Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Game 100: Braves at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
For the first time in 16 days, the Nats are home.
Sure has been a while since the Nationals played a game on South Capitol Street. Sixteen days, as a matter of fact, have elapsed since the Nats hosted the Giants and then departed for the All-Star break, followed by a 10-game road trip.

They return at last tonight, still stinging from a 3-7 swing through Florida, Cincinnati and Milwaukee, but with Stephen Strasburg and Livan Hernandez starting the next two games against the Braves. If you missed this stat I calculated yesterday, the Nats are 18-11 this season when Strasburg or Hernandez starts. When anyone else pitches, they're 24-46. (So, you're saying they've got a chance!)

The Nationals also come home to a less-than-perfect playing surface. Dave Matthews Band played here Friday night, and the damage remains. Almost the entire outfield grass is discolored from the stage and seating area. It's probably just a case where the field needs to be watered and get sunlight for a couple of days and everything will be fine again. But it certainly doesn't look very pretty at the moment.

Check back throughout the afternoon and evening for updates...

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 86 degrees, Wind 7 mph RF to LF
CF Nyjer Morgan
2B Cristian Guzman
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
LF Josh Willingham
RF Roger Bernadina
C Ivan Rodriguez
SS Ian Desmond
P Stephen Strasburg

BRAVES (57-41)
2B Martin Prado
RF Jason Heyward
3B Chipper Jones
C Brian McCann
LF Eric Hinske
1B Troy Glaus
SS Alex Gonzalez
CF Melky Cabrera
P Tommy Hanson

5:00 p.m. -- Uecker-gate is apparently over. Jim Riggleman met with Adam Dunn and scolded the first baseman for venturing into the press box in Milwaukee during Saturday's game to talk to Brewers announcer Bob Uecker. Dunn wasn't in the lineup that night and made his visit (in full uniform) during the second inning. Riggleman wasn't pleased when he found out the following day. "We've addressed it," the manager said, not revealing whether Dunn was fined or not. "Internally, we've addressed that issue, and that's about all I'm going to say about it. It's unfortunate, but we've dealt with it. After the conversation, it's over."

5:06 p.m. -- The Nationals have decided who will get called up from the minors to fill J.D. Martin's rotation spot, though Riggleman wouldn't reveal any names today. It sounds like the call-up will pitch Saturday against the Phillies, with Ross Detwiler pitching on normal rest Friday. The most likely candidates are John Lannan (who last pitched for Harrisburg on Thursday) and Matt Chico (who last pitched for Syracuse on Friday).

7:01 p.m. -- We are just about ready to get started here. Looks like it's going to be close to another sellout, perhaps a full house by the time everyone makes it in. The Strasburg Effect appears to be alive and well.

7:03 p.m. -- MAJOR NEWS: Miguel Batista just warmed up in the pen and is currently walking toward the dugout. No sign of Stephen Strasburg.

7:04 p.m. -- Strasburg has been officially scratched. Batista will start.

7:08 p.m. -- The game has begun with Batista facing Martin Prado. Huge round of boos from the crowd when he was announced as the starter. Still no official word on Strasburg's condition. He did warm up earlier but apparently left the bullpen around 6:50 p.m. or so with a trainer. I've added a new posting on Strasburg on the homepage and will be updating that as I learn more, so please check that out.

7:58 p.m. -- OK, if you haven't seen it, there's much more on Strasburg on the other posting, with a complete transcript from Mike Rizzo's impromptu press conference during the first inning. The gist: Strasburg was unable to get his arm loose in the bullpen, so Rizzo pulled the plug as a precaution. He'll receive X-rays and an MRI, and his status for now is day-to-day.

8:00 p.m. -- Meanwhile, in this game, the Nats have taken a 3-0 lead after two innings thanks in part to a pair of errors on the Braves. Honestly, I've been scrambling to interview Rizzo, update this site and write a story for CSNwashington.com, so I really haven't been paying attention to what's happening on the field. But now that I've caught up, I'll start posting some more regular game updates.

8:25 p.m. -- Who needs this Strasburg guy? Miguel Batista is doing just fine. Actually, he's doing better than fine. He's tossed four scoreless innings so far, striking out six in the process. This after learning he would be starting about 15 minutes before gametime. I know people have complained about Batista off and on this season, but this right here is why he's vital to this team. There are few relievers in baseball who could do this. Nats still lead 3-0 heading to the fifth, and Batista is heading back to the mound for more.

