Monday, August 23, 2010

Game 125: Cubs at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats host the Cubs (and their new manager) at Nationals Park.
Back home following a tough weekend in Philadelphia, the Nationals now host the Cubs, who had an eventful weekend of their own. Manager Lou Piniella, who previously had announced he would retire at season's end, walked away yesterday citing family reasons. Third base coach Mike Quade takes over as interim manager the rest of the way, auditioning for a job that is coveted by plenty of big names, including Ryne Sandberg and Bob Brenly.

The Cubs will be sending rookie right-hander Casey Coleman to the mound, squaring off against Livan Hernandez.

Ian Desmond gets a day off, so Alberto Gonzalez starts at shortstop. Willie Harris also starts in right field in place of the slumping Michael Morse.

Check back throughout the game for updates...

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Chance of showers late, 79 degrees, Wind 9 mph LF to RF
CF Nyjer Morgan
2B Adam Kennedy
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
LF Roger Bernadina
C Ivan Rodriguez
RF Willie Harris
SS Alberto Gonzalez
P Livan Hernandez

CUBS (51-74)
2B Blake DeWitt
SS Starlin Castro
CF Marlon Byrd
3B Aramis Ramirez
1B Xavier Nady
RF Tyler Colvin
LF Alfonso Soriano
C Geovany Soto
P Casey Coleman

7:07 p.m. -- Livan Hernandez starts off Blake DeWitt with an 82 mph fastball for strike one.

7:11 p.m. -- 1-2-3 top of the first for Livo, who needed only 13 pitches to dispatch of the Cubs. He made rookie Starlin Castro look downright silly whiffing at a 62 mph "Bugs Bunny" curveball for his first strikeout of the night.

7:24 p.m. -- Great chance for the Nats to strike in the bottom of the first, with runners on first and second and one out. But Adam Dunn's slump continues in a big way. He whiffed for his 24th strikeout in his last 50 at-bats. Roger Bernadina then sent a deep fly ball to the warning track in center field that was caught to end the inning.

7:33 p.m. -- My full, updated Strasburg story with quotes is now up on

8:08 p.m. -- Well, that kind of fell apart in the top of the third, didn't it? Livo, in succession, allowed the following: home run, single, hit-by-pitch, walk, hit-by-pitch, single, triple. By the time the carnage was complete, the big guy had staked the Cubs to a 5-0 lead. Miguel Batista was warming up for a possible early entry, though Jim Riggleman let Hernandez pitch through the inning. Still, he's at 83 pitches through three. Not good.

8:29 p.m. -- Livo's now at 104 pitches through four innings. And he'll probably come back out for the fifth. Not sure there's another pitcher in baseball who could say that. Meanwhile, the Nats have done nothing with Cubs rookie Casey Coleman so far. Coleman has kind of a funky delivery. Maybe that's throwing them off. Whatever the case, it's still 5-0, but the lead feels much larger than that.

8:46 p.m. -- And that'll do it for Livo, who is pulled after 4 1/3 innings and 121 pitches. It's currently 6-0 as Miguel Batista comes out of the pen, with the bases loaded and only one out.

8:58 p.m. -- Jason Marquis just pinch-hit for Miguel Batista in the fifth inning with the Nats trailing 7-0. Yeah, it's been that kind of game.

9:16 p.m. -- I'm sure there have been worse days in Nationals history (and I'm sure I was there for them) but putting Strasburg on the DL and now trailing the lifeless Cubs 8-0 in the sixth has to rank right up there with the worst of them.

9:29 p.m. -- Fantastic research just dug up by the Post's Adam Kilgore and the AP's Joseph White: Livo's 121 pitches tonight were the fourth-most ever thrown by a starter who went less than five innings. (At least since 1952, when pitch counts were first registered.)

9:50 p.m. -- How bad has this gotten? Well, it's the top of the eighth, and Jim Riggleman just made the following defensive changes: Michael Morse replaces Adam Dunn at first base, Willie Harris replaces Ryan Zimmerman at third base, Justin Maxwell takes over in right field, Drew Storen now pitching down eight runs. Yes, the closer is in for the top of the eighth with his team down 9-1, probably scheduled to pitch two innings because he's gotten so little work lately.

10:14 p.m. -- It's over. Nats lose 9-1. Livo falls to 8-9, his ERA up to 3.36.


Anonymous said...

Livo will have to work some magic today I cannot see more than 4 or 5 hits coming from his teammates today!

Anonymous said...

The news must be catostrophic on Strasburg that is it 3:45pm on Monday and no statement from the Nats! I was hoping for a statement that did not have the phrase, "Stephen will be traveling to Alabama to see Dr. James Andrews for further tests..."

natsfan1a said...

Ladson is reporting SS to 15-day DL:

Anonymous said...

What's the news on Strasburg, Mark? Surely, you can dig for this one. Hopefully, the news will not be fatal for all us diehard Nats fans.

Keep us posted! And, Mark, keep up the good work! Nats Insider is great!

MM said...

could it be "Stephen has traveled to Alabama to see Dr. James Andrews for further tests..."

Anonymous said...

The day Ladson scoops Zuckerman is the day I stop reading this blog, so hopefully Ladson is FOS

natsfan1a said...

Kilgore on Nationals Journal is also saying DL for Strasburg

natsfan1a said...

...and so is Mark ^

btw, I won't stop reading this blog until they pry the keyboard from my cold hands, or something to that effect... :-)

bgib said...

I still find it curious that, even though Riggleman has said Strasburg is likely going back on the 15 day DL, there is still no report or comment on what the MRI showed or didn't show.

Stew Magnuson said...

