Wednesday, September 1, 2010

9 brilliant innings, then a wild 10th

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jordan Zimmermann dominated for six innings but became an afterthought.
MIAMI — Before we get to anything else, this point needs to be made: Jordan Zimmermann pitched a fantastic ballgame tonight, and nothing else that happened at Sun Life Stadium matters as much to the Nationals in the big picture.

Yes, there was plenty of intrigue to what turned into a 1-0, 10-inning loss to the Marlins, with Nyjer Morgan once again front-and-center in a controversial collision at the plate. And we'll get to that in a moment. But in the long run, tonight's 10th inning matters far less than Zimmermann's six innings of pitching brilliance, the latest (and most emphatic) statement that the 24-year-old right-hander is all the way back from Tommy John surgery.

The Nationals have played 133 games now this season, and there's little question about which performance by a starting pitcher was best: Stephen Strasburg's 14-strikeout debut against the Pirates. But you know what? Zimmermann's start tonight was only a small tick below it. And if not for the innings and pitch-count restrictions the Nats have placed on him, he might well have gone the distance and actually surpassed Strasburg's performance.

Over his six innings, Zimmermann faced 18 Marlins batters. That's the bare minimum he could have faced over six innings. The only one to reach base against him: Gaby Sanchez, who doubled to lead off the second, then was subsequently gunned down trying to tag up to third. So that means of the 86 pitches Zimmermann threw tonight, only five were thrown out of the stretch, all to one batter. That's pretty amazing.

Zimmermann didn't allow a run. He allowed only the one hit to Sanchez. He didn't walk a batter. He only went to a three-ball count four times. He threw first-pitch strikes to 11 of 18 batters. And he struck out a career-high nine Marlins, including five in a row at one point. That's Strasburgian.

"I felt great," Zimmermann said. "That's probably the best I've felt in a long time."

It may have been the best the young righty has felt in a long time, but it was only the latest dominant start to his season. Zimmermann has now made 12 combined starts between the minors and majors. He hasn't allowed an earned run in nine of them.

If you total up all of Zimmermann's starts, he's compiled a 2.17 ERA, allowed only 35 hits in 49 2/3 innings while posting a 44-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

"That was very encouraging," Jim Riggleman said of tonight's outing. "He threw the ball real good. ... He wasn't overthrowing. He wasn't wild. He was throwing quality strikes, mixed his pitches up well. Just really did a good job."

Not that Strasburg needs any extra motivation to overcome what he's about to experience, but it was all right there on display for him to see tonight. Zimmermann had his Tommy John surgery 378 days ago. On September 16, 2011, Strasburg could do the exact same thing.

Unfortunately, Zimmermann's brilliance got lost amid the craziness that took place in the 10th inning of this game. Had his teammates simply scored one run anytime earlier in the evening, the entire storyline would have been his. Instead, all the immediate attention was on Nyjer Morgan, Hanley Ramirez and Ivan Rodriguez, who wound up deciding the outcome of this one.

Let's fast-forward to the top of the 10th. With one out, Morgan was on second base, Alberto Gonzalez on first, Adam Kennedy at the plate. Kennedy bounced a ball towards second, and Emilio Bonifacio flipped to Ramirez to start what figured to be an attempted 4-6-3 double play.

Seeing all this play out in front of him, Nationals third base coach Pat Listach frantically waved Morgan around third. The thinking?

"I assumed it was going to be a close play at first," Listach said. "A.K. beats it out, and Nyjer scores easy."

It was a smart play, and it was the right play. Either Kennedy's out at first and the inning's over, or he's safe at first and Morgan is safe at the plate, giving the Nationals a 1-0 lead. The only problem: Ramirez never attempted to turn the double play. He thought the ball had been hit too softly to have a chance, so he held it, then upon seeing Morgan racing around third, fired it to the plate.

