Monday, September 13, 2010

Game 144: Nats at Braves

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Yunesky Maya makes his second career start tonight at Turner Field.
ATLANTA — Hello from Turner Field, where the Braves are hanging on for their lives in the NL East race. Up three games on the Phillies only 10 days ago, they now trail Philadelphia by one game (though they still lead the wild card race). Atlanta has been baseball's best home team all season, owners of a ridiculously good 51-21 record here. The Nationals, on the other hand, own the majors' fourth-worst road record at 25-47.

But if there's good news for the visitors, it's their impressive numbers this year against right-hander Derek Lowe, who starts tonight's opener. Lowe has faced the Nats three times in 2010 and has lost three times. His ERA: 6.11.

Yunesky Maya takes the mound for the Nationals in his second career start, hoping to avoid the first-inning troubles he endured last week against the Mets and pick up where he left off in retiring 14 of the last 15 batters he faced.

Still no ruling on the Nyjer Morgan suspension appeal, so he's in the lineup for the 13th straight game overall and 10th straight game since the brawl in Florida. Meanwhile, Roger Bernadina (who has struggled out of the 5-hole) gets bumped up to the third spot, where he'll hit in front of Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn.

Check back for updates throughout the evening...

Where: Turner Field
Gametime: 7:10 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Sunny, 82 degrees, Wind 5 mph in from RF
2B Danny Espinosa
SS Ian Desmond
LF Roger Bernadina
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
RF Michael Morse
CF Nyjer Morgan
C Wilson Ramos
P Yunesky Maya

BRAVES (82-62)
2B Omar Infante
RF Jason Heyward
3B Martin Prado
C Brian McCann
1B Derrek Lee
CF Nate McLouth
SS Alex Gonzalez
LF Matt Diaz
P Derek Lowe

7:10 p.m. -- Derek Lowe starts Danny Espinosa off with a fastball for ball one, and we are underway on a gorgeous Monday night in Atlanta. 81 very comfortable degrees at first pitch.

7:16 p.m. -- Well, the top of the first started off in promising fashion, with Espinosa lining a single to left-center. But the Ian Desmond struck out and Espinosa was tagged out trying to steal second, clearing the bases. And then Roger Bernadina was caught looking at a 2-2 pitch that appeared to be a tad low and outside but was called strike three by Dan Iassogna. So nothing doin' for the Nats in the top of the first. Yunesky Maya taking the mound now.

7:23 p.m. -- Nice first inning for Maya. He retired the side on a pair of flyballs to right and then a groundball to short. Threw only 13 pitches, 10 of them for strikes. He threw a bunch of fastballs, which got him into trouble last time. But in this case, the strategy worked. We're scoreless after one.

7:29 p.m. -- It appears Iassogna is going to be giving that outside corner to Lowe tonight, so the Nats had better adjust. Lowe struck out three straight guys looking (Bernadina, Zimmerman and Dunn) and has K'd four through two innings.

7:50 p.m. -- Things you don't want to see: Your starting pitcher get called for two balks in the same at-bat. Welcome to the majors, Yunesky. Looked like he made a very slight movement while pitching out of the stretch, before coming to a set. Wound up forcing in a run. Worse is that he walked two batters, then allowed an RBI double to Nate McLouth, then an RBI triple to No. 8 hitter Matt Diaz, then an RBI single to Omar Infante. Just like that, the Braves lead 4-0 against a clearly rattled Maya. Oh yeah, then he plunked Jason Heyward. Just looked totally rattled out there in the bottom of the second.

7:58 p.m. -- On the bright side, Maya collected his first big-league hit. On the down side, he nearly ran over Derrek Lee in the process.

8:04 p.m. -- Better job by Maya in the bottom of the third, though he didn't exactly blow away the Braves. McCann reached on Ian Desmond's 33rd error of the season (Desmond was playing the shift and ran well to his right, but he was there in enough time to make the play and still booted it) and then Lee, McLouth and Gonzalez each flied out to center, Lee to the warning track and McLouth on a smoked line drive. Still 4-0 Braves after three. Maya has thrown 59 pitches, 35 strikes.

8:29 p.m. -- Middle of the fifth now, still 4-0. Maya has settled down and kept the Braves from scoring since that second inning, though he still doesn't look totally comfortable out there. The rest of the Nats definitely don't look comfortable at the plate against Lowe, who is just dominating. Eight strikeouts through five innings, five of them looking.

