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Lineups -- and Frank Robinson in the house

So Frank Robinson is here in his role with Major League Baseball. Just talked to him by the cage for quite a while. Asked him if he missed managing. In a nutshell, he said, "It was probably time." Interesting. I'll get you more on that in the paper -- or a later Journal post. He also hung out with/near Jim Bowden at the batting cage. There is nothing scheduled for him in Washington, though Bowden continues to try to get Robinson to come back and be honored in some way, shape or form.

Lineups: Wil Nieves catches for the Nationals. Gets Estrada a night off, and Paul Lo Duca is still not ready to go. His hand hurts when he gets to the contact point of his swing. He's hoping over the weekend in Florida.

Washington:
Guzman -- 6
Belliard -- 4
Zimmerman -- 5
Johnson -- 3
Milledge -- 8
Kearns -- 9
Pena -- 7
Nieves -- 2
Lannan -- 1

New York:
Reyes -- 6
Church -- 9
Wright -- 5
Delgado -- 3
Pagan -- 8
Clark -- 7
Casanova -- 2
Castillo -- 4
Figueroa -- 1

Carlos Beltran out with a sore neck. Somehow, I don't think the Nationals are very upset by that.

By Barry Svrluga  |  April 17, 2008; 6:29 PM ET
 
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Comments

It seems Frank is finally at peace about how his managing career ended. I hope JimBow can persuade him to come to Nationals Park for a formal farewell.

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 17, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

I was going to be smart-alecky and say "there's a contact point on LoDuca's bat?" but he hasn't struck out his year, so it doesn't work.

In all fairness, though, it looked like it hurt like a [AB] when his hand got hit.

Alright boys. Let's get hot tonight!

GO NATS

Posted by: NatsNut | April 17, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Wait, wait. I got it.

We ALL hurt when LoDuca gets to the contact point of his swing.

THAT'S the line I was looking for.

Please tip your waiters.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 17, 2008 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Repost....Sorry
Why is this so hard for you to understand? Back in September fans from Nats320 to CP regulars, to folks right here had identified Livo as the FA pitcher that made the most sense.

Nothing complicated, nothing hard or mysterious. He was here, he eats innings every year. He rarely is hurt. He can hit better than half our starters and he is entertaining. Turns out so far this would be a big improvement over Bergman, Lannan, Hill, Chico and Perez. Yes he could be hurt tomorrow, yes he could lose 10 games straight and blow up his ERA....but that is not his history and your logic that says do nothing because something bad could happen is the same thinking that keeps this franchise the joke of the league.

Posted by: JayB | April 17, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Zimmerman gets down 0-2, seems like every at bat this year and....K

Posted by: SwiftIt | April 17, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Just in case someone missed them, I'm going to repost the entire last thread here in this one.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

This commercial is supposed to be for the VIRGINIA lottery -- who's writing this stuff? Buncha [AB] yankees?

That should be "C - Manassas"

Only the yankees call it Bull Run.

Posted by: JEB Stuart | April 17, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Dave Jaegler: "That was a catchable ball for Wily Mo Peña."
Apparently not.

Posted by: MIB | April 17, 2008 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Why does Estrada need a night off? He's only started -- what once? What am I missing there? (that seems like a question I ask frequently)

Posted by: i hate walks | April 17, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

God bless Frank Robinson, but I am convinced that Manny Acta is convincingly his superior as a manager.

My point? Frank Robinson is a Hall of Famer, and MLB gives him plenty of respect. I do not feel like the Nats owe him anything. I do not give him credit for the 2005 season- I really think that he managed by feel, but his "feel" was totally random when it came to people of talent below his massive history.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | April 17, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Excerpt from ESPN's Keith Law's weekly chat...

Joseph (Sacramento, CA): PLEASE, PLEASE tell me that the Nats will do something about this horrific offense soon. People are batting out of position in the batting order: Zimmerman should not be a #3 hitter, and Johnson, and OBP walk machine, is supposed to drive in runs as the clean up hitter?. Is there something they can, and are willing to do, to bring in a legitimate middle of the lineup bat? Paging Mark Texiera this offseason. Thanks.

