Monday, August 30, 2010

Game 132: Nats at Marlins

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Sun Life Stadium has been deluged with rain tonight.
MIAMI — That new-look lineup Jim Riggleman trotted out over the weekend seemed to work, so the Nationals manager is sticking with it tonight in the opener of a three-game series against the Marlins. So the 3-4-5 remains Roger Bernandina-Ryan Zimmerman-Adam Dunn.

Perhaps more notable is that Nyjer Morgan is back in the lineup after getting benched yesterday in the wake of his unusual play at the plate Saturday night. And just as was the case Saturday, Morgan is batting eighth.

Meanwhile, Ian Desmond gets a game off, with Alberto Gonzalez starting at shortstop and batting second behind Adam Kennedy. Jason Marquis, fresh off his best start of the season, returns to the mound against rookie Alex Sanabia, who beat the Nats 1-0 here last month.

Check back for updates throughout the evening...

Where: Sun Life Stadium
Gametime: 7:10 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Chance of storms, 82 degrees, Wind 16 mph in from RF
2B Adam Kennedy
SS Alberto Gonzalez
LF Roger Bernadina
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
RF Michael Morse
C Ivan Rodriguez
CF Nyjer Morgan
P Jason Marquis

MARLINS (65-64)
2B Emilio Bonifacio
LF Logan Morrison
SS Hanley Ramirez
1B Gaby Sanchez
3B Chad Tracy
RF Mike Stanton
CF Cameron Maybin
C Brett Hayes
P Alex Sanabia

5:13 p.m. -- For those wondering about why Ian Desmond is not in the lineup, it's not an issue with his thumb or any other injury. Jim Riggleman said he'll be looking to give Desmond a few more games off down the stretch than he got earlier in the year. "I really felt that here in his first season, I really wanted him to have about a 500-at-bat season. That's the pace he's on, and he'll probably end up somewhere in that area. That's going to allow Gonzalez to get a game tonight and keep Kennedy going. It just kind of fits what we're trying to do with Ian."

5:27 p.m. -- Couple other small tidbits to share from the clubhouse: Mike Rizzo says he probably won't be making any September call-ups until Class AAA Syracuse's season is over. The Chiefs play their final game next Monday afternoon at Pawtucket, so look for the call-ups to arrive in D.C. the next day before the Nats' game against the Mets. Rizzo wouldn't reveal any names yet, but Yunesky Maya is scheduled to make one more start this week and then figures to get promoted before making his next start. ... Also, Rizzo revealed the names of two players who will participate in the Arizona Fall League: Derek Norris and Sammy Solis. Norris was supposed to play in the AFL last year but broke his hamate bone during the Florida instructional league and thus was sidelined. Solis was the Nats' second-round pick in this year's draft and just signed on deadline day for $1 million. The left-hander from the University of San Diego will pitch in the instructional league (which begins Sept. 17) and then head to Arizona, basically the same path Stephen Strasburg took last year.

5:47 p.m. -- Change to Florida's lineup: Dan Uggla has been scratched with a strained groin. He's day-to-day. Emilio Bonifacio takes over at second base and will bat leadoff, while Gaby Sanchez gets bumped up to the cleanup spot previously held by Uggla.

6:01 p.m. -- The skies are ominously dark over Sun Life Stadium right now, and it looks like it's about to start pouring. Which means we're probably looking at a delayed start to the game. It's not supposed to last all night, so it shouldn't be a really late night, but first pitch might not be til 8 p.m. or so. I'll update if I hear anything more definitive.

7:00 p.m. -- We will officially be in a rain delay in 10 minutes. No word yet when this thing may get underway. Must be a frustrating experience for the dozens of fans who decided to show up tonight. Seriously, this is going to be one of those games where you can count the attendance by hand.

8:22 p.m. -- Still no word on a projected starting time. It's just been pouring here and there is a ridiculous amount of standing water in the outfield. Check out the above photo. It's hard to imagine the grounds crew being able to get the field playable in a reasonable amount of time. We'll see.

9:12 p.m. -- How hard is it raining here? I think I just saw Jim Cantore strapped to the foul pole doing a live report on The Weather Channel.

9:24 p.m. -- I don't believe what I'm watching right now. They've pulled the tarp and are currently squeegeeing about 100,000 gallons of water off the field. They've announced the game is expected to begin at 10 p.m. Unreal.