BTW, what happened to all the Michael Morse fans who clamored daily here for him to start more often?
I think there was one guy named "Anonymous." Good name for him in hindsight.
Time to quit commenting nonstop on this site and actually go to the park and watch a game.

CapPeterson said...


Here's one non-anonymous Morse fan. All I was asking for, and I think others too, was a chance for Morse to show what he could do. Since the alternative seems to be Willie Harris, I'd still rather still a slumping Morse, who's hitting better in his slump than Harris has been for the whole season. It's still very possible, based on results so far, that Morse will have a role on this club next year. Based on results, and looking at the trajectory of Willie's career, his chances don't look too good.

Dryw Loves the Nats said...

Well, I'm glad Livo waited until almost September to have this game.....

Anonymous said...

Oh, boy, another stinker when we needed a good game. The Nats are like anti-joy, and, okay, sometimes it's not their fault. Sometimes it's just sorry luck. Maybe the "curse of the bullet", as Kornheiser called it, is contagious. Anyway, the anti-joy thing -- you bring joy to the Nats and you leave with negative joy. For example, the City gives you a big, beautiful Park to love and the team often plays, er, well, really unloveable baseball, even humiliating sometimes. They hire a big, very good-natured slugger from Texas who is susceptible to funks so deep and dark that no light is emitted from them. They bring a golden right-hander from California to town for the fans to get really excited over, and, well, you know the rest.

Brian said...

I think this is the ugliest game of the season, and that's saying a lot. Reminds me of the movie Major League...Harry Doyle: "One hit? One g***amn hit?" Color Guy: "You can't say g***amn on the air!" Doyle: "Why not? It's not like anyone's listening."

Brian said...

Well, we've got three hits now. The first Anonymous way up at the top was right on in his prediction.

Anonymous said...

Time to quit commenting nonstop on this site and actually go to the park and watch a game.

Maybe you should follow your own advice ... go watch your pathetic willie harris look lost in right field with his glossy stats ...

They are pathetic enough ... and have been over the last .., after tonight's game 3 years? Any glimmer of hope in the darkness helps dude! Get off your damned high horse and stop being an a??clown.

Doc said...

When Coleman is back in the minors next year, he'll have this game to remember. The night he got lucky with his non-stuff stuff! As Casey would say, "....I'd rather be lucky, than good..."

lesatcsc said...

3 minor league pitchers combine to give up 3 hits! Everywhere baseball is played bad pitchers are prayng for an opportunity to pitch to the Nats. This is a bad minor league calibre team on its way to a third straight 100 loss season. Most days now there are two major league players in the lineup, one over the hill former star and an actual prospect or two, after that, it's strictly bush league. It's nothing a 70 million dollar increase in the annual payroll couldn't fix.

Anonymous said...

Willie Harris is a terrible, terrible, terrible ballplayer. There's nothing more than can be said.

Ernie said...

Back from the game. At least the weather was nice.

1. In the final innings we had the awe-inspiring combination of Maxwell, Harris and Mench all in the lineup. Is there any other team in all of baseball that can boast about featuring three hitter all at or below .100 in a lineup simultaneously?

2. I know the game was already lost, but why pull Batista after only 2/3 of an inning? The guy wasn't doing anything wrong and you might as well save the bullpen. God knows we're going to need it with the BP combo of Lannan and Marquis over the next couple of days. My wife, who only 5 months ago was asking me what a manager does is now yelling in the stands that Riggs should be fired.

3. I don't know how it looked on TV or if there is an explanation, but Harris badly misplayed that Soriano triple. The one saving grace for Willie Harris is his fielding. Before Morgan showed up I thought he was one of the highlights of the outfield (faint praise, I know). But after the bad break and just giving up on the ball...why do you hate us Willie Harris?

4. Intentionally walking the 8 hitter to load the bases with one out? WTF?

Natsochist said...

You have much to learn about the Art of Natsochism, young padawans.

1. @Lesatcsc, we're now 53-72. To lose 100 again, we'd have to go 9-28 or worse over the remaining games. That's a .243 win percentage -- even the 119-loss, 2003 Detroit Tigers had a better percentage than that. Kindly relax and take a seat in the bleachers; we'll get you caught up to speed.

2. @Ernie: Two reasons to have hope: Slick Willie's average is up (!) to .190, and Lannan hasn't allowed more than two ER in a start since returning from the DL. He's also got a 15:5 K:BB ratio over that time, which is about as un-Lannan like as it gets.

3. You can all feel free to blame me when Lannan gets shelled in his next start for five runs in 3 2/3 innings.

4. @Ernie again, didn't see the triple, but Harris certainly played that double off the scoreboard poorly. Jumped way too soon on it, and Dibble & Carpenter immediately called him on it.

5. @Brian, thank you for the Major League quote - I needed that.

Mark, I don't know how you sat through this one. Remind me to buy you a beer if I ever run into you at a game for putting up with stinkers like this.

Richard said...

I wonder if, after that stinker, the Nats "brain trust" is getting together this morning to consider their major league creation. This year began with a very ugly opening day, had a beautiful first 35 games and the Strasmas, but has soured badly. It's been three years of some of the worst MLB baseball -- ever. Failure, my friends, not just of the garden variety, the below .500 kind that many teams face. No, failure on a heroic scale. Unprecedented failure. "Aura" creating failure. So, if you're the Nats management, what are you talking about this morning, if they're talking at all? Is it "root and branch" talk? Will they take any action? Or can it be more talk about how the the plan is working; or more ideas for marketing, or about that high schooler in Toledo, or what's our tee time this afternoon? Maybe it's very quiet in the FO this morning.

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