Sunday, September 12, 2010

Game 143: Marlins at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jordan Zimmermann takes the mound today at Nationals Park to face the Marlins.
The last time he faced the Marlins, Jordan Zimmermann authored up what was probably the second-best start by a Nationals pitcher this season. Stephen Strasburg struck out 14 Pirates in his spectacular debut. Zimmermann's six innings of one-hit, nine-strikeout ball August 31 at Sun Life Stadium were equally as impressive.

Today, the 24-year-old right-hander gets another crack at a Marlins team that has made mincemeat of the Nats for three years (Florida is 38-14 against them since 2008). Chris Volstad, the man who threw at -- and then behind -- Nyjer Morgan on September 1, starts for the Marlins.

Two interesting lineup twists for the Nationals: Struggling Ivan Rodriguez bats eighth for the first time all season, while Ian Desmond bats leadoff for the first time.

I'm not at today's game, but I'll be in Atlanta tomorrow for the start of the Nats series against the Braves. Please continue the conversation with each other...

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m.
TV: Ch. 50, MASN2
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Cloudy, 70 degrees, Wind 7 mph in from RF
SS Ian Desmond
2B Adam Kennedy
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
LF Roger Bernadina
RF Michael Morse
CF Nyjer Morgan
C Ivan Rodriguez
P Jordan Zimmermann

MARLINS (72-69)
3B Emilio Bonifacio
LF Logan Morrison
SS Hanley Ramirez
2B Dan Uggla
1B Chad Tracy
RF Mike Stanton
CF Cameron Maybin
C Mike Rivera
P Chris Volstad


Mr Donkey said...

Any word on the impact of the rain today. Will there be a delay?

Josh said...

Why isn't Espinosa in again? His defense alone saved one or two runs yesterday even if he didn't drive any in with his bat... this Nats team could definitely use that, even with Kimmermann on the mound.

Anonymous said...

Riggleman was overruled on Espinosa and Ramos versus Kennedy and Nieves, nevertheless, Rizzo himself said he wasn't going to just tell Kennedy thanks for the help and then sit him. And Espinosa is now 0 for 15 or something like that. I don't think you'll see Nieves much at this point. It does look like Nieves could be gone next year.

carolync said...

No rain predicted - just a dreary day in more ways than one. Our group has decided to stay home after having attended the last two games as part of small, dispirited crowds. I think they better spend some money on some proven hitters for next year to have a decent fan base. This year's hitting is feeble and inconsistent. For the rest of the season, they need 196 hits, 42 doubles, and 26 home runs to equal the totals of the 2009 team. Team batting average is virtually identical - .256 vs .258. None of these young players people are crowing about has shown himself to be a consistent hitter. Sorry but I don't think it matters who is in the lineup or where they bat. I don't know how anyone could remain positive after sitting through the last two games. Maybe if they look better today...

Faraz Shaikh said...

Just wondering what is the opinion of John Lannan among Nats' fans? Is he someone team should hang onto in coming years? someone who can be part of our rotation for years to come or not?

Marlins lead 1-0 in top of 2nd on Stanton's home run.

Anonymous said...

Lannan is trade bait or at least he should be. He is a young, cheap back of the rotation starter who is a left hander. You already have Marquis, there's Livo, there's the boys from Syracuse including lefty Matt Chico, plus Martin, Martis, Stammen et al who could conceivably be back of the rotation starters. They have lefties Detwiler (more #3/#2), Tom Milone and perhaps Aaron Thompson who could replace him at some point. Danny Rosenbaum will likely be pitching for Harrisburg. Sammy Solis could be pitching in AA/AAA next year as well.

They need to start turning some key trades with assets that are attractive to other teams.

Faraz Shaikh said...

what was that? With two on and one out, why was Zmann allowed to swing away? Why didn't he bunt? Next up was Desmond who has done some damage with runners on lately. If you want to stop the slide against Marlins, these types of plays ought to stop.

And as I type this, Stanton hits another HR off Zmann, this time with a runner on to make it 5-2 for Florida. Pathetic performance by Zmann today on the mound and at the plate.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Is it just me, or is Adam Kennedy just giving every indication he doesn't give a whit at the plate, in the field, or on those extremely rare occasions when he is on the bases? Man, this has got to be the first guy released Oct. 1. My first five non-tenders:

1. AK
2. Willie
3. Wil Nieves Who? Wil Nieves
4. Gonzo
5. Stammen

Anonymous said...