9:59 p.m. -- And we are finally underway with an estimated 300 fans witnessing Alex Sanabia's first pitch to Adam Kennedy.

10:07 p.m. -- The Nats go down in order in the top of the first as the Marlins outfielders go hydroplaning. Left fielder Logan Morrison did a full, out-of-control slide into the bullpen wall trying to track down a pop-foul. Right fielder Mike Stanton kicked up all kinds of water running in to catch a shallow fly ball. Can't say I've ever seen a ballgame played in these conditions.

10:15 p.m. -- Hanley Ramirez takes Jason Marquis deep to right (as Morse splishes and splashes his way in vain to the wall) to put the Marlins on top 1-0.

10:25 p.m. -- The Nats get the run back in the top of the second. Ryan Zimmerman singles to shallow center field. Which isn't to say he didn't hit the ball hard. It's just that once it reached the outfield grass, it died in a pool of water. Adam Dunn then followed with a double off the left-field wall, a rare display of opposite-field power, bringing Zim home. 1-1 as we go to the bottom of the second.

10:43 p.m. -- Holy cow did Zimmerman just crush a fastball from Sanabia. The ball struck a scoreboard on the facing of the upper deck in left field, knocking out one panel. This game is apparently now being played at "Sun Life Stadiu". Oh yeah, there were two men on at the time. So the Nats now lead 4-1 in the third on an absolute bomb from Zim.

10:59 p.m. -- Marquis put himself in quite a pickle in the bottom of the third, loading the bases with two outs to bring up Gaby Sanchez. But he coaxed a lazy fly ball to right out of the Marlins' cleanup man to end the inning. Still 4-1 as we go to the fourth.

11:38 p.m. -- Tonight's official paid attendance: 18,326. Which means 18,000 people actually paid to attend this game but never actually saw it.

11:50 p.m. -- Brett Hayes tags a two-run homer off Jason Marquis, cutting the lead to 4-3 in the sixth, and ending Marquis' night. On the bright side, Marquis cannot lose this game. Which means he can't go 0-8 in his first eight starts of the season. By the end of the night, he'll either be 1-7 or 0-7. Progress, people. Progress.

12:00 a.m. -- Justin Maxwell just went all the way around the bases on an error and two wild pitches. Is that considered "manufacturing" a run? Whatever it is, it put the Nats on top 5-3 in the seventh.

12:11 a.m. -- I guess Adam Dunn's slump is over. He just crushed a three-run homer to center off Brian Sanches, who didn't exactly have the best seventh inning. Four runs, two walks, three wild pitches. Amazingly, none of the runs are earned because of Tracy's error to start the inning. No matter, Nats now lead 8-3 at the seventh-inning stretch.

12:19 a.m. -- Trivia time: What duo leads the National League in home runs this season? It's a tie between Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday ... and Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman. Each duo has hit 58. Pretty good company, I'd say.

12:46 a.m. -- Mike Stanton just singled over Alberto Gonzalez's head with two outs in the eighth. Why is that significant? Because Stanton had been hitless over his previous 31 at-bats. OH-FER-THIRTY-ONE! That, my friends, is a slump. We go to the ninth, Nats still up 8-3.

12:56 a.m. -- His team up six runs as we go to the bottom of the ninth, Riggleman just put Ian Desmond in at shortstop, moved Alberto Gonzalez to second base, moved Adam Kennedy to first and benched Adam Dunn. Uncle!

1:04 a.m. -- Game over. Nats win, 9-3. Jason Marquis finally gets his first win in his eighth start, improves to 1-7. Has a 2.50 ERA over his last three starts. The bullpen, meanwhile, recorded 10 outs, nine of them via strikeout.


NatsJack in Florida said...

Willie Harris... Nyjer Morgan.... I'd rather have the sane one.

Anonymous said...

Tough lineup for a bunch of bench guys to face a guy who shut them down last time out...I hope Marquis can throw 7 shutout innings and then the bullep ncan deliver!

Anonymous said...

Mark, why do they have the batting cage at home plate during the middle of a game in that photo of [Fill in the Blank] Stadium?

Doc said...

The Nats have only 2 real OFs currently: Roger "The Flying Dutchman" Bernadina; and, Michael "The Horse" Morse. Any others are pretend ML ball players!

