Sunday, July 4, 2010

Game 83: Mets at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats host the Mets on a gorgeous Independence Day in the District.
Happy Independence Day, everyone. And what better way to celebrate than by watching a ballgame in the nation's capital?

The Nationals will look to make the day really special by defeating the Mets and taking three of four from their division rivals during this long weekend series. Craig Stammen gets the ball for the Nats, hoping to duplicate his impressive return to the rotation last week in Atlanta. Left-hander Hisanori Takahashi starts for New York.

Jim Riggleman planned to start Roger Bernadina in center field today and give Nyjer Morgan the day off, but Bernadina's back is still bothering him, so he again will be out. Alberto Gonzalez starts at shortstop. Wil Nieves is behind the plate.

Check back for updates throughout...

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m.
TV: Ch. 50, MASN
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Sunny, 90 degrees, Wind 7 mph out to CF
CF Nyjer Morgan
2B Cristian Guzman
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
LF Josh Willingham
RF Michael Morse
SS Alberto Gonzalez
C Wil Nieves
P Craig Stammen

METS (45-36)
CF Angel Pagan
2B Alex Cora
3B David Wright
1B Ike Davis
LF Jason Bay
RF Jeff Francoeur
C Rod Barajas
SS Ruben Tejeda
P Hisanori Takahashi

1:36 p.m. -- We are underway with a strike from Craig Stammen to Angel Pagan.

1:46 p.m. -- A two-run triple by Jason Bay and a fantastic play by Alberto Gonzalez highlighted the top of the first. Bay's shot off the right-center field wall gave the Mets a 2-0 lead, but it might have been more if not for Gonzalez's full-out diving stop of Jeff Francoeur's smash to the left-side hole. Gonzo hopped to his feet and fired a strike to first base to nail Francoeur with one of the best plays you'll ever see made by a shortstop.

2:02 p.m. -- This isn't exactly going well. The Mets score another run in the second on a walk, sacrifice bunt and an RBI single. Throw in an error on a pickoff attempt, and this hasn't been the finest 30 minutes of Stammen's career. Mets lead 3-0 in the bottom of the second.

2:22 p.m. -- Stammen was sent to Class AAA one month ago for one reason, and we're seeing it again today: He hasn't been able to be consistent. After dominating the Braves last week, Stammen has looked awful against the Mets today. Three innings in, he's already allowed five runs on six hits with two walks. Ike Davis took him deep in the third for a two-run homer, the latest big blast. Not shaping up to be a good Fourth of July in NatsTown as the Mets take a commanding 5-0 lead in the third.

2:45 p.m. -- And that will do it for Stammen, who gets the hook after 3 1/3 ragged innings of work. Five runs have already scored, two more could be charged to Stammen. Eleven of the 21 batters he faced reached base safely. Not a good performance. Everyone's favorite rubber-armed mop-up man, Miguel Batista, now pitching for the Nats.

3:01 p.m. -- Make it 8-0 Mets after Batista adds more fuel to the fire in the fourth. Retired only two of six batters faced. This one has officially turned ugly. And we're not even halfway through it.

3:40 p.m. -- Ryan Zimmerman bolsters his case to be selected as the National League's "Final Man" at the All-Star Game with a three-run homer in the sixth. Of course, it only cuts the Mets' lead to 8-3. Still, that's a lot better than 8-0.

3:59 p.m. -- Ugh. Presented an opportunity to actually make a game of this, the Nats just came up as empty as you possibly could. Bases loaded, nobody out. What happens? Adam Kennedy (pinch-hitting for Alberto Gonzalez) strikes out. Then Wil Nieves (allowed to bat for himself) works the count full but grounds into a 6-4-3 double play to end the sixth. It's still 8-3. Could have been 8-4, 8-5 or even 8-6.

4:40 p.m. -- We are currently going into the eighth inning. The Mets are leading 9-4 after the Nats stranded two more runners in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh. We've already surpassed the 3-hour mark on this game, and there have been eight combined pitchers used. Not exactly a fine display of clean baseball today.

