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Miguel Batista gave up a grand slam, then gave the Nationals a chance

If the Nationals had somehow come back all the way Sunday afternoon, Miguel Batista would have deserved a fair amount of the credit. Although Batista surrendered a grand slam to Craig Counsell, he kept the Brewers at bay for most of his five innings of relief. His durability also kept the Nationals bullpen fresh for Monday.

"I did a good job, but probably two hitters too late," Batista said. "If I take that pitch away and a couple of walks, I probably would have last one more inning and we would have won."

Batista gave up three earned runs, walking four and allowing three hits. But he shut out the Brewers from the second through the fifth. Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman will consider moving back Jason Marquis in the Nationals rotation. If that happens, the easiest corresponding move would be letting Batista start in Marquis's spot five days from now.

"That's what I'm here for," Batista said. "That's my job. I've been one of the best at doing that, starting on short notice or on no notice. Hopefully, we can get Marquis back on track and pitching the way we know he can pitch, and everything will be history."

As for Sunday, Batista's five innings allowed the Nationals at least a glimmer of hope. The Nationals scored four runs in the fifth innings and two more in the seventh when Ian Desmond roped a two-RBI double to left, his first career hit as a pinch-hitter.

At the time, the double seemed like it might really lead to something. The day after baseball gave us a 20-inning game and a no-hitter, why wouldn't a team that gave up 10 in the first inning come back to win? Adam Kennedy roped a single to center, his third hit of the game, and Pat Listach windmilled Desmond around.

Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez charged and made a bullet throw to the plate. Desmond bowled over Gregg Zaun, but he blocked home plate and held on to the ball. The Nationals' deficit could have been two, but instead it was three and would grow to four the next inning. Sending Desmond in that spot, with Alberto Gonzalez on deck, seemed be to the right decision.

"It really was," Riggleman said. "Two outs, the odds of extending the inning further with another hit, you pretty much got to take your chances. That was some throw, I'll tell you. That kid [Gomez] is electric out there. That's as good of throw as you're going to see in a big league ball game. Anything less than that, we're probably going to be safe."

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 18, 2010; 7:39 PM ET
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Next: What's wrong with Jason Marquis?


If Desmond slid he would have been safe, Zaun was straddling the plate he was not blocking it.

Posted by: markfd | April 18, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

You kind of buried your lede there: Riggleman will consider moving Marquis down in the lineup? Did the manager say that? What else did he say about Marquis? It's kind of important.

Posted by: jdsp2000 | April 18, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

I meant to write move Marquis down in the ROTATION.

Posted by: jdsp2000 | April 18, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

"if Desmond slid he would have been safe, Zaun was straddling the plate he was not blocking it."

Thanks so much for contributing your years of big league base running experience on a bang-bang play. Ian would surely learn from your vast knowledge, if only if he would listen.

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | April 18, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

1stBaseCoach: Such a good comment and so well deserved.

Posted by: bigcountry22 | April 18, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure i agree with that thought and theory by Riggleman, but hindsight is always 20-40 and Gonzalez has been solid at the plate so far this season, that kid made a hell of a throw to get Desmond. The Rockies lost a tough one in the bottom of the ninth here in the A-T-L 4-3 Jason Heyward singled with the bases loaded to plate the winning runs, Heyward has the fans down here jacked up i mean every sports station TV&radio here in Atlanta is talking about this kid and to be sure he is impressive but as i told my neighbor who has already bought two Heyward jersey's wait until the all star break.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 18, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

The kid made a hell of a throw, that's true, but the ball was not hit very deep and Desmond was out by a mile, whether he slid or not. I guess I can admire Riggleman for sticking up for his coach, and it's true that hindsight is 20-20, but the idea that you take a chance like that when someone other than the pitcher is due up next seems pretty dumb. And I sure hope that we know enough about the arms of opposing outfielders to not be surprised by the strong throw.

Posted by: Section222 | April 18, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

They dared Gomez to make that throw, and he did. That's baseball.

All in all, I'd rather have Gomez on the other team than on my team, throw or no throw.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 18, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

This just in:

Nats DFA Marquis, sign Felipe Lopez as # 2 starter in Nats rotation.

