Friday, August 20, 2010

Game 122: Nats at Phillies

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Citizens Bank Park hosts the Nationals for three games this weekend.
PHILADELPHIA — Good afternoon from the south Philly neighborhood known simply as "The Sports Complex." There was a time a few years ago when there were actually five major-league stadiums/arenas in these couple of blocks: Citizens Bank Park, Lincoln Financial Field, the Wachovia Center, the Spectrum and old Veterans Stadium. (The Vet, of course, has since been blown to smithereens to the disappointment of no one. The Spectrum, meanwhile, still stands for now, though there hasn't been any event there since a Pearl Jam concert last October, and it's waiting to be razed.)

Anyways, here at Citizens Bank Park, the Nationals arrive for a three-game weekend series that boasts plenty of storylines. Tonight, Jason Marquis tries once again to win his first game of the season ... actually, to produce his first quality start of the season ... actually, to make it through the fifth inning for the first time all season. It's not exactly the prime scenario to snap out of a funk like this, facing the Phillies' vaunted lineup in a home run haven.

It also doesn't help that the Phillies send Roy Halladay to the mound tonight to face a depleted Nats lineup that is trying to survive without Josh Willingham for the rest of the season. Jim Riggleman will attempt to overcome that loss with a lineup tonight that features a 3-4-5 of Adam Dunn, Ryan Zimmerman and Roger Bernadina.

There's a much more favorable matchup tomorrow with Stephen Strasburg against Kyle Kendrick, then a toss-up Sunday with Scott Olsen against Roy Oswalt (who has been lit up by the Nats twice this year). But before we get to that, there's obviously a game to be played tonight.

Check back throughout for updates...

Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Sunny, 86 degrees, Wind 7 mph in from LF.
CF Nyjer Morgan
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam Dunn
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Roger Bernadina
RF Michael Morse
C Ivan Rodriguez
2B Adam Kennedy
P Jason Marquis

PHILLIES (68-52)
SS Jimmy Rollins
3B Placido Polanco
2B Chase Utley
RF Jayson Werth
LF Raul Ibanez
CF Shane Victorino
1B Mike Sweeney
C Carlos Ruiz
P Roy Halladay

7:05 p.m. -- This game is underway with a strike from Roy Halladay to Nyjer Morgan. The crowd's still filing in, but barring something unforeseen, this will be the 101st consecutive sellout at Citizens Bank Park.

7:17 p.m. -- The Nats couldn't have put themselves in better position to jump on Halladay in the top of the first ... and then they couldn't have squandered that opportunity any worse. Nyjer led off with a bloop double to left, then took third when Halladay was called for a balk. Ian Desmond lofted a fly ball to center field that wasn't quite deep enough for Nyjer to take a chance tagging up. Still, when Halladay walked both Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman to load the bases with one out, the Nats were in good position. But Roger Bernadina, getting a chance to bat fifth, grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. Worst possible outcome. Three baserunners, a man on third with nobody out, the bases loaded with one out, and nothing to show for it. That's going to come back to haunt them tonight.

7:30 p.m. -- BREAKING NEWS: Jason Marquis did not give up a run in the bottom of the first. I repeat: He did NOT give up a run in the bottom of the first. We'll have live team coverage of this developing story at 11. ... But seriously, just when it looked like Marquis was going to put the Nats in another early hole after Jayson Werth's two-out double put runners on second and third, he responded by striking out Raul Ibanez to end the inning unscathed. For Marquis, this represents progress.

7:43 p.m. -- Make it two scoreless innings for Marquis. At this rate, The Washington Post may need to put out a special section in tomorrow's paper to cover this historic event. Only Phillie to reach in the second was Carlos Ruis, who sent a two-out single to center. Still scoreless as we head to the third.

7:50 p.m. -- The Roger Bernadina-as-fifth-hitter isn't exactly working out so far tonight. Bernadina has come up twice in three innings with a man on third, and he's yet to get the job done. Grounded into that double play in the first, just popped out to short on the first pitch he saw in the third.

8:06 p.m. -- And the Bizarro Marquis streak comes to an end. A pair of two-out walks, followed by an RBI double from Ibanez (who sneaked the ball just past a reaching Dunn at first base) puts the Phillies up 1-0 after three. You knew that was good good to last.

8:16 p.m. -- This has quickly turned into a game of missed opportunities for the Nats. They've managed to put eight guys on base in four innings against Halladay ... and haven't been able to score any of them. After back-to-back, one-out singles from Pudge and Kennedy in the fourth, Marquis wasn't able to get a bunt down and proceeded to fly out to left. Nyjer then rapped a grounder to short for a fielder's choice. So we head to the bottom of the fourth, the Phillies still leading 1-0.

