Friday, September 10, 2010

Game 141: Marlins at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nationals host the Marlins in the first of three games at Nationals Park.
Updated with Marlins lineup change due to Gaby Sanchez dropping appeal.

Nyjer Morgan may be in the Nationals' lineup tonight, but he's not in his customary leadoff spot. Perhaps anticipating that Morgan would begin serving his suspension tonight, manager Jim Riggleman penciled out a lineup that includes Danny Espinosa batting first.

With a ruling yet to be handed down by MLB vice president of on-field operations Bob Watson, Morgan is eligible to play, but he'll be batting eighth against his good friends from Florida.

Right-hander Alex Sanabia, who was suspended five games for his actions during last week's brawl, starts for the Marlins. He's expected to drop his appeal and begin serving tomorrow.

John Lannan is on the mound for the Nationals, looking to continue his winning ways. Since returning from Class AA Harrisburg, Lannan is 5-1 with a 2.93 ERA.

Check back for updates throughout...

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 75 degrees, Wind 10 mph LF to RF
2B Danny Espinosa
SS Ian Desmond
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
LF Roger Bernadina
RF Michael Morse
C Ivan Rodriguez
CF Nyjer Morgan
P John Lannan

MARLINS (70-69)
3B Emilio Bonifacio
LF Logan Morrison
SS Hanley Ramirez
2B Dan Uggla
1B Wes Helms
RF Mike Stanton
CF Cameron Maybin
C Brad Davis
P Alex Sanabia

5:09 p.m. -- Marlins lineup change: Gaby Sanchez decided to drop his appeal and thus will begin serving his three-game suspension tonight. Said he figured it wouldn't get reduced, so no reason to go through with the appeal. Wes Helms moves from third to first base, and Emilio Bonifacio takes over at third base.

7:03 p.m. -- Jim Riggleman and Edwin Rodriguez just exchanged lineup cards and appeared to be smiling and joking with each other. Doesn't look like any warnings were issued by the umpires.

7:07 p.m. -- We are underway with a strike from John Lannan to Emilio Bonifacio.

7:20 p.m. -- Rough first inning for Lannan, who wound up allowing two runs on three hits and a walk. Bonifacio smoked a grounder off Ryan Zimmerman's glove, then stole second. Hanley Ramirez drew a walk, and Dan Uggla followed with an RBI single to center. A sac fly by Wes Helms brought Ramirez home to make it 2-0. The most interesting play, though, may have been Mike Stanton's bloop double to right. Danny Espinosa came THISCLOSE to making a diving, over-the-shoulder catch after running probably 100 feet from his position at second base. Michael Morse was far closer to the ball but never got that close to making the play.

7:25 p.m. -- Ooh, Sanabia drills Desmond in the hip with a first-pitch fastball. No reaction from Ian, who just jogged to first. What do you think, though: Should he now steal second and third?

7:27 p.m. -- Whoa, Desmond just took off for second ... though it was on ball four to Zimmerman, so no stolen base.

7:30 p.m. -- Two baserunners but no runs scored for the Nats after Adam Dunn flied out and Roger Bernadina popped out. Marlins up 2-0 heading to the second.

7:47 p.m. -- You just knew Nyjer Morgan's first at-bat was going to be eventful. Well, actually, the at-bat wasn't eventful at all. He lined a two-out single to center. But then, Nyjer tried to steal second and was promptly thrown out, ending the inning with John Lannan still at the plate. Among the dumbest baseball plays you can make, trying to steal with two outs and the pitcher up is right there at the top of the list. I'm sure Jim Riggleman isn't happy with it.

7:57 p.m. -- Fantastic 6-4-3 to end the top of the third, with Desmond going deep into the hole, firing a perfect throw to Espinosa, who made a strong turn. Desmond to Espinosa to Dunn: Get used to it. (Well, maybe not the Dunn part.)

8:08 p.m. -- Lannan has settled in since that rough first inning. He's retired four straight and hasn't allowed a hit since Bonifacio's single in the second. Marlins still lead 2-0 as we got to the bottom of the fourth.