8:35 p.m. -- Maya's fifth inning was by far his best. Retired the side on three groundballs. In and out really quick. He seems to have a tendency to let things fall apart in one inning but then settle down after that. Good trait to have, though it would be nice if he could avoid the big inning, too.

8:41 p.m. -- Ten strikeouts for Lowe through six innings. The Nats look hopeless up there against him tonight.

8:46 p.m. -- Another quick inning for Maya. He allowed a bloop single to open the sixth but got a double-play grounder and then a weak comebacker to end the sixth. He definitely has some guile and ability to battle. Whether that's enough for him to succeed up here remains to be seen. But in each of his two starts to date, there's been a moment where I thought to myself this guy has no shot. Then he proves me wrong. Still 4-0 Braves as we go to the seventh.

8:53 p.m. -- And there's strikeout No. 11 for Lowe, matching his career high. Seeing as how we're only at the seventh-inning stretch and the right-hander is cruising, I have a hunch he's going to establish a new high before the end of the night.

8:56 p.m. -- Time for tonight's double switch, brought to you by Jim Riggleman: Ross Detwiler is in to pitch and bat sixth, while Willie Harris takes over in right field for Michael Morse. He'll bat ninth. Maya's final pitching line: 6 ip, 5 h, 4 er, 3 bb, 2 k, 1 hbp, 2 balks, 90 pitches, 58 strikes.

9:08 p.m. -- Wilson Ramos is strikeout victim No. 12 for Lowe, establishing his new career high. He's at 105 pitches through eight. We'll see if Bobby Cox lets him come back out for the ninth, with the Braves still leading 4-0.

9:16 p.m. -- Couple of strong innings of relief for Detwiler. He walked one but didn't allow anyone else to reach. Struck out Prado looking, kept all but one ball in the infield. We head to the ninth, and Derek Lowe is done. Billy Wagner to close it out with the Braves up 4-0.

9:23 p.m. -- Game over. Nats lose 4-0, striking out 15 times combined against Lowe and Wagner. Another feeble offensive showing. Maya takes his first loss, with all four runs coming during that bizarre second inning. Otherwise, he pitched well.


JaneB said...

Mark, what do you suppose is taking so long on the Morgan ruling?

Anonymous said...

Sheesh now they're saying its all because of the curse of the ghosts of John Wilkies Booth and his co-conspirators who were executed close to where the Nats now play? And Lincoln was an avid early baseball aficionado ...

And now here they are in Atlanta in the deep south ... just after the
deepest south Marlins?

Wonder if poopy_mcpoop is related to Booth?

Steve M. said...

Hoping today's game starts Danny Espinosa out on a new hot streak!

JayB said...

"gut check" that all you have to add to this story of yet lost season of under achievement and under performance.

You have to have something more to add right?

LES in NC said...

Any news on the Morgan suspension? I , for one, can't wait to see Riggs HAVE to play someone (anyone) else! Otherwise, not a bad lineup, on paper at least.

N. Cognito said...

Are the Nats losing yet?
Have they even shown up at the ballpark?

Anonymous said...

Will someone please tell me the artist and song that Joel Peralta chose for his walk on music? I like it. Also would be awesome if I could get a link to an English translation of the lyrics.

Steve M. said...

With all that goes on down the stretch, the worst blog in the Nats Blogosphere just picked an unfair fight on Clint. Sure, we all make fun of Clint but to accuse him of wrongdoing?

Here is an excerpt:

...Stadium Host Clint is standing in the back row of Section 403 with two young ladies, who are clearly questionable regular season ticket holders of The Nationals. They are not wearing ANYTHING NATIONALS. And it really made you wonder--are they really fans? Why have they been chosen? Especially when Clint hands over to these two women two free round trip tickets, each, to ANYWHERE AMERICAN AIRLINES FLIES.


And thanks them for "Getting Their Red On!!"

Honestly, you could hear a collected gasp from Season Ticket Holders sitting in Section 218 at Nationals Park. Clearly, there had to be hundreds, if not a thousand more dedicated Nats fans, more deserving of those rewarded items yesterday. Later on, we spoke with a fellow long-time season ticket holder that sits below us on South Capitol Street. He was also discouraged by Clint giving two primo roundtrip airfares away to questionable non-season ticket holder fans.

In fact, the first thing this man said upon starting the discussion over the incident was: "I immediately wondered whether Clint personally knows one of them outside the park."

Good question. And it's a fair one.

Anonymous said...

@SteveM, what if he's right? He is usually the pollyanna of Nats blogs? For him to get ornery is very rare. Sometimes, where there's smoke there's fire.

A TRUE FAN said...

