Friday, October 1, 2010

Game 160: Nats at Mets

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The rain should clear from Citi Field in time for tonight's game.
NEW YORK -- As you can tell from the above photo, I made it to Citi Field safe and sound after Mother Nature (and United Airlines) threw a wrench into my travel plans this morning. But you'll be happy to know the drive was incredible smooth -- made it door to door in 4 1/2 hours, which has to be a record or something. Thanks to everyone for the words of encouragement and support along the way.

As you can also tell from the above photo, it's raining here in the Big Apple. We're experiencing the last stages of the tropical storm that swept through D.C. yesterday. The good news is it's all supposed to clear out well before gametime, so we should be good to go at 7:10 p.m. as scheduled.

Not exactly a pair of "A" lineups from either team for the first game of this season-closing series. Feels more like a split-squad game in Port St. Lucie. But it'll be interesting as always to see Jordan Zimmermann pitch and see if he can end his season on a high note.

Updates to come throughout, so be sure to check back along the way...

Where: Citi Field
Gametime: 7:10 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 61 degrees, Wind 14 mph in from LF
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Nyjer Morgan
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam Dunn

RF Michael Morse
C Ivan Rodriguez
LF Justin Maxwell
3B Alberto Gonzalez
P Jordan Zimmermann

METS (77-82)
SS Jose Reyes
RF Jesus Feliciano
CF Angel Pagan
1B Ike Davis
LF Lucas Duda
3B Mike Hessman
C Josh Thole
2B Ruben Tejada
P Pat Misch
6:48 p.m. -- There is nobody -- I mean NOBODY -- in the stands here right now, 20 minutes before first pitch. There are more men wearing lederhosen dancing on the warning track at this moment than paying customers in the stands. Seriously. Men in lederhosen, twirling around to some kind of oompa music from an Oktoberfest band. Meanwhile, there have been reports all over New York today that Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya are getting fired. Which comes as no surprise. Except for the fact neither man has been told he's being fired yet. Any time you complain about the Nationals being a poorly run franchise, thank your lucky stars you don't root for the Mets. These guys are a disaster right now.

7:11 p.m. -- And we are underway with a fastball for ball one from Pat Misch to Danny Espinosa. The rain has long since cleared out, but it's a bit chilly at 64 degrees with a nice wind blowing in from left field.

7:17 p.m. -- Two-out single from Ian Desmond, but nothing else in the top of the first. Espinosa and Nyjer Morgan each grounded out, and Adam Dunn struck out (for the 196th time this season, for whatever that's worth). Jordan Zimmermann taking the mound now for the bottom of the first.

7:26 p.m. -- Mostly clean bottom of the first for Zimmermann, the only blemish a two-out single by Angel Pagan that turned into two bases after Justin Maxwell booted the ball. Not the kind of thing that's going to help Maxwell's cause in the long run. Zimmermann, though, otherwise looked strong and got out of the inning with a weaker grounder to first. Scoreless after one.

7:45 p.m. -- Solid second inning from Zimmermann. He allowed a bloop single to Josh Thole but locked up Lucas Duda's knees with a great curveball for his first strikeout of the night, and induced a couple more groundballs. Still scoreless here after two.

7:58 p.m. -- Another good inning for Zimmermann, who has now put up three zeroes, allowing two weak singles. He's recorded seven of nine outs on groundballs and has thrown only 45 pitches through three. Still waiting for tonight's first run.

8:08 p.m. -- Ike Davis puts the Mets on the board, blasting a solo homer to right in the bottom of the fourth. The homer came on an 89-mph pitch from Zimmermann, which I have to presume was a fastball (though not nearly as fast as his other fastballs have been). Maybe it was a sinker. May have to ask Jordan afterward about that one. Mets lead 1-0 in the fourth.

8:35 p.m. -- Offense is at a serious premium tonight. Through 5 1/2 innings, there have been five combined hits. Just nothing from either side. Zimmermann has been solid, especially when using his curveball. Fastball velocity, though, has seemed down. Low-90s at best. It is kind of chilly here, maybe that has something to do with it. Or maybe the radar gun here is slow. Not sure. Mets still up 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth.

8:42 p.m. -- Remember Adam Dunn's walk-off homer Tuesday night against the Phillies? Don't lose that memory, because it may be the last positive one you'll have of him in a Nats uniform. Since that game-winner, he's 0-for-7 with six strikeouts. Wore the Golden Sombrero on Wednesday, and tonight's he's 0-for-3 with two more whiffs.

8:44 p.m. -- Michael Morse to the rescue. Just crushed a 2-1 pitch from Pat Misch into the center-field bleachers for his 14th homer in 262 at-bats this season. We are tied 1-1 in the top of the seventh.

8:50 p.m. -- Put a wrap on Jordan Zimmermann's season, which ends on a definite high note: six innings of one-run, three-hit ball. Overall, he'll finish with a 1-2 record and 4.94 ERA in seven starts, with 27 strikeouts and 10 walks in 31 innings. Basically, he had three really good starts (at Florida, vs. Atlanta, at New York) and four not-so-good starts. Definitely some encouraging signs for next season. Now, you just want to see him display some consistency and build up stamina to pitch deeper in games.