8:38 p.m. -- We're now in the middle of the sixth, the Nats still trailing 2-0 and not doing much offensively against Sanabia. Morse led off the fifth with a double but never advanced past second. Pudge grounded out on the first pitch he saw. Nyjer popped out. And then after Lannan drew a two-out walk, Espinosa sent a long fly ball to the warning track in right.

8:48 p.m. -- Make it 3-0 Marlins after Brad Davis leads off the seventh with a homer into the flower bed beyond the left-field fence.

9:01 p.m. -- Lannan couldn't make it through the seventh, and Tyler Clippard nearly opened the floodgates. Clippard, though, managed to wriggle his way out of it after allowing two-out singles to Ramirez and Uggla. With the bases loaded, he got Helms to fly out to right to end the inning. Lannan's final line: 6 2/3 ip, 7 h, 3 er, 3 bb, 6 k, 110 pitches (70 strikes). Not his best performance, though certainly not a horrible one either. He gets credit for a quality start, but unless the Nats can rally late, he'll be tagged with the loss.

9:27 p.m. -- Scoreless inning of relief from Joe Bisenius in his first appearance as a National. Also his first appearance in the big leagues since April 2007, when he came out of the bullpen twice for the Phillies. He's got a good arm, reached 98 mph a couple of times. Nats down to their last six outs, down 3-0.

9:38 p.m. -- Here come the Nats with a two-out rally. Zimmerman singles. Dunn doubles. Bernadina singles in a run, making it 3-1 and knocking out reliever Leo Nunez. Clay Hensley coming out of the bullpen to face Morse, with the tying run on first and two outs in the eighth.

9:40 p.m. -- And Morse flies out to center on Hensley's first pitch. We go to the ninth, 3-1.

9:55 p.m. -- Ladies and gentlemen: Meet Danny Espinosa's right arm. Impressive, huh? (He just gunned down Logan Morrison at the plate with a 150-foot relay throw to Pudge.) Last chance for the Nats coming up.

10:01 p.m. -- Game over, Nats lose 3-1. That's their 11th loss to the Marlins this season. Haven't lost more than seven to anyone else.


Doc said...

Be fun to see how Espinosa and Desmond operate at the top of the lineup. Gooooooo Nats

JaneB said...

I so hope Nyjer is the model of good sportsmanship tonight. And I like the idea of Danny and Desi in the one-two slots.

MikeHarris said...

Hasn't Sanchez been pulled? Is that suspension related?

Anonymous said...


I am sure that Nyjer fully intends to act professionally tonight especially after his meeting with Bob Watson; the bigger question is how will he react to being provoked?

If he's smart he should let someone else take up his fight; if he doesn't act stupid his teammates will have his back.

NatsJack in Florida said...

JaneB.... why would you have "hope Nyjer is the model of good sportsmanship tonite"? Shouldn't that alone tell you something about the guy?

N. Cognito said...

NatsJack in Florida said...
"JaneB.... why would you have "hope Nyjer is the model of good sportsmanship tonite"? Shouldn't that alone tell you something about the guy?"

Why wouldn't she hope that?

Has Nyjer had these issues before this season? I've never heard of any. Makes me wonder if something's going on in his personal life that might be affecting his play and his attitude. Or perhaps it's just his lousy play this year that affecting his attitude.

JaneB said...

N. Cognito -- exactly my thinking. It's too odd to be him. Something's up. And I hope its fixable.

Anonymous said...


I was of the opinion that Morgan is a mediocre player with a bad attitude and as such serves no purpose for the team. I decided to look a bit deeper and I discovered that statistically this year is the exception. In parts of 2 years + 1 full year Nyjer consistently hit .300 (give or take) with a .350 OBP and some very good defensive metrics.

I'm keenly aware of all the brain farts we have seen from Nyjer this year but it may be worth trying to resurrect his value; you know the adage: buy low and sell high. I would put him on a very short leash and explain to him that if he ever wants a good contract he has to become focused and coachable and I would remove him from the leadoff spot (to no. 8 ) at least until he show that he can get on base consistently.