The ball arrived before Morgan did, and though it was high and required a little jump from catcher Brett Hayes to catch it, an admittedly surprised Nyjer had a split-second to decide whether to try to go low and slide around the tag or try to take out Hayes in a collision.

"You gotta hit him there," Morgan said. "I think if I try to slide there, I probably hurt myself. It's just one of those plays where it's just a hard play. It's just baseball."

Morgan lowered his left shoulder and plowed into Hayes, who went sprawling backward but hung onto the ball for the out.

The debate immediately was on: Was Morgan correct in crashing into the catcher, or should he have tried to slide? Across the Nationals' clubhouse, the prevailing sentiment was that Nyjer did the right thing. That came from players, from coaches and from front-office execs. All felt it was a clean play, and the right play.

The closest anyone came to questioning it was Riggleman, who watched a replay of the collision in his office as reporters were asking him about the play and emerged with no clear answer, though he fully supported Morgan's ultimate decision.

"When I saw it live, I don't know," the manager said. "And even as I watch it there, I don't know. Hindsight's 20/20. I don't know if he should've slid or not. As it happened live, I didn't know how much the catcher's blocking the plate. As Nyjer's going in there and as he's making his decision, he doesn't know that maybe the ball's going to be up a little bit. He doesn't know that. He's got to make his decision before that. So I don't have any problem with his decision."

The Marlins apparently didn't feel the same way about it and weren't shy to admit it. It didn't help that Hayes was busy getting his left shoulder examined by the training staff.

"I would say it was clean if I hadn't seen what he had done earlier in the week against St. Louis," third baseman Chad Tracy told reporters. "I think he would have had a better chance to be safe if he was sliding." Tracy later added: "It fires you up when you see the way he's been playing the last week or so."

There's the key point: Morgan had just been involved in a home plate collision three nights earlier, when he went out of his way to clip Cardinals catcher Bryan Anderson despite there never being a throw to the plate, and in the process missed the plate altogether.

That play got a lot of national attention, because Riggleman benched Morgan the next day fearing his presence in the lineup might lead to a beanball war. People around baseball saw the highlight and instantly recalled it when tonight's incident took place.

Had the Saturday night play in D.C. not happened, no one would have batted an eyelash over tonight's collision. Instead, this comes across as a pattern of dirty behavior that won't win Morgan any fans around the sport.

Could Morgan have slid instead? Yes. Would he have been safe had he gone in low? Maybe, but it's hard to say that definitively.

Whatever the case, his cause wasn't helped when, about 10 minutes later, Ramirez made a brilliant slide into the plate to beat Roger Bernadina's throw and Rodriguez's tag to win the game.

Rodriguez and Riggleman argued vehemently with umpire Jim Wolf over the call, believing the tag had been applied before Ramirez crossed the plate. But replays were conclusive: Pudge tagged him high, on the shoulder, and Ramirez's foot got in first.

"I saw the video. He was under me," Rodriguez said. "I just did the best that I could. But he beat me. It was a good call for Jim. I apologize for what I did out there. He made the right call."

Riggleman hadn't yet seen a replay when he spoke to reporters.

"It must have just been a great slide, because the throw beat him," the manager said. "Bernie made a great throw, and Pudge made a great athletic move to dive towards Hanley. I guess I just assumed we were going to get an out call, because it looked like he got there. Pudge, it looked like he got to Hanley. Jim Wolf saw it differently, and he had the best look of anybody."

Just like that, what could have been an inspiring performance for the Nationals — featuring Zimmermann's dominant start, plus three hitless innings of relief from Joel Peralta and Tyler Clippard — turned into an agonizing (and controversial) loss.

There's another game to be played tomorrow night, and it promises to feature an intriguing storyline. If Morgan is in the Nationals lineup — and there's no reason he shouldn't be — don't be surprised if he gets a fastball in the ribs.

Whether he believes it's justified or not, it'll be up to Nyjer to take the punishment, put his head down and trot to first base.

He's been criticized plenty lately for lack of baseball acuity. Here's his chance to show everyone he really does understand how to play this game.


