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Milledge's Baserunning, And Other Notes

Deadline time pressures prevented the journalistic full press last night, so these questions/answers might come a bit late. But hopefully they're still relevant to the discussion. I know on this board we've debated today Lastings Milledge's baserunning in the third inning of Friday night's (Saturday morning's?) game.

The situation: With one out, Shairon Martis was on third. Milledge was on second. Ryan Zimmerman was up. He swatted a Derek Lowe pitch toward the right field warning track. Atlanta right fielder Jeff Francoeur drifted toward ball, until he was positioned directly in front of the light-up scoreboard that spans the right field wall. The fly ball was catchable, but Francoeur, bracing for a collision with the wall, never got his glove on it.

While all this was going on, Shairon Martis went back to third to tag (obviously not necessary). Then, he trotted in to score. Milledge, meanwhile, had retreated toward second, also trying to tag. Well, when the ball dropped in, Milledge only made it to third, and was unable to score. He was stranded at third, too, when Nick Johnson and Elijah Dukes struck out.

So, what happened, exactly?

I asked third base coach Pat Listach.

"You normally should be half-way with one out," Listach said. "But he went back to tag up, because we thought Francoeur was going to go back and catch it. And to be honest, I thought the ball was caught, too. So he thought he caught it too. When Shairon went back to tag up from third base, Milledge went to second to tag up as well. We didn't see the ball fall. The lights from that scoreboard out there kind of blinded the view for the people at this angle. At this angle, we couldn't tell.

"He was originally halfway. And at the last second, he ran back to tag because we thought he caught it. We didn't realize he didn't catch it until the ball was back in the infield. We just didn't see it. I thought Francoeur had caught the ball as well. I didn't know Francoeur missed the ball until Zimmerman stayed on second. Even Zimmerman, when he was standing on second, he wasn't sure either. I was hoping Zimmerman didn't walk off the base, start going back to the dugout, and then get tagged out. He stayed on the base and asked the ump, 'Did he catch the ball or not?' And the ump said, 'No, he did not. Stay on the bag.'"


*

For the moment, several players -- right fielder Elijah Dukes and second basemen Ronnie Belliard and Anderson Hernandez -- are bothered by injuries. But within the next week, all could be ready to play. Dukes, who tweaked his groin while making a throw from right field in the 10th inning of last night's game, is day-to-day. "He's better than anticipated," Manager Manny Acta said. "We feel like it wasn't as bad as [trainer] Lee [Kuntz] thought last night."

Belliard today took batting practice, and is nearing a return. Meantime, Hernandez, recovering from a left hamstring strain, will join Class AAA Syracuse tomorrow and begin a rehab assignment.

In the past week, the Nationals have become all the more convinced of Hernandez's importance, especially while watching Belliard and Willie Harris man the position with far less defensive skill.

"You know, obviously he's a terrific defensive second baseman," Acting General Manager Mike Rizzo said of Hernandez. "You miss his range. You miss his surehandedness out there."

*

While Rule 5 draft pick Terrell Young remains on the disabled list with a right shoulder injury, the Nationals do not yet need to determine his future. And to this point, the team still hasn't decided whether to keep him. Per Rule 5 stipulations, the Nationals must either retain Young, 23, on the 25-man roster -- unlikely, given the team's need for established bullpen arms -- or offer him back to his old organization, the Cincinnati Reds. The teams can also work out a trade. Rizzo called any decision about Young "premature," and added, "He's just starting a throwing program right now. I would say we're moreso weeks away than days away."

By Chico Harlan  |  April 11, 2009; 6:46 PM ET
 
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Comments

IF that is all true, the fine...I was wrong.....but if that is just more Acta telling his staff to cover for Milledge....not the first time.....then this team is going nowhere faster than we think!

Posted by: JayBeee | April 11, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

JayBeee,

FWIW, the Atlanta broadcasters on the MLB video also got it wrong.

Posted by: tmp2234 | April 11, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

JayBeee, that's the point I was trying to make last night with this post. It's exactly what it looked like at the time and I really see no need for further conspiracy theories:


I think it should be noted that the right fielder in this case has possibly the best outfield arm in baseball. As quickly as Franceour gathered the ball off the wall, we may have got the best possible outcome with Milledge ending up on third.

And as to whether he made the right decision, I agree with the general baseball principles cited, but I'm not sure they're applicable. Franceour got under in and put his glove up. While hit deep, the play SHOULD have been a routine flyball out in my opinion. In that case, tagging is the correct play.

Posted by: AlexL925 | April 10, 2009 11:04 PM

Posted by: AlexL925 | April 11, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

He's just a placeholder for Maxwell.

Posted by: priestholmes | April 11, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

On the other side of things, Charlie and Dave led off the play-by-play talking about this. They were unequivocal on the reason why Milledge did the wrong thing: with one out, the proper play is halfway, because if you stay at 2nd you're still in scoring position. Conversely, failing to score if for some reason the ball is missed IS a problem. The difference between 2nd and 3rd with two out isn't that great; it's better to get that score when you get the gift to make it.

