Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Game 145: Nats at Braves

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Livan Hernandez is in search of his elusive 10th win tonight at Turner Field.
ATLANTA — Remember when Livan Hernandez was the Nationals' best pitcher? Yeah, not so much anymore. Over his last four starts, the big guy is 1-3 with a 9.70 ERA. Opponents are hitting .364 against him.

All of a sudden, what had been a really impressive season is looking only like a solid-though-unspectacular season. Livo deserves to have a better record than 9-11, but the fact remains he still hasn't hit double digits in that category yet.

Hernandez will get another crack at win No. 10 tonight against Jair Jurrjens and the Braves. Same lineup as last night, aside from Ivan Rodriguez back behind the plate.

Check back for updates throughout the evening...

Where: Turner Field
Gametime: 7:10 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Mostly sunny, 84 degrees, Wind 3 mph out to LF
2B Danny Espinosa
SS Ian Desmond
LF Roger Bernadina
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
RF Michael Morse
CF Nyjer Morgan
C Ivan Rodriguez
P Livan Hernandez

BRAVES (83-62)
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 Jair Jurrjens

7:10 p.m. -- We're underway at Turner Field with a fastball from Jair Jurrjens to Danny Espinosa for strike one. Another gorgeous evening in Atlanta, 85 degrees at first pitch.

7:14 p.m. -- Jurrjens sure made that look easy. 1-2-3 in the top of the first. Espinosa fouled out to the catcher to lead things off. Since his two-homer, six-RBI game on September 6, he's gone 1-for-19 at the plate.

7:25 p.m. -- Typical Livo in the bottom of the first. And I mean that in a good sense. He did walk Jason Heyward but otherwise through slop up there and got the Braves' hitters to bite. Omar Infante tapped a comebacker. Martin Prado flied out to right. And Brian McCann, shortly after fouling off a 60-mph Bugs Bunny curveball, was caught looking at an 80-mph heater for strike three. We go to the second inning, no score.

7:33 p.m. -- There's a sign beyond the center-field concourse here that reads "460." As in, it's 460 feet from the plate to that spot. Well, Adam Dunn crushed a ball past that marker and deeper toward straightaway center field. Had to be at least 470-475 feet, which would rank among the longest home runs ever hit in this ballpark, according to the locals. More importantly, Dunn's 35th homer of the year came with Ryan Zimmerman on first base and gave the Nats a 2-0 lead in the second inning.

7:39 p.m. -- And now Livo ropes a double over Nate McLouth's head in center field to score Nyjer Morgan and put the Nats up 3-0. Amazingly, that was only Livo's second RBI of the season.

8:03 p.m. -- We've completed three innings now, the Nats still up 3-0. They threatened to add to the lead in the top of the third after Zimmerman and Dunn each singled with two outs. But Morse flied out to end that inning without anyone crossing the plate. Livo, meanwhile, worked his way out of a jam in the bottom of the third, getting Martin Prado to fly out to keep the shutout intact.

8:11 p.m. -- Home run for Livo! He entered tonight with one RBI. He now has two in two at-bats. Nats lead 4-0 in the fourth.

8:37 p.m. -- Check out the homepage for the Nationals' complete 2011 schedule, which was just announced. They open at home against the Braves on Thursday, March 31.

8:39 p.m. -- About that Livo home run: It was the first homer hit by a Nationals pitcher since Ramon Ortiz went deep on Labor Day 2006 in the bottom of the eighth inning while tossing a no-hitter. As Ramon would have said: "It's crazy, man!"

8:40 p.m. -- Meanwhile, the Nats still lead 4-0 after five innings as Livo continues to put together his best start in several weeks. Jurrjens is done for the Braves, replaced by lefty Eric O'Flaherty.

9:05 p.m. -- Seventh-inning stretch now, with the Nats ahead 5-0 thanks to Danny Espinosa's double, Ian Desmond's sac bunt and Roger Bernadina's sac fly in the top of this inning. Livo's back out for the bottom of the seventh sitting on 90 pitches. We'll see how far Jim Riggleman lets him go.

9:10 p.m. -- Eight-pitch innings certainly help your cause. Livo cruises through the seventh, he's now at 98 pitches with the shutout intact.

9:35 p.m. -- Ian Desmond clubs his 10th homer of the season, a solo shot to center. He becomes the 10th NL rookie to reach double digits in homers this season. Florida's Mike Stanton leads the way with 20. Roger Bernadina also has 10 for the Nats. It's now 6-0 with Livo poised to come back out for the ninth sitting on 118 pitches.

