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A Wrinkle In The Lineup

We've got an experimental lineup from Manny Acta this afternoon. I like it. How 'bout you? For the first time this year, Ryan Zimmerman is batting fourth. (He batted third in each of Washington's previous 73 games.) Adam Dunn is batting fifth for just the second time this year. The Guzman-Johnson-Zimmerman-Dunn succession remains intact, but each player is shuffled down one spot -- with Willie Harris tucked into the lead-off spot.

Washington

Harris - 8
Guzman - 6
Johnson - 3
Zimmerman - 5
Dunn - DH
Willingham - 7
Dukes - 9
Hernandez - 4
Nieves - 2
(Lannan - 1)

Baltimore

Jones - 8
Wigginton - 4
Markakis - 9
Huff - 3
Reimold - 7
Scott - DH
Salazar - 5
Wieters - 2
Andino - 6
(Hernandez - 1)

By Chico Harlan  |  June 28, 2009; 10:59 AM ET
 
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Next: Notes From Camden

Comments

looks from the lineups that the o's have decided to give us a game...hey, i'll take it!!!

Posted by: nattylite88 | June 28, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Not a thing to lose with trying something different. I just hope they are more selective, especially Zim and E.D. Hopefully they can get this one, otherwise it could be another long losing streak with the fish up next...ugh.

Posted by: cokedispatch | June 28, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Was reading an article about Nats defense (won't mention it here on the Post site). Discussion of CF mentioned that the position has been filled for the last 8 games by a utility player [our hero Willie Harris, of course]. "We haven't had a legit center fielder out there all year". Why isn't Willie "legit"--do we have the caste system???? What does it take for Willie to be a legit CF?

I remember a remark by Willie "In my contract I'm a utility player, in my heart I am an everyday player". Do we have to renegotiate his contract???

Posted by: Nats_Lady | June 28, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Carrying forward.

I second the thanks to Flynnie for the reminder. That was one of my favorite in-person games last year.

I didn't see the game last night, but I gather that I didn't miss much. Also last night, one of our friends received a call in the midst of our gathering - a notification that a loved one had died suddenly. A lost ballgame and a losing team are nothing compared with that. Reach out to and hug your loved ones and tell them that you love them. You never know what might happen and when.

---

Today is Sunday, June 28, 2009. One year ago, on a sweltering Saturday night, I sat in crappy, overpriced ($40) seats in front of the NatsPark scoreboard (couldn't see it, which is a real disadvantage) watching the O's pound the Nats 9-1. The next day, Sunday, June 29th, Ronnie Belliard hit a two run walk-off home run in the bottom of the 12th inning to put the Nats at 33-50. Hanrahan got the win, despite allowing a run in the top of the 12th. That game was a highlight of the season. This place is filled with fans who love the team and hunger for a win. May we get one today! And may it start a nice, long, overdue, regression to mean, streak.

Posted by: flynnie2 | June 28, 2009 10:13 AM |

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 28, 2009 11:38 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 28, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

natsfan1a1, that is SO true. All you have to do is read the front page article today about the metro crash survivors. I rode the Red Line for many years, and just last Sunday the Blue and Green to the Nats game. You just never know when.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | June 28, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I like this. If Harris gets on, you have Guzman's contact hitting next to move him along. As Nick is our OBP guy, Zim'll see differing pitches in the 4 hole from 3, with our big bopper now 5th. Get to Dunn and we should have at least 2 on, or a run in. More OBP with Josh, Dukes'll do whatever he does, and more contact hitting from Hernandez. If Nieves gets on, Willie gets to use some bat control.

The lineup is stretched out more. Not as top heavy. I like it!

Posted by: dand187 | June 28, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to both for the reminder of Belliard's homer last year. He was an excellent situational hitter. I don't know what the problem is this year other than lack of regular playing time. I expect the team may need him this year if any of the regular infielders are injured so it is good to give him some playing time now and then. He still makes good plays at second. I have been a fan of his since I saw him at ESPN Zone in 2007.

Posted by: longhorn64 | June 28, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Washington lineup - me likey!
Baltimore lineup - Wiggington @ 2B & Salazar @ 3B - really?

nattylite, you might be onto something.

Posted by: BinM | June 28, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

>>>Kearns got an RBI

Lock him up now with a $20 million 5 year extension before anyone else steals him from us. the dude is awesome.

And while we're at it, please give Manny Acta a $50 million 10 year extension. The guy is a combination of Bobby Cox and Joe Torre, minus of course any winning seasons... But still...That awesome demeanor......

Build the team around Kearns and Acta. They've proven their worth!!!

