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Lineups

Astros:

Bourn - CF
Keppinger - 2B
Berkman - 1B
Lee - LF
Tejada - SS
Pence - RF
Rodriguez - C
Blum - 3B
Oswalt - P

Nationals:

Guzman - SS
Johnson - 1B
Zimmerman - 3B
Dunn - RF
Dukes - CF
Willingham - LF
Hernandez - 2B
Nieves - C
Olsen - P

By Steve Yanda  |  May 5, 2009; 10:51 AM ET
 
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Comments

Willingham getting some PT. Love it. Time for him to break out and push Kearns.

Posted by: Section505203 | May 5, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I agree but it might take more than 4 ABs in the past 10 days to get going.

Posted by: JayBeee | May 5, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I swear, 33 years without baseball didn't kill all the D.C. baseball fans, but it sure did create some pretty dumb ones.

Posted by: MoMonroe

Touche, my man, touche. You must have been reading all those posts calling for Thrilledge at second base and Strasburg as closer.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | May 5, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Is it just me, or is this lineup actually becoming fun to watch?? Even when Kearns is in it. Who will be free agents next year? Nick, Guzman, & Kearns?

Posted by: kfisher32 | May 5, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

While I don't want Strasburg to be the team's long-term closer, it does make perfect sense to place him there for the remainder of the year.

John Lannan, Scott Olsen and Shairon Martis seem to be exorcising their early-season demons, and Jordan Zimmermann has impressed thus far. I'd rather see Craig Stammen or another pitcher take Cabrera's spot in the rotation and let Strasburg stop the bleeding in the 9th inning.

Remember, he was a closer his first year with the Aztecs, so he can do it. The team could then move him into the rotation in 2010 and find themseves - through free agency or trade - a real major league closer.

Jonathan Pabblebon and Joba Chamberlain are both young starters who have relieved/closed and will again be starters.

It wouldn't be a bad thing to see Strasburg as a closer - just for 2009.

Posted by: rushfari | May 5, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I can't imagine why they'd put Strasburg in at closer. If he pitches in the majors, the point is to get some work in -- why artificially limit him to an inning at time? That sounds like a good way to screw up a young pitcher. Let him start and have a chance to work out of jams and give up a couple of runs here and there without costing the team games.

BTW, props to Nick and Yanda for toughing it out and posting for the day game after a night game.

Posted by: joebleux | May 5, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Just a quick question for anyone who watched the game last night. I didn't get home to turn on the TV until after 8. Was there any explanation for where Dibble came up with "Magnum Z.I." as a nickname for Ryan? Was that as completely out-of-left-field-uh-oh-Dibble's-spiking-his-coffee-with-tequila-again as it sounded?

I kinda like Dibble.

Posted by: Section220 | May 5, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

We all agree what makes a good closer is his mental make up. What makes a great closer is his mental make up plus his stuff.

We all agree Hanrahan has great stuff. We all agree he doesn't seem to have the mental make up.

We all agree Cordero didn't have great stuff. We all agreed he did have the mental make up.

We know nothing about Strasburg other than scouts say his stuff is really good and it's been great against college kids.

So.... we are excited to make him a closer?

Seems to me you should test drive the car before you sign a three month lease. And given that it's a sentient car, before you jerk it around by saying "you're the one... you're not the one."

Posted by: Section506 | May 5, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I like our lineup a lot better with Kearns in it.

Regardless, let's get a W this afternoon and hit the road with a 3-game winning streak.

Posted by: usmc53 | May 5, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Is it just me, or is this lineup actually becoming fun to watch?? Even when Kearns is in it. Who will be free agents next year? Nick, Guzman, & Kearns?

Posted by: kfisher32 | May 5, 2009 11:29 AM

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

Guzman signed an extension last fall and will not be a free agent.

Posted by: BigTrain | May 5, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

"Was that as completely out-of-left-field-uh-oh-Dibble's-spiking-his-coffee-with-tequila-again as it sounded? "

Yes. Something about having a bunch of money so he'll have to buy a fancy car.

And I am officially in the Dibble fan club. He and Carpenter are the team we've been waiting for. The Yin and the Yang. Dibble softens creaky Carpenter up and Carpenter smooths erratic Dibble out.

Posted by: Section506 | May 5, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

gal, who i hope is not a nunof1 alter ego:

“I’m always proud of a walk. I love walks. That’s my motto: A walk’s as good as a hit. And I showed them today. You don’t always have to get a hit. Sometimes a walk will beat a team, too.” Washington’s Elijah Dukes who walked with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th to force in the winning run and hand the Nationals a 9-8 win over the Braves on Saturday.


*********************************8

Did Dukes really say this, or was it just the guy in the MASN fan commercial about Dukes's walk off walk? It's like the exact same quote. Posted by: GalRevelsInPee | May 5, 2009 10:38 AM

Posted by: nova_g_man | May 5, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Strasburg is not going to close for the Nationals this year. Odds are he's only going to get 1 or 2 of minor league starts and then a cup of coffee in September with maybe a few innings in relief. Maybe one home start (but I'd put those odds very long). There is no reason to do anything different.

