Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Game 159: Phillies at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
If the weather cooperates, the Nats will play their home finale tonight.
And so we have arrived at the final home game of the season. Or least the final scheduled home game of the season. As you can see, the tarp is back on the field and the forecast doesn't look promising. Rain throughout the evening, though actually predicts "light rain" between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., as opposed to the heavier stuff that's supposed to arrive later. If they somehow can't play tonight, they'll announce a makeup game for 1 p.m. tomorrow. But with even heavier rain and wind expected tomorrow from this tropical storm making its way up the East Coast, I can't imagine they'd have any chance of playing tomorrow. So it's entirely possible the Nats will finish the season with 161 games for the second time in three years.

If they do ever play this game, Ross Detwiler will be starting for the Nationals, looking to continue his late-season upswing and once again give the organization reason to consider him for next year's rotation. It's basically the same situation Detwiler found himself in a year ago. Perhaps he'll be able to take advantage of the opportunity this time around.

No Ryan Zimmerman in the Nats' lineup for the seventh straight day. Adam Dunn, of course, is in his familiar cleanup spot for what could be his final home game as a National.

Weather and game updates to come, so check back throughout the afternoon and evening...

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Rain, 79 degrees, Wind 6 mph in from RF
CF Nyjer Morgan
2B Danny Espinosa
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam Dunn

RF Michael Morse
LF Willie Harris
C Wilson Ramos
3B Alberto Gonzalez
P Ross Detwiler

PHILLIES (94-64)
SS Jimmy Rollins
2B Wilson Valdez
CF Shane Victorino
1B Mike Sweeney
LF Ben Francisco
RF John Mayberry
3B Greg Dobbs
C Paul Hoover
P Joe Blanton
5:48 p.m. -- Weather update: Nothing really new to report. The tarp has been on the field all afternoon. BP was taken indoors. But they've opened the stadium gates and as of now, this game is scheduled to begin on time. It's only raining lightly, so they can certainly play through it if it stays like this. Won't be the most enjoyable conditions to watch or play a game in, but it is playable.

7:06 p.m. -- We are indeed underway on time, with a ball from Ross Detwiler to Jimmy Rollins.

7:09 p.m. -- Nine pitches, seven strikes, three outs from Detwiler in the top of the first? That'll work.

7:14 p.m. -- Then again, Detwiler's first inning paled in comparison to Joe Blanton's six-pitch bottom of the first, which included a weak grounder to first and two foul outs.

7:20 p.m. -- And Detwiler serves up a solo homer to the Phillies' cleanup-hitting first baseman ... Mike Sweeney. And then he serves up a solo homer to the Phillies' No. 5-hitting left fielder ... Ben Francisco. Yikes. Phillies up 2-0 in the second.

7:35 p.m. -- Six up, six down for Blanton.

7:44 p.m. -- Make it nine up and nine down for Roy Halladay. Wait, that's Joe Blanton out there? Oy.

8:28 p.m. -- Well, this one got ugly in a hurry. It's now the middle of the sixth with the Phillies holding a commanding 7-1 lead. Detwiler was yanked after 4 2/3 labored innings, having served up four (yes, four) home runs. Offensively, the Nats have amassed all of one hit in five innings against Blanton.

8:39 p.m. -- Not exactly a sterling performance from Adam Dunn tonight: 0-for-3, three strikeouts.

8:53 p.m. -- Tonight's paid attendance: 20,026. Total season attendance: 1,828,066. That's an increase of 10,840 from last year.

9:12 p.m. -- If you're wondering ... average attendance for home games Stephen Strasburg was scheduled to start: 34,271. Average attendance for all other home games: 21,286.

9:15 p.m. -- Meanwhile, there's still a game going on here. Phillies still lead 7-1 as we go to the ninth. Not much else to say about that.

9:22 p.m. -- We go to the bottom of the ninth. Just like last night, Adam Dunn will lead off. Unlike last night, he can't win the game with one swing. Unless solo home runs now count for seven runs.

9:25 p.m. -- Standing ovation for Dunn as he steps to the plate to face Brad Lidge. And he proceeds to strike out, giving him the Golden Sombrero for the night. Oy.

9:30 p.m. -- That's a wrap. Nats lose 7-1. They finish with a 41-40 record at home this season, their best mark since 2005.


Michael J. Hayde said...

I'll be at the game tonight (if there is one) - Section 237 - and so help me, if I'm surrounded by a bunch of drunken Philthies fans talking smack, I will chant "Let's Go, Yankees" so loud, they'll hear me all the way up to Scranton.

JaneB said...

Michael, that will be me in 131 right below you joining in. It seems to me that the "Sign Adam Dunn" chants begin from in or near your section every night. I join in that, too.