Keith Law: I don't think signing a big-ticket free agent this winter is the right idea. They're more than just a player or two away from respectability.

Posted by: natsscribe | April 17, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else thinking wistfully about the fielding skills of Nook Logan and Ryan Langerhans?

___________

Dave Jaegler: "That was a catchable ball for Wily Mo Peña."
Apparently not.

Posted by: MIB | April 17, 2008 7:25 PM

Posted by: JennX | April 17, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

q: what doWily mo pena and michael jackson have in common?
a: both wear a glove for no apparent reason.

Posted by: natsscribe | April 17, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

I am more longing for an official scorer who is willing to give WMP an error. For Pete's sake.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | April 17, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

This season doesn't matter. It is more important for Flores to catch every day.

(deep breath)

This season doesn't matter. It is more importantfor Flores to catch every day.

(deep breath- wait. Can't he catch every day here when LoDuca is injured?)

This season doesn't matter. It is more importantfor Flores to catch every day.

(No, this isn't working. Nieves isn't hitting either, and never will)

Posted by: Positively Half St. | April 17, 2008 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Either Figueroa has learned some really, really nasty stuff in the last 10 minutes, or our team doesn't have a hitting coach.

Wait.....What?

Posted by: hlaxness | April 17, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

JEB: The Yankees conquered, therefore they can call it whatever they want.

Posted by: BIM | April 17, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Alternate name for WMP (with all apologies to Dick Stuart) - "Dr.Strangeglove".

Posted by: BIM | April 17, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

To those criticizing Nieves upthread-- In his defense, he is really helping Lannan hit his spots tonight. That big dirty, sweeping pitch to end the 3rd was well, well positioned by the catcher.

So what if he can't hit or "isn't the future"-- someone to even marginally improve pitching consistency on this team is worth their weight in gold.

Posted by: hlaxness | April 17, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

As my wife tells me, Northen Virginia isn't part of the south (not South). It isn't Manassas. It's Bull Run.

That felt good, but not good enough. Either way is correct, but the education of the writer shows through. Whoever put Bull Run was clearly educated somewhere between here and Canada.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | April 17, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

JennX, I hear what you're saying but wistful just a second about Nook Logan's bat.

See?

I mean, we could put KRS-one in the outfield and have neither a hitter or a fielder, but we'd have interesting quotes in the gamer.

Posted by: i hate walks | April 17, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

hlaxness -- I'm not critcizing Nieves. I recognize that his catching is superior to LoDuca. I don't know about Estrada, not enough data yet. I'm just wondering why Nieves is starting. Estrada has started a whole, what .. one? two? games?


Nice hit Nick!!

Posted by: i hate walks | April 17, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

say "NICK"

Posted by: Knights | April 17, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

...more from espn's keith law chat today...

Omri (New York, NY): Did you see Chad Cordero pitch yesterday? he couldnt throw a ball over 80 MPH. there's something really wrong with him right?

Keith Law: There's something very wrong with him - the training staff was out on the mound with him after his last warmup pitch went awry. The TV gun had him topping out at 79. So, do you think maybe Bowden should have dealt him last July?

Posted by: natsscribe | April 17, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

YES!

Posted by: Hendo | April 17, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Nick. We need you to HIT the ball.

Posted by: Ed | April 17, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Zim gets a hit and Nick goes yard, my faith in humanity is restored!

Posted by: estuartj | April 17, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Go Nick! Go Lannan!

Posted by: samantha7 | April 17, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

This is what is sad: Carpenter said "Here.. It .. Goes" and I felt no thrill, because I couldn't trust his instinct that it actually was a home run. That isn't a wisecrack. I really don't trust him anymore, because he was wrong often enough last year.

Hopefully he will get a better sense of depth in the new park, and I will get excited again when he does. In the meantime, I will look forward to the radio call.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | April 17, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Wow, LMilz finally beats a throw AND gets the call! Things are looking up.

Posted by: MIB | April 17, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Heh.

Lastings was safe, but taking the chance at being the 3rd out at 3rd seems a bad idea.