Posted by: Brian_ | May 5, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Section220,

I think the "Magnum Z.I." was just on the fly humor by Dibble. I did find it funny though.

Posted by: Section505203 | May 5, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Kearns is hitting .267 right now. While that's last among position players in yesterday's lineup, he's had a solid early season so far.

His .421 OBP, .533 SLG, and .954 OPS would be career highs if he closed out the year with those numbers. His 13 RBI put him fourth in the team in that category, despite having anywhere from 9 to 36 fewer plate appearances than the guys in front of him, Dunn (105 PA, 20 RBI), Zimmerman (112 PA, 18 RBI) and Dukes (85 PA, 16 RBI).

Willingham needs the ABs to get going, but how do you justify putting him in there over Kearns, especially when it means having to move Dunn to RF and have poor defense in both corners?

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 5, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Yanda again? Where's Chico? I'll give him credit - it seems like he negotiated a lot more vacation time than Svrluga ever did.

Posted by: jrm212k | May 5, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Hate to rain(no pun intended) on anyone's parade but before we put Strasburg in any role we have to sign him first and with the agent from hell(Scott Boras) as the ("don't hurt em hamma") and given last year's debacle(see Aaron Crowe) aren't we putting the perverbial cart before the horse?. I'm hearing fifty million and that my fellow bloggers is nutso i'm also heard fifteen million that's more like it but can anyone bring any sanity to these rumours? on another note trying to sneak home to catch a few innings here in the A-T-L.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 5, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Those who think Strasburg will be the closer for this team later in the season, should read very closely what Brian wrote above because, it is on point.

Posted by: Section505203 | May 5, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Carpenter is terrible. Get a new play-by-play guy to go with Dibble.

Posted by: tengoalyrunr30 | May 5, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

My guess is Chico is like a catcher...day off after a night game followed by a day game. Dibble for CEO

Posted by: cokedispatch | May 5, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

"I'm hearing fifty million"

The only place you're hearing 50 million from is Boras, and Heyman-the-idiot @SI quoting Boras.

Other than that, the only context you'll hear 50 million in is "50 million is ridiculous; he'll sign for 15-20 million".

Posted by: joebleux | May 5, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

@dargregmag - Boras clients sign. They take time and cost above slot but they sign. The $50 million rumor is just that ... a rumor. It's thrown out there so that when he signs at $20 million, it seems like more of a "bargain"

Posted by: Brian_ | May 5, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

The Strasburg-as-closer argument is an interesting one.

The rotation slot up for grabs right now is Cabrera's, it would seem. Of course, that's barring injury. There's a chance that he might be replaced before Strasburg is even drafted though. The likely candidate would be Balester, I think, since he's already on the 40-man. While the Nats could make room on the roster by dumping Cabrera, they might not want to start Stammen's clock.

So they replace Cabrera with Balester, but still end up with a 40-man vacancy, making room for Strasburg. Barring injury, the FO would have a decision to make: Balester or Strasburg in the rotation?

Is there any value in keeping Strasburg up to face big league hitters as a reliever instead of getting innings in the minors? Perhaps. It may be an effective way of limiting his innings, too, seeing as how he'll already be coming of a college season.

506 is right, though: you have to consider the psychological ramifications as well. If he doesn't have the makeup to close and gets knocked around, that could have long-term effects.

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 5, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Good points re: Strasburg closing, Brian.

Chop off the last paragraph of my post and it'd work with a few relief appearances, too.

I still think someone would have to get hurt (or traded?) for Strasburg to start for the Nats this year.

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 5, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

PSA, in case it was forgotten:
"Gal Revels In Pee" is an anagram for "Levale Speigner," king of the reverse lock.

Carpenter is a pretty good play-by-play guy for today. In case you haven't noticed, play-by-play on TV is becoming a rarity. I watched some of the Yanks-Sox game last night on ESPN and, as usual, there were three color commentators, no play-by-play. When I was in St. Louis, watching the Nats game, there was no play-by-play, just color.

Sure, every now and then they tell you what pitch it was, but only if they've finished their story on A-Rod going shopping, or whatever. Carpenter may make some mistakes, but given that he's doing it in the process of calling every single pitch, I can forgive him.

Good lord, it's a sport that thrives on a very low percentage of success.

Posted by: Section506 | May 5, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

On the FA discussion, was this Willingham's 1st arb year? So we have club control for the next 2? Just looking at '10 who is our outfield (I know it's early)? That Milledge piece made it seem like he might be done, at least with the Nats. And I imagine, if NJ walks, Dunn will be at 1st next year. So, barring trades, Dukes/Willingham then who? Maxwell? Bernadia? PTBNLs?

Posted by: softballgirl | May 5, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

@John - Strasburg will likely be coming off of nearly a month plus of non-game action in the middle of August. No MLB team would work him back at the major league level. He'll likely go to Potomac or Hagerstown (whichever is closer to DC) and make a couple of closely monitored/pitch count controlled starts. Let him make one or two appearances. Bring him up in September when rosters expand and let him sit and watch with maybe an appearance or two.

As for 40-man spots, I doubt service time is a big consideration for Craig Stammen. If they need another SP, he has as much a shot of getting the call as Balester. Stammen is not a lead pipe lock rotation stalwart going forward so I do not imagine service time or options is of critical concern.

