Sunday, May 22, 2011

Game 46: Nats at Orioles

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
It's the rubber game of the Battle of the Beltways today at Camden Yards.
BALTIMORE -- Interleague play allows for a bit of lineup tinkering, and Jim Riggleman is trying something a little different for today's series finale against the Orioles: Both of his catchers are starting.

Ivan Rodriguez will be behind the plate, but Wilson Ramos will serve as DH. Can't fault the logic behind this move, because both guys have been among the Nationals' better hitters of late. And even if something were to happen to Pudge, Ramos could take over as catcher and the Nats would simply lose the DH and play by NL rules the rest of the way.

Adam LaRoche also gets today off, with Michael Morse starting at first base. Obviously, Riggleman sacrifices some defense by doing that, but LaRoche has shown no signs of snapping out of his season-long funk at the plate, and Morse has been swinging a bit of a hot bat himself (5 for his last 12).

Check back all afternoon for updates...

Where: Camden Yards
Gametime: 1:35 p.m.
TV: MASN, MASN2, Ch. 50
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 181
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 80 degrees, Wind 11 mph in from RF
CF Roger Bernadina
SS Ian Desmond
LF Laynce Nix
RF Jayson Werth
DH Wilson Ramos
1B Michael Morse
2B Danny Espinosa
C Ivan Rodriguez
3B Alex Cora
(P Jordan Zimmermann)

ORIOLES (20-23)
LF Felix Pie
CF Adam Jones
RF Nick Markakis
DH Vladimir Guerrero
C Matt Wieters
1B Luke Scott
3B Mark Reynolds
SS J.J. Hardy
2B Robert Andino
(P Chris Tillman)
12:18 p.m. -- As you know, Adam LaRoche is not in the Nationals' lineup today. He's going to get his left shoulder, which has been bothering him all season, re-examined to see if his condition (a partially torn labrum) has gotten worse. LaRoche has maintained all along the injury was not affecting his swing, but clearly he's not producing at the plate, especially in the power department. We'll see what comes out of this latest exam.

1:39 p.m. -- And this game is off to a bizarre start. Roger Bernadina appeared to beat out a bunt to get things started, but all of a sudden Jim Riggleman came out to argue with plate umpire Todd Tichenor, who ruled that Bernadina bunted the ball after he had left the batter's box. Riggleman was right in Tichenor's face, got into the box at one point to demonstrate and then was ejected. Wow.

1:45 p.m. -- That call came back to hurt the Nats, because Ian Desmond followed with a double to deep right-center that might have scored Bernadina from first. Instead, Desmond wound up stranded on second after Laynce Nix struck out and Jayson Werth grounded out to end the inning.

2:03 p.m. -- Another potential rally quashed in the second when Danny Espinosa is called out looking at a third strike and Michael Morse is thrown out trying to steal.

2:15 p.m. -- The Nats catch a break in the bottom of the second, when Mark Reynolds smokes a double to right-center that probably would have scored Luke Scott from first. But the ball bounced high off the spongy warning track and over the fence, so Scott was held up at third. And when J.J. Hardy lined out to end the inning, both runners remained on base. So we're still scoreless here through two.

2:23 p.m. -- Another missed opportunity in the third. Bernadina came about a foot short of a two-run homer to right (he even managed not to step on the plate as he hit the ball). That left runners on second and third with one out. But both Desmond and Nix struck out swinging, neither of them particularly good at-bats against Tillman. Nats are 0-for-4 today with runners in scoring position.

2:52 p.m. -- Just when you thought the Nats might never get a hit with a runner in scoring position (they were 0-for-6), Alex Cora came to the rescue. Smoked a comebacker that ricocheted off the mound and then was bobbled by third baseman Mark Reynolds. That allowed Jayson Werth to score and put the Nats up 1-0 in the fourth. Might have been a much bigger lead, but Roger Bernadina (who is absolutely snakebitten today) came up a foot short of yet another home run, this one would have been a grand slam. They'll have to settle for the one-run lead.

2:57 p.m. -- Zimmermann settling into a nice groove here. He just retired the side in the fourth in the blink of an eye and has retired seven straight.

3:12 p.m. -- I think it's "Hit It To The Warning Track Day" here at Camden Yards. J.J. Hardy just missed a homer by a few feet himself, with Bernadina matching the catch up against the wall. Nats still lead 1-0 through five, and Tillman is out. Jeremy Accardo in to pitch for Baltimore.

