Friday, August 27, 2010

Game 129: Cardinals at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nationals host the Cardinals for Game 2 of a 4-game series tonight.
They will play another ballgame tonight at Nationals Park. The flags are not at half-staff. It'll be business as usual, aside from the dark vibe hovering over the ballpark after today's news of Stephen Strasburg's pending Tommy John surgery.

Scott Olsen starts for the Nationals against Cardinals rookie left-hander Jaime Garcia. Another new-look lineup from Jim Riggleman: Alberto Gonzalez leads off, Ian Desmond returns to the 2-hole, Justin Maxwell starts in center field with Nyjer Morgan out.

Strasburg is about to speak in the Nationals' interview room (you can watch it live on and I'll provide updates of what he had to say in a little while. Check back here the evening for game updates...

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Sunny, 79 degrees, Wind 4 mph out to LF
2B Alberto Gonzalez
SS Ian Desmond
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
RF Michael Morse
LF Roger Bernadina
C Ivan Rodriguez
CF Justin Maxwell
P Scott Olsen

RF Allen Craig
CF Jon Jay
1B Albert Pujols
LF Matt Holliday
2B Felipe Lopez
3B Pedro Feliz
C Bryan Anderson
SS Brendan Ryan
P Jaime Garcia

7:08 p.m. -- Scott Olsen throws a 90 mph strike past Allen Craig and this game is underway. Life goes on.

7:15 p.m. -- Albert Pujols crushes a 2-2 breaking ball from Olsen into the left-field bleachers for the 401st home run of his career. Life really goes on. Cardinals lead 1-0 after one half-inning.

7:23 p.m. -- Alberto Gonzalez is getting a chance to hit leadoff tonight. He's been on the Nationals' active roster the entire season, from Opening Day straight through til now. He's played in 88 games and gotten 126 at-bats. And his RBI total is four. FOUR! Wil Nieves has 15. Craig Stammen has six. It's not easy to post one RBI for every 31.5 at-bats you get.

7:41 p.m. -- You can debate whether it was really necessary for the Cardinals to intentionally walk Justin Maxwell (owner of a .100 batting average) to get to Scott Olsen (owner of an .095 batting average) but Tony La Russa's move did work. Olsen struck out on three pitches to end the bottom of the second, stranding the bases loaded. Cards still lead 1-0 as we head to the third.

7:57 p.m. -- It takes some real talent to produce an E2, an E3 and an E4 in a span of five batters. Then again, this is NatsTown, where nothing that happens in the field is surprising. Three errors in the top of the third lead to two unearned runs. The Cardinals now lead 3-0.

8:02 p.m. -- That was the second time in Nats history they committed three errors in one inning. Also did it on September 7, 2007 at Atlanta. Pop the champagne!

8:08 p.m. -- They are really outdoing themselves tonight. Somehow, the Nats just managed to put four men on base in the bottom of the third ... and not score. Ryan Zimmerman's double play took care of the first two outs. Roger Bernadina's strikeout with the bases loaded took care of the final out.

8:27 p.m. -- Four innings in the books, Cards still lead 3-0.

8:43 p.m. -- Five innings, eight runners left on base by the Nationals. Where have we seen this before?

9:09 p.m. -- Another golden opportunity for the Nats (bases loaded, one out) and nothing to show for it. Adam Kennedy (and the crowd) thought he had at least a two-run double down the right-field line, but Dan Bellino ruled it foul. If it didn't hit chalk, it came really close to it. Close, of course, doesn't count in these matters. Kennedy wound up popping out, and Ian Desmond grounded out. Inning over. Eleven men stranded on base through six innings. Cardinals lead 3-0.

9:46 p.m. -- You know, the only thing this game has been missing is Nyjer Morgan getting picked off first ba... oh wait, it just happened.

9:47 p.m. -- And, of course, Willie Harris homers on the next pitch. Nats now trail 4-1, could've been 4-2 had Nyjer still been on base.

10:14 p.m. -- It's over. Nats lose 4-2. They stranded 14 men on base. That's their fifth loss in six games since Strasburg went down. They've scored a total of 13 runs in their last 10 losses. Not good.


P. Cole said...

Is Morgan getting the day off to rest, or is this part of his "suspension"?

natscan reduxit said...

... if Nyger loses his appeal, can or will tonight's 'sit-out' be counted as the first game of the suspension?

Go Stephen Strasburg! Go Nats!!

Mark Zuckerman said...

Just a day off for Nyjer against a left-handed starter. Has nothing to do with the suspension.

U-Hoo said...

Glad to see (sort of) that Holiday and Pujols are alright. I was afraid Holiday might have broken something in his wrist after being hit by that pitch, and wondered if Pujols might have sprained his ankle. The Cardinals' payoff hopes would have been flushed in one unfortunate night in D.C.