8:30 p.m. -- Marquis has been far from sharp. Like Halladay, he's put a bunch of guys on base through four innings (eight, to be precise). He's also thrown a whopping 78 pitches. But there's no question this has been far and away his best outing of the season, which says plenty about his previous five starts. Still 1-0 as we head to the fifth.

8:42 p.m. -- Your Jordan Zimmermann update of the night: Five more scoreless innings for the rehabbing right-hander at Syracuse. He allowed one hit, struck out five and walked one. Zimmermann's totals over 10 minor-league starts: a 1.59 ERA, 31 strikeouts, 6 walks. Mike Rizzo said earlier today: "If there's no need for another minor-league start, developmental-wise or to get him ready to pitch up here, then we would bring him up here." Sounds to me like Zimmermann will be pitching in D.C. sometime next week.

8:47 p.m. -- For the first time this season, Marquis has completed five innings. Progress, people, progress. Of course, you'd like to see him rewarded for his efforts with some run support, which has been nonexistent against Halladay despite a ton of baserunners. It's still 1-0 as we head to the sixth.

8:57 p.m. -- Marquis is done for the night. His final line; 5 ip, 4 h, 1 er, 4 bb, 1 k, 94 pitches. Lowered his ERA from 14.33 to 11.39. But, he still can't get the win, because pinch-hitter Kevin Mench struck out on a 3-2 slider low and away from Halladay to end the top of the sixth with Adam Kennedy stranded on second. The Nats are now 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position tonight. Not good. Joel Peralta on to pitch the bottom of the sixth.

9:19 p.m. -- I'm not really sure what to say about what just happened. The situation: Runners on first and second, one out, Zimmerman at the plate, with Halladay on the ropes. Suddenly, Desmond broke from second. Zimmerman scorched a line drive to left. But right at Ibanez. Desmond, who had gone so far as to slide into third, hopped to his feet and raced back to second. And he made it back in time because Ibanez's throw was off-line. Except he overslid the base and thus was tagged out by Rollins to kill the inning. Stunning. Absolutely stunning. It's still 1-0 as we go to the bottom of the seventh.

9:27 p.m. -- Excellent job by Peralta in relief. Faced six batters, retired six batters. Thus, we head to the eighth inning of what is still a 1-0 ballgame, and Halladay is no longer around. Ryan Madson is coming on to pitch the eighth, followed by Brad Lidge. You'd hate to see the Nats squander a game like this, but time's running out.

9:39 p.m. -- The scoreless streak continues. So does the streak of missed opportunities. For the eighth time in eight innings tonight, the Nats put a man on base. Bernadina led off with a single, then narrowly made it to second on Morse's grounder up the middle. Never advanced farther. Pudge struck out on a 2-2 changeup from Madson, then Kennedy grounded out to short. So that makes the Nats 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position tonight.

9:48 p.m. -- We go to the ninth, still 1-0. Brad Lidge coming out of the bullpen. A pinch-hitter (Willie Harris), Morgan and Desmond due up. If anyone gets on, Dunn and Zimmerman to follow.

9:57 p.m. -- Game over. Nats lose 1-0 despite outhitting the Phillies 10-4 and putting a man on base in every inning. Went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Really frustrating loss, right up there with any other this season. Marquis falls to 0-6, though you can't blame him at all for this one.


Anonymous said...

Can you say Levale Speigner?

NatsJack in Florida said...

I said it before and I'll say it again. Levale Speigner DID NOT have a .410 BA against as this bum does. Speigner was Cy Young compared to this slug.

nattaboy said...

Boy, Jason Marquis sure has NO CHANCE against Halladay. In Philly. I mean, that's a lead pipe lock.

Nervous Nats Fan said...

Glad you're back, and hopefully Marquis isn't too terrible for you/us to watch tonight.

I was just looking through your store again (Christmas gift to myself in August?), and I would just like to put in my vote for more of the items to be available in the "I've got my own sportswriter" design if you're planning to continue next season. (I think I can be patient enough to wait until the offseason to make my purchases).

Anonymous said...


I've learned over the years that 'guaranteed match ups' don't always turn out the way they should; that's why you play the game. Did you think Batista will step in for Strasburg and shut down the Braves?