9:42 p.m. -- Oh, well. Sean Burnett's on to pitch the ninth. Livo's final line: 8 ip, 5 h, 0 r, 2 bb, 6 k, 1 hbp.

9:49 p.m. -- That's your ballgame. Nats win 6-0 for only their fifth shutout victory of the season. Livo improves to 10-11, plus he's the hitting star with a homer, a double and two RBI.


JayB said...


What is the vib in the clubhouse and in the front office. Is everyone just going to accept this losing as in past years OR is someone going to step up and do something about it? Rizzo talking off the record at all?

Anonymous said...

I bet if Rizzo is talking off the record he's using real English words and not made-up ones like JayB.

Michael J. Hayde said...

And, last time I checked, "off-the-record" means not for publication... even in the comments section of a blog.

JayB said...

Mark could report something like FO is starting to doubt some of their early season optimism about the team they put together. I have heard from a few folks that they are losing patience with several coaches on the staff and are disappointed in the lack of veteran leadership that they counted on this season.....Or he could say that FO is standing behind their of season moves and think this is just a short term problem, they think the coaching staff is doing everything right and fans just don't know the game....OR he could do nothing and report nothing.

Knoxville Nat said...

Maybe "off the record" Rizzo is saying something along the lines of how he wishes commentators on a blog would pay more attention to their day job and let him do his job without the unsolicited advice.

Steve M. said...

JayB, you know what is going on so why even ask. Mark is not going to give you insider information that isn't for public consumption.

Steve M. said...

To me you can break up the season into the 1st 45 days of what they did that worked, the middle 60 which included Strasburg and the lack of offensive production and very poor fielding, and then analyze the last 60 games of the season which takes you from the trading deadline to the end of the season.

Something clicked from right after Opening Day even with some really unwatchable games like Jason Marquis's blowups, but this team fought back and was nicely over .500 then the wheels slowly started to come off.

I think Riggleman lost his intensity and started accepting losses and Rizzo did nothing during the season besides getting rid of Bruney to really improve the team.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

We must miss Goozie more than we thought. Or Willingham.

carolync said...

Livo isn't going to get a win unless some offense shows up. Lowe and Wagner made our hitters look really bad. The unsolicited advice from this blogger is that Rizzo had better be thinking about how to bring in some consistent hitting.

JaneB said...

SO ODD that MLB can't decide the fate of Nyjer. How complicated could it be? Does it always take this long? And if they stick with 15 games but there AREN'T 15 games left in this season by the time they decide, does it come out of next year, so he can't start the season with (fill-in-the-name-of-the-team-he'll-be-with-next-year)?

I am not in or even near the clubhouse so, truly, what do I know? But I cannot for a minute imagine these guys are down with finishing up with 60 or 61 wins. We're getting pretty depressed and little snarky, we fans. We can help in the morphic field by seeing the good in what's happening. And even if all that's happening is early spring training for Maya and Ramos and Espinosa, that's not all bad.

And if it helps the Braves top those Phillies in the meantime, it's definitely not all bad.

Go Nats!

Pilchard said...

Agree that MLB has dragged its feet for too long on the Nyjer suspension. Even so, not sure why Riggs continues to throw him out there.

Given Livo's declining numbers heading into this season, his currenty slide was predictable. Innings eaters aren't so effective when they are giving up runs at a rate of 9 runs a game.

Michael J. Hayde said...

Did you hear Knight calling out Desmond for his errors last night? I was almost impressed, until he had to qualify his critique (several times) by saying Desmond was a wonderful player, great hitter, MLB-ready instincts, yada, yada, yada.

God, how I miss Rob Dibble. At least when he justly called someone out, they stayed called out. You'll notice that, almost from the day Dibble was dumped, this team went into the dumper itself. Forget Booth - this is the Dibble Curse. And it serves 'em right.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me said...

Yeah, I miss Dibble. Like I miss a stubborn case of Athlete's Foot. Knight isn't Vin Scully -- heck's he's not even Ron Darling -- but at least I'm not reaching for the aspirin bottle by the third inning, as I was with Sir Dibbs.

Everyone, repeat after me: Charlie and Dave are better...Charlie and Dave are better...Charlie and Dave are better...

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me said...

The Big Dunn-key just got a little more bargaining power with Rizzo, et al.