Posted by: tmp2234 | April 11, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Wow. GREAT slide by Zim there. Tough luck on the out though.

Posted by: AlexL925 | April 11, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Base-running mistake by Dunn?

Posted by: tmp2234 | April 11, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

great running by Zim, nubs running by that donk NJ. Nice rbi, but it wouldve been nice to give Kearns a shot to slap in another run.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | April 11, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

The reason though that Charlie and Dave are wrong is that Milledge apparently only went back to 2nd when he thought the ball was caught. He should do that of course both to not get doubled up and to advance in case Francour makes a mistake and tries to throw home. Once he did that he couldn't score. I'm not a huge Milledge fan, but I blame this one on the visibility.

#4

Posted by: db423 | April 11, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Nope that was Johnson...

Posted by: JayBeee | April 11, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

I agree with #4....the only way Milledge is clean on this is IF he really did think the ball was caught. I'll take his word on it.......did anyone ask him...I do not trust Acta and to tell the truth on things like this. Thus his coaches likely publicly follow the marching orders. It is interesting that while I was in Minor league Camp I got the impression some coaches were not happy about the company line on Milledge at CF and Lead Off Guy.

Posted by: JayBeee | April 11, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Wow, was that a 2-seamer on the strikeout? What a perfect pitch. It'll be interesting to see just how good this guy is.

Posted by: AlexL925 | April 11, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

OH BABY!!! It's great to finally see that.

By the way, that was one of the WORST home run calls ever.

Posted by: AlexL925 | April 11, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

R ZEEEEEEEEEE!!!
(atta boy to Guz as well, most definitely)

I gots nuthin' for spilledge.

Posted by: HotNats | April 11, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Yes! The Z man! my favorite!

Posted by: rachel216 | April 11, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Tru-that, Alex, I gots nuthin' for Crapenter either

Posted by: HotNats | April 11, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

i thought j. zimmermann was starting

Posted by: rachel216 | April 11, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

There is a simple reason we are winning tonight - my daughter Paige was born this morning and now she is listening to Charlie and Dave and the Nationals don't dare lose this game and break my daughter's heart!

I think I just heard her say, "Start Dukes in CF" but perhaps it was just a burp.

Posted by: kevinx | April 11, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Congrats kevin, wondering if when she poots does it sound like "Start Milledge"?

Posted by: HotNats | April 11, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Milledge. Always doing it his own way. Never listening to his coaches. Third base coach has Martis tag up, still Milledge should have been halfway to third. Coach told him to do that, but like a stubborn donkey (and not in a good Adam Dunn donkey way) he does it his own way and tags up. Doesn't score, even though he should have barrelled over Shairon Martis to do it.

Milledge. Stubborn. Close-minded. Unexceptable.

No, wait. That's JayBeee.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 11, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Congrats Kevin. May your daughter become as much of a baseball nut as my 13 year old. Her interest in the game is one of the great joys of our life. I'm glad to see you are starting her right away.

#4

Posted by: db423 | April 11, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see Manny managing aggressively with Kearns' steal.

Lannan not getting the bunt down is ridiculous.

#4

Posted by: db423 | April 11, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

C'mon, Milledge, impress me!

Posted by: HotNats | April 11, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

i'm not impressed.

Posted by: HotNats | April 11, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Bad call. He checked up.

Posted by: AlexL925 | April 11, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, it looked like a little home-cooking on that call

Posted by: HotNats | April 11, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

What the hell are these MASN commercials with random 'fans' yelling at me? Who the hell are these people and why are they in these incredibly annoying ads?

Posted by: AlexL925 | April 11, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Are our own guys trying to put Nick back on the DL? Jesus...

Posted by: AlexL925 | April 11, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Lannan's margin for error is so razor thin.

#4

Posted by: db423 | April 11, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Wait, didn't we decide "unexceptable" meant you can't do with him, "sine qua non"?

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 11, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Dang, I step out to pick up some thai food, and come back for a losing 3-4 score? Oy...

And Alex, in regard to those "fan" commercials, I can't speak for any of the others, but the one with the guy with the mustache and glasses featuring Willie H. is none other than Screech's Best Friend, proprietor of the Nats320 blog, and the strongest Nats fan I know, no quotes needed.

Posted by: HotNats | April 11, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

And of course the other thing about the Milledge play is, if he does go halfway and Francour takes it straight off the scoreboard and throws him out at home, you wouldn't hear a chorus of "Oh, well, nice try, Lastings."

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 11, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

That is indeed SBF, and honestly, if they hire him to replace Clint, I wouldn't mind a bit.

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 11, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

always a good inning when lastings mendoza is not leadoff.

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 11, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

And better when it's GUZ!!!

