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You Play... To Win... The Game

Despite a team cemented in last place and a roster loaded with new faces, Jim Riggleman has managed the Washington Nationals this month with a style that belies those circumstances. And he will continue to, he said on Wednesday. September will not double as a stage for auditions. The Nationals, most nights, will be governed by Riggleman's win-tonight philosophy, and as such, he'll stick with the regulars who've won this season only sparingly.

Riggleman, speaking at length about his end-of-the-season managing style, noted several obligations. He feels an obligation to veterans who've been with him all season. He feels an obligation to finish the season strong, though he stopped short of mentioning his own tenuous status. He also feels an obligation to opposing clubs, especially those fighting for playoff spots.

OK... I admit, this is a soliloquy.

But in the name of no-quote-taken-out-of-context journalism, here is what Riggleman said.

"When we play baseball, we're supposed to try to win. Last year in Seattle, we were trying to win. We weren't just trying to play it out and draft Steve Strasburg next year. We were trying to win games. I think that if I'm a paying fan, I want to see a team trying to win. I want a manager trying to win. I want intensity. I want players playing hard. I want guys running balls out. I want effort and preparation. All of those things, in a perfect world, will carry over into the future. If you get through August and say, 'We're out of it; we don't need to put out best people out there,' then I think that you create an atmosphere where you're accepting it, you're accepting where you're at."

(Continuing...)

"And we can't accept what has happened here this year. We have to find out who the keepers are and build for the future and take an attitude of, 'You know what, we're losing, but these teams are having a heck of a time beating us.' If I send a message to the ballclub that we're gonna put our Class AAA call-ups out there on a daily basis to see what they can do, first of all, as I said, it's not a good time to evaluate talent. Who do you do it against? Do you do it against the Phillies? I think we would be insulting the Marlins and the Braves, who are chasing the Phillies. Do you do it just against the Braves but not against the Phillies?"

(Continuing...)

"The competition throughout the league indicates that, for the fairness of who is the best team in the division, you've got to put your best people out there to play against those guys. You know, if you get a couple games where you're playing a non-contender you might experiment a little bit more and get some guys some games. But I think that until the division is won and the wild card is won, we have an obligation to contenders to put our best players out there."

*

Three months ago, Drew Storen was drafted in the first round (10th overall). Since signing with the Nationals, the right-handed relief pitcher has played at three minor league levels, compiled a 1.95 ERA (eight walks, 49 strikeouts), and earned a spot in the October Arizona Fall League.

But until Tuesday, there was one thing Storen hadn't done.

Which is why he made a special trip to Nationals Park.

"I wanted to meet [Stephen] Strasburg," Storen said, grinning.

"It was awesome," Storen said. "I had never met him. I had only seen every clip on ESPN about him. And it was nice to meet him and kind of catch up with him. He had some questions about what minor league baseball is like; I don't think he'll ever find out what it's like, so I told him some stories. I told him about the bus rides and all that."

Personal disclosure: If it's not apparent from whatever quotes you've read of his, Storen is unbelievably personable, a natural anecdotalist, good with one-liners. (When asked why he was at Nats Park today, he said, "It's better than being in Indiana right now.)

Here's what he said when asked whether he felt disappointed about not making it to the big leagues this September:

"I mean, not really. Because I was happy with the way things ended up; I was happy with the way I pitched," he said. "Like I tell people when they ask me, my goal wasn't to be a big leaguer for a month. That's really the attitude I took. I look at the big picture of it. The Arizona Fall League is gonna be a great experience. I'm really looking toward next year as my big goal. Obviously having the goal of being here in September put me in a good position, and if you had told me where I ended up the year -- in Class AA, with the success I did -- there's no way I would have believed it. So I'm happy."

*

Philadelphia's lineup

Rollins - 6
Victorino - 8
Utley - 4
Howard - 3
Ibanez - 7
Werth - 9
Feliz - 5
Bako - 2
Lee - 1

By Chico Harlan  |  September 9, 2009; 6:31 PM ET
 
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Next: Phillies 6, Nats 5

Comments

I love Storen - I hope we see him next year!

