg slip on that last pitch? Someone can pull a hamstring slipping like that.

Nervous Nats Fan said...

I think Riggs should have pulled him when the grounds crew came out again. Also, that last pitch to Kearns was definitely a strike.

Now just hope Storen doesn't give up all his runners.

Mark, what do you think of the mound issues? Was he being a diva and should just deal with it, or was it actually bad?

Mark Zuckerman said...

Nervous Nats Fan: He was legitimately slipping on just about every pitch that inning and was slipping earlier in the game, too. No diva move there at all. Though I was surprised Riggleman left him in to face Kearns.

A DC Wonk said...


JayB said...

I did not say he was trying to lose. I said he planned to get his worst hitters into the game this weekend weeks ago and the did just what he planned. They lost two games to the second worst team in the AL with Harris at DH and Kennedy playing to error filled games at 2B. The results speak for themselves.

Dryw Loves the Nats said...

Where was a little bit of this run production the last two days??

Bob Dole said...

JayB, quit trying to dig your way out of a hole. You're a moron, plain and simple. You know it, I know it, and the American people know it.

Cwj said...

Can anyone confirm that Strasburg hit 100mph 9 times today?

Mark Zuckerman said...

CWJ: According to the scoreboard gun, yes, he hit 100 nine times. Hit 99 mph 14 times.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Riggleman picked a good line-up today.
The Morse Bernadina RF line 3AB 2H 3RBI 1BB.

greg said...

what bob dole said. your comment speaks for itself.

"I honestly do believe that Riggs planned out long ago to go into Cleveland and play a weak lineup to give Acta a boost."

the "to give acta a boost" caveat says it all.

it was an idiotic comment, trying to excuse it instead of owning up to it only makes you look more idiotic.

NattyLite said...

I really like what Bernadina has shown at the plate over the past week or so. It looks like he is actually starting to progress, as opposed to Maxwell who consistently looks lost.

On an unrelated note, I would love to see what a Dibble-led pitching staff would look like. He seems genuinely confused every time a pitcher does not throw his "best pitch." I realize Strasburg's command of the changeup was off today, but I have no problem with him pitching carefully to Hafner. Despite Dibble's quips about his "slow bat," he put up 4 straight seasons of 100+ RBI before missing large chunks of the last 2 seasons.

K.D. said...

As far as run production the last few days, could it be that they were facing good solid pitchers? I was pleased how SS handled adversity today, though it was pretty alarming after watching the replays how much his foot was slipping. Bullpen has done well (so far).

Nervous Nats Fan said...

You're up 9-2 in the ninth, with 2 on, 1 out, and you don't trust Batista to get the last two outs to avoid having Burnett warm up? Ugh.

K.D. said...

This is where having Pudge behind the plate is invaluable, he knows this division and most of these hitters. Good game, good job Clippard!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Looks like Riggleman picked a good line-up today.
The Morse Bernadina RF line 3AB 2H 3RBI 1BB.
June 13, 2010 4:04 PM

The Riggleman rule says : his bench players need reps to keep sharp ... So, we end up with guys like Batista and Harris doing crappy. Guzman is officially a bench guy this who gets to play because he its. Well Riggs Morse is hitting .423 right now? And he hits for power?
The only reason Bernadina got his chance was because Riggleman favorite JMax keeps failing to hit and Rizzo sends him down. Otherwise it would have been JMax in the sixth instead of Bernadina as the left was still in the game. Riggleman is idiosyncratic in his decision making. The only sense it makes is if you see him practicing cronyism.

Anonymous said...

Guzman is officially a bench guy this who gets to play because he its.

Change to: Guzman is officially a bench guy this year who gets to play because he hits.

Anonymous said...

left was still in the game
lefty was still in the game

SBrent said...

I think when your job involves filling three hours straight of airtime more than six days out of seven, you have to assume that not everything that comes out of his mouth is going to be brilliant and insightful, no matter who it is. You put pretty much any human being in that situation, and at least some of the time some pretty idiotic thoughts will spill out.

It's so easy to be a critic, whether of Dibble or of Riggleman, or even of Mark, which is most bizarre of all on this board. Can we all give our fellow human beings a little benefit of the doubt? No reason to be so harsh, so personal, or so conspiratorial.

peric said...

i'm sure not a morse fan. [showed zero the week i saw sprint training.] and martin who? who's that. and anon above: i'll chip in a few bucks.

Dude, you were probably smoking crack instead of watching. Another friggin' couch potato with no sense but nonsense. The guy used to be a shortstop in the majors ... sheesh. AAAA right. You were probably the main J-ass complaining about Kearns too now weren't you?

And Martin is their 3rd best starter right now after Stras and Livo. Who? Yeah JD Martin a-hole.

Finally everyone thought Holder was a wasted pick ... someone you could sign below slot. He doesn't look that way now.

A separate thread for me? How about one for the completely brain dead chuckleheads like you who continuously post inane comments?

Anonymous said...

Maybe would take Peric more seriously if he didn't make so many dumb statements like the team where he said that Mike Morse could be just as good of a hitter as Jason Heyward.

You hardly deserve accolades for Holder. He is after all a 23 year old still in Low A. By the time he makes the big leagues, if he ever makes it (longshot), he would be 25-26 years old. Hardly a prospect. That is Craig Stammen territory.

greg said...

i'll put my comments up against yours for inanity any day, peric. i don't remember anywhere near as many people calling me out as call you out constantly for your comments. it's mostly you complaining about me, and that's only when i call you on saying stupid scheisse.

stras pitched well again today. i like the fact that he ran into some unusual adversity and, while he did get befuddled a little, he did seem to understand afterward that he let the mound stuff get under his skin.

Cwj said...

Greg I agree.
I'm sure the veteran presence in the dugout helped to lighten him (Strasburg) up a bit. Looks like Dunn is always talking and joking on the bench.

Something stats will never cover is the psychological assistance from team mates.

LoveDaNats said...

where's the love?

Hullabalou said...

Mark - I think you have Fausto Carmona confused with the pitcher he was in 2008 and 2009, he is not good this year, the Indians are horrible and they just took 2 of 3 from the Nats, this is an abomination, OF COURSE the Lerner's love for you and others (Nats320) to paint the gloriously Curly W side of every story. The story here is SS stunk up the joint yesterday by walking 5 and I do not thing that the Indians pitchers was complaining about the mound..WHICH the pitch on 81 times a YEAR...DIVA is spelling STRASBURG! Please start providing the critical insight you were providing in Spring Training when you were just a blogger not a Nats mouthpiece!

greg said...

no no, hullabalou, mark is right on target, you're confused.

carmona was great in 2007, terrible in 2008 and 2009, and very good again this year.

2007 19-8, 3.06, 1.21 (record/era/whip)
2008 8-7, 5.45, 1.62
2009 5-12, 6.32, 1.76
2010 5-5, 3.23, 1.24

his numbers are the OPPOSITE of what you said.

if you don't understand why the mound was a problem for strasburg and not for huff, it's probably because you haven't read enough or heard the story behind the difference in where huff lands vs where strasburg lands.

and have you watched all 81 games cleveland plays so you *know* it's never a problem for anyone else?

before you come and bash someone for getting the story wrong, make sure you actually have it right. it's not critical insight to get the story wrong or miss it completely.

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