Happy last home game every one. If they get it in, I hope Ross is as good as gold, for his sake, more than anything else. Non, I lie. We can get to 70 if he does well tonight!

Michael J. Hayde said...

JaneB, I'm rooting for Ross followed by handing the Mets a three-game flushing in Flushing for an even 72!

Let's Go, Nationals!!!

dryw said...

Michael, PLEASE can't we chant something like "Let's go Tampa Bay?" I know the history is not nearly the same, but I'm not sure I can join in the other chant. My voice box doesn't work that way. :-)

Suicide Squeeze said...

I'll be there tonight, although I don't know where I'm sitting yet.

This could be like the game when Randy Johnson was pitching for win number 300 -- didn't officially call it until 11:45 PM. Could be a long day...

...but a bad day at the ballpark beats a good day at work.

Feel Wood said...

You guys should be yelling "Let's Go Twins!"
for these reasons:

(a) Matt Capps.
(2) That franchise's earliest pennants are hanging up above the big scoreboard at Nationals Park.

Second choice: "Let's Go Rangers!" Those guys' ancestors used to play in RFK. (Bob Short is dead and rotting in hell, so it's okay to root for them now.)

Michael J. Hayde said...

dryw, understood. But I was at that horrible Opening Day game, and in the middle of it, an entire section of Philthies began chanting "Yankees Suck!" Poor devils; too drunk to remember where they were, or who was playing... or that their team had lost the WS last year!

So, get 'em where it really hurts, I say!

Raff said...

Mark & Peanut Gallery:

I'd appreciate your thoughts on this:

Tonight might be Willie Harris's last night as a Nat. His productivity decline since 2008 has mirrored -- and perhaps is a result of -- his playing-time decline.

Could the Nats keep Harris as a super-sub (i.e., one who can play IF/OF), give him one game per week in LF (desirable b/c Willingham might be, as the Nats' front office has said, a 500 AB/yr guy, not a 600 AB/yr guy), and give him one game per week at 2B (allowing Danny and Desmond to have a day off during alternate weeks)?

That kind of regular playing time might allow Harris to regain his form, while keeping Josh, Danny, and Desi fresh through the end of September.

Disclosure: I like Harris a lot and I seem to be at the ballpark whenever he has a memorable homer, diving catch, or baserunning heroics.

bzlrbi said...

Mark says this would be a 1pm game tomorrow if tonight is a rainout. Why the hurry? Phillies play in Atlanta Friday night; Nats in NY on Friday night. Seems they could just as easily have a 430pm or 705pm game tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Note to Mark Zuckerman:

The Mets also play on the East Coast, said Tropical Storm will also effect the weather there? And so?

nationals anthems said...

If Dunn should be so kind as to welcome back the grind of batting 4th behind the sainted Z

He'd refine the slugging art in our batting order's heart while the Hammer looks the part with his new knee!

But the prospect is for naught if the influential thought is that the balls that aren't caught by dear old Fred

Dig him such a value crater that all the bombs and all the taters that he hits to the spectators hold no cred.

Rizzo sits upon his hands, lets the players vent and fans chant their uninformed demands into deaf ears

Because the Nationals need more than 3 infielders to keep the score down to a max of 3 or 4 to win next year.

NatsNut said...

I wouldn't worry too much about Phillies fans tonight. They were pretty docile last night and the weather was better.

Sec3MySofa said...

Let me answer with a question: why bother? He's a bench guy. They need a better bench desperately. If you're going to play roster gin rummy, that's the kind of player you drop and pick up.

Sec3MySofa said...

Don't get me wrong, I like Willie Harris, and I wish him well wherever he next plays, but he's not likely to help this team, and two days a week, at different positions, isn't likely to be enough to accomplish what you're talking about.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Raff: I'm a Willie Harris fan as well, and I think he could be a really valuable player on a good team that needed his versatile skills. But I don't think it makes sense for either side to come back here next year. I think Willie's best when he gets about 300 at-bats, starts anywhere from 2-4 times per week at a variety of positions. The Nats as currently built don't really set up well for that. They've got an everyday third baseman, an everyday left fielder, probably an everyday second baseman and no shortage of platoon-outfield candidates for center and right fields. Personally, I'll be sorry to see Willie go, but I think it'll be best for him and for the Nats to part ways.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but Willie's skills seem to definitely be declining ... not just at the plate but in the field!!!!! He looked lost many times in right which is one reason he lost his starting job there. At third base and second he looked just as miserable?

Sorry but you can't use lack of playing time at a position as an excuse for Harris. Riggleman got him into plenty of games. How many games did Espinosa play before he started at second base in the majors. Fewer than Willie Harris that's for sure.

And its not Willie but the situations that his manager herr Double Switch puts him into to prove his worth. Willie always has a good attitude but he is aging rapidly in terms of his baseball skills.

