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Game 27 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Braves

Manager Jim Riggleman decided to rest Josh Willingham's not so much for the sake of giving Willingham a break, but more so to get Willie Harris some regular playing time.

Willingham "certainly doesn't need a day off," Riggleman said. "It's just getting Willie in there. I've got to get Willie going. Willie is such a vital part of this ball club. I want him to get in there and get some at-bats. He's too good an offensive player for us to only have him as a pinch-hitter. I want to keep him sharp, because when he does get called on to pinch hit, I want him to be sharp."

And so Harris will continue a pretty brutal run of opposing pitchers. He's started 11 games this year. In six of those, the opposing starter has been Roy Halladay, Mike Pelfrey, Ubaldo Jimenez, Johan Santana, Josh Johnson and now Tommy Hanson. Ouch.

When the Mets lost today on a walk-off home run in Cincinnati, it injected some extra meaning into tonight's game. If the Nats win tonight and the Phillies lose, the Nationals will be tied for first place at 15-12. Let that rattle around, and then discuss tonight's game right here.

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 5, 2010; 7:05 PM ET
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Atilano might have been a little too rested (last start 4/28) - Hopefully, he'll settle down.

Posted by: BinM | May 5, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Regarding who should be the starter on 5/8 vs. the Marlins - Why not Marquis? The team wouldn't waste an option on a pitcher, and they'll see if he has anything to carry forward. He's probably as effective as anybody they would use in a spot start (Martin, Martis, Chico, Batista).

Posted by: BinM | May 5, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

BinM, really? Marquis "probably as effective as anybody they would use in a spot start?" He's been shelled harder than Fort McHenry in 1814. He's gotta show this team he's really healthy before he gets back out there.

Posted by: baltova1 | May 5, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Spoiling a nice output against Hanson

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | May 5, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Spoiling a nice output against Hanson

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | May 5, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

baltova: Of the pitchers I listed, only JD Martin is pitching well enough to possibly handle a major-league lineup for five innings without getting pummeled.

My logic is why burn an option on a pitcher in the minors, or 'short-arm' the bullpen for a spot start? With the game near the start of a 20-game in 20-day stretch, I'd rather see the team call up another reliever for bullpen depth, than a starter.

Posted by: BinM | May 5, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

I will take the blame for T. Plush being thrown out as I just blew up the fact he was 3 for 3 on FB.

Posted by: mjwies11 | May 5, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

By the way, if that was a Brave be would have been called safe.

Posted by: mjwies11 | May 5, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

BinM: the Nats wouldn't burn an option to call up a guy who's already been assigned to the minors once this year. Options are handled on a yearly basis, so that's not an issue. Marquis was so bad and there is now a medical reason for that, it's pointless to pitch him again until he's healthy. I'd go with J.D. Martin.

Posted by: baltova1 | May 5, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Looks like they tried to get to much out of Atilano. I wasn't expecting to see him come out for the 6th; hopefully they can get those 2 runs back. I thought it was odd that Pudge didn't make more visits to the mound this game.

Posted by: p-man | May 5, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

FSN South Boooooooooo!!!!! can't get Rob or Dibble because i'm here in Atl.Braves announcer's not my cup of tea, man we need a bat in RF Max,Berna,and Willie combined are killing us, well not giving up but it doesn't look good and the crowd, smaller than last night are you kidding me!

Posted by: dargregmag | May 5, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Atta boy Willinghammer! Way to get 'em in!

Posted by: HotNats | May 5, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Are the pretzels at Nats Park still Noah's pretzels, or what? What is NJ Pretzels? lists NJ pretzels in section 108 and 318, but it lists Noah's pretzels in the "healthy options" list of concessions. When I was at the park last night, I didn't see Noah's, and saw NJ pretzels. What happened? Does anyone know the story if a switch has occurred? Adam, can you look into this, or maybe refer it to Dan Steinberg to look into? Thanks.

Posted by: djpere | May 5, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

No need to waste da Hamma's effort need to win this one in the extra frames, burning up the pen though braves playing hard and they just scored off of Capp's couldn't keep thinking Capp's would be perfect.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 5, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

I think there was some dispute about the name 'Noah's' or Noah was bought out. Essentially they're serving the same stuff under a new name.

Gonna need another comeback in the bottom half of the tenth. Playing in font of a few hundred Braves fans, an old man and his dog by the looks of it.

Posted by: Kev29 | May 5, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Well, it's not a blown save, so he's still perfect in that regard.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 5, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

C'mon, Who Nieves, let's keep this thing going...

Posted by: HotNats | May 5, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Nieves a fuera. Willingham tambien.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 5, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Having been out all evening, i'm just catching up now. At this point watching the start of the 6th, but a couple things come to mind...

* It is an absolutely gorgeous night, and I would be at the park except "things to do" but you couldn't get a better night to be out! I wonder if this is the max until school gets out for a Wednesday night game (without it being a Phillies or Mets opponent), considering you couldn't get a better night.

* Based on the limited posts tonight, I think it isn't just the weather, but the mid-week "life happens" factor that is playing into this low attendance.

* I think I'm still a bit burned from the past few years. All day long, when I see a matchup of Tommy Hanson and Luis Atilano, I'm wondering what the chances are for a competitive game. I was wrong. I'm still learning! But behavioral conditioning over years of arriving down 7-0 after 1/2 inning takes time to get over!

* Nyjer's steal attempt shoulda been safe. I noticed he went head first, but he put his left arm inside, which got tagged. If he reaches only with his right, he's safe.

* That hit-and-run with Pudge hitting and AK going to 3rd was a thing of beauty, and could've been exactly the opposite. I can't say enough about Pudge this season. He was a STEAL.

* At this point, I have to again give some love to Atilano, who has attacked all night and in each of his outings. I'm a fan. Ah, he's getting taken out now, as I think he's gassed, but I'm glad they kept him in to get the pitcher and get out on a good note. I'm still impressed.

* If you told me that Atilano vs Hanson would be tied at the 6th, I would've rolled my eyes and bought a Powerball ticket. Ah, after Burnett's arrival, scratch that, but still...

Posted by: mo_dc | May 6, 2010 12:44 AM | Report abuse

* Based on the limited posts tonight, I think it isn't just the weather, but the mid-week "life happens" factor that is playing into this low attendance.

Posted by: mo_dc | May 6, 2010 12:44 AM

Sure, but 'life' and 'weather' happen in places like Boston, the North Side of Chicago, St. Louis and Anaheim too, and they pack their parks on weeknights. The Lerners and Stan broke their "trust" (their word) with this area between '07 and '10 by putting a grossly inferior product on display - now they're paying the price (despite Rizzo and Riggs good work to improve the team). We can only hope that the Lerners didn't permanently poison the well. Sometimes even late blooming winners draw flies, look at Tampa.

Posted by: Kev29 | May 6, 2010 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Trust me I want the Nats to succeed - on the field and at the gate, but I feel like these attendance figures will be the norm for this team. There just isn't that much interest in the Nats from actual fans. The blame lies primarily with the Lerners. I've said before - the ship has sailed. The failure to make Nats Park a "destination" place has been another part of it as well and some of that is beyond their control, like the economy. The abysmal and misguided marketing is another factor, the lack of radio and mass media presence is another big factor. Couple that with a less than endearing product on the field over the past 2 years and that's why people have moved on. The only fans that the Nats could've hoped to draw and increase their season ticket base were those casual or non-affiliated fans who would've certainly embraced this team, but what we got what this mess - the lowest rating for games and the least exposure of any team in baseball.

Posted by: bendersx6 | May 6, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

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