I get fonder and fonder of the kid all the time, but he needs to temper the fire a single degree.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | April 17, 2008 8:08 PM | Report abuse

until Want Mo Popups

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2008 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Way to keep 'em on their toes, Thrilledge.

Oh well. Doesn't matter anyway.

Still. Nice inning boys!

Posted by: NatsNut | April 17, 2008 8:08 PM | Report abuse

1/2 street: when you have the record the Nats have and are in the slump they have, I think it was a good play. I am enjoying watching this kid play. In the long run, the Mets are going to look back at this and say WTF did we do THAT for...

Posted by: TimDz | April 17, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to NJ for making all of our evenings more interesting.

RE: I hate walks - You are quite right about Estrada's "rest". Sounds like someone is looking for any ol' reason to mix it up that isnt "wow you guys have looked crappy, and thus we will make a change." Creating fake reasons to implement necessary changes/fiddling smacks of middle management overreach/self-justification to me. But then I'm paranoid...

Posted by: hlaxness | April 17, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Nice charge Zim!!!

Posted by: TimDz | April 17, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

The Mets announcers (correctly) pointed out that Milledge's first-to-third was stupid with two outs... being safe at third is hardly worth anything compared to being safe at second when you have risk in getting there, and two outs.

Posted by: Wigi | April 17, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Holy smack Lannan, where have you been all my life???

Posted by: hlaxness | April 17, 2008 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Eight Ks for Lannan... is that good??

Posted by: Wigi | April 17, 2008 8:17 PM | Report abuse

TimDz-

You are completely right. Milledge has been almost everything I hoped for, and his spirit has been a rare highlight that gives hope for the future. We had all pinned our hopes on Zimmerman, and trust in Nick. We are willing to accept if they fail for a while, but apparentlt were willing to give that patience to nobody else.

Milledge (and Guzman) have met expectations so far. I feel more patient than most for others, with my belief that LoDuca will hit well as an indication that I am either more level-headed, or have rose-colored glasses.


Posted by: Positively Half St. | April 17, 2008 8:18 PM | Report abuse

5th Inning...the bewitching hour...

Posted by: TimDz | April 17, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

jayb, plenty of use disagreed with you on livo, and most of us who did will wait for at least half a season before judging that call, instead of 3 starts. and yes, his history *does* show he won't do what he's done so far for all that long. and yes, his history *does* show that he'll be a 5+ ERA this season (just look at the direction of the numbers the past few years).

so sorry, not going to bite on that yet. 3 starts does not a season make, either on the good or the bad side. roy oswalt doesn't suck and livo isn't all that good any more (at least not until he can prove that decent ERA will last).

as far as estrada, i'm guessing they're resting him because he's coming back from arm issues and they may not want to play him at catcher every day quite yet.

Posted by: 231 | April 17, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

...last one fron k-law's espn chat...

Jon (DC): This years nationals look to possible be the historic failure everyone was expecting last year. At what point is Bowden held responsible for his trades and personnel moves? Who are the stud players in next years draft.

SportsNation Keith Law: I would have to imagine that if they lose 95+ games, they'll look for a permanent GM. I've said it before - the odds that the interim guy chosen by MLB was, in fact, the best candidate for the job are not high. And Bowden's mixed some great moves (Milledge) with some major clunkers (Guzman, the Young/Belliard extensions, failing to deal Cordero or Rauch last summer).

Posted by: natsscribe | April 17, 2008 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Lannan is putting together a game that should not end in anything other than a win. This is an important test for the team.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | April 17, 2008 8:27 PM | Report abuse

LANNAN!!!

Posted by: NatsNut | April 17, 2008 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the team needs to back up this great performance with some real "heart" (Ugh, this word hurts my stat-loving Joe Morgan-hating brain) A little group consciousness is not going to hurt them right now though.

Posted by: hlaxness | April 17, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Lannan's effort has me pumped. But it worries me that the Nats only have three hits so far,

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 17, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Here is a question: People here (in the constituency...is there a membership or sponsorship to join or does the number of posts determine it???) have talked a lot of about Schneiderman's game calling versus that of LoDuca. Lannan got shelled in the first inning last Saturday against the Braves with LoDuca calling the game. This is a different looking Lannan today. Nieves (sp?) is calling the game tonight. Coincidence? Luck of the draw? Lannan coming of age one game later? Opinions anyone?