8:34 p.m. -- Make it five scoreless innings for Batista. He's thrown 83 pitches.

8:36 p.m. -- Meanwhile, I just took a quick poll around the press box: When will Strasburg make his next start? Everyone said either this weekend or not until 2011. Makes sense. You've got think either he's fine and makes his next start or else is shut down for the season. At this point, they're not going to put him on the 15-day DL and have him go through a throwing program to get himself back into shape and return to finish out the year.

8:39 p.m. -- That'll do it for Batista, who gets a world of credit for what he did tonight: Five scoreless innings, three hits, one walk, six strikeouts. He threw 83 pitches. You know how many pitches he threw over his last four relief appearances combined? Seventy-nine! Sean Burnett now on for the sixth, with the Nats still leading 3-0.

8:58 p.m. -- It appears Strasburg left the ballpark at some point, presumably to go somewhere to get the MRI done. Which means we almost certainly won't see or talk to him postgame.

9:13 p.m. -- We go to the eighth. After two scoreless innings from Burnett, it'll be Drew Storen to protect this 3-0 lead.

9:21 p.m. -- The Nats are three outs away from an improbable victory. Storen retired the side in the eighth, getting a couple of strikeouts on wicked breaking balls. Matt Capps is warming and it appears he'll pitch the ninth in search of the save.

9:32 p.m. -- That's it. It's all over. Nats win, 3-0. Just like you all expected way back at 7 p.m. Though I suppose the storyline was slightly different than anticipated. Impressive performance tonight from a lot of people, led by Miguel Batista.


Anonymous said...

i hate dave mathews band!

JayB said...

I wish we could get to a point where winning baseball games was the Nationals priority...if they just made that the focus they would make more money than getting a cut of Dave M on a year.

Pete said...

Well, at least Willie Harris isn't in the lineup.

Anonymous said...

Why would they schedule a concert just a few days before a series began? If the concert had been scheduled two weeks ago - BEFORE the 16-day layoff - then the grass would be fine today.

JayB said...

Dave M. has the hand here.....until the Nats make winning the focus...

Bowdenball said...

Jesus, you people will whine about anything. Sometimes I lose my temper with this team too, but I at least try to keep it reasonable.

I don't know the details about the concert, but I do know that the Nats don't own the Park. I also know that a band that fills 40,000 seat stadiums probably can't move their schedule around to end up in the mid-Atlantic two weeks earlier than planned.

I'm sure the Nats have some control over the use of the Park during the season, but is there any evidence that this was entirely the club's call? Since they don't own the Park, I'd assume it wasn't until I heard otherwise. Have you all heard otherwise?

cadeck13 said...

Hi Mark! off topic, but I wanted to let you know I got my Nats Insider tee shirt! I really like it :) I would wear it tonight, but my Strasburg shirt is calling my name so I'll wear my Insider shirt to Sat game. For those who haven't gotten theirs yet, it's worth it and supports Mark :)

Jimmy said...

Thank you Bowdenball. The whining grates sometimes. Plenty to complain about this season. A DMB concert four days ago that made the grass slightly less pretty than normal is not one of them. That concert, and others like it, will continue to help make Navy Yard a destination year round, increasing the likelihood that we get some good development, including bars and restaurants, right there on half street - which is certainly in the clubs interest.

Grass aside, this should be a beautiful evening for some baseball. Last week, staring back and forth between my tickets for tonight, and my 6 months pregnant wife, I was just imagining the difficulties of having to "whatever you need hon" my way out of a sweltering ballpark after just a couple of innings. Alas, the storms came, ruined traffic for many and cooled the area off enough to assure me a full 9 at Navy Yard!

meixler said...

So much for batting Desmond in the 2 hole.

Anonymous said...

Dave Matthews also did 2 shows at both Fenway (where they play annually) and CitiField on this tour, so let's not just blame the Nats, okay?

Anonymous said...

Bowdenball.....if memory serves me correctly when the lease was signed between the city and the Nationals, there is a clause in there that allows the park to be used a certain number of days a season when the Nationals are out of town. The team has no call on this, since it's in the lease. I beleive the Eagles had a show there in June as well while the Nationals were on a road trip. A band like DMB has their tour planned out months in advance and all they cared about what was date worked best and it happened to be 7/23.

JayB said...