3:27 p.m. -- Quite the outing for Zimmermann. He's allowed one hit through six innings and has retired 13 in a row. Really beginning to establish himself as a front-line big-league pitcher. Still 1-0 after six.

3:41 p.m. -- And just like that, Zimmermann and the Nats are trailing 2-1. Markakis led off the seventh with a single to right. Guerrero then tattooed an 0-2 pitch from Zimmermann over the left-field fence. Another fine outing by the kid spoiled.

4:00 p.m. -- The seventh inning, at long last, is over. Somehow, Tyler Clippard managed to not allow another run, even though he walked two and loaded the bases. Big strikeout of Felix Pie to end the inning, the Nats still trailing 2-1.

4:06 p.m. -- And they go down 1-2-3 in the eighth. They're down to their final three outs.

4:15 p.m. -- Here comes Kevin Gregg for the ninth. It'll be Pudge, Cora and Bernadina for the Nats in the ninth.

4:26 p.m. -- It's over, as Bernadina strikes out and Brian Bixler is thrown out trying to steal second. Nats lose a really tough one, 2-1, with Zimmermann (2-5) taking a hard-luck loss.


Anonymous8 said...

This is the top batting average lineup taking LaRoche and Stares out. Let's hope JZim and the Nats hitters can make it a W for this one!

Anonymous said...

I hope this isn't another Ch 50 fakeout...

jd said...

I have been looking over Brad Peacock's performances this year and I,m a bit baffled. Peacock has been with the team since 2007 and has gone through every level from the GCL to Harrisburg; his performances have been consistently mediocre at every level for 4 years now all of the sudden he is pitching at an incredibly high level which could not have been predicted.

Mark; have you heard any discussion about this internally? has he developed a new trick pitch or something? is he considered a real prospect?

All the guys in Syracuse have been fair with the exception of Detwiler who has been pretty disappointing; I can see Milone and/or Meyers with a shot at the majors at some point because they will perform at roughly the same level as Lannan but cost a lot less; still these are all 4th and 5th starters.

Doc said...

Glad to see that Riggleman is taking our advice on using Morse at 1B---I mean how bad does LaRouche have to get at the plate before he is forced to grab some pine.

Keep it up Jim, and we'll make you an honorary member of the Nats Insider!

This is our game---Goooooooooooooooo JZimm, Goooooooooooooooooo Nats!!!!!

JD said...


Just as long as you don't whine when Morse can't dig out a throw in the dirt.

Grandstander said...

So, is Stares going to be released? As Mark noted earlier, if he's not going to DH, why is he on the roster? Are they just gonna have him take up a roster spot until Ankiel gets activated because there's no one else to bring up?

Why not bring up Josh Wilkie for a cup of coffee and carry an extra reliever? It's better than just having a guy sitting on the bench who can't do anything.

Hopefully this lineup can produce some runs. Werth seems to be heating up a bit and with LaRoche out this is the first time we've had a solid 1-5 this season.

Doc said...

JD, I promise!

If he has a good day at the plate, I'll expect reciprocal kudos from you.

Goooooooooooooo Mickey Morse!

Goooooooooooooooooooooo Nats!

BinM said...

JD: Something clicked for Brad Peacock last year in Potomac, in that he found a change-up. He now has three pitches that he can throw for strikes anywhere in the count. His numbers in HAR so far are probably well beyond what most people on the Nationals staff ever expected to see from a 41st-rounder.

CBinDC said...

Well if you want any more proof of the Nationals second class maybe third class treatment on MASN ...the Nationals section has not been updated for since Friday and now the link ads are all Baltocentric ....I wish I knew what FP said about the Baltocentric nature of this occupation broadcast ......I said before and will say it again this is like having to have dinner with the person who sued to take the right-of-way to your property and charges you a toll to get in your house. Lets hope that we can make them choke on their crabs hon.

Cwj said...

Got a good feeling about this game.
Maybe if the game is close in the later innings, LaRoche will come in as defensive replacement.
Go Nats!!!

LSU2003MPA said...

Wow..2 whole pitches before Riggleman gets thrown out. Hope this is not a sign of what to expect today. Come on Nats....Let's go!

