Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Game 140: Mets at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats host the Mets in a matinee series finale at Nationals Park.
There may not be any softer throwers in baseball than Livan Hernandez and R.A. Dickey. Dickey, of course, is a knuckleballer, so obviously he doesn't throw the ball particularly hard. Hernandez, however, is a classic pitcher ... in the sense that he throws fastballs, breaking balls, changeups, etc. It's just that his fastball generally registers in the 84-86 mph range.

Who cares? It works for both guys, who will be squaring off against each other this afternoon at Nationals Park. Livo is 9-10 with a 3.81 ERA, his numbers having tailed off some over the last month. Dickey, meanwhile, has been a revelation for the Mets, going 9-6 with a 2.91 ERA.

We've got a rare 12:35 p.m. first pitch today, so if you can't make it to the park, sit back in your office and hit the refresh button all afternoon as I provide updates on the game and any other developments...

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 12:35 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 88 degrees, Wind 16 mph out to RF
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 Livan Hernandez

METS (68-71)
RF Angel Pagan
2B Luis Hernandez
CF Carlos Beltran
1B Ike Davis
3B David Wright
LF Chris Carter
C Josh Thole
SS Ruben Tejada
P R.A. Dickey

12:20 p.m. -- Nats lineup change: Ivan Rodriguez has been scratched for unknown reasons. Danny Espinosa will move up to the 7-hole. Wilson Ramos will catch and bat eighth. Will pass along info on Pudge once I get it.

12:30 p.m. -- The Nats are saying Pudge was scratched due to illness. He is, however, available to pinch-hit.

12:35 p.m. -- Livan Hernandez starts off Angel Pagan with a fastball for ball one. Very sparse crowd here today for the rare 12:35 p.m. start.

12:40 p.m. -- Add another accomplishment to Danny Espinosa's growing list. He just recorded three assists in one inning, tying a record held by only 248,129,732 others who have ever played this game.

12:47 p.m. -- Nothing doin' for the Nats in the bottom of the first. Dickey struck out Nyjer Morgn, got Ian Desmond to hit a little chopper up to the middle that was handled by Ruben Tejada and then got Ryan Zimmerman to line out to right to end the first inning scoreless.

12:53 p.m. -- 1-2-3 top of the second for Livo, all flyballs to the outfield.

1:01 p.m. -- Six Nats up, six Nats down so far against Dickey, who has had his knuckleball working. Three groundballs, two flyballs and one strikeout through two scoreless innings.

1:14 p.m. -- A base hit by the opposing pitcher opens the door for a Mets rally. After Dickey singled up the middle with one out in the third, Livo served up a single to Angel Pagan and then another base hit to left-center by Luis Hernandez, who took advantage of a weird hop that handcuffed Nyjer Morgan to turn it into an RBI double. A sac fly by Carlos Beltran brought home another run and put the Mets up 2-0 in the third.

1:37 p.m. -- We're halfway through this one, the Mets still leading 2-0, the Nats having done nothing against Dickey and his knuckleball. Only Wilson Ramos has reached safely through four innings, doubling to left-center. Otherwise, nada. Strange moment as the top of the fifth ended. Livo fielded a ball right up the first-base line and thought he tagged Luis Hernandez. First base ump Mike DiMuro, though, ruled him safe, saying Livo missed the tag. Livo argued, just as Dickey took off from second base toward third. Fortunately, the pitcher saw it coming and fired to Ryan Zimmerman for the out, then immediately went back to arguing even though the inning was now over. Strange.

2:20 p.m. -- Just got back from the stands, where I was fortunate enough to run into longtime reader and commenter "cadeck" and spend some time chatting about the Nats. And as an added bonus, we saw Wilson Ramos hit his first career home run, a bullet to center field that tied the game 2-2. Top of the seventh now.

2:31 p.m. -- Curious decision by Jim Riggleman in the top of the seventh, pulling Livo with a man on second, one out and pinch-hitter Lucas Duda stepping to the plate. Could Hernandez, at only 95 pitches, really not be trusted to face the .045-hitting Duda? Apparently not, because Riggleman brought in Sean Burnett to face the lefty. Except Jerry Manuel countered by sending Nick Evans up to pinch-hit for Duda. Burnett still had Evans fooled, getting him to foul off three outside fastballs in a row. Then Evans caught up to one just enough to slip it down the first-base line for an RBI double. Just like that, the Mets have taken a 3-2 lead.

2:53 p.m. -- Nats are down to their final six outs, still trailing 3-2. Bobby Parnell on to pitch the eighth for the Mets.

2:58 p.m. -- Nice, clean takeout slide by Ian Desmond to break up a possible inning-ending double play. That allows Adam Dunn to bat with two outs, Zimmerman on first and lefty Pedro Feliciano entering to pitch for the Mets.

