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A Press Conference, Tonight's Lineups

Media members around town received an ambiguous e-mail from the Nationals. Hmmm... It describes some sort of press conference announcing the "modified contract status of [a] signature National." Any guesses? Check it out at 4 p.m.; MASN will televise.

If weather allows, here are the lineups for tonight's game:

Atlanta

Johnson - 4
Escobar - 6
Jones - 5
Kotchman - 3
Francoeur - 9
Diaz - 7
Schafer - 8
Ross - 2
Lowe - 1

Washington

Hernandez - 4
Johnson - 3
Zimmerman - 5
Dunn - 9
Dukes - 8
Willingham - 7
Flores - 2
Gonzalez - 6
Zimmermann - 1

By Chico Harlan  |  April 20, 2009; 3:19 PM ET
 
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Next: The Zimmerman Deal, In Detail

Comments

Oh!! Oh!! I got it!! They're gonna announce that they fired Manny?

Posted by: twinbrook | April 20, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I have it on good authority that the contracts of Clint and new teenybopper Screech have been modified to provide for a UFC cage match at the next home game.

Stan has come to realize he might just sell out the park that way, particularly if he arms both of them.

Posted by: wahoo2x | April 20, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Boy, in looking at that line-up, they really miss Guzman. Gonalez, pitcher, Hernandez is a pretty weak 8-9-1.

Posted by: AshburnVA | April 20, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

What are the odds they get the game in tonight?

Posted by: skippy1999 | April 20, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

How can they play tonight? I hope they call it sooner than later. Would love to see JZ pitch on a dry day!

Posted by: ilovethenats | April 20, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Has the "Teddy Will Win" clause finally kicked in? Hope so.

Posted by: thisismydcsportsopinion | April 20, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know when or where the Nats will post the rain delay announcement if it comes?

Posted by: IBC-AS | April 20, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

If they play this game tonight then its all about the almighty $$$, hey Pop Lerner the cost of opening the gates will cost you more then the actually gate you will receive (minus the ST revenue). Its only April, Nats are in control until the first pitch. Call the game and make it up in July.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | April 20, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

"Its only April, Nats are in control until the first pitch. Call the game and make it up in July. "

Good Point TippyCanoe - it's like buying futures - I'll play this game later as I expect to be winning then....

Posted by: CajunD | April 20, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Both teams have an off day Thursday...duh, call it NOW and reschedule.
Nats have an easy trip to Mets and ATL goes to Cincy.
Do the right thing Stan!

Posted by: NatsBravesfan | April 20, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

They're not going to call this game. It'll start late and have one or more rain delays. Two N's will debut in front of a few cold, soggy fans.

Posted by: longhorn64 | April 20, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

IBC-AS; call 202-675-NATS (202-675-6287) then select 5 when the voicemail menu answers the phone. As for "when" they'll make a decision, who knows. As of 3:30 p.m. the recording is reporting the game will start on time.

Posted by: greggwiggins | April 20, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

This is good news.

Mark Lerner is not a very good speaker. He seems quite nervous - perhaps expecting some rough questions.

Posted by: kevinx | April 20, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I just called and it says the game is scheduled to start on time as of 4:05pm.

Posted by: FloresFan | April 20, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

RickFelt, you are forever banned from making comments about how bad Manny is as a manager and how good one of your old school heroes would be. You either are unobservant, or woefully ignorant of the silly rules of by-the-gut managers like Davey Johnson and Frank Robinson (or whichever manager it is you want).

1.) Speedy man on first (Gonzales), 1 out, Nats ahead 2-1, pitcher spot coming up, followed by the top of the order. What does an old school manager do? Sacrifice bunt, rely on the top of the order to drive him in (since a single would score him). We call this, "small ball," maybe you heard your parents talk about it. Old School managers swear by it. SABR calls it a superstition.

2.) Next inning (7th) comes up, Jeremy Hermida is up. Hermida is left-handed. Old School managers love a lefty-lefty match-up. Leave Lannan in to get the out. He gets it.

