Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Game 158: Phillies at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jason Marquis faces Roy Oswalt tonight at Nationals Park.
After last night's debacle, the Nationals resume their final home series of the season tonight, with slightly less at stake for the visiting Phillies. Having clinched not only the NL East title last night but also the NL's best record, Philadelphia literally has nothing left to play for.

So there will be nothing at stake tonight other than a ballgame, not to mention the pride of all those involved. First and foremost on that list will be Jason Marquis, who makes the final start of what has been far and away the worst season of his career. If I had said back in February that Marquis, on September 28, would be shooting for win No. 3, what would you have thought? That, of course, is the predicament the veteran right-hander finds himself in tonight, hoping to "improve" to 3-9 and "lower" his ERA into the 6.00s.

Little tweak to the Nationals' lineup tonight: Danny Espinosa will bat sixth, with Nyjer Morgan leading off and Roger Bernadina behind him. They'll be facing Roy Oswalt, trying to beat him for the third time in five tries this season. Considering that this start means nothing for Oswalt other than as a means to get some work in and tune up for the playoffs, I'd be surprised if he goes more than five innings, six tops.

Check back for updates throughout...

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 77 degrees, Wind 9 mph out to RF
CF Nyjer Morgan
LF Roger Bernadina
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam Dunn

RF Michael Morse
2B Danny Espinosa
C Ivan Rodriguez
3B Alberto Gonzalez
P Jason Marquis

PHILLIES (94-63)
SS Jimmy Rollins
LF Raul Ibanez
2B Chase Utley
1B Ryan Howard
CF Ben Francisco
RF Domonic Brown
3B Greg Dobbs
C Brian Schneider
P Roy Oswalt
7:11 p.m. -- We're underway, and Jason Marquis wasted no time retiring the side in the top of the first. Couple of groundballs to second and a long flyball to center field. Much better crowd tonight. Still plenty of Phillies fans, but lots more Nationals fans than were here last night.

7:19 p.m. -- Nats take a 1-0 lead, thanks in large part to a big-time defensive gaffe from the Phillies. With one out and Nyjer Morgan on second base, Ian Desmond hit a comebacker to Roy Oswalt, who turned and had Morgan caught in a rundown. But Jimmy Rollins threw wildly toward third, leaving everyone safe. That set up Adam Dunn's RBI groundout, which was greeted by more "Sign Adam Dunn!" chants from the upper deck.

7:31 p.m. -- Eleven days ago, Jason Marquis retired only one of nine Phillies batters he faced. Tonight, he's already retired six of the first seven he's faced, including the last three via strikeout. Quite impressive. Then again, the Phillies' lineup doesn't include Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Placido Polanco or Carlos Ruiz tonight. I'm sure that's not a factor.

7:52 p.m. -- Still 1-0 Nats through three innings, though here's an encouraging development: Nyjer Morgan has drawn walks in each of his first two at-bats. Jim Riggleman was talking earlier today about the need for Nyjer to get his OBP back up to where it was prior to this season (he had a career .362 OBP entering 2010 but is down to .319 this year).

7:57 p.m. -- Raul Ibanez terrorizes the Nats again. He just clubbed a solo shot to right to tie the game 1-1 in the fourth. I believe that's Ibanez's 756th home run against the Nationals in the last two seasons alone. ... Actually, some quick research reveals he's *only* hit 12.

8:08 p.m. -- Things could have really gotten hairy there for Marquis, who loaded the bases with one out in the fourth. But he got Greg Dobbs to tap a roller back to the mound, leading to a forceout at the plate. Then he caught Brian Schneider looking at a sinker on the inside corner to end the inning in impressive fashion. Still 1-1 as we go to the bottom of the fourth.

8:35 p.m. -- Top of the sixth now, still 1-1 thanks in part to a spectacular play by Danny Espinosa. The rookie second baseman ranged way to his right to field Ryan Howard's grounder and then leaped to throw across his body and nail Howard by a half-step at first, bringing the crowd to its feet. Really impressed with what Espinosa has done at second base despite his lack of experience there.

8:41 p.m. -- That'll do it for Oswalt. You don't often see a starter pulled after five innings of two-hit ball, but there's really no reason for Charlie Manuel to leave him in any longer. Danys Baez now pitching for Philly.

8:52 p.m. --  A forgettable season for Jason Marquis ends on a positive note (one run in six innings). He'll finish with a 2-9 record and 6.60 ERA. Amazingly, that's the lowest his ERA was all season. Tyler Clippard now on to pitch the seventh.

8:59 p.m. -- Tonight's paid attendance: 19,117. Unlike last night, I think close to that many people are actually here. And unlike last night, Phillies fans aren't drowning out Nats fans.