8:57 p.m. -- Um, why did Nyjer Morgan just try to catch a routine fly ball to LEFT field? And worse, why was Justin Maxwell charged with the error when all he did was attempt to make a routine play to his actual position on the field? Just wretched defense there from Nyjer, allowing the Mets to stay alive in the bottom of the seventh.

9:02 p.m. -- Peralta gets out of it by striking out Thole and getting Tejada to pop out to second. Amazingly, Nyjer Morgan didn't call Espinosa off. Still 1-1 through seven.

9:13 p.m. -- Roy Halladay's final pitching line against the Nats: 8 ip, 3 h, 1 r, 1 bb, 10 k. Oh wait, it wasn't Halladay out there tonight. It was Pat Misch. Sorry, was difficult to tell the difference. Still 1-1 as we go to the ninth.

9:24 p.m. -- One-out walk for Desmond in the top of the ninth, but neither Dunn nor Morse could drive him in. So we go to the bottom of the ninth, with Sean Burnett still on the mound trying to send this one to extra innings.

9:29 p.m. -- As he has so often done this season, Burnett shuts 'em down. Six up, six down tonight. So we go to the 10th inning of a 1-1 game.

9:40 p.m. -- That's now 14 strikeouts for the Mets pitching staff in 10 innings. The Nats have three hits to this point. Three.

9:44 p.m. -- Tyler Clippard. Josh Thole. Right-field bleachers. Nats lose 2-1 in 10.


Stew Magnuson said...

Whether or not you made it in 4 and half hours and it was relatively smooth, you should be commended for driving the dreaded I-95. That road is truly awful.

Bob said...

Glad you made it Mark.

Wow....Mike Hessman, I used to watch him when he played for the Richmond Braves.....

Nate said...

Sadly,with Zimm and Willingham out, I'd say that is the Nationals "A" lineup. Hopefully they'll do better against the Mets B-team than they did against the Phillies on Wednesday.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid that is our A lineup right now. Unless you prefer Willie Harris, of course.

"Lucas Duda." Reminds me of Paul LoDuca. In LF, for the Nats, batting second or something god awful. Good times.


Knoxville Nat said...

Would prefer to see Maxwell (with a better arm) in CF and Morgan in LF. Actually I think I'd prefer Maxwell in CF and noted Mets killer, Willie Harris in LF.

Souldrummer said...

The Mets are just dancing in the streets that we picked JMax over Willie Harris.

JD said...

The Mets lineup doesn't remind any one of the 29 Yankees either. I wander how many fans will show up for this titanic encounter in this wonderful weather?

I am going tomorrow; hopefully to see win no. 70.

JD said...


The Mets checked out a long time ago; All they care about is the beach at Aruba,

natsfan1a said...

Glad you made it okay, Mark.

Hope our guys can get it done without Willie Harris: Mets killer... :-)

Souldrummer said...

Mike Hessman never gives up!

Daniel said...

Rumors abound that Minaya and Manuel will lose their job come Monday (

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the Nats seem to have as much trouble with B teams then they have with A teams. Beyond that, they are a poor road team. I don't like our chances to get to 70 wins. My guess is 69 at best.

JD said...

Anon @ 4:53

At the end of the day it doesn't matter much; 70 does sound a bit better than 68 or 69.

NatsJack in Florida said...

OK... Just got back from Lakeland and beautiful Joker-Marchant Stadium were I watched the Tigers and the nats FIL teams play to a 3 - 3 tie.

Highlight of the day was Bryce Harpers 2nd home run of the FIL games (he hit one either Tuesday or Wednesday into the wind, opposite field in Viera. Rickie Hague had walked with one out followed by a Derek Norris strikeout and for some reason, the Tigers lifted the lefthander that wa pitching for a righthander. The second pitch Bryce saw was a fastball up and in that he promptly turned on and deposited over the RF wall and the palm trees behind that wall that are supposed to protect the covered batting cages that the Tigers use. Two locals who attend spring training games as well as Tigers class "A" ball said that was only the fourth one that they remember landing that far on the roof of the cages.

Other than that, Derek Norris threw out a guy stealing second and looked great behind the plate. Randolph Odruber made three real good catches in CF and 18 YO Gregori Baez pitched a perfect 3 innings with 3 K's.

I'm going over tomorrow to watch the game in Viera to watch them play the Astros.

Doc said...

Thanks NatsJack! It's great to get your reports.
Some of that talent may find its way to the Nats.

Mjames (1) said...

I know I am in the minority on this but I continue to have some faith in Maxwell. From a pure fielding perspective he is a better center fielder than either Morgan or Bernadina. He arm is superior to Morgan's and close to Bernadina's. His base running is on par or better than Morgan's.

I know he has not hit but I have noticed that he has shorten his swing and his bat speed is better than either Morgan's or Bernadina's. I have nothing against Bernadina but I don't understand why all the experts put him in the "core " class on the team. His swing is so long that he ends up swinging with one hand most of the time. Maxwell has all the tools except hitting. He has no discipline at the plate. I am not ready to give up on him just yet and I hope Rizzo doesn't.

