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Braves 4, Nats 1

The what-if scenario has no purpose, I admit. But let's just suppose that way back in the first inning, John Lannan, with the benefit of decent fielding, had finished the frame after three outs instead of six. Let's pretend Josh Willingham had grabbed that liner instead of losing it in the lights, and let's pretend that Pete Orr had snared that one-hop grounder, and let's pretend that somebody -- either Willie Harris or Justin Maxwell -- had taken charge on that flyball between them.

"We could still be playing," Jim Riggleman said. "The score could be 0-0, the way [Javier] Vazquez was throwing and the way John was throwing. They both could have gone 11 tonight."

Instead, the Nats lost 4-1, allowing three unearned runs -- two charged to Lannan. Given the way he started (two unearned runs right off the bat, 35 pitches in the first inning), this night was especially impressive for the lefty. As Vazquez held Washington scoreless until an eighth-inning Josh Bard homer, Lannan responded with six consecutive shutout innings. After the first, he never faced more than four batters in a frame. He mixed speeds. He struck out six. He lowered his ERA from 4.07 to 3.93.

After the game, Lannan refused to point fingers at the fielding mistakes. Things like that happen, he said. He noted that plenty of times this year, fielders have bailed him out. Baseball is an equal opportunist.

"That was one of my better starts because I didn't let [the mistakes] affect my outing," Lannan said. "That game could have gotten out of hand and I told myself, Leave it on the line, and that's what I did."

Riggleman said he felt "terrible" that Lannan lost while pitching so well, and he acknowledged that "we're in a little funk here where if it can go wrong it's gonna go wrong. Willingham never saw the ball; he's lucky he didn't get hit with it because it's in the lights. That's happened a couple nights in a row, and I don't care how it's written, how it's portrayed, that's a fact: The ball has gotten in the lights on him a couple times. You can't catch that ball. We had a miscommunication on that ball in left-center, the ball drops in. We got a bullet at Orr... It was a tough play."

By Chico Harlan  |  September 25, 2009; 10:36 PM ET
 
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Comments

Maxwell is an idiot. Cut him now and end the pain. I was seating with some fiends in their seats in LF.....He lost the game....he called for the ball and then backed off like it was little league. He is 25 and in his second tour at the MLB level. He several years in pro ball well over 1000 innings in CF at the pro level. CUT HIM NOW if he does not know how to catch a lazy fly ball to LF>......Embarrassing.....just so Nationals. Riggs is toast as well. He is sound just like Acta....begging for a job he has not earned. He had the nerve to say that "these things happened".....WELL THEY DO BUT THEY DO NOT HAVE TOO JIM YOU FOOL!

Posted by: JayBeee | September 25, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

mark me down as one of these baseball fans who doesn't like this new-age deepak chopra approach managers take so as not to harshly criticize their [layers. the milledgesque defense maxwell played in CF tonight was bad enough that riggleman should have gone out there and pulled him mid-inning after the foulup with desmond. and no jim, you wouldn't "still be playing" after the plumbers you played tonight gift-wrapped two unearned atlanta runs in the first inning and you only scored one run all game. moron.

Posted by: surly_w | September 25, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

In my post in the previous thread, I forgot to ask why Riggleman played Willingham in RF? It's obvious the man isn't comfortable out there and the OF defense might have been better with a Willingham-Harris-Maxwell alignment from left to right. Sometimes, the manager of a losing team is too smart for his own - and the team's own good. G'night, Gracie.

Posted by: leetee1955 | September 25, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

at least the nats didn't wear those dopey-looking blue jerseys tonight.

Posted by: surly_w | September 25, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Surly, I agree on the blue jerseys. That's a nightmare.

Does anyone know if Desmond will be playing outfield in winter ball? He needs to be. Too many errors for an infielder. Anyone agree with that? I saw Boswell say that Desmond's minor league defensive stats are on line with Jeter's and others, but I don't care. A "slick middle infielder" he is not. Any thoughts?

Posted by: bgreene4 | September 25, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

NJ et al,

I have been needling periculum for a particular reason. Back in June and July he wrote some things about other commenters which were way beyond the pale of acceptability. They were disgusting, nasty, and sometimes vicious. That is bad enough, but he has never taken the time to apoligize for his bad behavior. Mean comments whether verbal or written cannot be condoned. He always attacks people who disagree with him.

This is a site to enjoy our collective love of the Nats, not to beat on each other.

APOLOGIZE PERICULUM. GROW UP AND BE AN ADULT.

Posted by: WashOut | September 25, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Two main thoughts after going to my first game in a while. OK, three thoughts.