4:58 p.m. -- Now 9-5 Mets after eight innings as this one continues to slog toward the 3 1/2-hour mark.

5:25 p.m. -- That'll do it. Nats lose 9-5 in a game that included 26 combined hits and was completed in a tidy 3 hours and 49 minutes. I'm headed down to the clubhouse to get a couple more quotes for the All-Star selection story, but I'm going to forgo a postgame analysis piece today. Trying to make it to the in-laws' house before all the burgers are gone. Hope everyone has a wonderful (and safe) Fourth of July!


K.D. said...

Awesome play! Go,go Gonzo!!

Knoxville Nat said...

Looks like Stammen has returned to his early inning self once again. Not looking good at all!

Dryw Loves the Nats said...

Ouuuuuuuuch!!!! :-(

Anonymous8 said...

Back to reality with Stammen. Unfortunately....

Anonymous said...

Back to reality for this whole team. When was the last time we dominated ONE game from beginning to end? It's been sooooooooooooooooooooooooo frustrating. Why can't I have a stress-free day? Well, I guess I'll have to wait till tomorrow. We won't fall behind, play crappy defense, and just look awful and loose tomorrow because we DON'T PLAY. It's that the only way??? I might be.

natsfan1a said...

Hope that you have a nice 4th as well. We'll be heading out to the Pfitz for the P-Nats game and fireworks.

SBrent said...

I wish Riggs had put Pudge in to bat for Nieves.

Dryw Loves the Nats said...

I wish the Nats had been able to do ANYTHING with bases loaded and no out!! :-(

SBrent said...

I will say this. At least for each of the last four innings there was a tangible sense of possibility that the Nats could break something open and catch up. They never pulled it off, but they didn't just roll over, they played active baseball the whole second half. At least, that was my impression, listening to the audio feed over the internet.

Anonymous said...


There problem in the last 4 innings was the same. Early runners got on later runner couldn't produce. Kennedy gets a triple when no one on and a K when the bases are loaded. Bases loaded Nieves hits a DP, when Kennedy was third a single. timing is the key,

I go back to the stat I always go back to.

Avg with RISP.

Mets today 8 for 16. Nats 3 for 13. There is the difference as usually is. They hit in the clutch, we didn't.

However that being said most players did come to play today (Stammen didn't but most the others did).

Doc said...

Right on Mark, in heading for the hamburgers. No point hanging around to write about the Nats dead meat! A little bit of SP to-day, and we would have had a game. Still haven't gotten over the excitement of Saturday's game. WOW!!!

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Enjoy the burgers and the cookout with the in-laws and The Lovely Wife. You deserve it. Enjoy the day off on Monday and then three with those pesky Padres. I see three low-scoring tussles on the horizon, all played in less than today's three hours, 49 minutes. Ugh!

Happy 234th birthday, everyone!

carolync said...

Today's game was a disappointment but it was a beautiful day and I enjoyed watching Alberto Gonzalez play a sweet game at short.

Wonder why he's only occasionally played.

Anonymous8 said...

Carolync - I agree with you about Gonzo but keep in mind that his issue is lack of power and will chase pitches.

I think Gonzo needs to play more and next year I don't see Guzman and Kennedy on this roster.

carolync said...

Kennedy was a one year fill-in since they didn't sign Orlando Hudson. Guzman is surely gone and I hope they can get something for him. I'm trying to be patient with Desmond but I find it hard to foresee a great deal of improvement. Even his touted UZR has fallen into negative numbers. So I'm where I was last year, hoping Rizzo can find two middle infielders. Espinosa has been on a tear lately....

Richard said...

Espinosa is batting .252 (OBP .332) and is 5 for his last 20. Some tear. With 3 for 5 yesterday, Guzman is batting .299 (OBP .340) and IMHO he's doing enough to play every day at 2nd base at least until Espinosa, Lombardozi, Kobernus, Kelso or another 2010 draftee is ready.

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