CBinDC said...

Sooo once again on the short short end of the call by rookie AAA umpire ......why does not Riggleman just make it worth a toss and throw a base or bat or a few loud choice words I can hear on the surround sound ....ohhhh brother

Manassas Nats Fan said...

LOved how the FP jumped on Hunter for defending the umpire. You can't multi task at home plate. Either you are watching the pitch of the batters feet you can't watch both to make a call like he did.

dj in Fl said...

Riggleman does not get paid enough to pay the fine foe throwing things.

Way to give them heck in the booth FP

LSU03DC said...

Who takes over for RIggleman?

Section 222 said...

The ump wasn't multitasking. The play was right in front of him, and the replay showed he was correct. All the complaining by Nats announcers (and fans) is getting kind of old, and this really takes the cake. FP needs to save his beefing for plays when the ump actually misses the call. The O's announcers made fun of him and then ignored him. Well deserved.

TimDz said...

McLaren the bench coach takes over...
The walk to Scott was a joke...Znn had strike three...interestingly, they didn't show a replay on the pitchtrack...

Anonymous said...

McLaren, the guy who got fired in Seattle, the guy Interim Jim Riggleman took over for.

Anonymous said...

I am liking FP ... wrong or right sticking up for Nats fans ... against the McPoop Brown's.

LSU03DC said...

Thanks! The Nats are blowing too many chances to drive in runs. Need to play smarter.

Manassas Nats Fan said...

The stepping on the plate occurs about once a week that I have watched baseball for 50 years. Never once have I seen it called. It like the phantom DP it just is ignored. WHy not ignored today?

Do the players not know the strike zone. TO often swing at balls and not swing at strikes.

- for 4 RISP nothing new there.

Anonymous said...

JD: Something clicked for Brad Peacock last year in Potomac, in that he found a change-up. He now has three pitches that he can throw for strikes anywhere in the count. His numbers in HAR so far are probably well beyond what most people on the Nationals staff ever expected to see from a 41st-rounder.

Brad Meyers has been throwing up similar numbers. Limiting walks and so has a reasonable ERA but a WHIP under 1. Stammen has a complete game and a shutout in addition to similar numbers with a slightly above 1 WHIP. Maya pretty much the same ... he by far has the largest repertoire of major league pitches. All for a dead last team with no offense early on. Peacock will likely get promoted sooner than later. Detwiler might just end up in the bullpen or get swapped back to AA.

Anonymous said...

Marerro is up to .278 now following a pretty consistent offensive path throughout his minor league career. He also now has 4 home runs having hit one today in support of an 8-0 lead for Craig Stammen.

Cavalier83 said...

Just saw a replay on the pitch track of Tillman's close pitch to Morse. Like someone said replay of Zimmermann's to Scott.

Manassas Nats Fan said...

1 for 8 RISP now. Way to go Alex Cora at least you got a hit, where everyone else has failed.

LSU03DC said...

I hate Comcast. Sitting down to watch the game thru the MLB package that I paid for and the MLB package goes down. Not the other cable channels, just the ones I paid extra for. Now I am missing the Nats game and Comcast said they cant do anything about it till Thursday. Thanks Comcast for ruining my Sunday.

dj in Fl. said...

Extra Innings is working fine down here on Comcast. Can not believe they would even hint at being down that long.

LSU03DC said...

Wait, it is working for you? WTF?? They lied to me then! They told he the entire package was interrupted. Oh now Im pissed

Cwj said...

That really sucks LSU03DC.
Can you get the radio broadcast?

LSU03DC said...

what channel is it on over the internet? Im in Texas atm

Anonymous said...

At least Flanagan is in the booth today. He I can handle anytime. Palmer, Hunter the rest of the crock pot of Ori-holes no.

Anonymous8 said...

I will ask the same question again. You have one of the best bullpens in the Majors and they are rested. Why do you bring Jordan Zimmermann out in the 7th when you can go Clippard, Burnett and Storen with a 1-0 lead.

Anonymous said...

I will ask the same question again. You have one of the best bullpens in the Majors and they are rested.

Because Zimmermann was pitching a 1 hitter and looking pretty dominant. Now look at what Clippard did? Its hard to know when to pull a starter and in a 1 - 0 game with three potential innings left? They really need worry about scoring runs not worry about switching out pitching.