Guy McGuffin said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I recall very little being made out of Adam Dunn completely leveling Carlos Santana on 6/13 when there was no play at the plate. I think the reactions from people about this have more to do with who was doing it than what was being done. A lot of the "play the game the right way" people gave up on Nyjer a while back. I think a slow start coupled with the play in which he spiked his glove really affected public perception on him. Nobody has talked about the complete 180 he's done on defense. On May 15th he was -6 as per John Dewan's +/-. Through last night he had come all the way up to +4. His stolen base efficiency is better with a respectable 14 successful swipes in his last 17 attempts. It happened to José Guillen, Elijah Dukes, and others. Once they're labeled a problem, it's just a matter of time. I think Tony Plush's time in D.C is coming to an end.

Anonymous said...

Dunn did not "completely level him" He gave him a healthy thump because the catcher was spacing out and was standing in Dunn's way, on the basepath. Because Dunn is so big it knocked the man down. There was no intent to injure. You wrote "Once they're labeled a problem..." There was an incident a few days ago!! And the idiot missed the plate. "Labeled a problem?" If anyone in the league is a problem he is. Dummy.

Anonymous said...

>>>I think Tony Plush's time in D.C is coming to an end.<<<

One can hope.

meixler said...

Guy makes a good point. Public perception has a lot to do with it and always does in professional sports. There's no need to call him a dummy.

I really wish people couldn't post anonymously, especially if they're going to be derogatory.

320R2S15 said...

The Dunn play was completely different. Morgan's services are no longer needed by the Nationals. We might see him for the rest of this year, but I doubt seriously that he will be with us in '11.

Big Cat said...

If he slides he is safe. I don't even think it would of been close

TimDz said...

"You gotta hit him there," Morgan said. "I think if I try to slide there, I probably hurt myself."
Really? REALLY?
I think that Morgan trying to knock over a bigger player with a bunch of padding on has more poential for getting Morgan hurt. I think What Morgan should have said (were he to be honest) was, "Look guys, I can't slide for crap, you all know this."

CapPeterson said...

I guess this is the definition of a "distraction." Mark is right to remind us of the importance of Zimmermann's tremendous performance, but all us fans want to talk about is Nyjer's latest escapade. It's amazing how the baseball gods set it up for Nyjer (who otherwise had an uneventful game) to be in the spotlight once again at a critical time. And of course he would make the decision that would guarantee he would remain in the center of controversy. "Distraction," "sideshow"--normally it's not good professionally when these words get attached to your name.

Big Cat said...

Agree Cap and Tim. It appears that Rizzo should put "centerfield" on his shopping list once again. Nyger just ain't gonna make it

Tim Harrison said...

Pure and simple, Nyjer is immature. We've seen all year how he handles himself. He IS a problem.

When he was initially moved to eighth in the order, he made a great running, shoestring catch on a softly hit ball and afterward was seen yelling to no one in particular obscenities. You could tell he was still upset about his "demotion".

That may have been the same game that he brushed/banged the St. Louis catcher... I can't remember, but those two snapshots reveal his immaturity. Then we rewind to the Orioles series when he jumps at the wall, thinks the ball goes over the fence, slams his glove to the ground in a temper tantrum, and the result? An inside-the-park HR.

He is always seen muttering to himself and just trying soooo hard to be the smooth Tony Plush. Basically, I'm tired of it. I want to see someone play the game hard and humbly, yet with passion. Bernadina and Morse know how to do that.

I'll bet that Nyjer ain't in the lineup tonight. Riggleman's getting tired of Nyjer's antics, too... and doesn't want a brawl.

Josh said...

For those of you claiming I was "Marquis bashing" and wondering what kind of performance my fancy math would like: it's this one. The Nats got a few calls go their way, but there is nothing lucky about a 6.0 IP, 9 K, 0 BB performance. My only regret is that we'll have to wait another year to see Strasburg and Zimmermann in the same rotation.