Posted by: Brian_ | May 5, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

PSA, in case it was forgotten:
"Gal Revels In Pee" is an anagram for "Levale Speigner," king of the reverse lock.

Why I continue to read NJ...

Posted by: jdschulz50 | May 5, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Clarification

He'll likely go to Potomac or Hagerstown (whichever is PLAYING closer to DC AT THAT TIME)

Posted by: Brian_ | May 5, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Clock, schmock....Stammen is proving himself at Syracuse and deserves the promotion. Cabrera is proving that he just doesn't have what it takes. If they can get Strasberg signed he should immediately go to the minors for some seasoning. A september call up would suit him for relief work and maybe a spot start or two before seasons end. Hopefully the team is over the bad start but I wouldn't put the rook in a pressure cooker situation to early. 2010 appears to look rather promising if things hold steady with health and a years experience with Zimmermann, Martis and company.

Posted by: cokedispatch | May 5, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

No way in heck is Strasburg going to come up and close this year. You're just not gonna mess with a $20-30M talent like him in that way. If he closes, it's going to be way down the road and following ineffectiveness or injury like Kerry Wood. He'll probably get a few starts at the end of the year for a look-see and to help ease the innings load on young arms like Martis and JZimm, who might get shut down early after the Sept. call-ups.

Posted by: macman3 | May 5, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

506 and 502/503 - thanks. Glad it wasn't just me. As a kid I idolized that show so, um, I'm embarassed to say I kinda liked Dibble going there.

Much to my surprise, color me a Dibble fan. He's never dull.

Posted by: Section220 | May 5, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Strasburg will be drafted, and Strasburg will be signed. But it won't happen until August 15th midnight, not a second before. So no matter what, he's not going to be in the rotation this year. By the time they would be able to get him stretched out to really be a full-time starter, the season would be over. (Keep in mind there would be two full months between his drafting and his signing where he won't pitch at all in a game situation.) But they'll have him on the big league team at least by September, pitching an odd inning or two maybe every couple of days. So if no closer has emerged from the current staff by then (a distinct possibility) I could easily see them letting Strasburg pitch his innings in the closer role. After all, he would by definition be better than anyone else they'd have. But use him as a closer longer than that? No way. He'll be starting next April for sure.

Posted by: GalRevelsInPee | May 5, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

One little addition to Brian's post - even if they manage to sign him at some point PRIOR to 11:59 on August 15, he's likely to be at or near innings-max already. If you're trying to stay at or near the 25-30 IP increase/yr., Strasburg pitched 97.1 IP in 2008, meaning he's got a hard limit of 125-130 IP total this year. He's at 78 now, and has got two more regular season starts plus the Mountain West Conference Tourney (5/19 & 5/20). Let's say he goes 22 in those three starts (averages 7.1 per start) - that's an even 100, followed by a layoff of between four and twelve weeks. That means you've got 25-30 IP left INCLUDING getting him back into throwing shape after the layoff.

All of that to say I agree with Brian - I think he gets signed August 15th, gets a start at Potomac for 3-ish IP, gets a start at Harrisburg or Syracuse for 5ish IP, gets called up just after Sept. 1, does a few relief appearances and then gets a home start in the last week of the year, landing him right around 120-125 for the year and lining him up to make the club out of ST in 2010, put up 150-160 IP and be the ace/RoTY.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | May 5, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Hwy 295,

Excellent post.

I also want to point out that if SDSU makes it to the CWS, he will have at least one start there as well, and more if they continue to advance.

Posted by: Section505203 | May 5, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Guz with a first pitch single -- what are the odds?

Fun fact: of the 278 hitters in the majors with more than 50 ABs this year, Guz and Benjie Molina are the only ones yet to draw a walk.

My money's on Guz winning that contest of wills.

Posted by: joebleux | May 5, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm in the Carpenter fan club too. With very few exceptions, the good old days of radio style TV broadcasts are over. I subscribed to the MLB Extra Innings package for a few years and the growing dominance of FOX managed broadcasts has irreparably harmed the craft. The current trends seem to be that loud is better than pastoral; conversations are better than game calling; and that branding is better than small footprint graphics.

Carpenter msy not be the very best at his craft, but he is significantly better than most.

Posted by: natbiscuits | May 5, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

"Guz with a first pitch single -- what are the odds?"

Well, this year it's a 45.5% chance (5 of 11). He has no extra bases on the first pitch.

In his career, he's .306 AVG, .449 SLG

Posted by: Section506 | May 5, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Well, this year it's a 45.5% chance* (5 of 11).

*When he puts the ball in play on the first pitch, which is 12 PA out of his 58 PA this year (or just under 21% of the time). This also wouldn't count the times he tries to, but fouls it off instead.

Posted by: Section506 | May 5, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

A very nice 4 innings for Olsen so far. 4 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB.
Now, let's get the kid some run support.

NJ-Zimm-Dunn-Dukes coming up. There should be at least one run in there somewhere.

Posted by: usmc53 | May 5, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

ELIJAH DUKES!!!!

