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Today's lineup

There's a chance the Nationals and the Cardinals will be rained out today, but the gray, cloudy weather seems to be burning off at Space Coast Stadium. The Nationals are on the field working out now, so it's not too bad.

Willie Harris, part of the right-field platoon, will play third base today, but he'll be back in right tomorrow. Jim Riggleman wants to give Harris enough playing time to get comfortable in right. Harris has only played two games in his career in right, which surprised Riggleman when he first realized that.

1. Willie Harris, 3B
2. Cristian Guzman, SS
3. Adam Kennedy, 2B
4. Adam Dunn, 1B
5. Josh Willingham, LF
6. Ivan Rodriguez, C
7. Roger Bernadina, RF
8. Willy Taveras, CF
9. John Lannan, SP

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 26, 2010; 9:57 AM ET
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Next: Miguel Batista rounds out the Nationals bullpen


"Harris has only played two games in his career in right, which surprised Riggleman when he first realized that."

Maybe it's just the weather, but that's not helping. Maybe he should try teh google.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | March 26, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand the angst about Marquis. The guy is a proven big-league pitcher. As long as he's healthy, you can pretty much pencil him in for 180-210 innings and 12-15 wins. He's done that for six straight years. That's a huge improvement over that spot in the rotation last year. I feel the same way about Livo.

Their starting pitching is much better than last year as is their bullpen. It's not even close. Does that mean they contend? No. But they could win 75 games. When the rotation is Strasburg, Lannan, Marquis, Wang, and Zimmermann they'll contend.

I would like Rizzo to dump the idea that Desmond has to play SS every day this year somewhere. Put the guy in RF. That's the best line up. His development will be better served by getting 500 big league ABs playing RF and some SS, than 500 AAA ABs playing all SS. Harris, Maxwell, Bernadina, etc are not everyday big leaguers. That's a step backwards. I feel about Guzman the way I feel about Livo and Marquis. He's a proven big-league commodity, good enough to win with. If it's between having him in the line-up or the collection of possible RFs above, I'll take his offensive production every time. Defensively, it's wash.


Posted by: db423 | March 26, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Do you think our hitting coach could make Bernadina into Lou Brock? Good fielder, good runner, okay hitter. Can he become a quite good hitter?

Brock was not such a great hitter very early in his career.

Posted by: franklennox | March 26, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

db423, Marquis is a decent, proven MLB pitcher yes, but Lannan pitched better than Marquis did last year and only won 9 games.
If Marquis pitched for the Nats last year, there's no way he makes the All-Star team, and there's no way he wins 12 games.

And Guzman's "offensive production" is a fallacy. He hits for a decent average, but his OBP is horrible (career OBP, .307).
This means he makes outs at a very high rate. If he was a slugger, that might make up for it. But he ain't, and it doesn't.

We'll be much better off with Ian Desmond at shortstop, and Marquis has the potential of not being one of our 5 best starters by September.

Posted by: Sunderland | March 26, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

"We'll be much better off with Ian Desmond at shortstop, . . ."

db: Please define "better off." Compared to what? the Pirates or Royals?

I don't see the Nats being "better off" in 2010 in any way, shape or form.

Posted by: JohnRDC | March 26, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Seems like Riggleman may defer too much to "experience" and the "old-boy" baseball network than to hard brass tax facts. That may be why some folks may think Randy Knorr is going to be the next manager.

Posted by: periculum | March 26, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Brass tax?
This some kind of political chai tea party thing?

I really don't know how much Riggleman gets to decide until April 5. It's hard to figure out what is Riggleman's doing, what is Rizzo's doing, and what is decided by the brain trust in accordance with The Plan.

Posted by: Sunderland | March 26, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I suspect that a new sense of urgency ... plus the cornucopia of fresh young arms will see the Nats better off in 2010. If even one of these guys falters there is plenty and then some that will be down in the minors that will be able to jump right in. That is quite different from last year where they were forced to try all sorts of different "experiments" to fix the bullpen and shore up the starting rotation as critical injuries occurred. This time it doesn't look like the same scenario will be played out.

They are rebuilding. In a sense some of these problems have a silver lining. Guys in the minors know that there are some positions that no one seems to want to grab and make their own. One must believe that Rizzo's minions are using the state of the Nats to encourage and motivate guys down there.

At shortstop? Cristan Guzman. A guy coming off shoulder surgery plus bunion surgery who bristles at moving to 2nd base to help the club? While guys like Morse, Harris, et al will play where ever they are needed just to play? Cristan Guzman hates batting low in the order? Do you think Harris, Morse, Desmond, etc even care about that? If Riggleman/Rizzo are going to release Dukes like a wayward child ... and it wasn't the best day for this franchise ... and then have Riggleman pander to and coddle Cristian Guzman?

Its enough to make a fan a bit angry and already wanting a new manager.

Send a message. Release Guzman not Olsen. Eat the 8 million.

Posted by: periculum | March 26, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Fully agree peric (except they are not "rebuilding", they are just plain old "building".)

Guzman's $8MM is already spent. He's bad defensively, he's bad offensively, and he's not a positive influence to anyone.

If he was healthy, I could see them playing him for a couple months to try and trade him and eat less of the $8MM. But no one's going to want him this early in the yer. They have their own pipe dreams to work through. Set him free. Reward Ian Desmond.

Posted by: Sunderland | March 26, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Apropos of the question of just how good a pitcher Marquis is, I offer some significant stats from a couple of pitchers' 2009 season (can't get the columns to line up, sorry...) They are very similar except for one stat. Their W-L records are almost mirror images (9-13 vs. 14-8):

9 13 3.88 33 2 1 206.1 210 100 89 22 68
14 8 4.16 32 0 0 194.2 193 101 90 20 76

The first pitcher is John Lannan. The second is Andy Pettite. The team behind you DOES make a difference.

Posted by: gilbertbp | March 26, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Almost forgot. Lannan's 2009 WHIP = 1.347. Pettite's = 1.382.

Posted by: gilbertbp | March 26, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Does Willy Tavares have a good shot at making the team?

Posted by: DMoney28 | March 26, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

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