Saturday, July 3, 2010

Game 82: Mets at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Another full house is expected today for Strasmas Part VI.
Hope everyone in NatsTown is enjoying the holiday weekend. No, not Independence Day. Strasmas. This is no ordinary, once-a-year holiday. This one comes every five days, and rarely does it disappoint.

OK, so the Nationals have lost Stephen Strasburg's last three starts. It wasn't the pitcher's fault. Over the long haul, he's going to win many more games than he loses. Perhaps both the rookie and his team will get back on the winning track today against the Mets.

This would be a nice time to do it, since this start is being televised to most of the country on Fox. They'll be doing the pregame show live from Nationals Park, then Joe Buck, Kevin Millar and Ken Rosenthal will have the call at 4:10 p.m. Expect plenty of debate about Strasburg's All-Star merits (seeing as how rosters will be announced tomorrow and Fox is televising the midsummer classic in 10 days).

Only thing out-of-the-ordinary about Jim Riggleman's lineup today: Cristian Guzman is on the bench, with Adam Kennedy at second base. That bumps Roger Bernadina up to the 2-hole. Hopefully he doesn't get picked off at a crucial moment in this game.

Check back for updates before, during and after the game...

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 4:10 p.m.
TV: Fox
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Sunny, 87 degrees, Wind 5 mph out to LF
(Includes change made at 3 p.m.: Bernadina scratched, Harris in right field)
CF Nyjer Morgan
RF Willie Harris
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
LF Josh Willingham
C Ivan Rodriguez
2B Adam Kennedy
SS Ian Desmond
P Stephen Strasburg

METS (45-35)
CF Angel Pagan
2B Alex Cora
3B David Wright
1B Ike Davis
LF Jason Bay
C Josh Thole
RF Jeff Francoeur
SS Ruben Tejeda
P R.A. Dickey

3:00 p.m. -- Lineup change for the Nationals: Roger Bernadina has been scratched and replaced by Willie Harris, who will now bat second and start in right field. No word yet what happened, but Bernadina took BP with everyone else and didn't appear to have any problems. I'll let you know when I hear something.

3:20 p.m. -- Just got word: Bernadina was scratched with lower back tightness. He's still available if needed today.

4:11 p.m. -- Stephen Strasburg starts Angel Pagan off with a 99 mph fastball for ball one, and we are underway.

4:28 p.m. -- Wow, that was an eventful top of the first. Strasburg, fighting his fastball command throughout, really had to work. He escaped allowing only one run, but at what expense? Thirty-seven pitches (20 strikes). Three walks. An RBI double by Jason Bay. Miguel Batista was actually warming up in the bullpen at one point. Probably safe to assume Strasburg won't be pitching too deep into this one. We go to the bottom of the first, Mets up 1-0.

4:34 p.m. -- Quick bottom of the first for R.A. Dickey, who retired the side on 14 pitches (10 strikes). So Strasburg is back out on the mound already, hoping his second innings is a bit smoother than his first.

4:42 p.m. -- The results were much better for Strasburg in the second -- he retired the side on 11 pitches, seven strikes -- but he's still all over the place. His fastball, in particular, seems to keep running high and wide to left-handed hitters. Probably a mechanical thing, his front shoulder flying open. We'll see if he can correct it in mid-game.

5:06 p.m. -- Well, I think it's safe to say this is not going to be Stephen Strasburg's day. He's fighting something out there and is suffering for it. Through three innings, he's allowed two runs on four hits and three walks. He hasn't really been able to locate any of his pitches, even after easing off some on his fastball. He's already thrown 74 pitches, 45 of them strikes. He's probably looking at one more inning and that'll be it. Mets lead 2-0 heading to the bottom of the third.

5:12 p.m. -- Sure, Strasburg isn't on top of his game today, but it's not like the Nats offense came to play either. They've managed two hits but no runs in three innings against Dickey, with Ian Desmond just getting thrown out trying to stretch his single off David Wright's glove into a double. So the Nationals have now failed to score in the last 16 innings Strasburg has been on the mound. Not since Adam Dunn's clutch RBI in the seventh inning against the White Sox on June 18.

5:21 p.m. -- Strasburg has had no trouble dealing with the bottom of the Mets' lineup. Or their leadoff guy, for that matter. New York's 7-8-9-1 batters are 0-for-9 today. Their 2-3-4-5-6 batters are 4-for-7 with three walks. He's at 84 pitches through four, and there's no bullpen action at the moment, so it looks like he'll get a chance to pitch the fifth.