3.) Second batter of the inning is Cody Ross, right-handed. Third is Wes Helms, right-handed. Old School managers say "ah, no lefty-righty, he'll kill him!" and pull for a right-hander. Like Julian Tavarez. Ross strikes out, but Helms singles. Tavarez didn't do his job, the innings not over.

4.) Fourth batter is Ross Gload, left-handed. Bring in the left-handed specialist and get the last out!

Well, we know what happened from here. My point is, any of your idolized old-school managers would have done exactly what the benchcoach (possessed by the spirit of Manny, apparently) did.

Posted by: Section506 | April 20, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Greggwiggins, Thank you.

As of 4:05 - Game on!

Posted by: Batboy05 | April 20, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Looking at NatCast and radar, I'm betting on a long, frustrating night at the Park. Storms are so scattered that this has the looks of an on gain, off again game. Shame for J-Z's first start.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitalweathergang/natcast/

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitalweathergang/2008/08/weather_gang_weather_wall.html

Posted by: Kev29 | April 20, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Section - Please go back and find one of my comments on any post where I railed for the hiring of any specific manager or used the phrase "old school." I'll be waiting for your response. For a while probably.


Posted by: RickFelt | April 20, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

This is the first time I've seen Ryan in a press conference - not bad, not bad at all. I love the things he is saying so far.

Posted by: kevinx | April 20, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

If it makes you feel better, RickFelt, replace "old school" with "any manager in all of friggin' MLB." It's broader than I intended, but, on further reflection, accurate.

Posted by: Section506 | April 20, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Not that it help us Nats fans with tickets, but the OAK at NYY can has been canceled for tonight.

Posted by: Batboy05 | April 20, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Section. Although I would replace "any manager in all of friggin' MLB" with "any manager in all of friggin' MLB minus Ned Yost."

Posted by: RickFelt | April 20, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

According to the voicemail recording, "as of 4:30pm, today's game between the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals is scheduled to begin on time at 7:05pm".

Posted by: greggwiggins | April 20, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

" and pull for a right-hander. Like Julian Tavarez. "

Um, not when Tavarez is your designated long man. It was a dumb spot to put him in.

Posted by: skippy1999 | April 20, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

At least we duck McCann. Maybe Lowe's sinker does not sink so well in the rain, let's hope -- we'll see. The beer will be cold (and expensive) in any event.

Posted by: dfh21 | April 20, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Really? Because when I divide the number of innings Ned Yost's 2nd Place 2007 Milwaukee Brewers starting pitchers pitched in, by the number of games they pitched in, I get 5.497 IP/Game.

Posted by: Section506 | April 20, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Maybe ZNN will give us a quality start and then the game will be called before we have to go to the bullpen.

Posted by: BobLHead | April 20, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Tavarez isn't the long man. Tavarez is a rubber-armed hybrid type of guy who can go pretty much every day. That's not to say he can't give you 3 if he's rested or even a spot start. Regardless, he was the right guy against Ross and Helms Friday.

Posted by: outsider6 | April 20, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

"Um, not when Tavarez is your designated long man. It was a dumb spot to put him in."

I don't think it makes sense to expect a counterargument to a post which explicitly criticizes designating stringent roles for bullpen members to also be a counterargument to a post which explicitly praises designating stringent roles for bullpen members.

But, hey, if you're brave enough to say today that he should have put Saul Rivera in so that he could save Tavarez, the long man, I will applaud your courage.

Posted by: Section506 | April 20, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

If the Nats are able to play - and the Yankees game has been called - wonder if J-Z could see some time on ESPN tonight as a replacement game?

Posted by: Kev29 | April 20, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

"Really? Because when I divide the number of innings Ned Yost's 2nd Place 2007 Milwaukee Brewers starting pitchers pitched in, by the number of games they pitched in, I get 5.497 IP/Game."

And? You're arguing that the 2009 Nationals and the 2007 Brewers are apples to apples? Nice.

Posted by: RickFelt | April 20, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

No, you're arguing that Ned Yost wouldn't pull starting pitchers early when they're dealing. 2007 was the last year we had a full year of Ned Yost management. And based on that calculation, I think it's pretty safe to say that Ned Yost may very well have pulled a dealing starting pitcher early on, because of a situational thing.

