Thursday, August 12, 2010

Game 115: Marlins at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nationals try to salvage one game against the Marlins tonight.
Everybody in baseball has got a nemesis, that one opposing player or team that just terrorizes you every time you meet. For the Nationals, that team is the Marlins and that player is Hanley Ramirez.

Over the last three seasons, the Nats have played the Marlins 46 times. Their record against them is a pathetic 13-33. Think about that. It's a .283 winning percentage. If a team played at that rate over a full season, it would result in a 46-116 record. That's beyond awful.

On an individual level, Ramirez owns the Nationals as much as his team does. The All-Star shortstop played in his 81st game against Washington last night. His offensive totals: 24 homers, 63 RBI, a .361 average, a .449 on-base percentage, a .703 slugging percentage and a 1.152 OPS. Not a bad stat line if you were to extrapolate that out over a full season.

So Livan Hernandez, a former Marlins postseason hero himself, has quite the challenge in front of him tonight trying to avoid a three-game sweep. For those who don't know, they're giving away DVDs of Stephen Strasburg's big-league debut (featuring the full MASN broadcast, plus a bunch of extras) to the first 15,000 fans in attendance. As far as ballpark giveaways go, that's not too shabby.

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

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Chance of storms, 82 degrees, Wind 8 mph in from RF
CF Roger Bernadina
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam Dunn
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Michael Morse
2B Adam Kennedy
C Ivan Rodriguez
LF Willie Harris
P Livan Hernandez

MARLINS (56-56)
SS Hanley Ramirez
LF Logan Morrison
1B Gaby Sanchez
2B Dan Uggla
CF Cody Ross
RF Mike Stanton
3B Donnie Murphy
C Brett Hayes
P Ricky Nolasco

6:54 p.m. -- Weather update: It's been raining pretty hard for the last 45 minutes or so, and the tarp remains on the field. So tonight's game obviously won't be starting on time. The Nats remain hopeful that things will clear up and this game will be played. We'll see.

8:00 p.m. -- Nothing official to report, but the skies do appear to be clearing somewhat to the west. The tarp is still on the infield, but there's some stirring and perhaps we're getting closer to baseball.

8:13 p.m. -- The grounds crew is out and they're about to remove the tarp!

8:16 p.m. -- They're saying the game is expected to begin at 9 p.m.

9:02 p.m. -- And at long last we are underway. A few thousand hearty souls stuck it out through the 1-hour, 57-minute rain delay to see Livan Hernandez throw a strike to Hanley Ramirez.

9:12 p.m. -- 1-2-3 top of the first for Livo, who got a popout, a lineout and a flyout.

9:23 p.m. -- The bottom of the first got off to a promising start, with Roger Bernadina roping a double off left fielder Logan Morrison's glove. But Bernadina never advanced from there. Ian Desmond grounded out to short. Adam Dunn struck out on a low 2-2 pitch. And Ryan Zimmerman popped out to second to end the inning without a run on the board.

9:33 p.m. -- Jim Riggleman on Mike Stanton last night after the 20-year-old went 5-for-5: "He is some kind of good-looking player." Yeah, I'd say so. Stanton just added another bomb to his tally in this series. He launched a shot off the top of the right-field fence. It was originally ruled a triple, but the umps went back to check out replay and reversed the call to a home run. Appears to be the correct call; the ball hit the top of the fence, then rattled around a second fence behind it. Whatever the case, the Marlins now lead 2-0 in the top of the second.

9:42 p.m. -- Nothing happening for the Nats in the bottom of the second, who head to the third still trailing 2-0.

10:25 p.m. -- This isn't exactly shaping up as a fine ballgame from the Nats' perspective. We're through four innings and they now trail 3-0. Livo hasn't been in top form, having allowed six hits so far and thrown 75 pitches. But considering how burned out the bullpen is following back-to-back poor starts by Stephen Strasburg and Scott Olsen, it looks like he's going to have to stay out there a while tonight. Ricky Nolasco, meanwhile, is having no trouble mowing through the Nats' lineup. He's struck out Michael Morse twice, plus Adam Dunn and Adam Kennedy.