Posted by: patchss | May 5, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Bang Zoom Goes Dukes!!!! 2-1 Nats!!!!

Posted by: BigTrain | May 5, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Dukes went DEEP. Good to see him breaking out of his little slump in a big way.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | May 5, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

usmc53 - can you say things like that all season? Please? It seems to be working. There's a lot riding on your continued optimism and "there's a run in there" posts.

Posted by: Section220 | May 5, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

How 'bout 2, usmc?

Posted by: HotNats | May 5, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Possibly an ignorant question on several levels, based on ownership, baseball rules etc: If the Nats have the first pick, and they want to pick Strasburg - Why can't they start negotiations with he and Boras now? The deal would be done, and Strasburg would not waste the whole year professional baseball-wise. Are they unable to do this within Baseball's rules?

Posted by: 1of9000 | May 5, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Come on Nieves...

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | May 5, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Even if they started negotiations with Boras/Strasburg now, the deal's not gonna get done until literally the last second anyway. Boras will be asking for the moon and Lerner (rightly) won't give it to him. They will compromise on some version of a record deal on August 15th. Count on it.

Posted by: GalRevelsInPee | May 5, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Strasburg has nothing to gain signing any earlier than August 15. Even if he were to sign the second he was picked, it does not accelerate his arbitration status. It does not accelerate his free agency status. He gains nothing aside from getting the inevitable paycheck a month or so earlier.

Posted by: Brian_ | May 5, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Thank you. I was away then.

*************************
PSA, in case it was forgotten:
"Gal Revels In Pee" is an anagram for "Levale Speigner," king of the reverse lock.

Posted by: nova_g_man | May 5, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Does Manny owe Cintron some money or something? Why is he here?

Posted by: NatsDLite | May 5, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I doubt that Boras/Strasburg even care about his arbitration or free agent status. All that matters is the bottom line. Which is why this negotiation will go right down to the bitter end, like the Crow negotiations did. The difference is that Strasburg's agent won't wait until literally the last second to begin negotiating seriously.

Posted by: GalRevelsInPee | May 5, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

yep, that whole Cintron thing is not working.

Posted by: natbiscuits | May 5, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't baseball calculate the whole arbitration / free agency thing based on days in the major league? Wouldn't him signing sooner mean that he can start his clock earlier?

Posted by: SFcapsfan | May 5, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Not only is the Strasburg-as-closer idea kind of ridiculous, but I'm not even sure why the Nats need a pitcher to be designated the "closer' in the first place.

Posted by: JhonnyBheGhood | May 5, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Oh for the love of God when will Acta stop using Alex Cintron as a pinch hitter......that is O fo 14! Acta is so predictable and hard headed.....he kills us with his lack of feel for the game.

Posted by: JayBeee | May 5, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Gal,
Strasburg can not sign now without losing his amateur status due to the NCAA not MLB.
He then could no longer pitch for San Diego State. The other comments are also valid but the NCAA is the gorilla in the room.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | May 5, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

"Doesn't baseball calculate the whole arbitration / free agency thing based on days in the major league? Wouldn't him signing sooner mean that he can start his clock earlier?"

The service time clock is based upon days on the 25-man roster. But whether he gets added to the 25-man on June 9 or August 15, the math doesn't make him arbitration eligible or free agent eligible any sooner than if he started the 2010 season on the 25-man.

It takes six years of service time for free agency. If Strasburg were to be in the majors on June 9, he'd end up with ~110 days of service time, not yet a year (172 days constitutes a year in MLB). If he's added on August 15, he ends the year with ~45 days. So whether he got the 110 or 45 days in 2009, he still is not a free agent until he has 6 years of service time until after the 2015 season. That's the same situation he'd have if he started 2010 on the 25-man.

This all assumes that once he's in the majors, he's in the majors to stay.

Posted by: Brian_ | May 5, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

2 on and nobody out for Zimm-Dunn-Dukes, going up against the 'Stros bullpen.
This is our chance to get back into this one. Right now, baby!

Posted by: usmc53 | May 5, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

and there is a whole "inside baseball" deal with arbitration and Super Two that cannot be achieved with a signing on June 9.

Posted by: Brian_ | May 5, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Attaboy ZIMM!

Posted by: usmc53 | May 5, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

This is where I wish Kearns was in the lineup.
Bases loaded, one out, and Willingham is up, batting .139.

Posted by: usmc53 | May 5, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Attaboy, Willingham.

Posted by: Section220 | May 5, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Love those walks!

Posted by: Section220 | May 5, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Man, I'm glad I'm not an Astros fan!

Posted by: lowcountry | May 5, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't miss Lenny Harris.

Posted by: jp2000 | May 5, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

gotcha. thanks for the info. come on harris put the ball in play. I got to think in a tied game bases loaded 1 out you have to pinch hit with your best bat, not willie harris. Is Kearns not available today?

Posted by: SFcapsfan | May 5, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Now I like the use of Harris first then Flores as pinch hitters.....stay out of the Double Play...Nice work Manny Acta...

Posted by: JayBeee | May 5, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I vote we play the Astros more.

Posted by: Section220 | May 5, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

This is fun :) Keep on taking those walks, guys!