3:04 p.m. -- Oh well, so much for that. Dunn grounded out to second to end the inning. So we go to the ninth, the Mets leading 3-2 and Drew Storen entering to pitch in a non-save situation.

3:11 p.m. -- Last chance for the Nats. Bernadina, Morse and Espinosa due up against Hisanori Takahashi.

3:18 p.m. -- That'll do it. Another frustrating loss for the Nats, this one by a count of 3-2. Livo takes a hard-luck loss and falls to 9-11. His teammates produced only three runs and 10 hits the last two days against Dillon Gee, R.A. Dickey and the Mets bullpen.


NatsJack in Florida said...

WOW!! Espinosa didn't get benched!!!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Also... Nyjer Morgans last game for a while. Yippeee!!!

Anonymous said...

NJiF, can Espinosa hit a knuckleball?

Josh said...

Dickey is a really good pitcher... I'm not expecting much out of the lineup today, unfortunately.

Stranded_in_Philly said...

Hooray 12:35 start time! Now I have something to do during Religion, Law and the Constitution! . . . my god 3rd year of law school is a waste . . .

But I digress. Go Nats! Good to see this lineup out there

Anonymous said...

Be a nice game to go to. Buy a 10 dollar seat and then sneak down by the dugout and yell at the Big Donkey at first

N. Cognito said...

Anonymous said...
"Be a nice game to go to. Buy a 10 dollar seat and then sneak down by the dugout and yell at the Big Donkey at first."

So, you're telling us you're too good to buy a $5 dollar seat and sneak down by the dugout?

Anonymous said...

Uh NatsJack? Espinosa didn't get benched because Rizzo instructed Riggleman to play him regularly. Just like he told Jim Riggleman to alternate Ramos and Pudge. You have to know both of those guys would languish on the bench for Nieves, Kennedy with a little Gonzo were it not for that?

Riggleman is looking very foolish at this point. All that talk about respecting the game, contending teams and the veterans who helped him get to this point in the season. Overruled. And Riggleman looks like an idiot.

His comment about Maya, it being too soon to consider him a part of the future? More stupidity. Rizzo already has him penciled in to the 2011 rotation. He would have to look awfully bad for that to change.

The time for a change in managers may be drawing closer ....

Doc said...

Yeah, I'm surprised too about Espinosa not being benched. Wiggleman must be gettin' a grip on real baseball.

Danny E. might even learn a few things about hittin' a knuckleball, that he may not have learned already!

Goooooooooooo Nats fans, sneakin' or otherwise!

The Great Unwashed said...

Well, Espinosa might as well have been benched. Until Pudge's late scratch, he was batting 8th. So much for riding the hot hand. Perhaps the 6 hole is a good spot for him until he bats his way out of it. What do the Nats have to lose at this point?

Steve M. said...

Anon @ 11:47, you are way off base. Riggleman said nothing wrong about Maya.

No way can you declare that Maya is a lock for the rotation at this point. I think Olsen's time is done with the Nats so the list is still long for the #5 spot:

1) Livan
2) Marquis
3) JZim
4) Lannan
5) Maya, FA, Wang, Detwiler, JD Martin, Mock, etc.

I think right now there are 4 "locks" for the 2011 rotation and plenty of time to decide up through Spring Training 2011 exactly what that rotation will look like as Rizzo may also make a trade or pick up a Free Agent pitcher also.

My biggest complaint with this 2010 team falls mainly on Rizzo which was that they went into the season with no proven Rightfielder, a CF with mental issues who needed to be benched and disciplined back in May (some of that falls on Riggleman too), and a very weak bench, and in Free Agency their top acquisition was Jason Marquis. Adam Kennedy was a weak pickup, and right now Capps and Pudge look like the only positive Free Agent/Trade pickups that went good as well as Rizzo put together an excellent bullpen.

The good news is there are a lot of positives to build on and if Danny Espinosa works out to be the real deal at 2nd base then the Nats will be in really good shape going into the off season.

I have plenty of criticisms of Riggleman but the guy can only do so much with the players he has.

N. Cognito said...

Are you sure the record for assists in an inning by one player is 3?
I googled it but couldn't find anything.

Stranded_in_Philly said...

N. Cognito...

Mets fans will tell you Keith Hernandez once had 12 in a single inning. One-handed.

Bill B said...

@Mike, as a professor I am shocked, shocked that you're not paying attention in class. But seriously, that class sounds interesting. Gotta be more interesting than first year criminal procedure.

Sec3MySofa said...

I know we've discussed this before, but srsly, what are opposing pitchers hitting against this team? It seems way beyond coincidental.