10:53 p.m. -- Two comments on the bottom of the fifth. 1) The inability of Nats pitchers to get down sacrifice bunts this season has been staggering. Livo had runners on first and second, nobody out and failed on three straight attempts to advance them. (A quick check on shows the Nats as a team have a 65 percent success rate on sac bunt attempts. The league average is 72 percent.) 2) Even after the botched bunt, the Nats still had the bases loaded with two outs for Adam Dunn, who proceeded to strike out on a low, 2-2 slider. Now, that was a pretty good pitch from Ricky Nolasco. Still, if Dunn is going to bat third, he has to come through in those spots. He's already stranded four runners (three in scoring position) through five innings tonight.

11:11 p.m. -- Tonight's paid attendance: 16,496. Obviously, a lot of them stayed home. I don't know how many actually walked through the turnstiles, but I have a hunch the Nats have a good number of those 15,000 Strasburg DVDs still in their possession right now.

11:37 p.m. -- We're through seven innings, and the Nationals are now 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. That is all.

12:19 a.m. -- We have reached the bottom of the ninth. The Nationals trail 5-0. There are perhaps 250 people left in the stands. The ballpark is abuzz with anticipation.

12:23 a.m. -- That's your ballgame, folks. Nats lose 5-0, get swept by the Marlins, have now lost five in a row. Drive home safely.


Stew Magnuson said...

Let's see. They only had 15,000 attend last night. They're giving away 15,000 DVDs tonight. It's the Marlins and its threatening to rain.
If I show up and they are out of DVDs, I'm going to throw a Jet Blue flight attendant-style fit.

Grandstander said...

Same boat here. I'm going mostly for the DVD. The beer pitcher giveaway tomorrow is pretty great too, especially considering it's for a Friday night giveaway.

Anonymous said...

Why do I have a feeling that the only win I'm going to see tonight is on that DVD?

NatsJack in Florida said...

OK everybody. I'm back from my day travels and came up with what could be something that will happen in a couple of season.

If Zim continues to have these issues about throwing to first base on routine plays, how about moving him to first base?

We would then have a gold glove, power hitting first baseman, and open up third base for someone who may not field as great but can actually throw to first consistently.

This may even have dawned on the Nats brain trust (if there is such a thing) and work into the Adam Dunn situation.

Sound stupid?

Feel Wood said...

If there's a rain delay tonight, will they play the Strasburg DVD on the big screen? Or on MASN, where it might actually have a chance of beating the Orioles in the ratings?

court said...


Yes, sounds very stupid. There was a link today on Nats Journal to a article about defense. With a plus/minus system, Zim is rated as THE BEST defensive 3B in all of baseball. It's not about errors, it's about making plays is the gist of the piece and nobody comes close to making as many plays and RZ. 3B is a much more critical position than 1B and we're lucky to have the best in the business manning the hot corner. Even if he always has a problem with the routine throws, he more than makes up for it with his range.

Souldrummer said...

There was an interesting article last night by Joe Posanski of that talked about how errors are not a great stat to measure defensive performance by. There are these guys that focus on every play in baseball and look at each and every play to evaluate how a guy performs defensively.

By that metric, Zimmerman is the best 3B in the league defensively. He's not moving anywhere. He does need to have a true superstar's attitude toward improving his game and work on overhand throws if he wants to be even better.

Here's the address for the article.

NatsJack in Florida said...

OK.. so stupid is the answer. Just something that popped in my head while driving 300 miles alone with no XM/Sirrius radio.

I really appreciate Zim's play at third but the throws which remind me so much of Steve Sax lead me to believe this sort of thing doesn't easily get fixxed.

Souldrummer said...

I don't think anybody's stupid who takes the time to wander into these boards. There are sometimes where I wish they would be more willing to try some stuff out of the box. Three spot starts for Morse at 1st subbing for Dunn against the nastiest lefties is one that I might try if for nothing else than to keep his K totals down and give Morse a slightly different role to see if he has value beyond RH pinch hitter.