Posted by: BGinVA | May 5, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I half expect them to rip Chris Sampson's mask off Scooby-Doo style and reveal somebody from our bullpen!

Posted by: jp2000 | May 5, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I don't miss Lenny Harris either. You gotta credit Eckstein and our lineup not only for letting Sampson give us the runs, but for working some long at bats against Oswalt earlier. That guy can go deep into games if you let him.

Posted by: nattaboy | May 5, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Kearns and Flores both hit into a lot of DB's....I am loving this inning and yes Lenny Harris as the worst hitting coach possible for this team...or any team...just another Jimbo mistake....so may to count so little time before we win this game!

Posted by: JayBeee | May 5, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh come on, leave Sampson in he was doing great

Posted by: nattaboy | May 5, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Bwahahahahaha! Attaboy, Tejada!!!

Nice to see defense and bullpen meltdowns get the OTHER team for a change.

Posted by: Section220 | May 5, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Oh my.

We're going to see this sequence on SportsCenter tonight fer sure.

Wow.

Posted by: joebleux | May 5, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

What a lousy team: dumb relief pitching, lousy fielding...and it's NOT OUR GUYS!!!!

I think I'll just savor...

Posted by: baltova1 | May 5, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Wow...three runs on walks, one on an error, and now one on the HBP! I love it!

Posted by: BGinVA | May 5, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Come on Zimm. Put this game away!

Posted by: usmc53 | May 5, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Last five runs came without a single base hit.

Posted by: jp2000 | May 5, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Heck of an inning, guys. The sixth inning evidently belongs to us.

Posted by: Section220 | May 5, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Jeez...I thought our bullpen sucked!

Posted by: FloresFan | May 5, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Note to Rizzo....do not trade for any Astro bull pen pitcher.

Posted by: JayBeee | May 5, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Sweet! There is a Bullpen in MLB that is worse than the Nats.

Posted by: Section505203 | May 5, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Not so fast...

Posted by: NatsDLite | May 5, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Come on Tavarez. Don't do this to me.

Posted by: usmc53 | May 5, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Tavarez for closer!!!

Posted by: Section506 | May 5, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Uh, maybe I spoke to soon.

Posted by: Section505203 | May 5, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, when did the major league strike zone get so low? At the beginnin gof the season I thought Dibble was just being a homer when we would not get certain calls. Over the last few games I have noticed that the new strike zone is from the shins to the belt buckle. When I was growing up it was always letters to the knees.

Posted by: BigTrain | May 5, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Tavarez is not to blame. He had a few too many at the bar last night and woke up this morning with his arm trapped under a 600 pounder in a Nats jersey. He is still trying to regain the feeling in his right hand.

Posted by: DesertNat | May 5, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Okay, so I heard the Zimmerman hit, but then I went to a meeting. Am I reading this right? 3 RBI BB and an RBI HBP?

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 5, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

8 runs may not be enough. We may need a few more in order to win this one.

Man, this is a clash of the titans, huh? Worst bullpens ever.

Posted by: usmc53 | May 5, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it nice to not be out of it when down by 3 or 4 runs? Of course, it isn't over when we're up by 3 or 4 either!

Posted by: slewis1 | May 5, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

All those wondering/suggesting/hoping Strasburg will be our closer: STOP.

Not gonna happen.

IF -- and it's a big IF -- he signs in June, he'll spend at least July in the minors. If he has any kind of success, meaning he's still breathing, he'll be here sometime in July and get 6, maybe 8 starts in 2009.

Tony Gwynn thinks he'd be our #1 starter RIGHT NOW. Tony knows a thing or two about the game and the men who throw the ball. Even if he's not #1 already, he ain't far behind. You don't pay $20M for a ready-for-primetime starter and then relegate him to the bullpen for "seasoning".

He will not be used as a closer. Period. End of conversation. Next topic?

Posted by: outsider6 | May 5, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

And it's a whole new ballgame. We're having a competition for worst bullpen and worst defense in an inning...

Posted by: BGinVA | May 5, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I think you definitely Carpenter'd us there, 505.

Posted by: joebleux | May 5, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

"He had a few too many* at the bar last night and woke up this morning with his arm trapped under a 600 pounder in a Nats jersey"

*shots of liquor. We know it wouldn't be beer.

Zimmerman, 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 RBI

Posted by: Section506 | May 5, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Jeez...I thought our bullpen sucked!

Posted by: FloresFan | May 5, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse


It still does, floresfan, it still does.

Posted by: amorris525 | May 5, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Looking back at our season and just thinking off the top of my head I see only one constant between all of our games, regardless of outcome, win or lose. That constant is the high number of men we leave on base. Granted we see a lot of pitches and have a lot of walks, but our timely hitting has been bad.

Posted by: BigTrain | May 5, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

The battle of the bullpens that refuse to win!

Posted by: slewis1 | May 5, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

August, not July. Strasburg will pitch in DC by the Colorado series starting August 18.

Posted by: outsider6 | May 5, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

amorris525, you're so right. I spoke way too soon.