Posted by: dovelevine | June 28, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

PS: GO MIGHTY WILLIE MOUSE!!!!
That dude rocks.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 28, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

The most important impact of line-up construction is that the hitters at the top get more at bats. Over the course of the season, the lead-off man can get as many as 70-100 more plate appearances as the guys in the middle.

If you made a list of the best to worst hitters in the line up, where would Harris and Guzman be? Probaby 6th and 7th, behind Dunn, Zimm, Nick, Dukes, and Willingham.

So no giving more at bats to your weaker hitters at the expense of your better hitters is not a good idea.

Posted by: sbiel2 | June 28, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

So, when Olsen gets re-instated tomorrow, who goes out or down? The "out list" has Colome or Hanrahan, and the "down list" has Clippard. I'm guessing that Clippard goes back to SYR, but I'd prefer to see Colome catch the DFA.

Posted by: BinM | June 28, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Can we wait until the first round of trades before you bloody our axe with Acta? The scientific approach would be to change one variable at a time.

We changed GM, now we let him build a team, then we see if the manager can manage said team.

Hysteria solves nothing.

Posted by: Rednational | June 28, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

>>Can we wait until the first round of trades before you bloody our axe with Acta? The scientific approach would be to change one variable at a time.

Exactly. Now is not the time for change. Now is the time to stay the course.
Who is with me?
Lifetime extensions for Austin Kearns and Manny Acta, the two most consistent parts of the Nats. And we need consistency.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 28, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

dovelevine

Oh please. No one on this thread has ever suggested that we sign Kearns long term.

I'm not sure I like the Stamen to the pen idea. To be fair the kid just got caught out with a bad inning against the Red Sox. He is not really the first pitcher that has happened to. Right now it is more important that he learn to pitch to guys the second and third time through the order. That is what will dictate whether he is a good long term fit. Sending him to the pen doesn't help that.

Detweiler on the other hand could be sent down, rested a little bit, and brought back in late August to relieve one or two pitchers who are starting to tire.

On the other hand maybe Stamen to the pen works simply because it's a damn wasteland out there.

Posted by: Rednational | June 28, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I like Willie Harris, but his pop up to the infield last night reminded me of Willie Mays Hayes in Major League- he's got to hit the ball on the ground and use his speed. 20 push-ups when he pops the ball up.

Posted by: smo06 | June 28, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Other than the first time through the order, it's not any different in practice than batting Harris 9th.

I think fans put way too much stock in the importance of batting order. There have been studies that indicate that batting order has minimal effect on run production, short of deliberately ordering your hitters from worst to best. Any arrangement where you have the better hitters toward the top of the lineup is probably about as good as any other.

A bigger concern is where the hitters are comfortable. Clearly Guz and Nick like where they are, and Zim had a pretty good run in the 3 spot. I'd leave those alone in the long run.

Posted by: joebleux | June 28, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

>>dovelevine No one on this thread has ever suggested that we sign Kearns long term.

What am I invisible? Someone has and it is I. For the stability and the sanctity of our team, we need to lock up Austin Kearns and Manny Acta longterm NOW.
Now who's with me?

Posted by: dovelevine | June 28, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone commented on the attendance? Twice what either the O's or the Nats are averaging. So, a rivalry developing? What would it be like if they were both good?

Posted by: markfromark | June 28, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Stay the course? Seriously?

Manny Acta is the wrong man for the job and has been for a long time. Now is absolutely the time to change, because things can hardly get worse with a new manager, and at that point, we can actually start building.

But all Manny Acta is doing is tearing things apart with his silly lineup experiments that never work and his bizarre use of the bullpen and pinch hitters and his unwillingness to call for sacrifice bunts and so on. He's a horrible manager, unqualified to manage even at single-A, let alone the majors.

He needs to go, and the sooner the better.

As for batting order, I think it matters less in the AL than the NL. One of the things (besides Manny Acta's incompetence) that has hurt the Nats this year is Flores being injured. The usual 7-8 hitters *now* are decent hitters, but they have no power. What good is a singles guy with a runner on first and two outs when the pitcher is on deck? You need someone there who can hit for extra bases and occasionally hit the ball out. That was Flores when he was healthy, and Acta has failed to adjust accordingly. Put Willingham or Dukes in the 8 spot and maybe we won't strand quite as many runners when pitchers make the third out.

Posted by: zaph | June 28, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone commented on the attendance? Twice what either the O's or the Nats are averaging. So, a rivalry developing? What would it be like if they were both good?

Posted by: markfromark | June 28, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse
----------------------------------------------

Yes, and Chicago. To answer your questions.

