Saturday, August 14, 2010

Game 117: Diamondbacks at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats try to make it two in a row against the Diamondbacks.
Jason Marquis makes his fifth start tonight as a National, his second since returning from the DL. And he's still searching for his first victory of the season. Marquis was better in his last outing (two earned runs in four innings) but he still hasn't come close to producing anything resembling a quality start. In fact, he's yet to make it through the fifth inning. We'll see if he finally reaches that modest plateau tonight.

Marquis will be opposed tonight by Ian Kennedy. Not to be confused by Ian Desmond. Or Adam Kennedy. Though both of those guys are in the Nats' lineup. The Nats had success against the Arizona right-hander 10 days ago in Phoenix, knocking him out after four innings, with Adam Dunn taking him deep twice. Dunn, to no one's surprise, is in Jim Riggleman's lineup tonight.

Michael Morse, however, is not in the lineup after starting the Nationals' last 10 games. His numbers over that span: a .135 average (5-for-37), .158 on-base percentage, .297 slugging percentage. He does have two homers and three RBI, but he also has eight strikeouts and has grounded into three double plays.

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: Partly cloudy, 81 degrees, Wind 9 mph RF to LF
CF Roger Bernadina
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam Dunn
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Josh Willingham
2B Adam Kennedy
C Ivan Rodriguez
RF Willie Harris
P Jason Marquis

CF Chris Young
2B Kelly Johnson
RF Justin Upton
1B Adam LaRoche
C Miguel Montero
3B Mark Reynolds
SS Stephen Drew
LF Gerardo Parra
P Ian Kennedy

7:09 p.m. -- We are underway on another surprisingly cool August evening in the District. Gametime temperature: 80 degrees. Jason Marquis, on the mound at Nationals Park for the first time since that disastrous April 18 start against the Brewers, starts Chris Young off with a fastball for a strike.

7:15 p.m. -- Wow, fantastic 6-4-3 double play started by Ian Desmond, who snagged Justin Upton's smashed grounder to his right, then flipped backhand to Adam Kennedy, who fired to Adam Dunn in time. Nice way for Marquis to end the top of the first.

7:28 p.m. -- So much for the perfectly clean outing from Marquis. After Bernadina was unable to haul in Adam LaRoche's drive to left-center, Miguel Montero crushed a 3-0 pitch in the exact same direction. Montero's blast, though, carried the extra 20 feet needed to clear the fence and land in the Red Porch. Marquis did manage to retire the next two batters he faced, but then Gerardo Parra demolished the first pitch he saw to center for another homer. So for those keeping track, Marquis has now allowed 28 runs (25 earned) in 14 1/3 innings of work this season. Nats trail 3-0 in the second.

7:34 p.m. -- Ryan Zimmerman to the rescue. He just homered into the left-field bullpen to open the bottom of the second and cut the lead to 3-1.

7:46 p.m. -- And Marquis gives it right back. Kelly Johnson homers to left with one out in the third, the third Diamondback to homer off Marquis in a span of seven batters. This one was greeted with plenty of boos from the stands.

7:49 p.m. -- So, Marquis has now given up four earned runs in three innings tonight ... and his ERA has actually DROPPED from 15.32 to 14.67.

8:22 p.m. -- And that will do it for Marquis. For the fifth time in five starts this season, he fails to make it through the fifth inning. He just loaded the bases to open the fifth, allowing a single to the opposing pitcher, a double off the wall to Young and then a walk to Johnson. There was plenty of applause from the crowd when Riggleman came out of the dugout to yank his starter. Craig Stammen now faces the challenge of Justin Upton with the bases loaded, nobody out and the Nats trailing 4-2.

8:30 p.m. -- Fantastic job by Craig Stammen pitching out of that jam. He allowed one of the inherited runners to score, but he can't be blamed for that. Got a double play grounder out of Upton and then struck out LaRoche. I've got to believe in his mind, he's thinking he should still be in the rotation.

8:37 p.m. -- Ready for some unbelievable stats? Warning: Hide the kids before reading this, because it may give them nightmares. Here are opponents' offensive numbers against Marquis this season: .405 batting average, .489 on-base percentage, .703 slugging percentage, 1.192 OPS. So basically, every guy who comes up to face him is the greatest hitter in the history of baseball.

8:53 p.m. -- Miguel Batista came in to pitch the sixth and pitched like ... well, Miss Iowa. Montero led off with his second homer of the night. After a comebacker for an out, the next four batters all recorded base hits. By the time it was over, three more runs had scored on five hits. It's now 8-2 in the middle of the sixth, and the crowd has grown restless.