I think you keep Gonzo and Stammen ... Stammen is at least trade-able along with Lannan. They have to start turning some key trades. The free agent market has too many guys well over 30 or with questionable injury histories.

Given Kennedy's attitude, yeah he has to go. Perhaps Lombardozzi makes it up at some point next year and you have 2 switch hitting MI.

1. AK.
2. Mensch.
3. Nieves.
4 Batista (they really should not still be using this guy. Were it nor for Riggleman. He was signed to a minor league contract originally. Honestly, I'd rather see Josh Wilkie instead. He's always a home run or walk away from turning relief appearances into blow outs.)
5. Maxwell (Aren't we tired of this guy yet?)

Faraz Shaikh said...

I can understand AK, Willie, and Nieves. But have hard time getting rid of Gonzo (decent bench bat) and Stammen (could be relief pitcher next season).

Anonymous said...

And perhaps Olsen as well ... given his inconsistency ... attitude and way too high price tag for what he brings.

Anonymous said...

I hope they have an option on Pudge for an extra year. They may need him in 2012 when Stras is back hopefully along with more arms from the farms.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me said...

Oh, I totally forgot Olsen. Yes, by all means. Maybe keep Stammen and Gonzo, eliminate Olsen and Mench. How's that?

Anonymous said...

Double switch time ... Riggleman puts Willie in and takes Morse out. Sure loss coming up thanks to another Jim Riggleman double switch.

Cwj said...

Unfortunately, I'm starting to finally buy into the "Riggs = bad manager".
Just over the past couple weeks I've soured on him.
Next season would be so refreshing with a new manager to go along with a better roster.

Anonymous said...

Yep add Jim Riggleman, Radisson, and Listach to Sunshine's list.

Faraz Shaikh said...

I am not sure if I buy into Riggs is a bad manager yet. Reasons: Lot of negativity among fans, concentrated attack on Riggs (double switch and righty-lefty thing).

I don't claim to know about a manager's value to a team like ours (yes, buck has done magic with O's I agree). But I personally think Riggs has done a good job with what has been given to him.

Anonymous said...

Listless lethargy ... Kennedy's attitude, Olsen's attitude ... motivation, morale, lineups all the manager's responsibility. Riggleman has done a very slightly better job than Manny Acta. If that. He has engendered a losing culture where veterans preference has too high a priority over performance. He has had this "course" corrected for him more than once this season. He still doesn't seem to get it.

Cwj said...

For me it's also some other things like constantly complementing the other team, trying to hard to give even poor players at bats etc.
I actually miss Frank Robinson :) Loved his old school style

Faraz Shaikh said...

Maybe Nationals should try a player as a manager like Bucky Harris in early 20's.

Sunderland said...

@ BQ:
I'd really like you to expound of "Riggs has done a good job with what has been given to him".

Here's what I see:
- His use of Guzman in the first half of the season doomed any sense of stability in the infield. Since Rizzo traded Guzman, and Kennedy and Desmond have played regularly, both have been solid at the plate and improved in the field.
- His lack of use of Morse the first half of the year, and playing Willie Harris ahead of him was clearly wrong.
- His inability or unwillingness to correct Nyjer Morgan's on field decisions and mistakes. Nyjers does what Nyjer wants, often to to the detriment of the team. And Riggleman won't do anything about it. Nyjer's CS Friday, with two out and Lannan at bat, is only the latest example.

Riggleman has not by any sense gotten "the most" out of this team. The bench guys learned early if they play real well, they are still sitting on the bench. The loved ones (Nyjer, Harris, Guzman) learned early that they were getting playing time no matter what.

Riggleman even asked his players if they should retaliate when Volstad hit Nyjer! That's not leadership. That's lame.

Riggleman is definitely a big part of the problem.

I would, honestly, love to hear your thoughts to the opposite.

Anonymous said...

Frank Robinson even at his advance age is far and away the better manager over Riggleman and Acta. They do need someone of his ilk who can motivate the players to highest levels of performance.

That is not Riggleman's forte'

Following up on Sunderland's comments. Do you remember how stubborn Riggleman was about batting Guzman second? Imagine if Desmond or even Willingham had been batting second instead? This team might already have 70+ wins. Willie Harris, Guzman in right field instead of Morse and Bernadina. Thats all on Riggleman and his veteran's preference. Riggleman's insistence on using Batista in the worst possible situations especially early on ... honestly Bergmann would probably have pitched better in time.

And so Willie gets his at bats and the Nats get swept. Typical Riggleman, and why, if they are ever to get close to .500 again, he must be replaced.

joNAThan said...