Posted by: FloresFan | May 5, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

"Tony Gwynn thinks he'd be our #1 starter RIGHT NOW. Tony knows a thing or two about the game and the men who throw the ball. Even if he's not #1 already, he ain't far behind. You don't pay $20M for a ready-for-primetime starter and then relegate him to the bullpen for "seasoning".

He will not be used as a closer. Period. End of conversation. Next topic?"

Next topic is that Tony Gwynn oughta know that in order to be a number one starter you first need to be under contract. Strasburg won't be under contract until August 15th. He might start one, maybe two games in September. But he might just as easily pitch in relief only. And if he does, closing should not be out of the question.

Posted by: GalRevelsInPee | May 5, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

"August, not July. Strasburg will pitch in DC by the Colorado series starting August 18."

If he does, it will only be in relief. He won't be able to start after not having pitched in a game for two months.

Posted by: GalRevelsInPee | May 5, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

joebleux,

I did pull a Carpenter on that didn't I. I tried to take it back but, it was to late.

In the words of Ralph Furley "Damn!"

Posted by: Section505203 | May 5, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Gal,

If he signs that late he won't come up until September.

When he does come up they WON'T waste the PR opportunity. He'll come up -- as ZNN did a few weeks ago -- knowing, along with a hopefully re-charged fan base, that he's getting the ball. It'll be a near-sellout.

They won't bring him up and put him in the bullpen where they won't know for sure if he'll even pitch that day.

Posted by: outsider6 | May 5, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Don't walk the leadoff hitter!!!!

Posted by: BGinVA | May 5, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

This is like some sort of bullpen double suicide pact.

Posted by: Kev29 | May 5, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

If/when he signs, Strasburg will be the highest paid rookie in the history of the game -- and he'll be getting almost double what the previous most expensive rookie got.

His first game will be a media event. If he's not ready for that in August/September it will wait until 2010.

I'm really, really hoping he signs waaay before August. You gotta figure Boras and Kasten are already negotiating. It's in the interest of both sides (see Crow, 2008 for us, see alvarez, 2008 for Boras) to get it done quickly and spare both the team and the player the hard feelings that might accompany a prolonged negotiation.

Anyway, no bullpen for this kid. Not happening.

Posted by: outsider6 | May 5, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Ugh. How many ways can teams give away runs? We've seen most of them in this game...

Posted by: BGinVA | May 5, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

oh the humanity!

Posted by: joebleux | May 5, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Manny please take out Mock asap!!!

Posted by: FloresFan | May 5, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Mock has no control left. This could be a bad inning.

Posted by: BGinVA | May 5, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

What's going on? Is it still tied?

Posted by: kevincostello | May 5, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I've been completely underwhelmed with Mock.

Posted by: Section505203 | May 5, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

This bullpen is a joke

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | May 5, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Normally the decision to PH for Rivera is and should be a no-brainer, but we may be to the point where any reliever that is pitching well (Rivera today - 1 IP on 8 pitches) stays in the game.

Posted by: slewis1 | May 5, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I've said it before, I'll say it again: this team, with even a marginal bullpen, could be at .500 right now. The defense is competent if not flashy, the offense is good, and the starting pitching is rapidly improving. But the degree of incompetence in the bullpen is staggering.

Posted by: outsider6 | May 5, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

This bullpen is a joke

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq

You need to be a bit more specific in this series

Posted by: Kev29 | May 5, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

"I'm really, really hoping he signs waaay before August. You gotta figure Boras and Kasten are already negotiating. It's in the interest of both sides (see Crow, 2008 for us, see alvarez, 2008 for Boras) to get it done quickly and spare both the team and the player the hard feelings that might accompany a prolonged negotiation."

There's no way he'll sign before the deadline. The whole negotiation will consist of Boras having to come down from his initial astronomical demand while the Lerners have to come up from their initial offer to meet in the middle. Ultimately, one side or the other will have to give in, but there's absolutely no incentive for either side to give in until the deadline forces them to. Plus, Boras always takes his negotiations to the deadline, or even beyond the deadline if he can get away with it.

Posted by: GalRevelsInPee | May 5, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Is there a reason why they kept Mock in there for that long when there were a few other guys they could have put in that haven't even pitched since Friday?

Posted by: rxs85 | May 5, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

"The defense is competent if not flashy, the offense is good, and the starting pitching is rapidly improving. But the degree of incompetence in the bullpen is staggering."

That competent but not flashy defense hasn't been doing the bullpen any favors today, has it?

Posted by: GalRevelsInPee | May 5, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

GUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!

Posted by: joebleux | May 5, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

GUZ!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: BGinVA | May 5, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

GUUUUUUUUUUZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!

Posted by: Section220 | May 5, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Well Guzzie just made-up for dropping the double-play ball!!!

Posted by: lowcountry | May 5, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Jinx!

Posted by: joebleux | May 5, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else get the feeling that 10-9 won't be the final score with these two sorry outfits called 'bullpens'?

Posted by: ryaneades | May 5, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

This bullpen is a joke

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | May 5, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

------

My nominee for post of the day. The snark is off the charts.

Posted by: Section506 | May 5, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Oh Lord, are they setting us up again?

Posted by: rxs85 | May 5, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

my bullpen is worse than yours! nyah nyah!

