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Friday Night's Lineups

St. Louis

Schumaker - 4
Thurston - 5
Pujols - 3
Duncan - 7
Ludwick - 9
Ankiel - 8
LaRue - 2
T. Greene - 6
Wellemeyer - 1


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

By Chico Harlan  |  May 1, 2009; 3:12 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Friday's Mid-Day Reading
Next: Two Heinies, Two Zimmermans, One Willingham


more salt in the wound per baseball america via jim bowden/aaron crow debacle:

HotSheet #1
Team: Double-A Frisco (Texas)
Age: 22
Why He's Here: .520/.625/.840 (13-for-25), 2 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBIs, 6 BB, 3 SO
The Scoop: Even if Texas didn't draft Justin Smoak last year, they still might have the best farm system in baseball. That Smoak was still available for the Rangers with the 11th overall selection is beginning to look like a tremendous bit of good fortune for the Rangers, who at the end of the year might have one of—if not the best—first base prospects in baseball in their farm system.

A switch-hitter with a 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame, Smoak features good hitting and power tools, strike-zone discipline and above-average defensive ability. In Double-A, he's showing a broad skill set without many weaknesses. He's now batting .351/.467/.568 through 20 games with four doubles, four home runs and more walks (16) than strikeouts (10).

Posted by: longterm | May 1, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Harris instead of Willingham? Yup that Manny Acta sure has earned his job!

Posted by: JayBeee | May 1, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

When did Willie Harris become a certifiable Center Fielder? Dont get me wrong, he is defintely better in the outfield then he is in the infield, but I dont recall him playing much CF last season. Most of his time came in left and he made some great plays there. Doesnt make sense to put Harris in Center.

Harris definitely earned his contract last season, but this is just another case of someone being one of Manny's "Boys" or "favorites" and getting playing time based on that. See Milledge, Lastings and Estrada, Johnny.

I can hear the post-game quote now..."Willie played great for us last year. He brings a lot of speed to the line-up and has a great baseball IQ. He could be a manager some day."

Posted by: BigTrain | May 1, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

yeah, hard to figure why they're not squeezing jwilly and his .143 average into the lineup at every opportunity.

Posted by: joebleux | May 1, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Sample size and pinch hitting role are the issues. You put Willingham in for 4-5 ABs several times a week and he will hit well. Even in this Ass backwards Acta managing world he has still hit the ball hard more than not.

Why does Acta still have this job....he is doing everything he can to get fired. This organization is brain dead from the top down.

Posted by: JayBeee | May 1, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

My first thought for Harris being in the lineup is that he is another left handed bat vs the Hammer and Kearns who are both right handers. I dont know Wellemeye's breakdown between right vs left.

Posted by: hoyaboyd | May 1, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I am sure they are also trying to keep Dunn out of RF since La Russa would probably abuse him every chance he he got with runners.

Posted by: hoyaboyd | May 1, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Not to mention that Willy's played a significant amount of time in center in his career (911 innings in center; 1217 in left; 9 in right).

It makes sense to have Dukes and his arm in right.

Posted by: joebleux | May 1, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Sit Dunn....he needs a day off anyway....they are wasting Willingham asset in the worst way. He is playing Harris because he ALWAYS get the new roster person into a game ASAP....Alex Citron ring a bell?

Posted by: JayBeee | May 1, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Go J-Zimm! Get another win!

Posted by: PattyinSJ | May 1, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

By the way, for all the grief one JayBeee gets, he has one of the more optimistic predictions. He isn't a hater, he just hates bad baseball.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | May 1, 2009 3:27 PM

I brought this forward from a couple of posts ago because I think it's very true. I use to be one to think that "JayB" and "Coverage is Lacking" were just Negative Nancy's but, over time I have come to realize I was wrong about them. They offer a great deal to this blog.

Posted by: Section505203 | May 1, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

It is mere conjecture on my part, but I expect the Nats to continue to play a better game with Zimmermann on the mound. The kid inspires confidence and you can see the team (except for the fly ball catchers) really pick it up a notch behind him. He works fast, and builds his own momentum. The hitters also know that three runs scored will likely be all they need to post a win, and thus they are more relaxed as well. Now if by chance the bullpen blows another lead handed to them tonight I think the proper management action would be to bring a loaded gun to the dugout. Make them fear something greater than throwing strikes.

Posted by: driley | May 1, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Yes I think this team is going to be good later this year. They really need to make a good amount of roster and front office moves to clean up the Jimbo Mess.

They need to play the best talent in the organization, not the current pre-judged, reputation based players like Cabrera over Bergman.