Nats320 guy, not everyone that goes to the game that is a STH decks themselves out in Nats apparel. If the shirt you wear makes you a fan, then I guess I am not a fan even though I own season tickets.

Steve M. said...

Anon @ 4:25. He knows the squeaky wheel gets grease. You can hear him whining (squeaking) as he is writing.

I guess he fails to mention every game he walks through the President's Club without seats there and eats the food is a perk he pays for?

I don't know if he is right or wrong with his slight of hand accusation, and I was there and saw what he saw and didn't see anyone in my section hissing so I personally believe HE is upset and making up drama.

Anonymous said...

The last few paragraphs Nats320 wrote could be libelous if he doesn't have his facts straight:

**Sorry, but giving two free round trip airfares to two people that are not wearing anything Nationals, not "Getting Their Red On!!" and certainly questionable Season Ticket Holders is a total slap in the face to every single Nationals Fan that supports Washington Major League Baseball with their money, their commitment and their devotion, all season long, win or lose, good or bad.

Whose loyalty is really being rewarded here? Friendships or fandom?

The problem here is that two stadium hosts are apparently given carte blanche to decide which fans get appreciated or not. And if that means some of their friends might benefit from the team's hospitality--apparently so be it. **

Anonymous said...

Seems NBC site picked this stupidity up also. An embarrassment to the Nationals. Read what their commentors are saying!

Golfersal said...

Sorry to bring this up but I think that Clint is the worst thing about the Nationals. Last year I asked him if this was a good place to beat woman and he had a big smile and said that his cell phone was loaded with woman met in his job.

You want to make a bet that one or both of those woman that got the American Airline tickets won't have some kind of date with Clint. Sorry it's just another sad case of a bad marketing department letting someone do things the way he wants.

What every happen to a random drawing???

Golfersal said...

Sorry, wrong spelling on previous post, I meant to say meet woman, not beat woman.
Sorry but I did have beat on my mind on this Clint stunt

Mark said...

Golfersal, you are falling into it also. Innocent until proven guilty. Clint is a doof but I won't accuse him of fixing a contest.

So if they were ugly girls it would have been ok?

This is another black eye to the Nats. They allow that Nats320 guy parade around like a legit reporter and he reports like a wife who just got cheated on by her husband.

This is why the blogs are so bad. You get an audience and create drama based on no facts!

JayB said...


I said it in January and March....Nats have to get to at least .500 this year or they will lose the fan base......are you reading this stuff.....This is what losing year after year after year after year get you. Stan you must be so proud of your plan....

CapPeterson said...

Echoing JaneB, can we please have some closure on the Nyjer suspension? Expecting now some telephone book-sized report like the Warren Commission's. Maybe the Zapruders were at the game and FRobby or Watson or whoever the heck is in charge is analyzing the film? Somebody else heaving baseballs into the crowd from a grassy knoll (batter's eye)?

NatsFan2005 said...


Though I agree Clint is very, very bad for the Nats (as is his femaale clone), it is only the second worst (non-baseball) thing about the team The worst, far and away, is the stadium announcer, whose "It's time for the main event" every home game completely demeans both the Nats and their fans and major league baseball. So long as the presidents race, and not the ballgame, is the main event, we'll continue to hover around 100 losses per season.

Anonymous said...

Craig Calcaterra posted this on Hardball Talk:
Nats blogger whines about not gettin' free stuff Sep. 13, 2010, 2:03 PM ET

The title says it all then the top comment:

mcsnide - Sep. 13, 2010 at 3:17 PM ET
Because two chicks couldn't possibly be fans of the game. Are we sure Dibble didn't set up a blog?


So basically StanKs paid mouthpiece just put his foot in StanKs mouth.

Stan, give him more access so tomorrow he can whine that he wasn't invited into Adam Dunn's contract negotiation.

Dave said...

@NatsFan2005: +1 to what you said. That ridiculous rock-and-roll rah-rah announcer is truly one of the most annoying things about the stadium experience.

The stupid presidents' is a bad enough insult to our intelligence (wonder whether Teddy will win? who cares...?); but to hear it introduced as the main event assumes that nobody came for the games.

Then again, maybe if people came for the games, they wouldn't come.

I saw the Nats game in Dodger Stadium in LA (the one where Dunn hit the two dingers and Lannan got a win). There was practically none of that fake showbiz hoopla. And this in La-La Land, the very headquarters of everything shallow in American popular culture.

If the Dodgers can do it right, the Nats ought to be able to.

Anonymous said...

