Friday, April 15, 2011

Series preview: Brewers at Nats

Friday, 7:05 p.m. -- LHP Chris Narveson (1-0, 0.00) vs. LHP Tom Gorzelanny (0-1, 8.44)
TV: MASN Radio: WJFK-106.7 FM, WFED-1500 AM

Saturday, 1:05 p.m. -- RHP Yovani Gallardo (1-0, 2.70) vs. RHP Jason Marquis (0-0, 3.65)
TV: MASN Radio: WJFK-106.7 FM, WFED-1500 AM

Sunday, 1:35 p.m. -- RHP Marco Estrada (1-0, 5.14) vs. RHP Livan Hernandez (1-1, 3.50)
TV: Ch. 50, MASN Radio: WJFK-106.7 FM

Milwaukee lost four straight to the Reds to open the season, causing some mild panic around town, but has since won seven of eight to get back over the .500 mark. And who has been among the biggest contributors? Why, none other than Nyjer Morgan, who has been on an absolute tear since his trade from D.C.

In 12 games, Morgan is hitting .476 with two doubles, two triples, a .522 on-base percentage, a 1.284 OPS and even three successful sacrifice bunts. He's bowled over a couple of catchers, made a couple of nifty plays in the outfield and generally has the entire state of Wisconsin drooling over him.

"I obviously don't think if we play him every day he's going to hit .450," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "But he's been huge for us."

Nyjer probably won't be received well by Nationals fans in his return to the District this weekend, not that he seems too concerned. He's perfectly happy with his new situation, tossing a thinly veiled slap at Jim Riggleman earlier this week.

"There is just good chemistry here, and everybody gets along," Morgan told the Brewers' official website. "That's what you need to have a great ballclub and to succeed. Our goal is to reach the playoffs. It starts from having a good skipper. And when you have a good skipper -- and he brings his personality into the locker room that's full of energy and has a great atmosphere -- that's a piece of the puzzle that people don't realize."

Morgan isn't the only ex-National playing in Milwaukee these days. Wil Nieves has started four games behind the plate. And right-hander Marco Estrada, who had a couple cups of coffee in D.C. in September 2008 and 2009, suddenly finds himself in the Brewers' rotation as a fill-in until Zack Greinke returns from injury.

Nats' best vs. Narveson -- Michael Morse (2-for-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI, K), Rick Ankiel (1-for-2, K), Adam LaRoche (1-for-3, RBI), Ian Desmond (1-for-3, 2 K).
Nats' worst vs. Narveson -- Jayson Werth (0-for-2, BB, K), Laynce Nix (0-for-1), Ivan Rodriguez (1-for-4).
Nats' best vs. Gallardo -- Adam LaRoche (5-for-16, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 5 K), Alex Cora (2-for-7, 2 K).
Nats' worst vs. Gallardo -- Jayson Werth (0-for-7, 4 K), Rick Ankiel (0-for-6, 4 K), Ivan Rodriguez (0-for-4, K), Jerry Hairston (1-for-10, 2B, 5 K).
Nats' best vs. Estrada -- Matt Stairs (1-for-1, HR, RBI), Jayson Werth (1-for-2, K).
Nats' worst vs. Estrada -- Alex Cora (0-for-1, K) Laynce Nix (0-for-1, K).

Brewers' best vs. Gorzelanny -- Ryan Braun (9-for-19, 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 6 BB, 2 K), Wil Nieves (1-for-3, 2B, BB, 2 K), Nyjer Morgan (1-for-3, 3B, K).
Brewers' worst vs. Gorzelanny -- Rickie Weeks (2-for-19, 6 BB, 3 K), Prince Fielder (6-for-27, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 7 K), Casey McGehee (0-for-3, 2 K).
Brewers' best vs. Marquis -- Ryan Braun (7-for-15, 3 2B, RBI, BB, 2 K), Nyjer Morgan (6-for-14, 3B, RBI, BB, 3 K), Craig Counsell (11-for-32, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 3 K).
Brewers' worst vs. Marquis -- Yuniesky Betancourt (0-for-5, K), Rickie Weeks (3-for-11, 3B, 3 BB, 3 K), Prince Fielder (4-for-16, 3 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 6 BB, 2 K).
Brewers' best vs. Hernandez -- Nyjer Morgan (5-for-10, RBI, 3 BB, K), Craig Counsell (17-for-46, 2 2B, 4 RBI, 7 BB, 5 K), Mark Kotsay (13-for-38, 2 2B, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K).
Brewers' worst vs. Hernandez -- Prince Fielder (1-for-14, 2 BB, 3 K), Rickie Weeks (3-for-17, 3B, RBI, BB, 3 K), Ryan Braun (4-for-17, 2B, HR, 5 RBI, K).


TimDz said...

Something tells me that Nyger better be wearing a flack-jacket this series...I think someone is gonna stick a fastball in his ribs...

Anonymous said...

Screw Nyjer and his bull#### antics

Manassas Nats fan said...