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | April 18, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Words/phrase I'd rather not hear for awhile: "In a small sample size..."

Please, people, save that for writing your soybean production reports at the Agriculture Department.

Just saying...

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | April 18, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

SBC, I think Kilgore may be subtly giving it back to the people who got all over his [stuff] on that point.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 18, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Good point, Sec3. If that's the case, kudos to Kilgore, who may just be the MVP of this outfit if he can keep up his pace/workload/quality the entire 162 games.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | April 18, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

And as long as we're on the subject of sample size, reposting this from the last one on Pudge's hitting:

He's not going to finish the year hitting .450, but he doesn't need to. Everybody is reminded he can still get incandescent for weeks at a time, and that will help even when he's not hitting like this.
But a question: He didn't hit .450 any other full year, obviously, so "out of thin air" would seem to mean he hasn't had a comparable two-week stretch. Has he?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 18, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

IRod purportedly is the all-time leader in doubles hit by a catcher. That must mean he has always been capable of doing what he has been doing.

If I had to guess about a difference between now and the last 2 years? See recent posts on players hiding injuries in order to continue playing. I suspect it just as he says: he feels really good. And clearly injury free at this point.

Posted by: periculum | April 19, 2010 12:03 AM | Report abuse

The Nats need to move Marquis up in the rotation -- he only faced 7 batters. He needs to be out there again in 3 days or less. He should want to, as well.

Posted by: nats24 | April 19, 2010 2:05 AM | Report abuse

If what Marquis did in spring training didn't alert ALL of the Nat brain trust that Marquis was terrible in Fla. They thought he would work his way through spring training and be ready for opening day--- NOT!!!! How in the world could the powers that be mis-read Marquis performances in Fla.? They had coaches AND F.O. galore AND STILL did not correct or find out what was going on with him. It's like they thought--oops did we make an error in signing him--is it "JUST SPRING TRAINING OR JUST PLAIN WISHFULL THINKING THAT MARQUIS WOULD BE O.K. by the time opening day rolled around--if it is the later the whole F. O. screwed up big time. It seems to me after his second loss something HAS TO CHANGE---but NO that did not happen. I guess NOW they will do something. I hope they can find a way to put him on 15 day D.L. and let him work this out. They-the F.O. can fake an injury so thaey can get on the D.L. it is done all the time.

Posted by: vergens2 | April 19, 2010 3:39 AM | Report abuse

1stBaseCoach and bigcountry22 - -

Thanks for your contributions to this blog they are invaluable.

I was not criticizing Desmond for not sliding, I never wrote that. What I was trying to convey was the fact that Zaun was straddling the plate not blocking it as written in the post, therefore making a slide possible instead of impossible as noted in Adam's remarks above.

Posted by: markfd | April 19, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Our pitching staff stinks to high heavens sans Livan, and Olsen(so far) Stammen has an ERA of 15plus!!!! and now Marquis is over 20!!! excuse my french but what kind of bull sh#t is that? Rizzo ain't out there pitching but he and "Fatty" along with Riggleman assembled this staff i know it's early but two pitchers with era's of over 15 and 20 respectively, that is unacceptable at any level i don't know how long you stick with McCatty but Rizzo needs to have a little chat with this guy.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 19, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Zaun was blocking the plate. As soon as the ball got to him (about 25 feet ahead of the runner), he dropped to a low crouch. There was no plate for Desmond to get to.

and Dar, I'll excuse it if you'll use it. Sans means "without," not "except for."


Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 19, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

and they really shouldn't have sent him. It's not as if he was the tying run.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 19, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I was at the game. Listach held two guys at third that almost definitley would have scored (they eventuallly did), but Desmond was out by two full strides and you could see that coming before he reached third base. The ball was hit on a rope and not very deep right at the CF who was running toward home plate. It was a great throw, but he could have bounced it twice and got him. Overall great effort by the Nats to make that run, though. Listach just had a bad call that may or may not have made a difference.

Posted by: Kolchak | April 19, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

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