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Game 39 discussion thread: Nationals at Cardinals

The Nationals will play a rare game without Nyjer Morgan at the top of their lineup, rarer still because it comes against a right-handed pitcher, Kyle Lohse. Morgan has made strides against lefties, but Manager Jim Riggleman would still prefer to find him off days against them. For the season, Morgan has a .304 on-bae percentage againat lefties and a .365 OBP against righties.

And yesterday, the Nationals faced a lefty in Jeff Francis. So why wait until today? Riggleman wanted to make sure Morgan was the one roaming the large outfield at Coors Field. Today, at the more typical Busch Stadium, Roger Bernadina will take center.

"I think Nyjer is a guy that we look for 145-150 games at most," Riggleman said. "There's just going to be times where he have to put him on that pace instead of running him into the ground. We ask a lot of Nyjer when he's out there to cover a lot of ground and create some havoc at the top of the lineup. We just have to back off him every now and then and give somebody else a chance to swing the bat."

So the Nationals will try to snap their first three-game losing streak of the season without their leadoff hitter or their cleanup hitter, Adam Dunn, in the lineup. Talk about it all right here.

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 17, 2010; 8:10 PM ET
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Next: Drew Storen is here, so why not Stephen Strasburg?


oh no...

Posted by: PattyinSJ | May 17, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

I hope Stammen knows he is pitching on borrowed time. Strasburg's coming soon and right now Stammen is the weak link in the rotation.

Posted by: urbanbunnies | May 17, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

And the 1st inning goes to hades in a handbasket. Stammen couldn't finish cleanly, Harris didn't have a miracle up his sleeve, and Kennedy couldn't climb the ladder on the throw.
Let's hope the team can get a couple back quick & make a game of it.

Posted by: BinM | May 17, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Willie Harris... starting to look old

Posted by: urbanbunnies | May 17, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

I feel like this is going to have to be the Nats inning. They need to get some runs up here with Zim, Willingham, Ivan coming up.

Posted by: mcurtin00 | May 17, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Or maybe the bottom of the line-up can do something in the fifth....

Posted by: dryw1 | May 17, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Well it sure looks as if the Nats have lost all life .....they just show little energy or am I just tired ?

Posted by: CBinDC | May 17, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Bad offense wears on pitchers

Posted by: Tom8 | May 17, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

The way these guys are hitting they could be shut down by Ramon Ortiz. Willie Harris in the leadoff spot isn't a recipe for lots of runs. Stammen hasn't really been that bad; if Harris had made a catch he normally would it could be 1-0. Of course 1 run would probably be plenty tonight.

Posted by: p-man | May 17, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

The team's biggest problem is that runs aren't scored consistently. You can't expect your pitchers to shutout the other team every night.

Posted by: Vze2sr66 | May 17, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

This would be the type of situation you'd want for Storen's debut but for the weather. I hope Riggs leaves him on the bench tonight.

Posted by: Jeff_Jackson | May 17, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

oh Bernadina!

Posted by: urbanbunnies | May 17, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

I don't really have a lot of complaints about tonight, so far.

What I could do without is Rob Dibble again misunderstanding the fundamental concept of quantitative analysis. Rob, the point of inventing a stat called "quality start" is to have a non-subjective way of measuring things. It can't be simply "number of times Rob Dibble feels like the team has a chance to win."

Posted by: Section506 | May 17, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to the bigs Drew Storen. Good luck.

Posted by: Naugatuck-Nats | May 17, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

It's Storen time. Go Drew.

Posted by: marathoner | May 17, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Can't get the big hit when it matters Dunn shouldn't be worrying about an extension he isn't hitting with runners in scoring position. Morse killed the inning by not getting the run home from third with less than two out and then Dunn again is killing this team good clubhouse guy or not he has left a ton of men on base and isn't offering Zimm any protection in the lineup so far this season.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 17, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Good stuff from Storen, recovered well with that beautiful strikeout of Holliday. Looked really nervous out there but showed his stuff.

Posted by: Kev29 | May 17, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

First K in the bigs was a nice one. Welcome to the Majors, Drew!

Posted by: reddog278 | May 17, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Would love to see Storen face Pujols, but I'm guessing Brunette comes in... especially if they get to the pitcher in the lineup.

Posted by: jboogie1 | May 17, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Zimm has been just as disappointing lately as well. Except for his big 6 rbi night at Coor's
he's 0 for 7 in his last at bats and the night before his big game he left the bases loaded twice.

Posted by: CAskinhead | May 17, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

re: Zimm - make that 0 for 8

Nice to see Storen out there in a tight game with no sleep. Despite all the talk about a soft landing they threw him right in the fire.