Cwj said...

As Anon8 said the Nats have a dominant bullpen. I would have pulled Zimmermann after the 6th.
Seems to be a new trend for the Nats to leave in their starters one batter too many.
Then again, it's a tough call.
At least we can't blame Riggs for this.

Cwj said...

Very frustrating series. Hard to believe they scored 17 runs two days ago.

Dave said...

"Washington Nationals. Expect it."

I am deeply sorry to say that I got pretty much what I expected today. Bummer par excellence.

Bobby Knight said...

WHay would anyone take a third strike with the runner moving and allow a strike'm out throw out double play. Either both batters are not very smart, or not very well coached. I will take the second guess.

I cannot believe for well over 2 seasons now I have called for Eck's firing, and every day I wake up and he still here. I guess I will never see the day where we get a coach who is aggressively coaching in.

Anonymous said...

You don't run on Weiter's arm but nobody told Rigglemam. Nats deserve to lose.

Anonymous said...

As Anon8 said the Nats have a dominant bullpen. I would have pulled Zimmermann after the 6th.

And Clippard was dilly-dallying, walking hitters worrying about base runners when he should have been pitching. They almost scored more runs.

Zimmermann looked dominant (unlike Marquis two nights ago). He is the defacto #1 starter. At some point you have to start treating him like he is the #1 or #2 starter not a #4/#5 back of the rotation starter. And you see what happens ...

McLaren did the right thing IMHO. Its what the Nats did not do that's glaring and that's drive in runs with men on base. They had bases loaded a couple of time?

They now are 5 games under .500 ... if they start creeping toward 10 under changes will be made by Rizzo. Have to see what he decides. Certainly, at this point Marquis presents as some decent trade bait. 3 starters in Syracuse look ready ... and 1 in Harrisburg.

Manassas Nats Fan said...

There was no indication that Zim was tiring. Only had 84 pitches. I had no problem going into the 7th. My problem was I would not let him pitch to the runner who could take the lead. Once the first single was done, he was out.

How on earth do the batter in many more games than not screw our pitchers by not hitting. Do they feel no guilt. If so then fix if not just keep doing the same thing.

Manassas Nats Fan said...

Why wait to get 10 below .500 to make changes. be proactive.

That is my problem, the reason they lose most of the games they lose exactly the same. So fix the problem. IF these guys aren't interested in producing get someone who is.

NG said...

You would think the anonymous pot-shots against Riggleman wouldn't come up for a play he had nothing to do with, but you'd be wrong...

Ribuld said...

The headless ghost of Ted Williams couldn't teach these guys how to hit.

CBinDC said...

So the post game show can not have a desk on these games ???? WOW how low can you go

CBinDC said...

Here we are with the Nationals in the same down spiral that had last year did not end until JULY last year can they at least stop in June ?????

Manassas Nats Fan said...

I teach history and history repeats itself unless you change what caused the history. They improved the fielding, and not the hitting. They need to improve the hitting now too.

WilliamTells said...

Only Riggleman would get himself tossed on the first play of the game over a call that (while rare) was indisputably correct. Mark, I'd like to pitch a show idea to CSN: a weekly strategy session with Riggles. Working title? Jim's Amateur Hour.

WilliamTells said...

P.S. - I'm taking my family and friends to the game next weekend for Memorial Day weekend. If Stairs is still on the roster though, I'm afraid I can't refer to it as "major league baseball" to them with a straight face.

Golfersal said...

Does anyone else think that the way MASN does this series, sucks.
I may not be as favorable on F.P. Santangelo as I should be, but F.P. and Bob Carpenter are our guys. The last thing I want is a three man booth with Orioles guys.
I also hate getting a Orioles point of view, graphics and overall bias toward the Os. It's not like there guys are bad, they are first class but they are Oriole guys and I want my guys.
Of course it will change in a couple of weeks when the Nats are home, but I really feel strongly that we should have our own broadcast and our own bias. MASN has two networks, just do a Orioles show and a Nats show and forget this shared production.

Mark, I really feel you should do a poll of readers to see how many others feel the same way. Thanks

WilliamTells said...

Golfersal - I completely agree. I felt bad for F.P.. Listening to him with the O's bias all around made me feel like when I visit family and end up listening to everyone around me talk politics. Oy.

