Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Game 139: Mets at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Nationals Park will host a rare pitching matchup tonight.
A major-league debut is always a big deal. There's just something about a rookie pitcher taking the mound for the first time in his career, the anticipation and uncertainty surrounding a guy's unveiling in front of a big crowd.

Well, if you're at Nationals Park tonight, you're going to see something really rare: Two starting pitchers making their major-league debut against each other. Yunesky Maya, the 29-year-old Cuban right-hander signed by the Nats in July, has arrived after five minor-league outings. He'll be opposed by 24-year-old right-hander Dillon Gee, who is getting the call for the Mets after Johan Santana was scratched with a nagging injury to his pectoral muscle.

Gee isn't necessarily a highly touted prospect. He was New York's 21st-round draft pick in 2007 out of the University of Texas-Arlington. He made 28 starts at Class AAA Buffalo this season, going 13-8 with a 4.96 ERA. He's got a chance to make the back of the Mets rotation next spring.

Maya, of course, figures prominently into the Nationals' plans the rest of this season and beyond. We'll see if his wide-ranged repertoire, featuring an assortment of pitches from an assortment of arm angles, works at this level. He won't completely take the Mets lineup by surprise tonight, because he faced several of their Class AAA hitters only 11 days ago, allowing one unearned run and two hits in 4 2/3 innings for Syracuse against Buffalo.

Maya was one of three pitchers the Nats promoted from Syracuse today, along with left-hander Ross Detwiler and right-hander Joe Bisenius. Yes, Joe Bisenius. Who's he? He's a 27-year-old reliever who spent the last six years pitching in the Phillies' farm system, then signed with the Nats as a minor-league free agent in May. A power arm, Bisenius pitched at three levels of the Nats system this season, going 4-0 with a 3.05 ERA in 34 appearances between Potomac, Harrisburg and Syracuse. He's now a member of the Nationals bullpen.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Bisenius, the Nats designated catcher Carlos Maldonado for assignment.

Check back for updates throughout the evening...

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Sunny, 85 degrees, Wind 10 mph out to CF
CF Nyjer Morgan
SS Ian Desmond
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
LF Roger Bernadina
RF Michael Morse
2B Danny Espinosa
C Wilson Ramos
P Yunesky Maya

METS (67-71)
RF Angel Pagan
2B Luis Hernandez
CF Carlos Beltran
1B Ike Davis
3B Mike Hessman
LF Lucas Duda
C Henry Blanco
SS Ruben Tejada
P Dillon Gee

6:10 p.m. -- Lineup change for the Mets: David Wright has been scratched with a bruised left ring finger, suffered while sliding into second base last night. Mike Hessman takes over at third base and will bat fifth, with Ike Davis bumped up to the cleanup spot.

7:06 p.m. -- Yunesky Maya's first major-league pitch is a 91 mph fastball to Angel Pagan for strike one.

7:18 p.m. -- Well, not exactly the first inning Maya, the Nats or fans were hoping for. After Pagan lined out sharply to first, Luis Hernandez and Carlos Beltran each singled up the middle. Then Ike Davis absolutely crushed a 1-0 fastball up in the zone to center field for a three-run homer. A walk to Mike Hessman brought Steve McCatty out to the mound to talk to Maya (with Wilson Ramos translating) and that did calm the pitcher down. He got a grounder to second to start a 4-6-3 double play that ended the inning. Still, the Nats are in a 3-0 hole before ever stepping to the plate after a ragged start to Maya's career. Twenty-one pitches for the Cuban righty, only 10 strikes.

7:24 p.m. -- Dillon Gee needed all of nine pitches to induce three flyballs to center field out of Nyjer Morgan, Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman. That's the kind of first major-league inning you're looking for.

7:35 p.m. -- And a double by No. 8 hitter Ruben Tejada followed by an RBI single by Gee (in his first career at-bat, nonetheless) puts the Mets up 4-0. Maya bounced back to strike out Pagan on a 73 mph breaking ball, then got Hernandez to pop out to end the inning. First impression of Maya: He's got a nice assortment of breaking stuff, but he needs to throw it earlier in the count. His fastball isn't fooling anyone.

8:05 p.m. -- Seems like Maya has re-adjusted and is attacking hitters differently now. In the third and fourth, he started establishing his offspeed stuff first, then turned to his fastball to finish guys off. He's now retired eight of the last nine batters faced. We go to the bottom of the fourth, Mets still up 4-0, Nats still looking for their first hit off Gee.

8:12 p.m. -- Four innings down, and still no hits for the Nats against Gee, who has allowed only a third-inning walk to Ramos. He just struck out Desmond, Zimmerman and Dunn in order in the fourth. Nats aren't coming close to touching him.

8:17 p.m. -- Another solid inning for Maya, who retired the side quickly in the fifth. He's now set down 11 of the last 12 batters faced. Pitch count at 87 through five, he's due up fifth with Nats still trailing 4-0.