Sick of this team losing to the damn Marlins. Until they can not consistently get their butts whipped in the season series vs this team, they won't get much better.

Section 222 said...

That double switch today in the 6th says it all. Nyjer made the last out the inning before, but Riggs takes out Morse, a power bat with the possibility of driving in runs. Riggs just had to give Morgan another at bat (he flied out) and give Willie "I'm still searching for the Mendoza line" Harris two at bats (he struck out and grounded out). With all the extra pitchers we have, there's really no reason to doubleswitch anyway, but if you're going to do it, why take out Morse? It makes no sense.

CapPeterson said...

Agree with Section 222 and others on the stupidity of the double switch. But, my gosh, this team has such a loser aura around it, especially when they're playing the Fish. Sure, like any MLB club, we'll win the occasional blowout, but our record in one- and two-run games after the 20-15 start must be execrable.

Lot of areas to be improved for next year, but starting pitching would be at the top of my list. JZimm may someday be a #1 or #2 starter, but we ain't there yet.

Golfersal said...

Of all the posts on this and other sites, yours is the best perspective on the problem with the Nats.
Honestly I was a big Riggleman fan until last week when Nyjer got caught stealing second when there was two outs and Lannan, the pitcher at the plate. When press guys asked Riggleman, he not only took Nyjer's side but said that he had no control over Nyjer and felt bad that Nyjer was batting 8th and he couldn't say anything bad about Nyjer.

This was like whacking me in the face to say, hey guys Riggleman is not a leader he is just a babysitter that dictates what happens.

Just to add what Sunderland said, they are great comments:

Look at what is happening to Baltimore with a manager that manages and controls the team. They are winning big time and went from the worst team in baseball to the 3rd worst team in baseball. Sorry that may not seem like much but it really is, he has turned things around. Look at Riggleman when he took over from Acta last year, the Nats played better but were still the worst team in baseball. So what has to happen, Riggleman has to go.

Do what the Dodgers did, keep him on and look for someone better. My firing him on Oct 4th they are forced to find someone else which could be hard. But I would go out and spend October and November to try and find a Dusty Baker type, hire him and fire Riggleman. Oh one last thing about Riggleman, if your on the bubble on if we need someone new look at his record as a manager
It's terrible, he has been a manager for six season and only been over 500 twice. He has managed now for 11 years so he has the experience but that experience is losing, not winning.

Bottom line, we have to get rid of Riggleman and find a Dusty Baker type, someone that has playoff experience and knows how to win. If the O's could find that person, the Nats whould do it.

Again, for Sunderland, great comments and thoughts.

Anonymous said...

The Lerners and Stan want to spin, not win. Why hold the manager and GM accountable for atrocious results when you can blame a TV commentator?

Anonymous said...

Win or lose, its rare that I go to the game and feel like it was a waste of time. Today is one of those days. The players barely cared. Taking out Morse after he got on base three times for .189 Willie Harris in a double switch is beyond explanation. It feels like this team is getting worse, not better.

Anonymous said...

This situation is pathetic. Last season we got better in the second half. Now we just get worse and worse.

We are 60-83. The Orioles are 55-88. I bet they finish with a better record than us.

Our team has completely quit. I believe Adam Dunn is their leader, and the Nats hanging him out to dry for an entire year has taken the life out of the team.

I believe when it is announced Dunn will go elsewhere, Zimmerman will indicate quietly through the press that he is interested in playing elsewhere; he will say he simply cannot carry it all himself for another year.

It is very clear the team is playing out the string till the season ends. They don't care who wins or loses. Listen to them all speak, and you will hear the word "grind" more than any other. The season is a grind, the game is a grind, the at-bat is a grind. They just want to get it over with.

The chances are very good we'll be worse next year than this year.

DCGuy7 said...

i was at the game yesterday. what a waste of my money. the team is going through the motions. kennedy couldn't even be bothered to run hard on a grounder.

Golfersal said...

DCGuy 7,
Don't feel bad. As a season ticket holder we are having a tough time getting rid of these tickets. For the second homestand in a row nobody is buying tickets on Stub Hub other than dirt cheap.

I have had problems getting $25 a ticket on Stubhub for my Club level, front row seats.

It's the pits.

DCGuy7 said...

@golfersal, let us know what seats yours are - i for one will gladly buy them next time i'm looking, if they're available.

glad to hear that Riggs and the rest of the staff bitched the team out, at least. yesterday was pathetic.

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