If we choose to keep him I would have him spend the off season working with someone like Tim Raines on: Reading pitchers; getting proper jumps and sliding as well as basic baseball etiquette.

NatinBeantown said...

Not Nyjer related (or even directly Nats-related), but it was good to see our old friend Shawn Hill back on the mound in Toronto last night. Yes he took the loss, but he had 5 pretty good innings with two runs and no really hard hit balls. His line looks a lot worse because the guy who relieved him let two inherited runners score. Here's hoping Hill resurrects his career up there in his native land... I doubt there are many in NatsTown who wish him ill.

And Let's Go Nats! Finish 10-10 and we get to 70 wins. Finish 13-7 and avoid 90 losses... a huge jump from 08-09.

NatsJack in Florida said...

So he becomes a ... soon to be 31 yo Instructional League guy...I saw way too much of him up close and personal during Spring Training to think what we are seeing is an anomaly.

He was a jerk at all times to anyone who wasn't a coach, player or management and I mean everybody.

Doc said...

I had seen Nyjer's previous years' stats too. Strange, real strange this year.

Having a Tim Rains type coach work with him, yeah that's fine. But a lot of this he should be figuring out himself. Riggleman & Co. deserve some blame for excusing the unexcusable all season.

Not sure Riggleman knows how to keep a player on a short leash??

natscan reduxit said...

JaneB, who asked, "I so hope Nyjer is the model of good sportsmanship tonight", my question is: why wouldn't he be?

Go Nats!

Anonymous said...

He should be figuring it out himself but he's not. He gets picked off and everyone gets mad at him but I think that he simply always relied on his speed and never learned how to read pitchers and slide; these are teachable skills if he is receptive and the benefits to the team are tremendous because he is inexpensive and under team control. I think that the attitude NatsJack is describing from spring training is a product of the success he had last year and his overvaluing his own skills; he wouldn't be the first athlete to exhibit such behavior.

This is the first time he is experiencing failure and in his frustration he is lashing out at everyone; he can either continue down that road and fade into obscurity or he can be humbled and accept that he can improve his game.

The question is whether or not the Nats feel he is worth the trouble; we'll see.

Sec3MySofa said...

@NatsJack--I can't speak to your experience, of course, but he's never been rude to me.

Just a thought--you don't suppose Sanchez dropped his appeal when he saw Morgan was in the lineup, on the off chance Nyjer gets on base? He doesn't hate him *that* much, does he? Naaah.


Sunderland said...

Nyjer stats?
Carrer vs left handed pitching.
.209 AVG
.298 OBP
.281 SLG

So, even if you believe this year is the exception, he's proven to be unable to hit LHP.

It would be so much easier to stand behind Nyjer if he was 25 years old. But he's 30. He's not going to be getting better. (And he does not have an arm that works in center field. That's not going to improve either).

I'd love for him to have a strong series against the Marlins. But I think we need and deserve better out of CF and leadoff.

What's really frustrating also is how JMax has been unable to take advantage of his opportunities and hit show he can hit left handed pitching. If he could, you'd have a fairly natural (and very inexpensive) platoon.

BinM said...

IMO, the problem with JMax is that when he thinks about cutting down on that long swing, he freezes up at the plate. He can still crush mistakes, but sees far fewer of them at the ML level. I still think he's smooth defensively, with a plus arm, and good base-running sense as well, but he'll just never hit consistently in the bigs.

JayB said...

I really like what I see from Danny E. Did you see him run out that pop up. Peter Rose with speed!

Anonymous said...

Nyjer can't be allowed to steal with Lannan hitting and 2 outs making Lannan the leadoff next inning. Can't happen; that should have been a stop sign from Riggleman.

NatsJack in Florida said...

How about that brilliant baseball man Nyjer Morgan!How do you not know that if you get thrown out stealing with 2 outs, your pitcher gets to lead off next inning.