D'Gourds said...

Mark, you write about this season: "there's little question about which performance by a starting pitcher was best: Stephen Strasburg's 14-strikeout debut against the Pirates." I disagree. Jordan's stuff was electric last night. He was one bad pitch away from a perfect six innings. He faced the minimum 18 batters (in part thanks to a great outfield assist from Bernie and an excellent tag from Zim at third). He did this facing a very strong hitting team (unlike the Pirates). I must say, despite a meaningless loss in the 10th, this may go down as the high point of the whole season for me! Can you imagine a future with Strass and JZim pitching in their prime as 1-2? Seaver-Koosman come to mind. What a shot in the arm this is for the Nats after Strass going down for a year. Keep your chins up Nats fans! World Series in 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I dead serious)

NatsJack in Florida said...

Nyjer Morgan blasts into the catcher for two reasons... 1) he loves the body checking that goes on in his beloved hockey and 2) head first slides into shin guards really hurt.

Get this guy out of our locker room ASAP.

Anonymous said...

Per Zuckerman: The prevailing sentiment in the Nats' clubhouse was that Morgan did the right thing. They were closest to the play.

Guy McGuffin said...

Dunn's check was much, much worse than what happened with Nyjer against the Cardinals. You can pull up the video here for Dunn:

And here for Nyjer against the Cardinals:

How the second one became an issue while the first one gave most people a chuckle is beyond me.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion Nyjer was more interested in hitting someone than in scoring. Compare it to the famous Rose/Fosse play. If you see that play, Fosse is up the third base line, completely blocking the plate, giving Pete no alternative but to either accept being tagged out or bowling him over. In the Nyjer play last night, the far half of the plate is reachable, and if Nyjer slides he likely makes it, but he looked like he headed directly for the catcher (and the ball) on the inside half of the plate purely because he wanted to hit someone. The look on Nyjer's face after the play looked enraged -- that told the tale of what his intent was, in my opinion.

I think Nyjer is playing out of control right now, and I wonder if he really needs some anger management help.

Comparing Dunn's play in Cleveland to these two Nyjer incidents is downright laughable. It was at worst a way of Dunn telling the rookie catcher to get off the plate if he didn't have the ball, and more likely just a mistake. In either event, it was over after a few seconds. Nyjer's rage has gone on for days, and I think the story is beyond any one play at this point.

I like Nyjer and I hope this all ends happily but at this point I doubt it. I'd still rather have Nyjer than Milledge, anytime.

NatsJack in Florida said...

What was Dunn supposed to do? Slow down, say "excuse me but you're blocking the plate for no apparent reason. Can I get by or should i politely walk around you?"

There was no throw coming to the plate and the rookie catcher was a spectator blocking the runners path.

Dunn's collision would have occurred at any base during the same circumstances (no pending play) and the fielder would have been called for obstruction.

Morgan puposely avoided touching home plate in order to bump the catcher while Dunn tagged home plate as he was supposed to do.

NatsFan2005 said...

Nyjer cost us the ball game, plain and simple. His conduct was vicious and indefensible, Mark's attempted defense notwithstanding. The attempt to score was not the problem, but the utter brutality of trying to damage the catcher instead of scoring the run.

Nyer has no baseball skills whatever - none, nada, zero. His speed is seldom well used, his baseball instincts -- well, he has none -- and he can't keep his head in the game from moment to moment. He has cost us probably 20 games this year by being picked off, getting caught stealing, making weak-sister throws from the outfield, missing the cut-off man, breaking the wrong way (or not at all) on fly balls, and numerous other little-league boners. Get rid of him.

Bowdenball said...

Guy McGriffin-

Here's two sort of significant differences between Nyjer's play and Dunn's play vs. Cleveland:

- The Indians' catcher was blocking the plate, the Cardinals' catcher was not.

- Dunn touched home plate, Morgan did not.

