Sunday, September 26, 2010

Game 156: Braves at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Livan Hernandez faces rookie Brandon Beachy today at Nationals Park.
Ryan Zimmerman is out of the Nationals' lineup with a strained rib muscle for the fourth straight day, which is not all that surprising. The Nationals figured to take the extreme cautious route with their star third baseman, and I don't think anyone would be surprised if Zim doesn't return to play this season. At this point, is it really worth the risk?

Danny Espinosa, who sat yesterday, returns to the leadoff spot in Jim Riggleman's lineup today, with Nyjer Morgan batting second and Ian Desmond hitting third. This will definitely be an interesting dilemma for Riggleman next season, assuming all three players are regulars in the Nats' 2011 lineup. Which two bat in the top two spots, and where does the other guy wind up? Both Espinosa and Desmond have potential to drive in runs, so perhaps the 6-hole could work for either. Then again, they both have speed, and Desmond has been his best this season when hitting second.

Livan Hernandez takes the mound today for his penultimate start of the season. Given the way he's pitched all year, it would be a shame for Livo to wind up with a losing record. But at 10-12, he's going to need to get the win in each of these last two starts just to salvage a .500 record.

With right-hander Jair Jurrjens hampered by a meniscus tear in his knee, the Braves are forced to send rookie Brandon Beachy to the mound for only his second career start today. Given what's at stake -- the Phillies could clinch the NL East with a win and a Nats win -- it's not an ideal scenario for Bobby Cox, who will be honored before today's game (his last one in Washington as Atlanta manager).

Thanks to everyone who turned out for yesterday's informal meet-and-greet in the stands. It was a real treat to meet so many of you and chat about both the team and the website. For those who couldn't make it, sorry we didn't get a chance to meet in person, but hopefully we'll cross paths down the road.

I'm not at the ballpark today, but I'll be back out there tomorrow and will have full coverage of all of the Nationals' final six games of the season. Enjoy the ongoing conversation with each other, and to those of you at the park: Stay dry!...

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Chance of showers, 69 degrees, Wind 8 mph in from CF
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Nyjer Morgan
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam Dunn
RF Michael Morse
LF Roger Bernadina
C Ivan Rodriguez
3B Alberto Gonzalez
P Livan Hernandez

BRAVES (87-68)
2B Omar Infante
RF Jason Heyward
3B Martin Prado
C Brian McCann
1B Freddie Freeman
SS Alex Gonzalez
LF Melky Cabrera
CF Rick Ankiel
P Brandon Beachy


Kevin Rusch, Section406 said...

something tells me that photo's not from today. :-)

Faraz Shaikh said...

@ Kevin, "I'm not at the ballpark today."

I don't know why some people are so fixated on ball park pictures just before the game. Makes no sense to me.

Anyways, would love to see Livan end a solid season on a high note.

Faraz Shaikh said...

why so quiet here today? Nats are leading 2-1 after Ankiel hit HR in top of the fifth. We got one hit from Espinosa but that was erased when he was caught stealing right after Morgan struck out swinging. Ian also got called out on strikes. Livan has been decent I guess.

JaneB said...

C'mon Ian!

Another_Sam said...

IMHO, Livan's already locked up the openening day start next year.

Dryw Loves the Nats said...

Much more fun than yesterday! Not just because we won; the game was a better game. But I do love winning. Starting to see chances for more of it next year.....SIGN ADAM DUNN!

natsfan1a said...

Yeah, that was a lot more fun than yesterday, and it's sooo much nicer to ride back on a happy train.

Sec3MySofa said...

that sounds like it should be a euphemism for something...
"Looks like she's on the Happy Train!"

natsfan1a said...

Perhaps, but then there's the matter of riding the sad train. :-)

natsfan1a said...

A close relative is the happy bus, which I've ridden from Wrigley to the Loop.

Anonymous said...

Yet, this offseason is looking more and more perilous ... one false move and ...

The loss of Strasburg, the time its taking for Zimmermann and Detwiler to become consistent, reliable major league starters is making trading for a top notch top-of-the-rotation power pitcher ace almost a hard requirement for 2011.

In 2 -3 years the rotation should hopefully be fairly stable depending less on pitch-to-contact innings eaters. But for now looks like they need help from outside to improve over this year's record.

Tcostant said...

I said all alone that 2011 could be ugly. Zimmermann needs a full season before we should consider him back. Maya doesn't look that impressive. Please pay up and sign Yu Darvish, he was the BEST pitcher I saw last year in the World Baseball Classic.

I saw it, this guy is a #1 ML starter.

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