Personally, it looks to me like they (the Lerners/Stan) are taking a page out of Daniel "the midget" Snyder's sports marketing book. I can't even read the web page ... half the hokey and half broken flash gadgets break my browser ... I can't look at anything without being confronted with maudlin pro-Redskins (and its owner) inane ads and announcements. Sex sells as do the cheerleaders on The only blog there I respect (Mat Terl's) isn't even listed as a link or menu option on the front page.

But Snyder does somehow manage to make a huge profit from loyal Redskins fans? Who would have thunk it?

Sec3MySofa said...

Not to mention he gets the cliche wrong.

It's a "collective gasp"--as in, all of them, collectively, gasped. No one was running around with a big plastic bag, collecting the gas the STHs were expelling.
As far as I know.

Anonymous said...

How about instead of giving away free tickets and things like that to the fans, they give the fans something that they want a winning team?

Sounds like a novel idea to me, save the promotion money and give it to Dunn

Anonymous said...

SBF and his "queen" are what is wrong with the blogosphere, they are egocentric liars who invent stories ad interviews. What was posted earlier is true, they get to eat without paying whenever they want and do not have tickets that allow them to do so. They get free stuff all the time what pieces of dog excrement he and his "queen" are. He gets free game used items at the end of every year too. He works for NBC and thinks he is a journalist when he is a glorified techie. I have been a season ticketholder since 2005 and you know what I have recieved in recognition of my loyalty...squat...but who cares the free stuff is cheap bread and circuses for the masses...I hope SBF loses his credentials over this whining.

markfd said...


You forgot to mention that he has created a national embarassment for all Nationals fans. No one even comments on his blog anymore because he is so irrelevant.

JaneB said...

NatsFan2005 and Dave: You are so right! That "main event" stuff is so demeaning and insulting! If you listen, you can me down in section 131 screaming about it. It's like we can't be there for the BASEBALL, can we? And even we don't win, I'm always there for the baseball. The stupid presidents will never go, but the way they announce it has to change next season. I've even written about it; not that I've gotten any reply. It's like they think we are a AA ball club. So maybe the problem extends right into the marketing department. Oy. Anyway. I join your ire on this, at 150 decibels.

Golfersal said...

Boy another rough crowd tonight.
Hey JaneB have a thought on the Nyjer announcement, Maybe Nats management paid off MLB to wait until about 15 games left in the season and then have MLB lower the boom on Bonehead with a 15 game suspension. That will be great because then we won't have to worry and talk about Nyjer until March. Even better, if I was MLB I would extend the suspension to 18 games just for the hell of it so that we don't have to worry about Nyjer period for the rest of the year.
I bet you any amount of money that the Nats and the clubhouse wouldn't miss him at all.

HabsProf said...

Re: "It appears Iassogna is going to be giving that outside corner to Lowe tonight..."

That sort of thing doesn't bother me, so long as both pitchers benefit from the same loose strike zone. But I've seen too many games where one pitcher is awarded a more generous strike zone than another. I remember a game between the Braves and the Expos: Maddox vs. Martinez. The umps kept giving Maddox several inches off the plate, but Martinez (in only his first or second year with the 'spos) was getting squeezed. The TV commentators for the Braves kept commenting on it: if they were willing to talk about it, you know it was bad.

Here's hoping the rookie Maya is accorded the same zone as the veteran Lowe.

Anonymous8 said...

Poorly played game so far. Are these Nats awake?

Sec3MySofa said...

Wow, Anon @ 6:42.
I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat old man.
Oh, wait, wrong movie.

Seriously, who kicked your puppy?

Anonymous8 said...

On the Nats320 site, I left a short but sweet message which was somewhat negative to them and of course they didn't post it, and I was really trying to be diplomatic because it was their site. Now I will post here.

Screech's Best Friend, let's not sensationalize in your own mind that you are the greatest fan, ME ME ME with narciscistic fascinations highlighted on your pathetic Nats320 blog.

We all know what your post was really about. You thought you should have been handed the airline tickets.

Who the heck would re-tell the Oakley story from 2009? Just a pathetic human being with no life.

Anonymous said...

Wow, new low for the Nats tonight! I want to be a supporter but they are digressing into a team that does not look like a professional team.

Anonymous said...

Might be time for another scrum ... where's Morgan?

Anonymous said...

Nats320 sucks. His blog is a waste of space. Unfortunately he makes the rest of us fans look terrible. For the Nats FO, how about less free stuff and more winning. Wow, novel idea.

NatinBeantown said...