Acta has lost this team. He needs to go to a new organization and get in line again. He will get a new manager job is a few years. I hope he does not make the same mistakes again. He is a good guy and has been nice to me at several S T events. Nats need a change in leadership just as they needed to get rid of Jimbo. I hope they do not make the same mistake as they did with Jimbo...that is doing nothing until long term damage has set in.

Posted by: JayBeee | May 1, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I don't get the negative comments about this lineup. I think that this is Acta's A team, the team he puts out there to get the best possible chance of winning behind his ace. He's going for it. It keeps almost all of the guys that are hitting well in the lineup; the only removal is Kearns, and if Harris does normal - maybe a hit here or there - it isn't much of a downgrade, and as someone mentioned maybe they're trying to increase left handed bats. Meanwhile, you get an improved outfield defense - given recent questionable plays by Dukes in CF, Harris would seem to improve the range of area covered there (reducing what Dunn has to cover in left), while we know Dukes has a good arm in right which will stop some of those advances to second or third. This lineup has the potential of hitting as well as the team's been hitting all year, being a more secure defensive unit (hooray that Guzman's back), and is behind possibly their best pitcher. Manny's going for a win tonight, trying hard to break the bad karma. I hope that he doesn't have to get to the bullpen until the 8th or later; and that whoever goes out there to relieve is somehow on and ready to pitch. Or that we're already up by 8.

Posted by: jonb5 | May 1, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Why not leave Dukes in CF, and Dunn in RF - where he's been playing when Willingham is in LF. And have Harris in LF tonight?

Posted by: comish4lif | May 1, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Because Harris has experience in center field, and you want Dukes' arm in right, and you want to leave Dunn where he has the most experience (and you certainly don't want his arm in right if you can't help it)

Posted by: joebleux | May 1, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Or to put it another way, you want your strongest arm in right, the most range in center, and the weakest fielder in left. And that's what we have here.

Posted by: joebleux | May 1, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I think you want the best defensive OF out there for your rook pitcher (who throws strikes).

Posted by: sammoMD | May 1, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Could not agree with Sammo more!

With Zimmermannnnn on the mound you want the strongest defense possible. It can really dishearten a young pitcher to watch the high-jinx that has been our defense this year.

Also I'm pretty sure the 'Dunn in right' experiment was a failure due to his arm. Hard to believe that arm was once coveted for quarterback duties.

Posted by: soundbloke | May 1, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

"By the way, for all the grief one JayBeee gets, he has one of the more optimistic predictions. He isn't a hater, he just hates bad baseball."

JayBeee has a very warped perspective when it comes to identifying what bad baseball is. It's rarely bad baseball just because JayBeee hates it.

Posted by: nunof1 | May 1, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

If any of you watched Boz's WAPO Live appearance yesterday(i think) gushing about Manny, man i just shook my head and this guy know's what baseball managing shilling for Acta to keep his job despite all that's transpired so far this season now let me just say this in 2005 F.Robby won with a bunch of castoff's and semi-stiffs this team has more talent then the 2005 squad and i think they could be more than competitive but not with Manny at the helm.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 1, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Milledge CF + Lead Off = Bad Baseball
Alex Citron as top Pinch Hitter = Bad Baseball
DCab = bad baseball
Saul R pitching to R Howard with Game on the line = Bad Baseball
Bergman, Mock in AAA Ledezma, Bard on opening day Roster = Bad Baseball

Nats in April = Bad Baseball....Anyone want to challenge that basic calculus?

Posted by: JayBeee | May 1, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I would have thought you'd want your best chance to score enough runs that he'd be able to throw strikes, and take his chances with the defense. Rookie or no, he's one of the few genuine ML pitchers they've got. Or will be soon enough.

Not that it matters when no late lead is safe.

I think you want the best defensive OF out there for your rook pitcher (who throws strikes).
Posted by: sammoMD | May 1, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: CEvansJr | May 1, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Which brings me to my next point: relax.

As I've said, I grew up a Cubs fan; losing holds no terror for me. You have to get into the morbid fascination. Learn good baseball by cautionary example.

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

dargregmag, what the heck are you saying? can you use a period or a comma once in awhile?

As for Boz shilling for Acta (I think that's what you meant) what possible motive or benefit would Boz get for approving of Acta in public if he didn't mean it? If he likes Manny Acta as a manager it could very well be that he has reason to. Is that so hard for Manny haters to understand?

In fact (and now I mean the general audience, not just you dargregmag) could you just say "So-and-so likes Manny and I disagree" instead of "so and so likes Manny because he needs to keep his job." o

Posted by: NatsNut | May 1, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Keep in mind Boz told us that Jimbo was doing a good job and that he was good for the Nats too......then he told us that Jimbo was part of the problem.....with time Boz with come around too.....

Posted by: JayBeee | May 1, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

It is curious why Acta doesn't seem to play Willingham much. Don't know what to think there.