Posted by: swang30 | May 5, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Adam Dunn, not doing his part today. 0 for 5, three strike outs. Maybe a day off?

Posted by: Section506 | May 5, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Well a two-run lead certainly isn't enough (and at least we all know it now) but let's see where it takes us.

Posted by: lowcountry | May 5, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Gal,

Seems the offense has decided they're not waiting around for the bullpen. Wow!

As for Strasburg/Boras, you may be right. Like I said, I'm HOPING he signed way before August. Boras did Alvarez no favors with Pittsburgh last year. Time will tell. Either way, you won't see Strasburg in the 'pen.

Posted by: outsider6 | May 5, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

This ought to be good....

Posted by: kingtutts | May 5, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Can I reverse-Carpenter this by pointing out that SI's home page has the MLB closers ranked 1-30?

30. Washington Nationals:Joel Hanrahan/Staff

"Hanrahan just lost the Nationals job, but with no obvious candidate to replace him (Kip Wells? Julian Tavarez?), the Nats and sabermetric-friendly manager Manny Acta will take it game-by-game. That would be an acceptable solution if the Nationals didn't have the worst bullpen in the National League."

Posted by: joebleux | May 5, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Um... is Wells gonna have to try for a 5-out save now?

Posted by: outsider6 | May 5, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

"Um... is Wells gonna have to try for a 5-out save now?"

Hopefully not. Hopefully, Wells tries to get the man standing in front of him out. Five times.

Posted by: Section506 | May 5, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

So our "no-doubles defense" resulted in a double?

Posted by: BGinVA | May 5, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

In the immortal words of Scooby Doo - Ruhrow!

Posted by: swang30 | May 5, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

and here we go again...

Posted by: BGinVA | May 5, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

ahem...

Posted by: kingtutts | May 5, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Is that 3 Nat's pitchers with blown saves now in this game?

Posted by: slewis1 | May 5, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Both bullpens are long past shot, so extra innings is the last thing either team needs. Fasten your seatbelts...

Posted by: BGinVA | May 5, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Was Manny playing to go extra? It's not as if he has that many available bullpen pitchers. (and It's not as if they're any good...) Why didn't he replace Wells?

Posted by: swang30 | May 5, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

How many blown saves can you assign in a game? Does Wells get everyone else off?

Posted by: Section506 | May 5, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Time to finish this game with a run right here!

Posted by: slewis1 | May 5, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

We need to send the tape of this game to Cooperstown. In three full innings of work, the two relief corps have given up 13 runs. I assume Wells will bat and hit a game-ending home run. There's no other appropriate way to end this thing...

Posted by: baltova1 | May 5, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Well, if we go to extras, at least Alex "I have nude photos of Manny" Cintron is no longer available off the bench. In fact, I think Kearns may be our last option as a PH.

Posted by: BGinVA | May 5, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Kearns came in for Dunn as a defensive replacement. So no more Bench players

Posted by: swang30 | May 5, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Don't we eventually have to learn that putting in a defensive sub for Dunn doesn't help our pitching, and only ends up killing us at bat when we inevitably blow the save anyways?

Posted by: jaycane40oz | May 5, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

A walk is as good as a hit at this stage in the game.

Posted by: BGinVA | May 5, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Kids, don't try this at home. Walking the leadoff batter is bad.

Posted by: swang30 | May 5, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse


Nats bullpen combines
"Major Leagues", "Heart of Darkness":
Wild Thing Kurtz closes.

Posted by: HaikuMan | May 5, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

"In fact, I think Kearns may be our last option as a PH."

Not any more. He came in as a defensive substitution for Dunn in top 9.

And re Wells's possible blown save, Jageler just said he can't be charged with one since it was not a save situation when he came in.

Posted by: GalRevelsInPee | May 5, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Never mind...I forgot that Kearns was already in the game. I guess our bench is depleted then.

Posted by: BGinVA | May 5, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Kearns is already playing the OF.

Wells... getting it done...

Posted by: BigNasty | May 5, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Free Baseball!

Posted by: BGinVA | May 5, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Free baseball . . . who could've seen that coming?

Posted by: lowcountry | May 5, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Need a home run real quick. The radar shows a huge blob of rain closing in on DC.

Posted by: MKadyman | May 5, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Ok...with Guzzie, N.Johnson, and Zimm we should be able to pull this one off. C'mon guys!!! 3 in a row would be sweet!

Posted by: FloresFan | May 5, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

They'd better hurry because it looks like there's rain about to come into Southeast DC.

Posted by: rxs85 | May 5, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

WHO
WANTS
IT
LESS
!!!

Posted by: Section506 | May 5, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I am sorry, but management needs to get a stick of dynamite and blow up our bull pen. And when I say this I don't mean to send folks like Travers and Mock to Syracuse, I mean get rid of these clowns and give them there unconditional release.

This is the worst when you can't hold any kind of lead and can't get outs. I am a big Nats fan but management has to do something about this. Signed up guys like Martinez, just get the right people.

Posted by: Golfersal | May 5, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Can't answer your latest question, 506, but I can answer this one:

"How many blown saves can you assign in a game?"