Posted by: TimDz | April 17, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Well, "risky" anyhow. It's OK if you make it.
Stupid if you don't.
**************
The Mets announcers (correctly) pointed out that Milledge's first-to-third was stupid with two outs... being safe at third is hardly worth anything compared to being safe at second when you have risk in getting there, and two outs.

Posted by: Wigi | April 17, 2008 8:14 PM

Posted by: CE | April 17, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse

That jam pitch to RHH by Lannan is a thing of beauty right now.

Posted by: hlaxness | April 17, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

One last thing on that from me: [AB] Jon (DC), and among the many, MANY things Keith Law doesn't know, apparently, is that Jimbo IS the "permanent" GM. As if there were such a thing.

**************************
...last one fron k-law's espn chat...

Jon (DC): This years nationals look to possible be the historic failure everyone was expecting last year. At what point is Bowden held responsible for his trades and personnel moves? Who are the stud players in next years draft.

SportsNation Keith Law: I would have to imagine that if they lose 95+ games, they'll look for a permanent GM. I've said it before - the odds that the interim guy chosen by MLB was, in fact, the best candidate for the job are not high. And Bowden's mixed some great moves (Milledge) with some major clunkers (Guzman, the Young/Belliard extensions, failing to deal Cordero or Rauch last summer).

Posted by: natsscribe | April 17, 2008 8:25 PM

Posted by: MIB | April 17, 2008 8:44 PM | Report abuse

TimDz-

"The Constituency" is all Nats fans everywhere. You need not be any more devoted than any casual hat-wearing member of "Red Sox Nation". The phrase came from trying not to say 'Nats Nation".

Bob L. Head is clearly the keeper of all the titles of fans, bloggers, fields, tailgaters, etc. I will this one time only state my gratitude that folks liked my idea of "The Constituency", in order to say that it was meant to be all-inclusive of any Nats fan, no matter how peripheral.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | April 17, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

You're overlooking the obvious ...
***************
Coincidence? Luck of the draw? Lannan coming of age one game later? Opinions anyone?

Posted by: TimDz | April 17, 2008 8:34 PM

Posted by: MIB | April 17, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

MIB

aren't we all day-to-day?

Posted by: natsscribe | April 17, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse


new post

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2008 8:48 PM | Report abuse

That jam pitch to RHH by Lannan is a thing of beauty right now.

Posted by: hlaxness | April 17, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

I guess I am MIB...clue me in.
-------------------------------------------

You're overlooking the obvious ...
Posted by: MIB | April 17, 2008 8:45 PM

Posted by: TimDz | April 17, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

As hlaxness points out, nieves is calling a pretty good game so far, and I think you're seeing the value, if only for a moment, of a catcher that can catch and throw and work with his pitcher. Personally, I've always felt it more important to have that in a backstop than an average bat. That's the kind of catcher that the nats had that in schneider and bowden didn't value, or at least was willing to trade away. I've watched the struggles of bergman, lannan, and chico so far this year and have wondered if they would be scuffling as badly if brian were still behind the plate. I had hoped that the team might pick up damien miller after they jettisoned schneider, but they want to loduca. And while he'll put up better offensive numbers in the long run, I don't know how much his being here might set the staff back, or how much flores might learn from him whenever he's up with the team. And I don't blame paulie -- it's just not the kind of catcher he is. But I blame bowden. it's pretty obvious if you look at his history as a gm that he doesn't put great emphasis on pitching and defense.

Anyway, regardless of how this one turns out, a terrific effort from lannan. Tonight, against a pretty good hitting ball club, he looks like he belongs.

Posted by: blue son | April 17, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Before the cat craziness, they were talking about "daddy Lannan" I believe in 891st shot of the Lannan family, but it sounded a little like he said "the Dalai Lama is showing his support" while the camera caught the face of the Asian guy sitting in front of Pops Lannan. Pure hilarity.

Posted by: hlaxness | April 17, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Cat craziness - another black cat on the field perhaps? Do tell (a plea from Charlie and Dave-land).

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 18, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

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