Posted by: PattyinSJ | September 9, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

And that's why AGonz is in the lineup - smooth as glass at 2B.

Posted by: BinM | September 9, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey Riggleman. I'm a fan and I want you to play Ian Desmond.


Posted by: inthestreetindustry | September 9, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Charlie just mentioned that Utley leads the League in HBP - Duh, when you crowd the plate & put the upper half of your body over the inside corner, you're gonna get plunked.

Posted by: BinM | September 9, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and thanks for playing Gonzalez again. You putz.

Posted by: inthestreetindustry | September 9, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

hehe, nice Herm Edwards pick-up from the comments, Chico.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 9, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

And that's why Guzman is in the lineup - he hits the snot out of the ball against LH pitchers.

Posted by: BinM | September 9, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Mock needs to be pitching in the minor leagues.. that's where he belongs. He is way too hittable...

Posted by: rachel216 | September 9, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

It sounds like all of Stan's friends have come to the game tonight.

Posted by: CBinDC1 | September 9, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Maybe because I think he's just about dumb hick from Houston, but I am distinctly getting the impression that Garrett Mock is not the sharpest spike in the dugout.
Dribble is just ragging on his pitch selection. That may be so. I just don't think the guy can count up to two without using his fingers and toes. What is it with Washington and dumb guys from Texas? I don't like this slug at all.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | September 9, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm beginning to think that my desire to see Storen succeed is bordering on the selfish.

I really like this guy.

Posted by: JohninMpls | September 9, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Storen is showing himself to be a great guy and a class act. I hope $tra$burg is taking notes.

Posted by: futbolclif | September 9, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Ian D batted .330 over the course of the year, .354 at AAA. You can't convince me that moving Guz to 2B and benching AB is not giving us a better chance to win + we can see what ID does.+

Posted by: sjt1455 | September 9, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

@Sunshine_Bobby: Just because Mock seems to be the Nationals version of "Nuke LaLoosh", doesn't mean he's a sandwich shy of a picnic; It just means he's trying to throw what his catcher calls.

Dribble needs to keep his yap shut about pitch selection - He only learned how to throw two pitches for strikes over a six-year ML career.

Posted by: BinM | September 9, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Yeesh - Can the Nationals either just DRILL Ibanez, or intentionally walk him? He's making a living off this pitching staff.

Posted by: BinM | September 9, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Dribble needs to keep his yap shut about pitch selection - He only learned how to throw two pitches for strikes over a six-year ML career.

Posted by: BinM

On this, BinM, I am in total agreement. Dribs acts like he had to "adjust" to work three and four times through the order. As you noted, he was a one- or two-pitch pitcher who basically threw as hard as he could for an inning or two. I get the feeling if our starters just threw their "fastball" the first time through the order, they would get lit up worse than they are now. Dribble just likes to hear himself talk and create waves. I sincerely hope he goes the way or Ron Darling, Tom Paciorek and Slimeball Sutton. This place is death to color guys. He's one-and-done.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | September 9, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Dribble will most likely be back - he has a 2-year contract, IIRC. Carpenter should come back as well, just send him on vacation when the team travels to St.Louis in 2010.

Posted by: BinM | September 9, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Kensing warming up - NNNNNNN-OOOOOOOOO-OOOOOOOO!!!!

Posted by: BinM | September 9, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

AGonz - YES.

Posted by: BinM | September 9, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Nice bunt by Padilla, and a flub by Utley allows us to score. Wahoo!

Posted by: poncedeleroy | September 9, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

why do these games against philadelphia always seem like extended batting practive for the phillies?

Posted by: surly_w | September 9, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

You've gotta be kidding me! Are we sure that isn't Kensing on the mound? Crap.

G'night, Gracie.

Posted by: BinM | September 9, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

...or batting practice. we're talkin' about practice.

Posted by: surly_w | September 9, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

"doesn't mean he's a sandwich shy of a picnic..."

Posted by: BinM

LOL, this cracked me up.

Also, my crush on Riggles deepens.