(and others with a better read on these things)
Forgetting results for a second, the most important thing for tonight is to see what Maya is made of. So far it looks like a junkball pitcher, but with flashes of the guile that Livo has thrived on. I know it's early to draw any conclusions, but where does the actual Maya seem to project for next year? #3? Fighting for #5?

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me said...

We're batting like we have a 10 p.m. flight out of Hartsfield to catch.

Come to think of it, for a few guys on this club, that might not be a bad idea.

Fire Eckstein. Now.

CBinDC said...

Well it has come down to this again ....the team is losing bad again ......Sunshine Bobby and his new sidekick are telling you about how great things are in other cities ... as in damn glad to be out of DC .....and now the fans are ripping each other .....hell of a year so far

CBinDC said...

Lets see if i can play the Riggleman explain it away game ......his first point will be that it was a hell of a pitched game ....he will take his cap and tip it ....sometimes you find you face a hot pitcher ......(only 83 times and counting) ,,,,,,next we just have to work through it ...after all they are playing great but for the pesky score

swang said...


If you think that was short and sweet, and diplomatic to boot. I'd hate to see what you say when you decide to be mean...

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

@CBinDC: Exactly. Knight actually makes Sunshine Bobby look like a roaring pessimist. Man, talk about seeing the glass half full. He's sees an empty glass overflowing with Makers Mark bourbon!

Anonymous said...

If those girls were really friends of Clint, they would have been in much better seats. Case closed.

CBinDC said...

You know I figure if the Nationals FO loose Nats320 they are in trouble. He is their canary in the coalmine.

Anonymous8 said...

swang - usually I am long winded so that was short. Let's just say Nats320 was right about Clint, it still doesn't change the sadness of that blog entry which tells me they need psychiatric help. I was trying to give them some clinical free advice. GET HELP!

Anon at 854 hit it right (seriously), if they were Clints friends they wouldn't be in the last row of the Upper Deck.

I went to the post on and there is nobody supportive of them. Interesting what non-Nats fans think of their whine for help and the story title says it all:

Anonymous said...

Nats320 thinks he can make money from the Lerners. He should no better. After 6 years it is pretty clear; nobody makes money from the Lerners, they make money from YOU!

Golfersal said...

You rag about Nat320 but they have the ear of the Nationals. They shill for them all the time, talk about all of the community service things that are done, write "happy" news about the Nats. At season ticket holder functions they are on first name basis with Stan the Man and gets a lot of access that other season ticket holders don't get.
The site honestly isn't about baseball it's more of a PR front for the Nats to get out their "happy news"

The problem with blogging in general is when bloggers think that they are journalist and can do "investigative reporting"

Anyone of use can do it for about $20 a month. Hey I even have my own site called Golfobserver.Com. It's a bit more professional than I think Nats320 is but still that is the problem with the internet age, lost of folks are taken way too seriously for crap.

Hey, look at that so-call minister in Florida. He runs a rundown church with 30 members that is close to bankrupt but because he got the media ear it became world news. The same with Nats 320, if some yo-yo wouldn't of post it on this site nobody would of given a hoot about it.
Point is all of the crap we are writing about how crappy that site is, is getting them a lot of attention to the point that now sites like NBC.Com are talking about it.

The wonders of the internet age

CBinDC said...

I sure hope we can get a new TV crew for next year I am so tired of being treated as if I am stupid ......they are losing again and Sunshine sounds as if it is just greatness over matching great it's the losing breeding the losing .....please can we get anybody else we have suffered enough

Golfersal said...

Sorry but I am bored and getting tired of watching the Nats play so lousy every game. Wish that MLB would just suspend the Nats for the next 18 games, nobody would miss them. Just have Riggleman bring up the game card at the start saying that the Nats aren't playing today.

I wish that it would be more fun to watch the Maya's, Espnosia's and Ramos but it's getting to hard to watch

Doc said...

Nats down 4 zip and Harris in for Morse. Riggleman must be getting a free car from Willie after the season.

CapPeterson said...

Isn't Rigs thing supposed to be that he can get a last-place team to play hard in Sept? (Wow, what a specialty.) Well, Gentleman Jim, this is what the Lerners are paying you $600K for, time to do your thing.

Clint-on for President said...

The Fan, the movie. Heck, DeNiro only wears a cap and a jacket in most scenes. If he takes off his jacket Nats320 probably won't think he is a fan or at least question that he isn't a season ticket holder.

Sorry, but giving two free round trip airfares to two people that are not wearing anything Nationals, not "Getting Their Red On!!"

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