Anonymous said...

@mjames - If you platooned Maxwell and Bernadina in CF next year, I think the combo could hold their own. not a long term solution but at least suitable and preferable over watching Morgan

Souldrummer said...

Thanks so much for the updates. There's somebody down there watching the instructional league stuff, but I don't know where to find the content. Your update is a big help.

JaneB said...

Thanks for the scouting report NatsJack.

And for making it up there to report on the game, Mark.

Go Nats!

dryw said...

And Michael Morse makes another argument for making the team next year. I for one am looking forward to seeing more of him!

dryw said...

Ok, that's the second time Nyjer has been involved with a non-catch this evening. Is he saying anything at all out there to let the other guys know where he is?? We all know he's got a lot to say in other situations....

Milo said...

And the Nats still need a competent leadoff hitter and competent center fielder.

Michael J. Hayde said...

"Um, why did Nyjer Morgan just try to catch a routine fly ball to LEFT field? And worse, why was Justin Maxwell charged with the error when all he did was attempt to make a routine play to his actual position on the field?"

Hmmmm... Ray Knight (you know, the guy we love because he isn't Dibble) just said, "The center fielder has the right-of-way." So, that might answer both your questions. Your anti-Nyjer bias is fast becoming embarrassing, Mark.

Michael J. Hayde said...

"Oh wait, it wasn't Halladay out there tonight. It was Pat Misch. Sorry, was difficult to tell the difference."

If you believe that, it's a good thing the season is coming to an end. It might've been funnier if you'd said "Livan Hernandez" instead of Halliday... Misch was throwing the same kind of slop and getting Livanesque results.

dj in Fl. said...

Such timing by Nyjer. Right after your article saying we will probably have the same outfield next year. I know of at least one change that has to be made.

Sec3MySofa said...

Michael, you left out the part where Ray said "...IF Nyjer called for the ball loud and clear."

From what I could see on the replay (not at all definitive, but all we have), it's not at all clear Nyjer called him off, and it was very clear Maxwell was saying "I got it!" I like Nyjer, but I'm not at all sure he called for that one. And it was pretty much right at Maxwell in left, another point Ray and Bob made.

And you knew the Halliday remark was a joke on how the Nats were hitting, not how Misch pitched, right?

Anonymous said...

With that strikeout, Alberto Gonzalez cements - at least for today - one of the worst seasons of all time. He is now the third player since 1901 to have over 175 AB with 4 RBI. Well done.

The Anti-Clint said...

To be fair, the Mets only have three hits as well. I think both teams just suck equally as bad right now.

The Anti-Clint said...

Gee. The Nats lose an extra-inning game. Surprise.

Feel Wood said...

"Um, why did Nyjer Morgan just try to catch a routine fly ball to LEFT field? And worse, why was Justin Maxwell charged with the error when all he did was attempt to make a routine play to his actual position on the field?"

Maxwell was probably charged with the error because the ball bounced right off his glove. Morgan never touched the ball. Usually it's the guy who gets his hand on the ball that gets charged with the error - especially in cases where there's no guy throwing it to him on the other end.

Harper_ROY_2012 said...

And I thought the Phillies game was the most embarrassing point of the season but nope Justin Maxwell's two drops and 14Ks take the cake. Mark I hope you didn't jab your eyes out after witnessing this catastrophe!

Sec3MySofa said...

AK in NatsJournal has a post where Nyjer basically acknowledges that fly ball drop was his fault.

hondo 69 said...

sec 3, obviously Mr. Hayde didn't get Mark's joke. He only heard part of what Ray said because it fit his theory of what happened on that play. You are WRONG, Mr. Hayde!! Maxwell clearly called Nyjer "the hockey puck" off the ball. As usual, Morgan, with ABSOLUTELY ZERO instincts for the game, was totally out of control in bumping into Maxwell to cause the ball to be dropped. With a competent official scorer, Nyjer should have been charged with the error, as he basically admitted after the game.

The only embarrassing thing around this game is you, Mr. Hayde! Mark just reports what he sees. Mark, as well as most of us commenting on this blog, are only anti-knucklehead ballplaying. Nyjer, with his hockey mentality, is incapable of playing smart, fundamentally sound baseball.

Now, THAT'S an anti-Nyjer bias!! This team needs a competent CF and leadoff hitter BADLY! I refuse to believe that Mike Rizzo, a lifer in scouting and player development, would bring Morgan back next year after the way he has embarrassed this team and organization with his antics and poor attitude.

Michael J. Hayde said...

LOL! Cool your jets, Hondo! Trust me, we're well aware that Nyjer has had some boneheaded moments this season, and he's obviously just as aware. But to claim that a player who has made at least a score of highlight-reel catches this season is "incapable of playing smart, fundamentally sound baseball" just displays your own lack of baseball knowledge.

Since the manager is incapable of stirring up this team's emotions, it's a good thing we've got at least one player that can do it. So just let go of the "hockey player" crap and enjoy a damned good ballplayer. Based on the jerseys I see at the park (ever been there, Hondo, or is the sofa just too durned comfy?), Nyjer has far more fans than detractors. It'll be a sad day for Natstown if he's cut loose.

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