The Marlins announcers are having a blast ripping the iduiot.

Anonymous said...

NatsJack; that one is on Riggleman 100%.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Riggleman didn't send him... Morgan runs on his own.

Slidell said...

I believe Nyjer does pretty much what he wants. If I'm Riggs, N. gets double-switched out (instead of Morse) as soon as the inevitable opportunity arises.

Anonymous said...

Ya gotta assume Morgan is out of control or Riggleman is out of his mind or both. Morgan is not a team player; he's dumb as dirt and has a giant "me first" attitude and the Nats can't or won't adjust. What's left of the fan base is in for it. The ownership, president, GM, and manager are losers. Three years of 100 or almost 100 losses. They kill any possible enthusiasm. This Nyjer's-our-boy and maybe-we-will-sign-Dunn-maybe-we-won't-let's-screw-around-with-it-for-the-entire-year fiasco is a prime illustration. We won't even mention the sorry excuse for a rotation they've put together the last two years. Thanks Selig for selecting your buddies the Lerners and Stan K. Selig knows that family. Right. That an a** that guy is.

lesatcsc said...

Maybe we should stop fretting about Nyjer so much and start wondering why this is one of the worst hitting teams in baseball. Since all the gloating about the Nats turning into the big red machine, this powder puff offence has managed a big 12 hits in 24 innings against less than dominant pitching. When 2,3,4 go silent, so do the Nats. And lets be honest, Bernadina has no business batting 5th. He is not and may never be an RBI guy.

To answer Mark's question from the other day, what don't the Nats need? They're set at 3B, and nowhere else.

CBinDC said...

Well it would not be Sept. in Natstown if one did not need a large size beer to cry in ......if one still has any tears left

CBinDC said...

The boys of the MASN seem to think we are doing just great but if only the score would just reflect that fact all would be well and happy. So fear not we have everything to win but scoring and that will come in time,

you can look it up

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that moron Phil Wood keeps saying what a great Sept. the Nats had last year. Winning the last seven last year saved their butts after a pretty terrible stretch in Sept. including a game when Riggleman infamously played Desmond in RF.

Cwj said...

I like Phil Wood. He's definitely no moron.

CBinDC said...

It would not be as bad if someone with the production of this team would be straight forward and at times show some gratitude to a fan base that has been abused for 6 years straight.

Stop selling a positive future with noting in the present.

They blew every good vibe all season.....there were so many all season but right from opening day GONE .....much because they have no idea how to talk to people that is not in the form of a PR training model

lesatcsc said...

Yeah, our 3rd hit knocked out their starting pitcher. Now we get to be dominated by a bunch of unknown relievers.

Didn't Pudge wax on about hitting to the opposite field the other day. Can someone read his own interview back to him so he stops trying to pull EVERYTHING.

Sunderland said...

Sanabia's right handed, so Riggleman puts 4 lefty bats in the lineup (Espinosa hitting from the left, Dunn, Bernie and Nyjer).

Look at Sanabia's splits:
Vs RH Hitters WHIP - 1.79, BAA - .364
Vs LH Hitters WHIP - 1.06, BAA - .208

Why did we not load up on right handed hitters?
Why is Alberto Gonzalez, JMax, Mench, etc on the bench? What are they here for if not to play when they give us the best chance to win?

Because Riggleman believes in righty v lefty more than anything else.

So we have 4 lefties, 4 righties and a pitcher facing Sanabia when we could easily have put out a lineup with only 1 or 2 lefties.

I really think Riggleman is a very nice, respectful, honorable guy. But I really want a new manager. One not afraid to, umm, manage.

Cwj said...

Man this Joe Bisenius has a good arm.

Sec3MySofa said...

Well, if great minds think alike, I'm not sure how much it recommends Sunderland that I agree with him here, as usual.

Sunderland said...

I think simple minds can also think alike

lesatcsc said...