8:26 p.m. -- Nats still hitless through five innings against Gee, who hasn't looked fazed at all. Ross Detwiler coming out of the pen to pitch the sixth, so Maya is done. His final line: 5 ip, 5 h, 4 er, 2 bb, 3 k. He retired 11 of the last 12 men he faced. Threw 58 of 87 pitches for strikes.

8:38 p.m. -- It's only appropriate that Willie Harris breaks up Gee's no-hitter with a homer to right. I hear the Mets HATE that guy. Now 4-1 in the sixth.

8:41 p.m. -- Fantastic catch by Angel Pagan to rob Adam Dunn of extra bases. Pagan timed his leap at the right-field wall perfectly and hauled it in just before crashing into the scoreboard. Really nice play to end the sixth with the Mets still up 4-1.

8:53 p.m. -- Couple of nice innings out of Detwiler. He allowed a leadoff single in the sixth, then retired five straight, getting a double play grounder and striking out two. Hard to really evaluate a starter on two innings of mop-up relief, but this was at least a mildly encouraging development.

9:13 p.m. -- And the Nats are now three outs away from a pretty lackluster loss to the Mets. They've amassed all of one run on two hits and three walks against Gee, Pedro Feliciano and Bobby Parnell. Still trail 4-1 heading to the ninth.

9:33 p.m. -- That's it. Ivan Rodriguez, representing the tying run, grounds into a 6-4-3 double play and the Nats lose 4-1, producing a total of four hits. Maya takes the loss, though aside from his ugly first innings, he looked pretty good. Lack of offense was the key to tonight's loss.


Steve M. said...

Look at that---Ian Desmond's hamstring is all better!

This is the lineup of the future with Ramos in at catcher and only missing Josh Willingham!

Doc said...

I see a big night for many Nats. Another 13+ runs would be approrpriate against their AAA pitcher!

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm.....George Allen said the "Future is Now"........Morse may do just fine.

Wigi said...

I'm not (yet) down on Morgan... but if you took Morgan out, moved Bernadina to CF, and included Willingham, that would be one mashing lineup.

Bowdenball said...


What if I told you that, as of today, Nyjer Morgan has the same OPS+ as this year's punchline, Willie Harris? Would you be down on him then?

We've got seven guys I can't wait to watch in the lineup tonight, and one of the five worst everyday hitters in baseball is going to lead them off.

slopitchtom said...

Bisenius. Never heard his name mentioned once all year. How is it possible this guy was under the radar all year and now is being called up?

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Bisenius. Gesundheit.

TimDz said...

When is Morgan's appeal (or appeals) scheduled?

Anonymous said...

FARM FRESH photograph of Nats Park. Joy in Mudville. Even has the factory fresh navy blue paint in in Upper RF, beyond the Scoreboard Walk! Whoohoo! (Really hated that electric green eyesore while I drank my beer & played uh that nameless beanbag toss game: "U*U")

Thanks Mark--you're where Amstel Light meets Ansel Adams!

slopitchtom said...

TimDz said...
When is Morgan's appeal (or appeals) scheduled?

His appeal of both suspensions is being heard this Friday afternoon.

Anonymous said...

What's National's team BA since the dust up with the Fish?

Doc said...

@ Wigi & Bowdenball: You got it right about Morgan. I wonder when Uncle Jimmy and/or Rizzo will figure it out?

I don't think either one of those guys checks those kind of stats for any of the players--it's not part of their 'old school' makeup.

Basically Riggleman and Rizzo are wasting the efforts of the sabermetricians holed up in the Nats' FO.

For our new state of the art players, we need complementary management personnel.

Souldrummer said...

They promoted Bisenius?!?! This is a day of mourning for WILKAMANIA fans, the legions of Josh Wilkie the GW undrafted free agent supporters.

Rats. Good luck to you, though, Mr. Bisenius.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Morgan will be history by 3:00 PM on Friday.

And God help him if he actually goes to the Dominican Republic for Winter ball.

They've never see a hockey minded baseball player and they carry weapons to the games.

natscan reduxit said...

... man oh man, I like our lineup tonight, September or not.

Go Natayas!!

HHover said...


Riggs and the FO are clearly aware that stats exist, but I do wonder how much they really pay attention to them or know what to do with them.

They've acknowledged Morgan's decline in OBP but say they hope and expect that this year is an aberration and that next year he'll return to something more like his career offensive #s. I'm dubious myself, but I can at least see some rationale.

But I was scratching my head yesterday over something from Kilgore at NJ, who cited FO sources as believing that, "based on on statistical analysis, ... his defense has returned to the elite level he played at last season."

Unless "statistical analysis" means nothing more than "we looked up his number of errors," then that's simply not true. Nyjer's career UZR/150 is 20; this year, it's 2.2. Now you could argue that one or the other is artificially low or high, but they're not at anything remotely like the same level. Dunno know why Kilgore didn't press them about their "statistical analysis."

natscan reduxit said...