9:12 p.m. -- Meanwhile, the Nats have done next-to-nothing tonight against Ian Kennedy. Through seven innings, they've got two runs on five hits and a walk. Roger Bernadina is 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. He's due up second in the eighth, with a shot at the Golden Sombrero.

9:42 p.m. -- Last chance for the Nats. They're down 9-2 heading to the bottom of the ninth. Have to admit, I'm not liking their chances here, even against the Diamondbacks' wretched bullpen.

9:51 p.m. -- That's it. It's over. A 9-2 loss is in the books, another ugly loss in a homestand full of them. The Nats' worst multi-series homestand of the season came against the White Sox and Royals in June, when they went 2-4. They'll need to win tomorrow behind Stephen Strasburg to match that.


Doc said...

Our "Mike Morse Fan Club" is temporarily (only temporarily) silent. We're hoping that he comes off the bench tonight and smacks a big one!

Feel Wood said...

With a stat line like that, isn't it about time for Riggleman to start finding some at bats for Morse to get him started?

Slidell said...

I've seen Willie play right field, and it hasn't always been pretty. I know J-Max can't hit either, but he's reliable in the field and he's got a good arm. Must be a lefty-righty thing.

Section 222 said...

Of course it's a lefty-righty thing. This is Jim Riggleman we're talking about.

I'm a charter member of the *Michael* Morse fan club. I'd keep starting him until Nyjer returns, but I'm beyond complaining about the lineups at this point, and maybe he needs a day off. 10 starts in a row is alot for a guy who has been on the bench all year. Plus, he's had a shot, and that's all we were asking for, right? No one in the club was guaranteeing results.

dj in Fl. said...

We need Morse contributing, and if he is best of the bench, then use him off the bench regularly. There must be a real shortage of quality outfielders if you see the league leaders picking up Kearns and Guillen to bolster a streach run. Maybe we need a little contraction. How about we start with the Yankees, and spread their talent around the leagues. Just kidding, while savoring last nights win and that first cold beer on a hot August day. Lets get two in a row.

Steve M. said...

Michael Morse got into his first slump of the year and I blame Riggleman while Morse was on fire that he didn't have him in the lineup more often.

Still a lot of time left to get Morse restarted and get him hot again. I still think Morse could be an everyday player.

My bigger concern has been Willingham lasting a full season. He was an All Star calibre player to July 1st and it has been a shame his knee, back, whatever, that has been hampering him.

Anonymous said...

For interesting -- if not fundamentally perfect -- baseball I'm eager to see Nyger back in there. Some sage in this venue predicted a stint on the DL for Nyger after the bobblehead night. Good work, whoever that was.

Nervous Nats Fan said...

Eight double plays in ten games? Wow.

NatsJack in Florida said...

First .. it's Nyjer.... and second, I can't wait till he's DFA'd in the off season.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Nervous Nats Fan: Sorry, that should be three double plays Morse has grounded into. Fixed it.

NatsJack in Florida said...

God, Jason Marquis SUCKS!!!!

HabsProf said...

Mark: Just logged on to the game blog and I think your statement about the DP being a nice way to end the first is maybe a little bit of wishful thinking. The way I see it, Jason walked one batter and allowed the next to hit a sharp grounder that required a tough play to make a DP. Good defense by the Nats, but I didn't see much to like from Marquis.

And as I type this, I see a lead-off double and a homer. I hope Jason will settle down, but this one is looking like it might be uglier than Nancy Pelosi in a thong.

NatsJack in Florida said...

I'll say it again..... JASON MARQUIS SUCKS!!!

Slidell said...

Zimm gets one back.

NatsJack in Florida said...

But Jason Marquis is still pitching!!! And no one is warming up!!!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Wille Harris looks at called strike 3 AGAIN!

Anonymous said...

What was that Willie?

Anonymous said...


Which is worse. Kennedy striking out swinging at a ball inches inside, or Harris taking two consecutive strikes over the plate. I vote Harris.

HabsProf said...

Over/Under on how long Marquis will last? - About 4 innings.

Anonymous said...

3-1 count with the pitcher up next and Willie takes strike two AND three. He's completely lost at the plate this year.

He'll probably sign with the Marlins and crush the Nats next year. (Sorry I'm cranky after that inning)

Anonymous said...


Apparently Bernadina is reading the blog he took the two over the plate a la WIllie, but strikes out swinging at one inside like Kennedy.

For a non power hitting team we strike out a lot. Going into this game we had struck out 858 times, while only recording 737 by our staff, That is a big differential.

Grandstander said...

How long do you think the leash is going to be with Marquis?

