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Lineups From Nats Park

Atlanta

McLouth - 8
Prado - 4
Jones - 5
McCann - 2
Anderson - 7
Escobar - 6
LaRoche - 3
Diaz - 9
Lowe - 1

Washington

Harris - 8
Desmond - 6
Zimmerman - 5
Willingham - 7
Dukes - 9
Morse - 3
Burke - 2
Gonzalez - 4
Hernandez - 1

Among the news you won't find on ESPN's "The Lead" ticker:

* Catcher Wil Nieves pulled his left hamstring on Sept. 17. Originally he thought he'd be able to return to the lineup five days later. When that didn't happen, he hoped to return to the lineup this weekend. That didn't happen either, but Nieves feels his return isn't far away. If his hamstring feels OK after some sprints in the outfield on Sunday, Nieves could return to the lineup on Monday.

* Adam Dunn is out of the lineup because of some minor aches and pains, as well as some allergy problems. It's just a one-day break, interim manager Jim Riggleman said.

* This is the first time a Washington, D.C.-based baseball team has been 50 games under .500 since Sept. 29, 1963, when the Senators wrapped up a 56-106 season.

* Riggleman likes Mike Morse. The manager calls his utility player a "professional hitter," which is how Riggleman describes almost anybody whose bat he wants in the lineup. But Riggleman also has a dilemma. He doesn't quite see a natural fit for Morse on the field. His best positions -- first base and third base -- are also those where the Nats require little help. The position where Washington could use a boost -- second base -- is one Morse has played before. But Riggleman still doesn't feel comfortable enough to try a long-limbed 6-foot-5 guy there.

"He's just gotten to be such a big guy that it's hard to profile him as a middle infielder," Riggleman said. "What we see is a guy who can hit, but with [Ryan] Zimmerman and [Adam] Dunn here, this is the place that Mike has fallen into in the past."

In his five-year big league career, Morse has played first, third, shortstop, left field and right field. Earlier this year, while with Class AAA Tacoma, he also played about 20 games at second. Referencing his height, Morse acknowledged that "people don't look at me as a second baseman, same as shortstop. But if I play, I'm going to play as hard as I can. There's no pressure this far in my baseball career [about switching positions]. If they tell me to catch, I'll put the gear on."

On Sunday, Morse found himself in the lineup, starting at first place, allowing a day off for Dunn. But this was just the third start for Morse since his August 17 promotion from Class AAA Syracuse. Acquired in a June 28 trade with Seattle, Morse is hitting .259 in 27 at bats, 16 of them as a pinch-hitter.

Next year in spring training, there's a chance the Nationals give Morse a chance to sharpen his second base skills. He's even worked out there a few times in the last week, strictly in pre-game drills. But for now, Riggleman is reluctant to play Morse there in a game -- especially against a contending team like Atlanta.

"Also," Riggleman said, "You do owe it to your pitcher to try to put as best a ballclub out there that you can."

By Chico Harlan  |  September 27, 2009; 12:43 PM ET
 
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Comments

Not much time left for AD to get those last two dingers. Gotta have something to pull for.

Posted by: nats24 | September 27, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

"Also," Riggleman said, "You do owe it to your pitcher to try to put as best a ballclub out there that you can."

Did he just learn that, or was Desmond in RF something that Lannan was owed? Yeesh.

Posted by: BinM | September 27, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

@nats24: Just remember, the Mets are coming, the Mets are coming; AD will get his chances.

Posted by: BinM | September 27, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

nat24: I agree. I would love to see Dunn get 40 HRs again this year. And if he can keep his batting ave. at .275 or higher that would be awesome.

Posted by: bigmook | September 27, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

BinM, apparently Morse at second is less best than Desmond in right.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 27, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Pay no attention to anything Riggleman says. He'll be gone shortly.

Posted by: nunof1 | September 27, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

@sec3: Even though I consider Morse @2B as an abomination, at least he's played the position more recently than Desmond had RF.
Spring Training is the place for these guys to work on different positions, not during the regular season, unless something catastrophic happens (i.e. flu takes out half the club).

Posted by: BinM | September 27, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

But seriously, I see them (and I know, all teams do this at one time or another) yanking some kid from one position to another, hoping he'll somehow fill a hole or find Ivan DeJesus --- which only reminds me, it took two full organizations over five years to put Ryne Sandberg at second base. The Phillies had Manny Trillo already--they needed a ss for old, infirm, not hitting much anymore, disgruntled Larry Bowa (who probably had bunions), and so they traded both of them to the Cubs for -- Ivan DeJesus! And the Cubs liked Bowa at short, so they put Sandberg -- in center field.

Hmmm. How about third? Can he play third? Sorta. Whoops, we just got Ron Cey. Whadda ya say we try him at second? WTH.


Sure, it looks easy after the guy's in the HOF.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 27, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Nats24, don't worry too much. He can hit 2 in one game. The hard part is landing EXACTLY on 40.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 27, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

and before NatsNut gets back, let me just say that "i.e." is short for "id est"--"that is", and "e.g." -- exempli gratia -- means "for example.
Just because it's the end of the season doesn't mean I'm going to quit being a professional pita.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 27, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

although I do still have an opening for a proofreader, apparently.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 27, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

@sec3: Good reminder about Ryno. The Dodgers did the same thing with guys like Bill Russell & Bobby Valentine, IIRC.
I wouldn't mind Desmond turning into an OF if SS doesn't work out (he's got a cannon for an arm); Maybe I just need to lighten up a little.