As I recall....Nats have complete control of the the Park and it's uses and it's revenue...Stan is making these calls and Nats make the money...other than the lease payment. That is why you can have your wedding at Nats Park if you like....Stan will laugh all the way to the bank.

MJR said...

Anybody know how I might be able to pick up the game in Portland, OR? I'm at a conference and hotel cable is ... limited, shall we say. Checked the listings for ESPN, TBS, and TNT but they don't seem to be broadcasting the game. Thanks!

swang said...

Subscribe to MLB's service? I don't know if you can get decent video streaming from the Hotel wifi. But if you go the audio route, that should work...

Anonymous said...

As I recall....Nats have complete control of the the Park and it's uses and it's revenue

Wrong, boy wonder. They're just the primary tenant. The city owns the park and has ultimate control. They just can't do anything that would interfere with the regular activities of the primary tenant.

So, did the Dave Mathews Band do any worse damage than the Pope and his Cardinals did?

JayB said...

I think we are both right but the Pope, the two guys and pianos and DM were all Stan's and the Nationals doing...they control the park in season and out of season...that is what the lease with the city says....boy wonder...

JayB said...

Hey Boy Dumber...check it out.....right from Nats website...


Event Policies and Procedures
Non-game Day Availability

Nationals Park is available for rent on all non-game days, including evenings and weekends. Any event requiring field access is subject to approval by our groundskeeper.
Booking an Event

In order to secure a date, time, and location for an event, the Ballpark Enterprises department will issue a formal contract which requires a signature, Certificate of Insurance, and deposit payment.

Anonymous said...

Sure, the Nats can use the park for non-baseball activities if they want to. But so can the DCSEC, the ballpark's owner, if they want to - provided it doesn't interfere with Nats events.

And I'm standing here right now looking down on CF. It doesn't look all that bad. RFK often looked much worse.

JayB said...

RFK looked worse.....like that is some kind of Standard to be attained......All those events have been pushed by Nats in the between inning stuff and in email to season ticket holders.....just admit you were wrong and you are a jerk.

Brian said...

What happened to Strasburg????

natscan reduxit said...

... what Brian said (asked)!!!!!!!!!

We Need a Bat said...

MASN and Nats don't know yet. Gotta think Mark is working on it. Guess either injured or traded, he he. This place is gonna go nuts either eay.

We Need a Bat said...

Should have said Nats Journal

swang said...

Can't trade Strasburg today. You can't trade him until the minute after you sign Bryce Harper (assuming Bryce Harper signs in the last minute of eligibility.)

Michael J. Hayde said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
swang said...

Strasburg was afraid of Heyward. So he asked Batista to hit Heyward for him. SS will pitch in relief of Batista next inning.


Brian said...

Does anyone on here, besides JayBee and whichever Anonymous he's currently bickering with, really give a **** about who booked the DMB concert? As was mentioned above, the band's schedule is taken into account, not just the Nationals' schedule. Also, I would imagine that DMB paid the city to rent the stadium, just as the Nationals do. It was a good thing for the neighborhood and the city, and who really cares if the grass doesn't look it's best? I think we, as fans, have a lot more to be worried about right now. A LOT more...

Michael J. Hayde said...

Patterson. Chico. Cordero. Detwiler. Zimmermann. Olsen. Lannan. Marquis. Atilano. Stammen. Walker. (Have I forgotten anyone?) Now it looks like Strasburg will be joining this dubious clique. This has gone wayyyyyy beyond coincidence and "bad luck." Something somewhere is terribly wrong with the way we handle pitching. Are we doing too much? Too little?

If Stras winds up being shut down for a prolonged period, there had better be some answers coming quick.

Anonymous said...

Mark -- with those two pitching contenders, Saturday is looking bleak.

Don Hammack said...

They played soccer at Fenway Park last week. Stuff happens on fields in the middle of the season. Relax.

Anonymous said...

I'd written this game off when the pitching change surfaced, but it's looking pretty good. Good game.

dj in Fl. said...

I love that a sellout crowd is seeing the Nats play an excellent ball game. This is what they need to get more folks to the park. It does not have to be only about SS.
Way to go Miguel, and your cast of pen mates.

Anonymous said...

Batista 5 innings 6Ks 3 hits, 0 runs....likely a better line than Strasburg would have had

Doc said...

Nats best 'character' game of the season! Way to go bull pen!!!!!!!!!!!

LoveDaNats said...

Excellent game! I'm at OBX and didn't think I'd see a game all week. Bonus that MASN is on the cable channel.

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