Go Nats! Beat 'em at full strength!

Doc said...

Over the course of the season I've been critical of Nyj, but this suspension is BS! He was merely doing what the majority of OFs do with spare baseballs---toss them to the crowd.

Hope you're successful with your appeal Nyj!

Golfersal said...

Talking about suspension, no Dibble for the third straight night. Is he just too embarrassed to return since it's obvious that his comments were not timed very well or is he gone???
Tonight would of been a perfect night for him to eat some crow, apologize and get on with his career with the Nats.
I felt that the comments were probably some of the dumbness statements made, but a lot of people love Rod (like myself) and want to see him back.
So Mark was the scoop on Dibble not coming back tonight?????

JaneB said...

Yeah. I miss Dibble. Golferal is right -- he could have said "oops -- I didn't realize, mea culpa, hey! Look at the second homer Roger just hit at Nats Stadium." Something like that would have been good all the way around.

I am so impressed with Strasburg's comments, and believe he really will be back. I hadn't realized Nat Killer Tim Hudson had this surgery. That makes me feel confident that it's just a matter of time before we get Stras back the way we (and he) wanted him. In the meantime, Mike Rizzo: Get the Lerners to buy us some pitching. Some grown up, proven, scary ass pitching. Ok? I'm rooting for us never to get a draft pick lower than 10th place ever again.

Anonymous said...

I think the announcement on Dibble indicated he would not be back until Saturday. While I always thought those particular comments were unfounded and certainly unwise given the uncertain outcome, I have sympathy for a guy who has a daily show and has to be edgy at times to keep listener interest up. If you are in the public eye and talk long enough, sooner or later you are going to say something that will get you in trouble.

Grandstander said...

I think today just soared to the top of the "Worst 5 Days in Nationals History" list. This game is really the icing.

DKSW said...

The boys are distracted tonight, that's for sure. This is a dark day in Natstown....

JaneB said...

Pudge 2800th hit! And Justin got one too. And Scott got only one earned run. I'm taking what pleasure I can. But it does go on the five worst days list.

Dryw Loves the Nats said...

Eleven through six? Really?

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me said...

Best day: 6/10/10: Jesus fans 14
Worst day: 8/27/10: Jesus out until 2012

There is no joy in Nats Town tonight. Mighty Strasburg has blown out his elbow

Anonymous said...

Great for Willie to get a homerun. Too bad Morgan was picked off yet again...down four runs, you ain't going to be stealing. How do you get picked off in that situation? I am sick of this knucklehead.

N. Cognito said...

A salute to the Keystone Kops tonight at the ballpark.

Anonymous said...

Help me out here. I was at the game, and I swear that the Kennedy not-a-double kicked up chalk. They don't show replays in the stadium, so I have no idea whether it was fair or foul . . . Can someone tell me what the replays showed? Thanks!

Ernie said...

Home from the game. When did they change the third error to a hit? We noticed the change around the 8th inning. The scorer seems to do this a lot...

Grandstander said...

We have a scorer? I thought it was just a monkey back there pushing buttons. Hmmm...

CapPeterson said...


I was at the game too. Heard the announcement (sit in the 300s under the press box) an inning or two later. That decision was defensible, I thought. But did think Bernie could have been charged an error on the ball he presumably lost in the lights. I know you normally don't get charged with an error when that happens, but that ball was hit right at him and he did get his glove on it. I know Bernie's still getting used to LF, but doesn't it seem our guys have inordinate problems in the twilight zone here? Shouldn't we at least have a homefield advantage, if the lights are that bad?

On the plus side, Dunn made a really nice catch on that foul pop!

N. Cognito said...

Ernie said...
"Home from the game. When did they change the third error to a hit? We noticed the change around the 8th inning. The scorer seems to do this a lot..."

I have no problem with that being called a hit - it was a tough play for Gonzo.

The biggest problem with that play is Gonzo tried to make it and not Desmond. If Gonzo picks the ball, he's still got a very difficult cross body throw to try to get the out at first. Desmond would (should?) have had a much easier play, plus it was on his side of the bag anyway.

Anonymous said...

Did someone already say this: The Nationals fortunately have good bench strength in the booth. Moving Knight to the booth, and installing Phil Wood in with Johnny makes a strong lineup, IMHO. Actually, Knight is very professional and informative in the booth and I liked last night's broadcast lineup. Kudos to Knight.

Anonymous said...

Mark, your writing about the game last night was pure comedy! Seriously, I love it. Watching that game was frustrating and the spin you gave it made me laugh and helped me lose some of my bitterness.

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