Obviously we're paying him a ton of money, but considering the expanded roster, do you think he moves to the BP so we can maybe see more from some of other arms in the system?

I know they're not much better, but they're not this bad, and it makes more sense from an organizational standpoint to let Marquis cool off in the pen, a la Ollie Perez.

We Need a Bat said...

You've gotta love that 4 ER in 4 IP lowers Marquis's ERA. What a joke.

HabsProf said...

Now that's relief pitching!!! Anyone who criticizes Stammen for letting one inherited runner score deserves 20 lashes. Way to go, Craig.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Write him a check and say goodbye.. We don't need that lying sack of crap taking up a roster spot... I am not usually this visceral in my approach to entertainer=s but this man clearly lied about his condition after being questioned about the elbow prior to signing.

swang said...

I wouldn't say write off next year, but at least for this year, put him on the 60 day DL.

HabsPrf said...

Mark: regarding your "ugly stats" for Marquis - I wonder what the likes of Pujols would do against Jason during his current travails? Do you think we would see the league's first 2.000 OPS?

Knoxville Nat said...

"Nancy Pelosi in a thong"

I'll have nightmares for a week!!! And yes, just go ahead and shut Marquis down and get J Zimm up here now.

Anonymous said...

@Manassas I have have concluded that Riggleman, McCatty and Rizzo are paid a lot of money to see what is going on, and they have not earned their money in evaluating Marquis anymore than Marquis earned his money for pitching. Talk about robbing money, that is exactly what Marquis has done this year, I sure hope he is donating most to charity as he has earned none of it.

JaneB said...

Marquis wants to pitch. He wants to be good. He's doing his best. He is not robbing anyone. He doesn't need us piling on ... it doesn't help. Something is really wrong, and whatever the cause is, we can all help better by sending more generous thoughts and energy his way. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

@Manassas. My favorite stat the RISP again bad. Nats 1 for 10 now 237 for 962 or .246 for the season. The opponents tonight 4 for 10 or for the season 273 for 1020 or .268. That is a point .022 differential. That is horrid.

The hitting this year has been terrible compared to last year. The pitching a little better than last year, and the fielding awful again.

Of course what makes worse, is I can't see that anyone cares. (they don't need to act like Carlos Zambrano in the dug out, but show me you care.) I believe the fans care a heck a lot more than I can tell management or the players care.

Mark you see the players up close do they care as much we do? hard to believe they do or they would do something about the problems.

Doc said...

I know someone on this blog has the real stats, but it seems that The Kid has picked it up at SS.

The total number of errors is ugly, but the frequency seems to have slowed. His RF continues to be up there with the leaders.

Anonymous said...


JaneB you are a kind soul I can tell. However in my opinion when you are paid to perform and you do not come close to performing, you have not earned money. I can send all the kid wishes I want that won't change the fact he has not earned his money.

We all have a off day now and again. If that was the case we would not be on his case. However he has been paid $15 million dollars for two years of productive service, and he has not had one productive game.

If he is truly injured than bench him and bring someone else in.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Anonymous said...
@Manassas. My favorite stat the RISP again bad. Nats 1 for 10 now 237 for 962 or .246 for the season. The opponents tonight 4 for 10 or for the season 273 for 1020 or .268. That is a point .022 differential. That is horrid.

The hitting this year has been terrible compared to last year. The pitching a little better than last year, and the fielding awful again.

Of course what makes worse, is I can't see that anyone cares. (they don't need to act like Carlos Zambrano in the dug out, but show me you care.) I believe the fans care a heck a lot more than I can tell management or the players care.

Mark you see the players up close do they care as much we do? hard to believe they do or they would do something about the problems.

I don't think there's any issue whether they care or not. Trust me, they do. If anything, maybe they sometimes care too much in pressure situations and thus press to try to make something happen (at the plate and in the field). The best of them, like Zimmerman, are able to relax at the most stressful moments and treat them just like any other.

Anonymous said...


When I am at the game or when I watch on TV, I look at their eyes and they just don't have the expression that make me believe they care as much as fans do. I did ask do they care as much as we do, and still don't believe they do.

its their livelihood they should care a heck a lot more than we do, but we study these numbers to death and they don't get better.

I keep seeing them take fast balls right down the middle on strike one. That's the best pitch they usually see and they don't swing. Why not? Because the coach has different philosophy (but it is a loser philosophy, as has been proven the last two years.)

Mark, Thanks for letting me know they care. Sure wish they would show some of that caring so the fans could believe it. (this is exactly same problem I have with the Skins and Wizards, they show no emotion when they play. the CAPS on the other hand play exactly the way I like when they screw up they are mad, and when they good they are joyous. It seems to be a good combination. )

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