I also realize I will probably get panned for that thought.

cadeck13 said...

Happy Birthday Mark!

meixler said...

Twitter told me it's your birthday. Happy Birthday Mark! Thanks for all the great work you do.

Richard said...

The idea that errors are subjective and not a useful measure is sabermetrics, right?

Anyway, re the Marlins having their way with the Nats, well, hey, I hate to be critical on your birthday and all (happy B-day, Mark!), and/or be negative about my Nats, but how hard is it to dominate the Nats? The Orioles beat 'em every year, including an ugly recent sweep, and then there's that Houston series ....

Anonymous said...

This DVD is a horrible giveaway as are all Nats giveaways!

Anonymous said...

The Orioles do not beat the Nats every year. Until this year the overall record between the two teams was basically even.

Sam said...

Richard, the idea that errors are subjective and not a good metric is common sense.

Also, happy birthday, Mark! Thank you for all of the hard work you put in.

Jim Kurtzke said...

Happy birthday, Mark. Your site and writing have been huge additions to all of us.

Stuart said...

Happy birthday Mark, wishing for a (near) future birthday during a Nats pennant race!

Richard said...

Sam, not so common, really. Errors are, of course, a factor in re fielding percentages, which have been the measure of defense until, well, until Bill James and the sabermatricians started questioning it. Anyway, it's an interesting topic to kick around a blog like this.

Aussie Gus said...

Happy birthday Mark!

Sam said...

Richard: Supply and demand are economic principles. Does that make them not common sense? Anyone who lives has, at one point or another, experienced the idea of supply and demand (i.e. whenever someone buys anything). And anyone who has ever watched a baseball game has, at some point, said out loud: "That's a terrible call. You can't give that guy an error on that play." Or something like that.

Even if you don't realize it, it is common sense. Just like most flyouts go to the opposite field because when you are late on the ball, you get under it. If you think about it for more than a second, it becomes pretty obvious. I guess that's what Bill James did. He brought it to our attention because we were so content with not thinking and just accepting whatever people told us.

Anonymous said...

Well, Seth Bynam just homered in the bottom of the 13th inning in Syracuse. Go Chiefs!

Anonymous said...


Through 5 innings Marlins RISP 1 fo4. Nats 0 for 8. For the record the RISP for the season going into to night is .251. Our opponents .268

I have fussed about the coaching of Rick Eckstein all season and will continue. When I see people trying to pull outside pitches I wonder what the thought process is. You are playing right into the pitchers hands. Granted I can't see the ball well enough to hit it at all, but these guys can see it and hit, but are not using the basic IQ of baseball pull inside, hit away outside. Doesn't take rocket science to get the mental part of the game.

having watch 50 years of baseball, I know the team that does the routines things best usually wins the games.

Anonymous said...

One problem most of the season is a lack of passion on the team. This was my complaint under Acta and that part of the team has stayed the same. It's a losing combination. I suggest giving it a try and see what happens, we know not having it is a poor combo.

Doc said...

It should have kept raining!

Anonymous said...

Gosh we stink!!!

Ernie said...

I sat through every stinking minute of this one. God knows why. The ushers were even asking people why we were still there. I was so desperate for anything to happen I cheered for Willie Harris's single as if it were a home run.

I came home hoping to see what Pudge had been arguing about with the umpire behind the plate after Ramirez fouled out. I figured someone here would know or that Mark might have mentioned it in his commentary. No luck. Can someone help out a poor schmoe who actually witnessed that disgusting offensive performance tonight?

natsfan1a said...

Ernie, during the broadcast, Carpenter speculated that the ump found Pudge's (prolonged) framing of a pitch objectionable, and may have felt that our catcher was showing him up. Carpenter also stated that the two had an equal number of years in the bigs.

Buzz Killjoy said...

If it's not a violation of the DMCA or any other rules, would any kind soul consider uploading the Strasburg DVD.

If it's not doable, I'll understand.

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