BinM said...


Sorry, but I have to come down on the negative side as well. Super Willie is no more; As a 32yo FA, he'll be looking to catch on with a team as a 4th/5th OF who can also contribute at 2B-3B. He still has occaisional 'pop' at the plate, but his range is starting to slide, and he looked overmatched in RF this year as well.

dj in Fl. said...

MLB Trade Rumors is reporting that Rizzo informed Ladson that the Nats want to sign a
front line pitcher and Dunn this off season.
We can only hope.

dj in Fl. said...

Missed this part
'And a leadoff hitter'.

Mark Zuckerman said...

dj in Fl.: Rizzo held a session with all of us just a little while ago, during which he said his No. 1 priority this winter is acquiring a No. 1 starter. As for Dunn, Rizzo said the Nats need to have a cleanup hitter/first baseman next season. He said "we want it to be Adam Dunn" but he also said if it's not Dunn, he needs to find someone else to fill that role.

I'm working on a full story right now for Will post a link once it's up.

CapPeterson said...

Not to pile on, but IMO Willie looked very shaky last night playing that lazy fly ball by Gload in the 7th into a single. Way too much hang time for that one to drop.

And in terms of who's leading the way on the "sign Adam Dunn" chants, let me argue for my section 315 (I'm on a partial plan) colleagues. Got some crazies there who bring signs like the card section at UCLA. These guys and gals start their cheers on their own; right underneath the press box so very visible to press and audible for radio and TV.

Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity, what number one starters are out there this offseason besides Lee? He'd be great, but I doubt he'd be willing to come here, or that the Lerners would outbid the Yankees.

JayB said...

Willie's skills have fallen such that he will not be on a roster by July of 2011. He used to be able to catch balls.....and run bases...he has just aged 4 year in this one year. does the fastball look.....any improvement....I know you wrote about this the next day after I asked during Ross D's last start....I am in a meeting so I can not see it right now...

JayB said...

Just got gameday to load on my phone....89MPH Fastball hit for the second HR......Mark...just like last week's question....are the concerned about Ross D's new slower fastball...He needs a major off season weight program to get some strength in his legs and core.

JaneB said...

My hearts breaking for Ross

JayB said...

90 MPH fastball for a 3 run HR....someone has to address the issue of lost 5 to 6 MPH on his fastball....I understand Mark wrote about it from Riggs and Ross surprise they publicly say they are not worried....what are the "super smart" new Front Office guys saying...what are opposition scouts saying....would another team trade for him?

JayB said...

That last one was a 88 MPH "change up"???? says FX....I doubt was a Fastball....can you check Mark...if so that is 4 HR's on Fastballs between 88 and 90....not sure why they are pitching him....get him into the weight room and get some meat on him...posted that thought in July when he first game back...he was not ready then and he is not ready now.

CBinDC said...

Has anybody heard anyone say what they thought of this final homestand. I read something MarkL said about it being water on his brain or something like that but I read nothing else .....What about the new FOFO does he speak StanK happy his friends are happy ??

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me said...

This is dangerous, I know, but I'm starting to side with JayB on Det. His loss of velocity since the hip surgery is quite startling. He's like a 6-foot-5 Lannan now, but without the savvy and knowledge of the hitters. He gets the ball up (above the knee) and it's batting practice. Here's my revised 2011 Rizzo-approved rotation:

1. Rizzo's goodie bag selection, but probably Livo.
2. Lannan.
3. J. Zimm'nn (yeah, I know this is a problem).
4. Maya (See No. 4).
5. Marquis.

JayB said...

ouch....that is 90 loses easy.

CBinDC said...

I am going back between the game and PBS Baseball the Ken Burns time line DC disappears in the 8th and 9th innings and returns in the bottom of the 10th

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Mark sez: Tonight's paid attendance: 20,026. Total season attendance: 1,828,066. That's an increase of 10,840 from last year.

Take a bow, StanK.

With no StanK, does that mean the WIP "Come on down victory tour" can be retired as well?

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Bob and Ray on the Television Machine are starting to sound like this might be it for that distinguished duo?

Any way we can bring Tom Paciorek back?

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me said...

Did I just hear Ray Knight say the Nats have a "solid defense" in place for 2011?

Nicest guy in the world, but I think the tools are getting a little rusty in his shed.

Doc said...

Be forewarned when Wigglelman and Ratzo say they are 'not worried' about Detweiller's reduced speed on his FB.

They uttered the same BS in the spring when Lannan and Marquis were having problems!

N. Cognito said...

Doc said...
"Be forewarned when Wigglelman and Ratzo say they are 'not worried' about Detweiller's reduced speed on his FB."

They are not worried because they expect it to be back up by next Spring.

Post a Comment