CapPeterson said...

Amen, brother.

And why is Ian "getting a game off"? Is he tired? He's settling in at SS, still getting comfortable. He's getting better every day--why slow the improvement?

CapPeterson said...


Just for fun, could you ask Rigs (if the question hasn't come up already) who he thinks is the better defensive CF, Morgan or Bernie? I'm assuming the phrase "throwing arm" will not figure in his answer.

NatsJack in Florida said...

CapPeterson... Man... I was wondering the same thing..

Knoxville Nat said...


Perhaps Desmond's thumb injury is bothering him again? I don't know, just saying.

CapPeterson said...


Crossed my mind too after I posted. Otherwise, you agree, somewhat inexplicable?

BinM said...

CapP & Knoxville: Let's hope it's just a 'day off' for Desmond, and not a flare-up of the thumb injury. The team surrenders a little range and a lot of arm with AGonz at shortstop, and I wouldn't like seeing that over an extended period.

Anonymous said...

CapPeterson: Do you really think that Ian Desmond is improving? I agree that his batting average has increased significantly since the all star break. But his defense just isn't consistent enough to be our everyday shortstop. 29 errors and only a 94.6% fielding %!

I know that the argument is that he is learining the position. But I don't buy it. He is extremely athletic and has a strong arm. Unfortunatly, it is not an accurate arm. We need a SS who we can count on to make the routine play, ....well routine. Move Ian to the outfield where the strength of his arm would overshadow the lack of accuracy. He would excel there.

I think modern baseball over emphasizes the need for a SS who can hit for average and power. Give me a SS who is strong defensively any day.

Sample World Series Champs with a SS who had a Low Batting But Great Fielding:

1969 Bud Harrelson (96.9%)
1970 Mark Belanger (97.0%)
1972 A's Bert Campaneris (96.7%)
1975 Reds Dave Concepcion (97.7%)
1980 Phillies Larry Bowa (97.5%)
1988 Dodgers Alfredo Griffin (96.5%)

Faraz Shaikh said...

Anon 5:48, we are not going to World series this season. And he is 25, will learn the position in a year or two. Errors should be decreasing.

Anyways, I just checked the weather. We will have a game tonight it seems.

Golfersal said...

Come on what is the story on Rod Dibble, suppose to have just two days off, then three and now it looks permanent???

What is the scoop is this just a Dibble problem of being to hard headed to admit he screwed up or is this a National decision???
Sorry but Dibble was wrong but with each passing day it will seem too hard to patch up, so the losers will be the fans who have to listen to Phil Wood instead of Ray Knight. It's a bad deal because now we have a weak pre-post game show and Knight is nice but not in the same league as Dibble. Could be a very hard 31 games if this continues.

BinM said...


D(r)ibble is a storyline for you - Really? The knucklehead has made more than a few 'out-of-line' comments recently (the "chatty" women behind home plate, the ill-informed Strasburg comments), and probably needed to be parked for a few games. If he now feels more at home just doing his radio show from LA, then sobeit. TV color commentators are 'low-hanging fruit' imo, and he is easily replaced next year by someone who might know a little more about the franchise & their history.

Jim Webster said...

Golfersal: I tired of Dibble long ago. At least MASN could get a hair stylist for Phil Wood.

CapPeterson said...

Anon 5:48, I was critical of Desi earlier in the year, and I do think that at his age it is misleading to compare him with 20-year-old Starlin Castro, as MASN did last week, but yes I think he has been improving at bat and in the field the last few weeks. Thanks Mark BTW for giving us Gentleman Jim's reason for sitting Ian tonight.

On Dibbsy, I understand the criticisms but I'll miss the big guy (was about to type "oaf"). I like his homerism--IMO Carpy should be more the straight man and not join in the whining about all the bad calls against us. The weak link for me now is Phil Wood. He's great as a call-in host but too vanilla for the pre- and postgame. About to say more against Phil but suddenly remembered Lou Holder: things could be a whole lot worse.

Golfersal said...

Again I don't care about the commentary on what people think of Dibble, what I am in search of is the news on what's up???

I don't have XM and can't hear, is he just doing his radio show??
Is he back in L.A. and has he said anything on his radio show that indicates that he has thrown in the towel on this or been fired.