Also; let's calm down the Marquis bashing. Historically he's a much better pitcher than he's shown this year; he could be slowly rounding into form after a long injury (or maybe not). Let's not throw the white flag out yet.

Knoxville Nat said...

Jordan Zimmermann throwing tonight for the Chiefs, could we see him with the Nats for his next start instead of Marquis?

Anonymous said...

My Marquis confidence level tonight:

chance he'll make it through 1st inning = 50%
chance he'll make it through 2nd inning = 20%
chance he'll make it through 3rd inning = 10%
chance he'll make it through 4th inning = 2%

Anonymous said...

Knoxville Nat,

I doubt it; JZ is only up to 5 innings. More likely 2 more starts at Syracuse and a September call up. I don't think we can discard Marquis entirely; we are into him for 7.5 mil for 2011 and he should be a decent 4 or 5. Now Olsen is another story; I don't think he's coming back next year unless he pitches lights out and he may not get too many more chances when JZ and Maya come up.

Knoxville Nat said...

I'm not ready to discard Marquis. But if he continues to have trouble in this start or the next one, do you continue to throw him out there or shut him down for the season and try again in 2011?

JZ is waiting in the wings as is our new Cuban hopeful for September callups. With SS having his innings limited, Olson and Lannen not showing that they can go beyond 5 innings on a consistent basis, we need Marquis to step up or move over and let someone else on the mound.

I'll be real interested to see how far Zimm can go tonight.

Anonymous said...

Who is the backup catcher?

Anonymous said...

If your not heading up to Philly on Sunday, you should head to Potomic the furure of the Nats. The Cuban signee, is schudule to go 5 innings...

Steve M. said...

I agree wtih Knoxville and further, Marquis probably won't get a W in this game but he does have to make a great showing.

The next 40 games are a vision of the future especially in the starting rotation and to see if guys like Michael Morse and Ramos can step up in their positions which are many big holes to fill.

If the future of the Nats is Desmond at shortstop, it is also a chance to see if his fielding continues to improve.

Goals for 2011 are improving starting rotation, improved fielding in the middle of the infield, better bench players, re-signing Adam Dunn, and making tough decisions with stagnant players in the organization like Justin Maxwell, Pete Orr, Garrett Mock, etc.

Anonymous said...

Knoxville Nat and Steve M.

I essentially agree with you both; I don't think that you can keep throwing Marquis out there if he can't get anybody out; I,m just a little more hopeful that he can gradually regain his form based on past performance. I am against shutting him down if he's healthy but I,m not against moving him to a mop up role if he's ineffective.

I would recommend a longer minor league stint for Marquis but the minor leagues are wrapping up in about 10 days.

Anonymous said...

The Phillies should have fun tonight teeing off against $15 million batting practice pitcher Jason Marquis.

Cwj said...

Why isn't Strasburg starting tonight? He's had 4 days rest, and they're facing Halladay. Why?

NatsJack in Florida said...

Jason Marquis history of quality pitching disapeared right before last years All-Star game. He hasn't been able to get anybody out since.

That's a pretty long time. I hope he can find something but after seeing his pathetic efforts during spring training and the horrific efforts during this season, I don't have much hope.

On another note, I've noticed a semblance of consistency from Desmond over the past month that gives me alot of hope. And now that they're working Espinosa at second, I really have some hope.

HHover said...

@ Cwj -

I think you answered your own question - "they're facing Halladay."

But in case a further explanation is needed: he's reportedly limited to 150-160 innings and is already up to about 110. Stretching out his starts is a way to keep him going a little further into September.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Be careful, ladies and gentlemen. In the NFL, tonight's game is what's known among the sharpies as a "reverse lock." Who knows? Phils may decide to mail one in (though that's hard to fathom with them in a pennant race). Or, perhaps, Marquis can pitch as he did early last season. Uncle Teddy is paying this bum $15 million, after all.

Makes Austin Kearns at $8 million look like a downright bargain.

I am not ruling out a Nats surprise tonight. And wouldn't that be sweet...

Sec3MySofa said...

Maybe it's the Yeungling talking, but if I can still spell Yeungling, I should be OK.
I'll predict it: if Marquis doesn't improve, and the half-dozen or so other starters besides Strasburg and Livan can keep their own feet in the door during September, they'll patterson Marquis and eat the money.

Anonymous said...


That's a pretty fair point you make; I'm just hoping that poor results were because of injury and he's now in a quasi spring training mode but as I said before I could be dead wrong and that would be a huge 7.5 million albatross for next year.