9:15 p.m. -- Gary Cederstrom just ejected Jim Riggleman for arguing a called strike from the dugout.

9:26 p.m. -- Two scoreless innings from Clippard, who is really finishing the season strong. If the Nats can rally to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth (and then hang on in the ninth), Clippard would clinch the staff title in wins with 12.

9:34 p.m. -- Anthony Bastardo strikes out the side in the eighth. Still tied 1-1. No win for Clippard tonight. Drew Storen will pitch the ninth inning of a tie game.

9:44 p.m. -- Nice job by Storen, who struck out two. So we go to the bottom of the ninth of a 1-1 game. Adam Dunn will lead off against Jose Contreras.

9:47 p.m. --  Adam Dunn: Walkoff homer. Nats win 2-1. You can't make this up.


Faraz Shaikh said...

Hard to imagine how we win this one unless Phillies put some ridiculous lineup against Marquis. Even then our chances are slim to beat them.

Tcostant said...

Just want to post a note, set your DVR's on PBS tonight and tomorrow, as Ken Burn's 10th inning is finally ready. Got to meet him the night of Strasburg's debut and he was so cool.

Enjoy, I know I will.


Traveler8 said...

If tremendous Jason (rather than horrendous Jason) shows up I think we have a good chance. The Nats have handily beaten Oswalt before.

Pete said...

I think in general that the entire city of Philadelphia has a massive inferiority complex, which is why the fans act so atrociously. Philly does not have the financial and cultural power of New York. It does not have the political power of D.C. The people there are consistently rated as the fattest and ugliest in the country:



It's known primarily for two things:
1. Boorish fans, and
2. A sandwich garnished with cheese whiz.

I think the fans act the way they do because they feel like people in New York and DC consider Philly to be a dirty pit stop off of I95, inhabited by urban rednecks. So they force us to "recognize" them by acting like morons at sporting events.

Anonymous said...

Pete may well be on to something with regard to Philly fans. Then, again, they could just be boorish, atrocious morons all on their own.

Anonymous said...

Uhmmm, actually that does look like the Phillies backup line up.

Anonymous said...

Silly Philly...hard to believe anyone would live there by choice. No wonder they moved the capitol of the country to DC.

natsfan1a said...

Let's go, good Jason!

sjm105 said...

This had nothing to do with this post by Mark but in response to JayB and others who let us all know how dismal the attendance will be next year and how empty the glass is.

This is one season ticket holder who will watch again next year. I will watch the good games and the bad and I will still root and hope for success. I don't need them to win the pennant to keep my tickets. I would love to see them reach .500 but I will be there no matter what. Its a 20 game plan and will not make or break attendance but its baseball, its in my home town, and except for the Philly fans its an enjoyable experience pretty much every time. There is always one play that leaves you wondering how they did it and I still enjoy the fact that a ground ball to short or third requires almost a perfect execution to get the runner by a step or less. Its a great game and I will never take it for granted. Sorry some of you need nothing but wins to be happy with your team.

Sign Dunn
Sign one more decent starting pitcher

Go Nats

Dryw Loves the Nats said...

sjm 105, I'll be right there with you!

Bobo said...

Hey Everyone!!! I'm looking forward to coming to more games at CBP South next year. Can't make any more games this years, cause I'm a poor, fat, uneducated, blue collar worker from Philly. But I'll come back again soon, and spend my meager, yet hard earned, cash at your stadium (And I'll probably bring about 15K of my friends). You all will then whine, bitch, moan, and complain just like you did this year. You can follow your bunch of sad sack loser of a franchise, watch B. Harper blow out his knee, complain about the big mean Philly fans coming to your nice, clean (and very empty) stadium. You guys posting on this ragtag blog really need to get a new act, these whiny threads about Philly fans are exactly the same as the ones from Opening Weakend (Remember that? I booooo'd your wimpy 3B when he got his little award). I'm glad all you super rich, well educated, refined folks from the DC area don't come to many games, leaves lots of seats for me and my friends.

Bobo said...

Oh yeah, one more thing, I've invited all the Nationals players over to my house for the playoffs, so that they can watch on TV...told them to consider it a standing invitation, you know, for the forseeable future.

Anonymous said...

Very impressive Bobo - now run along home to your basement. And remember, it's not that long ago when the Phillies sucked, were in the bottom tier in the league in attendance, and were treated to "Let's Go, Mets!" chants during "home" games. What goes around comes around. Not that you'll be there - like most of the Phillies' fan base you're likely a bandwagoner along for the ride.


Bobo said...

@JCCfromDC -- that's funny, bandwagoner -- hehe like the Nats fans you are imploring to show up for games? Nats suck, no one comes. Nats wins...will anyone come? If they do are you going to have the stones to call them on not supporting their team when times were bad? Are you going to tell them they are not welcome? To stay home and sit in their fancy libraries and sitting rooms instead of coming out to see the home town team? Yah, I'd like to see that...