N. Cognito said...

Sec3MySofa said...
"I know we've discussed this before, but srsly, what are opposing pitchers hitting against this team? It seems way beyond coincidental."

Working on it. Just hits and at bats.
Through April:
Nats 7 for 51
Opp 11 for 47

Sec3MySofa said...

@ Mike and Bill -- You know the formula:
First year they scare you to death, second year they work you to death, and third year they bore you to death.

Stranded_in_Philly said...


It's a paper class, so truth be told the weekly class really doesn't need to exist. As for crim pro.............. yeah. Yeah got that beat. Although I did have a phenomenal professor for that class

Stranded_in_Philly said...

@ Bill and Sec3 ...

Can I have a job now? Please?

Tcostant said...

Ramos homer I heard. As a former Mets fan, I can tell you that no one, I mean no one, turned the 3-6-3 double play better than Keith Hernandez; I have no idea why he is being made fun of on these boards. He is the best first baseman I've ever seen.

Steve M. said...

Nice clutch hit by Dunn, but Morgan doesn't score!

N. Cognito said...

Tcostant said...
"As a former Mets fan, I can tell you that no one, I mean no one, turned the 3-6-3 double play better than Keith Hernandez; I have no idea why he is being made fun of on these boards. He is the best first baseman I've ever seen."

Are you serious?!

Read it again. Here it is so you don't have to look for it. "Mets fans will tell you Keith Hernandez once had 12 [assists] in a single inning. One-handed."

Nobody's making fun of Keith Hernandez. Mike's making fun of Mets fans.

JaneB said...

Tconstant I think its Mets FANS who are being made fun of for hyperbole, not Keith. Not even Phillies fans could make fun of Keith.
Just turned on the game and heard them diss Nyjer for not coming home on Dunn's hit... Then instantly take it back and dissemble through the next two batters. That was the sound of two guys not wanting to be dibbled. What a shame that criticism is no longer safe.

NatinBeantown said...

Steve M.,
I know it's just an unintentional oversight, but if you're going to criticize Rizzo for Marquis not working out this year, you've got to include Livo in the "positive Free Agent/trade pickups" category. The guy has been an extraordinary value, even if he ends up with a 4.00 ERA. A little run support in April/May and he would be sitting on 13-15 wins right now.

natscan reduxit said...

... there was a time when Keith Hernandez enjoyed a level of tribute from baseball fans. But Jerry Seinfeld wrote thirty to that idea. :)

Go Nat-ty Dressers!

N. Cognito said...

Not watching. Was Nyjer held up by the 3rd base coach? Did Nyjer bump the thirdbaseman and miss the bag then have to go back? Did he slip?

Steve M. said...

NatinBeantown, I thought about that but considered Livo a man without a home and he finished the 2009 season with the Nats.

We can thank Livo's resurgence on raquetball and 5 rounds of golf each week.

Anonymous said...

Nyjer's got to be getting a bit gun-shy with any potential close play at the plate. Or maybe 3B Coach Listach is getting timid, but they didn't want to chance it. Besides, bases loaded and one out should get you a run!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Nope. Nyjer didn't watch where the RF was playing and can't judge line drives from anywhere on the field.

Ray Knight ripped him royally for not paying attention.

Anonymous said...

Dave Jaegler describing Willie Harris coming up to pinch hit "NOW" batting .193 after his HR last night....

Dave? Dave? Do you think .193 is good?

John O'Connor said...

Could be worse than pinch hitting Harris. It's not like anybody would be dumb enough to yank Bernadina for AG in the ninth. Wait, what?

Anonymous said...

In the interest of fairness,I would like to point out that Morse did what Dunn is criticized for regularly--not producing in the clutch. You can love Morse or hate Dunn (or both), but as NatinBeantown said in an earlier post, be fair. Morse left the bases juiced. That was the game.

Anonymous said...

NatsJack @2:38PM said. . . "Nope. Nyjer didn't watch where the RF was playing and can't judge line drives from anywhere on the field.

Ray Knight ripped him royally for not paying attention."

Really? I saw it live and did not hear Knight "rip" Morgan. So, I'm watching the re-broadcast now. Here's what Knight is saying as the inning is progressing:

During Desmond's at bat:
"You don't steal third with no one out. You don't make the first out or second out at third == the last out at third... You cannot get doubled off. You're getting your regular lead at second base..."

After Dunn's hit:
Bob Carpenter: "Morgan had to make sure the ball landed. The defense for Dunn is so odd."

Ray Knight: "You certainly have to wait, but a part of base-running is reading the bat off the ball . . . you don't want to get doubled off . . . the great base-runners will score on that ball. Let me just qualify what I just said --if there's any doubt as a baserunner you have to freeze."

Post a Comment