Posted by: CountDemoney | May 1, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

You know what the best OF they could possibly put out there is?
Dunn - LF
Maxwell - CF (leadoff off)
Dukes - RF

After watching baseball for 40 years, it is easy to spot the real thing - Maxwell reminds me of a young Barry Bonds out there. He's a cant-miss.

Plus they REALLY need a lead-off hitter that can stir things up a little, and Maxwell is the best base stealer at either AAA or the parent club in the organization.

Another point: A lot of the Nats problems actually stem from Bowdens lack of foresight on how to bring together a winning baseball team. He looked at individual parts, not a team as a whole. The acquisition of Willingham, while I like him, made no real sense even before signing Dunn given that they already had Kearns, Milledge, Dukes, all of whom are really corner OFs. The ONLY real CF in the organization (not including W Harris) is Maxwell. Play him.

Final Point: Having been born and raised with the Montreal Expos since 1969 and having seen probably about 1,000 games (what a nut I was) at the old Jarry Park and Olympic Stadium, this is positively the worst fundamental baseball I have seen since the inception of this organization, and that includes the days of Rusty Staub. It's shocking, almost amusing. Ray Knight in the post-game analysis looks like he's gonna bust a gut one day.

Posted by: hersheyman | May 1, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Really?! People are questioning why Willie Harris is playing tonight? It is basic baseball knowledge that when a RHP is on the mound, the other team tries to counter that with a mostly left-handed hitting lineup. No hidden agenda. No playing favorites. No conspiracies.

Posted by: erocks33 | May 1, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

I am in St. Louis now for a wedding, so you can imagine my fun. But I was talking to some Cards fans about errors and got to thinking about it.

So I looked at some of the numbers between the number one error-prone team in baseball (the Nationals) and the number two team (the Cardinals). Or is that between the number 32 team in baseball (Nationals) and the number one team in baseball (Cardinals)?

The Nationals have 22 errors that have resulted in 19 unearned runs. The Cardinals have 21 errors that have resulted in 12 unearned runs. Seven runs isn't a huge difference, but might it make the difference once or twice. Not in the eleven game gap between the two, though.

But, as the Card fans told me, St. Louis has been scalding the ball. They've gotten 133 runs compared to the Nationals' 94. A 29 run difference certainly is more explicable. That's first in the NL for the Cardinals and eleventh for the Nationals. Still, the Nationals have only played the league leader once, and Atlanta is twelfth place and New York Mets are tenth place, so you would think the effects were neutralized.

So, then there's pitching. The Cardinals have given up a total of 84 earned runs, fourth fewest in the NL. Washington? 105, fourth most.

There's been a lot of concern about the errors, because they're embarrassing, and the manager takes a lot of heat for them. But the data show that it's the pitching that is killing us, not the unearned runs.

The league average is 13 errors. Assuming we allowed unearned runs at the same rate per error, if we were an average team, we could expect 8 less unearned runs (the Cards would have 6 less at their same rate).

It's not the errors, it's the pitching.

Posted by: Section506 | May 1, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

*Yes, there are 30 teams in baseball. And Bud Selig is an idiot for making it that way.

Posted by: Section506 | May 1, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

I can't remember, and I'm too lazy to look it up the numbers, but someone yesterday (radio, TV, aliens beaming stuff into my head) said LaRussa wasn't too worried about the errors because a substantial portion of them were from either Schumaker directly (outfielder converted to 2nd baseman), or from Pujols trying to do too much to make for Schumaker.

Posted by: joebleux | May 1, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

I completely agree on J Maxwell. He is ready now and this is part of the roster clean up that must happen now. Repeat from last week....Kearns, Milledge and Johnson all need to be traded for pitching. Dunn needs to play every day at 1B and start improving; he will, he is a hard worker and a ball player. New roster of OF should be Willingham, Maxwell and Dukes with Harris and Roger B (next year) as backups.

Posted by: JayBeee | May 1, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Late change: C Yadier Molina has been subbed into the Cards' lineup in place of LaRue. No change in the order.

Posted by: traceeh | May 1, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Bud Selig is an idiot for many reasons. That's just one of them, 506. Details and lengthy rants are probably available on

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 1, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

hmmm, and here I thought I was joking (about the site part, not the idiot part):

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 1, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Also, I'm pretty sure he got more votes than JimBo.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 1, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

TLR is blowing smoke.

Posted by: Section506 | May 1, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Settle down Jaybee

I don't think anyone that actually reads your posts honestly believes you are just a hater. You don't seem that mindless.

And no, not one of the points you made above are anything but 'bad baseball'. Keep posting. Fight the good fight and so forth...

Posted by: soundbloke | May 1, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

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