You can get as many blown saves as there are potential saves blown. If five guys come on in save situations and give up the lead, that's five blown saves.

(And as to Wells, the team was behind when he came in, yes? So Jageler would be correct; no save to blow there.)

Posted by: Scooter_ | May 5, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Ahhh.....Hanrahan.....bound to lose this one....

Posted by: kingtutts | May 5, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I hate to be negative, but I have a feeling that Hanrahan is gonna give up at least 2 runs now.

Posted by: FloresFan | May 5, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Anyone know where I can find audio for the game on the internet?

Posted by: Willy2 | May 5, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Nice of the Nats to let this thing drag on enough for me to come back from my other meeting.

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 5, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Whoops, I guess the game was tied when Wells came in. Still, not a save situation.

(Of course, nobody cares.)

Posted by: Scooter_ | May 5, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Come on Joel. Redeem yourself.

Posted by: usmc53 | May 5, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Twin killing! Attaboy Belly!

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 5, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Joel owes Belly a bear

Posted by: swang30 | May 5, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

"Anyone know where I can find audio for the game on the internet?"

Not for free, I don't think. MLB wouldn't like that, since they want their $12.95 for the MLB Gameday Audio subscriptions.

Posted by: joebleux | May 5, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Another "meeting," eh, JiM? That's what we're calling it?

Okay, have it your way.

Posted by: Scooter_ | May 5, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

umm, beer, that is. However, a bear hug might work too.

Posted by: swang30 | May 5, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Another Hanrahan special here.

Posted by: usmc53 | May 5, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

ok thanks joebleux. I tried MASN too

Posted by: Willy2 | May 5, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

They will never play the last of the 11th. There is heavy rain on the doorstep.

Posted by: MKadyman | May 5, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Come on JOEL!

Posted by: usmc53 | May 5, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Nice. Kearns, hit one out.

Posted by: usmc53 | May 5, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I say we offer to chop the pot.

Posted by: joebleux | May 5, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Yup, definitely a beer. Without that DP, it's 11-10 Astros right now.

Posted by: swang30 | May 5, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

MAKE

IT

END

GOD

PLEASE

MAKE

IT

END

Posted by: Brian_ | May 5, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Brian, judging by the radar in motion, He is going to answer your request.

Posted by: Section506 | May 5, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Man, that was an ugly strike 3 for AK.
Come on Dukes.

Posted by: usmc53 | May 5, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Neither team may win this one. I say Mother Nature takes it in the 12th.

Posted by: BGinVA | May 5, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Well, Elijah Dukes is doing his part. There's his motto in action.

Posted by: Section506 | May 5, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

What's his motto?

Posted by: usmc53 | May 5, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

God hates Brian_, obviously. This thing's gonna go on and on and on. Remember, this is a day game. You can have an 8 hour rain delay...

Posted by: swang30 | May 5, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I'll say one thing . . . if nothing else, this season already has been interesting and unusual.

Posted by: lowcountry | May 5, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Duke's motto:
"I'm always proud of walks. I love walks. That's my motto a walk is as good as a hit."

Posted by: swang30 | May 5, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

God hates Brian_, obviously. This thing's gonna go on and on and on. Remember, this is a day game. You can have an 8 hour rain delay...
*******************************************

Yeah, and it's especially tough considering the Nats are flying to LA after the game. Even with that being the case, they may wait this one out quite a while if they have to.

Posted by: BGinVA | May 5, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Two unbelievably bad bullpens sure aren't popular in their clubhouses. This could be a two hour rain delay with both teams dying to get out of town.

Posted by: Kev29 | May 5, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Did this Brian guy from St. Paul just say he was the only Nats fan in Minnesota?

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 5, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

My guess is that we're in for a 2-3 hour delay. Not good on getaway day. The bats have to be pretty frustrated with the pen at this point.

Posted by: BobLHead | May 5, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

JiM--I thought "Brian" was a handle you used on the radio to maintain your anonymity.

Posted by: ramgut | May 5, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Rain Delay: Advantage, Nats.

Houston will have to either bring out Hawkins after sitting around getting cold, or burn their fifth reliever (they have seven).

The Nationals, meanwhile, have Elijah Dukes on first, followed by Willingham and the pitcher's spot. I guess you have to bat Joel. If Willingham gets on, a sac bunt would actually be quite nice before Belliard.

A Willingham single probably would not get Dukes home in this weather.

Posted by: Section506 | May 5, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully Houston puts Fulchino or Paulino (two of the pitchers we scored on yesterday) out instead of Hawkins when play resumes.

Posted by: rxs85 | May 5, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

506, I hope you're right. I'd love for Belliard to bring Dukes home.

Belliard hasn't inspired any confidence in me this season, so I hope to be pleasantly surprised.

Posted by: usmc53 | May 5, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Anyone heard anything about whether the rain is easing up at the stadium?

Posted by: usmc53 | May 5, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

With an 0-3 record in extra inning games...the Nats are due (if there is such a thing as being due) to win one of these things, don't ya think?

Posted by: cokedispatch | May 5, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

checking radar, I'd think 7pm might be about right.

Posted by: cokedispatch | May 5, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

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