Maybe even because of a pitch count. Gasp!

Posted by: Section506 | April 20, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

"Regardless, he was the right guy against Ross and Helms Friday."

And he was the right guy in the 9th yesterday.

Posted by: RickFelt | April 20, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Rick,

You or I woould have been the right guy in the 9th yesterday if the alternative was Rivera. :) I've never understood how that guy's hung around so long. ERA notwithstanding, it seemed he always failed in the big moment.

Posted by: outsider6 | April 20, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I hope they don't fire Manny yet, although if the team doesn't start to turn things around relatively quickly, I expect it's inevitable. But when and if Manny goes, if you somehow get Davey Johnson to come out of retirement, that's a no-brainer. All the guy's ever done is win everywhere he ever managed. I'm all about the stats, but at the end of the day, the only stat that matters is W-L.

Posted by: TomServo | April 20, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

"And based on that calculation, I think it's pretty safe to say that Ned Yost may very well have pulled a dealing starting pitcher early on, because of a situational thing."

And I said I didn't want him. So I'm not sure where the disconnect is here. Is your argument that it was admirable that he was able to win 83 games in a mediocre at best division with a team that hit 231 HR using that style?

Posted by: RickFelt | April 20, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

"But, hey, if you're brave enough to say today that he should have put Saul Rivera in so that he could save Tavarez, the long man, I will applaud your courage."

So that was the only choice, Rivera or Tavarez? Really, the only two choices left in that bullpen at that point in the game on Friday night?

Posted by: skippy1999 | April 20, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm not even sure if I can even figure it out anymore, RickFelt. I believe the appropriate internet response at this point is to call you a partisan hack and throw an invective or two.

Posted by: Section506 | April 20, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Tom,

If Manny goes you can bet Riggleman takes over for '09. I love Davey Johnson but I just can't see him coming back in '10.

I don't understand the perpetual recycling of sports coaches and managers at the professional level. That's not a slam on Davey at all... great manager. But there are countless young, brilliant, energetic baseball men out there. Absent Manny, I'd like to see a manager who better reflects the faces on the field and in this city. I hope we look for a skilled and prepared black manager in our next hire; someone who will excel if only given a chance.

Posted by: outsider6 | April 20, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

"So that was the only choice, Rivera or Tavarez? Really, the only two choices left in that bullpen at that point in the game on Friday night?"

Yes, keeping the constraints of 1) playing pitching match-ups and 2) keeping people in designated roles (Hanrahan is closer, others are starters).

Posted by: Section506 | April 20, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

*Amended:

Steven Shell was also available.

Posted by: Section506 | April 20, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

"But when and if Manny goes, if you somehow get Davey Johnson to come out of retirement, that's a no-brainer."

Davey Johnson came out of retirement to manage Team USA in the WBC and couldn't even handle that month-long grind. He even wanted to skip a semifinal game to attend a wedding, it wore him out so much. In interviews, he talked about how much he likes helping his wife run her little boutique. He doesn't want the year-round grind of being a major league manager any more, no matter what the money is.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 20, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm not even sure if I can even figure it out anymore, RickFelt.

--------

I couldn't agree more. Apparently, the appropriate pitcher to use was whichever one Manny didn't use. That's sound thinking.

I did like the criticism that he should have planned for the 10th inning. That's a new one on me.

Has this meandering debate not comfirmed the obvious fact that Manny hasn't had any good options in the bullpen? And until he does, evaluating him as a manager is either impossible or pointless?

Posted by: baltova1 | April 20, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

As of 5:30, game on!

Posted by: ricktd | April 20, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

"I couldn't agree more. Apparently, the appropriate pitcher to use was whichever one Manny didn't use. That's sound thinking."

The appropriate pitcher was the one already in the game, getting consistent outs, particularly against the next two hitters in the inning, who hadn't touched him all game. Not two of your three best performing relievers to date when they weren't necessary with the pen as overworked as it already was.

Posted by: RickFelt | April 20, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Amen, RickFelt.

Posted by: skippy1999 | April 20, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Agree that Davey Johnson is unlikely to be talked into managing again. I also agree that if he goes, Riggleman will take over, at least on an interim basis. I can barely muster a "meh" for that move.