The cyclical nature of baseball attendance is not lost on me, see farmers and simple folks have understood that kind of stuff for years, unlike you big fancy rich kids cause you mommies and dadies were rich. It wasn't that long ago that the Phils were drawing less than 2mm -- 2002 and earlier, just like you. And we are still subjected to mets fans that come to games, and everytime, some goofy blog writer, just like mark suckerman, goes onto write about it, trying to drive up hits to their sites. I get it, I really get it, but right now I don't care. I am going to set back, watch the Phils in the playoffs again, maybe they'll win another WS, maybe they won't, but they'll still be playing. The Nats won't be playing, they'll be in my basement with me...watching on TV.

Anonymous said...

Bobo - Did you ever learn anything about sportsmanship? That is the first lesson every Little Leaguer is taught. It is sad that Philly fans have not learned how to behave in someone else's house. (Although the O's fans aren't much better.)

Congratulations on making the play-offs. May the best team win and hope all the games are good games to watch.

LoveDaNats said...

Sorry, I must be a wuss. I have tickets to tonight's game but I refuse to go for reasons like the above tirade. It makes me sad and I love these boys too much to sit and listen to "this is our house" in my own home stadium. I look forward to next season. April is always full of hope. Oh, .....and sign Dunn.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bobo - I'll be at the game tonight, so maybe we can compare fandom bona fides. I never implored Nats fans to show up for a game - to each their own, I say. But I show up. See, I'm not on the bandwagon, I'm a fan. And I'll be cheering louder than any one or two Phillie Phans, though perhaps not louder than all of them. Never give up! Never surrender!


PS: Wealthy. That's really f'n funny. The rich people in this town are from somewhere else, not those of us that were born here.

JayB said...

I'll keep my tickets too.....just please face the facts that we will be one of about 5000 who do and that from a high of 25000 in 2005 the Nats are down to addicts like me who while we do not like bad baseball and reserve the right to complain about tons of lost opportunities to improve, we will pay for baseball in DC.

Anonymous said...

I'll buy season tickets again when the product matches the prices for the seats. That can be done in two ways. Either (A) lower seat prices or (B) get better talent. When either of those things happen, I'll buy the product. Until then, I'll watch on TV.

Another_Sam said...

I was in the park last night with two colleagues -- both Phillies fans. [I left after the top of the order went down without a whimper in the 7th.] Anyway, because of them I watched the visiting team more closely than I usually do. What a pleasure to watch a big league pitcher work. I can only dream.

Stranded_in_Philly said...

@Pete -- I recently moved to Philadelphia (sadly), and have always agreed with your sentiments... the entire city suffers from a massive inferiority complex.

@Bobo -- It's good to see you're making it down to the games! I'm really glad the Make-A-Wish foundation continues to support all of the very special baseball fans out there.

@This whole lack of National fan in general... it'd be nice to see the Nats take their anger and frustration over the lack of fan support to the field. Will the fans show if they start winning? Probably. Will they be bandwagoners? Definitely. One thing Philly and DC have in common... it's a one sport town, with room for teams that win. Both are football towns, but right now the Capitals and Phillies are winning, so the fans are coming out. But I'd like to see the Nats start playing in spite of the fans that aren't there. If the fans aren't showing up... to heck with them. Play exciting baseball and make the fans wish they were there.

End of rant. Adieu

dj in Fl. said...

Remember the Nats first year and the players reaction to us. We knew when to cheer and when not, we knew and recognized the smallest intricacies of the game. Players welcomed new team members with letting them know what a great crowd we were, and how much they were going to love playing in DC. Well, by the end of the third year we were starting to become a bit less vocal because it was just a little less fun. But the hard core like JB, my wife and I and a few thousand others continued to show up. And I am glad JB will be back next, like many of the others, but by this point in the season they are pretty burned out by the false starts and continued failure of the front office to improve the major league talent. Sooner or later the front office will make the moves necessary, maybe not the current owners, and the fans will be there. Down here the Rays players are justified in their outrage at the lack of support. Not necessarily so in DC.

CBinDC said...

Anybody think the MASN crew will be back next year ...and why is Ken Burns so fixated on NY .....this damn doc has now spent 20 mins covering Joe Torres first WS win

JaneB said...

Well, we will be back till we die or go bankrupt. If fewer STH sign up, maybe we will get better seats... We should have sprung for better seats when we first moved from RFK and I've been kicking myself ever since. The glass is half full, even now.

Woo hoo to Jason for a great pitching game. Loving Danny. Loving NATS fans. And a special shout out to natsfan1a...thanks for having my back earlier today.