The Anti-Clint said...

Does Ray Knight ever shut up? Even after he is critical of someone, he the proceeds to blabber about how good so-and-so is. He was praising Justin Maxwell a few days ago and I couldn't believe it. He was going on and on about what a great player he is and I couldn't find the mute button fast enough. I think Knight is good on the pre- and post-game shows, but he doesn't belong in the booth, except as an occassional fill-in. I'm interested to see who Dibble's permanent replacement will be, though I'm sure we won't know anything prior to end of the season.

Michael J. Hayde said...

"Everyone, repeat after me: Charlie and Dave are better...Charlie and Dave are better...Charlie and Dave are better..."

Yeah, they are. If only anyone more than 15 miles past the WFED transmitter could hear 'em.

Sorry about your athlete's foot. When I get it, I refer to it as "Ray Knight."

Dryw Loves the Nats said...

Mark, I'm impressed that you just typed "80-mph heater" with an apparently straight face. Not that I can see you, but I just didn't get a sense of you giggling behind that post. Gotta love Livo!!

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me said...

Scoop time:

Nats open 2011 schedule at home on Thursday, March 31. Against Atlanta.

I guess the league is sending StanK a message that it doesn't appreciate his I-95 WIP "Come on Down" Tour.

NatsNut said...


Mayhemnsuz said...

Livo needs offense. Livo makes offense.

Doc said...

If a man wants to get the job done right, he's gotta do it himself!! G0000000 Livo!!!

Sec3MySofa said...

"Does Ray Knight ever shut up? Even after he is critical of someone, he the proceeds to blabber about how good so-and-so is."

OK, srsly, I just don't get this. Knight said what he had to say, and then balanced it, because he's not there to be hating or snarking--he's talking about baseball. He's not the most articulate guy, but he supplies good insights and details.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know why Livo gave the bat to the Braves fan in the front row in the top of the 8th?

Golfersal said...

Glad to see the Nationals finally waking up with the bats.

Also nice to see Adam Dunn waking up with the bat today.

Funny everyone talks about how the Nationals have to sign Adam Dunn. Guys lets be realistic, what happens if Dunn isn't on the team, can things get any lower than it is now?
Yes Dunn is great with the bat at times, but that is the problem. He is very inconsistent and he even admits to having an average of three slumps per season.

Let me give you some stats for those that say we have to sign Adam Dunn.

Right now for every at-bat he makes about $12,000. For every game he makes about $60,000. We all make that for a day don't we?
Just like with what happened with Aaron Crow and Soriano, I believe that you make an offer and if someone else gives you something better good luck to them.
Everyone was ticked when both Alfonso and Crow weren't signed but hey what has happened to them now??
Same with Teixeira, it's frightening to think that he makes a cool $41,000 at bat. When does the money train end???

I really feel that both Rizzo and Dunn will get together and figure something out. I agree, I wouldn't give Dunn a three or four year contract. I think that Rizzo is smart and knows that Dunn is a good old boy that loves his life style in Washington. Dunn also, I have heard, loves low pressure situations and some have told me that the Nats is right up his alley, low pressure, good clubhouse, easy manager to work for. Rizzo knows that and come October he will talk with Dunn and figure out some compromise and I feel that Dunn will get a two year contract for $20 million with incentives plus a one year extension at $15 million if the Nats want to do it.

Oh, one thing that I should of asked up front. Does any of you think that we are getting our money's worth out of Dunn at $10 million a year? I don't think so.
Do the math and ask me, how many games has the Nats won thanks to Dunn. Go back in the memory banks and tell me how many times that Dunn has given the Nats a walkoff hit to win a game? How many times has Dunn given us a winning hit in the last innings period. Bet you it's not that much.

So every time you folks write how we should sign Dunn, think about this. For 2010 Dunn has earned $2.1 million dollars for his 175 strikeouts. Good work if you can get it.

JaneB said...

Anon at 9:56 Livo was talking to hem at every at bat. I bet he was just being a great guy. I love Livan. I love everything about him.

Faraz Shaikh said...

I am not ashamed to admit that I have loved Livan before and will continue to do so.

Anonymous said...

Prediction: Next year Livo hands off some of his mantle to former bat boy Yuneski Maya. Maya will win double digits and perhaps so will Livo.

A DC Wonk said...

Maya will win double digits...

Oh? Can Maya hit doubles and homers, too? ;-)

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