Just faced two tough pitchers, and now face the ERA leader in the NL tonight.

Go Nats.

Will said...

Just goes to show why you don't give up on players when you don't have a back up plan. Morgan could have sat on the bench for a while (really? Matt Stairs is more valuable to the Nats future?), or been optioned to the minors. Instead, we sold him for pennies on the dollar, leaving us with leadoff batter with an OBP of .220, when it could have been .522.

Morgan was always a very streaky hitter. We saw a couple months of great play in 2009, then several more of pretty poor play. But even at his worst, he was still a better lead off candidate than Ian Desmond is at his best.

Rizzo's choice to sell Morgan when his value was at its absolute lowest was a huge mistake, especially when he had other options available to him. Very poor GMing, if you ask me.

PDowdy83 said...

Obviously Will, you missed all of the ridiculous negative things Nyjer did last year and apparently they carried over to an incident in spring training. Not to mention the guy can't be a pro and keep his mouth shut and keeps sticking jabs at the Nats. He's a tool and everyone knows he will crash and burn once the honeymoon period is over with the Brew Crew.

If Nyjer had played full time there is no way his OBP would be .522, even his manager admitted that. Do the words SMALL SAMPLE SIZE mean anything to you?

Manassas Nats Fan said...


Nats Average 28th in majors
ERA 14th in majors
Fielding 28th in majors.

Pitchers are doing their part. Time for the everyday guys to start producing and field.

Doc said...

Of all the criticisms of Riggleman, real and imagined, Morgan's barb about his not having managerial support in Nats Land is the least valid, and unfair.

Most times, Riggs went out of his way to support Nyj--even to the point of rousing the ire of the fans.

What Morgan didn't do last year for the Nats, was his own professional performance responsibility.

Steve said...

Just like when Nyjer essentially set the world (or Nats Town) on fire in his first two months when he got here, he's doing it in Milwaukee. If he could focus his energy/anger at these moments of proving others wrong, he could be a really, really good ballplayer. We saw how it worked out here; I think it'll be similar in Milwaukee, but I'd be happy to see him keep it together and prove me wrong.

Unknown said...

I thought from the get go, getting rid of Morgan was a bad idea, and I fault this management for letting it get out of hand. Is Morgan the best--uh, no. But as we're learning lead off is a brutal spot to fill. And remember, his dreadful year last year still reaped a higher OBP than what Desmond posted. I'm a huge fan, but it's stuff like this that really bums me out.

JamesFan said...

I suspect that the Brewers know exactly what they have. They will play Nyjer as long as he keeps this up and sit him when it ends. They never expected him to be everyday. He has something to prove and he's playing very hard. We all know how this is going to end.

Anonymous said...

I hope he leads off the game tonight with a walk. And then we pick him off first base!

bdrube said...

Looks like a rerun of how things played out with FLop, who sulked his way out of town and played very well for awhile upon his departure. I'm more concerned about the fact that we've now had two players who could obviously play decently who got to the point where they just refused to do so for the Nationals. Are FLop and Nyjer the kind of guys you'd want to have a beer with? Obviously not. But if you keep throwing up your hands and discarding talent, your team is never going to be any good.

A DC Wonk said...

Re: small sample size

"But if you keep throwing up your hands and discarding talent"

Let's wait until the end of the season to see what his body of work looks like. Anyone can get on a hot streak, but guys who refuse to run wind sprints (for his salary would you run them?) are better gotten rid of.

Anonymous said...

And then he misses the cut-off man as the winning run scores for the Nats

SonnyG10 said...

I beg to differ with you bdrube. Your team is never going to be any good if you don't throw up your hands and get rid of flawed talent. Nyjer had to go. We will get the lead-off spot filled as soon as Rizzo can make it happen, and we will be better off.
for it.

The Joker said...

Of course, Morgan is the second coming of Ricky Henderson or Willie Wilson or Vince Coleman or Earl combs. Damn it, let's trade Strasburg to get Nyger back.

Anonymous said...

Nyjer is spot on about Riggleman. It does begin and end there. And until they get rid of interim Jim 100 loss seasons will always loom on the horizon.

Iowa Nats Fan said...

For all of the N Morgan apologists apparently out there in the Natsphere:
1) Don't you think that IF last year Morgan had played anywhere close to what he's done the first 12 games this year, and IF he'd kept a lid on his unprofessional antics that he'd still be a Nat?
2) Do you actually think it's management's fault that a 30 year old professional athlete acted like he did? Or that his baserunning and fielding instincts were lacking due to the Nats having a poor GM or Manager?

It's apparent the Nats are having a major funk right now in batting, especially in the leadoff spot, but as for me, I have two words: Good. Riddance.

bdrube said...

@Sonnyg10 - Don't get me wrong. I was one of those who felt Nyjer had to go. I'm just wondering what internal dynamic caused him and FLop to become so badly alienated with the team that they in essence played their way out of town. Players with less than terrific attitudes are a fact of life in sports, but it's tough to win when you just run them out while getting little of value in return.

fpcsteve said...