Posted by: TomServo | April 20, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

"The appropriate pitcher was the one already in the game, getting consistent outs, particularly against the next two hitters in the inning, who hadn't touched him all game."

And so we return to the place we started. Where I point out that any manager in the entirety of the major league would have played match-ups there, brought the set-up man in for the eighth, and the closer in for the ninth.

Ask Uncle Rico to loan you his time machine if you don't like that strategy, because you won't find a manager alive who would deviate from it.

Posted by: Section506 | April 20, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Davey Johnson? Good night, that ship has loooong since sailed ... might as well contact Earl Weaver if you want a successful ex-Orioles guy.
I don't care who the next manager is -- because frankly, who honestly thinks Manny will be around all year, deservingly or not? -- as long as the guy brings a new method of doing things in regards to how he handles the bullpen.
This is what I would like to see: 1. Pitchers who are expected to, and have the capability to, retire guys from either side of the plate. Lefty-righty is useful to a point, but is used as a crutch far too often.
2. Pitchers who have the ability to throw multiple innings in a game if need be. I'd rather see an effective guy go through the lineup once than take him out after 3 batters because his inning is up. This would lead to ...
3. Pitchers rarely working on back-to-back days. In my mind, a bullpen that can handle fewer appearances, but longer appearances, is going to be more successful in the long-term than the way most are handled these days. To do this you would need ...
4. A pair of guys in both the middle relief and set-up roles. This allows them to alternate nights if needed, or gives you the flexibility to go lefty-righty if you like for key matchups, like against Ryan Howard -- not just taking out your starter in the 6th inning simply because Wes Helms or whoever is coming off the bench to pinch-hit. Just because the other team makes a move doesn't mean you have to follow suit.
Well, that's my 2 cents ... and I know it's unlikely that there is any qualified manager out there who would go so far off the books in this regard, but hey -- as long as no one ever tests it, it will always be a potential success in my head.

Posted by: mjhoya12 | April 20, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Rick, Skippy,

This is all quite silly. The manager's moves Friday night were spot-on and proven by the results, the loss notwithstanding. Letting Lannan hit, pulling him after Hermida, etc, etc... all worked. Acta handed the ball to his closer in the 9th with a lead. In the world of people who know the game, that's called doing your job as a manager. For those who think fantasy baseball is even remotely associated with actual baseball... well, I'm not sure exactly what you guys think. But you're wrong.

Posted by: outsider6 | April 20, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

"And so we return to the place we started. Where I point out that any manager in the entirety of the major league would have played match-ups there, brought the set-up man in for the eighth, and the closer in for the ninth."

You want me to find instances where the manager with an overworked pen left in his starter through the 7th inning in which he was showing no signs of trouble? Seriously?

Posted by: RickFelt | April 20, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

It's April Rick... most of the instances you'd find would have occurred later in the year when the pitcher had stretched out his durability. And April is the time of year relievers are placed in these very situations... to see who's up to the task.

Give it up Rick... on this one Manny and Riggleman are right. You're not even close. Guess that's why they get paid for their opinion and we just vent on a blog, huh?

Posted by: outsider6 | April 20, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

"Guess that's why they get paid for their opinion and we just vent on a blog, huh?"

They get paid for their opinion by an ownership and front office that has run the organization completely into the ground in every possible way. Really speaks to their expertise. I guess I'm wrong though. If I were managing they'd be 0-11 somehow.

Posted by: RickFelt | April 20, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

...1st time poster...Baseball,Nats fan...really enjoy the stuff here, especially the -for the most part- the absence of over the top bile. Thoughtful stuff....so, w/o weighing in on any particular point of view, here's a thought I've had which I think I can claim as original (seen nor heard from anyone else). Anyone else see the sense? WE NEED TO SWAP THE LERNERS FOR DAN SNYDER!!! The Nots then get a passionate owner willing to spend what it takes and the Foreskins get an owner with the probity to execute a build from within plan- WITH minimum salary requirements!Seriously!I know that it's an impossibility, but philosophically speaking.......makes sense to me!

Posted by: zendo | April 20, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

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