There's also the fact that Dunn immediately appeared apologetic, while Morgan ... well, I have no idea what was going on in his mind.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Most of the Nyjer supporters on this site are skateboarding, hockey loving surfer dudes that just don't get baseball.

The others, are as Bowdenball so eloquently stated "I have no idea whats going on in their minds".

ThrowsLikeSteveSax said...

JZimm made my life a little bit better last night. That was the pitching performance everyone needed to see out of a Nat arm.

Nyjer be Nyjer.

Volstad plunks Nyjer, you know Olsen won't hesitate to plunk a Marlin. Batista gonna get some innings tonight.

P. Cole said...

A+ work as always Mark. In response to NatsFan2005, Mark is clearly stating the facts and not trying to defend Nyjer. Though I do tend to agree with your assessment. I really want him to be a baseball player, but instead he just plays baseball.

Golfersal said...

Mark some good thoughts
But I also think that we are seeing some really bad decisions made by Nyjer over the course of the year and that is what people are getting pissed at. Last year Nyjer showed us a lot when traded but even then his decisions were mixed. But he got away with most of them until he slid head first into third at Chicago and broke his wrist. Since then we have question a lot of his decisions.
Same with management's decision to make Desmond the regular shortstop, with all of the errors it's easy to criticize but we can see of late that he is getting better and making strides.
But Morgan isn't. If anything his bone-headed decisions are getting more attention and even when he steals a base what do the announcers do, they act surprised. That is the point, Nyjer isn't making the right split second decisions like on Tuesday night.
Was it a dirty play in running over Hayes, no. It was baseball. But in making the decision to run over Hayes, the reason for doing it is suppose to be a lost cause reason like he has the ball and is reading to tag you out. When Nyjer had to make the decision, Hayes didn't have the ball so he should of slid.
Making things worst, ten minutes later Hanely Ramirez had the same decision in the same play at the plate, Ramirez slid and got under the slide. If you were to split screen the two plays you would see them being the same and Morgan would of been safe.
So that is the problem, Morgan again making the wrong decision. But management has a even bigger problem, I can see grumblings in the team room in which Morgan is mad at decisions that manager Riggleman is making.
Answer is easy, on March 17th the Nats let Elijah Dukes go and many fans were surprised. Only thing, by opening day not a single fan cared. I would say the same thing happens, if Rizzo got rid of Morgan tomorrow by the time the Nats returned to play their next home game on labor day, they would forget about Nyjer.

I can see the end of the Nyjer/Nats relationship ending very soon and fans will not shed a tear for Morgan.

Andrew said...

I will change the subject back to Jordan Zimmermann. Great to see!!!!!!!!!

He worked his butt off in rehab and his return to MLB should be an inspiration to Stephen Strasburg.

Jordan may experience a few bumps in the road, but last night was tremendous. 1 hit and no runs over 6 innings!

Anonymous said...

Jordan Zimmermann was absolutely thrilling last night and deserved to win that game. Let's keep our eyes on the future and a battery of Zinn and Strassie and Ramos -- this season was a tick upwards in my book and I am excited about 2011 and especially 2012. Long term, folks.

P. Cole said...

A: Zimmerman's performance last night, Marquis' great outing against Halladay in Philly, and Strasburg's start against Kansas City earlier in the year.

Q: What are outstanding pitching performances wasted by our inability to score 1 run!!!????

Anonymous8 said...

P. Cole, hilarious, insightful, but unfortunately true.

Anonymous said...

Long term, indeed. Well said.

Anonymous8 said...

On a different subject (LOL), what has happened to the demise of Nyjer Morgan?

After he broke that bone in his hand/wrist last year, he hasn't been the same guy on the field.

He throws weaker than Lastings Milledge, he couldn't track balls over his head for the first 2 months of the year, he was in a prolonged slump, and made so many bonehead throws and running mistakes and NOW you have mental meltdowns.