Desmond is playing much better lately; his OBP is up to .308 which is still pretty dismal but on the way up so let's hope. As far as his fielding; I,m not really as concerned as everyone else because I feel that errors are over rated (I,m not saying they are meaningless) and he more than makes up for it by getting to MANY balls that average shortstops don't get to.

Sec3MyAnonymous said...

OTOH, it's "Yuengling", so maybe not.

HHover said...

Oops - bum math - SS is already up to near 120, bwn minors and majors. Which only reinforces the point.

Cwj said...

HHover - yeah I forgot about the innings count as well (damn minor leagues haha :)

Cwj said...

Sec3 - Pabst is easier to spell, and drink :)

Brian said...

We just squandered a golden opportunity in the 1st. Let the fun begin...

Faraz Shaikh said...

Survived one inning. one hit but no runs by Marquis.

We should've scored at least a run in the first inning. Can anybody tell me if Desmond's out was shallow fly or what?

Faraz Shaikh said...

"Raul Ibanez doubles on a ground ball to first baseman Adam Dunn." Does MLB know how absurd that sounds? What happened there? An error?

Dryw Loves the Nats said...

OMG, Halladay is hittable, Marquis hasn't melted down yet....and we can't get a run in? This is killing me!

Anonymous8 said...

Solid outing for Marquis. He got past a few problem innings and 2 poor fielding plays.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Good to know we will be seeing Z-Mann in the majors soon.

I just noticed that the error charged to Desmond now was actually an error against Dunn earlier. They just changed it. Also, Dunn should've stopped Ibanez's 'double'.

Marquis might be putting a lot of runners on but he has kept the team in the game. Too bad, once again we have drawn ace of the opposite team. We struggled against Hudson despite getting hits and we are doing the same against Halladay. Hopefully Phillies bullpen will be more cooperating.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me said...

At times, Desmond does seem to run the bases like Helen Keller on crack.

Anonymous said...

OK, Marquis haters, spin it. Nobody is expecting you to admit you were wrong. That would be too much to expect. Just spin it and explain how you were right in spite of the facts. Haters.

Anonymous said...

The Philly radio guys are torching us right now. They just said they don't know how he stands the stupid things (Desmond flipping his bat on the 9th inning shot that didn't go out). Earlier they said how we seem to have a dumb team that has never played baseball before (the Desmond-idiot doubled-off second play, and the Bernadina baserunning gaffe.)

Now they're laughing about us losing FOURTEEN one run games on the road in a row. We really are a dumb team that does so many, many stupid things on the field.

Game over.

Anonymous said...

O for 11 with RISP. We had RISP in 7 of 9 innings. This game captures this team: choke artists.

Anonymous said...

Desmond is so awesome. Our future. You can't fix stupid.

Anonymous said...

and the guy everyone wants signed for 3 to 4 years for 40 to 60 mil once again struck out to end the game.

Michael J. Hayde said...

Everyone believes these Nats have more talent than the .500 team of 2005, not to mention the 2007 edition... so why aren't we winning more than those teams?

After games like this, the only logical answer is that this team is less than the sum of its parts. When our starters and bullpen do better-than-average, we can't score. When our table-setters get on base, the big bats don't get the job done. Up until Willingham went down, our 3-4-5, on paper, sure looked as good as Texiera, A-Rod & Cano, except those guys usually get the job done while ours usually do not.

We don't get late-inning rallies going, we don't win extra-inning games, we don't even have the 7-game winning streak we had during the dregs of 2008. I'd sure like to know more about the alleged "improved clubhouse culture" we were told about at the start of the season, because these guys sure don't do much to lift each other.

Where's the disconnect? Why, with all the added talent, are we still not a geunine TEAM?

Anonymous said...

I was there tonight ......anyone else from natstown make it? I didn't see many other squiggly Ws

Anonymous said...

despite loses like today we are way better than last year; we will probably end up with about 70 wins which is 10 wins than last year which is a good step forward. You guys just dont have the patience to see this thing through; we are going to be much better next year because we should have much better starters from the get go.

Also, this is a powerful Philly team we are facing; they went to the world series 2 years in a row.

JaneB said...

Anon at 10:27: I can't go to home games when the phillies play because the fans are awful. You're braver than I to see our guys in their camp!

Anon at 10:29: I agree. That our guys did as well as they did...Jason included... Is so much better than last year. Frustrating yes but a year ago we lose by a whole lot more.

Anonymous said...

This team cannot be winners until they stop desecrating the holiness of the position of first base. Until there is a legitimate first baseman, we can not be a legitimate team.

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