Steve was spot on. To be successful, Nyjer needs someone or something to to be mad at. With him anger and focus come hand in hand. What happened in Pittsburgh and DC will repeat itself in Milwaukee because he won't be able to stay mad for an entire season. On the issue of Riggleman, I can remember when people thought Joe Altobelli was a poor manager. As soon as he had good players, he led the O's to the WS and won it. Riggleman has been dealt a tough hand. Being mad about losing to Halliday and Lee seems silly. They are great pitchers. In the end, Riggleman can't control injuries and has to play the players Rizzo gives him. Paint doesn't fix rust; it just covers it up. Changing managers won't help, not this year anyway. Just a thought or two...

Section 215, Row A said...

I was thinking about FLop too bdrube. Another player that gets it going for a new team...for awhile. I wouldn't expect Nyjer to be a Brewer any longer than FLop was a Cardinal or a Diamondback or a Brewer or a Red Sox or a Ray.

meixler said...

Did anybody else see Nyjer leading off Sportscenter's Not Top 10 today?

PDowdy83 said...

FLop is a great example. He took off for awhile after the Nats got rid of him then Boras failed to get him the huge contract he thought he deserved and he had a below average season. What a waste of talent that guy is. He should easily be playing 2nd base every day for somebody and hitting 15 homers and stealing 30 bases a year if he could remove his head from his own ass.

PDowdy83 said...

I'm sad I missed that meixler. What did he do that landed him on there?

Bowdenball said...

My wish is that Nieves sees some action too, and that the fans give him a very warm welcome. I'd love for the inevitable and justified booing of Morgan to get that perspective.

A DC Wonk said...

quoting from above:

"And until they get rid of interim Jim 100 loss seasons will always loom on the horizon"

Yeah -- on the horizon behind us!

Anonymous said...

Riggleman has been dealt a tough hand. Being mad about losing to Halliday and Lee seems silly. They are great pitchers. In the end, Riggleman can't control injuries and has to play the players Rizzo gives him.

On @fpcSteve's thoughts.

Normally I think I and many would concur with your thinking were it not

The Cristian Guzman shenanigans playing Guzman in right field?

Harris slumping badly double switched in for the hot bat of Morse?
After 2 home runs?

Continually playing JMax and forcing us to wince under at his futility.

After much fanfare and a long talk about starting Ramos Riggleman
continues to alternate with the now futile bat of IRod? And Ramos is
the only player on this team with a hot bat? And now even Flores has a hit? Riggleman now has 3 catchers is he using them in double switches as he normally would do ... were it not for?

why is the futile bat of Hairston in the line up ... even before the Zimmermann injury???? There most certainly are alternatives to Hairston starting with Bixler and Bynum in Syracuse not to mention Morse?

I could go on about the pitching as well ... the guy almost burned out the bullpen last year.

My thought and point is that too often his double switching isn't intended to win games ... instead? Its purpose to defer to veterans ... respect veterans AND LOSE GAMES!

FS said...

I care less about what Morgan thinks of our team and manager now. He can keep talking trash for all I care. I want to pay attention to what happens on the field. Once again, we will be facing couple of tough pitchers in Narveson and Gallardo. Hopefully we can continue battling and take the series for a change. ;)

Oh and I hope no one from Nats staff drills Morgan and starts some fiasco. Do not want any of that nonsense. Morgan left and took all that BS with him. Just strike him out 9 times and I will be happy.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully, they'll play hard and Riggleman will stop producing lineups and double-switching like he is a "Legends of the Game" celebrity spectacle.

Play to win Giggleman!

Unknown said...

Look at Morgan's career stats, everyone. You'd think he never had a decent season the way you all write. He had a career .347 OBP. Again, I'm not saying he's a great player, but at this point we'd kill to find a lead off hitter who can do that. Ankiel has NEVER had an OBP that high. Not once. Great, let's go out and get a bunch of "pros" who can't hit. Oh wait, we already have that team.

MurrayTheRed said...

Sorry about all you guys, but I think Morgan was a class act. The ball in the outfield incident is a simple, he didn't see it and thought it was a home run. The fight after they hit him once and then threw behind him at the next at bat, I support his rush. To me the only thing he did that he really needed to apologize for was the taunting the opposing teams fans after the fight. Think about all the good things he's brought in, the silver elvis wig, tony push, the excitement when he's coming to the plate. The should have not traded him.

I will be cheering him, when he comes to the plate and telling him that we miss him. Screw the rest of you.

Scooter said...

Other than the screwing, Murray, I appreciate the sentiment. I enjoyed the good; the bad was unfortunate; I like the cat and wish him well.

natsfan1a said...

Ditto what Murray and Scooter said (also minus the imperative statement).

phil dunn said...

Give Nyjer credit---he can recognize a good skipper from a bad one.

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