Look on YouTube at that Inside The Park HR against the Orioles when Nyjer threw his glove and add this weeks 2 catcher collisons and a couple of 1st base pickoffs and you can start a collection of DNPs (Dumb Nyjer Plays)

I thought you keep him as the 2011 edition of Willie Harris but now I'm not sure.

What does everyone do with their Tony Plush shirts?

Anonymous said...

Morgan is safe he slides, the catcher was not blocking the plate his foot gets in...he is punk, he is no longer wanted on this team, I cannot wait until we waive him! It is horrible how the offense was unable to produce against a medicore pitcher when JZimm had one of his best nights!

N. Cognito said...

Sliding feet first would have been the better choice as he would have most likely scored. The collision, though the wrong choice, was not a dirty play.

ThrowsLikeSteveSax said...

"I thought you keep him as the 2011 edition of Willie Harris but now I'm not sure."

Willie Harris hits for power (HRs).

An almost blunder last night, Nyjer damn near slid completely over second base and into shortstop territory.

Anonymous said...

Guys, even the Marlin Tracey said it WOULD have been seen as a clean play if not for last weekend's incident. If that's true, then it WAS in fact a clean play. Last weekend's actions are what they are, but if this WOULD have been clean in a vacuum, then you gotta judge him on that basis. And whether it was the right move or not, well that's a split second decision. Even more b/c everyone in the stadium assumed Hanley would throw to first. So not only does Nyjer have to decide on the fly what to do, he has to do so running full speed while the play develops in an unexpected fashion. No cause for second guessing given those facts... He has made bone-headed plays this year, but now we're just piling on based on the baggage, not based on what actually happened last night...

Ken said...

First off, Morgan hesitated as he made his turn at third, and secondly, as a base runner, the second you see a player make any kind of jump to catch the ball, is a play where you go in low to give yourself the best chance to avoid a tag.

Had Morgan been watching Listach, he wouldn't have slowed while making the turn at third, but because he did, the play ended up being what we saw. Had Morgan been paying attention, he'd have easily crossed home plate to give the Nats a 1-0 lead, completely changing the game.

Once again, Morgan showed that he has no clue when it comes to base running. He's not even close to being a smart base runner, and still plays the game like a hockey player.

In the best interest of the Washington Nationals, Morgan needs to go.

rogieshan said...

The most telling thing is that even Riggleman is running out of patience with Morgan.

A DC Wonk said...

Above was written:

"You gotta hit him there," Morgan said. "I think if I try to slide there, I probably hurt myself."
Really? REALLY?

Yeah, really. Maybe.

Hear me out (and I'm one of the first who criticized Nyjer last night):

I *think* what Nyjer was saying was that he wasn't expecting (indeed, no one was expecting) a throw to the plate, and that by the time he realized he needed to slide, he was already too close to the plate to slide.

I'd be more skeptical about this, except, as Mark noted above: Across the Nationals' clubhouse, the prevailing sentiment was that Nyjer did the right thing. That came from players, from coaches and from front-office execs.

Now, why would the clubhouse think that? I think it's precisely because of what I described above. You need to plan a slide ahead of time to avoid getting hurt, and he didn't think he would need to slide until it was too late.

Again, I wouldn't have thought so, except that the clubhouse seems to back him up on this, and it makes sense.

(As for Dunn vs Nyjer-three-days ago, that's simple: Nyjer *went out of his way* (as in: he went off the path that led directly to the plate) to hit the catcher; Dunn hit a catcher that was precisely in the middle of Dunn's path to the plate.)

Steve M. said...

It was a clean play by Nyjer but a stupid play. Just not the brightest bulb on the porch.

Hopefully the expanded roster today brings in a couple more outfielders because I love the outfield with Morse & Bernadina, just need someone else not named Justin Maxwell to replace Nyjer, and Rizzo should seriously consider DFA'ing Nyjer today.

It was great watching Jordan Zimmermann pitch last night. After the game they were talking about velocity and the movement he had on his pitches.