Posted by: HotNats | April 11, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

doitagain, Z, doitagain!

Posted by: HotNats | April 11, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

this guy a bit wild; wait him out.

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 11, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

I am lucky that my wife loves me and baseball, I think in that order, so I have no doubt our little girl will be keeping her own scorebook in four or five years.

Come on Nats, don't let us down.

Posted by: kevinx | April 11, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

"There are no Pirates, Royals, or Brewers in this division..."
Carpy on the Nats' tough schedule.

They have a saying in poker: If you look around the table, and can't tell who the patsy is--it's you.

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 11, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

We get a lead off double and the so-called cornerstone of our franchise can't even move him over so that a sac fly can tie the game(and thats after getting ahead in the count3-0) and give us some hope,then we get a walk to give us two on and our first baseman meekly hits into a rally killing double play,never mind that we gave our defacto ace of our staff a three zip lead that he promptly gives right back i mean damn do you want to win or just go through the freakin motions. FOR THE LOVE OF JACKIE ROBINSON PLAY THE GAME HARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 11, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

i feel a team meeting coming on.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 11, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

14 Strike Outs.........3 by the lead off hitter......I enjoyed the game and they are doing better than in FLA but at some point soon Acta is going to have to DO SOMETHING to change the dynamics here.

Posted by: JayBeee | April 11, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

I feel a round of drinks coming on.

Posted by: HotNats | April 11, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Yikes, this team finds more ways to lose then the "heavys" on the Biggest Loser. According to my count its now 58-107.
Sorry but Acta is probably on very thin ice and rightfully so.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | April 11, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

SOMETHING =

Cut Bard and Call up Maxwell

Line up Tomorrow

Harris 2B
Guz SS
Willingham LF
Dunn 1B
Zim 3B
Maxwell CF
Milledge RF
Nieves C

Posted by: JayBeee | April 11, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

We're now tied with Cleveland for last place. In baseball.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 11, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

At least we weren't picked to win our division...

----------------------------------

We're now tied with Cleveland for last place. In baseball.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 11, 2009 10:10 PM

Posted by: AlexL925 | April 11, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Okay. I'm not familiar with his work, but I'm happy to believe he's a real fan. Regardless, the commercials suck.

-------------------------------------

And Alex, in regard to those "fan" commercials, I can't speak for any of the others, but the one with the guy with the mustache and glasses featuring Willie H. is none other than Screech's Best Friend, proprietor of the Nats320 blog, and the strongest Nats fan I know, no quotes needed.

Posted by: HotNats | April 11, 2009 8:59 PM

Posted by: AlexL925 | April 11, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

I kinda like 'em.

Posted by: HotNats | April 11, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Buster Olney just said that Livan Hernandez may be the best free agent pickup of the offseason.

Posted by: AlexL925 | April 11, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Saw/heard that too, I miss Livo bigtime.

Posted by: HotNats | April 11, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

FWIW,Maxwell is hitless thus far through 3 games. Not trying to dismiss him, but let him get some AB's in AAA, show some progress in the areas the FO feels he is lacking and then perhaps he can be ready.

Speaking of Syracus, Kip Wells pitched 5 scoreless innings. In Kip We Trust. Bring him up and send Lannan down, he misplayed a bunt so clearly he doesn't work hard and does not listen to his coaches.

Posted by: jfromPG | April 11, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Man, thats a new one....the scoreboard lights are to bright. OK, if thats so, somebody needs to go to MLB and make sure that dang scoreboard is off during innings and only working between innings. Of course, if it wasn't that it would just be something else.

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 11, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Jaybee has it right. We need Maxwell in center. This would allow both Milledge and Dukes to go back to their natural positions.

Posted by: soundbloke | April 11, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Look, I get what you're saying, but did you watch the game? You really couldn't see a damn thing. I, for one, have no trouble believing that's what happened.

--------------------------------------

Man, thats a new one....the scoreboard lights are to bright. OK, if thats so, somebody needs to go to MLB and make sure that dang scoreboard is off during innings and only working between innings. Of course, if it wasn't that it would just be something else.

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 11, 2009 11:02 PM

Posted by: AlexL925 | April 11, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

kevinx,
Congratulations on the birth of your daughter.
No matter how good your life has been up till now, it has just taken a tremendous turn for the better.
You have been given a pound of worry for sure but also a ton of joy.
Your role is to love her through life and teach her baseball.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | April 12, 2009 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Catching up with comment reading from the past few days (I had a good idea of what I'd find here and didn't feel like scrolling through it all until now).

I will say that I'm surprised not to see some Nicky love after his defensive display last night.

I'll add to the congrats to kevinx.

I'll also add to the congrats for Shawn Hill. sigh.

I think the MASN fan commercials are funny. There's one that I've only seen part of because they keep starting it and then cutting to some other commercial/PSA. What's up with that?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 12, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Also, new posts.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 12, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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