1. The team is sleepwalking. Call it Guzman's disease. Was it started by Livo's totally disregarding the skipper, by Riggleman's moving around Desmond like he is a veteran utility player instead of a kid who needs to learn one position, or what?

2. The management made tonight's execrable game as fun as possible with all the giveaways and postgame entertainment. After the last MJ song played, we didn't want to leave, and had almost forgotten how crappily the Nats had played.

3. Have the beer goggles cleared up on Desmond? It's the next morning, he is in bed with us, and does he still look good? Tonight was my first in-person sighting, and he did two things tonight that I had never seen a major league shortstop do: Start the around-the-horn play after a base stealer stole second (he thought he made the tag in time), and starting to throw a ball back into the infield, then changing his mind and seeing the ball fly out of his hand sideways from short center toward short right field. Seriously, now that the orgasms are over, do we really think he is ready?

OK, one more thought. It was funny enough the Nats sent us a season ticket renewal by email the day after loss #100, but addressed to recipients by the wrong name! I imagine this topic has already been covered, though.

Posted by: paulkp | September 25, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

My friends and I had a good laugh at the name mistake. Amy was Randy. Diego was Carl. Ali (guy) was Gina. I (girl) was Danny.

And the apology email was funny too because it was so over-the-top. It clearly came on the tails of a Stan Kasten blown gasket.

It really cracked me up. Here are the Nationals, hanging by a thread, trying to hold onto whatever threadbare STH base they have, sending an email offering a list of shiny new STH benefits with points and free tickets and gifts and payment plans and how wonderful the fans have been and how they appreciate us so much. And they get the names wrong. You just had to laugh.

Posted by: NatsNut | September 26, 2009 1:11 AM | Report abuse

The Nationals lost.
The Pirates won.
"Baseball's Lebron" is that much closer.
Be happy.


*And if you're not, take another look at this: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1156215/index.htm

Posted by: Dynatic | September 26, 2009 1:46 AM | Report abuse

After last night, the Nats tragic number is now four with nine left to play. That means that they could finnish up 5-4 and still clinch Harper no matter what the Buccos, or anyone else for that matter, do.

Posted by: twinbrook | September 26, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Hey gang....boy it's been a LONG time since I posted...and I see the declining numbers from others as well....Gee, to think that such a promising start(think '05)could get so fouled up. Really, a historic opportunity to create a new "National" brand in the sports world. Nations capital,lots of Latino community members, a young audience due to D.C.'s expanded importance(think of all those lobbyists and staffers), a revitalizing city...and an easy, relaxed way to watch a sporting event with your fellow citizens- without the madness of supporting the awful hegemony of the Redskins (getting to Fed-Ex is just the start of what could be a very long rant!). Granted, ownership by MLB did us plenty of harm...but so far, the Slow Lerner regime has resembled the game last night.A waste of some fine opportunities. See how Pittsburgh only had 3000 fans for a game the other day? It's amazing that we still manage to draw as well as we do, given our truly abysmal performance.And what truly saddens me is to see a player of Zim's caliber stuck here-this is a guy who in New York could conceivably be the next "Jeter"-hoping that the owners realize that they're not in Charlotte or Columbus or any other smallish city.That St. Louis has , what-350,000 residents? We're a tad bit biggerAND more important than Atlanta as well,Mr. Kasten! And jumping back to what I mentioned earlier about the potential as a new "iconic" sports brand-how many people live in Manchester, U.K.? Our owners have the DEEPEST pockets in all of baseball, and yet we have how many fewer scouts than most organizations? Even as a moneymaking proposition, I've argued earlier that a tavern is a more appropriate model for a sports team than a widget factory.(Course, as a bar owner....)You patronize bars where you get that stiff pour or freebie, where the bartenders GIVE a dang about you....You might make less per drink, but you sell a whole bunch more-AND make a lot more money!And the joint becomes THE place to be...both for patrons AND workers! Stan is right when he says this town would go NATS,,,er nuts...if they had a decent product. I just hope the team takes a long hard look at things this off season and commits to BOTH the future AND the immediate present-to US!!!.
Please, Mr. Lerner, give us a real team to root for and I PROMISE we'll make you even richer than you are and as beloved as Joe Gibbs. I'll be one of the three thousand if you don't, but as my attention drifts from the horrid play on the field, I'll be pondering the 'if only's' and sadly lamenting what could have been.
And as always, gang, you all are STILL the best. We sure love this team, huh?
Go Nats.....

Posted by: zendo | September 26, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I know, I'm newposted several times over, but I can't resist. What an image this makes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0xIM1SGiS8
************************
Maxwell is an idiot. I was seating with some fiends in their seats in LF. . .
Posted by: JayBeee | September 25, 2009 10:47 PM |

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 26, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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