MASN came out with a story from there PR guys on Thursday saying that he asked for a couple of days off, suppose to be back on Saturday and we haven't heard anything since so I am just wondering what the story is???

We need some journalistic work from some writer to find out what is the truth on this and what is a lie on this.

Just read all of the blogs, I would say that 20% of the writing is opinion on Dibble, weather it's about him being a bone-head or not.

Guys I am not trying to be cocky or anything, but in the world of Natstown it's a big story weather you hate the guy or love him.

So that is all I am saying that I hope that either Mark or another writer can make the calls and find some answers on this

Aussie Gus said...

Counting the attendance by hand... I used to do that at The Big O back in 2001. Those were the days. $2 entry and you could go sit behind the plate!

Richard said...

Heckuva game on MiLB TV tonight, Chiefs vs. Buffalo. Martis and Ballester in releif looked great. Chiefs scored 3 in top of the 10th, the third run on a stolen base at 3rd and a squeeze play. Trent Jewett's done a good managerial job in Syracuse this year. And tonight's win means the Chiefs win something called the "Thru-way Cup", between Syracuse, Buffalo, and Rochester, I guess. Anyway, Jewett shows some emotion and aggression; nice to see. I wonder if he's looking for a MLB job next year and if he likes WDC.

Sam said...

Wow. They just showed the field on MLB Network. I'm actually fearful that a player will get hurt. Honestly, will the 4 Marlins fans that showed up really be that upset with a rain out?

Steve said...

Mark - If your reports of field conditions are true, Riggleman should pull his team off the field and take the forfeit. There's absolutely no reason to risk careers and the 2011 season for 1 game for a 56-75 team. Let the Marlins have their precious win and MLB it's precious schedule.

meixler said...

Since neither one of these teams is involved in a pennant race I'm kinda glad that they're playing the game... as long as nobody gets hurt. It's fun to watch on TV and I expect to see some craziness happen with all the water that's out there.

Matt said...

I largely agree with Steve. No reason to forfeit, but no reason to have Zimm out there either. With the right shuffling, Riggs could field a lineup that keeps Zimm, Dunn, Bernadina and Desmond away from a risk of injury.

Andrew said...

Zimmerman is LIGHTS OUT in the 3rd inning!!!!!!!!!!!

meixler said...

Morse is 2 for 3 in tonight's game and has been absolutely on fire recently... so why would you pull him from a 1 run ballgame when your team could use a little cushion?

Anonymous said...

What the f kind of double switch is that? I'm telling you Riggs really pisses me off sometimes. That makes no sense. Take Nyj out before you take Morse out. C'MON!!!

meixler said...

Okay, I guess I've got to amend my questioning of the double switch... Maxwell just reached on an error, then went from 1st to 3rd on a wild pitch, and then came home on another wild pitch. So I guess having a little speed out there paid off... but, still... that run was given to us by the Marlins.

Section 222 said...

I'm against the doubleswitch even with Maxwell scoring the run, especially with Morgan available to be replaced instead of Morse. The 7th is too early to be making defensive changes in a 1 (or 2) run game. If you really want Peralta to stay in, let him bat. No shame in that. The Nats have a horrible record in extra inning games and I think it may be because our good hitters have been pulled too early.

meixler said...

Of course, now that you've taken Morse out you've got Willie Harris on deck with Dunn at the plate, so yeah, he's really gonna get a pitch to hit.... umm... nevermind. 3 run homer by Dunn. Good job with the double switch, Riggs.

HabsProf said...

Gotta love it when we score a run by getting on base with an error followed by two wild pitches.

Anonymous said...

Nevertheless ... he finally makes a lineup that seems to work and he has to wreck it with the early double switches again ... uhmmm Riggs? You realize Maxwell is AAAA guy not some veteran you have to respect right? Yeesh double mancrush at work.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Peric, but Maxwell did score a run that Morse would never have scored and it was an important run at the time. And despite Riggs "wrecking" the lineup, our fellows won the game handily. Go figure. Sometimes the luck is with the mancrush.

Sam said...

Given that Riggleman intended to pitch Peralta in the 7th inning and the pitcher's spot due up first in the top of the 7th, the double switch that took out Morse made complete sense. It vastly improves the defense while allowing his pitcher to stay in the game and lets a position player bat without having to pinch hit. This was actually a very wise move by Riggleman.

Anonymous said...

All very good points Sam

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