5:36 p.m. -- Well, he got better as the afternoon went on. Strasburg threw 19 of his last 22 pitches for strikes, leading to five groundouts and a strikeout. But he's at 96 pitches through five innings, and he's due up third in the bottom of the fifth. This is probably it for him. His final line will read: 5 ip, 4 h, 2 er, 3 bb, 5 k, 96 pitches, 64 strikes. His ERA will "rise" to 2.45.

5:42 p.m. -- Strasburg is indeed done. The man who pinch-hit for him with two outs in the fifth? J.D. Martin. Yeah. Riggleman had Michael Morse in the on-deck circle, but then pulled him back after Desmond was unable to reach base. Riggleman seems to give up on an inning once there are two outs. He's regularly sent up pitchers to hit in those spots, not wanting to use a position player off his bench. Hasn't he ever heard of a two-out rally? Or a solo homer? Mets still lead 2-0 after five.

5:51 p.m. -- Nice 1-2-3 inning of relief from Drew Storen. At this point, the Nationals' bullpen is just trying to keep the deficit at two runs, hoping eventually their offense will string together a couple of hits.

6:03 p.m. -- Whoa, the Nationals just found their bats. Back-to-back, two-out RBI singles from Willingham and Pudge tie this game 2-2 in the sixth. Strasburg is now off the hook, he'll get his second no-decision. So his record will remain 2-2. (I should point out the rally was made possible by a booted double-play grounder by shortstop Ruben Tejada. Both runs were unearned. Not that the Nats care how they get them at this point.)

6:13 p.m. -- Great job in relief by Storen. Six up, six down for the rookie right-hander, three strikeouts, not a ball out of the infield. Between Strasburg and Storen, Nats pitching has retired 13 straight New York batters. Not bad. Still 2-2 at the seventh-inning stretch.

6:16 p.m. -- Today's announced paid attendance: 39,214. The Nationals are calling this a sellout. Official capacity at Nationals Park is 41,546, so there would have to have been quite a bit of freebies today. For the season, the Nats have had four sellouts, three of them Straburg starts. The other was Opening Day, with 20,000 of your favorite Phillies fans here with you.

6:50 p.m. -- Well, that turned ugly. Tyler Clippard, perhaps with one last chance to push for a spot on the All-Star roster, just killed that and perhaps this game by allowing three runs in the eighth. Alex Cora led off with a triple to right-center, and it was all downhill from there. Three runs, four hits. Clippard retired only two of seven batters faced. So we head to the bottom of the eighth, with the Mets now on top, 5-2. On the bright side, Dickey is done, so the Mets' suspect setup men are now in charge. It'll be Bobby Parnell to pitch the eighth.

7:25 p.m. -- Last chance for the Nats. They trail 5-3 heading to the bottom of the ninth. Francisco Rodriguez to pitch for New York. Guzman, Morgan and Harris due up. Gotta wonder if Roger Bernadina will find his way into this inning at all.

7:45 p.m. -- Nats win! Nats win! Unbelievable. They loaded the bases with one out for Dunn, who crushed a pitch off the top of the center field fence, just missing a walk-off grand slam. Meanwhile, Guzman and Harris almost collided at third base, with Willie making a deft move to avoided contact. After Willingham was intentionally walked, Ivan Rodriguez came up with a chance to win it, with the Mets again using five infielders and two outfielders. 1-0 pitch, Pudge smokes a line drive single to right, scoring Zimmerman and setting off a mad celebration. Nats win, 6-5. Incredible.


natsfan1a said...

fyi, today's TWIB seems to be featuring the Nats. It's on Fox 5 here, and I think it replays on MLB Network at 1 tomorrow afternoon.

Anonymous said...


I wish he would flip flop Nyjer and Rogers. Also flip flop Zim and Willingham.

Doc said...

Good, show case Kennedy---since that's about his only value. Riggleman probably hasn't figured it out yet, but substituting him for Dunn in a tight ballgame is bad baseball.

Cwj said...

Go Nats! Go Strasburg!
Prediction: Nats win :) Strasburg goes 7 innings, 5 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 12 Ks

Anonymous said...

When is Eckstein going to get fired. His hitters are awful and the last 40 games they are pathetic. When Strasburg pitches they even get worse. He deserves better effort by them, We are not always playing Cy Young, though our hitters make may pitchers look that good.