Posted by: BinM | September 27, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Now that was an efficient 1st inning - Garrett, were you taking notes? Which bring up a thought - back in the day, the next day's starter used to have to chart pitches from the dugout; Do the Nationals still do that?

Posted by: BinM | September 27, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

WOW!

Posted by: BinM | September 27, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Where is everybody - Watching the deadskins game?

Posted by: BinM | September 27, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

You people are missing a pretty good ballgame, imo.

Posted by: BinM | September 27, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Hope that most of the faithful are at the game, but it would be nice if I felt I wasn't talking to myself in here.

Posted by: BinM | September 27, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Dukes due up (RHH - struggles w/breaking ball), against side-armed RH Moylan, with a man on 3rd and Dunn (LHH), Bard & Guzman (both switch-hitters) on the bench; What does Riggleman do - he leaves Dukes in to hit against Moylan. WTH/F?

Posted by: BinM | September 27, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Another disgusting loss.

Sorry but the Nats have very little talent and I am tired of retrends like Vallone and McDough being our "closers"

Kasten and Rizzo should be watching all of this and have pink slips for this time next week for Rieglman, McCaffey and some of the other coaches that have soon us very little.

Sorry, but a lot of the blame goes to Jim Bowden and I know this season was a terrible experience for it, but as a season ticket holder since day one in 2005, I have very little tolerance in spending another $9 grand for Clubhouse tickets to watch the joke of the major leagues.

Honestly, the Nats should pay me to attend these games, they are not a nice experience and I am getting tired of seeing the team get worst each year. Look at it, since 2005 the Nats have progressed each year and I don't know if we have seen the bottom yet.

it's a joke and if I was Mark Leonard and Stan Kasten I would be crafting a big apology to five year season ticket holder that have bought 81 games a year for a fifth year.

It's a joke, don't know if any other season ticket holders fell like me.

Posted by: Golfersal | September 27, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Say what you will about Riggleman, he probably has longer to go in this town than Jim Zorn does. Which ain't saying much.

Posted by: nunof1 | September 27, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

MacDougal's doing a really good job of pitching himself off of the 2010 WSH roster, imo. You folks can discuss all this later; I've seen enough for today - I'm out.

Posted by: BinM | September 27, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I think Macdougal is mainly in the wrong job. You can't ask a 7th inning guy, or a loogy, to come in 4 nights a week to get 3, 4, 5, or 6 outs, especially playing the Colander Defense behind him, and expect him to succeed more than half the time. That's not optimism, it's cognitive dissonance.

We said it at the beginning of the year, and we're still saying it after every game (some of us, literally): you can win with weak offense, you can even get lucky with so-so pitching, but no one ever wins with bad defense.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 27, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Sal, for what it's worth, fewer people fell for it this year, and even fewer will next year unless a lot of us are very much mistaken, or something spectacular happens between now and then--and by spectacular, I mean, on the level of the Wizards getting Jordan. Hmmmm. Maybe we wouldn't fall for *that* a second time, either, come to think of it.
*********
It's a joke, don't know if any other season ticket holders fell like me.
Posted by: Golfersal | September 27, 2009 4:35 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 27, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I don't know, Nunof1--I'm guessing they won't leave Riggleman on the hook too long, but let him get started on finding his next gig right after the season is over. Zorn might make it to Thanksgiving (although he'll have plenty to be thankful for if that happens, I suppose, so maybe not).

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 27, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Zorn will be lucky if he makes it home tonight with a job. Remember who he works for.

Posted by: nunof1 | September 27, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I'll never forget what's-his-name.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 27, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Of course, if his career keeps on the way it is, Riggleman's next job will have to be in Pittsburgh, I think. Kansas City may be too good for him.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 27, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Well, they did what people said -- replaced the previous pitching coach with a guy who told them to throw strikes (you had to know Randy was going to get in trouble telling the to throw balls), increased infield practice, argued with umpires, double switched, and had post-game meetings. I am left with the continuing feeling that the problem is not with the coaching. Except, of course, that ball that was hit over Desmond's head apparently cost them 10 wins. That one is on Riggleman.

Posted by: markfromark | September 27, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

has zorn been fired yet?

Posted by: surly_w | September 27, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

@surly_w

I predicted that Zorn would get fired by the third or 4th game. They really hate it when I am right over on RI. :)

@BinM,

I think management and the discriminating fan all pretty much knew that Storen would be the closer next year. As for the rest of the bullpen that's up in the air. Kind of assume at least Clippard? After that its hard to tell?

Posted by: periculum | September 27, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Chico,

THEY ARE NOT 50 GAMES UNDER .500!!!

They have played 155 games. .500 would be roughly 78-78. We've won 52 games. 78 minus 52 = 26. We are less than *26* games below .500

It's not great, but it's not 50 games under 500. Sheesh, people.

Posted by: NatsNut | September 27, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, but your math is wrong.

They are now 51 games below .500

There record is 52 - 103 and for them to have been at .500 they would need 103 wins to there 102 losses, so since they are only at 52 subtract 52 from 103 and you get 51.

Posted by: Golfersal | September 27, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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