FS said...

I was at the game. Nick Markakis beat us. Believe it or not, two very crucial plays. Werth could not score on Pudge's flyout because Markakis's throw was spot on. He also tracked down Bernadina's liner with bases loaded. Two huge plays where nats could have busted the game right open. Jordan pitched well. He cruised until the seventh (except that 2nd or third inning where couple of runners were in scoring position). I was sitting where Vlad hit the homer. As soon as he did that, I knew we had little chance of a comeback.

masnstinks said...

I HATE the mixed coverage. I absolutely do not think this would happen anywhere else. If it does, please let us know. I don't need a constant reminder of the way Angelos tried to keep the nats out of dc and blackmailed mlb. If I wanted to see Orioles coverage I would change to MASN 1 -- the main masn station, where you will find the O's - the nats get relegated to masn 1 - if you can find it. There's a good reason for my blog name.

Cwj said...

@Anon 4:34- Re bullpen and Zimm.
Yeah, I have no idea why Clippard was so distracted by the runner (who was apparently not a base stealing threat).
He's pitched with runners on base many many times and should know better. At least he did finally get out of it after all.

Still, had he started the inning he likely would have pitched differently and the Nats might have won the game 1-0. Who knows?
You made some good points about Zimmermann. He is the staff ace, and looks to be legit.

Richard said...

Agree that (1) MASN's approach to Nats - Os sucks, and while we're at it, that (2) MASN pre- and post-game shows and Taylor interviews re the Nats suck, and (3) MASN sports talk featuring anyone but especially Phil Wood sucks.

Cwj said...

So, the Nats are 21-25 .457
That puts them on pace to go about 74-88.
It would be hard for them to continue to hit so poorly for the remainder of the season, so perhaps 77-81 wins is still possible.

Mark'd said...

Showalter had a quick hook in all 3 games and worked out to control the game Saturday and Sunday. JZim deserved better, again.

I agree with a rested pen to use them since the offense was asleep AGAIN!

FS said...

Buck was forced to take out Tillman in today's game. We hit him pretty well. About 6 or 7 hits, couple of walks, a HBP, and not to forget some line drives. Oh and great at bats by Danny. Wished he did not strike out his first time up.

I am also surprised that Os bullpen was used a lot against Bos and NYY. Nationals should have done more damage to the bullpen than the starters. We always seem to run out of gas by 7th or 8th inning.

Richard said...

Marrero had a good game today in Rochester both at the plate and in the field. His BA has moved into the .280s. With LaRoche struggling and maybe hurt I'm wondering if we'll see Marrero soon. At this point, with no offense, and if Marrero's ready, why not.

Anonymous said...

At this point, with no offense, and if Marrero's ready, why not.


At this point I don't think you'll see 22 year old Chris Marerro, at least not yet. Riggleman would have to agree to play him every day before that would happen. And I really doubt that Riggleman would agree to that easily.

Clark, Kline, et al, the guys in charge of player development want Marerro to play every day wherever he goes at this point. He is only 22 and they want to see him develop.

Michael Aubrey, on the other hand, is 29 years old bats left with power and his days as a prospect are long gone at age 29. He has equivalent numbers to Marerro in AAA and a lot better just in May. This would allow Riggleman to platoon Morse and Aubrey against right and left-handed pitching. This what I think you'd have to expect to see instead.

Sorry ... it is disappointing but remember, Riggleman wanted 43 year old Matt "Stares". Do you actually believe he would go for 22 year old Marerro playing every day? With a right handed bat? He likes the left-handed bats near the heart of the lineup.

- peric

Anonymous said...

Agree with all the MASN comments. I hate this mixed booth. Why do they continue to force this on us when you have 2 channels, for two separate and distinct cities, MASN and MASN2? Would any other "professional" sports town put up with this nonsense like New York - Yankees-Mets; Chicago - Cubs White Sox; Bay Area - Oakland San Fran??? Does ANYBODY else do this????

NO!!! It was "cute" in year one, now it's just plain annoying. I've written to them about this and them advertising for the O's during Nats games. They got rid of the O's during Nats games and now it's time to get rid of the mixed booth.

Golfersal said...

So Mark, the people have spoken, nobody likes this MASN approach toward Nat/Os games, how about a story about it?

Post a Comment