I'll be braving the phillies fans tomorrow night, just cause it's the last home game.

Sign Dunn! Go Nats!

Go Nats!

David said...

"There's so many things to be thankful for as Americans, but ...not only... in this great capital of ours... the Nationals... have... begin to put together... players that I believe are championship calibre players, Bob". I miss Dibble. LOL what the heck does that mean??? Thanks Ray, for that insight.

Anonymous said...

You look at the 93 win Rays ... led by Price (who won again), Garza and Wade. If they Nats could get one top notch #1 ace like a Grienke to go with what they have now ... with Maya, Detwiler, Zimmermann, Marquis, Lannan, and Livo ... it might just be enough ...

Anonymous said...

Yep definitely ... I think just one true ace ... just one that's the ticket.

JaneB said...


Anonymous said...

Good pitching from an innings eater followed by the pen. And a walk off home run by AD. That is a good formula for winning 1 run ball games.

swang said...


Doc said...

Gee, were the Phillies wrong in signing Ryan Howard because he isn't a gazelle at 1st? AD has him beat in defense.

Get off your tush Ratzo and SIGN ADAM DUNN!!!!

sjm105 said...


Sorry, must of misunderstood your rant. Glad you will be back next year and will never deny your right to be upset about our brand of ball. I hope I never see another double switch. I am hoping we will have at least as many STH as last year after they sign Dunn and one bonafide starter (not Marquis like but Lee or Grienke like)
If Marquis bounces back, J Zimm improves and Maya makes a better adjustment we might make some noise but they must sign Dunn!!

Big Cat said...

I came home and it was tied 1-1. Ray Knight was on his soapbox about ALL the talent we have etc etc etc....blah blah blah. God....give it a rest Ray. I turned it off and watched the golf channel. I hear Dunn won it with a walk off. That is good. I'm goin to bed.

Section 109 said...

sjm105, thank you for your constructive and supportive comments. Most of what I read on some blogs earlier today made me want to jump off a bridge. (Well, I'm exaggerating a bit.) Thank God today's game went as it did. My fiance and I are of course am signing up again next year for our partial season plan. I love this team. And next year I swear I am going to go to CBP when the Nats are playing (assuming I can find tickets on Stub Hub). Get well soon, Strasburg, Flores, and Wang! Jason, congratulations! I am so glad that his season turned around.

dryw said...

1) That play by Espinosa was serious. This kid is good.

2) Did anyone see where that ball landed? I kind of lost it in the jumping up and down and cheering part.

Good night, all.

Slidell said...

All this talk about Dunn's defense costing us runs. Hows that line playing tonight?

Faraz Shaikh said...

@ Mark, really liked your update at 7:57 on Ibanez's HR when you made a reference to the true HR record and great coverage overall. Thank you.

Glad I was wrong again. Marquis has been unpredictable against Phillies. I remember when he matched Halladay not so long, followed it with a terrible one out outing, and now this. Wonder what's up.

Anyways, Mr. Goessling at MASN said that unlikely Nats sign Dunn. Instead, they would go after Werth and Pena, both are Boras agents. I am not exactly sure what's going on. Both of these players don't have the greatest average with runners on. Very similar numbers to Dunn but I see these signings taking place. I will steal a line from another blogger here that 'in Rizzo we trust'.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Actually he did make a mistake tonight. Marquis just overcame it, that's a different issue. Someone lined the ball slightly above Dunn and he couldn't make into a DP. On that same play, Espinosa almost got Howard at third base with his strong throw across the diamond. This kid is special. I hope he finds his stroke / calling so we can utilize his offensive / base running capabilities to the fullest.

CapPeterson said...

Came hoarse from the game tonight, joining the Section 315 section in chanting "Sign Adam Dunn" at every opportunity. What an ending!

Did not have the feeling in our part of the ballpark that we were in enemy territory. Nats' fans easily outnumbered the Phils' fans; had some boorish ones behind us (is there any other kind?), but they set a world record for collecting their belongings and heading out of the ballpark at Adam's shot.

Richard said...

The ball landed half way up the second deck in right center under the Coke sign. A Howitzer shot! Glad I could witness it.

dryw said...

Thanks Richard. That's where it looked like it was headed; I just didn't actually see it land myself! :-)

natsfan1a said...

That was a fun win to watch last night. How appropriate to have a walkoff on walkoff night, even if it wasn't by Zim. Watching on tv as Dunn stepped in, I said, so he hits it out of the park, and they announce his signing the next day. The first part came true, hope that the second part will as well... Loved his parting of the seas gesture as he came down the third baseline.

(And you're welcome, JaneB.)

Pete said...

Went to the game last night. Did not see Bobo there, I assume he was back manning his pump at Sunoco. The Phaithful were predictably quiet, they only chirp while ahead.

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