I'm with Sunderland too. I think the Nats are ready for a real manager.

sjm105 said...

not only was this a really difficult game to watch, with very little offense and poor baserunning but they were doing the wave at National Park!! How many real fans would do the wave? no matter how bad their team is. Just like there is no crying in baseball, there should be NO WAVE!! I have a week in the Outer Banks, is MASN carried down there?

Sec3rdBase, you're pitching, Sunday said...

Seriously (and you know I'm serious if I spell it out), I think most of us in here would be better off playing rec ball and watching each other. No, you don't get to see anything like Zimm or Danny S. Pinoza, but still.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Lannan deserves more love from the front office and Nationals fans. He is not an ace (might never be), not a power pitcher, doesn't have 100 mph fastball, etc but the guy can get the job done. He goes out there every game and gives his best it seems but FO never mentions him in future plans and Nats fans have even lesser faith in him. I want to look into why this treatment towards John.

Golfersal said...

Do we need to go over how stupid Nyjer Morgan is.
No baseball sense.

Sorry, I am now blaming Riggleman because he is the manager, the general that dictates what a player should do.

He should be the guy telling Nyjer to either steal or not to steal. So maybe we should also at this point call Riggleman a "Bonehead" for allowing Nyjer to do what he thinks is best. Riggleman can't let a crazy person like Nyjer who is doing this to prove how great he is decide when to steal and when not.

Sorry but I am losing a lot of respect for Riggleman not taking control of Nyjer.

Sorry but every game that Nyjer plays in I grow to dislike Nyjer more for what he does and what he tries to do. He was 1 for 3 today but by getting caught stealing it might as well be 0 for 3.

Also lets look at what a bonehead time that was stealing, 2 outs and the pitcher up. There is nothing to gain by stealing second with 2 outs because the odds are very good that Lannan will make an out. (Lannan batting 100). So now by getting caught stealing he now screws up the next inning because the pitcher is up first.

Sorry that isn't good baseball and we should all be screaming for the Nats and Riggelman to put a mussel on him. Hopefully with only 20 games left Nyjer will get the full 15 game suspension and we won't have to deal with him anymore

Anonymous said...

So, there you have it, Golfersal is "sorry" four times in his last post, so we've established that he's really very quite sorry about all of it! Nats fans, consider yourselves all the recipients of Golfersal's extravagant apology. :)

Section 222 said...

The most pathetic things is that Riggs defended Nyjer in the post-game interview. He can't control him, and he won't even call him on bad baseball. Nyjer and his ego rule this team. What a joke.

Golfersal said...

Guess your right, have nothing to be sorry for.

Riggelman could be a lot like father George Bush was in 1991. He was the big hero after desert Storm but did one dumb thing on higher taxes and was beaten less that a year later by Clinton.

At the All-Star break the reports were on how great of a job Riggleman has done with this team. All I can say to that is Bulls**t.
My doing what Riggleman is doing on this Nyjer mistakes, it's just making us evaluate what Riggelman has really done this year and you know what, last year we lost 103 games and at the pace that the Nats are going we are going to lose around 90 to 95 games. This doesn't bode over very well for Riggs and frankly if I were Rizzo and Kasten I would be looking for a change of mangement.
If Riggleman can't handle Morgan then there is no chance for use to ever have a winning record.

Everyone should be thinking about this in the next couple of weeks, we need a new manager

Sec3MyBivalve said...

"Sorry that isn't good baseball and we should all be screaming for the Nats and Riggleman to put a mussel on him."
Well, he was with the Pirates for a long time, maybe they're just barnacles.
OK, I'll clam up.

Sec3MySofa said...

and everyone can think what they like, but new manager is only up to Rizzo, and probably Kasten, but that's about it.
They don't even listen to Mark; they sure as hell ain't listening to "everybody."

DCGuy7 said...

@sjm105 - masn and masn2 are carried in the obx, watched the game tonight here in fact.

Steve said...

From a competitor's game story today:
"They're a very good ballclub," Manager Jim Riggleman, discussing the Marlins, who are 60-64 against any team not called the Nationals.

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