Posted by: NatsNut | September 9, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

@BinM: Didn't know about Dribble's two-year. Yeah, he'll be back. I'm not nearly as sure about Sunshine. Don't forget, StanK and the Lerners basically fired the guy last year, thinking they could get Dan Shulman from ESPN. Only one problem: Shulman has a contract and didn't want to work here. I can't believe this pair will return intact, but what do I know? I actually liked Tom Paciorek.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | September 9, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Bases loaded! Good patience, Dukes!

Willie Harris pinch hitting.

Posted by: poncedeleroy | September 9, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

bases loaded with none out and we only score 1.. we suck

Posted by: rachel216 | September 9, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

One more inning to make it up~!

Posted by: poncedeleroy | September 9, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Sunshine understatement of the month:

"Macdougal has been short on save opportunities the last week and a half."

Kinda the way North Dakota is short on beach vacationers in January.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | September 9, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

hopefully flores is back soon... watching nieves bat is really painful.. that guy cannot hit. and he just made an error. goodnight people.

Posted by: rachel216 | September 9, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Somebody right this down so I can look like a genius next April: Only 11 players on the active roster as of August 31 will be on the roster opening day next year -- Lannan, Mock, Martin, Burnett, Clippard, Nieves, Dunn, Guzman, Zimmerman, Willingham, and Harris. Morgan, Olsen, and Bernadina were on the DL. I think we will see 11 new players on the active 25 man roster by opening day. I would not be opposed to a number of other players being on the roster, but I predict that they will not be.

Posted by: natbiscuits | September 9, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Pat Listasch makes me long for Tim Tolman.
This guy Is awful!!!

Posted by: chris88 | September 9, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Strikes out Ibanez!
Be seated.

Posted by: poncedeleroy | September 9, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Somebody drug-test Maxy. He's three-for-five.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | September 9, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

I would very much like to se Mcdougal back next year.

Posted by: chris88 | September 9, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Maxy. Here's your lifetime pass to SYR. Just a minor leaguer trying to become a fifth outfielder, at best. Did this guy graduate from Maryland, or just show up at Shipley Field?

47-and-92. You can suck on it and like it.

23 more. Gotta go 10-and-13 to hit my number, 57 wins.

I got Sept. 18 in the 100-loss pool.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | September 9, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

SBCITPFM: Yeah, well...

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 9, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

I really, really feel for Riggs. Here he's on an extended tryout for the permanent job. Yet he's being asked to run a month-long audition for the likes of Gonzo and Maxy and Orr and Dukes and...our AAAA starting pitching staff. Poor guy. I really hope he gets the job, the team seems to respond to him, but I fear the Lerners, specifically Markie Mark, will go with the Next Big Young Thing, just like they fell for Manny's spiel.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | September 9, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm a fan and I can't wait until they draft Harper next year... The season is screwed and the Nats stink, we need quality Free Agents and the best draft picks, as well as that amazing dominican pipeline which seems to be shut off this year with the exception of a couple real prospects.

Posted by: PNatsFan | September 9, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

That amazing dominican pipeline which seems to be shut off this year with the exception of a couple real prospects.

And those "couple real prospects" would be...and don't say Frowny.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | September 9, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

It's obvious that Riggleman should play the veterans, the guys that have been around all year and won us so many games...
Gahh, why not at least find out if maybe, just maybe, some of the minor leaguers can play.

Posted by: Offense-offensive | September 9, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Nice attempt at snark, O-O. But the vets that were responsible for a lot of this mess are gone...Cabrera, A. Hernandez, Kearns, etc. etc. Riggs is finishing a three-month tryout for the job. Guys have improved under his watch--even brain-dead Dukes. Myself, I've seen all I can stand of Justin Maxwell in just the week that he's been up. He's a good-field outfielder with speed that will never do him any good because he can't hit, tonight's three-hit freak being the exception. Why not go with the Orrs and the Harrises and the Burnetts and try to win a few more to pad the resume? It's called self-preservation. If you're working for StanK and the Lerners, it's Job 1.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | September 9, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

If they aren't going to play, the point of bringing them up would be...?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 10, 2009 8:07 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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