Doc opined: "Basically Riggleman and Rizzo are wasting the efforts of the sabermetricians holed up in the Nats' FO."

... and I, for one, am thankful that they do.

Go Nats!

Anonymous said...


Bill said...

There's no good reason to ignore advanced baseball stats. Of course, as all the SABRmetricians acknowledge, it's just one set of tools. You rely on the field coaches and scouts to judge whether there's something the stats are missing.

All that being said, Morgan is 30 and not getting any younger. His skill set ages fast, and there's no reason to believe he'll be appreciably better next year. Bernadina is four years younger and hits for more power. So, he's younger and will age better.

So, I say, put Bernie in CF until the Hammer has aged out, and move to LF then.

rogieshan said...

If Dunn isn't resigned, I wonder if management would consider moving Willingham to 1st base and going after a free-agent outfielder like Jason Kubel.

natscan reduxit said...

... well said Bill, at 5:43. I was less reasoned with my own comments since I hate Bill James and what he's done to baseball, and I love Nyjer Morgan and what ... for the most part ... he represents in baseball.

Go Gnats!

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

And so the Maya Era begins. Wear your helmets in the upper deck, folks.

Anonymous8 said...

I am not a fan of Nyjer and like him less as a human being. Just not a nice person. Like has been said, once the bright lights have been turned off, he becomes the a-hole he really is, but I believe if he doesn't mess up team chemistry then maybe he should be the 4th outfielder off of the bench as the team will need to fill in a bench for 2011 as the outfield in the Minors doesn't have anyone outside of Burgess that can challenge for a spot.

The guy had a horrible Spring and never got it going except a few good games he pieced together. The guy has hurt this team more than he has helped it. A .318 for a leadoff hitter in the Bigs sucks.

Matt said...

The Met announcers said Maya was tipping his pitches (actually they said he was allowing batters too long a look at the ball, but it comes to the same thing). Not sure I see it - what does everyone else think?

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me said...

@Matt: I couldn't tell, but it wouldn't surprise me the way they were teeing off in the first inning. The fact he's settled down a bit and the line drive parade has ended would indicate to me maybe the Nats coaches or Ramos cleaned things up. If you throw out the first inning, I think the guy has pitched OK.

JayB said...


Ross D has lost 4-5 MPH off his fastball from last year and he looks frail. Why is he not in an off season weight and conditioning program. He is not going to be in the league with a 91 MPH fastball. He looks like a RHP Olsen not a power pitcher drafted #6 overall.

What are you seeing?

meixler said...

This is the lineup I'd like to see:


Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me said...

@JayB: Regarding Det: I think the guy needs a meal. He looks like the advance man for the famine.

I've never really been in the Det camp. He reminds me too much of Lannan, but without the craftiness. I really see him packaged in a trade with maybe Willingham to perhaps get a middling prospect.

JayB said...

the LHP Olsen type.......oh and Ray Knight is embarrassing himself sucking up to Stan to get the job. I really hope we get someone who will speak the truth when we suck say it when we are good say it.....Ray Knight just can get is lips of the Collective Natstown butt.....look a the record Ray and get some perspective please.

JayB said...

When Det first came up he was throwing 95 MPH easy...last year FX has him at 94/5....now it all junk and a 91 fastball.....he needs to get stronger in the legs and core.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me said...

Alumni News: Belly-hard is gone:

¶ SAN DIEGO (AP) _ The Los Angeles Dodgers have designated infielder Ronnie Belliard for assignment and purchased the contract of outfielder Trent Oeltjen from Triple-A Albuquerque.
¶ Belliard, mostly relegated to the bench this year, was batting just .216 with two homers and 19 RBIs.

Ernie said...

Back from the game. Pretty blah night. Only a couple of comments.

1. Do all Cuban pitchers throw sub 70-mph breaking balls? Once Maya settled in he didn't seem that bad, and some of those pitches looked Livo-like from up in the 300-level.

2. Attendance seemed terrible tonight. Maybe all the Mets fans were at the Lady Gaga concert, because it seemed like a pretty Nats-friendly crowd, but the empty seats and low energy level felt like April.

3. In between innings,maybe in the 2nd or 3rd, they played a sing-along that was so bad it made me laugh until I cried. The Natspack/strippers were on top of the Nats' dugout pointing at their noses (something about getting the signs), miming swinging a bat, singing about touching all the bags... It had to be one of the most pathetic between-innings songs I've ever seen or heard, beating even the silly "Columbus Clippers, Ring Your Bell" song we used to sing at the AAA games when I was growing up. Part of me hopes that everyone else here gets to experience it. Part of me hopes that it never played again.

JaneB said...

Ernie, it was an extended commercial for some piano bar no one will go to. Wonder how much theta wasted on that! Oh well. More money for the Lerners to use on the next Dunn contract.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

@JaneB: Yeah, the next Dunn contract. Now, THAT'S funny.

NatsJack in Florida said...

I smell a benching for Espinosa on his 0-2 night at the plate.

Post a Comment