I remember in inter-league last year when Joe Maddon saw Jordan Zimmermann that he said he has one of the best curve balls in the game and I think it was Terry Francona of the Red Sox that thought he was a future ace.

Jordan Zimmermann didn't come to the Bigs with any hype but this may be the tandem of the future with Strasburg and JZim.

I am burning my Morgan jersey and ordering up on my #27 Jordan Zimmermann jersey so when you see a guy wearing that around the stadium, say HI as I am starting the BANDWAGON now!!!

Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for the fans around all sports that spend their hard earned money on jerseys and memorabilia on one player and then get blown out of the water when that player gets arrested, gets caught doing drugs, PEDs, or just playing the game poorly.

There is a man who sits on top of the dugout that was wearing a Regina Pats hockey jersey and I think it said Tony Plush on it. So this man probably spent $300 to $400 maybe more with shipping to be a Nyjer Morgan fan and supporter.

What do you do with the jersey when Nyjer Morgan isn't with the team anymore? I guess you give it to Nyjer or to charity because who would wear it after Nyjer has embarassed himself, his team, and his fans. To go from this amazing player last year that solved the leadoff and CF issues to a guy this year who has become untradeable is a darn shame.

Doc said...

Nyjer in St.Louis and Nyjer in Miami--two different plays really. St. Louis was pure boneheaded stubborn, and kinda dumb; last night in Miami was more of a baseball choice, and hard to fault him, although there are lots of things to fault this guy for.

When Pete Rose or Ty Cobb did this sort of thing, it was every day on every play. With Morgan, you don't know what to expect, or how to explain it.

Also, with Morgan it becomes part of a syndrome, along with the baserunning mistakes, ridiculous throws, and inconsistent fielding.

But worst of all has been Riggleman's handling of Morgan's playing behavior. Starting with old school Robinson and Pinella, and moving on to Girardi, Valentine, and Joe Maddon, Morgan would have benched on a regualar basis until the pine slivers started to hurt his butt.

Anonymous said...

Uh Guy McGuffin?

Dunn's check was much, much worse than what happened with Nyjer against the Cardinals.

WRONG. Dunn had no chance at being safe given his speed his best bet was to try to knock the ball out. In Morgan's case, given his speed, he had a chance to slide under a high tag to be safe.

The difference? They could've won that game? Make sense to you now? Bad decision on Nyjer's part. The goal is to win not to hockey check the catcher.

Steve M. said...

Doc - I agree with you but the outfield is thin and your choice is JMax, Willie or Morgan so Riggs moves him back to 8th as his punishment which is probably where Nyjer should be batting.

So do the Marlins retaliate tonight?

Also, when do we find out about the callups. I only know that Danny Espinosa was called up at this point. Any outfielders?

Anonymous said...

Riggleman is an idiot and his, and Rizzo's, handling of Nyjer just confirms it. No reason on the face of the earth for Morgan to be seeing the field, nevertheless not being released. He is an absolute cancer and a disgrace to both baseball and Washington. There is no justifiable reason to keep Nyjer on the roster.

What a worthless pile of crap.

Mark said...

Here's the link to Dunn smashing Santana from Cleveland. The difference is that in Cleveland, Santana has his head in the clouds, he moves to his right (up the 3B line) to back up the thrwom from the RF corner to the 1B making the cut. The problem is, Santana didn't realize that Dunn was a few steps from home. Santana didn't belong where he was and got knocked over. But watch the video, you also see Dunn pull back (as opposed to running through the catcher) and Dunn pats Santana on the back to check on him.

Completely different scenarios.

Anonymous said...

No comments about Storen blowing another save? Morgan didn't exactly cause the Marlins to score...

hleeo3 said...

@Anon 12:43
It's not a blown save when it was tie, besides the Marlins were motivated after Morgan checked Hayes. Hanley can be a fiend when on his game, he looked really determined in that 10th inning. The game tonight could be ugly.


hleeo3, the catcher holding on to that ball was huge for the Marlins.