Anonymous said...

These hitter are bad. They are worse when Strasburg pitches. When is someone going to do so something about the lack of hitting. Seems none on the coaches staff is doing anything. Time for Rizzo to get rid of the dead weight.

Cwj said...

Just my thought: Strasburg should have been allowed to pitch the 6th. After the incredibly wild first inning, he pitched very well through the next 4.
The kid clearly wants to battle and help the team win, so why not give him an extra inning every now and then? Show him you trust him Riggs! An extra 12 pitches aren't going to destroy his arm.
Rant over haha :)

Sec3MySofa said...

Cwj, I don't think so. What could he have done that Storen didn't do?

Anonymous said...


Richard said...

After all the heartbreaking losses starting on the road in SF, SD, and Houston, the Nats deserved and earned this W! Good goin' Nats!

Cwj said...

Sec- I was thinking it might help him confidence wise. Storen was great, but I fear the leash on Strasburg is a bit tight.

Anyway great win today. Go Nats!

natsfan1a said...

It was embarrassing (but not surprising) to watch that Fox shot of people streaming out of the CF exit in the top of the 9th. They missed one heck of a finish!

Anonymous said...


O think keeping Strasburg to 100 or less pitches will do him well through out the season. He needs to keep it to 14 pitches or less an inning to go 7,

Some late magic.

Clippard 3 of his last 4 appearances have been 2009 like.

Matt said...

Did anyone else roll their eyes during the Fox interview of Niese? He has to be the dumbest baseball player I've ever seen. Really annoying to miss almost half an inning of baseball while they interviewed him. Really bad job by Fox.

natsfan1a said...

It was funny when Buck talked about his W-L record and asked the kid how he felt. He proceeded to talk about how he was a little sore, but that was typical the day after a game, and he'd work through it. Buck's like, uhhh, yeah. That's very interesting, but I was more wondering about your feelings...

I'd kinda like to know what was said to him about the hammy injury as well. Or maybe not. :-D

Steve M. said...

I will say it again. ADAM DUNN. May not be clutch with RISP but came through today!!!!!

Doc said...

Umpires need to study the wall structures of the parks they are officiating in---should be part of their job description.

AD's ball hit the metal piping behind the foam wall, which makes it a HR. Balls don't bounce that hard off the top of foam--unless you're an umpire!

Sec3MySofa said...

Srsly?? He's got people who can't even spell his name--and some who can't spell their own names--telling him he's a year away from the Hall of Fame. Underconfidence is the last thing I'd worry about there.
Cwj said...
Sec- I was thinking it might help him confidence wise. Storen was great, but I fear the leash on Strasburg is a bit tight.

Sec3MySofa said...

Doc, they also study the ground rules. I haven't, myself, so I'm guessing here, but I would figure the pipe is part of the wall, therefore in play. The ground rules may not even articulate such a longshot event, but in other parks with (unpadded) fences, the ball off the top is in play.

Sec3MySofa said...

Now, what they *really* need is a guy on the other side of that gate to push it in, next time.
Bill Veeck would have someone.

Anonymous said...

Adam Dunn. Re-sign him long term.

Steve M. said...

That was an amazing 8 iron bump and run shot by Pudge!!!!!!

Richard said...

Mark, can you provide any insight regarding why the Nats haven't signed Adam Dunn to an extension as yet? What's the hang up? Is it Kasten, Rizzo, Lerners? To me and perhaps other fans who put thousands of $$$ into the Nats each year, the delay makes no sense. It can't be that they're waiting to see what's offered this July because Adam Dunn is better than anything they could get. They offered Teixeira $180M and compare Adam Dunn's stats this year with Teixeira's!

Mark Zuckerman said...

Richard: I believe the issue is a difference of opinions on worth. Dunn believes he should get a certain number of years and a certain number of dollars, perhaps using Ryan Howard's five-year, $125 contract as a guideline. The Nats aren't willing to commit as many years or dollars as Dunn wants to a player who puts up big numbers but also has some limitations, especially in the field. At some point, the two sides will have to settle on some middle ground. And I believe they will. Dunn wants to stay in D.C. The Nats want to keep him. They'll figure it out, though maybe not until the offseason.

Cwj said...

Sec- haha who said HOF on this blog? I just thought maybe another inning would be good for him, and the team. But yes in retrospect Storen obviously made it a moot point.

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