Posted by: Rednational | June 28, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

i like the idea, but the reality is the more zim and dunn drop in the lineup, the less ABs they might see, i want those two gettin as many as possible, i think thats why a few years ago in cinncy dunn saw time at leadoff and in the 2 hole

Posted by: formerlylove1 | June 28, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

dove - Nice over-the-top snark on the response to RedNat.

Let's face it: Manny is year-to-year, and probably won't get renewed for 2010, based on W-L alone. Kearns has become a "dead-man walking" with his 2009 performance - if he's still on the roster in October, he'll get the $1M buyout. If they're not traded, Belliard, NJohnson, & DaMeat all come off the roster for 2010.

In addition, a majority of the current bullpen (Beimel, Colome, MacDougal, Tavarez, & Villone) can walk away at the end of the season. Could the Nationals (under another GM &/or MGR) talk any of them back for another year or two? Would they even want to? I'd try for Beimel & maybe MacDougal & let the rest walk away - Bergmann, MChico, Clippard, Hanrahan, Larrison, Rivera, Stammen, TYoung, & Zinicola are already on the roster, or in the wings.

Posted by: BinM | June 28, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Interesting summary of the best and worst free agents for 2009. Adam Dunn made the list of the best!

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/jon_heyman/06/28/Heyman.scoop/index.html?eref=sihpT1

Posted by: EdDC | June 28, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Can someone tell me WHY the BLO's pregame show is on CH50!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: CBinDC | June 28, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I swear I dont intend this to be snarky.

Joebleaux said:

I think fans put way too much stock in the importance of batting order. There have been studies that indicate that batting order has minimal effect on run production, short of deliberately ordering your hitters from worst to best.

A bigger concern is where the hitters are comfortable. Clearly Guz and Nick like where they are, and Zim had a pretty good run in the 3 spot. I'd leave those alone in the long run.

So, the batting order doesnt matter and is overrated by fans, but is vitally important to the players? Please explain how this is not a contradiction. Thanks.

Posted by: MinorLeagueFanatic | June 28, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Hysteria is the Yankees fans and NY media wanting to fire Joe Girardi and his 42-32 record this year.

Acta is 21-51 after going 59-102 last season, that 80-153 since the 2008 opener. Firing Acta is the logical conclusion. It is inevitable at this point. Not Hysteria.

Posted by: comish4lif | June 28, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

any good free agents for next year? I think we need to upgrade our whole outfield and first base.

Posted by: jpt1002 | June 28, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Can we flip Willingham and Zimmerman in that lineup? How about Harris, Johnson, Willingham, Dunn, Zimmerman, Guz, Dukes, Nieves, Hernandez?

Posted by: greathue | June 28, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

"So, the batting order doesn't matter and is overrated by fans, but is vitally important to the players?"

mlf,

I didn't say or imply "vitally important", for openers.

I'm talking about general batting order philosophy that fans like to debate ("we need a speedy guy here; this guy should follow that guy; we should flip-flop these two guys", etc.) vs. where specific hitters are comfortable in the lineup.

Baseball players are creatures of habit. If someone's knocking the snot the out of the ball in a particular lineup spot (like Guz-Nick-Zim have been most of the year), then I'd leave them there, not because of some overriding theory of batting order, but just because I wouldn't want to mess with their heads by moving them around.

Posted by: joebleux | June 28, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Here I am, watching the stinkin' Nats again. When they win the world series in 2025 (under new ownership I am sure), noone better call me a bandwagon fan!!!!
Re: the line up change, I don't see that it makes much difference. What would make a difference- 1. Fire Manny. 2. Kearns, beliard, Hanrahan and colome gone. Thatere would still be alot of work to do, but that would be a good start.

Posted by: chris88 | June 28, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

-jpt
check out this link on traderumors
http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2008/12/2010-mlb-free-a.html

there doesn't seem to be much on 1B except Johnson, laroche, and tracy.

Outfield has some promise with Matt Holiday but I doubt he comes here.
More likely could be Ankeil, Crisp, or Jason Bay.

It seems to be that starting pitching is going to be the surplus next year with Beckett, Lee, Lackey, Bedard.

Also, in relief you could have Mike Gonzalez, Brandon Lyon, JJ Putz, Rafael Soriano, or Danys Baez.

I think we are better to get a CF and relief pitching in a trade. Sign a closer like Gonzalez, Putz, or Lyon for poise in the 9th. Wait for Marrero, Burgess, and Espinosa to come up middle of next year.
Maybe .500 ball by 2012 if we stay healthy.

Posted by: wrw0601 | June 28, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

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