Posted by: CAskinhead | May 17, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse


This is where stats can be useless...Dude is raking tonight but has had several good/great plays made against him. As soon as one of these drop in he'll take off again.

Posted by: Naugatuck-Nats | May 17, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Tell me if I'm remembering right -- didn't Zim hit into a double play right before one of Dunn's homers in Colorado?

Posted by: ADCWonk | May 17, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Why does all the positive talk suddenly robs the team of positive action

Posted by: CBinDC | May 17, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

St. Louis has scored five runs tonight with two outs.

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 17, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

The hitting seems to get worse every game. Of course tonight's lineup wasn't going to strike fear into any pitcher's hear, but they had their opportunities to score and couldn't do it. Now Capps is throwing a bunch of pitches while the game gets further out of reach. Of course they're not likely to need him tomorrow with Lannan going up against Carpenter. Hopefully they can get it together against the Mets and Orioles.

Posted by: p-man | May 17, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

That should be "heart", not "hear".

Posted by: p-man | May 17, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse


I know, I'm a huge Zimm fan. It's just frustrating. You want to see your best players step up when you need them to.

Posted by: CAskinhead | May 17, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of heart, they haven't seemed to be playing with much the past 4 games. I'm not ready to push the panic button, but they're starting to look more like the 70-75 win team I was expecting. I'd be happy to be proven wrong, though.

Posted by: p-man | May 17, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

On the bright side, Storen showed that he can get outs with runners on base. Very encouraging! The bullpen needs him badly.

Posted by: jboogie1 | May 17, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

I agree ... starting to feel like 2009 again ... I keep hearing about how they're a different team ... but I don't see a lot of clutch hitting, I see a lineup that wouldn't scare my grandmother ... and a weak starting rotation besides Olsen and Hernandez. Not acceptable.

Posted by: dlombardo1 | May 17, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Well, I guess that's why we don't like to rest Capps too much. Let's hope he got it out tonight in preparation for a save tomorrow.

Posted by: Section506 | May 17, 2010 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Harris had three plays that a decent RFer would have made: throwing the runner out at home, catching the ball at the wall, and catching the blooper towards the RF line. Whole different game with those plays made.

Posted by: hats4bats | May 17, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

It's always good to remember: You're never as good as you think you are when things are going well; and you're as bad as it seems when things are going poorly.

Better days are ahead for the Nats, and soon. I firmly believe that.

Now, let's stay above .500!

Posted by: nats24 | May 18, 2010 12:21 AM | Report abuse

aacck! even proofing doesn't help:

make that: "You're never as BAD as it seems..."

I hope it wasn't a Freudian slip.

Posted by: nats24 | May 18, 2010 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Hitting has been a problem for most of the season so far, it was just being masked when the Nats were winning those squeakers.

Now they're not. It doesn't feel like 2009, more like the second half of 2005 when the pitching stayed good but the bats fell silent.

This year, the pitching is likely to get better as the season progresses, but what's the fix for the hitting? I still think it will come around.

The keys are in CF and RF. Nyjer needs to recover his effectiveness, and if Bernadina can hit, he immediately improves both the offense and the defense. Willie Harris should have had that ball at the well, no question. But if the Nats are still floundering around trying to find a RF solution through the rest of the season, it makes a big difference.

Dunn and Zim will come around, they're proven pros. As is Willingham. Assuming the pitching is strengthened by the arrival of Strasburg, Storen (who looked good last nite) et al, the key to the season will be what happens in RF and CF.

Posted by: Meridian1 | May 18, 2010 6:23 AM | Report abuse

If you listen to Bob Carpenter, Rob Dibble, Johnny Holliday, and Ray Knight, the Nats are playing great baseball! I'm always amused to hear how well the Nats are doing, regardless of their four-game losing streak! What games are these guys watching??? Ever since the Nats' won 14-6, the Nats' bats have gone silent. You can talk about Strasburg and Storen until you're blue in the face, but if the Nats can't score runs, and misplay balls in the field, they will continue to lose. Period. Success in baseball is measured by WINS, not how good a rookie pitcher looks on the mound for .2 of an inning!

Posted by: blufre | May 18, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

The offense has to step up and the defense has to make plays - neither of which Willie Harris is capable of any longer. Might need to DFA him. Pitchers are only as good as the players around them. Stammen had a tough first inning, but pitched well after and kept them in the game. Have to get guys in from 3rd with 1 out.

Posted by: RJS11 | May 18, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Willie Harris missed a catch at the wall last night. Have you forgotten the great catches he has made this season already? Yeah, right, DFA him because of one missed catch. Sheesh!

Posted by: bertbkatz | May 18, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

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