They picked their guy up and like you said it turned the momentum. It was a well played game up until that 10th inning.

I am hoping Mark Zuckerman is at the airport seeing who departs from the Harrisburg and Syracuse flights!

Pilchard said...

Any word on who are the Nats' September call-ups?

Morgan has done a lot of stupid things this year, but bulldozing the Marlins catcher was not one of them. The catcher was blocking the plate and holding onto the ball was simply a great play by him. There is no comparison between that play a Morgan's gratuitous contact with Cards catcher this weekend.

Anonymous said...

Lots of haters for Nyjer again here. Sadly for them, it makes too much sense to let Adam Dunn go and keep Nyjer Morgan. An outfield of Morgan, Bernadina, and Willingham and Michael Morse at First Base. Three of those four players are probably receiving $400k salaries. Adam Dunn will require a three-year contract for $30 Million, yet Michael Morse has a better HR/AB ratio and a better SO/AB ratio. So, to make space for Morse, we've got to keep Morgan. Dunn's a great guy but on a cost benefit ratio, he's not worth that much money.

Anonymous said...

These two plays at the plate won't determine Morgan's future, his CS and low OBP will. BTW I have no problem with running over a Cardinals catcher ever. Zimm looked like a beast on the mound last night.

JT in Nebraska

Anonymous said...

Another example why if character means something to Rizzo, like he said it did with dismissing Elijah Dukes, why is Njyer Morgan no begging for change in Lafayette Park right now!?

1) Verbal assault with threat of physical abuse last season to a Nats fan during the Cubs series
2) physical assault of a Phillies fan
3) running into and injuring two players when it was unecessary to do so
4) speaking out against his manager, insubornidation!
5) verbal assault of a Marlins fan last night:
Check the sports bog link on the side of the page!

It is obviousy that Nyjer is a legend in his own mind, hates both Nats and opposing fans and has anger issues, does he have to kill or physically asasault a fan to receive disciplinary action from the Nats? DFA the PoS MF'er and make Rog the everyday CF!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Also, when do we find out about the callups. I only know that Danny Espinosa was called up at this point. Any outfielders?

No outfielders. The minor league outfielders Riggs likes are already on the staff in Maxwell and Harris. I don't think they bring up Whiting.

Espinosa and Ramos may be the only two position players brought up.

Pilchard said...

Is it a definite that Espinosa is coming up? I know Boswell acted like it was a done deal today in the Post, but Espinosa is not on the 40 man roster, and that move will cause the Nats to cut someone loose in the off-season before the Rule V draft that they otherwise could keep.

Doc said...

Getting back to Storen. He's been struggling. His stuff is still great, but his command has lessened lately. Lots of piches up in the zone.

His weak losing performance was over-shadowed big time by Morgan's play.

He's a good kid; hope he figures it out soon!

CapPeterson said...

Yikes! So we're going to be stuck with this substandard crew of outfielders for the rest of the season. Rog, Michael the Force, has beens and never wases, and of course the one and only Nyjer.

Cwj said...

About Storen for a moment. As Doc pointed out he is indeed struggling lately. Keep in mind though that he is still quite young and still learning.
He has great stuff.
Let him take a few knocks this year, I'm confident he's going to be a great closer next year and beyond.

Anonymous said...

Agree with CapPeterson on Morse and Morgan but disagree on Bernadina. Morse has proven himself to be an excellent utility man and pinch hitter. But putting him in the outfield doesn't give us a surefire solution there and weakens the bench. Morgan now appears to be in over his head with a series of problems that are cascading. I think the jury is out on Bernadina. But he does look like a keeper. If he hits lefthanders coming down the stretch, he has a position in the Nats' outfield for quite a while. Plus speed, power, range, arm...

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Bottom-line, IF Nyjer slides, the NATS WIN!

BUT Nyjer made the wrong decision to force physical contact with the catcher which made he missed homeplate and was pushed back to touch home which is an automatic out.

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